Volunteer to protect whale sharks and turtles on Mafia Island, Tanzania.


Tanzania Whale Sharks and Turtles


Who: Frontier

Where: Utende, Mafia Island, Tanzania

Focus: Monitoring whale sharks and turtles

When: All year round | Project starts 1st and 3rd Monday of every month – alternative dates at request

Marine life seasons:

  • Whaleshark monitoring between November and January only
  • Sea turtles nest from April to July, with eggs hatching between June and August

Duration: 1 to 20 weeks

Suitability: Over 18s. Group bookings available

Cost: The cost gets cheaper the longer you stay – available here.

As a volunteer, you will:

  • Help to monitor and conserve coastal sea shore environments and rare marine life.
  • Conduct surveys on the whale shark population (November – January), and promote the welfare of these creatures.
  • Contribute towards an educational/awareness programme on whale sharks with local fisherman and tourists .
  • Play an active role in the conservation of sea turtles by patrolling the beaches.
  • Witness the nesting process and watch young turtles hatch and scurry their way to the sea.
  • Learn to identify hundreds of species of reef fish, corals and invertebrates.
  • Become an experienced and competent snorkeler.
  • Swim and snorkel from the beach camp and explore the local reefs, recording observations of the feeding habits and behaviour patterns of a range of marine life
  • Study the impact of fishing on the coral reefs and local whale shark populations
  • Survey, map, and record important marine habitats such as seagrass meadows and mangrove forests.
  • Swim with dolphins, rays and turtles and possibly spot migrating humpback whales..
  • Survey and report the effects of global warming on coral reefs.
  • Discover Swahili culture by taking part in environmental education days in the local schools and community groups and awareness raising activities with tourists visiting Mafia Island.

Scuba Diving

Dive Training: Volunteers have the option of learning to dive, or taking a dive course.

PADI Certifications: Open Water, Advanced Open Water, EFR, Rescue, Divemaster.

Divemaster Internship: Available for a min. 3 month stay.

The Base

Accommodation: Volunteers stay at Frontier’s simple beach camp made up of communal bandas, huts made from makuti (woven palm leaves), poles and mud. Shower with a jug or a bucket of water. Occasionally, volunteers travel to a remote survey site and stay in a ‘satellite camp’, usually a mosquito net pitched on a beach.

Sleeping: Beds constructed from wooden poles.

Food: 3 healthy meals a day, cooked over a charcoal stove. Volunteers share the cooking duties on a rotational basis.

Support: 24-hour in-country support; International HQ emergency support and back-up; UK residential briefing weekend available.

Transport: Airport pick up and first night hostel accommodation in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania can be arranged for an extra fee.

The next step

Visit Frontier for more information and to book. Please say that you heard about this project from Sea Fans.


Write a review: Share your experience of this project below.

Be inspired: Discover more ways to volunteer in marine conservation.

Get in touch: To claim or amend this listing, please contact us.

Disclaimer: Sea Fans is a labour of underwater love.
Please read our terms and conditions.

Rate and write a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.