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Volunteer with Dolphins in Kenya

Help a dolphin conservation project by tracking and research dolphins in the Shimoni Archipelago

Program Details

Program Type

Volunteering

Location

Africa - Kenya - Shimoni

Program Focus

Marine Conservation

2 weeks from

£1,125.00

Code: KESH0170P
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Program Information

Assist with valuable dolphin research in the stunning Kisite-Mpunguti marine protected area in the Indian Ocean of Kenya's beautiful Shimoni Archipelago. Conduct surveys on dolphin populations, behaviour and location. Enjoy snorkelling and discover the coral reefs and abundant tropical fish.
Overview
Project Life
Project Details
Free Time
The Team
Dates & Costs

Overview

Join a team of international volunteers and assist with valuable dolphin research in the stunning Kisite-Mpunguti marine protected area in the Indian Ocean.

The surveys are conducted from a boat and data is collected on dolphin populations, behaviour and location. There are a range of different dolphins species such as bottlenose, humpback and spinner. In addition to this you may also snorkel colourful coral reefs to survey tropical reef fish and turtles. Relevant training is provided by GVI’s full time research staff.

Testimonials

"The staff were EXCELLENT. I was totally impressed by their enthusiasm, commitment and levels of knowledge. Every staff member was friendly, approachable and I felt that everyone was really excited to be there. It was also impeccably organised, safety was taken very seriously and the training provided was thorough and rigourous. But at the same time we were made to feel like we were also there to have fun, and lots of extras things were organised to make us have as much fun as possible."

- Zoe Muller, (United Kingdom)

GVI Live

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Since 2009 GVI health project have been working at Shimoni dispensary. Here is Kathryn dispensing drugs to clients. http://t.co/3tQUg0OVw4
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Shimoni Video

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  By mkwiro

Students

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Experiencing the amazing mega-fauna of the island that includes whales, whale sharks and manta rays (seasonal)
  • Snorkeling some of Kenya’s finest coral reefs in search of turtles
  • Immersion in traditional coastal Swahili culture
  • Living on an African island adjacent to Kenya’s finest marine protected area

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Airport Transfers

Parents

Why Study Abroad

GVI Difference

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Experiencing the amazing mega-fauna of the island that includes whales, whale sharks and manta rays (seasonal)
  • Snorkeling some of Kenya’s finest coral reefs in search of turtles
  • Immersion in traditional coastal Swahili culture
  • Living on an African island adjacent to Kenya’s finest marine protected area

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Airport Transfers

Course Life

You will be living on Wasini Island, known for its coastal forest, mangroves, sandy bays, coral reefs and friendly locals. Conditions are basic and accommodation is shared with volunteer teams from several GVI programs.

The survey work takes place in and around the Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Protected Area. When dolphins are sighted you will make note of general environmental conditions, conduct a dolphin behaviour survey and if possible photograph dolphins to help identify specific individuals.  The afternoons generally consist of data entry into the computer and trips to the mangroves to carry out bird surveys or mangrove clean ups.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Experiencing the amazing mega-fauna of the island that includes whales, whale sharks and manta rays (seasonal)
  • Snorkeling some of Kenya’s finest coral reefs in search of turtles
  • Immersion in traditional coastal Swahili culture
  • Living on an African island adjacent to Kenya’s finest marine protected area

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Airport Transfers

Course Details

Due to extremely limited knowledge of East African dolphins, local and international researchers have initiated the project, and GVI is focusing on examining the population ecology of local dolphin species from the Shimoni and Kisite-Mpunguti area.

The project work includes:

  • Collecting population and distribution data on marine mammals
  • Determining residence rates and habitat relationships
  • Assessing current human impact on dolphins and whales
  • Assisting partners in developing a ‘code of conduct’

Once the basic data on population ecology is gathered, GVI and our local partners will assess the levels of human impact to identify potential issues and (if required) propose appropriate mitigation measures.

How this project makes a difference:

GVI’s education, environmental awareness and wildlife research work with the local community has helped build capacity, assisted in the development of sustainable tourism practises and finally it has helped protect the area’s whale and dolphin species.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Experiencing the amazing mega-fauna of the island that includes whales, whale sharks and manta rays (seasonal)
  • Snorkeling some of Kenya’s finest coral reefs in search of turtles
  • Immersion in traditional coastal Swahili culture
  • Living on an African island adjacent to Kenya’s finest marine protected area

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Airport Transfers

Life on the Internship

You will be living on Wasini Island, known for its coastal forest, mangroves, sandy bays, coral reefs and friendly locals. Conditions are basic and accommodation is shared with volunteer teams from several GVI programs.

