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Tanzania - Dolphin and Marine Conservation

Join this tropical island project and get involved with marine conservation, community work, and education (and enjoy amazing tropical fruit and beaches!). Zanzibar is a fascinating archipelago with a deeply embedded history, an intriguing blend of cultures, and stunningly beautiful beaches and sea life.



Fast Facts

Location of ProjectYou will live in Jambiani and work mainly in Kizimkazi
Project LengthMin 2 weeks - Max 12 weeks
Arrival AirportZanzibar International Airport
Volunteer WorkMonitoring and researching dolphins and whales
Number of ParticipantsUp to 6 international volunteers
Age17 - 70

What's Included

AccommodationShared accommodation in beach bungalows in Jambiani
Food3 meals a day
SupportLocal in-country team and 24hr emergency support
Airport TransfersIncluded on arrival and departure day
Pre-Departure Kit Full project details will be sent following registration
Orientation All necessary training and introductions provided upon arrival
Insurance Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage

What's Not Included

Flights, personal expenses, and visa (approximately $300 USD)


This project takes place in Zanzibar - just off the Tanzanian coast in East Africa. Zanzibar is renowned for its white-sand beaches and turquoise waters, it is also home to many historical monuments, Chumbe Island Marine Reserve and Jozani Forest, where the indigenous Red-colobus monkey can be found. The south coast offers you the chance to swim with dolphins in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

Jambiani and Kizimkazi, where you will spend most of your time as a volunteer, are small villages located on the southern part of Zanzibar’s beautiful and quiet east coast. About an hour’s drive from Stone Town, Jambiani is a long village stretched along the coastline, with stunning and long white-sand beaches where it will seem like you can walk forever. Kizimkazi is a small fishing village located in south-west Zanzibar. Here you will find communities operating at a leisurely pace amidst the sunny, tropical climate. 
You will witness incredible sunrises and enjoy the warm waters, but more importantly gain a deep insight into life on the island and an array of experiences you will treasure for a long time.


About the Project

The main focus of our marine conservation project will be to monitor the dolphins and human-dolphin interaction. 

Kizimkazi is a small fishing village located in the Menai Bay Conservation Area south-west of Zanzibar. Menai Bay is home to a number of famous sea life, including different species of birds, fish, and dolphins (including bottlenose dolphins and humpback dolphins). There are also two species of whales during whale season of June to November. 

The dolphins, particularly the friendly bottlenose dolphins which are present during the whole year, have become a major tourist attraction. Tourists go out in fishing boats to see these dolphins, and often jump into the water to swim with them. Though friendly, the dolphins can sometimes be surrounded by up to 20 boats chasing after them, and this can cause them stress, particularly when they are feeding or nursing. 

The information collected will feed into research, surveys and studies conducted by the academic and research institutions in Zanzibar. This research is badly needed and some work has been done already but due to lack of resources and personnel there is still a lot to be done. The work carried out by volunteers will contribute greatly to work carried out on marine conservation in Zanzibar. For example, monitoring human-dolphin interaction is important as it will inform government policies on how best to regulate this type of activity to ensure dolphins do not become too stressed, which could potentially lead to lower numbers of dolphins in the future in this part of the world.

Volunteer Work and Contribution

Your activities will include:
  • Monitoring the dolphins for various research purposes (i.e. behavior, feeding, daily habits, reaction to humans, numbers, photos of dolphin pods)
  • Monitoring tourist numbers (to get daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal figures)
  • Monitoring tourist-dolphin interaction
  • Research and monitoring of whales during whale season (June to September)
  • Research and monitoring of other specific types of fish
  • Research on women coastal activities such as bivalve collection, coconut husk burying, rope making and seaweed farming
  • Monitoring of curio collection and sea cucumber collection
  • Assisting research students with their research
  • Teaching English and other potential languages to the local  tour guides
  • Helping to develop and maintain a local resource center in Kizimkazi with information on dolphins, whales, sharks and other types of fish; the local marine eco-system; and local marine conservation. This resource center is for tourists, schools around the island, locals and future volunteers.
  • Working with the Menai Bay Conservation Area office on various marine conservation and research projects.

The rest of your time as a volunteer will be spent getting involved in helping the local community, doing things like beach cleans, village cleans, planting trees, painting, and supporting local community groups.

A typical day:

Here is how a typical day in the life of a volunteer might take shape. Please note that your itineraries may differ from this, depending on your own experience/interests and the number of other volunteers on the placement at the same time. This is merely to give an example from Monday to Friday:

  • 6:00 am: Rise and shine! Depart volunteer base
  • 6:30 - 8:30 am: Early morning boat rides to monitor tourist activities, with particular emphasis on human-dolphin interaction
  • 8:30 - 9:30 am: Breakfast
  • 9:30 - 12:00 pm: Depending on tides and seasons, you will undertake a range of activities 
  • 12:00 - 2:00 pm: Lunch break!
  • 2:00 - 3:30 pm: Data entry and analysis 
  • 3:30 - 5:00 pm: Boat ride
  • 5:00 pm: Return to volunteer base
  • 6:30 pm: Dinner 

In the evenings volunteers discuss their day amongst each other whilst having supper together and prepare for the project the next day. You will have Saturdays and Sundays off to do any tourist activities or to rest from your week of volunteering.


Living Arrangements

Accommodations: volunteers stay in Jambiani at the project base in shared accommodation with other volunteers.  You will be based in beach bungalows in the local village. The bungalows are set just off the beach, but one can see the ocean from the front door and the beach/sea is literally on the doorstep

* Please Note: There is NO HOT WATER for showering - most places in Zanzibar do not have hot water. Water is a precious commodity in Zanzibar and should be used sparingly.

Food: volunteers receive three meals a day (exception of 1 night a week at a local restaurant). Breakfast usually consists of eggs, porridge, toast, fruit, tea and coffee. Lunch and dinner include a mix of local and international food and are freshly prepared each day by our team of dedicated chefs.

Laundry: weekly laundry service during your stay (please note you will need to wash your own underwear).

Internet: Internet facilities are available in town for $1.65 USD.


Travel Highlights

During your stay you will have the opportunity to enjoy some incredible attractions in the surrounding areas such as Mikumi National Park, Ruaha National Park, the famous Serengeti National Park, the unique Ngorongoro Crater, and climbing the mighty Kilimanjaro!  Zanzibar and Tanzania offer a variety of tours and safari options, which are perfect for a weekend getaway or a pre/post project safari.  Most activities are priced all-inclusive providing transport, transfers, accommodation, guide and driver, park entry fees, etc.   Our office in Zanzibar will be happy to assist you in exploring what your activity options are.  

Popular outings:

  • Incredible snorkeling and scuba diving off Zanzibar island
  • Sports on the beach
  • Jozani Forest – Red Colobus Monkey
  • Swimming with Dolphins at Kizimkazi
  • Stone Town City Tour, Spice Tour, Prison Island
  • Having meals with a local family in a local way
  • Enjoying a tropical BBQ on the beach


Minimum Requirements

  • Min. age 17
  • Must be able to swim
  • Full travel & medical insurance
  • Immunizations (please consult your doctor - the area is a malaria zone)
  • Police clearance form
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