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Tanzania - Dolphin and Marine Conservation

Join this tropical island project and get involved with marine conservation, community work, and education. 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 8 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 accommodations 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
Transportation Daily transfers between accommodations and project site
Laundry Weekly laundry service

What's Not Included

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


This project takes place in Zanzibar, just off the Tanzanian coast of East Africa. Zanzibar is renowned for its white sand beaches and turquoise waters. It is also home to many historical monuments, the 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 village that stretches along the coastline, bordered by expansive white sand beaches. 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. 


About the Project

The main focus of this marine conservation project is 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 iconic marine species, including bottlenose and humpback dolphins (there are also humpack whales from June to October). 

The information collected by volunteers during their placement will feed into research, surveys and studies conducted by the academic and research institutions in Zanzibar and will contribute greatly to the marine conservation efforts in Zanzibar. For example, monitoring human-dolphin interaction is important as it will inform government policies on how best to regulate tourist and fishing activities to ensure that the 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. behaviour, feeding, daily habits, reaction to humans)
  • 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 October)
  • Research and monitoring of coral reefs
  • Providing research data for local marine science institutions  
  • Raising awareness about dolphins, whales, sharks and other types of fish, the local marine ecosystem, and local marine conservation.

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

A typical day: An exact daily schedule is difficult to outline as activities depend on tides and seasons, however, most days begin with departing the volunteer base at 6:00 am, followed by early morning boat rides to monitor tourist activities and human-dolphin interactions from 6:30 to 8:30 am. You'll have an hour break for breakfast at 8:30 am and then undertake a range of research and ocean activities, including monitoring dolphins and other species of fish, fishing activity, coral reef surveying, and data entry and analysis until 12:00 pm. From 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm you'll have a lunch break, followed by data analysis or teaching English to local fisherman, boat drivers and tour guides. At 6:00 pm, you'll return to Jambiani for dinner. 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 comfortable beach bungalows with 2-3 other volunteers and an en suite bathroom. Accommodations include mosquito nets and fans, as well as a communal outside eating area overlooking the sea. 

* Please Note: There is NO HOT WATER for showering (most places in Zanzibar do not have hot water). 

Food: Volunteers receive three meals a day. 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.

Laundry: Weekly laundry service.

Internet: Internet facilities are available in town for a small fee.


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 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. The project coordinators in Zanzibar will be happy to assist you in exploring these options:

  • Incredible snorkeling and scuba diving off Zanzibar island
  • Jozani Forest
  • Swimming with dolphins at Kizimkazi
  • Stone Town City Tour
  • Spice Tour
  • Tour of Prison Island

Minimum Requirements

  • Minimum age 17
  • Must be able to swim
  • Immunizations (please consult your local travel clinic)
  • Police clearance form

Here's an excerpt of Sara's experience:



"The project goals are long term – building community and relationships takes time, and those are what are needed for a paradigm shift. I hope the data I helped collect contributes to policy change to make dolphin tourism more sustainable."

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!


Check out our Volunteer Blog at blog.goeco.org to read experiences written by GoEco volunteers from all over the world!

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