Marine Conservation Volunteer

Marine Conservation Volunteer in Africa

Quick Overview

The East African coastline has a really fragile marine eco system being the home to some of Africa’s largest marine megafauna populations (e.g. whale sharks, manta rays, marine turtles, etc.) and is also an important refuge for other threatened marine species like the elusive dugong. More than 60% of Mozambique’s 25.8 million people live in coastal areas, placing significant pressures on the marine environment and its resources, with many species vulnerable to illegal poaching and exploitation. Most Mozambicans view the sea as foreign and something to be feared. The majority cannot swim and each year hundreds drown along the coastline, as people risk their lives on a daily basis to provide for their families.

It’s a sad truth to think about; but there are many marine species that are declining at an unsustainable rate and it’s all down to hunting, pollution and the destruction of marine habitats, all at the hands of humans. We must take responsibility and do all that we can to reverse these effects and our marine conservation project in Mozambique is designed to do just that. Join our passionate team in Mozambique’s South East and help them protect and rehabilitate the giants of the sea, including manta rays, sharks, turtles, humpback whales, coral reef and lots of other amazing marine life.

Take part in an important conservation project, explore the beautiful country of Mozambique and immerse yourself into a new culture. Our marine conservation volunteer program is great for anyone who wants to get hands-on experience and if you’re willing to learn, you’ll fit right in with our team and our partners.

What’s Involved

Our marine conservation project takes place in the beautiful Tofo Bay, where you’ll live right on the beach with the most mind-blowing views every single morning (get up early, you don’t want to miss those sunrises). Your time will be spent collecting data and assisting with important research, caring for and monitoring marine wildlife, assisting in rock pool explorations, helping with day to day maintenance and beach clean-ups, doing community outreach and leading educational classes for young Mozambicans to help spread the word about the importance of marine conservation.

Not only that, but you will also have plenty of free time to mingle with the laid-back, friendly locals and there are so many local activities for you to get involved with. You can play beach football, take arts and crafts classes, go swimming, go scuba diving or even learn to surf! And when you’re not busy volunteering, playing sports or making new friends, it’s nice just to kick back and enjoy the views’¦

Not a scuba diver yet? No problem, we work closely with a partnering Dive Shop to help you complete your recognised PADI Open Water qualification. You will begin this course within a couple of days of arriving in Tofo and it will take around 4 to 7 days to complete depending on the water conditions.

What if you are already a qualified scuba diver? Great! That means you will begin on our research programme right away.

Please note that some of our activities are weather dependant so last minute cancellations and changes may occur.

All The Details

Tofo Bay, Mozambique

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What’s Included?

Price Includes

  1. Project fee ‘“ this goes directly back into the project that you are involved with. It facilitates funding for items such as resources, building materials, equipment and project supplies. It also covers operational costs such as housing, communication, and project vehicles
  2. Weekly four open ocean dives, accompanied by scientific co ordinators to direct activities.
  3. Three marine biological lectures per week.
  4. At least one snorkeling tour to the Inhambane Estuary to explore and survey theesturine reefs.
  5. An excursion at least every two weeks to the Coral gardens of Pandane, again toexplore and survey.
  6. Nemos Pequenos community outreach program in which the volunteers are able tointeract with and participate in the local communities culture.
  7. Once a week to a local village or school in order to share conservation message andwhat is being done with the local communities.
  8. Full board and lodging which includes 3 meals a day at our volunteer house
  9. All airport transfers from Inhambane Airport upon arrival and departure
  10. All daily transfers to and from your projects during your stay
  11. Weekly laundry and housekeeping service
  12. Comprehensive Orientation Program
  13. Assistance and support from the Project Managers and staff

Whats Not Included in your program fee :

  1. Flights
  2. Visa fees
  3. Personal travel insurance for the duration of your placement ‘“ must include cover for repatriation, dive insurance and evacuation
  4. All items of a personal nature, such as curios, gifts, clothing (work and other)
  5. Email and telephone calls made during your placement
  6. Any activities and excursions outside of your planned project itinerary
  7. Soft drinks, wines, spirits, between meal snacks

Local Team On Ground

Daryn Millbank, Mozambique Volunteer Program Manager

Daryn was born in South Africa where he grew up in the darynbiologically-rich region bordering the Kruger National park. This is where his love for nature and culture originated. He then moved to Durban on the East Coast, where he developed his passion for the ocean and the bio-diversity found within it.After completing his education, Daryn embarked on a 5 year journey through 14 countries in order to pursue his desire to learn about and experience foreign cultures and to explore new natural environments. He worked throughout his travels, including installing forest fire detection systems in the forests of Brazil, teaching English to children in Spain and South Korea and managing a volunteering organisation in Israel. Daryl now is part of a team running marine conservation programs and his experience of Mozambique will make your stay truly memorable.

