United Kingdom United States Australia Canada France Germany Spain Italy Sweden Denmark
Live chat by BoldChat
Get In Touch enquire online free brochure
call us on 020 7613 2422

by word...

where do you want to go?
what do you want to do?
how long do you want to go?

by map...


WorldMap Europe Asia Africa Australasia Americas

View all of our...

Discount
 
Family
 
1stTime
 
GapYears
 
Marine
 
Scuba
 
Study
 

...placements

Social Media
FCO Know Before You Go

Tanzania Marine Conservation & Diving

  • In Brief
  • The Project
  • What to Expect
  • Reviews
  • Gallery
  • Extras
  • Dates & Costs
Tanzania Marine Conservation and Diving Tanzania Marine Conservation and Diving Tanzania Marine Conservation and Diving Tanzania Marine Conservation and Diving Tanzania Marine Conservation and Diving Tanzania Marine Conservation and Diving Tanzania Marine Conservation and Diving
download >

Get Project Info

Download a PDF with details of this project for you to keep or print out.

download >

Get Country Info

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

apply now >

How To Apply

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

read more >

CoPE Qualification

Boost your UCAS application and earn 70 points with our Certificate of Personal Effectiveness.


read more >

BTEC Qualification

Apply for one of our unique internationally accredited BTEC courses and give your CV something exceptional.


read more >

PADI Qualification

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


read more >

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.

read more >

Frontier Research Publications

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

read more >

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 possibly help to map 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
  • Earn your PADI Advanced Open Water certificate 
  • Make lifelong friends as you snorkel and dive in the crystal blue tropical ocean

PROJECT REQUIREMENTS

  • Intermediate level of English
Airport Pickup Camping Beach Community Emergency Ground Transport Meals Research PADI Qualification Marine Coastal Snorkelling Encounter 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 a marine park on the health of the ecosystem and associated organisms
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 available 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
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Equipment advice
Processing of Exemption Documents by In country staff
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt
UK residential briefing weekend including food, accommodation and training FREE for 10 week+ volunteers (£80 per person for those participating for less that 10 weeks)

In-country Airport pick up from Dar es Salaam and transfer to hostel in Dar es Salaam and first night hostel accommodation can be arranged at an extra cost (optional)
Transfer by light aircraft to Mafia Island (extra cost applies about £100)
Airport pick-up at local airport on Mafia Island and transfer to the camp
Accommodation on marine camp
3 meals per day provided on project sites, 6 days per week. 2 meals provided on Sunday
Local orientation
Project training
Dive training courses available PADI Open Water £250, PADI Advanced Open Water £230
FREE use of Frontier project dive equipment, including tanks, BCDs, Regs and weights
24-hour international HQ back-up
In-country emergency support
Vocational qualification diploma or certificate in Tropical Habitat Conservation may be available depending on length of stay
Free park & reserve entrance fees(usually $20 per person per day) & research permits if applicable
Discounted advanced dive courses: PADI Emergency First Response (£100), PADI Rescue Diver (£300), & PADI Divemaster qualifications (£500)
CoPE qualification available depending on length of stay
BTEC Qualifications available depending on length of stay

 

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

If you are joining this project between November and January then you may have the opportunity to conduct surveys on the transient whale shark population. You may be recording details of sightings and monitoring returning whale sharks. Volunteers may also have the opportunity to conduct awareness raising activities with tourists visiting Mafia Island.

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 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 and turtles. If you are there at the right time of year you may even observe marine mammals.

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.

The time of year that you visit the project will greatly affect the type of work you are involved in as much of our research is heavily dependent on the season.

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.

Living and working in an internationally recognized marine protected area will give you access to a fantastic array of wildlife and ecosystems. You may have the opportunity to dive on habitats untouched by destructive fishing practices, and help monitor the success of a variety of conservation methods. The data collected on our commercial fish surveys aids the marine park in maintaining the most up to date and dynamic management plans for the future of the region, so we can be confident that Mafia Island will remain a stunning destination for many years.

You will 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 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 unicorn fish, and spiny urchins to octopus. When you sail or motor out each day on the Frontier dhow to distant dive sites you may even be accompanied by dolphins. You may have the unique opportunity to swim or snorkel with whale sharks if visiting sites further afield. By the end of your project you will be expert at identifying many of coloured and patterned reef fish as well as being an experienced and competent diver. Those joining the project for a short period of time may not be able to participate in a full range of project activities. Some project activities are seasonal.

