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Tanzania Wildlife Conservation Adventure

  • In Brief
  • The Project
  • What to Expect
  • Reviews
  • Gallery
  • Extras
  • Dates & Costs
  • Apply
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Find out more about Tanzania

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Frontier Group Project

Working in collaboration with institutions and NGOs with the country, projects are research-based, creating sustainable and biodiverse programmes.

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Frontier Research Publications

The Society for Environmental Exploration has published one or more research reports related to this project.

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The Frontier Field camp is located in a stunning part of Tanzania on Mafia Island. Surrounded by lush mangrove forests, coconut plantations and unique ecosystems which straddle water and land, you will be living and working from a picturesque and simple camp a short walk from the beach. Your residence is a basic affair near the village of Utende, with communal sleeping in a thatched banda, an open kitchen and friendly neighbours in the form of local wildlife.

We are working in this area to help local communities and animals to live in harmony, so that the livelihoods can be improved, while enabling wildlife to continue to use the habitat that remains intact.

Check out our Camp Tour video! 

Conservation efforts are key to the survival of a vast array of declining species. As such it is vital that we equip future generations with the skills and knowledge required to preserve not only the larger more charismatic animals, but also the smaller inhabitants of the area. Through the practical application of a series of surveying and monitoring techniques, we aim to provide a basis of understanding that will enable you to pursue a career in conservation or simply introduce broader conservation issues facing our most threatened species.

Much of Africa’s wildlife is under threat and as habitats shrink and human environments grow there is more frequent contact between wildlife and local people. This can cause conflict, which has a negative impact on both the wildlife and villagers. Our project is working closely with local villagers to find a way to address this issue and to allow wildlife and people to share the land and its resources. As part of your training on this valuable and exciting project you will have the opportunity to handle a number of interesting amphibians, birds and small mammals. You might also be interviewing local villagers or teaching at local education days about the conservation value of the species found on Mafia Island. As you develop an eclectic range of surveying & monitoring techniques and how to work with local communities you will be helping to conserve the remaining habitat and the animals it supports and also to ensure that local communities are closely involved in conservation activities. Mafia Island has had little previous scientific exploration, and as such the work that you will be a part of conducting will go towards increasing the species lists for the island and reducing the knowledge gaps that exist for species across Tanzania and Africa.

The work you carry out will be rewarding and exciting, and hugely beneficial to Mafia Island Marine Park's conservation efforts, as well as being amazing fun! At the end of the day you will gain immense satisfaction from knowing that you have helped to save this precious island wilderness, protecting it for future generations.

  

  

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

  • Gain skills and knowledge required for a sure start in a conservation career
  • Help to monitor & conserve African wildlife
  • Work closely with local villagers
  • Live on the stunning Mafia Island
  • Make lifelong friends
Airport Pickup Camping Beach Community Emergency Physical Ground Transport Meals Research Terrestrial Qualification Wildlife Free Time Beach
FAST FACTS
Location Mafia Island, Tanzania
Activities Pit fall trapping
Small mammal trapping
Transects
Point counts
Butterfly trapping and sweep netting
Socio-economic surveys
Set up survey sites
GPS training and compass work
Transport

Airport pick and first night hostel accommodation in Dar es Salaam can be arranged at extra cost (£40/$60) (optional) 
Airport pick up from Mafia Island Airport 
Transfer to camp from Mafia Island Airport (£4/$6)

Accommodation Communal camp near to the beach

WHAT'S INCLUDED
Before you go Pre-departure support
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Equipment advice
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt
UK residential briefing weekend including food, accommodation and training FREE for 10 week+ volunteers (£80 per person for those participating for less that 10 weeks)
In-country

Camp accommodation near the beach
3 meals per day provided on project sites, 6 days per week. 2 meals provided on Sunday
Airport pickup (extra cost £13/$20)
First night hostel accommodation (extra cost £13/$20) 
Internal ground transfers to project camp 
Local orientation
Project training
Project equipment & materials
In-country emergency support
24 hour international HQ back-up
Vocational qualification diploma or certificate in Tropical Habitat Conservation available
Free marine park & reserve entrance fees & research permits if applicable
CoPE qualification available

WHAT WILL I BE DOING?

