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Finding Destiny 

Marine Conservation and Whale Sharks Volunteering

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As a volunteer on the Finding Destiny Project you will help carry out the marine research and monitoring activities for the project under the guidance of co-ordinating project scientists. 

You will join other volunteers on the project to collect the data via scuba dives, ocean safaris, and beach walks off the coastline of Tofo in Mozambique. 

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You can expect excellent diving, snorkelling and beach time while gaining first hand marine research skills as well as contributing to a worthwhile project.

Research Volunteer Projects you'll be involved in:

  • monitoring of whale shark numbers, behaviour and ecology and taking underwater identification photographs
  • monitoring the condition of coral reefs and indicator species of reef fish. 
  • You will also be trained to take ID photos of manta rays and other threatened marine species to aid population assessment and monitoring. 
  • At certain times of the year you may help survey humpback whale numbers and turtle nesting activity as well as other indicators of the health of marine biodiversity. 
  • You may also assist with beach clean-ups and other general environmental activities, and will help upload and analyse the field data.

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Did you know?

  • Portuguese is the official language of Mozambique and English is not well understood or spoken, including staff and children at the local project placements.

Accommodation and Meals 

During your stay you will be accommodated in a very cool Lodge, in Tofo. Three meals a day will be provided, some on a self-serve basis and others cooked for you.

Project Start Days

Start date for this project is the first Monday of the month throughout the year, with the exception of December when the project is closed.

What's included?

  • An internationally recognised dive qualification (only included for 3+ week volunteers)
  • Research dives and ocean safari’s to collect data
  • Comprehensive 24 hour, 7 day a week support from our local and trusted partners
  • Guarantee that you will be able to make an active contribution during your stay
  • Support of volunteer project coordinators who are experts in their fields which ensures the volunteer experience is valuable
  • Comprehensive orientation soon after arrival
  • All food and accommodation throughout your stay

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What is involved and are there any application criteria?

This project involves conducting lots of different types of research with varying species. Some of the activities are conducted at certain times of the year while others are conducted all year round. The co-ordinating project scientists will teach you how to assist with data collection throughout your project duration. 

  • You will need to be able or willing to learn to scuba dive. An open or advanced internationally recognised diving course is provided in the cost of the program to facilitate this (not included in the 2 week option). Volunteers who sign up for a 2-week project must have either their open or advanced water dive certification already.
  • You will also need to be a capable swimmer (able to swim 100m unassisted) and snorkeler and being able to hold your breath to dive down would be an advantage but is not required.

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Volunteer Activities may include:

  • Whale sharks - all year - diving and snorkeling with the whale sharks to ID and take underwater photos
  • Dolphins - all year You will be collecting data which allows dolphin numbers and behaviours to be recorded and uploaded onto databases to share with other Marine Partners. Of particular interest in this study is dolphin behaviour in relation to tourism
  • Coral Reef and Fish (throughout the year) The coral reef monitoring involves joining scuba diving and carrying out underwater data collection on indicator species of coral fish and the condition and cover of coral and echinoderms on the reefs.
  • Collect ID photos of mantas, turtles and leopard sharks
  • Collection of photos of nudibranches (sea slugs) to help develop a species list for Mozambique
  • Turtles (November to March) You may help survey turtle survival and you may be lucky enough from November to February to monitor nesting of turtles on beaches in the areas around Tofo.
  • Seahorses (throughout the year) This project will involve travelling to the nearby Inhambane Estuary to snorkle in the shallow waters to evaluate and monitor the seahorse population
  • Humpback Whales (June – October) You may help monitor the numbers of humpbacked whales on their seasonal migration up and down the coast.
  • General environment (throughout the year). A number of more general environmental awareness and clean-up activities will be also carried out during the project.
  • Ocean Safaris

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Small print - but please check it out. 

  • As part of the project activities, you will complete an Internationally Recognised Dive Qualification during a normal 4-week program, along with 11or 12 ocean activities (ocean safaris or research dives) depending on the dive course chosen. Numbers of ocean safaris and research dives are calculated accordingly for shorter/longer programs.
  • In order to carry out the activities required of you in the Finding Destiny you will need to be a capable swimmer (able to swim 100m unassisted) and snorkeler; being able to hold your breath to dive down would be an advantage. 
  • Volunteers who have pre-existing medical conditions or are over 45 years of age must also bring a medical clearance letter permitting them to dive.
  • Any volunteers taking Lariam/Mefloquine/Mephliam/Tropicure (or any other derivatives) as anti-malarial treatment (prophylaxis) will not be permitted to dive, as it causes increased risks when diving. Please advise your doctor that you are going on a dive holiday, and request another suitable anti-malarial treatment.
  • Accredited divers must bring their dive cards (listing their last logged dive) with them to the project site as proof.
  • Dive accredited volunteers not requiring/wanting a dive course but who have not logged a dive within 6 months of their project will need to complete a Scuba Review before they can participate in their research dives. The cost of a Scuba Review is not included in the project cost, and a small fee will be paid locally for this directly to the Dive Centre we partner with.
  • The open water certificate qualifies volunteers to dive up to 18 meters, and some of our dive sites are between 20-30 meters deep. It is not essential to dive at these deeper sites, but should you wish to participate in deep diving (up to 30 meters) you will either need to complete a Deep Dive course at a small additional local cost, or there is also the option to complete an Advanced Water Course at an additional cost.
  • Ask for our fish-list if you would like a head start on coming to grips with all the different species that you will be seeing on your dives!

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Optional Extras

You can also add one of the following to your adventure of a lifetime prior to or upon arrival:

  • Kruger National Park 3-5 night camping safaris to experience a true African safari and see the Big 5!
  • Surfing or yoga lessons on the beach
  • Another Namibia or South Africa project that we offer
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Fill out the form below to arrange a free consultation with our OE Advisor to find out more and talk about what project might best suit your passion and budget

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