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Tanzania Expedition Management

  • In Brief
  • The Project
  • What to Expect
  • Reviews
  • Gallery
  • Extras
  • Dates & Costs
  • Apply
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How To Apply

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BTEC Qualification

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Find out more about Tanzania

Start your adventure now by reading our country guide for Tanzania!

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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You will join an elite group of adventurers to trek and explore some of the most unique and interesting forest locations on Mafia Island, some of which have never been studied before!

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.

Whilst on the project you’ll discover a variety of Tanzania’s exotic species as you trek through regions of this beautiful island. Your journey will be incredibly challenging but a highly rewarding journey.

As expedition trainees you will learn all of the necessary leadership and expedition management skills; From how to plan, organise and implement projects, to leading your own treks, camp craft, navigation, field safety and an array of surveying techniques.

Working alongside other dedicated expedition volunteers, you’ll help to monitor the distribution and abundance of many groups of animals, and help assess how they are responding to human induced stress factors such as deforestation, habitat fragmentation and other forms of anthropogenic disturbance. Your expedition team will perform important research, assessing and comparing habitats, in the aims to inform local government about how to manage the remaining forests and conserve their invaluable natural assets.

But of course it is not all work, and after a hard days trekking and exploration you can always and relax on the golden beaches, snorkel in the crystal clear waters or play football!




  • Explore and trek through stunning bush and forest areas of Tanzania
  • Learn survival and survey skills
  • Make lifelong friends
Airport Pickup Camping Emergency Ground Transport Meals Research Mountainous Terrestrial Qualification Trekking Wildlife
Location Tanzania
Activities Pre-departure planning & preparation
Expedition skills
Expedition leadership
Scientific survey work
Transport Volunteers must make their way to Mafia Island
Accommodation Communal camp and satellite camps / wild camping

Before you go Pre-departure support
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Equipment advice
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt
UK expedition management training weekend
In-country Accommodation
Airport pick-up (extra cost applies)
Internal ground transfers & in-transit accommodation
Local orientation
Project training
Project equipment & materials
24-hour international HQ back-up
In-country emergency support
Free park & reserve entrance fees & research permits if applicable
Vocational qualification certificate in Expedition Management available


The projects aims are to contribute to the current understanding of the local environment and help conserve the spectacular array of wildlife found here.

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 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.

One of our long term aims is to establish a terrestrial protected zone to compliment that of the marine park. The major focus of this is the bird species of the island, particularly those in wetland habitats which have proven to support an array of rare and exciting species. Soon you will be aware of all the calls and behaviours of the birds here and able to ID individual species with simply a flash of feathers.


Along with your fellow Expedition trainees you will be responsible for planning you expedition itinerary, the logistics and procuring supplies for the trip. Planning taxi buses, getting directions and haggling with market traders will be much easier if you practice your Kiswahili, so it’s a great idea to practice before you arrive!

When you have made your travel plans then you will begin your adventure on boats, tuktuks and on foot in exploration of the breathtaking wetlands, plantations, forests and villages of Mafia Island. You can also expect to find yourself on one of the small local ferries which takes you across to the neighbouring islands of Chole, Juani or Jbondo.

You will be performing Rapid biodiversity assessments of areas to record the species present and evaluate the impacts of human activity in the area. This data may be vital to understanding of endemic species, the protection and conservation of their habitats for their future survival. The expedition will also explore new areas that may hold the potential for further research and conservation.

Scientific survey work will involve studying a number of indicator species using standardised rapid biodiversity assessment methodologies. The details of the programme will be put together by the Expedition Scientist but typically will include elements from:

  • Small mammal sampling
  • Amphibian & Reptile sampling
  • Butterfly trapping
  • Bird transects
  • Seychelles Flying fox behaviour surveys
  • Community level Timed Species Counts
  • Mangrove surveys
  • Terrestrial invertebrate sampling

You will be an important team member helping to make key decisions but will also have the opportunity to learn leadership skills and health and safety of expeditions.

You'll learn all the skills that you need to lead your own unforgettable expedition. These will include:

  • Pre-departure planning and preparation
  • Risk assessments
  • Personnel team selection
  • Fundraising
  • Marketing
  • Budgeting
  • Health and safety awareness
  • Expedition skills
  • Navigation
  • Expedition leadership
  • Route-planning
  • Debriefing
  • Team communication
  • Decision-making
  • Problem-solving
  • Taking responsibility

If this is your first time doing conservation work, don't worry! It will only take a short while for you to feel totally at home and confident with the science work. Although the work is intense you'll find that living in such a beautiful environment alongside friends who share your passion for conservation will be the experience of a lifetime!


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 in the small harbour town of Kilindoni. From here our staff can secure the best rates for your transfer 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.


Check out our Camp Tour video! 

During the project you will mainly be based 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!

When moving from camp to camp you will be sleeping in your tent or even under a tarpaulin under the starry sky. You will be assessed in camp set up, choosing a suitable place to camp ensuring that it's close to a water source and, if possible, with the best views! After you set up your tents, it's time to build a fire and get down to cooking your dinner of beans, rice, and vegetables, and whatever else you've brought. You will help run camp from day-to-day, taking turns to cook, collect firewood, purify water, and other essential camp duties.

Amazing Expedition  | 7 Aug 2009
The Expedition Management project was a fantastic experience, it was my first time to do anything...

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Participants on the Frontier-Tanzania Expedition Management Project can gain a nationally accredited BTEC Advanced Certificate in Expedition Management for an additional £260.

The Expedition Management BTEC incorporates the training and participatory learning already experienced by all volunteers on Frontier expeditions but adds depth to your experience by actively building your research and fieldwork skills under the close supervision of top field professionals. To complete the BTEC you'll fill in a daily work diary, one written survey plan and one verbal presentation, among other things.

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 £ 1,795


June, July, August

First Monday of month


4 weeks in length


Before you go

  • Pre-departure support
  • Travel & medical advice & documentation
  • Equipment advice
  • Discounted medical kit
  • Free Frontier t-shirt
  • UK expedition management training weekend



  • 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
  • Accommodation (on camp)
  • Food (on camp)
  • Internal ground transfers & in-transit accommodation
  • Local orientation
  • Project training
  • Project equipment & materials
  • 24-hour in-country & international HQ emergency support & back-up


Nearest airport(s): Dar es Salaam (DAR), Mafia Island (MFA)



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 .


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.


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.

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.