The Kruger to Coast Volunteer Tour will take you through some of the best that southern Africa has to offer in terms of wildlife, culture and beaches. Begin in Eswatini where you will get involved in grassroots community projects and make an active contribution to improve the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children or contribute to active conservation efforts in the Savannah. Embark on a 5-day camping safari through the world-famous Kruger National Park to spot big game. Venture to tropical Mozambique where you spend time on world-class Indian Ocean beaches. Not only will you have the amazing opportunity to see some of Africa's most incredible wildlife, snorkel with Whale Sharks and paddle to tropical palm-fringed islands but you will also have the opportunity to participate in an important community development projects.
There are two distinct parts to this travel experience each with its own interesting flavour.
In Mozambique, your role will be to collect important data and conduct activities to support research and conservation efforts in the area. As a volunteer, you will help monitor whale shark numbers, behaviour, and ecology through underwater photography. You will also join research scuba dives to help monitor the condition of the coral reefs and indicator species of reef fish. At certain times of the year you may help survey humpback whale numbers and turtle nesting activity in addition to other indicators of marine health and biodiversity. You may also assist with beach cleanups and other general environmental activities. You may also help upload and analyse field data and create awareness among the public of the importance of marine ecosystems.
The project involves conducting multiple types of research with different species. The following is a summary of the type of research and conservation activities with which you may be involved. Our coordinating project scientists will teach you how to collect data throughout your project duration.
*Note that in order to carry out many of these activities, you will need to be able to or willing to learn how to scuba dive. An open or advanced internationally recognized diving course is provided to facilitate this (not included in the two-week option).
In Kruger, you will join a camping safari holiday. Here your days will be spent on game drives searching for incredibly diverse wildlife that this world-renowned national park has to offer, while at night you will be camped out under the African stars, sitting around a crackling campfire listening to tales of the African bush. While in Kruger, your guide will teach you about the animals and plants of the African Savannah and how important each piece is to protecting the overall ecosystem.
Whale Shark (all year): We are lucky enough to see whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) year-round, where they are seen mostly from the water surface during our Ocean Safari snorkelling trips. Whilst on the boat, we record an array of environmental, temporal, anatomical, and behavioural information to try and uncover the population demographic trends in sightings and potential conflict with the local commercial and fishing sectors. We take photo-identification images to add to the global whale shark database, Wildbook for Whale Sharks, as you learn how to individually ID your whale sharks and view its previous sightings, migration, and more! You will receive presentations on tutorials on the latest whale shark research globally and locally to Mozambique while contributing to our ongoing efforts to unravel all that is unknown about the largest fish in the ocean!
Manta Ray (all year): Much like the whale shark, our other mega-planktivore, the manta rays, are also available year-round in Tofo. We have 2 species: the reef (Mobula alfredi) and giant/oceanic (Mobula birostris) manta rays. Both species can be seen feeding on plankton whilst snorkelling on our Ocean Safari tours, or being cleaned by reefer fish on the diving reefs on our 25-30m dive sites. We also take a plethora of data concerning environmental, temporal, anatomical, and behavioural data akin to the whale sharks. We have a database of manta-ray photo-identification images, giving us the opportunity to investigate their population demographics, migration/residency, individual life stories and much more!
Turtles (all year): We record sightings of local species, including their sex, health, and behaviour. We have a collection of photographs of the side of their face and top-down, currently contributing to the ‘Tartarugas Para Amanha’ turtle ID database. On the beaches, we monitor nesting and keep mortality records. Four species of turtles are found in the Tofo area of Mozambique, including:
Dolphin (all year): You will be collecting data of dolphin numbers and behaviour that will be uploaded onto databases to share with our marine partners. Of particular interest to our current study is dolphin behaviour vis-a-vis tourism.
Humpback Whale (June-October): Monitor the numbers of Humpback 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 the behaviours witnessed.
Reef Health (all year): 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 (all year): This project will involve travelling to the nearby Inhambane Estuary and snorkel in relatively shallow waters to evaluate and monitor the seahorse population. The seahorses are counted and photos are taken to identify the size of the seahorses and data then entered into a database to allow for analysis.
