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African Marine and Wildlife Conservation Expedition

Make the most out of your time abroad and experience two amazing locations, while volunteering on critical terrestrial and marine conservation projects.

Program Code: SCMH0442M

Program Information

Discover two breath-taking locations when you travel to South Africa and the Seychelles to contribute to vital terrestrial and marine conservation initiatives. Learn to track animals, study their behaviour, conduct mangrove surveys and more while living amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals

Overview

Step out of your comfort zone and experience two amazing locations, brimming with iconic wildlife, rich culture and exotic scenery. Experience a side of South Africa and the Seychelles that few have seen, when you join a team of international volunteers committed to the conservation of these beautiful, yet endangered, ecosystems.

On this multi country project you will volunteer in a wide range of conservation projects, giving you a holistic view on how these fragile ecosystems rely on each other. In the Seychelles, you will be assisting the Seychelles National Parks Authority with crucial wildlife and island conservation projects while working with an abundance of flora and fauna. In South Africa, you will be volunteering with an international team in order to collect vital behavioural data on reintroduced predators and large herbivores on a private game reserve. In order to assist with this vital conservation work you will be trained to use research equipment to help locate predators in the reserve and you will receive invaluable training in large animal identification, tracking and behavioural study skills.

If you are looking to learn more about conservation, contribute to a meaningful project and want to spend time in two incredible locations, this is definitely the project for you!

No special skills or qualifications are required to join this program, as all training will be provided by our fully qualified field teams. All we ask is an enthusiasm to learn and become fully involved and immersed in this unique opportunity.

Please note travel between South Africa and the Seychelles is not included, but please speak to your Country Expert who will be able to advise you on your options and costs involved.

Highlights

Travelling to two visually stunning countries; exploring the nearby regions such as the Drakensberg Mountains; visiting the National Parks; snorkelling in crystal clear water; travelling to the other islands of the Seychelles; contributing to the conservation of the endangered tortoises; mastering radio telemetry techniques; learning to track animals through the bush; living and working alongside FGASA qualified South Africa Guides and making a sustainable long-term contribution to the conservation of the incredible fauna and flora that call these two countries home.

Program Details

Select a Start Date

  • 2019
  • 2020

Select a Duration

Select a start date first.

Select Add-Ons

+ R255
 
+ R3,315
 
+ R850
 

Life On Base

Seychelles

While living in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, your time will be spent rotating between a wide range of conservation efforts. Volunteers can expect to work from Monday to Friday with weekends free to explore the surrounding area. Volunteers will spend the majority of the time on foot, working in the forests and on the beaches, experiencing the different field techniques and varied project sites.

At the end of each workday, you will return to base with the rest of your team to relax and get ready for another exciting but rewarding day. Accommodation will be shared dormitory style and duties such as cooking and cleaning will be shared amongst the volunteers on a rotational basis.

On weekends you are encouraged to explore the nearby area and islands. Visit Praslin, home to the Valle de Mai  (a world heritage site) thought by early explorers to be the original “ Garden of Eden, go snorkelling in the sparkling blue waters, relax on the beautiful beaches, trek through this tropical paradise alongside your fellow volunteers.

South Africa

As you adjust to life in the heart of South Africa’s bush, you will undergo extensive training to give you the skills to carry out radio tracking, monitoring of all the collared predators of the reserve, mammal and bird identification, ecology and bush first aid.

A typical day on the reserve will see you tracking the wildlife and conducting research from the game vehicles for up to 12 hours. This is to develop a baseline and a holistic understanding of all aspects of the bush. Most of the research is on predators such as lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyena, but you may have the opportunity to monitor other wildlife such as elephants. Depending on the daily schedule, if you are not assisting on game drives you may be working on data entry or helping with camp cooking duties. Another aspect of life on the reserve, is our community work, where volunteers participate in educational days with local communities to help highlight the importance of conservation.

Accommodation will be basic but comfortable, with access to electricity and flushing toilets. Sleeping arrangements will be dormitory style with shared bathrooms, kitchen and outdoor social areas.

