Mozambique Marine Conservation Project
Who: The Great Projects
Where: Tofo, Mozambique
Focus: Monitor coral reefs and marine megafauna including whale sharks, manta rays, turtles and migrating humpback whales.
When: All year round | Start project any day of the year.
Best time to join: Marine life is seasonal and the project focus changes accordinly. Full details below.
Duration: 2-16 weeks
Suitability: 10+, Group bookings available.
- Non-certified Divers: 2 weeks from GBP 2125.
- Certified Divers: 2 weeks from GBP 2025.
As a volunteer, you will:
- Directly contribute to this marine conservation project and work together with world renowned scientists in the field of ocean giants, including manta rays and whale sharks.
- Collect and collate scientific data on a wide range of flagship species, which is used to evaluate their international conservation status and provide fundamental data for international protection.
- Take part in research dives, an estuary research snorkelling trip, megafauna research talks and daily research activities.
- Identify and log manta ray sightings. Photo ID reef and giant mantas (up to 9m wide), measure individuals and assist scientists in taking biological samples.
- Identify and log whale shark sightings. Take ID photos both above and below the water, help tag the sharks and take tissue samples, and gathering information such as GPS location, segregation, sex, behaviour and specific characteristics such as scarring.
- Monitor humpback whales from the beach and by boat, and assess the health of the population.
- Monitor turtles and gather data on sightings and nesting positions for loggerhead, hawksbill and the critically endangered leatherback.
- Become a PADI Advanced Open Water diver.
- Survey the health of the local coral reefs and estuary by collecting data on reef fish species and the cover of coral on reefs.
- Gather valuable information on other threatened species of megafauna within the area, including dolphins, bow mouth guitar sharks and the small eyed stingray (the largest marine stingray in the world).
- Help collate survey data and add it to international databases.
- Take part in beach clean ups.
Learn to dive: Volunteers must be PADI Advanced Open Water (or equivalent) before taking part in the research programme. Full training provided in-country.
Certified divers: Volunteers who are already certified will go straight into the research programme.
Marine Life Sightings
All year round: Bottle nosed dolphins, humpback dolphins, bow mouth guitar sharks, reef sharks, small eyed stingrays, eagle rays, manta rays and three species of turtle can be spotted.
January – March: Reef manta ray mating season. Whale sharks are present but with slightly fewer sightings than in other months. Bottle nosed dolphin numbers are higher.
March – June: Giant Oceanic Manta rays are in greater abundance. Whale shark sightings are more infrequent during this period.
June – October: Humpback whale season with hundreds migrating through the area. Begin to prepare for the tagging of bull sharks in September, as theses sharks arrive at the beginning of October.
October – January: Peak season for whale sharks with an average of two encounters a day. Shark peak season includes white tips, hammerheads and bull sharks. Turtle breeding season including loggerhead, hawksbill and leatherback species. There is also a greater abundance of reef manta rays in January.
Accommodation: The Volunteer Research House has views of Tofo Bay and is a short walk to the foundation offices and the beach. The lodge is open from 7am until 11pm and has 24-hour security on site.
Sleeping: Same-sex bedrooms with two volunteers per room.
Food: 3 meals per day. Frequent seafood. Occasional BBQ.
Working week: 5 days a week, 7.30 till 15.30.
Number of volunteers: 12 max.
Support: 24-hour in-country volunteer support.
Transport: Pick up from Inhambane Airport and taken to Tofo project site 22km away.
The next step: Visit The Great Projects for more information and to book.
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