Travel to the crystal–clear waters of the Seychelles in the warm Indian Ocean and contribute towards various conservation-related surveys aimed at providing data to the local government on coral reef, fish, and invertebrates, while assisting with the development of an environmental education and awareness program.
Mahe Island is the largest island of the Seychelles Archipelago in the Indian Ocean. This colourful and vibrant island nation, famed for its tropical marine life and iconic granite rock formations is synonymous with luxury beach getaways. The locals are a blend of race, culture, and religions with a history steeped in African, European, and Asian descent. Their vibrant culture can be seen throughout the art, cuisine, music, dance, and architecture of the local island life. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful locations in the world and offers the perfect backdrop for those looking to actively help preserve its critical marine ecosystems. Whether it’s part of a gap year program or a shorter stay, this is a once in a lifetime experience.
During your placement, you will be living in Baie Ternay Marine National Park, a 3-minute walk from the beach. The building was originally a school that has been transformed into an eco-friendly research base with classrooms for presentations, a recreation room to relax after a day of diving, giant hammocks for more relaxation, and a large grassy area with benches for eating or studying. You will stay in dormitory-style accommodation with shared bathrooms and will share cooking and cleaning duties.
Meals are prepared by volunteers on a rotational basis. Food is basic but nutritious, and primarily vegetarian with optional fish or meat available once or twice a week. Thursday night is barbeque night. Breakfast could be porridge with fresh fruit, or occasionally pancakes or cereal, and lunch and evening meals may include pasta, beans, rice, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, etc. The weekends are yours to explore and there are plenty of eateries in the towns on the main island of Mahe, as well as on the popular islands of Praslin and La Digue.
Local SIM cards and pay-as-you-go credit can be bought in Seychelles and the signal is good in most areas. There is no WiFi at the base, but communications are available for emergencies. Most volunteers take the short trip into town to use an internet café at the weekends.
The Seychelles’ climate is generally warm without hot or cold extremes. The temperature rarely drops below 24°C or rises above 32°C. There are two main seasons - The Southeast Monsoon season from around May to August is cooler with a steady breeze and little rain, while the Northwest Monsoon between the end of November and March is typically windy with sometimes heavy rain, especially in December and January. Between the monsoon seasons around April and October, the weather is usually very calm, hot, and dry.
PROJECT IMPACT AREAS
CORAL AND FISH SURVEYS
Shortly before your start date, you will be assigned either fish or coral to study and focus on during your time in Seychelles. Your knowledge and identification skills will be put to the test during your first few days and you’ll complete your PADI Advanced Open Water certification to build your confidence in the water, enabling you to collect accurate data while out on dives. Data on abundance and biodiversity will be collected to assess the overall recovery of fish life on the reef. To better understand the health and diversity of the reef, coral reed cover is monitored in the first half of the year and coral recruits (juveniles) in the latter half of the year. Everyone will also conduct a separate monitoring technique of Coral Watch, a worldwide coral monitoring methodology, which looks into the levels of bleaching that is occurring on corals.
COMMERCIAL MARINE SPECIES SURVEYS
Unsustainable fishing is also a threat to the health of the Seychellois marine life. You will provide support to the Seychelles Fishing Authority by monitoring the abundance of commonly harvested species like octopus, lobster, and sea cucumber while out on dives.
MARINE MEGAFAUNA SIGHTINGS
Incidental sightings of marine megafauna like tiger sharks and manta rays, occur frequently during dives, and this information is noted and passed on to the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Seamap, an online database designed to keep track of various larger marine species around the world.
OCEAN CLEAN-UPS AND ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION
All volunteers get involved with monthly dives to clean up the reef. The data goes to Project AWARE who are monitoring the levels of trash that are being found at dive sites around the world. You will also be involved in environmental education initiatives within the local community, with the intention to raise awareness about the vulnerability of marine ecosystems and share how small actions can make a big difference.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Seychelles Marine Conservation Volunteer
What does a marine conservation volunteer project in Seychelles entail?
Get ready for the marine adventure of a lifetime. As a marine conservation volunteer in Seychelles, your experience will be abounding with rich cultural immersion, explorations through the deep blue sea, sustainable conservation work, and bucket-list-worthy adventures. You'll spend your days conducting critical research on the health of marine ecosystems off the coast of Seychelles and in the warm Indian Ocean. Before you begin your exciting scuba diving research projects, we'll provide opportunities to gain your PADI open water certification with us and practice developing your sea legs, ensuring you're ready for the epic adventure ahead. Exploring vibrant coral reefs, diving to identify fish and coral, and collecting data on the health, behaviour, and populations of local marine species, time volunteering will be as impactful as it is exciting.
When to volunteer in Seychelles
While anytime year-round is a perfect opportunity to jump into a marine adventure in Seychelles, seasonally, the best times to visit are either April-May or October-November. These months transition between the two monsoon seasons that Seychelles experiences, making for a hot, warm, and enjoyable climate. However, you'll still have an incredible tropical adventure if you travel for a marine conservation project outside of these months.
How to volunteer for marine conservation in Seychelles
If you're eager to begin your Seychelles marine conservation expedition, scroll to the bottom of the page to choose your dates and apply. One of our volunteer destination specialists will be in touch with you to get you all set up for your epic volunteer experience. Get ready for the Seychelles volunteering adventure of a lifetime!
Relax and explore around base. Over weekends you can catch up on some well-earned sleep, relax on the beach just a short walk from your accommodation or head out on a hike up Cap Matoopa which has spectacular views of Cap Ternay bay.
The most popular tourist area on the main island of Mahe, Beau Vallon offers a massive stretch of beach with hotels, guest houses, souvenir shops, and restaurants that offer something for everyone. The area also hosts a night market most weeks.
With 115 islands in the Seychelles, the possibilities of exploring this tropical paradise are endless. The inner islands situated closer to Mahe are easily accessible by ferry. Praslin, La Digue, Silhouette and Felicity, all have their own unique charms with hotels and guest houses available if you want to stay the night. Praslin Island is easily accessible for a day visit, where you can explore the Vallee de Mai world heritage site and spend time at the best beach on the island: Anze Lazio.
Once you have submitted your application, a Destination Specialist will be in-touch to discuss the project with you.