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Tanzania Beach Conservation

  • In Brief
  • The Project
  • What to Expect
  • Gallery
  • Extras
  • Dates & Costs
  • Apply
Tanzania Beach Conservation Tanzania Beach Conservation
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Frontier Group Project

Working in collaboration with institutions and NGOs with the country, projects are research-based, creating sustainable and biodiverse programmes.

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Your Tanzania adventure begins with a thrilling journey high above the turquoise Indian Ocean as you fly to Mafia Island - the most beautiful of Tanzania's spice islands, where tranquil white sand beaches, friendly villagers and world class snorkelling and scuba diving sites combine to make this a true tropical paradise.

Snorkel off the island's dazzling white sand beaches, swim among the clouds of tropical fish in every colour of the rainbow and wander along the empty shores. Let Mafia's vibrant culture and friendly communities warmly welcome you.  

You will be joining an ongoing conservation and community development project, which means that you could be helping to assess the health of the reef while you snorkel or helping local people to learn English to improve their employment prospects in the Marine Park. Plus there will be plenty of time to relax under a palm tree and gaze at the sun drenched ocean or laze in your hammock and enjoy the breeze.

Tanzania's coast is home to some of the most spectacular beaches in the world. The crystal clear waters host a wealth of marine habitats and wildlife, making this a perfect location to swim and snorkel and explore a pristine, magical underwater world.

The vivid, multi hued coral reefs support a dazzling array of tropical reef fish and provide rich feeding grounds for turtles, rays and other marine creatures, whilst the deep blue offshore waters support sharks, dolphins and whale sharks as well as vast shoals of cruising pelagics.

Swim and snorkel to explore this pristine seascape and you'll discover extensive areas of undamaged coral and healthy populations of multicoloured fish and see turtles and marine mammals and you may have the chance to learn to recognise a huge diversity of inter tidal animals from tiny hermit crabs to pastel hued anemones.

On shore apart from relaxing on the island's perfect, undeveloped beaches, you may have the chance to work in the lush mangrove forests, unique ecosystems which straddle water and land. Or you could learn about the activities of the traditional fishermen, as well as discovering and reporting which marine organisms are being sustainably harvested and which are being dangerously depleted.

The activities you'll carry out will be rewarding and exciting and hugely beneficial to Mafia Island Marine Park's conservation efforts, as well as being amazing fun! At the end of the day you will gain immense satisfaction from knowing that you have helped in the effort to save this precious marine wilderness, protecting it for future generations.

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PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

  • Help to monitor & conserve coastal sea shore environments and rare Indian Ocean marine wildlife
  • Swim and snorkel from camp near the beach to explore the crystal clear Indian Ocean
  • Make lifelong friends as you enjoy working on this exotic tropical island and discover this spectacular marine wilderness
Airport Pickup Camping Beach Community Emergency Meals Research Qualification Wildlife Marine Coastal Snorkelling Encounter Free Time Beach
FAST FACTS
Location Mafia Island, Tanzania
Activities Swim and snorkel off the beach to locate and monitor near shore environments
Environmental education days in the local schools and community groups 
Teach conversational English to the local community
Swim and snorkel to observe the various coral reef communities & commercial fish
Discover beach and littoral zone organisms
Observe the feeding habits & behaviour of a range of marine life
Discover the effects of global warming on marine communities
Transport Airport pick-up from Dar es Salaam can be arranged at extra cost and first night hostel accommodation in Dar es Salaam can be arranged at extra cost (£40/$60) (optional)
Airport pick-up from Mafia Island airport
Transfer to camp from Mafia Island Airport
Accommodation  Communal camp near to the beach

WHAT'S INCLUDED

 

Before you go

Pre-departure support & documentation
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Equipment advice
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt
UK residential briefing weekend including food, accommodation and training (extra cost applies)

In-country

Camp accommodation near the beach
3 meals per day provided on project site, 6 days per week. 2 meals provided on Sunday
Airport pick up in Dar es Salaam airport (extra cost US$22/$20)

First night hostel accommodation in Dar es Salaam (extra cost US$22/$20)

Transfer to the airport for connectring flight to the island (extra cost US$22/$20)

Airport pickup from Mafia Island Airport and transfer to camp  (extra cost US$7/$6)
Local orientation
Project training
Dive training courses available (extra cost applies) 
24-hour international HQ back-up
In-country emergency support
Free park & reserve entrance fees (usually $20 per day) & research permits if applicable
CoPE qualification available 
 

 

WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?

Mafia Island Marine Park

Mafia Island is about as close as you can get to the quintessential Indian Ocean tropical paradise. The tiny island of about 40,000 is a friendly, laid-back place that has long been praised as a diver's paradise.

