Travel to Seychelles and South Africa to contribute towards island and wildlife conservation initiatives. Conduct sea turtle or tortoise research in Seychelles and record the movements of savannah animals like lions, leopards and elephants in South Africa.
Experience the untouched beauty of protected natural regions in Seychelles and South Africa while contributing directly to the preservation of these areas. Learn about the conservation challenges in these regions and what is being done by local authorities and international organisations to assist with wildlife and environmental conservation. On the weekends, go diving and snorkelling in the turquoise waters of Seychelles and visit the Kruger National Park.
In Seychelles, you will live and work on Curieuse Island, a protected national park, along with GVI staff, interns, and other volunteers. Conduct surveys on Aldabra tortoises and research on nesting sea turtles and lemon shark pups, or carry out surveys of the mangroves. All our research is conducted in partnership with the Seychelles National Parks Authority. On weekends visit the nearby island of Praslin, home to the Valle de Mai, a world heritage site, thought by early explorers to be the original Garden of Eden, for a nature hike, relax on the many beaches, or go snorkelling in the crystal clear waters.
Then go on to live and work in South Africa, in a private nature reserve, only an hour’s drive from the famous Kruger National Park. Here you will have the opportunity to spot lions, leopard, elephants, and other South African wildlife while contributing to their preservation and that of their environment. Undergo extensive training to learn how to identify and track animals through the reserve and collect data that will be used by local and international organisations to ensure their conservation. Spend your mornings on a safari vehicle tracking predators and their prey across the savannah, the afternoons inputting the data into relevant databases, and the evenings learning more about conservation data collection techniques. You might also get involved in conducting environmental education programs at local schools or research projects concerning cheetah feeding behaviour and the impact of elephants on endemic plant species under threat. During your time off, get to know your fellow volunteers, take a trip to Kruger National Park or visit the Drakensberg mountains for climbing, hiking, and kayaking in this scenic region. Please note you can spend up to 12 hours a day collecting data which can be tiring, in the heat of the African sun.
No special skills or qualifications are required to join this program, as all training will be provided by our fully qualified field teams. This will allow you to develop new skills to assist with future employability.
Please note travel between Seychelles and South Africa is not included. Feel free to speak to your Enrolment Manager about options and costs involved.
Contribute to ongoing environmental projects that address critical challenges aligned to the global UN SDGs.
Join local conservation partners and qualified professionals to ensure your efforts are highly ethical, meaningful and sustainable.
Venture outside typical travel itineraries to get exclusive access to extraordinary remote habitats, rare species and unique ecosystems.
Share epic experiences with like-minded, passionate changemakers from all over the globe.
With expert local staff and 24/7 support at every step – you can relax and enjoy the experience stress-free.
Disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with nature, yourself and your purpose.
|24-hour emergency desk|
|24-hour in-country support|
|Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)|
|All project equipment|
|Food (except on long-term internship placements|
|Safe and basic accommodation (usually shared)|
|Group introductory call|
|Endorsed GVI Specialisation Course|
|Endorsed Leadership Course|
|Sustainable project work|
|Data collection and research|
|Real projects with partners|
|Weekly group check ins|
|Remote Academic Internship Supervisor|
|Remote Career Internship Supervisor|
|Preferential recruitment on GVI positions|
|Job portal access|
|Endorsed Careers Course|
|Career coaching sessions|
Certificates and achievements
|PDF reference - upon request|
|Linkedin reference and skills endorsement|
|Additional drinks and gratuities|
|Extra local excursions|
|International and domestic airport taxes|
|Medical and travel insurance|
|Personal items and toiletries|
|Police or background check|
The tropical paradise of Curieuse Island and its surrounding waters is a national park, managed by our local partner, the Seychelles Parks and Garden Authority (SPGA). Our beachfront camp is located on the white sand beach of Anse St Jose and overlooks Praslin (the Seychelles’ second-largest island), a short boat ride away. With turquoise waters, lush jungle, and granite boulders all over, this remote private island has no roads, no infrastructure, and no shops.
Curieuse is home to around 150 Aldabra giant tortoises and many endemic and rare species, including the Coco de Mer palm, which is only grown in two locations in the world. While all of the tortoises roam freely, Obama the wild giant tortoise is a regular visitor to our base.
At this eco-friendly base, accommodation is in shared dorm rooms, and bathroom facilities are shared. There is cold running water available for s...
You’ll have access to long-distance communications whilst on the program. Make sure friends and family know how often they can expect to hear fro...
Volunteers take it in turns to prepare meals for the group. Food is basic but nutritious. Primarily vegetarian, optional fish or meat available ...
