Turtle Conservation in Zanzibar
Love the sea and want to be a Turtle Conservation volunteer in Zanzibar? International Volunteer HQ’s Turtle Conservation project is a great way for volunteers to gain experience and learn about the challenges of protecting wild turtles. Volunteers will spend time on the beach helping with a range of conservation tasks, including breeding programs and treatment and rehabilitation of injured turtles, that aim to boost the turtle population near Zanzibar.
- Programs start on the first and third Wednesday of every month
- Affordable fees from $610 for 1 week
- Includes accommodation, meals, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
- Help with cleaning, feeding, and caring for injured turtles
- Explore the stunning natural environment of Zanzibar
- Stay with other volunteers in a beachside bungalow in Nungwi
Who is this program suited to?
What to expect and how you'll make an impact
Nungwi is home to some of Zanzibar’s finest beaches. With white coral sand that seems to glow day and night, it is a popular tourist destination. Volunteers have the opportunity to get involved in helping boost wild turtle populations and assist with treating and releasing injured turtles.
As a Turtle Conservation volunteer you’ll be based at the Nungwi Marine Turtle Sanctuary. The sanctuary is a long established conservation program where injured marine turtles are treated and looked after at a natural lagoon. The turtles are released several times per year and the project also breeds turtle eggs at a safe location until the baby turtles hatch. Young turtles are kept at various pools and at the lagoon. They are released into the ocean once they reach a size that guarantees a higher chance of survival in the wild.
Volunteers will be involved in tasks such as:
- Cleaning the turtles, lagoon and pools
- Collecting seaweed
- Feeding the turtles
- Medically treating injured and sick turtles (under supervision of local staff)
- Guiding tourists visiting the lagoon.
Why do Turtle Conservation volunteering in Nungwi with IVHQ?
As a Turtle Conservation volunteer in Zanzibar you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:
- Protecting and boosting turtle populations in Nungwi
- Developing your communication skills
- Gaining turtle care knowledge and experience
- Learning about marine conservation and preservation
- Exploring Zanzibar and its amazing beaches
- Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
- Volunteers aged 16-18 are required to provide IVHQ with parental consent in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team
- All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
- All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
- All volunteers must speak fluent English.
”This is an incredibly enjoyable experience that I hope has made an impact on the local community and wildlife. I wish I could have stayed longer as It began to feel like family. I hope one day to come back and visit.”
Read reviews from Turtle Conservation volunteers in NungwiSee more reviews
The Marine Turtle Sanctuary is based at Nungwi, a small town perched on the northern tip of Zanzibar. With spectacular beaches and a coral reef, there is plenty of fishing, snorkeling, diving, sightseeing and relaxing to be done.
Arrival and orientation
Volunteers need to arrive in Zanzibar on their start date and their orientation will take place the following day.
After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ) in Zanzibar. Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee. We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarized letter from their parents to support their documentation.
When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the Wednesday night before your Thursday program orientation. If you are traveling in Tanzania prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Zanzibar on your start date.
Orientation is hosted by our local team at the volunteer accommodation. Orientation begins on the Thursday morning after your chosen start date. Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Zanzibar – an introduction to Zanzibar, Zanzibar customs, rules and expectations, language lessons (Kiunguja), safety, travel opportunities in Zanzibar, and an introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers.
Volunteer schedule example
On the first day of the volunteering placement, you will be escorted to the project by our local staff and introduced to the staff at the placement you will be working with.
Weekdays - A typical day would be as follows:
|8:30 AM||Volunteers travel to their placements|
|1:00 - 2:00 PM||Lunch at the volunteer accommodation|
|9:00 PM||Volunteers resume work for the afternoon|
|9:00 PM||Dinner at the accommodation|
Volunteers have free time on the weekends and are able to make the most of the gorgeous beaches, explore Zanzibar’s historic Stone Town or other towns, shop for souvenirs, or enjoy a range of adventure and outdoor activities including snorkeling, diving, swimming, wildlife viewing and fishing. If you’re staying for a while you may also like to fly back to mainland Tanzania or other parts of Africa where you can go on safari or otherwise explore.