Mafia's luxuriant mangroves, luminous seagrass beds and dazzling coral reefs play host to a multitude of tropical reef fish, thorny and spotted seahorses and four species of graceful and gentle sea turtles. Offshore there are dolphins and the deeper waters are a regular stop off point for migrating humpback whales and giant whale sharks (seasonal). You can experience this magical seashore environment when you join the Frontier beach camp on Mafia Island and swim and snorkel from the beach out to the crystal clear waters of Tanzania's exclusive Marine Park.

Conserving the coral reefs

Threats to the coastal environment on and around Mafia Island are on the up as unregulated tourism is on the increase and the local population is growing. Increasing competition for food means that artisanal fishing techniques such as seine netting are becoming inadequate and inefficient, encouraging the use of less discriminate catch practices such as dynamite fishing. Other threats include the over harvesting of octopus and sea cucumbers and the over collecting of shells and corals for the expanding marine curio trade.

By taking part in this project you have the chance to help us with our ongoing assessment of the marine environment, which helps to ensure that the Marine Park is properly safeguarded.  

Swim with Dolphins, Rays & Turtles

Your beach conservation adventure will involve you in observing the incredible biodiversity of the coastal area, seashore zone and shallow marine habitats. While swimming you will see spectacular coral reefs and dazzling reef fish and you may also observe marine mammals and turtles.

Discover Swahili Culture as you work with local communities

Tanzania is a poor country and people survive mainly by subsistence farming and fishing. We are working to help local communities on Mafia Island by providing environmental education and by teaching English, which improves their employment prospects. Through getting involved with community activities, sucha as environmental awareness in local schools, you can experience the culture and lifestyle of the local people. You might be required to help teach English in the local community and in the process learn some Swahili from the villagers. As you watch the local fishermen sail out on their traditional dhows you will discover how the local community live sustainably and in harmony with the natural world. 

WHAT WILL I BE DOING?

Our marine research and conservation programme is run in association with the Mafia Island Marine Park. The project aims to provide local stakeholders and government bodies with the information they need to design and implement management plans for the future protection of the fabulous Marine Park on Mafia Island. You will have the chance to see some of the reefs from the project boat and to observe the various wildlife communities that live on them. You might also get the chance to explore and record the living organisms that inhabit the luxuriant mangrove forests, dense seagrass beds and productive intertidal areas. Please be aware that there will be a limit to the amount of research you can get involved in when only snorkelling.

Whilst swimming and shore snorkelling you'll see an extraordinary array of animals from turtles to rays, sea cucumbers to feathery starfish, and spiny urchins to octopus. Your work may even allow you to observe dolphins or gigantic whale sharks depending on the time of year you join the project.

You will also have the chance to get involved in our community work, perhaps by helping with environmental education days or by helping to teach English to villagers. By the end of your stay you should be able to identify a number of coloured and patterned reef fish and you will have made strong friendships with the local villagers, especially the children. The work is intense and challenging and you'll get immense satisfaction from having been through your camp experience and from having made a valuable contribution to the conservation of this untarnished marine wilderness. You will return home with the new friends you've made and a wealth of experience, incredible photos, videos and memories.

You'll find your team to be a fun, dynamic mix of ages and experiences with members who all share a passion for travelling in developing countries and saving endangered wildlife. Your staff will be young, friendly individuals who are highly experienced in their field many of whom may also have volunteered on a Frontier project earlier in their career.

For further information about Frontier marine conservation work please refer to the publications section of this website.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I ARRIVE?

We can arrange an airport pick up for you at Dar es Salaam Airport and a local private driver will escort you to a local hostel where you can spend your first night relaxing and recovering from your journey. These costs are extra and you can pay the local driver directly (US$68/$60). The next day you will take an internal flight on an eight seater light aircraft to Mafia Island. Please ensure you book your flight well in advance. Once on the Island you will be met by a member of Frontier staff at Mafia Airport and transferred to camp.

If you are travelling independently and are making your own internal arrangements we will provide you with detailed instructions on how to reach the Mafia Island camp.

It is possible to reach Mafia by ferry but sailing times can be very unpredictable; the journey might be rough and it can be tricky with no knowledge of Swahili. If you choose to travel by road and ferry you need to transfer to the port town of Nyamasati, 90 km south of Dar from where you can catch the ferry, approximately a 6-hour trip  to the town of Kilindoni on the western side of Mafia Island. Once on the island you will be met by a member of the Frontier marine field staff, either at the small harbour town of Kilondoni or at the airport on Mafia and transferred by boat or vehicle to the project camp site.