The Frontier-Tanzania Wildlife Project is an African conservation and community development initiative which aims to gather scientifically valid information to help local villagers and government bodies plan their conservation and development activities. By surveying habitats, wildlife and local livelihoods in the area, the project has helped establish plans to protect precious species while at the same time encouraging community development strategies that address local needs. By working closely with local villagers we are also helping to ensure they play a central role to ensure their views are heard. You will be adding to the species list for Mafia Island as it is previously unexplored.

The main focus of your time at the Frontier Tanzania Wildlife Project will be learning a variety of techniques required to effectively monitor local biodiversity. This includes conducting a range of wildlife and socio-economic surveys to help gather management data required. We utilise a multitude of trapping techniques allowing you to get up close and personal with stunning frogs, birds and maybe the occasional monkey!

You will be living in the heart of the local community on a small camp situated close to the beach. You will be surveying the wildlife and in and around the village of Utende and you may even get the chance to do some surveys inside the small remaining coastal forest on the island. You may also be involved in conservation awareness days at local schools?

If this is your first time doing field research and conservation work, don't worry! It will only take a short while for you to feel totally at home on camp and confident with your grasp of the scientific techniques. The work is intense and challenging but you'll get immense satisfaction from living and working on the island and from having made a valuable contribution to the conservation of this important ecosystem and the livelihoods of the people who live there. You will return home with the new friends you have made and a wealth of incredible memories, photos and videos from this experience of a lifetime!

You'll find your team to be young, fun and dynamic comprising a mix of ages and experiences, with members who all share a passion for travelling in developing countries and saving endangered wildlife and habitats. Your staff will be young, friendly individuals who are highly experienced in their field and some may have volunteered with Frontier at the start of their careers.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I ARRIVE?

We can arrange an airport pick up for you at Dar es Salaam Airport and a local private driver will escort you to a local hostel where you can spend your first night relaxing and recovering from your journey, these costs are extra and you can pay our representative £40/$60 directly. The following day our rep will return you to the airport in time for your internal flight on the eight seater light aircraft to Mafia Island, please ensure you book your flight well in advance. Once on Mafia Island you will be met by Frontier staff at the airport on Mafia and transferred by bus or tuk tuk to the marine and terrestrial conservation project camp site at Utende. We can provide you with detailed instructions on how to reach the Mafia Island camp if travelling independently.

It is possible to reach Mafia Island by ferry but sailing times can be very unpredictable. If you choose not to fly you will need to travel via the port town of Nyamasati, 90 km south of Dar, from here you will travel by ferry, (approximately a 6-hour trip) to the town of Kilindoni on the western side of Mafia Island. Once on the island you will be met by the Frontier forest and marine field staff at the small harbour town of Kilindoni.

WHERE WILL I BE STAYING?

During the project you'll live on camp in the village of Utende on the east coast of Mafia Island. You will have an authentic and memorable living experience. The Frontier camp was constructed by local craftsmen, using traditional building techniques and local  materials. 

Camp life is very simple, unsophisticated and fun. You will be staying in communal bandas; huts made from makuti (woven palm leaves), poles and mud, sleeping on beds constructed from sustainably harvested wooden poles, your "shower" will be a jug or a bucket of water and you cook over an open campfire: so prepare for the basic, unencumbered lifestyle!

As well as the survey and conservation work you may help with the community outreach and environmental awareness work in the local villages, scientific data entry and daily camp maintenance, taking turns to cook, tidy and clean the camp,collect water, help with a wide variety of other essential camp duties.

WHAT WILL I BE EATING?

