Wildlife conservation, community and environmental volunteer projects and internships worldwide

Scuba Diving, Marine Conservation & Research

Organisation: Conservation Travel Africa

Country: Mozambique

Type: Environment & Wildlife Conservation

Scuba Diving, Marine Conservation & Research

This marine conservation programme was designed by a leading manta ray researcher and whale shark expert. Participate in field work – take id photo’s, observe environmental conditions, tag animals, and measure ocean giants. All the data is used for research projects to protect and preserve amazing marine animals.

Programme Highlights

  • Dive the clear, crystalline waters of the Indian Ocean and experience one of the top 10 dive locations in the world
  • Learn from experienced marine biologists and scientists and assist with their research projects
  • Get close to some of the ocean's most incredible creatures as you dive alongside whale sharks and huge manta rays
  • Learn new research techniques and work alongside marine scientists as they conduct their research
  • Become PADI Open Water or Advanced Open Water Certified and gain your Deep Dive certification
  • Snorkel amazing coral reefs and learn to identify fishes and other sea creatures
  • Live right on the beach and enjoy the local Mozambican seafood and hospitality

What sort of things will I be doing?

The objective of this programme is to gather as much information as possible about whale sharks, manta rays, marine turtles and humpback whales. This data is used by biologists to study the conservation of these threatened species.

Diving and Snorkelling

Southern Mozambique is one of the top 10 scuba-diving and snorkelling locations in the world and Tofo is one of the best in Mozambique!  During your programme you will usually undertake 4 research dives or ocean snorkel safaris per week accompanied by qualified dive instructors and programme researchers.

No previous dive experience is required – Open Water and Advanced diving certification is included in the programme fee. If you are already Advanced Diver Certified, you will get £100 off the price of the programme!

– Megafauna research dives and snorkel safaris – manta rays and whale sharks

In the last decade more than 800 manta rays have been identified in Tofo, and the Mozambican manta database is the second largest in the world. Tofo is also a global hotspot for the whale shark, the world’s largest fish. Researchers have identified more than 600 whale sharks in the Mozambican waters.

  • Join researchers to collect field data to assist their studies of manta rays and whale sharks
  • Take identification photos and monitor behaviour
  • Check acoustic listening stations
  • Observe and record environmental conditions
  • Gather GPS locations, segregation and sex of whale sharks
  • Tag animals and collect tissue samples
  • Measure these ocean giants using laser technology

– Turtle research (Nov – Feb)

All marine turtle species in Mozambique are globally endangered. Loggerhead, leatherback and hawksbill turtles are sighted in the water, however nesting grounds have declined rapidly due to poaching. There is little information available on turtle ecology so volunteers contribute by photo IDing turtles and adding them to the Mozambique turtle database.

– Humpback Whale Research (June – September)

Humpback whales make annual journeys from Antarctica to the East African coast, where they mate and calf. In the African winter, hundreds of humpback whales are seen in the waters in and around Tofo. 

  • Beach and boat monitoring of humpback whales
  • Record details and enter into the humpback whale database

In addition to collecting data on the above marine megafauna, you will also gather information on other threatened species in the area including dugongs, bowmouth guitar sharks and stingrays.

Data recording, analysis and maintenance of equipment

  • Assist researchers and scientists with the preparation of acoustic listening stations and tags
  • Help process tissue samples
  • Set up camera equipment to measure the size of whale sharks
  • Record megafauna behaviour, plankton density and environmental conditions
  • Add your identification photos to the online database

Community Outreach

More than 60% of Mozambique’s population live in coastal areas, which places significant pressure on the marine environment. Many species are vulnerable to illegal poaching, many Mozambicans fear the sea and the majority cannot swim.

You will get involved with Mozambique's flagship coastal community outreach programme which, through teaching children how to protect and live with the sea, creates Ocean Guardians who have compassion for their marine environment. 

  • Assist local instructors to teach children water safety, surfing and snorkelling
  • Help to create marine biology, ecology and conservation classes, participate in rock pool exploration and help with beach clean-ups
  • Participate in Creature Feature – pick your favourite marine animal and work with teachers to get the children excited!

Cultural Exchange

The volunteer lodge is situated right on Tofo’s main swimming beach and boasts amazing views over the bay. It is the perfect location to explore the Inhambane province and some of Mozambique’s unique culture.

  • Enjoy a dhow tour of the beautiful estuary where you can find sea stars, sea moths and sea horses
  • Visit Pandane, one of the best snorkelling reefs in Mozambique, and Inhambane City with its beautiful rustic architecture

Other Projects by this Organisation

  • Scuba Diving, Marine Conservation & Research

    Join a world-class research team in one of Africa’s most beautiful coastal locations. Southern Mozambique is one of the best diving locations in the world, home to large populations of whale sharks, manta rays and turtles. Help preserve endangered species and watch humpback whales migrate past your beachside lodge.

    Find out more

  • Wildlife Warriors - Advanced Anti-Poaching Course

    Gain practical experience in advanced anti-poaching techniques and work alongside conservation professionals to understand the challenges facing those dedicated to protecting endangered species. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse yourself in some of South Africa’s finest wilderness areas, live in close proximity to wild animals, and be involved in genuinely meaningful and important work to preserve some of Africa’s most iconic species - most notably the white rhino.

    Find out more