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Tanzania Beach Conservation Course Credit Internship

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Tanzania Beach Conservation Course Credit Internship

Embarking on an internship abroad is a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable practical skills and course credit in one’s field of study while experiencing full immersion in a novel culture.

Prices from US$1,895

A multitude of Frontier volunteers and interns are university or college students undertaking academic study. Why not make the most of your time abroad by adding volunteer experience to your resume as well as gaining academic course credit in your field of study? This internship will give you the opportunity to gain relevant work experience that will not only enable you to stand out to prospective employers but will also save you time and money; after all, a minimum of 4 weeks spent volunteering during your summer vacation works out a lot cheaper than another semester at College!

So how does it work? Volunteers can arrange with their academic institution to gain transferable course credit by participating in our field programmes. Our research team both in our London Headquarters and overseas field staff will liaise with your academic course supervisors on your behalf to ensure that your participation contributes to your academic performance and confers academic credit. Further to this, we are able to sign supporting documentation, verify your participation and provide mentoring and in country support. To sum up Frontier will be there for you every step of the way!

Your Tanzania adventure begins with a thrilling journey high above the turquoise Indian Ocean as you fly to Mafia Island - the most beautiful of Tanzania's spice islands where tranquil white sand beaches, friendly villagers and world class snorkelling and scuba diving sites combine to make this a true tropical paradise.

Snorkel off the island's dazzling white sand beaches, swim among the clouds of tropical fish in every colour of the rainbow and wander along the empty shores. Let Mafia's vibrant culture and friendly communities warmly welcome you.  

You will be joining an ongoing conservation and community development project which means that you could be helping to assess the health of the reef while you snorkel or be helping local people to learn English to improve their employment prospects in the Marine Park. Plus there will be plenty of time to relax under a palm tree and gaze at the sun drenched ocean or laze in your hammock and enjoy the breeze.

Tanzania's coast is home to some of the most spectacular beaches in the world. The crystal clear waters host a wealth of marine habitats and wildlife, making this a perfect location to swim and snorkel and explore a pristine, magical underwater world.

The vivid, multi hued coral reefs support a dazzling array of tropical reef fish and provide rich feeding grounds for turtles, rays and other marine creatures, whilst the deep blue offshore waters support sharks, dolphins and whale sharks, as well as vast shoals of cruising pelagics.

Swim and snorkel to explore this pristine seascape and you'll discover extensive areas of undamaged coral, healthy populations of multicoloured fish, see turtles and marine mammals and you may have the chance to learn to recognise a huge diversity of inter tidal animals from tiny hermit crabs to pastel hued anemones.

On shore apart from relaxing on the island's perfect, undeveloped beaches, you may have the chance to work in the lush mangrove forests, unique ecosystems which straddle water and land. Or you could learn about the activities of the traditional fishermen as well as discovering and reporting which marine organisms are being sustainably harvested and which are being dangerously depleted.

The activities you'll 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 in the effort to save this precious marine wilderness and protect it for future generations.




  • We will tailor your internship to fulfill university/college requirements for independent study or course credit in your field of study 
  • 24/7 supervision and mentoring 
  • Direct liaison between with your mentor and university or college tutor
  • Your mentor can also provide a college reference at the end of your internship
  • Help to monitor & conserve coral reefs and observe African marine wildlife
  • Extend your experience of tropical marine and coastal zone conservation field work
  • There is also the opportunity to gain a qualification in habitat conservation

It is possible to gain academic credit in the following fields of study:

  • Biological Sciences
  • Coaching 
  • Coral Reef Conservation 
  • Community Health
  • Conservation Biology
  • Construction
  • Ecology
  • Ecosystem Management
  • Healthcare
  • Health Education
  • Journalism
  • Languages
  • Marine Biology
  • Marine Mammal Conservation
  • Medical Placements
  • Teaching
  • Tropical Forest Conservation 
  • Tropical Wildlife Conservation 
  • Wildlife Management


  • Intermediate level of English
  • Introduction to your course supervisor


Location Mafia Island, Tanzania
Activities Swim and snorkel off the beach to locate near shore environments
Environmental education days in the local schools and community groups 
Teach conversational English to the local community
Swim and snorkel out to observe the various coral reef communities 
Discover beach and littoral zone organisms 
Swim and snorkel to find reef & commercial fish 
Observe the feeding habits & behaviour of a range of marine life
Discover the effects of global warming on marine communities
Transport Airport pick-up from Dar es Salaam can be arranged at extra cost 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
Accommodation  Communal camp near to the beach


Before you go

Liaising directly with your academic supervisors

Pre-departure support, mentoring & documentation 
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Advice on visas & equipment
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt
UK residential briefing weekend including food, accommodation and training (extra cost applies)