Camp food is simple and nutritious and consists largely of rice, vegetables and beans all of which are purchased locally in order to help support the local economy. Daily variations include pumpkin, cabbage, spinach, sweet potato and even the occasional pasta dish! You will learn how to cook fresh bread on an open fire which is eaten for breakfast. Luxuries such as peanut butter, jam and nutella can be purchased in the nearby town Kilindoni . Part of your role on camp will be to help with the cooking, so get your cookbooks out now and start practicing!

FROM HIPPOS TO MANGROVES  | 3 Feb 2015
Since arriving on Mafia Island in September last year, my time has gone so fast and I'm not r...

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I LOVED MY TIME HERE!  | 1 Oct 2013
The people here made my time in Tanzania amazing! Barry did an amazing job with the teaching you ...

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NEW BIRD SPOTTED BY TEAM TANZANIA!  | 12 Feb 2013
Team Tanzania spotted a bird yesterday which our local ornithologist identified as a Taita Falcon...

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ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

The Frontier-Tanzania camp is fun and in your spare time you'll have opportunities to swim and snorkel, play football against the unbeatable local side or try out beach volleyball. Alternatively you may enjoy a traditional Saturday night themed camp party, play poker, chess or backgammon or join in a camp quiz night. After a long hard day of being out in the field hiking, exploting and surveying you may prefer to relax with a drink and sway in the camp hammock, or sit and chat to your new friends under a sky lit up by millions of stars.

Tanzania offers a massive range of adventure and cultural activities for you to enjoy after your Frontier project. Visit game reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and forest reserves. Experience a traditional African safari and game drive, visit the exotic island of Zanzibar, climb Kilimanjaro, snorkel or learn to scuba dive by taking a PADI dive course. We encourage you to book these extra activities direct with local providers thereby making more of a contribution to the local economy.

Dive courses run monthly commencing on the first monday of the month

  • Single Day Snorkelling £10/$16
  • Single Day Dive £25/$40
  • Double Dive £50/$80
  • 4-dive package £100/$160
  • 10-dive package £200/$320

COURSES*

  • Discover Scuba Diving £40/$65
  • Open Water Dive Course £250/$400
  • Advanced Open Water £230/$370
  • Medic First Aid £100/$160/$260
  • Rescue Diver £300/$480
  • Dive Master £500/$800

*Medical certificate is mandatory for participation in dive courses

RENTAL EQUIPMENT (Prices per day)

  • Jacket/BCD £5/$
  • Regs £5
  • Wetsuit £5
  • Mask/Snorkel £3
  • Fins £3

Modern conveniences

Mafia Island

  • Boat rental
  • Fishing
  • Hostels / hotels
  • Internet available at local bars
  • Post office
  • Souvenir shops
  • Traditional markets
  • Western style restaurants

Kilindoni - 20-30 minute Tuk Tuk ride away at own cost

  • Grocery Stores
  • Medical clinic
  • Phone shops
  • Traditional markets

Dar es Salaam - 45 minute flight at own cost

  • 24 hour supermarkets
  • Banks / ATMs; National Microfinance Bank, Standard Chartered, Barclays, National Bank of Commerce, Stanbic
  • Bars / clubs
  • Bureau de Change
  • Cinema
  • Dentist/li>
  • Department store
  • Hairdresser
  • Hospital
  • Hostels / hotels
  • International Embassies and Consulates
  • Internet cafes
  • Local style restaurants
  • Mobile phone shops
  • Pay phones
  • Pharmacy
  • Traditional markets
  • Western style restaurants
  • Western Union

COSTS

1 week £ 735

2 weeks £ 935

3 weeks £ 1,135

4 weeks £ 1,335

5 weeks £ 1,485

6 weeks £ 1,635

7 weeks £ 1,760

8 weeks £ 1,885

9 weeks £ 2,010

10 weeks £ 2,135

20 weeks £ 3,055

Extra week £ 175

 

DEPARTURE DATES

First and third Monday of the month. 

Alternative dates available on request.