The survey work takes place in and around the Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Protected Area. When dolphins are sighted you will make note of general environmental conditions, conduct a dolphin behaviour survey and if possible photograph dolphins to help identify specific individuals.  The afternoons generally consist of data entry into the computer and trips to the mangroves to carry out bird surveys or mangrove clean ups.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Experiencing the amazing mega-fauna of the island that includes whales, whale sharks and manta rays (seasonal)
  • Snorkeling some of Kenya’s finest coral reefs in search of turtles
  • Immersion in traditional coastal Swahili culture
  • Living on an African island adjacent to Kenya’s finest marine protected area

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Airport Transfers

Program Details

Due to extremely limited knowledge of East African dolphins, local and international researchers have initiated the project, and GVI is focusing on examining the population ecology of local dolphin species from the Shimoni and Kisite-Mpunguti area.

The project work includes:

  • Collecting population and distribution data on marine mammals
  • Determining residence rates and habitat relationships
  • Assessing current human impact on dolphins and whales
  • Assisting partners in developing a ‘code of conduct’

Once the basic data on population ecology is gathered, GVI and our local partners will assess the levels of human impact to identify potential issues and (if required) propose appropriate mitigation measures.

How this project makes a difference:

GVI’s education, environmental awareness and wildlife research work with the local community has helped build capacity, assisted in the development of sustainable tourism practises and finally it has helped protect the area’s whale and dolphin species.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Experiencing the amazing mega-fauna of the island that includes whales, whale sharks and manta rays (seasonal)
  • Snorkeling some of Kenya’s finest coral reefs in search of turtles
  • Immersion in traditional coastal Swahili culture
  • Living on an African island adjacent to Kenya’s finest marine protected area

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Airport Transfers

Project Life

You will be living on Wasini Island, known for its coastal forest, mangroves, sandy bays, coral reefs and friendly locals. Conditions are basic and accommodation is shared with volunteer teams from several GVI programs.

The survey work takes place in and around the Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Protected Area. When dolphins are sighted you will make note of general environmental conditions, conduct a dolphin behaviour survey and if possible photograph dolphins to help identify specific individuals.  The afternoons generally consist of data entry into the computer and trips to the mangroves to carry out bird surveys or mangrove clean ups.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Experiencing the amazing mega-fauna of the island that includes whales, whale sharks and manta rays (seasonal)
  • Snorkeling some of Kenya’s finest coral reefs in search of turtles
  • Immersion in traditional coastal Swahili culture
  • Living on an African island adjacent to Kenya’s finest marine protected area

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Airport Transfers

Project Details

Due to extremely limited knowledge of East African dolphins, local and international researchers have initiated the project, and GVI is focusing on examining the population ecology of local dolphin species from the Shimoni and Kisite-Mpunguti area.

The project work includes:

  • Collecting population and distribution data on marine mammals
  • Determining residence rates and habitat relationships
  • Assessing current human impact on dolphins and whales
  • Assisting partners in developing a ‘code of conduct’

Once the basic data on population ecology is gathered, GVI and our local partners will assess the levels of human impact to identify potential issues and (if required) propose appropriate mitigation measures.

How this project makes a difference:

GVI’s education, environmental awareness and wildlife research work with the local community has helped build capacity, assisted in the development of sustainable tourism practises and finally it has helped protect the area’s whale and dolphin species.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Experiencing the amazing mega-fauna of the island that includes whales, whale sharks and manta rays (seasonal)
  • Snorkeling some of Kenya’s finest coral reefs in search of turtles
  • Immersion in traditional coastal Swahili culture
  • Living on an African island adjacent to Kenya’s finest marine protected area

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Airport Transfers

Free Time

Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program.

Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our Shimoni field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in Kenya!

Included Side Trips

During project you will embark on the fascinating community-based eco-tourism Slave Cave Tour in Shimoni village, exploring the natural caves that are currently home to bat colonies but over the years have served as a refuge for local people during tribal clashes, a slave holding pen on the way to markets in Zanzibar and more recently a kaya shrine.

Optional Side Trips

Please note these additional side trips are not included in the program but can be easily organised on the ground after arrival.

Closer to base, you can support various eco-tourism initiatives in the surrounding communities, such as traditional fishing trips with the Mkwiro fishermen in their dug-out canoes, Swahili cooking classes or trips through large underground limestone caves at Tswaka.

An amazing day trip is to Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary, a community reserve in the hills near Shimba where game drives will bring you close to herds of protected African elephants. You can also see how the community turn elephant dung into recycled paper products for sale to tourists as an income generating scheme.

For something longer than a day, you should consider an overnight trip to Shimba Hills National Reserve, home to African elephants, buffalo, giraffe, warthog and Kenya’s only breeding population of sable antelope. The south coast of Kenya is dotted with several stunning white sand beaches where some of the more popular beach towns offer ocean sports such as kite-surfing, kayaking and diving. Tiwi Beach offers a more relaxed experience with very few tourists present.

