Scuba dive in Mozambique and get hands-on experience in world-class field research on a marine volunteer project designed and created by leading whale shark and manta ray scientists. With one of the highest populations of whale sharks in the world, year-round sightings of manta rays and home to other species such as whales, sharks and turtles, this project aims to conduct research to find out vital information about these threatened species and directly contribute towards the conservation efforts taking place in the area.
From Tofo’s rustic, unspoilt beaches and turquoise seas to its vibrant marine life and colourful culture, everyone will enjoy this exotic paradise. Situated in Southern Mozambique with palm-fringed beaches and wide expanses of powdery white sand, this is a famous spot for world-class scuba-diving and for opportunities to spot some of the magnificent creatures that live here – whale sharks, manta rays and other large marine species such as sharks and turtles.
However, many of these species are under threat and the beautiful and important coral reefs in the area are at risk of exploitation and other changes associated with tourism and human interaction. Research on species and reef degradation is vital in working with governments and other stakeholders to improve legislative protection and the creation of protected areas. Volunteers play a huge part in gathering as much information as possible about these threatened species and directly contribute towards the conservation efforts taking place in Tofo.
Volunteers play a crucial role in gathering and analysing data for long-term projects in Praia do Tofo and a large portion of your time will be spent on research scuba dives, where your priority is to gain quality data that contributes to successful conservation of the coral reefs and megafauna in the region including, whale sharks, manta rays and other large oceanic creatures.
If you are not yet PADI qualified, please let us know and we can provide a price that includes your PADI Open Water Certification or PADI Advanced Open Water Certification, or both!
You will create photo identity kits for whale sharks and manta rays all year round and marine turtles from November to February, plus other marine megafauna, and record and upload these to relevant databases. You will also be involved in monitoring the behaviour of each species, including location, segregation, sex behaviour, and specific identifying features, such as scars on mantas or whale sharks. To collect information over a prolonged period of time, camera traps are also deployed on the reef to record what oceanic life comes past. You will help to prepare these and set them up, then examine and analyse the footage.
The Inhambane Estuary is fed by two rivers and is controlled by the tides; it provides a shallow water habitat to study the health of the reef and surrounding mangroves. You will go out into the estuary on a traditional dhow boat to snorkel, collecting data on the abundance of species through surveys and video transects. This gives insight into the reef and over time this data supports work with local governments to regulate and protect the area. In 2017, this project successfully established nine protected areas in the estuary!
Attend talks on marine megafauna biology, anatomy, physiology, pathology, research, and conservation. The research team have a wealth of specialist marine knowledge and researchers give regular talks about specific wildlife such as sharks or manta rays. These will be relevant to anything you’ve seen or learnt about in the week and will be tailored to the particular interests of volunteers.
Community involvement and interaction is a big part of conservation, and we find regular opportunities to engage with local people. You might take part in a beach clean-up, visit a local school to educate children about the importance of ocean conservation and how to avoid dangers in the water, or attend a community event such as World Oceans Day.
“I was blown away by the diversity of marine life in Tofo and really enjoyed the amount of time out on the water – especially the diving. I got to complete my advanced open water diving certification too! I learned so much and would definitely recommend it.”
“There are no words to describe what an experience this was, from the place I stayed to the dives I did, to getting to know all that goes on in this program. I just wish I had spent more time there. Africa is a wonder, nothing is easy or straightforward, which makes getting something done very rewarding. “
Once you have submitted your application, a Destination Specialist will be in-touch to discuss the project with you.
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