During your time off, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the surrounding areas and activities, including visits to local reptile parks and animal sanctuaries, as well as mountain trails.

What's It like?

If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.

We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.

Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.

Live Updates

Follow GVI Volunteer-In-Curieuse's Facebook page for live updates straight from the field. Get an idea of the types of projects you might be involved in, meet our staff and participants, experience life on this GVI base, hear about free time activities, and learn about the local culture and environment.
 
GVISeychellesCurieuse

Arrivals

When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.


As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. In most locations, we also set up a Whatsapp group to help with managing airport arrivals. We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile. This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.


 

Meet The Team - Senior Field Management

Alan Grant

Program Manager

This is Alan, the Program Manager at GVI’s base in Curieuse, Seychelles. He joined GVI as a Science Officer back in 2014 and became the Program Manager a year later! Alan is originally from Scotland and studied Marine and Freshwater Biology at the University of Glasgow. Alan has had a lot of experience in his field, working at an array of different field stations around the world. This includes completing shark research in the Bahamas. All-in-all Alan would sum himself up using the terms: island, tropics, and sharks - an interesting mix to say the least!

Chris Mason-Parker

Regional Director for the Seychelles and Greece
This is Chris. He is GVI’s Regional Director for both the Seychelles and Greece. He joined GVI over ten years ago, starting our as a Science Officer based in Mexico. After this he transferred to the Seychelles.

Chris has had an interesting and varied upbring. He is from the UK, heis half French, but grew up in Hong Kong. These early years of Chris’s life is what fueled his passion for travel.

Meet The Team - In-Country Staff

Victoria Beasley

Science Coordinator

Meet Victoria, the Science Coordinator at GVI’s Curieuse base in Seychelles. Both Victoria's parents were veterinarians so she has a lot of experience with animals, spending her life surrounded by them. She also comes from a family of keen divers and completed her dive certificate at the tender age of 13, fair play! This diving is what sparked her interest in conservation and inspired her to pursue a career in it.

Your Impact

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or UN SDGs. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.


Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.


Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.


GVI’s primary partner on this programme is the Seychelles National Parks Authority. Data collected from your efforts is passed to the Seychelles Ministry of Environment and participating NGOs to be used in creating local conservation policies and is shared worldwide with other conservation teams and efforts. To do this we work on various environmental conservation initiatives, such as safeguarding sea turtles, surveying Coco de Mer nut production, mangrove mapping, Giant Tortoise population censuses, and sicklefin lemon shark monitoring.


This is to offer support to our local partners, assist in the conservation of these islands flora and fauna, and to address many of the UN Sustainable


Development Goals, such as #14 – Life Below Water, #15 – Life On Land, #4 – Quality Education and #17- Partnerships For Goals


Our Partners In Curieuse

Project Objectives

 


GVI Curieuse Long-term Objectives:  


1. Increase scientific knowledge and baseline data on the health of ecosystems on Curieuse Island,


2. Increase awareness of GVI Seychelles projects and the ecological value of the Curieuse Island National Parks in-country,


3. Build local capacity to support long-term conservation of biodiversity and sustainable community development in Seychelles,


4. Continue to minimize our environmental impact on Curieuse Island and raise awareness of environmental issues amongst volunteers and visitors.


Publications

The best decisions in international development and conservation cannot be made without accurate and up-to-date data or informed research. Our many field teams around the world collaborate with local and international partners to analyse data and draw conclusions. In addition, many of our participants have used research they have collected on their various GVI projects to complete their Masters, Doctorate, or postdoctoral studies. We also run a fellowship program which connects postdoctoral researchers at globally-respected universities with our many sustainable development programs around the world to support their research and ensure continuous improvement of our best practices on base.


Training

A GVI program is an investment in your career. No matter which you choose, you will be working toward improving your employability by mastering new social skills, gaining further technical expertise and earning qualifications in many cases. Most of our staff are, in fact, GVI Alumni, and we have helped many of our Alumni discover, move toward, and earn their own personal dream jobs. Each program includes introductory workshops, ongoing presentations, as well as on-the-ground professional support provided by our very own trained staff members. In addition, our training programs are critical for helping us to ensure the long-term impact of our sustainable development projects around the world.