DURATION

You can join this project for a minimum of 1 week

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Before you go

  • Pre-departure support
  • Travel & medical advice & documentation
  • Equipment advice
  • Discounted medical kit
  • Free Frontier t-shirt
  • UK residential briefing weekend including food, accommodation and training FREE for 10 week+ volunteers (£80 per person for those participating for less that 10 weeks)

In-country

  • Airport pickup in Dar es Salaam and transfer to hostel (extra cost applies ~£13/$20
  • First night hostel accommodation in Dar es Salaam (extra cost applies)  ~£13/$20
  • Transfer to airport for connecting flight to the island (extra cost applies) ~£13/$20
  • Airport pick up and reception on Mafia Island
  • Transfer to Frontier camp
  • Accommodation in marine camp
  • Accommodation upgrades available in local lodge (extra cost applies)
  • Food
  • Local orientation
  • Project training
  • 24-hour in-country & international HQ emergency support & back-up

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Nearest airport(s): Mafia Island (MFA)

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

Flights

Flights are not included in our project costs. However, Frontier have partnered with an experienced and professional team of travel experts to help our volunteers find the best flight deals for their trips with Frontier. This travel specialist operates in the tailor-made, long haul multi-stop travel market, arranging complex airfares and transfers for independent travellers. They provide expertise, security and a vast product range along with a Travel Butler service which is a single point of contact and support whilst you are overseas.

We recommend that you obtain a quote using the following contact details rather than book online, as our partner will offer you the most competitive fares. To receive your quote or to seek any advice for your flights, please contact Frontier’s dedicated team of travel experts on 0800 082 9994 (or +44 800 082 9994 outside the UK) or email frontier@flightcentre.co.uk .

Visas

For fast, efficient and up-to-date visa advice please contact our recommended visa consultancy partner:

Depending on your destination country and your country of origin, you might require a visa. Please see the appropriate country consular website for details or contact our affiliate visa consultancy service. Please note that your visa will usually start on the date that you enter the destination country regardless of when it was issued. Please check with the relevant embassy or high commission. If you are purchasing your visa or paying entry/exit fees in-country you will probably need to pay in US Dollars. If you have any questions please consult the relevant embassy or high commission. Please check the visa information regularly, as changes often happen without warning.

Insurance

You'll need to buy appropriate travel insurance covering your participation on the project. You won't be able to go without the right travel insurance so double check to avoid disappointment. Please make sure that you're covered for the whole duration of your trip – from the day you leave the UK to the day you return. It's also best to get your travel insurance at the same time as paying the deposit for your project. Depending on your policy, this will cover you for any unexpected cancellations.

Your insurance should include the following:

  • Medical cover, including medical emergencies and medical evacuations (up to USD$3,000,000 / GBP£2,000,000);
  • Personal liability (up to USD$1,500,000 / GBP£1,000,000);
  • Cancellation and curtailment of your trip (up to the value of your project contribution).

If you are going to be scuba diving you should get coverage for scuba diving up to 30m, including hyperbaric therapy treatment (unlimited). You should consider obtaining insurance to cover you for any additional activities which you plan to do during, before, or after your Frontier project. We recommend that you obtain cover for your baggage and personal effects.


LEGAL STATEMENT
Frontier Partner Projects and Frontier group projects are run in partnership with in-country NGOs, small community based organisations, local research institutes, academic organisations and conservation agencies. Project descriptions and information are supplied directly by our partners or field staff and are accurate at time of publishing.

We aim to keep information up to date and accurate, however, the nature of our projects and in particular the fact that they are constantly evolving and developing in response to changing needs means that project activities, travel schedules, tour itineraries and daily timetables can change overnight and without notice.

To apply for this project, or to register your interest, just click on the orange "Apply Now!" button at the top of the menu. Fill out and submit a short application form and then one of our advisors will give you a call back to answer any questions and to progress your application if you wish to continue.

There is no obligation when making an application, and you do not need to pay anything at this point.