Volunteer in Seychelles

Help protect the habitats and species of an extraordinary tropical island.

Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the islands of Seychelles offer you picturesque beaches, balmy seas and tropical habitats teeming with wildlife like dolphins, sharks, rays and sea turtles. Join exciting marine and coastal conservation programs in paradise – dive or snorkel, learn how to identify tropical fish, conduct surveys on beautiful birds like herons and egrets, or swim through colourful canopies of coral.

Overview

Based at our Cap Ternay research station on the island of Mahe, when you volunteer or intern in Seychelles with GVI you’ll experience a country famed for its extraordinary endemic flora and fauna, unspoiled beaches, pristine island jungles and beautiful coral reefs! When you join a volunteer project in Seychelles, you can choose to spend your days scuba-diving to assist with underwater research, snorkelling to collect data on shallow water creatures, discovering magical mangrove swamps or hiking through palm forests.

Witnessing bucket-list tropical marine animals and coastal creatures in Seychelles is a truly special experience. These could include:

 

  • Dolphins.
  • Whale sharks.
  • Reef sharks.
  • Octopus.
  • Hawksbill sea turtles.
  • Green sea turtles.
  • Eagle rays, spotted rays, round ribbontail and stingrays.
  • Tropical fish like parrotfish, angelfish and boxfish.
  • Large fish like yellowfin tuna, dorado and wahoo.
  • Crabs, lobsters and clams.
  • Sea cucumbers.
  • Birds like the common miner, Seychelles kestrel, Seychelles blue pigeon, turtle dove, Seychelles sunbird, herons and egrets.
  • Skinks, geckos, bats and frogs.

 

Our Seychelles research station in Cap Ternay offers a variety of options to help you make a genuine difference during your volunteering holiday, gap year or career break. With a range of marine, wildlife and island conservation programs to choose from, you can contribute to a variety of local research projects and gain practical work experience – all while having the time of your life with new friends in the sunshine. 

Depending on the program you choose, you’ll get the opportunity to complete your PADI Divemaster with our qualified trainers. Or if you’re not keen on diving, we have a number of snorkelling programs where you’ll still get to experience the marvels of the ocean without doing any scuba training or deeper dives.

Seychelles may seem like a far-off tropical getaway, but it has strong connections to Africa. Situated 1,500 km east of the African continent, Seychelles is considered part of the African region, and has a lot of cultural, linguistic and historical similarities with its neighbouring countries. The plants and animals that call these islands home can also be found in Africa and Madagascar, which shows how deeply connected the region is.

Volunteer opportunities in Africa offer an abundance of wildlife to experience and interesting cultures to explore. If you volunteer in Africa, you will get a chance to make a difference in either Madagascar, South Africa or Seychelles – the beautiful island country surrounded by the Indian Ocean.

Turn your passion into your profession with career-specific programs

We also run a range of internships, professional apprenticeships and research fellowships in Seychelles. These are ideal for those looking to conduct hands-on scientific research, publish a scientific paper, learn from PHD-holding experts, and kick-start their career through work placements and a job guarantee on completion of selected programs.

Our programs

Volunteering
Marine Conservation Expedition in the Seychelles
Volunteering
Island Conservation Expedition with Snorkelling in Seychelles
Volunteering
Island Biodiversity Surveying Citizen Science Project in Seychelles
Research Fellowship
Wildlife Conservation Research Fellowship in Seychelles
Internship
Marine Conservation Internship in Seychelles
Internship
Island Conservation Internship with Snorkelling in Seychelles
Professional Apprenticeship
PADI Divemaster and Marine Conservation Apprenticeship in Seychelles
Research Fellowship
Marine Conservation Research Fellowship in Seychelles
Volunteering
Climate Change and Coral Bleaching in Seychelles
Volunteering
Island Nations Climate Change and Biodiversity Volunteer in Seychelles
Internship
Coral Reef Ecology and Conservation Internship in Seychelles
Professional Apprenticeship
PADI Divemaster and Marine Conservation Apprenticeship in the Indian Ocean
Included in your program, at no extra cost

Make the most of our unique programs with these exclusively curated local adventure and wellness experiences.

