Assist our research team with Whale Shark conservation, and assist with our community based social projects in the same experience!
The Marine Conservation side to this combo involves gathering field data on Whale Sharks, coral reefs and other marine biodiversity to make recommendations for improving the conservation of marine life as well as creating general awareness about the marine environment. The project is run by All Out Africa and involves collaboration with Peri Peri Divers and Zavora Marine lab , both based in Mozambique as well as the Ecocean Global Whale Shark database and a number of international marine research bodies.
Whale Sharks are the oceans biggest fish and although they are sharks, are harmless to people since they feed on plankton. Whale Sharks are a threatened species and are relatively easy to monitor owing to their size (up to 20m long) and swimming next to them is an awe inspiring experience! They are also good indicators of oceanproductivity and can play a flagship role for the conservation of other marine creatures. Very little is known about the population dynamics and threats to Whale Sharks and with the increase of boat and fishing activities their feeding and migratory activities may become influenced and they are vulnerable to death or injury through boat strikes.
As this is a combination package you will also get the opportunity to work with the children of Mozambique.
Volunteer to help care for orphaned and vulnerable children in Mozambique. Emerging from being one of the world’s poorest countries after decades of civil war, Mozambique’s children face many challenges, including lack of proper care and limited educational opportunities. Those that have lost their parents also struggle for adequate food and shelter, and crave the love and attention that a healthy child needs. With high unemployment and limited state welfare, many of these children’s needs cannot be met without external support, therefore volunteer involvement is crucial.
Volunteers on this project and you will be able to assist these vulnerable children. You will have the opportunity to work at a local orphanage, crèche and primary school in Inhambane and Tofo, where you may help with basic care and education, organizing games and activities, arranging food, assessing needs, developing life skills and more. Depending on the project needs at the time and our skills and interests, you may work at either one of these placements or a combination of a few.
The highlights of this incredible experience include:
Marine Conservation The whale shark component of the Marine Conservation Project involves joining boat launches under the guidance of our co-ordinating project scientists on ocean safaris to snorkel with Whale Sharks in the open ocean. It involves taking underwater photographs for identifying the Whale Sharks as well as recording other ecological information. As a summary, you will collect the following information on the Whale Sharks:
In order to carry out these activities 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 but is not required.
The coral reef monitoring involves joining boat launches under the guidance of our co-ordinating project scientists on scuba dives and carrying our underwater data collection on indicator species of coral fish and the condition and cover of coral on the reefs. As a summary, on these research dives you may carry out the following activities:
In order to carry out these activities you will need to be able or willing to learn to scuba dive. A four day internationally recognized PADI open water diving course is provided as part of this project to train you to be able to carry out this coral reef monitoring. If you already have this qualification you may do an advanced open water diving course instead or an equivalent number of extra research dives.
During June-October you may help monitor the numbers of humpbacked whales on their seasonal migration up and down the coast. This involves san dune based observations using binoculars and boat based observations recording the numbers of whales, behaviours and the makeup of the pods. This work will help provide recommendations for the improved conservation of these important ocean giants.
You may help survey for turtle mortality on beaches in the areas around Tofo. Historically, loggerhead turtles have nested here in significant numbers and although these as well as green turtles, leatherback turtles and hawksbill turtles are sighted in-water, their nesting has declined dramatically owing to poaching.
A number of more general environmental awareness and cleanup activities will be also carried out during the project. The information collected during the field work is collated into a computer database both on-site and at the head office and some ofthe data is uploaded onto an international on- line database.
Education & Orphan Care The orphanage is in Inhambane, a 45-minute trip on public transport from the volunteer base in Tofo. It accommodates approximately 150 children ranging from 0-13 in age. The children at this centre have either no parents, are abandoned or are vulnerable. With no suitable family structure and unable to afford to attend school, the children’s hopes for a bright future lie in the support of this facility.
Meanwhile a short distance out of Tofo, a small kindergarten caters to around 40 local pre-school aged children, offering them vital education and care, and giving them a chance to successfully enter the school system in the future.
Also outside of Tofo is a community primary school, located a 1-hour walk away and just inland of the main stretch of Tofo beach. Pupils here participate in extra-curricular English classes in the afternoons and also a swimming program on holidays and weekends. These lessons provide skills which may open doors to employment in the future as tourism in the area increases.
You may also help to teach swimming with our swimming school which has now been integrated into the curriculum at 4 local schools and orphanages. The swimming school is run by our Education Director who is also a fully qualified swim instructor.