Our volunteers will contribute towards various conservation-related surveys aimed at providing data to the local government on coral reef research, invertebrate surveys, whale shark migration observations, in-water turtle surveys and turtle nesting research.
The aims and efforts of the expedition have been agreed upon in conjunction with the Seychelles Ministry of Environment, local government agencies and non-governmental organizations. Volunteers may be involved in coral reef monitoring and recovery research, whale shark migration observations, invertebrate fish surveys, sea turtle nesting surveys, plankton sampling research, the training of local partners and running marine awareness education programs and awareness campaigns. Volunteers should keep in mind that projects conducted are dependent on the season and the priorities always remain with our local working partners.
This expedition requires a full time commitment. Depending on your length of stay volunteers can expect to have a few free weekends to explore the surrounding islands and/or participate on fun dives.
You will be based on the stunning main island of Mahe in the Baie Ternay Marine Park. You'll be living in basic accommodation with other volunteers and will be responsible for helping out with chores on a rotational basis.
Volunteers are welcome to organize side trips for their free time or pre or post their project experience. All associated costs and travel expenses are not included in the project fee and need to be factored into the volunteer's own budget. Volunteers may have the opportunity to visit the islands of Praslin and La Digue. Praslin is home to the Vallee de Mai (a world heritage site) thought, by early explorers, to be the original “Garden of Eden.” La Digue is the picture perfect tropical island, small and intimate with quaint guest houses and arguably the most beautiful beach in the world – Anse Source d’Argent. Victoria is the capital city of the Seychelles, the smallest capital city in the world. Volunteers often visit to use internet cafes, do a little shopping, or visit the market to soak up the local atmosphere. Public transport is cheap and frequent and all parts of Mahe can be explored easily by catching a bus. Many volunteers spend happy times bouncing around the island roads on buses taking in the beautiful scenery whilst enjoying the company of locals going about their daily business.
With 115 islands in the Seychelles group stretching over 800 miles, the possibilities of exploring this tropical paradise are endless. The inner-islands, situated closer to Mahe are easily accessible by fast ferry. Praslin, La Digue, Silhouette, Felicity and Sister, to name a few, all have their own unique charms with hotels and guest houses within most people’s price range. The outer islands such as Desroche, Bird, Dennis, Farquar and the Amirantes group are harder to get to and can only be reached by small plane or charter yacht. Most have small exclusive resorts which can be extremely expensive, but the marine environment and bird life at these outposts of civilization have been barely marked by the hand of man, and as such are in a pristine condition rarely found anywhere in the world today.
Staff in the field will provide training on the skills required, but you may benefit from learning more about local history, culture and customs before you travel.
Volunteers complete an initial training phase where they learn to accurately identify locally targeted fish or coral species. Training will involve snorkel and dive point outs with field staff, as well as learning benthic coral and invertebrate.
All duration volunteers need to be at least PADI open water certified. 4 Week volunteers need to have their PADI Open Water Qualification (or equivalent) before their start date. They will do their PADI Advanced qualification in the field. Volunteers will be assigned either fish or coral and will be required to learn the relevant species before getting to the field.
All volunteers are encouraged to learn more about local history, culture and customs before travelling. All training will be taught in the field.
Volunteers need not have any specific skills just an enthusiasm and passion for contributing to the project and the local partner objectives. Volunteers need to be comfortable and confident swimmers and be physically fit and healthy. In most cases volunteers dive twice a day, 6 days a week, weather dependent.
Volunteers need to submit a criminal check not older than a year by the time of the project start date.
A change of environment, climate, food and lifestyle often results in minor, and occasionally more serious, illness. Please inform staff if you feel unwell at any time. The nearest medical facilities are located Victoria on Mahé Island. We have emergency procedures for all foreseeable events, the staff are first aid trained and you will receive a safety briefing on arrival.
Please note we cannot provide specific medical advice. Please consult your primary care provider (doctor, GP, etc.) or visit a travel clinic for further information leading up to your trip. Please be forthcoming about any health issues before you begin the project as failure to do so may have serious consequences for you, the staff and other participants, including your removal from the program.
We have a small safe on base for money and passports. The biggest risks result from weather related hazards.
Volunteers have the option of meeting the field team at La Louise Lodge near Victoria or in the car park behind the Pearl Noire restaurant in Beau Vallon at 7:30AM on the project start date.
If arriving early we recommend the following accommodation options:
Tel: (+248) 4247016
Beau Vallon Bungalows
Tel: (+248) 4247382
La Louise Lodge
La Louise (Nr. Victoria)
Tel: (+248) 4344349
Lemongrass Lodge, Beau Vallon
Tel: (+248) 2578025
At the end of the expedition volunteers will be transferred back to Mahé Island on the expedition end date. We will provide a transfer from the ferry if volunteers are heading to the airport or staying in Beau Vallon. If planning to stay elsewhere volunteers will be required to organize transport at their own cost.
Field staff advise that volunteers enter the country using a tourist visa stating reason for entering as ‘for Tourism’. For most nationalities this visa can be obtained upon arrival. We advise volunteers check with the immigration authorities/embassies of they countries they will be visiting. Volunteers need to ensure they have an onward plane ticket as they will not be allowed into the Seychelles without one. Upon entry, volunteers will either be given a one week or one month visa. Do not worry, our field staff will extend this visa to cover the duration of your trip to a maximum of three months. If on a 12 week expedition please ensure you do not exceed the three month limit by arriving too early or remaining in country following the program. Should you exceed the three month limit, Seychelles Immigration will require you to pay $400 for a visa extension.
This program is implemented by a trusted organization within the AFSNext partnership community and has our full endorsement. While not managed or operated by AFS, it maintains the same exceptional quality standards, which are set by a network of experienced international non-profits operating within the international education field.