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Tanzania Marine Conservation N.G.O. Internship

  • In Brief
  • The Project
  • What to Expect
  • Gallery
  • Extras
  • Dates & Costs
  • Apply
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Get Project Info

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Get Country Info

Download a PDF with details about Tanzania for you to keep or print out

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How To Apply

Simply fill in our no-obligation application form and we will get back to you with full project details

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PADI Qualification

Get trained up to Advanced Open Water on many of our marine conservation projects.


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Find out more about Tanzania

Start your adventure now by reading our country guide for Tanzania!


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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Frontier Research Publications

The Society for Environmental Exploration has published one or more research reports related to this project.

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

Dive and snorkel to explore this pristine seascape and you'll discover and chart extensive areas of undamaged coral, find healthy populations of multicoloured fish, see turtles and marine mammals, and 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. You'll 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 work you carry out will be rewarding and exciting, and hugely beneficial to 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 to save this precious marine wilderness, protecting it for future generations.

  

  



PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

  • Help to monitor & conserve coral reefs and observe rare African marine wildlife
  • Work on data from some of the world's best dive sites
  • Extend your experience of tropical marine and coastal zone conservation field work

PROJECT REQUIREMENTS

  • CV required
  • Minimum 2 month placement
  • Relevant academic qualifications to at least degree level
  • Some experience of coastal zone or marine field work
  • Diving (you may be able to dive train on the project prior to your internship) 
Camping Beach Emergency Meals Research PADI CV Wildlife Marine Coastal Snorkelling Free Time Beach
FAST FACTS
Location Mafia Island, Tanzania
Activities Dive and snorkel to locate & map coral reefs
Dive and snorkel to study the various coral reef communities
Discover & record living organisms
Dive and snorkel to do underwater visual census of reef & commercial fish
Assess algal & coral reef cover to determine the extent of coral bleaching & damage
Line intercept transects for benthic life & indicator invertebrate species
Record observations of the feeding habits & behaviour patterns of a range of marine life
Study the impact of dynamite fishing on the corals reefs
Report the effects of global warming on marine communities
Observe the impact of the marine-curio trade on endangered marine invertebrates
Transport Airport pickup on Mafia Island
Light aircraft flight to project site on the island (extra cost applies)
Alternative start dates possible, please speak to an adviser
Accommodation Communal camp near to the beach

WHAT'S INCLUDED
Before you go

Pre-departure support & documentation
Travel & medical advice from dedicated personal travel adviser
Advice on visas & equipment
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt
UK residential briefing weekend including food, accommodation and training (extra cost applies)

In-country Project orientation and training
In-country emergency support
Basic food
24-hour international HQ back-up

WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?

Migrating Humpback Whales & Whale Sharks

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 and sea angler's paradise.

Mafia's luxuriant mangroves, luminous sea grass 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 manta rays, and the deeper waters are a regular stop-off for migrating humpback whales and giant whale sharks. You can experience all this when you join the Frontier beach-camp on Mafia Island and learn to dive in the crystal clear, immaculate waters of Tanzania's exclusive Marine Park.

Dynamite Fishing Damaging Coral

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

Swim with Dolphins, Rays & Turtles

Your underwater exploration will involve you in mapping the incredible biodiversity of the coastal area and marine habitats. While diving you will locate and record spectacular coral reefs and survey dazzling reef fish, observe marine mammals and turtles, and examine the effects of dynamite fishing and global warming on the coral reefs.

Discover Swahili Culture

Sailing out on the traditional Frontier dhows you will dive from the boat and discover what it is like to sail on a traditional Tanzanian fishing vessel. Through participating in environmental awareness raising in local schools and community activities, you will experience the cultures and lifestyles of local peoples.

WHAT WILL I BE DOING?

The marine research and conservation programme is run in association with the Mafia Island Marine Park. The project provides the local communities and government bodies with the information they need to sustainably manage this priceless marine ecosystem preserving it for future generations. To gather the data needed you will dive, locate and map the extensive coral reefs and study the various communities existing on them.

You will also explore and record the living organisms that inhabit the luxuriant mangrove forests, dense sea grass beds and productive inter-tidals in the area. To do this you will use a wide range of newly learned research skills and scientific techniques including: underwater visual census of reef and commercial fish such as trigger fish and parrot fish, assessment of algal and coral cover to determine the extent of coral bleaching and damage, and line intercept transects for benthic life and indicator invertebrate species such as nudibranchs. You will observe the feeding habits and behaviour patterns of a range of marine life. You may even get to study the impact of dynamite fishing on the corals reefs, report the effects of global warming on marine communities or observe the impact of the marine-curio trade on endangered marine invertebrates.

