Become a marine conservation volunteer on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and take part in a coral reef monitoring volunteer programme. Volunteers will have the opportunity to carry out lagoon monitoring (coral reef and fish), beach cleaning, mangrove planting and monitoring and also working in local community projects on various environmental volunteer projects.
You can volunteer in Mauritius for between 1 week and 12 weeks in duration, and we have places available throughout 2014.
Individuals, groups and students are all welcome.
Cost for accommodation, snorkelling equipment, programme materials and training starts from £380.
Marine conservation volunteers will work alongside a Mauritian Non Governmental Organisation whose objectives are to preserve the natural resources from the threat of pollution and destruction due to inconsiderate development and lack of awareness on the island of Mauritius. The Blue Lagoon and Coral Reef Monitoring programme focuses on the protection, preservation and restoration of the marine and coastal environment for the region of Blue Bay and Pointe d’Esny, Mauritius.
Volunteers are involved in the monitoring of the reef in the Blue Bay Marine Park and in the Pointe d'Esney Lagoon. The range of projects include:
Lagoon Monitoring - involves fish, coral and anthropogenic activity surveys being conducted. We aim to be out on the water most days collecting the valuable data required to try and understand what is happening in the lagoon. This will allow us to inform the local community on the state of their most precious resource, upon which many of them heavily depend.
Mangrove Monitoring & Cleaning - Mangroves protect land against flooding and help to prevent shoreline erosion. Since coral reefs thrive in nutrient-poor waters and mangroves thrive in nutrient-rich waters, mangroves also improve the water quality by purifying the water from wastes and pollutants. Waste is being dumped in the mangroves forest which prevents them from breathing through their roots. So volunteers are involved in both mangrove monitoring and mangrove cleaning.
Volunteers can enhance their marine based knowledge through taking part in this programme. The programme aims to:
Volunteers should aim to join for a minimum of 2 weeks after which time you will gain both a theoretical and practical understanding of the marine environment, be able to implement research methodologies, and gain a further appreciation for current anthropogenic issues influencing the reefs around the Blue Bay Marine Park area. The skills acquired during the programme can then be used to further enhance a volunteer’s academic achievements in marine conservation.
The main area of study will take place within both the Blue Bay Marine Park and the Pointe d’Esny Lagoon. Both areas offer an exciting array of marine species, with as many as 38 species of coral and 72 species of fish been identified within the marine park. However, decades of neglect from illegal fishing, destructive fishing methods, high amounts of tourism and pollutant run off has put increased pressure on the coral reefs around Mauritius. We need your help in aiding the recovery and sustainability of these beautiful reefs.
17th March to 31st March
31st March to 14th April
14th April to 28th April
28th April to 12th May
12th May to 26th May
26th May to 9th June
9th June to 23rd June
23rd June to 7th July
7th July to 21st July
21st July to 4th August
4th August to 18th August
18th August to 1st September
1st September to 15th September
15th September to 29th September
29th September to 13th October
13th October to 27th October
27th October to 10th November
10th November to 24th November
24th November to 8th December
8th December to 22nd December
22nd December to 5th January 2015
The above dates are just a guideline and we can be flexible if you want to start/leave on another date than is listed above. You can join for a minimum of one week up to 12 weeks in duration. We recommend that you try to join for at least 2 weeks if possible, which will enable you to gain a theoretical and practical understanding of the marine environment, and you would be able to implement some research methologies during this time. Any questions, please email Victoria.McNeil@workingabroad.com
The cost for 1 week is £380, 2 weeks is £600, 3 weeks is £820, 4 weeks is £1040, 6 weeks is £1,480, 8 weeks is £1,920 and 12 weeks is £2,800. Included in this price is accommodation in self catering house with kitchen, research and snorkelling equipment, all activities that form part of the volunteering programme and WorkingAbroad backup and support. What is not included is your flights and travel to and from the project, visa costs, personal and food expenses, and your own health and travel insurance.