You'll get immense satisfaction 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 photos, videos, stories and 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.

Sample Itinerary*

7:00 - Breakfast!

8:00 - Dive duty

9:00 - On the boat for survey diving or dive training

14:00 - Return to camp. Wash dive kit and hang up to dry

14:30 - Lunch

15:30 - Write up data

16:30 - Invertebrate identification lecture

18:00 - Dinner time

19:00 - Chill out time

*This itinerary should only be considered as an example of the kind of activities and timescales to expect.  Actual itineraries may vary depending on the season and the requirements of the project.

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 our local representative £40/$60 directly. The following day you will return you to the airport in time for your internal flight on the eight seater light aircraft to Mafia Island, please ensure you book your flight well in advance. Once on Mafia Island you will be met by Frontier staff or at the airport on Mafia and transferred by vehicle to the marine conservation project camp site at Utende. We can provide you with detailed instructions on how to reach the Mafia Island camp if travelling independently.

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?

Check out our Camp Tour video! 

During the project you'll live 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 a charcoal stove 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, prime hurricane lamps, collect water, 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 and 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 purchased in Kilindoni but tend to be very expensive, 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 practicing! 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. 

MY TANZANIA EXPERIENCE WAS GREATLY REWARDING  | 5 Dec 2014
There were lots of highlights to my trip. I enjoyed all of the diving and learning to conduct sur...

Read more


THE WORK EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN FANTASTIC  | 5 Nov 2014
Before arriving at the Frontier Tanzania camp on Mafia island I had never spent much time in a de...

Read more


I NEVER STOPPED LEARNING SINCE ARRIVING  | 28 Oct 2014
Here I am, on Mafia Island Tanzania. Diving in an incredibly beautiful place, surrounded by new f...

Read more


SO MANY HIGHLIGHTS FROM TANZANIA  | 15 Oct 2014
I can honestly say that volunteering with Frontier is the most worthwhile thing I have ever done....

Read more


Incredible experience!  | 3 Oct 2014
Coming on this trip has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life – I’ve...

Read more


TIME OF MY LIFE IN TANZANIA  | 14 Aug 2014
I have been on the Frontier Marine Conservation and Diving Tanzania project for one month and I h...

Read more


SCUBA DIVING WAS AMAZING IN TANZANIA  | 12 Aug 2014
I have really enjoyed my time at camp and I wish I was staying longer! The past 4 weeks have flow...

Read more


THE SCUBA DIVING HERE IS STUNNING  | 4 Jun 2014
I have just finished two months with Frontier. Volunteering on their Tanzania Marine Conservation...

Read more


I HAVE ENOUGH MEMORIES TO FILL A LIFE TIME!  | 31 Mar 2014
It was over five weeks ago now that I arrived on Mafia Island to start the volunteering programme...

Read more


WISH I COULD HAVE BEEN HERE LONGER  | 28 Mar 2014
I have taken part on the Frontier Marine Conservation project for 4 weeks. I am a Divemaster...

Read more


1 to 10 next >
AutoViewer requires JavaScript and the Flash Player. Get Flash here.

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 diving 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.

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

  • Single Day Snorkelling £10
  • Single Day Dive £25
  • Double Dive £50
  • 4-dive package £100
  • 10-dive package £200

courses*

  • Discover Scuba Diving £40
  • Open Water Dive Course £250
  • Advanced Open Water £230
  • Emergency First Response £100
  • Rescue Diver £300
  • Dive Master £500

*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

1 week £ 695

2 weeks £ 895

3 weeks £ 1,015

4 weeks £ 1,215

5 weeks £ 1,415

6 weeks £ 1,615

7 weeks £ 1,715

8 weeks £ 1,815

9 weeks £ 1,915

10 weeks £ 2,015

20 weeks £ 3,355

Extra week £ 160

PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water training £480 PADI Advanced Open Water training £230

DEPARTURE DATES

First Monday of the month. 

DURATION

You can join this project for a minimum of 1 week

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 FREE for 10 week+ volunteers (£80 per person for those participating for less that 10 weeks)

In-country

  • Airport pickup in Dar es Salaam and transfer to hostel (extra cost applies ~£13
  • First night hostel accommodation in Dar es Salaam (extra cost applies)  ~£13
  • Transfer to airport for connecting flight to the island (extra cost applies) ~£13
  • 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): 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.