Offered once a month, expand your adventure with GVI Experiences. These are just some of the activities offered on your program!
Learn to cook traditional Seychellois Creole dishes
Learn to cook traditional Seychellois Creole dishes
Visit the Mission Ruins at Venn's Town
Visit the Mission Ruins at Venn's Town
Paddleboard across the bay
Paddleboard across the bay
Hike through lush forests and across rocky plateaus
Hike through lush forests and across rocky plateaus
Explore the ocean at night with a dive/snorkel
Explore the ocean at night with a dive/snorkel
Discover rare and endemic species of plants
Discover rare and endemic species of plants
Swim at a secret beach
Swim at a secret beach
Go fishing with local fishers
Go fishing with local fishers
Location

Where does GVI work in Seychelles?

Our research station is located on the northwestern peninsula of Mahe, nestled between the Morne Seychellois National Park and the Baie Ternay Marine Protected Area in the Cap Ternay region.

From here, with the beach, ocean and jungle literally on our doorstep, we run a number of marine wildlife and island conservation projects with a focus on protecting biodiversity. You’ll work on restoring habitats and monitoring the health of coral reefs, seagrass and mangrove ecosystems to help protect the wonderful wildlife and plant species that live here. 

Based in a marine protected area filled with an abundance of marine life, such as tropical fish, rays, dolphins, sea turtles, whale sharks and reef sharks, you have the opportunity to spend your days scuba-diving while contributing to marine research and conservation initiatives. You’ll also have the chance to gain advanced diving qualifications, including your PADI Advanced Open Water and the PADI Reef Ecosystem Diver (RESD) Specialty.

If you’d love to go to Seychelles, but you’re not keen to scuba-dive, we have a number of island adventure and wildlife programs to choose from that don’t involve taking a backward plunge! You can snorkel, hike and go on beach patrols to contribute to a variety of coastal conservation projects and collect data to assist with the protection of a huge variety of island species. From lobsters and crabs, to endemic birds (like the Seychelles sunbird and Seychelles kestrel), to skinks and frogs.

What kind of volunteer opportunities does GVI offer in Seychelles?

GVI offers a range of volunteer projects in Seychelles. On our climate change and coral bleaching program, you’ll assist researchers in monitoring specific dive sites for coral reef recovery, participate in coral rehabilitation initiatives, and learn about coral bleaching and efforts to limit its damage. 

Participants on our marine conservation expedition program contribute to marine species research, conservation-related surveys, data collection for the Seychelles Parks and Gardens Authority (SPGA) and local government, marine plastic pollution cleanups and environmental education awareness.

On our island conservation expedition, you’ll experience firsthand how island systems are impacted by climate change and participate in a variety of local projects in partnership with SPGA to help protect island biodiversity. You’ll get involved with beach profiling and a range of surveys on frogs and crabs, mangroves, birds, invertebrates or invasive species – either through snorkelling or hiking expeditions.

Along with our volunteer programs, GVI also offers the following internship, apprenticeship and research fellowship programs in Seychelles:

What to expect when you volunteer in Seychelles

If you’re wondering what life on a volunteer or internship program in Seychelles really looks like, we’ve compiled the following information based on the personal experience of our participants. Learn more about the location, our research station and what you can expect when you join a program in Seychelles. 

About Seychelles

Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 tropical islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean, 1,500 kilometres off East Africa. Seychelles is the tropical island paradise many dream of, with its dramatic lush green landscape, a vibrant culture, and a rich flora and fauna both above and below the water. 

The capital of Victoria is your main centre point on the island of Mahe, and you can easily explore this beautiful island by public transport or private vehicle.

Diving in Seychelles

The abundance of wildlife and ecological diversity is phenomenal, which makes a conservation volunteering adventure in Seychelles ideal. This also makes scuba-diving in Seychelles one of many great choices of activities – you can do this during your volunteering project or in your free time! Some of the best diving in Seychelles is around the main island at Baie Ternay Marine National Park.

Snorkelling in Seychelles

Snorkelling in the warm waters of a tropical island offers you an unforgettable underwater experience, but with minimal effort, and equipment! After a quick training session, put on your mask and snorkel and off you go into the crystal-clear waters. You might get up close and personal with beautiful fish, corals, crabs, manta rays and whale sharks – and most importantly, you’ll capture data on them to help inform conservation projects.