Remote Camera Trap (all year): Our long-life remote camera trap is laid down for up to five days at a time, making recordings of the megafauna moving through the cleaning station areas while we are not present. As SCUBA divers, we make noisy bubbles and can influence the behaviour of animals. Our remote cameras are used to assess the abundance, frequency, and biodiversity of megafauna life, as well as the dynamics of the cleaning station fish themselves during daylight hours throughout the year. The remote camera traps are new, expensive technology that has great potential to implement new research projects and support reef protection efforts in Mozambique. During your stay you will likely observe our research staff deploying and retrieving the remote camera and help with video analysis. If you are interested in taking on one of the many project proposals based on the video data from these cameras, let us know during your pre-departure project consultation.
Cetacean Acoustics (all year): Our SoundTrap hydrophone is used both for humpback whale reef-moored acoustic monitoring between July-October and boat-based dolphin acoustics monitoring. You will learn the deployment process of both techniques (depending on which time of year you visit) and learn the data analysis processes of both projects using spectrograph software.
General Environment (all year): A number of more general environmental awareness and clean-up activities will also be carried out during the project.
Different projects focus on fisheries, seahorses, stingrays, guitarfish, torpedo rays, leopard sharks, reef sharks, mobula rays, orca, and so much more! *Please note that the activities listed above are based on availability and may vary by season. These are samples of activities that volunteers are likely to participate in.
By signing up with us you are donating your time and skills to work directly with communities in need through a structured project. There are many benefits to working with an organisation like ours. It is hard to find internships to support in a foreign country that are safe, worthwhile and reputable. When you sign-up for one of our projects for 2 or 12-weeks, you become part of a bigger, sustainable plan that our team of qualified staff has carefully crafted. You will also receive travel and visa support, orientation, a safe place to stay, logistical support, in addition to clear expectations of the work you will do. This is why we charge a fee for volunteering or interning abroad.
Your project fee goes towards a company you can trust, an experience that is worthwhile and an opportunity that will make a positive and sustainable impact on the community you have chosen to serve. For more information, please read here about our work towards the UN's Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.
During your stay, you will be accommodated in a variety of lodges as you tour Southern Africa, but your home base will be the award-winning Tilak Lodge in Tofo, Mozambique. Three meals a day will also be provided, some on a self-serve basis and others cooked for you. Enquire for private rooms.
The start date for this project is the first Monday of the month throughout the year, with the exception of December when new participants are not accepted.
Please ensure your flight arrives BEFORE 1:00pm.
7:00: Wake up and enjoy a buffet-style breakfast overlooking Tofo bay and the Indian Ocean.
7:30: Get prepared for your research dive - get your equipment together and head to one of the dive sites to conduct research OR go on an ocean safari and go searching for whale sharks and dolphins to take photo ID shots and record behavioural data.
12:30: Return from morning dives, dry off, and enter the dive log data. Lunch hour! You will have a daily lunch box provided with a sandwich, snacks, and refreshments provided at our beach-side restaurant.
14:00: Data management time! Enter your dive data, such as photo IDs, behavioural videos, and your own project data. If needed some analysis or write-up of your own personal project!
15:00: Depending on the time of the year, you may be collecting data on humpback whales from the top of sand dunes, uploading photo IDs to the database, conducting turtle-nest surveys or a clean-up data collection.
15:30: Work day complete! Go for a surf, yoga, or any of the other activities in Tofo. The office stays open until 17:00, so you are welcome to use our wifi for continuing your work, contacting home, or whatever else you may wish to spend your afternoon doing!
18:00: Dinner at the deck restaurant overlooking Tofo beach at your accommodation, Tilak Lodge!
The following apply unless an agent agreement is in place or an invoice is provided containing alternate cancellation terms.
Day 1: Fly into Inhambane International Airport where you will be met by All Out Africa staff members who will transfer you by road from Inhambane to Tofo. The trip takes approximately 30 minutes.
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.