Camp accommodation near the beach

3 meals per day provided on project, 6 days per week. 2 meals provided on Sunday

Airport pickup in Dar es Salaam (extra cost US$22/$20)

First night hostel accommodation (extra cost US$22/$20)

Transport to the airport for connecting flight to the island (extra cost US$22/$20)

Airport pickup form Mafia Island Airport and transfer to camp (extra cost US$7/$6)
Local orientation 

Project training 
Project equipment & materials 
24/7 supervision and mentoring from the field staff in country

Support from the research team at London HQ
Free marine park & reserve entrance fees (normal cost $20 per day) & research permits if applicable

In country emergency support

24 hour international HQ backup




A variety of qualifications are available on many of our projects. For example, BTEC certificates and diplomas on our Group conservation projects and TEFL certificates and BTECs on most of our teaching projects. You may also be able to gain a CoPE to support your university application. For more information on these qualifications, please see the qualifications section of our website or ask your volunteer advisor.


Mafia Island Marine Park

Mafia Island is about as close as you can get to the quintessential Indian Ocean tropical paradise. The tiny island of about 40,000 is a friendly, laid-back place that has long been praised as a diver and sea angler's paradise.

Mafia's luxuriant mangroves, luminous sea grass beds and dazzling coral reefs play host to a multitude of tropical reef fish, thorny and spotted seahorses and four species of graceful and gentle sea turtles. Offshore there are dolphins and the deeper waters are a regular stop off point for migrating humpback whales and giant whale sharks (seasonal). You can experience this magical seashore environment when you join the Frontier beach camp on Mafia Island and swim and snorkel from the beach out to the crystal clear waters of Tanzania's exclusive marine park.

Conserving the coral reefs

Threats to the coastal environment on and around Mafia Island are on the up as unregulated tourism is on the increase and the local population is growing. Increasing competition for food means that artisanal fishing techniques such as seine-netting become inadequate and inefficient, encouraging use of less discriminate catch practices such as dynamite fishing. Other threats include the over harvesting of octopus and sea cucumbers and the over collecting of shells and corals for the expanding marine curio trade.

By taking part in this project you have the chance to help us with our ongoing assessment of the marine environment which helps ensure that the Marine Park is properly managed.  

Swim with Dolphins, Rays & Turtles

Your beach conservation adventure will involve you in observing the incredible biodiversity of the coastal area, seashore zone and shallow marine habitats. While swimming you will see spectacular coral reefs and dazzling reef fish and you might also observe marine mammals and turtles.

Discover Swahili Culture as you work with local communities

Tanzania is a poor country and people survive mainly by subsistence farming and fishing. We are working to help local communities on Mafia Island by providing environmental education and by teaching English, which improves their employment prospects. Through getting involved with community activities, such as environmental awareness in local schools, you can experience the cultures and life-styles of local people. You might be required to help teach English in the local community or perhaps to learn some Swahili from the villagers. As you watch the local fishermen sail out on their traditional dhows you will discover how the local community live sustainably and in harmony with the natural world. 


Our marine research and conservation programme is run in association with the Mafia Island Marine Park. The project aims to provide the local stakeholders and government bodies with the information they need to design and implement management plans for the future protection of the fabulous Mafia Island Marine Park. You will have the chance to see some of the reefs from the project boat and to observe the various wildlife communities that live on them. You might also get the chance to explore and record the living organisms that inhabit the luxuriant mangrove forests, dense seagrass beds and productive inter tidal areas. Please be aware that there will be a limit to the amount of research you can get involved in when only snorkelling.

Whilst swimming and shore snorkelling, you'll see an extraordinary array of animals from turtles to rays, sea cucumbers to feathery starfish and spiny urchins to octopus. Your work may even allow you to observe dolphins or gigantic whale sharks depending on the time of year you join the project.

You will also have the chance to get involved in our community work, perhaps by helping with environmental education days or by helping to teach English to villagers. By the end of your stay you should be able to identify a number of coloured and patterned reef fish and you will have made friends with the local villagers, especially the children. The work is intense and challenging and you'll get immense satisfaction from having lived through your camp experience and from having made a valuable contribution to the conservation of this untarnished marine wilderness. You will return home with the new friends you've made and a wealth of incredible photos, videos and memories.

You'll find your team to be a fun, dynamic mix of ages and experiences, with members who all share a passion for travelling in developing countries and saving endangered wildlife. Your staff will be young, friendly individuals who are highly experienced in their field many of whom have also volunteered on a Frontier project earlier in their career.

For further information about Frontier marine conservation work please refer to the publications section of this website.


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 local representative directly (US$68/$60). The next day you will take an internal flight on an eight seater light aircraft to Mafia Island. Please ensure that you book your flight well in advance. Once on the Island you will be met by Frontier staff at Mafia Airport and transferred to camp.