Whilst diving, you'll see an extraordinary array of animals from turtles to sea cucumbers to feathery starfish, and spiny urchins to octopus. When you sail out each day on the Frontier sailing dhow to distant dive sites you may even be accompanied by dolphins or encounter gigantic Whale Sharks. By the end of your project you will be expert at identifying hundreds of coloured and patterned reef fish as well as being an experienced and competent diver. Although the work is intense and challenging you'll get immense satisfaction from having survived 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 incredible memories.

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

For further information about Frontier marine conservation work see the publications section of this website.

DIVING OPPORTUNITIES

Check out our video on Frontier Gap Year TV from Frontier-Tanzania, showing you our volunteers diving.

Your co workers will be committed, energetic and dynamic with a  mix of ages and experiences, they will all share a passion for travelling in developing countries and working in marine wildlife conservation. Your staff colleagues will be young, friendly individuals who are highly experienced in their research field and may have started their careers as Frontier volunteers.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I ARRIVE?

You will be welcomed onto camp on Mafia Island by the Frontier team and introduced to the Frontier Tanzania Marine research and conservation program. You will meet staff, receive initial project briefings, including an introduction to the work program and to the field research techniques used, as well as being given health and safety lectures, so make sure your medical kit is complete and start reading your Safety and Medical Guides now.

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 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?

You will be living on our marine camp at Utende on the east coast of Mafia Island. You will have an authentic and memorable living experience. The Frontier marine camp was constructed by local craftsmen, using traditional building techniques and local  materials. 

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, sleeping on beds constructed from wooden poles, your "shower" will be a jug or a bucket of water and you cook over an open campfire: so prepare for the basic, unencumbered lifestyle! On occasions you may stay in a "satellite camp", usually a mosquito net pitched on a beach. 

As well as the diving and marine conservation work you may help with the community outreach and environmental awareness work in the local villages, scientific data entry and daily camp maintenance, taking turns to cook, tidy and clean the camp, rinse dive kit, collect 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, vegetables, beans, all of which are purchased locally in order to help support the local economy. Luxuries such as chocolate, biscuits, peanut butter and drinking chocolate can be bought in nearby Kilindoni, so make sure you stock up before heading to camp!  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 parties 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 backgammon, scrabble, poker or chess, or join in a camp quiz night or one of the numerous camp drinking games.

After a long hard day of snorkelling or diving you may prefer to relax with a drink and sway in the camp hammock, or discuss the days events with your new friends and colleagues before retiring to sleep lulled by the sounds of wildlife.

Additional dive courses including Emergency First Response and Rescue Diver may be available 

dive courses run monthly commencing on the first monday of the month

  • Single Day snorkelling off the boats US$19
  • Single Day Dive US$48
  • Double Dive US$95
  • 4-dive package US$190
  • 10-dive package US$380

courses*

  • Discover Scuba Diving US$76
  • Open Water Dive Course US$760
  • Advanced Open Water US$627
  • Emergency First Responder US$190
  • Rescue Diver US$570
  • Dive Master US$1,140

*Medical certificate is mandatory for participation in dive courses

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

2 months US$ 2,895

DEPARTURE DATES

First Monday of month

DURATION

You can join this project for a minimum of 2 months

 

WHAT'S INCLUDED

before you go

  • Pre-departure support
  • 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

  • Airport pickup in Dar es Salaam and transfer to hostel (extra cost applies ~US$25
  • First night hostel accommodation in Dar es Salaam (extra cost applies)  ~US$25
  • Transfer to airport for connecting flight to the island (extra cost applies) ~US$25
  • Airport pick up and reception on Mafia Island
  • Transfer to Frontier camp
  • Accommodation in marine camp
  • Accommodation upgrades available in local lodge (extra cost applies)
  • Food
  • Local orientation
  • Project training
  • Dive training courses available to PADI Dive Master
  • Project & group diving equipment 
  • FREE use of Frontier project dive equipment, including tanks, BCDs, Regs, weights, compressor
  • 24-hour in-country & international HQ emergency support & back-up

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Nearest airport(s): Dar es Salaam (DAR), 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.