What's it like
A typical day on this gap year project
The project involves conducting multiple types of research with different species. The following is a summary of the type of research and Conservation activities you may be involved with. Some of the activities are conducted at specific times of the year whilst others are conducted all year round. Our coordinating project scientists will teach you how to assist with data collection throughout your project duration.
In order to carry out many of these activities, you will need to be able or willing to learn to scuba dive. An open or advanced internationally recognized diving course is provided in the cost of the program to facilitate this (not included in the 2-week option).
Some of the activities you will get involved in may include:
Whale Shark (Annually) The Whale Shark component of the Project involves joining ocean safaris to snorkel with Whale Sharks in the open ocean. It involves taking underwater photographs for identifying the Whale Sharks as well as recording other ecological information. As a summary, you will collect the following information on the Whale Sharks:
● Date, GPS location, surface, and underwater conditions
● Size, sex, scars/distinctive features, the behavior of the Whale Shark
● You will take an ID photograph and identify each Whale Shark & record re-sightings
Dolphin (Annually) You will be collecting data which enables dolphin numbers and behaviours to be recorded and uploaded onto databases to share with our Marine Partners. Of particular interest in this study is dolphin behaviour in relation to tourism.
Coral Reef and Fish (Annually) This involves carrying out underwater data collection on indicator species of coral fish and the condition and cover of coral and echinoderms on the reefs.
Seahorses (Annually) This project will involve travelling to the nearby Inhambane Estuary and snorkelling in relatively shallow waters to evaluate and monitor the seahorse population. The seahorses are counted, and photos were taken to identify the size of the seahorses, and data then entered into a database to allow for analysis.
Humpback Whales (June – October) Monitor the numbers of humpbacked whales on their seasonal migration up and down the coast. This involves sand dune based observations using binoculars and boat-based observations recording the numbers of whales, the makeup of the pods and behaviours witnessed.
General environment (Annually) A number of more general environmental awareness and clean-up activities will be also carried out during the project.
Day in the life of a volunteer
7:00 Wake up to see the sunshine and get yourself started for the day with breakfast!
7:30 Get prepared for your research dive – get your equipment together and head to one of the dive sites or you may go on an ocean safari and go searching for Whale Sharks and dolphins to take photo ID shots and record behavioural data
12:30 Time to return to your accommodation for lunch after an action-packed morning!
14:00 Go to the office and enter data into our databases of the research work
15:00 Depending on the time of year – you may be collecting data on Humpback Whales from the top of the sand dunes, uploading photo IDs into the database, conducting turtle nest surveys or improving the beach environment with a clean-up collection.
16:30 Return back to your accommodation and share your day’s adventures with other volunteers!
18:00 Enjoy a delicious evening meal and relax……
Itinerary for your experience
Day 1 Fly into Inhambane Airport, usually, connections are available from OR Tambo Airport Johannesburg or Maputo Mozambique where you will be met by an All Out Africa staff member who will transfer with you to your accommodation.
Day 2 Your orientation will start with a presentation by the coordinating project scientists to prepare you for your project. You will then be shown around Tofo and have a tour of the nearby city of Inhambane.
Day 3-5 Begin your scuba diving course which usually lasts between 4 & 7 days depending on weather conditions. This is an internationally accredited course and upon completion, you will get a certificate permitting you to scuba dive to 18m anywhere in the world. Those who already hold an open water course will complete an advanced dive course (qualifies you to dive to 30m).
If you are a 2-week volunteer on the program or already have both open and advanced dive qualifications you will begin the activities described under day 8-13 on the itinerary instead.
After scuba class you will be treated with a series of interesting educational talks on some of the amazing megafaunas you will be swimming with over the next few weeks including how to ID several different kinds of fish species.
Day 6-7 At weekends there is time to explore the stunning palm-fringed beaches of Tofo: relax, surf, swim and enjoy your beautiful surroundings. During the first weekend, you may also be completing your open or advanced water certificate.
Day 8-12 Once your dive course is completed you will officially be an assistant scientist! Your dives in the morning/afternoon will be for the purpose of collecting data and the second part of the day you will be responsible for communicating that data into the proper vehicle for safekeeping and analysis at a later date.
On days when you are not in the water, our social projects guide may take you on activities around Tofo such as Portuguese lessons, historical walking tours and/or local handicraft creation.
It is important to note that daily activities may change due to weather conditions or other circumstances beyond our control at any given time. Attention to the daily posted schedule will be vital.