Marine Conservation Volunteer Programs in Africa

If you’re looking for an ocean adventure with a purposeful twist, have a browse through our marine conservation volunteer projects! Pretty soon, you might find yourself swimming with dolphins, mapping out colorful reefs, or studying great white sharks. All in the name of conservation, as you’ll be part of important research and conservation programs. These marine conservation volunteering opportunities will take you to some phenomenal destinations, too; the rugged coast near Cape Town, sandy beaches in Zanzibar, or a tropical island off the coast of Mozambique. Whichever option you go with, becoming a marine conservation volunteer in Africa will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Highlights of our marine conservation volunteer projects in Africa:

  • Encounter marine wildlife on a daily basis, like (depending on where you go) dolphins, whales, sharks, sea turtles, and rays
  • Contribute to innovative marine research and conservation programs focused to preserve the biodiversity of the Indian Ocean
  • Enjoy living in dream-like settings in Mozambique, Zanzibar, or South Africa
  • Work alongside and learn from expert marine biologists and conservationists
  • Be part of a passionate team African Impact volunteers from around the world

Marine Conservation Volunteer Projects Gallery

Play Video about dolphin-research-marine-conservation-volunteer-zanzibar

African Impact's Top Rated Marine Conservation Projects in Africa

Participate in our dolphin and marine conservation initiatives while you discover the tropical paradise of Zanzibar! As a volunteer, you will contribute to the sustainability of dolphin tourism by monitoring human-dolphin interactions and promoting ethical dolphin tours to ensure these intelligent creatures are not stressed or harmed during encounters with people and boats.


Every second Monday

Impact: Marine Conservation

from £2,199£5,999
Scuba dive in Mozambique and get hands-on experience in world-class field research on a marine volunteer project designed and created by leading whale shark and manta ray scientists. With one of the highest populations of whale sharks in the world, year-round sightings of manta rays and home to other species such as whales, sharks and turtles, this project aims to conduct research to find out vital information about these threatened species and directly contribute towards the conservation efforts taking place in the area.

Tofo, Mozambique

Any date

Impact: Marine Conservation

Volunteer in one of the most beautiful coastal locations in Africa, getting involved in industry-leading, globally-recognised whale research. As a volunteer, you’ll explore this underwater paradise, learn about marine conservation, and work on real solutions. 

Tofo, Mozambique

June - September

Impact: Marine Conservation

Frequently asked questions about our Marine Conservation Projects in Africa

Oceans and Climate Change

Right now, our oceans are under massive threat. From climate change to unsustainable fishing practices, harmful human actions are creating devastating effects on marine wildlife.

Oceans absorb over 30% of CO2 produced by humans and supply half the oxygen we breathe each day. However, increased atmospheric CO2 has been causing oceans to acidify, warm to unprecedented temperatures, and ultimately, lose oxygen.

A study conducted by the UN expects an estimated 100-150% rise in ocean acidity by 2100, affecting all life underwater if we do not take proper marine conservation actions. These worsening ocean conditions are devastating to all marine wildlife – from sea turtles to coral reefs – and ultimately threaten their future. Marine conservation is essential to protect sea life from disastrous outcomes.

Supporting Local Economies

But it’s not just marine life that relies on oceans for survival. Over 3 billion people worldwide depend on healthy marine ecosystems to live year-round. Many of these people live in Africa, where, as of 2015, 31% of the total population lived in low elevation coastal areas.

Local communities rely on healthy oceans for their livelihoods and job security. Industries like marine eco-tourism provide locals jobs in these communities but depend on healthy marine environments to be successful.

Preserving Oceans for Future Generations

Future generations’ ability to enjoy the stunning marine environments we know today relies heavily on the actions we take now. Marine conservation volunteer programs are an incredible way to get involved in preserving our ocean’s health and protecting the beautiful sea life that call it home. With scuba diving volunteer opportunities, ocean cleanups, coral reef conservation and more, the work you do as a marine conservation volunteer abroad will produce long-term impacts on the future of ocean ecosystems.

Are you interested in diving into marine conservation volunteering? Here are a few ways you can volunteer in marine conservation efforts on one of our volunteer abroad programs!

Research Dives

Ocean conservation volunteers can get involved in conservation projects by participating in exhilarating research dives! On each scuba dive, volunteers record important information that helps monitor marine life populations, marine species’ biodiversity, and coral reefs’ health.

Ocean and Beach Cleanups

To do our part in combating ocean pollution, many of our marine conservation programs provide volunteer opportunities to get involved in local beach cleanups! As a marine conservation volunteer, this is a rewarding opportunity to collaborate with your placement’s local community to combat ocean pollution.