For All GVI Participants

Welcome Presentation

Introduction to GVI as a whole and the work in your specific location. Learn about the short, mid, and long-term objectives of the sustainable development projects at your base, which United Nations Development Goals they impact most directly, and which local partners we work with.


Health and Safety Training

Learn about the Emergency Action Plans in place at your base, the full Risk Assessment, and best practices for personal safety.


Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Training

Learn about the importance of child and vulnerable adult protection best practices and how to apply them while on project.


For All Participants at Curieuse

Mammal Identification

Most of the research we carry out in Karongwe is on mammalian species. Learn about the main mammals found in the reserve and how to identify them.


Reptile Identification

Learn how about the many reptiles in Southern Africa, and how to identify the main ones of importance in Karongwe Nature and Wildlife Reserve.


Bio-surveying Techniques

Learn how to use equipment associated with tracking animals, like telemetry and GPS, and to input this data.


Data Handling

Learn best practices for collecting and recording accurate data. Sustainability awareness: Using the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, learn how small changes to your daily routine can make a big difference to the planet’s resources.


Conservation awareness

Learn about measures South Africa, and other countries, are taking to preserve their iconic natural habitats and wildlife as well as how you can contribute. This includes exploring about the importance of wildlife and wilderness for the wellbeing of generations of humanity.


Sustainability awareness

Using the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, learn how small changes to your daily routine can make a big difference to the planet’s resources.


Exploration

Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems, but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on the programme.

Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in South Africa and the Seychelles!

Optional Side Trips


 

Seychelles

Volunteers may have the opportunity to visit the islands of Praslin and La Digue. Praslin is home to the Vallee de Mai (a world heritage site) that is the home of the famous Coco de Mer palm tree that produces the huge double nut famous for its provocative shape. La Digue is the picture perfect tropical island, small and intimate with quaint guest houses and arguably the most beautiful beach in the world – Anse Source d’Argent.

Public transport is cheap and frequent and all parts of Mahe can be explored easily by catching a bus. Many volunteers spend happy times bouncing around the island roads on buses taking in the beautiful scenery whilst enjoying the company of locals going about their daily business.

South Africa

Volunteers at base have one day off per week. For longer duration volunteers, at the end of each 4 week cycle, there may be the opportunity to take 3 or 4 consecutive days off. Independent travel from Karongwe is best done by renting a car, something volunteers usually do in groups to make more economical. Bear in mind there is an additional cost associated with pickups or drop-offs at the reserve gate. Hoedspruit, the nearest town is about 45 minutes’ drive away. In the area around Karongwe Game Reserve you can visit the Kruger National Park, with entry gates no more than an hour drive away. There’s also the ‘panoramic route’ which takes you on various scenic drives along the edge of the Drakensberg escarpment, the Blyde River Canyon and to the historic towns of Pilgrims Rest, Graskop (where Harry’s Pancakes will serve you the best pancake on the planet!) and Sabie, where you can also book onto a variety of adventure activities such as zip-lining, quad biking, canyoning and hiking, or just chill out with a picnic lunch at one of the many nearby waterfalls.

Further Travelling Opportunities


 

Seychelles

With 115 islands in the Seychelles group stretching over 800 miles, the possibilities of exploring this tropical paradise are endless. The inner-islands, situated closer to Mahe are easily accessible by fast ferry. Praslin, La Digue, Silhouette, Felicity and Sister, to name a few, all have their own unique charms with hotels and guest houses within most people’s price range.

The outer islands such as Desroche, Bird, Dennis, Farquar and the Amirantes group are harder to get to and can only be reached by small plane or charter yacht. Most have small exclusive resorts which can be extremely expensive, but the marine environment and bird life at these outposts of civilization have been barely marked by the hand of man, and as such are in a pristine condition rarely found anywhere in the world today.

