WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
Mafia Island Marine Park
Mafia Island is about as close as you can get to the quintessential Indian Ocean tropical paradise. The tiny island of about 40,000 is a friendly, laid-back place that has long been praised as a diver and sea angler's paradise.
Mafia's luxuriant mangroves, luminous sea grass beds and dazzling coral reefs play host to a multitude of tropical reef fish, thorny and spotted seahorses and four species of graceful and gentle sea turtles. Offshore there are dolphins and manta rays, and the deeper waters are a regular stop-off for migrating humpback whales and giant whale sharks. You can experience all this when you join the Frontier beach-camp on Mafia Island and spend time snorkelling in the crystal clear, immaculate waters of Tanzania's exclusive Marine Park.
Conserving the Coral Reefs
Threats to the coastal environment on and around Mafia Island are on the up as unregulated tourism is on the increase and the local population is growing. Increasing competition for food means that artisanal fishing techniques such as seine-netting become inadequate and inefficient, encouraging use of less discriminate catch practices such as dynamite fishing. Other threats include the over-harvesting of shark fins, octopus and sea cucumbers and the over-collecting of shells and corals for the expanding marine curio trade.
By taking part in this project you have the chance to help us with our ongoing assessment of the reef, which helps ensure the Park is properly managed. While snorkelling you will have the chance to survey spectacular coral reefs and dazzling reef fish, and observe marine mammals and turtles.
Working with local Swahili communities
Tanzania is a poor country and people survive mainly by subsistence farming. We are working to help local communities on Mafia by providing environmental education and by teaching English, which helps improve employment prospects. Through getting involved with community activities, like environmental awareness raising in local schools, you can experience the cultures and lifestyles of local people. You might choose to help teach English in the local community, or perhaps to learn some Swahili from the villagers.
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
Our marine research and conservation programme on Mafia Island is run in association with the University of Dar es Salaam (with whom Frontier has been in partnership for over twenty years). The project aims to provide local stakeholders and government bodies with the information they need to design and implement management plans for the future protection of this perfect marine park. You will have the chance to help survey the reefs and the various wildlife communities that live on them and so to help gather the important data needed. You might also get the chance to explore and record the living organisms that inhabit the luxuriant mangrove forests, dense sea grass beds and productive inter-tidals in the area.
Whilst snorkelling, you'll see an extraordinary array of animals from turtles to manta rays, sea cucumbers to feathery starfish, and spiny urchins to octopus. When you sail out to sea on the Frontier sailing dhow you may even be accompanied by dolphins or encounter gigantic Whale Sharks.
You will also have the chance to get involved with our community work, perhaps by helping with environmental education days or helping to teach English to villagers.
Although the work is intense and challenging you'll get immense satisfaction from it and from having made a valuable contribution to the conservation of this untarnished marine wilderness. You will return home with the new friends you've made and a wealth of incredible memories.
You'll find your team to be a fun, dynamic mix of ages and experiences, with members who all share a passion about travelling in developing countries and saving endangered marine life. Your staff will be young, friendly individuals who are highly experienced in their field and many have also volunteered on a Frontier project earlier in their career.
For further information about Frontier marine conservation work please refer to the publications section of this website.
What Next? Apply Now!