If you are travelling independently, you may wish to make your own internal arrangements and if so we will provide you with detailed instructions on how to reach the Mafia Island camp.

It is possible to reach Mafia by ferry but sailing times can be very unpredictable, the journey might be rough and it can be tricky with no knowledge of Swahili. If you choose to travel by road and ferry you need to transfer to the port town of Nyamasati, 90 km south of Dar from where you can catch the ferry, approximately a 6-hour trip, to the small harbour town of Kilindoni on the western side of Mafia Island. Once on the island you will be met by the Frontier marine field staff, either at Kilondoni or at the airport on Mafia and transferred by boat or vehicle to the project camp site.


Check out our Camp Tour video! 

During the project you'll live on our communal camp at Utende on the east coast of Mafia Island, where you will have a sustainable, authentic and memorable living experience. The Frontier marine camp was constructed by local craftsmen using traditional building techniques and local building supplies.

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

As well as supporting the marine and coastal zone conservation work you will help with the scientific data entry and daily camp maintenance, taking turns to cook, tidy and clean the camp, collect firewood, prime hurricane lamps, collect and treat water and help with a wide variety of other essential camp duties.


Camp food is simple and nutritious and consists largely of rice, beans and vegetables, all of which are purchased locally in order to help support the local economy. Fruit is sometimes available depending on the season. Luxuries such as chocolate, biscuits, peanut butter and drinking chocolate can be purchased in Kilindoni but are expensive as they are imported from Dar es Salaam, so make sure you stock up before heading to the field! Part of your role on camp will be to help with the cooking, so get your cookbooks out now and start practising! Also, with luck you'll be invited to local feasts and festivals – a great way to integrate with the local communities in the nearby villages and absorb the local culture.

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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 snorkelling 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. Frontier can offer you dive training at an additional cost.


  • Single Day Snorkelling US$17
  • Single Day Dive US$42
  • Double Dive US$85
  • 4-dive package US$170/
  • 10-dive package US$340


  • Discover Scuba Diving US$68
  • Open Water Dive Course US$782
  • Advanced Open Water US$620
  • Medic First Aid US$221
  • Rescue Diver US$595
  • Dive Master US$1,275

*Medical certificate is mandatory for participation in dive courses

RENTAL EQUIPMENT (Prices per day)

  • Jacket/BCD US$8
  • Regs US$8
  • Wetsuit US$8
  • Mask/Snorkel US$5
  • Fins US$5

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


4 weeks US$1,895

5 weeks US$2,295

6 weeks US$2,545

7 weeks US$2,845

8 weeks US$3,145

9 weeks US$3,295

10 weeks US$3,495

20 weeks US$5,395

Extra week US$345


First and Third Monday of the month. 

Alternative dates available on request.


From 4 weeks  


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 (extra cost applies)


  • Camp accommodation near the beach
  • 3 meals per day provided on project, 6 days per week. 2 meals provided on Sunday
  • Airport pickup in Dar es Salaam (extra cost US$22/$20)
  • First night hostel accommodation  in Dar es Salaam (extra cost US$22/$20)
  • Transport to airport for connecting flight to the island (extra cost US$22/$20)
  • Airport pickup form Mafia Island Airport and transfer to camp (extra cost US$7/$6)
  • Local orientation
  • Project training
  • Project equipment and materials
  • 24/7 supervision and mentoring form the field staff in country
  • Support from the research team in London HQ
  • 24 hour in country and international HQ emergency support and backup
  • Free marine park & reserve fees (normal cost $20 per day) & research permits if applicable
  • Accommodation upgrade available at local lodge (extra cost applies)
  • 3 meals per day provided on project, 6 days per week. 2 meals provided on Sunday

    Airport pickup in Dar es Salaam (extra cost US$22/$20)

    First night hostel accommodation (extra cost US$22/$20)

    Transport to the airport for connecting flight to the island (extra cost US$22/$20)

    Airport pickup form Mafia Island Airport and transfer to camp (extra cost US$7/$6)
    Local orientation 

  • Airport pick up on Mafia Island 
  • Transfer to camp from Mafia airport
  • Dar es Salaam airport pick up and first night hostel accommodation service available US$48/$44
  • Accommodation on camp
  • Food on camp
  • Local orientation
  • Project training
  • Project & group kit and materials
  • 24-hour in-country & international HQ emergency support & back-up
  • Lodge upgrades available
  • PADI Dive courses available (extra cost; see 'Extras')


  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Insurance

For detailed information on flights, visas and insurance, click here.


Please read our legal statement regarding the running of NGO projects.

To apply for this placement, click on "Apply Now" below. Fill in the short application form and one of our advisers will then call you back to answer any questions and make sure this is the perfect placement for you. Applying doesn't cost a penny and you won't pay anything until you're completely happy and you're ready to reserve your place.

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