Marine Wildlife Monitoring

Cage dive with Great White Sharks on our Great White Conservation Project in South Africa. Swim alongside playful dolphins on our Dolphin Research and Marine Conservation Program in Zanzibar. Scuba dive with peaceful sea turtles along beautiful coral reefs on our Marine Research and Conservation Program in Mozambique. Among many other marine volunteering programs at African Impact, these projects are exciting opportunities to become directly involved in marine conservation campaigns that seek to protect the wildlife that calls our oceans home.

Community Education and Engagement

Community education and engagement are critical to sustainable marine conservation efforts. Most of our marine conservation programs have volunteer opportunities to take part in conservation efforts with members of local communities. From teaching the importance of marine conservation in schools to attending community conservation events, collaborating with locals is an invaluable volunteer experience.

Who are marine conservationists?

Marine conservationists are the incredible scientists who work directly in the field of, you guessed it, marine conservation! Their work is instrumental for achieving global and regional aquatic preservation goals from initiatives that focus on sea turtle conservation to coral reef protection.

What are the goals of marine conservationists?

In alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life Below Water, marine conservationists’ work focuses on promoting sustainable use of our oceans. Using our oceans in a sustainable and ecologically conscious way means life underwater can thrive, benefitting both marine species and our global human population.

What work do marine conservationists do?

Generally, marine conservationists’ work focuses on the following goals:

  • Reducing marine pollution
  • Protecting and monitoring the health of ecosystems
  • Advocating for sustainable management of open water areas

Within these broad goals, work is varied. It can consist of scuba diving to monitor coral reef conservation, working with a marine non-profit organization, or more regionally specific tasks, like participating in sea turtle conservation in South Africa. Marine conservation is a diverse field filled with many unique work opportunities!

How can I join a marine conservationist?

Typically, marine conservationists have a degree in marine biology, oceanography or a relevant field. However, you do not need a degree in marine conservation to work with marine conservationists! Many volunteer programs, like our marine conservation volunteer abroad programs at African Impact, don’t require formal education in this field. Conservation volunteering is an incredible way to get involved in this exciting career!

How can I volunteer in marine conservation?

When volunteers join us for a marine conservation volunteering adventure, we take them through an intensive training program on-site. Here, participants learn about their project placement and prepare for the responsibilities they’ll have as a conservation volunteer. During marine conservation projects, volunteers work directly with teams made up of marine conservationists and researchers. Here, as an ocean conservation volunteer, you can contribute and collaborate with trained professionals on conservation projects and community initiatives.

From the United States to New Zealand, many universities across the world offer programs in marine conservation. However, if you are interested in learning about marine conservation outside of an academic setting, joining a volunteer conservation project is one of the best ways to gain valuable experience in this exciting field!

What will volunteers learn through marine conservation programs?

Our marine conservation volunteer programs create the following opportunities for experiential learning:

  • On research dives during your conservation program, you can learn first hand the importance of marine biodiversity on preserving a healthy marine ecosystem.
  • During your time as a conservation volunteer abroad, you’ll have opportunities to attend talks by marine researchers on marine biology, pathology and sustainability.
  • Through collaboration with locals on your conservation project, you’ll learn about the effects of climate change on local coastal communities and how marine conservation can support their livelihoods year-round.
  • As a marine conservation volunteer, you’ll work with some of Africa’s most iconic sea creatures, learning how to conduct vital research on their health, behaviours and migration patterns.
All African Impact Marine Conservation Volunteer Projects
Volunteer Reviews of our Marine Conservation Volunteer Projects
“Dolphin Conservation Zanzibar is an amazing project in an unforgettable landscape. You will enjoy marine animals and coral reefs and you will feel you make a difference. After this experience, you won’t be a tourist anymore, you will be a person caring about your environment. And you will learn the importance of smiling every moment and make the best of the moment.”

Ana Martinez Fernandez, Spain

Dolphin Research & Marine Conservation

“An amazing experience where we were immersed in the culture, felt as though we were making a real difference and made really good friends with other volunteers. The staff were very welcoming and friendly and made sure everything ran smoothly.”

Lillian M - Australia

Dolphin Research & Marine Conservation

“I was blown away by the diversity of marine life in Tofo and really enjoyed the amount of time out on the water – especially the diving. I got to complete my advanced open water diving certification too! I learned so much and would definitely recommend it.”

Georgina Whittome

Marine Research & Conservation - Mozambique

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