WHERE WILL I BE STAYING?

Check out our Camp Tour video! 

During the project you'll live on our communal camp at Utende on the east coast of Mafia Island, where you will have a sustainable, authentic and memorable living experience. The Frontier marine camp was constructed by local craftsmen using traditional building techniques and local building supplies.

Camp life is very simple, unsophisticated and fun. You will be staying in communal bandas, huts made from makuti (woven palm leaves), poles and mud and sleeping on beds constructed from wooden poles, your "shower" will be a jug or a bucket of water and you'll cook over a charcoal stove, so prepare for the basic, unencumbered lifestyle!

As well as supporting the marine and coastal zone conservation work you will help with scientific data entry and daily camp maintenance, taking turns to cook, tidy and clean the camp, collect firewood, prime hurricane lamps, collect and treat water and help with a wide variety of other essential camp duties.

WHAT WILL I BE EATING?

Camp food is simple and nutritious and consists largely of rice, beans and vegetables, all of which are purchased locally in order to help support the local economy. Fruit is sometimes available depending on the season. Luxuries such as chocolate, biscuits, peanut butter and drinking chocolate can be purchased in Kilindoni but are expensive as they are imported from Dar es Salaam, so make sure you stock up before heading to the field! Part of your role on camp will be to help with the cooking, so get your cookbooks out now and start practising! Also, with luck you'll be invited to local feasts and festivals – a great way to integrate with the local communities in the nearby villages and absorb the local culture.

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ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

The Frontier-Tanzania camp is fun and in your spare time you'll have opportunities to swim and snorkel, play football against the unbeatable local side or try out beach volleyball. Alternatively you may enjoy a traditional Saturday night themed camp party, play poker, chess or backgammon or join in a camp quiz night. After a long hard day of snorkelling you may prefer to relax with a drink and sway in the camp hammock or sit and chat to your new friends under a sky lit up by millions of stars.

Tanzania offers a massive range of adventure and cultural activities for you to enjoy after your Frontier project. Visit game reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and forest reserves. Experience a traditional African safari and game drive, visit the exotic island of Zanzibar, climb Kilimanjaro, snorkel or learn to scuba dive by taking a PADI dive course. We encourage you to book these extra activities direct with local providers thereby making more of a contribution to the local economy. Frontier can offer you dive training at an additional cost.

DIVING RATES

  • Single Day Snorkelling US$17
  • Single Day Dive US$42
  • Double Dive US$85
  • 4-dive package US$170
  • 10-dive package US$340

COURSES*

  • Discover Scuba Diving US$68
  • Open Water Dive Course US$782
  • Advanced Open Water US$620
  • Medic First Aid US$221
  • Rescue Diver US$595
  • Dive Master US$1,275

*Medical certificate is mandatory for participation in dive courses

RENTAL EQUIPMENT (Prices per day)

  • Jacket/BCD US$8
  • Regs US$8
  • Wetsuit US$8
  • Mask/Snorkel US$5
  • Fins US$5

Modern conveniences

Mafia Island

  • Boat rental
  • Fishing
  • Hostels / hotels
  • Internet available at local bars
  • Post office
  • Souvenir shops
  • Traditional markets
  • Western style restaurants

Kilindoni - 20-30 minute Tuk Tuk ride away at own cost

  • Grocery Stores
  • Medical clinic
  • Phone shops
  • Traditional markets

Dar es Salaam - 45 minute flight at own cost

  • 24 hour supermarkets
  • Banks / ATMs: National Microfinance Bank, Standard Chartered, Barclays, National Bank of Commerce, Stanbic
  • Bars / clubs
  • Bureau de Change
  • Cinema
  • Dentist/li>
  • Department store
  • Hairdresser
  • Hospital
  • Hostels / hotels
  • International Embassies and Consulates
  • Internet cafes
  • Local style restaurants
  • Mobile phone shops
  • Pay phones
  • Pharmacy
  • Traditional markets
  • Western style restaurants
  • Western Union

COSTS

1 week US$ 1,045

2 weeks US$ 1,195

3 weeks US$ 1,395

4 weeks US$ 1,545

5 weeks US$ 1,795

6 weeks US$ 2,045

7 weeks US$ 2,295

8 weeks US$ 2,545

10 weeks US$ 2,895

20 weeks US$ 4,595

Extra week US$ 295

Christmas Week US$ 295

PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water training US$1,402 PADI Advanced Open Water training US$620 (at least PADI Advanced Open Water training necessary for marine surveying)

DEPARTURE DATES

First and third Monday of every month.

Alternative dates available on request.