GVI’s partner in Seychelles

Baie Ternay Marine National Park is one of the primary areas that has been affected by coral bleaching over the years. This site is protected by the Seychelles Parks and Gardens Authority (SPGA), one of GVI’s partners in conservation in Seychelles. It is currently undergoing strong rehabilitation efforts to try to rebuild and regrow a healthier, thriving marine environment.

Other partners we work with in Seychelles include:

  • Coral Watch
  • The Ocean Conservancy
  • Seagrass Watch
  • Olive Ridley Project (ORP)
  • GOS-GEF-UNDP Ridge to Reef project
  • Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT)
  • Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA)
  • PADI
  • The Marine Conservation Society, Seychelles (MCSS)
  • Blue Economy Research Institute (BERI Labs)

Location info

When you volunteer in Seychelles, you’ll be based at GVI’s research station in Cap Ternay – which is located on the main Island of Mahe, close to the Baie Ternay Marine National Park. This is where you’ll work on projects related to volunteering in marine and island conservation in Seychelles, and can gain your PADI Advanced Open Water all the way up to your Divemaster!

If you’re looking to jump into the conservation industry, this the perfect opportunity to begin your journey.

What to expect

Life on base is exciting, but it’s also normal to feel a bit nervous at first.! But rest assured, our participants usually say that they already feel at home within the first few hours thanks to our friendly team members.

Our Cap Ternay research station is located in the heart of a remote natural area surrounded by jungle and green palm trees. This area is not really open to the public, but you might encounter the occasional tourist.

On arrival you’ll have a meeting with the other volunteers and staff members. They’ll show you around and allow you to take in the tropical atmosphere before getting started on the exciting work you will be doing over the coming week or months!

Accommodation on base

Rooms on base are basic dormitory style (mixed males and females). There are three dorm rooms for volunteers on Cap Ternay, each with around 6–10 single beds. There are male and female bathrooms with cold water showers, which believe it or not is very much welcomed after a hot day in this tropical climate!

The hub is very active on environmental awareness (as is most of Seychelles). Keeping up with the recycling is part of daily duties that every volunteer will partake in. This is usually split into groups and duties will consist of kitchen, grounds tanks and boat duties etc.

Life on base

Base life is a very relaxed environment. In your free time you can hang around relaxing and reading in a hammock, or you can take a walk to the beach or to the nearby resort. Daylight hours are pretty minimal in Seychelles with it being so close to the equator, but after a long day of scuba-diving or carrying out on-land field work, studying or maybe taking a stroll up the local Mount Matoopa, an early night is really appreciated.

Your work week will typically run from Sunday through Thursday, with Friday and Saturday as your weekends. Working days are typically from 6am till around 5pm, dependent on current studies and weather conditions.

Food on base is varied but mostly vegetarian. Meals are usually rice or pasta based, and meat is usually offered as a treat once or twice a week. Breakfast consists of porridge oats and fresh fruit. Other foods and drinks available are fruit, tea, coffee and water which is drinkable from the tap on base. There are shops available for those extra little treats you require.

Weekends are your free time

Spend it on the public transport to explore Mahe, rent a car for those out of the way hikes and beaches to explore some of the other inner Islands, such as Praslin, a 75-minute ferry ride, explore UNESCO sites, beaches and experience the laid back island life. From Praslin you can also catch a ferry to explore La Digue to experience even more about the Seychellois culture and enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation. 

Here most people get around on push bikes, so you can hop on your bike and explore Grand Anse – voted by CNN as the best beach in the world – or visit one of the most photographed beaches in the world, Anse Source d’Argent. You can also visit Veuve Nature Reserve home to the rare and endemic black paradise flycatcher bird. No matter which island you chose to spend your weekend on, you’ll be guaranteed beautiful beaches and incredible tropical wildlife!

Consider taking a weekend trip to Curieuse Island to visit the Aldabra giant tortoises. A short boat ride will get you there, where you can see these massive, friendly tortoises in their natural habitat. Explore the island’s beautiful beaches and lush landscape, and you’re sure to come across these incredible creatures. It’s a great way to enjoy Seychelles’ natural beauty and get a close-up look at some of the world’s largest tortoises.