Mombasa can also be visited over a weekend, a city that combines the historic old town and traditional Swahili culture with modern city life, restaurants, bars and clubs. As well as its beautiful beaches, the nearby Haller Park is an ecological restoration project that offers opportunities to get close to giraffe, hippopotamus, buffalo, waterbuck, crocodile and the giant Aldabra tortoise.

Further Travel Opportunities

Kenya is a large and extremely diverse country in terms of both culture and nature. Over three to four days you can undertake a safari that takes in the vast Tsavo East and West National Parks, or the famous Amboseli or Maasai Mara National Parks, all home to incredible wildlife viewing opportunities. You can journey further up Kenya’s coastline to visit Watamu and Malindi home to the Gedi Ruins and Arabuko Sokoke Forest National Park. Or for something less active, try Lamu Island, a tranquil getaway, steeped in Swahili history, tradition and culture.

Even further afield in Kenya including Lakes Naivasha and Victoria and national parks such as Nakuru, Hell’s Gate and Samburu. Our operations lie close to the Tanzanian border and onward travel here offers some of Africa’s most famous names; the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Mt Kilimanjaro and the Zanzibar Islands.

 

The Team

Kayleigh Ford
Country Expert

Meet Kayleigh, who was actually nearly named ‘Kellogs’. Yes, like the breakfast cereal. Can you imagine hearing “Hi, I’m Kellogs, your GVI Country Expert” Ha! She initially joined us as a volunteer both in India and in Kenya and later went back as field staff in Kenya before joining us here at HQ.

Kayleigh’s one travel must-have? “A guide book, or at least access to some kind of information on the countries you’re travelling to, and a pot of marmite.” That’s two, Kayleigh. “You never know when all you are going to have to eat is plain toast or a cheese sandwich and you need to make it more interesting!”

Kellogs’ favourite aspect of being based at HQ? “Getting to spend my work days discussing volunteer trips to two of my favourite countries- India and Kenya! How many other people get to talk about things they love all day long and get paid for doing it?!”

Lucy Grehan
Terrestrial Science Officer

Meet Lucy, our Terrestrial Science Officer in Shimoni. As wildlife conservation student, she initially joined GVI as a wildlife conservation intern to gain practical experience before staying on as a part of the team.

What does Lucy think volunteers bring to the projects? ” Without a doubt, the program would not be able to run without the volunteers. The sheer amount of data volunteers help us to collect is immense, and so vitally important.”

Lucy’s highlights since working for GVI? “Setting up a new partner project in Kenya’s Western province, where I worked with a grassroots community group in Kenya’s last rainforest was amazing. Also, seeing the new health and construction programs growing, and the huge benefits the community are experiencing from that.”

Sergi Pérez Jorge
Marine Research Supervisor

Meet Sergi, our Marine Research Supervisor in Shimoni. Sergi’s been involved in the project since 2008 and has seen it progress to being a very valuable project scientifically. “GVI Kenya have contributed one of the largest marine mammal databases in East Africa.”

A former marine mammal researcher in southern Spain who conducted his Master’s thesis on a bottlenose dolphins, Sergi really appreciates the input of the volunteers on Shimoni’s research projects. “This project wouldn’t be feasible without volunteers. There aren’t many marine mammal projects around the world that can collect data for so many years so consistently.”

Sergi’s highlights since working for GVI? “One of my favourite experiences is seeing the volunteers enjoying the marine surveys and their excitement when they learn about marine biodiversity. A huge highlight though, was seeing one of the local National Scholarship Program participants becoming the Program Manager.

Zeno Wijtten
Country Director

Meet Zeno, our Country Director in Kenya. He used to work on Crocodile Morphology and Ecology and has even trekked the Sierra Madre mountain range in the North of the Philippines in search of one of the last members of a critically endangered freshwater crocodile population.

His most memorable moments since he started working with GVI? Was discovering a population of ‘hidden’ African Skimmer Birds at Lake Turkana, which turned to represent almost 40 percent of the world population. “That, and when my cat left a snake at my bed as a ‘present’, which turned out to be a new species for Kenya!”

His favourite aspect of his job? ”Seeing people being in awe of everything new around them, realising and completely accepting how different their world of experiences suddenly has become.”

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What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Experiencing the amazing mega-fauna of the island that includes whales, whale sharks and manta rays (seasonal)
  • Snorkeling some of Kenya’s finest coral reefs in search of turtles
  • Immersion in traditional coastal Swahili culture
  • Living on an African island adjacent to Kenya’s finest marine protected area

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Airport Transfers

Our Impact

Location

Shimoni

Shimoni is a peninsula located next to the Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Protected Area, which lies at the tip of the Pemba Channel, 76km south of Mombasa, as part of a large bay area which makes up the Shimoni Archipelago. With stretches of white sand beaches, fringing coral reefs and scattered with islands, Shimoni is a tropical haven and divers’ paradise. The expedition’s main base is located on Wasini Island, situated alongside the famous Kisite National Marine Park.

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