DURATION

From 1 week  

CHRISTMAS OFFER

This project is available for the special price of US$255 per week over the Christmas period.  Placements starting on the 24th or 31st of December 2018 are eligible for this price, subject to availability.  Please apply using the orange button below and then tell your volunteer advisor that you wish to take part over Chsritmas.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Before you go

  • Pre-departure support & documentation
  • Travel & medical advice & documentation
  • Equipment advice
  • Discounted medical kit
  • Free Frontier t-shirt
  • UK residential briefing weekend including food, accommodation and training (extra cost applies)

In-country

  • Camp accommodation near the beach 
  • 3 meals per day provided on project site, 6 days per week. 2 meals provided on Sunday
  • Airport pick up in Dar es Salaam airport (extra cost US$22/$20)
  • First night hostel accommodation in Dar es Salaam (extra cost US$22/$20)
  • Transfer to the airport for connecting flight to the island (extra cost US$22/$20)
  • Airport pickup from Mafia Island Airport and transfer to camp  (extra cost US$7/$6)
  • Local orientation
  • Project training
  • 24-hour in-country & international HQ emergency support & back-up
  • Free park & reserve entrance fees (usually $20 per day) & research permits if applicable
  • CoPE qualification available 
  • Lodge upgrades available
  • Dive training courses run monthly starting on the first Monday of the month. Dive training to PADI Open Water or PADI Advanced Open Water (depending on the duration of your stay) price includes PIC cards, PADI membership and use of Frontier project equipment and diving equipment, including tanks, regs, BCDs, weights, compressor etc
  • Discounted further dive courses: PADI Emergency First Response (US$221), PADI Rescue Diver (US$595), and PADI Divemaster (US$1,275) qualifications

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Nearest airport(s): Mafia Island (MFA)

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

Flights

Flights are not included in our project costs. However, Frontier have partnered with an experienced and professional team of travel experts to help our volunteers find the best flight deals for their trips with Frontier. This travel specialist operates in the tailor-made, long haul multi-stop travel market, arranging complex airfares and transfers for independent travellers. They provide expertise, security and a vast product range along with a Travel Butler service which is a single point of contact and support whilst you are overseas.

We recommend that you obtain a quote using the following contact details rather than book online, as our partner will offer you the most competitive fares. To receive your quote or to seek any advice for your flights, please contact Frontier’s dedicated team of travel experts on 0800 082 9994 (or +44 800 082 9994 outside the UK) or email frontier@flightcentre.co.uk .

Visas

For fast, efficient and up-to-date visa advice please contact our recommended visa consultancy partner:

Depending on your destination country and your country of origin, you might require a visa. Please see the appropriate country consular website for details or contact our affiliate visa consultancy service. Please note that your visa will usually start on the date that you enter the destination country regardless of when it was issued. Please check with the relevant embassy or high commission. If you are purchasing your visa or paying entry/exit fees in-country you will probably need to pay in US Dollars. If you have any questions please consult the relevant embassy or high commission. Please check the visa information regularly, as changes often happen without warning.

Insurance

You'll need to buy appropriate travel insurance covering your participation on the project. You won't be able to go without the right travel insurance so double check to avoid disappointment. Please make sure that you're covered for the whole duration of your trip – from the day you leave the UK to the day you return. It's also best to get your travel insurance at the same time as paying the deposit for your project. Depending on your policy, this will cover you for any unexpected cancellations.

Your insurance should include the following:

  • Medical cover, including medical emergencies and medical evacuations (up to USD$3,000,000 / GBP£2,000,000);
  • Personal liability (up to USD$1,500,000 / GBP£1,000,000);
  • Cancellation and curtailment of your trip (up to the value of your project contribution).

If you are going to be scuba diving you should get coverage for scuba diving up to 30m, including hyperbaric therapy treatment (unlimited). You should consider obtaining insurance to cover you for any additional activities which you plan to do during, before, or after your Frontier project. We recommend that you obtain cover for your baggage and personal effects.


LEGAL STATEMENT
Frontier Partner Projects and Frontier group projects are run in partnership with in-country NGOs, small community based organisations, local research institutes, academic organisations and conservation agencies. Project descriptions and information are supplied directly by our partners or field staff and are accurate at time of publishing.

We aim to keep information up to date and accurate, however, the nature of our projects and in particular the fact that they are constantly evolving and developing in response to changing needs means that project activities, travel schedules, tour itineraries and daily timetables can change overnight and without notice.

To apply for this project, or to register your interest, just click on the orange "Apply Now!" button at the top of the menu. Fill out and submit a short application form and then one of our advisers will give you a call back to answer any questions and to progress your application if you wish to continue.

There is no obligation when making an application, and you do not need to pay anything at this point.