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:

  • 1 week from GBP 785
  • 2 weeks from GBP 995
  • 6 weeks from GBP 1,835
  • 20 weeks from GBP 3,795

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.
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