MARINE SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
The Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies offers volunteers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to explore and observe this incredible setting with world-leading scientists and environmentalists. You will step off the island having engaged in scientific research with professional scientists, learning about precious marine ecosystems in the Indian Ocean and enriched your life and resume with valuable training. Dive into a world of marine conservation, quality outreach projects, permaculture and both scuba and free diving.
“As a volunteer, I got to experience how it was like on the inside – not as a tourist, but as an active member of the team. It was amazing to see the constant effort by and dedication of everyone to drive BCSS’ research forward, even when faced with countless obstacles. Conservation is a core tenet of the station, and it influences everything – from the way the station is built, to the activities they conduct, to the food they grow and eat.
In the name of scientific research and conversation, I scuba dived to retrieve and replace ocean sensors, caught fish for sampling and sushi, helped deliver water to the local clinic, prepared samples for DNA tests, coded a data tool, and more. Marine conservation requires hard work, patience, resourcefulness, and a multidisciplinary, systemic and globally collaborative approach – and I am grateful to have been part of the BCSS team who are pioneers in their field.
If you just want to have ‘fun’ dives every day, then BCSS isn’t for you. If you want to get stuck in, however, and meet some great people, learn new skills and make an impact as part of a well-oiled team that truly cares for our oceans, then BCSS could very well be one of the best places to be. Individually, we may create ripples, but together, we can turn tides.”
Shenji, previous volunteer.
The Bazaruto Archipelago National Park (BANP) is a 30-minute boat ride off the coast of southern Mozambique and is made up of five islands, including Benguerra, on which the Bazaruto Centre of Scientific Studies is located. Home to the last viable population of dugongs in the Western Indian Ocean, the BANP is also a breeding ground for migratory humpback whales, and a refuge for over 20 endangered wildlife species, six dolphin and five turtle species – plus plays host to 10 critical marine and terrestrial habitats. The archipelago is an unexplored sanctuary for wildlife and marine animals.
The research station has been carefully designed to blend with the surrounding environment, causing minimum impact. The station was hand-built using the island’s skilled residents, with local materials such as coconut wood, reed walls and roof thatching. Only a stone’s throw away from the shore, the building is simple but spacious and airy, containing a total of 8 rooms, some private and some with two individual beds. You will share the bathroom facilities with the other volunteers. There is hot and cold water for the showers, and you can drink the water from the sink. Laundry is provided every three days and your room is cleaned and tidied on a daily basis.
Our local team of chefs provide three meals a day; breakfast, lunch and dinner. They use nutritional ingredients and plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit. The dishes are usually a mixture of local food (fresh fish, salads, beans, rice, curries) and Western classics like curries, pizza and pancakes.
At the station, there is limited WiFi and we ask you kindly not to use it to stream or download videos or other heavy files, plus to avoid videocalls. If you are staying longer than 2 weeks, we would recommend buying a local Vodacom sim card upon arrival and loading some credit.
Mozambique has a tropical climate and is warm year-round, with temperatures averaging between 25 and 32 degrees Celsius during the day. There are two seasons; dry and rainy season. Dry season, running from May to November, is the best time of the year to visit because these months are cooler and it isn’t as hot as rainy season usually is. The field station is situated in a location where there is usually a light breeze.
PROJECT IMPACT AREAS
ECOSYSTEM MONITORING AND FUNCTION
Monitoring the ocean over time and space (time-series monitoring) helps scientists better understand intricate workings of marine ecosystems. In this theme, you will help detect and predict climate-driven changes on the biological, chemical, and physical conditions of the ocean and how these changes influence the function of the ecosystem.
SPECIES IDENTIFICATION AND HABITAT MAPPING
The conservation of critical habitats for marine life depends on identification of how different species use pelagic and benthic ecosystems. In this theme, you will help conduct open ocean, coastal, seabed and underwater surveys to study marine life hotspots and learn how organisms interact with the environment over time and space.
MIGRATORY FISH POPULATION DYNAMICS
The understanding of migratory patterns of marine life and their hotspots around Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and National Parks (NPs) is critical for conservation efforts. In this theme, you will help locate and tag pelagic animals (conventional, acoustic, satellite). Bio-samples will be collected for isotope and DNA extraction.
Take part in land-based projects and leave behind a lasting positive impact on the environment and the Benguerra Island community. In this theme, you will be involved with marine debris monitoring, recycling, permaculture and collaborations with the local community (e.g. environmental awareness initiatives).
Learn how to breathe underwater and discover another world. Our 5-star PADI dive centre is part of the BCSS research station, given that so much fieldwork is executed underwater. Whether you are a beginner or more experienced, our instructor will make you feel comfortable and confident underwater, as you gain comprehensive experience about scuba diving in the BANP.
Whether you would like to try free diving for the first time or already have some skills, our experienced instructor will introduce you to this exciting sport step by step. By the end of the course, you will have solid breathing techniques under your belt, as well as a certificate and lots of experience and confidence.
If you can’t get enough of free diving, scuba diving or simply snorkeling the pristine waters of the BANP, you might want to book a separate activity or two. The Bazaruto Archipelago has a lot to offer, from free diving with humpback whales and snorkeling with dugongs, to dhow sailing or island horse riding.
Once you have submitted your application, a Destination Specialist will be in-touch to discuss the project with you.