Getting There

  1. The nearest airport for this program is Inhambane Airport (INH)
  2. We recommend you read our Mozambique Volunteer Guide that will give you guidance on your visas.
  3. Insurance is compulsory on this program.Please check with your insurance company what the possibilities are regarding diving and extra health packages. Evacuation medical insurance is very important as there are no decompression chambers in Mozambique
  4. To get help with flights fill in this form.
  5. Vaccinations are important. We recommend you visit your local travel clinic to find out what vaccines you should take.
  6. We work with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for travel to Africa. Goto to find out how best to avoid trouble when abroad. Packed with essential travel advice and tips, the website also offers up-to-date country information.
  7. For support on any of the above email us

A Day in the Life of a Marine Conservation Volunteer:

In general, week days are working days from 07:30 till 15:00 and weekends are off. However, occasional weekend work will be required during major events such as beach clean-ups, whale shark feeding frenzies or manta-dolphin- or turtle beaching but we promise, it will be worth it.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening from  18:00 till 19:00PM researchers from MMF will present on specific topics in the big screen room at Casa Barry Beach Lodge to the public, this will also provide you with a wealth of knowledge! You could also be required to assist the researchers with setting up and money collection duties, after this we head to the bar for some drinks.

General Day (If Diving) Volunteers normally scuba dive 4 times a week

07:00 Breakfast at the volunteer house

07:30 Meet at the dive shop and kit up for diving with the volunteer coordinator and some of the  researchers. 

10.30 Walk back to the volunteer house and office for a wrap up and enter the collected data in the databases.

12:30 Lunch

13:30 Depending on the time of the year execute whale watching activities from the shore or prepare for other work for the night/next day. The afternoon also provides time to work on creature features for our community program, or prepare crafts and activities for the children.  

15:00 End of your working day and go out for a surf, swim or relax.

A lot of work is conducted on a see and ask basis, one will often see something new or out of the ordinary and then one can interact with the scientists to find out more about the event or animal that you have seen; who knows it might even be a first for marine science.

Free Time:

There’s so much to do at Tofo Bay during your free time including snorkelling and diving, surfing, beach soccer, arts and crafts and the famous ‘Braai’ barbeque which is a great way to make friends with the locals! At weekends, you can head to Vilankulos (a few hours’ drive away) to explore the Bazaruto Archipelago or if you’ve got time, visit Gorongosa National Park for an exciting safari experience.  

What Happens When I Arrive?


Living Arrangements for Marine Conservation

We will organise for you to stay in a shared volunteer lodge, based close to your volunteering base and with beautiful views overlooking the beach. At walking distance from the research foundation, you can take a leisurely walk to and from your accommodation each day and there’s a lodge restaurant which will serve your meals daily. Everything is freshly cooked and will give you an authentic taster of the local cuisine and there are also days when you can try the traditional Mozambican barbeque, which is the culinary highlight of everyone’s stay! You will be housed with other volunteers in the same program and there’ll be plenty of time for you to socialise and make new friends for life.  


Health and Safety :

When you join our programs you can be assured we have carried out Risk Assessments to identify potential safety and health risks on projects and in the community. We share this information with you in our pre departure documents. Our local staff are well trained and we provide 24/7 emergency numbers to all participants. Please read our Health and Safety pages for more details. We protect the safety of children and vulnerable adults on our programs by police verification and a reference checks on all participants. Please read our Child Protection Policy for more details.



  • ‘My experience in India was absolutely fantastic. Having never done anything like this before, Volunteering Journeys made sure I settled in well and supported me throughout my time. Being placed with an amazing family gave me the chance to experience Indian culture first hand.  I was part of the Disabled Childcare Programs for two weeks.  Although short, I felt the time I spent was so valuable for the children. If this is something that you are interested in I would 100% recommend it. The memories, friendships and experiences you will develop will be ones that you will never forget.’

    Fiona Kirk
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  • ‘The teaching experience was second to none. I was overwhelmed by the respect and politeness all the children have, which made it some much easier to work with them, even with the language barrier. The amazing thing about the schools I visited was that all the children are like little sponges, they absorb everything you say, teach and do! It’s quite outstanding how much they gain from just a small conversation in the playground or in the class room.
    So in general if you are questioning whether you want to volunteer and you don’t know what company to go with, it has the be Volunteering Journeys. You will be well looked after, gain an immense experience and make friends for life!!!’

