On Mozambique’s southern coast, outside the town of Inhambane lies the idyllic little fishing village, Tofo. You as a volunteer will assist in a marine project that focuses on the study of whale sharks – the world’s largest fish and other marine animals. You will assist in monitoring marine life and the environment they live in. Enjoy being on one of the best beaches in the world while assisting with an important project that aims to protect marine life found along the coast of Mozambique.
Whale shark and marine adventures
Project fee from EUR 1,840
Your Role as a Volunteer
You will assist with marine research and tasks, under the direction of the research coordinator from the foundation with this project. Data will be collected in various ways – by boat, walking on the beach or through diving or snorkelling. Inventory of fish species will be taken on dives as well as documenting various things using photos.
The project involves conducting multiple types of research with different species. The following is a summary of the type of research and conservation activities you may be involved with. Some of the activities are conducted at specific times of the year whilst others are conducted all year round. Our co-ordinating project scientists will teach you how to assist with data collection throughout your project duration.
In order to carry many of these activities you will need to be able or willing to learn to scuba dive. An open or advanced internationally recognised diving course is provided in the cost of the program to facilitate this (not included in the 2 week option).
You will also need to be a capable swimmer (able to swim 100m unassisted) and snorkeler. Being able to hold your breath to dive down would be an advantage but is not required.
Please note that Portuguese is the official language of Mozambique and English is therefore not widely known or spoken, including amongst staff and children at the local project placements.
Some of the activities you will get involved in may include:
Whale Shark (June to October) The whale shark component of the Project involves joining ocean safaris to snorkel with Whale Sharks in the open ocean. It involves taking underwater photographs for identifying the Whale Sharks as well as recording other ecological information. As a summary, you will collect the following information on the Whale Sharks:
● Date, GPS location, surface and underwater conditions
● Size, sex, scars/distinctive features, behaviour of the whale shark
● You will take an ID photograph and identify each whale shark & record re-sightings
Dolphin (throughout the year) Another species monitored on ocean safaris are dolphins. You will be collecting data which enables dolphin numbers and behaviours to be recorded and uploaded onto databases to share with our Marine Partners. Of particular interest in this study is dolphin behaviour in relation to tourism
Coral Reef and Fish (throughout the year) The coral reef monitoring involves joining scuba diving and carrying out underwater data collection on indicator species of coral fish and the condition and cover of coral and echinoderms on the reefs. As a summary, on these research dives you may carry out the following activities:
● Recording indicator species of reef fish
● Collect ID photos of megafauna including mantas, turtles and leopard sharks
● Coral reef quadrants to assess the cover and condition of different coral groups and echinoderms
● Collection of photos of nudibranches (sea slugs) to help develop a species list for Mozambique
Turtles (November to March) You may help survey turtle survival and you may be lucky enough from November to February to monitor nesting of turtles on beaches in the areas around Tofo. Historically, loggerhead turtles have nested here in significant numbers and although these, as well as green turtles, leatherback turtles and hawksbill turtles, are sighted in-water, their nesting has declined dramatically owing to poaching. In the last 8 years, little to no nests have been found in the area. The surveys involve working to patrol the beaches, recording nest sites, finding shells- sizing them and taking a GPS points for data collection on poaching in the area.
Seahorses (throughout the year) This project will involve travelling to the nearby Inhambane Estuary and snorkelling in relatively shallow waters to evaluate and monitor the seahorse population. The seahorses are counted, and photos taken to identify size of the seahorses, and data then entered into a database to allow for analysis.
Humpback Whales (June – October) You may help monitor the numbers of humpbacked whales on their seasonal migration up and down the coast. This involves sand dune based observations using binoculars and boat based observations recording the numbers of whales, the makeup of the pods and behaviours witnessed.
The Project’s Mission
The aim of the project in Mozambique is to enhance understanding and develop new protection strategies. Behaviour of the whale shark and other marine animals is important to establish protection strategies. It is also important to pass this information onto the local population so that they can better preserve their countries biodiversity.
Our partner in Mozambique is a locally based company that is 100% responsible for all activities on the ground and quality control. Thanks to this cooperation, Volunteer Travels can offer you a well-organized and secure experience as a volunteer.
How do I book a trip?
You can book your trip with Volunteer Travels by calling us on (+46) 08-23 93 00 or by booking through our website www.volunteertravels.com by clicking on “Book a trip”. You can also email us on [email protected] When you have registered yourself we will send you an invoice with a registration fee of £200.00. The registration fee is later incorporated into the trip price and the amount is then deducted from your final invoice. When you have paid the registration fee you are formally registered. You will then receive preparatory information from us in good time to plan your trip.
Orientation begins with an introduction and a presentation of the project, as well as information about the area you will be in. In your orientation you will be shown around Inhambane and Tofo. Following this you will participate in an Open Water Diving course which you will need to participate in the course. If you already have your open water certificate then you can upgrade to an advanced course or start diving immediately on the basis that you have dived recently or have done a refresher course. Your following weeks will be devoted to project tasks.
Accommodation and Food
As a volunteer you will be staying at a volunteer lodge with a pool a close distance to the beach. You are sleeping in a self-catering 2-bedroom chalets. Each bedroom is shared between 2-6 people. The volunteer lodge has electricity and running water and is located right on the beach on the outside of Tofo. Food will be provided by the Albatroz restaurant, 3 meals a day.
During your time off you can explore the surrounding area on your own, or simply enjoy life on the beautiful beaches. Tofo’s city centre is within walking distance from the volunteer house. There you will find shops, a couple of restaurants and bars, as well as a variety of
Visit the Bazaruto Archipelago consists of five idyllic islands: Bazaruto, Benguerra, Magaruque, Santa Carolina and Bangue. The archipelago is truly one of the most beautiful destinations on the African continent and is almost an untouched paradise on earth. The area is now protected as a conservation area and national park. It is the only official marine reserve in the country.
There are also some beach activities in Tofo such as horseback riding, quad biking, deep sea fishing, yoga on the beach or surf lessons and can be booked upon arrival. The projects staff on the ground can assist with the activities.
The country of Mozambique is a somewhat strange blend of old and new Africa. In the cities we glimpse old colonial houses behind white walls while newly constructed high-rise testifies to a fast-growing economy. After many years of civil war, the country has stabilized and is now thriving in business again. In the markets you will find beautiful fabrics, art work and wooden sculptures from the whole of southern Africa. Mozambique offers fantastic nature with many national parks and long, unspoilt beaches.
Flight tickets are not included in the price. Your final destination is Imhambane. You should book your ticket so that you arrive on the same day that the project starts, that is to say, a Monday. If you want to go home immediately after the end of the project, you should book a return journey to the Monday after the number of weeks you chose to work as a volunteer. Be sure to check that the arrival and return travel date on the ticket.
It is the volunteers responsibility to acquire the right visa for the trip. Different visa rules may apply depending on your nationality. Visit the embassy web page of your destination to find out what the visa terms are between your country and that destination.
You are responsible to get insurance to cover illness, injury or theft while working as a volunteer. Travel agencies normally sell travel insurance to complement your flight tickets. For more information about insurance ask your travel agency while receiving a flight ticket. Included in your tour price is a liability insurance which covers you in case you unintentionally hurt someone or damage someone else’s property.
For any questions about vaccinations, please be sure to ask your doctor or local vaccination centre. It is always good to be covered for emergency cases. Volunteer Travels always recommends Hepatitis A and B, as well as tetanus. You should take malaria prophylaxis as Mozambique falls in a malaria area. However, please be sure not to take Mefloquine as it is recommended you do not take this while diving.