Volunteer in Mozambique
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Responsible volunteering in Mozambique
This enigmatic and often-overlooked African country is unfailingly rewarding, with untouched, white sandy beaches, a diverse range of marine wildlife and welcoming people. Volunteers and adventurous travellers to Southern Mozambique, the most accessible part of the country, are rarely disappointed.
Southern Mozambique is home to some of the world’s best scuba diving, sea fishing and snorkelling spots, with endless coral reefs and shoals of colourful fish. The stretch of coast from Vilanculos to Tofu is where you’ll find the finest diving sites along the east coast of Africa, with the Bazaruto Archipelago considered one of the top 10 dive sites in the world.
Less than 1% of the world’s oceans are protected conservation areas, despite water covering more than 70% of the planet. The legendary great white shark and tiny seahorse have now joined elephants, tigers and rhino as some of the most threatened species in the world.
Conservation volunteering in Mozambique is an experience like no other. Forget game drives and dusty deserts and instead you will find laid-back beach resorts, small fishing communities and graceful dhows sailing on bright blue waters. Marine conservation volunteers are in huge demand in Mozambique, and the legendary beaches of Tofo and Barra are perfect for in-season sitings of strong populations of whale shark, manta rays, sea turtles and large pods of humpback whale.
Our volunteer projects in Mozambique:
Development of Mozambique’s coastline has been slow and deliberate, with stringent conservation laws in place aiming to preserve as much of the ocean as possible. Southern Mozambique is the ideal place for volunteers to seek out Africa’s Marine Big 5 – whale sharks, manta rays, hammerhead and reef sharks, and sea turtles.
The Indian Ocean, running down the East Africa coast, is home to some of the world’s largest populations of endangered marine wildlife including in-season populations of humpback whales, leatherback turtles, giant manta rays and whale sharks. Inhambane and Tofu are must-visit diving destinations, with almost guaranteed sitings of whale sharks, and one of the largest concentrations in Africa, where 50-strong congregations are not uncommon.
Marine conservation programmes are vital to the ongoing study of Mozambique’s diverse ocean mammals and fish, as well as monitoring environmental changes, and protecting coral reefs and mangrove forests. Data collected by volunteers is used to further scientific research to inform and educate governments, communities and marine businesses.
Traveling with Conservation Travel Africa partners who are immersed in Mozambique’s marine conservation industry, means that you’ll achieve your dream holiday, whether your interests are ocean conservation, diving, snorkelling, or a once-in-a-lifetime family adventure.
Yet to be rediscovered by the masses, the beach life is unparalleled, the location is varied and beautiful, and the welcome you will receive wherever you go is second to none.
The majority of Mozambique’s 26 million inhabitants are of Bantu, Swahili or Portuguese origin, and the country has a rich history in the arts, food, and entertainment. During the last years of the colonial period, Mozambican art became a symbol of the resistance, and much of the post-independence art also reflected the political struggle, suffering and protracted 15-year civil war, which ended in 1992.
Maputo is a blend of colonial influences mixed with local African traditions and the same eclectic mix extends throughout the country and into many areas of everyday life. Mozambican food is heavily influenced by the Portuguese, with their piri-piri sauce, use of cassava and cashew nuts, all traditional Portuguese ingredients.
Mozambicans are warm, friendly and welcoming people, and the country’s rich cultural heritage is well worth observing and getting involved with!
There is enough to experience in Mozambique to fill weeks of travel, but we have selected some of the most iconic below. To add any of these to your volunteer itinerary, please get in touch.
Maputo: only 120 kilometers from the South African border, Mozambique’s coastal capital feels like a different world. An intriguing mixture of European and African influences, Maputo is home to crumbling colonial buildings, lively markets, wide avenues named after communist leaders, art deco apartments the colour of fruit sorbets and a vibrant live music scene. The coastal city has eclectic architecture, including the century-old elegant CFM Train Station, which made an appearance in the movie “Blood Diamond” and is home to Kampfumo, Maputo’s most unusual bar, sandwiched between two platforms. Also well worth a look is the Casa de Ferro, a bizarre-looking metal house designed by Gustav Eiffel.
Most visitors to Mozambique do not linger in Maputo, instead of heading for the 2,500km coastline, which stretches from Tanzania down to South Africa.
Tofo and its tiny neighbour, Tofino, in Southern Mozambique, are vibrant fishing villages 30km from the town of Inhambane. Tofo has long been a favoured backpackers destination and has a couple of dive schools, several lodges and guest houses and a number of restaurants and bars. Most tourists come to Tofo to enjoy the large populations of whale sharks and manta rays, catch some waves, relax on the beach and interact at the lively markets. You can also take part in kite-surfing, horse riding and beach yoga.
Moving further north is the Bazaruto Archipelago, a group of five idyllic paradise islands 10-20 km off the coast, near the mainland city of Vilankulos. The Archipelago is one of the most beautiful destinations in Africa, with the islands and the surrounding coral reef protected as a conservation area and national park. It is the only marine nature reserve in Mozambique. Known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, the pristine and untouched beaches are well worthy of the name. Flights to Bazaruto are available from Inhambane, Maputo or Johannesburg or you can take snorkelling and diving day trips from Vilankulos.
Gorongosa National Park is located at the southern end of the Great East African Rift Valley. The 4,000 square km park includes spellbinding terrain along the valley floor and surrounding plateaus and is home to all of Africa’s Big 5, excluding rhino. The birdlife in Gorongosa is fantastic, with many endemic species prized by birders. The park is still relatively inaccessible, but for adventurous travelers, well worth the effort. Get in touch for Gorongosa options
The Quirimbas Archipelago in Northern Mozambique is a chain of 30 islands stretching from Pemba to the town of Palma, in the north. The islands are one of the world’s best fishing and diving destinations, with phenomenal vertical drop-offs of up to 400m.
Lake Niassa is the Mozambique side of Lake Malawi that very few people know about, but should definitely be on your list of off-the-beaten-track places to visit. The lake is well-known for colourful cichlids and amazing diving, and there is also plenty of adventuring in the lush forests around the water.
To add any of these to your volunteer itinerary, please get in touch.
Volunteer projects in Mozambique
Join world-class researchers in a spectacular diving location. Volunteers contribute to research supporting the conservation of whale sharks, manta rays and turtles and also work to preserve and repair the marine environment, focusing on activities in mangroves and the local estuary. All marine volunteers will become PADI certified and get involved with the local communities and fishing villages.
A unique opportunity to witness an incredible ocean migration in a stunning location. Tofo is one of the main areas of humpback whale breeding and calving, and the waters around the beach become home to these animals as they migrate north. Volunteers gather data on population numbers, individual animal identification, pod structure, and behaviour studies, to support international humpback whale conservation.
Horse Riding Internship
A perfect working holiday in one of the world’s finest beach riding destinations. Ride on untouched, sandy beaches and stunning coastal trails, as you run horse safaris next to the turquoise Indian Ocean. Horse riding volunteers help with the care and often rehabilitation of rescued horses, assist with exercising and health checks, plus learn new riding skills and discover new cultures.