    Jemima Kershberg
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  • ‘I took a short sabbatical from work in November 2013 and decided to come to India. I was helping at a small school in Fort Kochi, teaching English, Maths, Science and the odd nursery rhyme. The school where I volunteered had amazing teachers and the kids were great. Ridhi and the team organised everything brilliantly – from cycling tours to the backwaters, to hosting me with a family that made my stay feel like home. If you’re going to volunteer in India then I highly recommend Volunteering Journeys’

    Glyn Owen
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  • “J’ai passé deux mois formidables à Kochi en travaillant comme volontaire avec Volunteering Journeys. Deux mois de ma vie que je n’oublierais jamais. J’ai rencontré des gens incroyables et participé à des projets qui me tenaient vraiment à coeur. J’ai pu voir l’aboutissement de mes efforts et le sourire sur le visage des enfants. Une expérience magique que je recommande à tous. Merci Rainbow”

    Laura Prigogine
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  • ‘I spent 3 wonderful weeks with the Volunteering Journeys team in Kerala, it marked the beginning of almost 2 months adventuring through India, and I can say without a doubt it was one of my favourite experiences of my time spent in incredible India! From the moment my plane landed and I was greeted by a friendly face and whisked away to a wonderful home, the local staff were incredibly welcoming, helpful, supportive and great fun to be around!
    I spent my time volunteering in 2 local schools, assisting with English studies. The enthusiasm and joy with which the children approach their days will ensure you never want to leave!I cannot recommend Volunteering Journeys highly enough, it was such a joyful introduction to India – it’s culture, people and crazy beautiful way of life. You will leave with some fond memories and firm friendships’


    Katie Parsons
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  • ‘I volunteered by teaching English both at a school and at an all girls’ orphanage for two months. It has been the best experience of my life so far. I really got to know the children I was teaching and seeing the children’s English improve over my time was an incredible feeling. From being introduced to yoga to tasting delicious flavoursome Indian cuisine and living in “God’s own country”, has left me eager to return. I have made friends across the World who made my time spent in Kerala unforgettable. I highly recommend volunteering with Volunteering Journeys; Kerala is beautiful and you will gain fun memories.’

    Elidith Cameron
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  • ‘I spent two weeks running an art workshop which was absolutely fantastic. The children were so enthusiastic and bustled about with paste and paint, putting together the most amazing creations. They were not used to producing collaborative work and were thrilled when their individual efforts achieved a glorious whole. Their personalities really shone through and I became very fond of them in the short time I was with them. Thank you to Volunteering Journeys for enabling me to have such a wonderful experience!’

    Jane Daniell
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  • ‘There is some kind of magic that happens when you’re in India. The climate, the people, the warm welcome, the happiness in every person, the culture, it’s simply inspiring. On top of that having a group of friendly, thoughtful organizers guiding me through the program made my time volunteering with Volunteering Journeys one of the most memorable moments in my life.
    If anyone reading this is considering becoming a volunteer, don’t hesitate, become a volunteer. It will be the most rewarding experience and adventure of your life. I assure you that you will have a vital impact on the community, the place and the children. I would recommend Volunteering Journeys without hesitation. Well organized and hassle free adventure. You get help and guidance with everything you need. Kerala was my destination. Safe, beautiful and very friendly. Just do it and have an adventure of your life!’

    Harminder Athwal
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  • “Volunteering at the schools was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Once again the friendships you create are irreplaceable. Admittedly, the first few days were scary, in the sense that my partner and I were only 18 & 20 yrs old and we were teaching women and children a language that was not their first. However the persistence and willingness of Indians is not to be tested. Each of our students put in 100% and naturally we became very personal with everyone and these women and children taught us much more. We came out of this experience with more than we had ever anticipated. It can’t be put into words just how much we learnt from volunteering. Ever aspect of our lives and mindset has changed.”

    Aimee Chirio
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  • ‘I think it was quite an eye opening experience to kind of see how people live and enjoy their lives very differently to what we do probably in UK. Even though comparatively they didn’t have as much, the children still came to school with a smile on their face and they were really keen to learn. They were ever so happy and always had a smile on their face regardless of the circumstances that they are living in, and I think that was an amazing experience for us to take back. We have comparatively much more wealth in the UK and we have much more available at our fingertips. Yet we were quite not so happy’

    Andrew Davies
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  • ‘We decided to volunteer as part of our family vacation. It was the perfect balance: making a contribution but not being asked to do too much, with Volunteering Journeys staff with us every step of the way to help, support, clarify, etc. I was also impressed that they didn’t feed us a line about how we were changing the world in a week; I knew going in that *we* would be the ones most changed, and the staff’s perspective’s was the same: we were making an impact by showing we cared and sharing experiences, which hopefully meant something to a lot of people.’

    Bob- Family-Volunteering-Review
    Bob Macauley & Family
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