Accommodation and WiFi
Volunteers on the Turtle Conservation project stay in a beachside bungalow. You can expect to share with 1 to 5 other volunteers of the same gender.
Bedding is provided, however you will need to bring your own towel and toiletries. It is also recommended to bring a sleeping bag for weekends away. There is a cook who prepares meals for the volunteers and the local team are also available on a daily basis during the week for support and via phone over the weekend.
If you would like to keep connected during your stay, we recommend bringing an unlocked mobile phone and the local team will provide you with a local SIM card at your orientation. The local team will provide more information on how to top up your SIM at the orientation. For volunteers in the Turtle Conservation project you can also access WiFi at local cafes and restaurants.
If you would like to arrive a day earlier than your recommended arrival date, or wish to spend a few extra nights after finishing your program, we can arrange extra nights of accommodation for you for $29 per person, per night on the Turtle Conservation project. Meals are included, and extra nights are subject to availability. There is an additional surcharge attached when volunteers need airport pick-up earlier than their Wednesday start date.
If you would like to arrange extra nights of accommodation, just make a note in your application or contact your IVHQ Program Manager who will be happy to assist you.
Zanzibar’s cuisine varies across the island, owing to the difference in produce inland and along the coast. The immigration of Khoja Indians has resulted in local dishes influenced by Indian cuisine. Staple foods in Zanzibar include rice, ugali (maize porridge), chapati and coconut milk.
Volunteers are served three meals per day. Breakfast usually consists of a hot Zanzibari spice tea, instant coffee, chapati, mandazi (deep fried dough), toast with jam, and fruit.
Lunch and dinner are usually plain white rice or pilau rice (which in Zanzibar includes cardamom, cinnamon and cloves), pasta, french fries or ugali with meat or vegetables (usually carrot, potatoes, peas, okra) typically cooked in a coconut sauce that contains some herbs and spices.
Please note that while the local team can cater for vegetarians, they are not able to cater to other special dietary requirements or requests, you should not expect to eat as you normally do at home and there is the need to be flexible or prepared to supplement the food provided. If supplementing food, volunteers must note that the kitchen is not available for volunteer use.
Bottled water is readily available in Zanzibar and volunteers should budget approximately $5 per week for 2 liters per day.
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
|1 week||$610 Equivalent to $88/day|
|2 weeks||$865 Equivalent to $62/day|
|3 weeks||$1,120 Equivalent to $54/day|
|4 weeks||$1,375 Equivalent to $50/day|
|5 weeks||$1,630 Equivalent to $47/day|
|6 weeks||$1,885 Equivalent to $45/day|
|8 weeks||$2,395 Equivalent to $43/day|
|10 weeks||$2,870 Equivalent to $41/day|
|12 weeks||$3,310 Equivalent to $40/day|
- 24/7 in-country support
- In-country program orientation
- Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
- Airport pick-up
- Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
- Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
- Certificate of International Volunteering
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of $299 in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
- A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
- Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations and criminal background check.
- Please note: Volunteers staying for 2 weeks or more will need to budget US$200 to obtain a work permit.
- Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Zanzibar generally find US$50-75 per week to be sufficient for expenses.
Check what's required to visit Zanzibar
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Safety and support
IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.
- All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
- All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
- All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
- All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Protecting against COVID-19:
Volunteers tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of travel
Health & safety information provided during orientation
Strict disinfecting standards for programs & accomodation
Greater physical distance between volunteers
Essential country information
|Languages||Swahili and English|
|Currency||Tanzanian Shilling (TZS)|
Weather and climate:
Zanzibar follows very similar weather patterns to that of mainland Tanzania but is always a little more humid and warm weather should be expected all year round. The island’s rainy season runs from March through May when humidity is high and afternoon downpours are common. The dry season occurs from June through October and rain is infrequent. During November and December there’s another short rainy season followed by a short dry season across January and February.