Lodging for volunteers will be primarily situated around the area of Pointe D’Esny, with the nearest town of Mahebourg situated 20 minutes away by public transport. A welcome tour will be given by one of our staff upon arrival in order to provide you with general knowledge of the area. Lodging will consist of a self catered bungalow with kitchen and all equipment. Rooms are fully furnished and all bedding and sheets will be provided, but you should bring your own beach towel. Internet is available for volunteers to use at the office and you can use the office PC after work hours as well. We would advise you to bring your own phone, and a sim card can be obtained and costs around 4 pounds (Rs200). There are local restaurants and eateries very close by and you can also purchase food to cook your meals with locally.
18 years upwards. No previous experience is required but volunteers must be enthusiastic about the marine environment. You must also be friendly, communicative and be able to work in groups. There are occasions when weather conditions can make swimming difficult so therefore a good swimming ability is essential. A health and safety briefing will be given by one of our staff prior to undergoing any activities.
How to Get There
You need to fly to the Aeroport de Plaisance in Mauritius, airport code MRU. From the UK, there are direct flights with Air Mauritius and British Airways. A flight with Emirates is also possible, with one stop in Dubai. The flying time is approximately 11 hours with a direct flight, around 16 hours (depending on the flight) with Emirates. We can arrange for your airport pickup and drop off for the price of 10€ each way (20€ in total).
Passport and visa
A valid passport with at least 6 months after the date of return is required, as well as a return ticket. Nationals of the European Union do not need a visa and for most other countries, no visa is required for a stay of up to 60 days for tourist purposes. Since visa requirements vary from country to country, please check with your local embassy as to whether a visa is required to enter Mauritius with your passport.
The population of Mauritius is about 1 300 000 inhabitants, with a very high density of about 700 inhabitant / km2. The capital, Port Louis, accounts 150 000 inhabitants. Mauritius is a blend of diverse cultures and religions. The population consists of Hindus, Creole, Chinese, Muslims and Europeans.
English is the official language of Mauritius, but the most widely used is French and the local dialect, Creole. Hindi, Urdu and Chinese are also spoken.
Temperature on the coast varies between 22°C in winter and 34°C in summer. Sea temperature varies between 22°C and 27°C. In the central part of the island, the maximum daytime temperature varies from about 19°C in August to about 26°C in February. The western and northern regions are warmer and relatively drier than the East and the South. High factor suncream is advised for all volunteers!
Hepatitis A, B and Tetanus/Diptheria - vaccinations are recommended. It's a good idea to pack shoes that can be worn in the sea to protect against sharp coral, sea urchins and stonefish. Medical facilities are good and free in public hospitals, but private clinics are expensive and therefore please note that it is mandatory for all volunteers joining this programme to take out a medical/accident insurance to cover the duration of the programme.
Mauritius is, with La Réunion and Rodrigues, an island in the Mascarene Archipelago, located in the southwest of the Indian Ocean (20 ° / 57,5°E), at approximately 2000 km off the coast of Africa and 900 km from Madagascar. Of a surface of 1865 km2, the island is lined with a magnificent turquoise lagoon on most of its 330km of coast; it includes a vast central plateau surrounded with some mountainous peaks.
Set on a breathtaking lagoon, the volunteer project is situated in Pointe d’Esny, near Mahébourg, on the South East coast of Mauritius. Mahébourg is a colorful and lively town, steeped in Mauritian history. Fisherman and shopkeepers ply the streets, adding to the rich and dynamic atmosphere of this coastal treasure.
Dark volcanic rock makes for a stark contrast to the bright white coral sand on the long and open beaches of Pointe d’Esny. Tropical fish swim just underneath the peaceful surface of the remarkable brilliant-blue lagoon, which stretches out to a coral reef and open ocean just beyond. Punctuating the western end, the Blue Bay marine park, a UNESCO world heritage site, is a rich and colorful underwater ecosystem brimming with coral and marine life.
Jenna Guffogg speaks about her time on the project
"Overall I thought it was a wonderful experience with a really good work-leisure balance. The staff did an excellent job of running the programme, most activities were focused around data collection out in the lagoon (lots of transect lines) with a bit of community awareness towards the end. My advice to any volunteers would be to have an enthusiastic attitude towards data collection and possibly learn a little French - although I did not know any when I was over there and I managed fine."