Join us in what some explorers believed to be the Garden of Eden. Work with one of the leading marine and terrestrial data collection organizations in the Seychelles and contribute to priority conservation projects, preserving the very delicate ecosystems of this island nation.
On this expedition volunteers will focus on several key conservation efforts within and around the Curieuse Island National Park. Volunteers may be involved in the following:
- Turtle surveys (Sept-Mar) involving beach patrols and monitoring of nests. Water snorkeling may also be involved.
- Coco de Mer surveys which record information on male/female species. Volunteers visit Valle de Mer on Praslin island and get the chance to meet Chris Kaiser, consultant and researcher of the endemic species.
- Giant Tortoise census of the population living on Curieuse. These animals are hunted and eggs taken to either eat or sell on as pets. Volunteers get involved in assisting rangers with tracking and monitoring as well as the counting of any new nests and eggs.
- Mangrove census in an attempt to rehabilitate the plantations destroyed in the 2004 Tsunami.
- Volunteers conduct bird surveys during hikes around the island, using both sight and sound surveying methodologies.
This expedition requires a full time commitment. Depending on your length of stay volunteers can expect to have a few free weekends to explore the surround islands.
Where you’ll stay
During your project dates, your accommodation and food are included in the project cost. The base is located on Curieuse Island, surrounded by waters rich in marine wildlife. The island is situated in a protected National Marine Park and our program implementer is the only international organization allowed to operate there. Accommodation is basic and you will be sharing in mixed-gender dorm rooms with bunkbeds. There is limited running water and you can expect bucket showers. Food is basic (rice, pasta, potatoes with fresh vegetable orders once a week). Volunteers take turns preparing the daily meals in the communal kitchen. There is very limited mobile reception and volunteers are allowed to bring their laptops, however charging times are limited and priority is given to communication equipment.
Activities & Training
Things to do
Volunteers are welcome to organize side trips for their free time or before/after their project experience. Associated costs and travel expenses are not included in the project fee and need to be factored into your budget. 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), which is thought, by early explorers, to be the original “Garden of Eden”. 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. Victoria is the capital city of the Seychelles, the smallest capital city in the world. Volunteers often visit to use internet cafes, do a little shopping, or visit the market to soak up the local atmosphere. 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 while enjoying the company of locals going about their daily lives.
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 every 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.
Orientation and Training
Staff in the field will provide training on the skills required, but volunteers may benefit from learning more about local history, culture and customs before you travel.
Good to Know
All volunteers are encouraged to learn more about local history, culture and customs before travelling. All training will be taught in the field.
Volunteers need not have any specific skills – just an enthusiasm and passion for contributing to the project and the local partner objectives. Volunteers need to be physically fit and healthy as they will be hiking long distances daily. As a result of the basic living conditions volunteers need to be flexible and able to work well in teams and people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds.
Volunteers will need to be fluent in English.
Health and safety
A change of environment, climate, food and lifestyle often results in minor, and occasionally more serious, illness. Please inform staff if you feel unwell at any time. The nearest medical facilities are located in Victoria on Mahé Island, a short boat ride away. We have emergency procedures for all foreseeable events, the staff are first aid trained, and you will receive a safety briefing on arrival.
Please note we cannot provide specific medical advice. Please consult your primary care provider (doctor, GP, etc.) or visit a travel clinic for further information leading up to your trip. Please be forthcoming about any health issues before you begin the project as failure to do so may have serious consequences for you, the staff and other participants, including your removal from the program.
We have a small safe on base for money and passports. The biggest risks result from weather related hazards.
The Curieuse program is a very rewarding but physically challenging experience. All the survey locations are accessed by hiking on or off trail, often to very remote parts of the island. There are rough rocky tourist trails, steep in places, which are used for some of the closer hikes, e.g. turtle surveys on the south coast (1.5km return trip), mangrove surveys (2.5km), tortoises at the Ranger Station (3.5km), and most surveys are conducted in the full tropical sun. The longest hike is to Grand Anse (5km return trip), several km of which are off trail on difficult terrain. The most physically demanding survey is Coco de Mer, while not the greatest distance (3.5km), the entire survey area is located on a remote, steep, rocky hillside and equipment is carried by hand. Participants will generally conduct two surveys per day, returning to base for lunch, although some of the longer ones may stay out all day.
Volunteers have the option of meeting the field team at La Louise Lodge near Victoria or in the car park behind the Pearl Noire restaurant in Beau Vallon at 7:30AM on the project start date.
If you plan to arrive early, we recommend the following accommodation options:
Tel: (+248) 4247016
Beau Vallon Bungalows
Tel: (+248) 4247382
La Louise Lodge
La Louise (Nr. Victoria)
Tel: (+248) 4344349
Lemongrass Lodge, Beau Vallon
Tel: (+248) 2578025
At the end of the expedition, you will be transferred back to Mahé Island on the expedition end date. We will provide a transfer from the ferry if volunteers are heading to the airport or staying in Beau Vallon. If planning to stay elsewhere, volunteers will be required to organize transport at their own cost.
Field staff advise that volunteers enter the country using a tourist visa stating reason for entering as ‘for Tourism’. For most nationalities this visa can be obtained upon arrival. We advise volunteers check with the immigration authorities/embassies of they countries they will be visiting.
Volunteers need to ensure they have an onward plane ticket as they will not be allowed into the Seychelles without one.
Upon entry volunteers will either be given a one week or one month visa. Do not worry if the visa issued is for less time than that of your program. Our field staff will obtain a visa extension to cover the duration of your trip to a maximum of three months.
If you are on a 12 week expedition, please ensure that you do not exceed the three month limit by arriving too early or remaining in the country following the program. Should you exceed the three month limit, Seychelles Immigration will require you to pay $400 for a visa extension.