Local costs

Costs in Seychelles can vary. The local currency is the Seychellois rupee, but they do accept US dollars and Euros if you forget to change your money. We always recommend using the local currency. Cash machines are widely used in most areas on the main island.

Local produce in Seychelles is mostly excellent value for money. 

If you are looking for food or beverages, your best place to go would be the local markets – these are usually held weekly and found in the capital of Victoria or around Beau Vallon. Supermarkets can be extremely overpriced on certain items, especially if they are imported.

Transport in and around Mahe Island is cheap – the bus fare is reasonably priced and probably the most cost effective way of getting around the island. Car hire is also available at relatively low prices, but transport to the outer islands can be very expensive.

Off-base accommodation

Seychelles has many varieties of accommodation to choose from, some of which start at a very reasonable price. They vary from basic chalets on the beach to the top exclusive five-star resorts. If you are looking for good value accommodation, be sure to book well in advance. Here are a couple that are very popular and good value in Beau Vallon, which is the main tourist area. Beau Vallon is also the GVI drop off/pick up point so a convenient place to stay before or after your trip.

  • Georgina’s Cottage: This is right on the beach and a great walking distance of restaurants and shops. Great service and great hosts!
  • Beau Vallon Bungalows: This is also in very close proximity to Georgina’s Cottage, great walking distance of all amenities.

Highlights/top tips

  • Scuba-diving and snorkelling. Some of my own personal highlights from my volunteer work were scuba-diving and snorkelling. I would strongly recommend snorkelling while you’re in Seychelles as the crystal blue waters are exactly as you see in the pictures! Diving is not the cheapest but it’s reasonable – do your own research on top dive destinations and dive schools. If you choose to do a project with GVI, your hub manager should be able to suggest who is good to go with. My personal suggestion would be the Underwater Centre in Beau Vallon, but you also have many more to choose from in this area.
  • Beautiful beaches! Baie Ternay Marine National Park is one of the best, and Police Bay and Port Launay are just a few of the many beautiful beaches on the main island. To drive around the whole island would take 2–3 hours. It can be easily done and you will see most of the coastline. For the outer islands, Bird Island, La Digue and Praslin are some of my top choices. Praslin is famed for its spectacular coco de mer forest, and this in itself is probably worth the visit.
  • Trekking through forests, seeing spectacular viewpoints, visiting tea plantations, going to local markets, enjoying Seychellois culture at local festivals and many more, but I will leave some to the imagination! The rest is up to you and how you create your own adventure while volunteering in Seychelles!

Useful information

While you’re in Seychelles, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Health: I suggest travelling a couple of days before and after the project has finished because jet lag and heat can be tough, especially in certain seasons. It is hot all year round so look after your health, especially when diving. Drink plenty of water and keep hydrated more than usual.
  • Daylight hours: When you volunteer in Seychelles, try not to be out after dark. Although Seychelles is mostly a very safe place, it’s not worth the risk of being out alone at night by yourself so if you are out, travel in a group. 
  • Bugs: Insects are a part of this tropical climate, so make sure you bring your mosquito net and insect repellent. Remember nothing DEET-based – only natural products such as citronella are allowed.
  • Mobile use abroad: Seychelles have cheap and reliable pay-as-you-go SIM cards which are the most cost-effective way to stay in touch while you are away, but make sure your phone is unlocked. Alternatively you can buy a cheap phone to use if you are staying on the island for a couple of months or more. These are best purchased in Victoria before arriving on base as opportunities are very limited once you have arrived. You can also find them in some shops in Beau Vallon. Cable and Wireless, while costing a few dollars more, is recommended as it has much better reception while on base. 

Join us!

Overall, Seychelles is a spectacular place to visit. To be able to do a volunteer program, internship or work placement here is an opportunity not many will have. We will give you support and guidance all the way through your program – we’re happy to help however we can. 

The work the teams have carried out over the years has made a dramatic impact, and the goal is to keep this going for many more years to come. We just need more people like you who are willing to help! There isn’t a better place to do something so meaningful than in the tropical paradise that is Seychelles.