South Africa

South Africa has such a wealth of fantastic opportunities for further travel. Possibilities include the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains, the beauty of the Kalahari Desert, historic Zululand, the vibrancy of Cape Town (check out GVI’s Cape Town volunteer programs!), the fantastic Garden Route along the Southern Coast, the world-renowned National Parks of Kruger and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, and many more highlights that will leave you wanting more of this amazing country.

Cultural Immersion

Engaging intimately with a new context teaches not only global awareness but adaptability and critical thinking, skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and is also one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many activities you can get involved with in your free time, or before and after your program. On our community programs the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore diverse and eclectic topics like Theravada Buddhism in Laos or how plastic pollution and climate change affects Indian Ocean coral.


Karongwe Private Nature and Wildlife Reserve

Boasting more than 20 thousand acres of open savannah, Karongwe features some of the best wildlife viewing of any private South African wildlife reserve. It features the entire big five, including the elusive leopard.


Limpopo

The Northernmost region of South Africa, the Limpopo province features some of the best opportunities for wildlife in Southern Africa. It is sparsely populated and borders Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.


South Africa

Possessing one of the highest biodiversities in the world and the home to many of the most threatened African wildlife, South Africa is a nature, wildlife, and adventure lover’s paradise, featuring species like lions, cheetah, rhinos, and many other  unique species.


Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.


 


We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.


 

Our 10 Ethical Commitments

 

Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.


 

Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.


 

Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.


 

Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.


 

Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.


 

Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that ever participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.


 

Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.


 

Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conduct, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.


 

Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.


 

Child and Vulnerable adult policies

We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.


Continual Development

As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics. GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.


However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.


Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Herritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.

We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.

Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’

Parent Info Pack

Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:

Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy and high participant ratios.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.

Support & Safety

We won’t sugarcoat it — traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.


Support

Once a participant books, they will be assigned a personal support coordinator who will oversee their pre-departure journey. The support coordinator helps to bridge the gap between program enrolment and arrival at one of our field bases. Your personal support coordinator will ensure that you are provided with all the necessary information required to apply for visas, background checks, and any other documentation.


Safety

Upon arrival at the airport participants will be greeted by a GVI staff member. All GVI staff are our own and all our programs around the world are run by our staff. All GVI field staff are background checked, Emergency First Response and safety trained. The minimum staff to participant ratio on GVI’s programs is one to six, although on several bases we have a ratio of one to three. When finishing the experience, participants will provide feedback on all aspects of their program.


Health & Safety Case Studies

19 Nov

HOW GVI UPHOLDS HEALTH AND SAFETY

It takes courage to book a GVI program, get on a flight, and head off to somewhere new. Volunteering offers a level of cultural immersion that typical backpacking or holidays just can’t achieve. This is why thousands of people around the world participate in paid GVI programs.


1 Nov

GVI’S COMMITMENT TO SAFETY AND SECURITY

As the saying goes: ‘Expect the best, plan for the worst’. Cliched or not, we take it to heart. This tenet is at the core of how GVI operates when it comes to promoting the health and safety of our participants, staff, and local community members at all of our 20+ bases around the world.


6 Nov

HOW GVI REMAINS PREPARED FOR NATURAL DISASTERS

The weather isn’t just a topic for polite small-talk here at GVI. We have emergency action plans in place for all scenarios. So when the weather, or other natural forces, takes a nasty turn, we are prepared to respond to stormy situations.


5 Nov

HOW GVI MANAGES PARTICIPANTS EXPECTATIONS

Once GVI has matched a participant to a program that suits their passions and goals, our team aims to set the right expectations for them. In the event that false expectations around a program are created, the GVI team takes immediate action to ensure that the situation rectified.


What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Live and work in a protected reserve
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Research training
  • Reserve fees and permits
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Telemetry training as relevant
  • Terrestrial research training
  • Travel advice
  • Welcome meeting
  • Wildlife identification techniques

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal items and toiletries
  • Police or background check
  • Visa costs (where necessary)