Most of the year, the climate in the Seychelles is relatively agreeable for the tropics, although it can be very hot in the sun when out on field...
Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.
We want you to make the most of the chance to live in – and contribute towards – the most diverse and unique wildernesses and communities on earth. Introducing GVI Experiences – immersive adventure, cultural and wellness activities exclusive to GVI that have been specially designed in collaboration with our local partners to support and stimulate sustainable economic development.
Enhance your impact. Expand your adventure. Explore your world.
Joining a GVI program not only allows you to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems – but it also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer over weekends.
Field staff are a great source of advice and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. You can choose to travel before or after your experience with GVI (subject to immigration restrictions), solidifying the lifetime friendships you’ve established on the program. Please note that the below options are not included in the program fee, and would be up to you to arrange at your own expense.
Over a long weekend, you may want to get your Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Open Water diving certification. You can do t...
As well as the beaches on Curieuse, there are also some fantastic spots on nearby Praslin island where you can swim and snorkel, in particular th...
Visit the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, which is also a UNESCO world heritage site. There are two clearly marked hiking trails within the reserve...
On the weekends, why not take a quick boat ride from Curieuse to the neighbouring island of Praslin, and visit the town of Cote d’Or? You’ll find...
Take a 20-minute boat ride to La Digue island. Here, you can take a 45-minute hike along a well-marked trail up to Belle Vue (“beautiful view” in...
The Doctor’s House is home to a small museum which recounts the story of the island. Now a national monument, the building once housed leprosy pa...
There are five hiking trails on the island. Being the highest point on the island, the hike to the peak of Mount Curieuse offers the most scenic ...
Enjoy a stroll around Curieuse and take in one of the six different beach spots on the island. Boasting golden sands, massive granite boulders an...
Spend a laid-back evening watching movies and documentaries on the big screen projector at our base. On Monday evenings, there are a selection of...
We have three hammocks set up around base, all of which have views out across the ocean. Relax in a hammock, listen to the waves, enjoy a book, a...
Kenya and Tanzania are only about a 3-hour flight away. Both feature amazing wildlife, exciting adventure activities, and unique cultural divers...
The outer coral islands (like Desroche, Bird, Dennis, Farquhar, and the Amirantes group) are further away but well worth the trip. These location...
Engaging intimately with a new context teaches global awareness, adaptability and critical thinking – skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and will also be one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many different activities that you can get involved in during your free time, or before and after your program.
On our community programs, the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore topics like local cuisine and religion, or how sustainable development challenges are affecting local contexts.
GVI’s island conservation program in the Seychelles is based on the island of Curieuse. Both the island and its surrounding waters are a national...
The Seychelles is a tropical archipelago off the east coast of Africa, consisting of 100 islands. The main, or so-called inner islands, are made ...
There are festivals throughout the year, the most notable being the Seychelles International Carnival of Victoria in February, which celebrates t...
Seychellois Creole is spoken by the majority of the native Seychellois ( 95% of the population). Because the island country was once a British co...
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If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.
We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.
Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.
This is Jasmine, also known as Jazzy, our wonderful Program Manager at the GVI base on Curieuse Island, Seychelles. Jazzy grew up with a keen interest in conservation which lead ...
‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Heritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.
We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.
GVI is a proud member of the Gap Year Association.
Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’
Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:
Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy and high participant ratios.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.
When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.
As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. In most locations, we also set up a Whatsapp group to help with managing airport arrivals. We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile. This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.
Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.
All of our programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.
Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the UN SDGs. Then once you arrive on base, you’ll learn about the specific goals we have in this particular location, our various objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these.
Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to be an active global citizen after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
GVI’s primary partner on this programme is the Seychelles Parks and Garden Authority (SPGA). Data collected from your efforts is passed to the Seychelles Ministry of Environment as well as participating NGOs, to be used in creating local conservation policies. It’s also shared worldwide with other conservation teams and efforts. We work on various environmental conservation initiatives, such as safeguarding sea turtles, mangrove mapping, giant tortoise population censuses, and sicklefin lemon shark monitoring.
In collaboration with SPGA and University of Seychelles, we track neonate sharks around Curieuse island. Through this research we can see if the boundaries of the Marine National Park are adequate, and get a better understanding of their activity, space and habits.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals
All of our programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or UN SDGs. We want to be able to measure our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner. Staff and volunteers know which UN SDGs they’re making a substantial contribution to. This also helps our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.
Prior to your arrival on base, you’ll be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. Then, once on base you’ll learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also insight into how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.
Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
The support we offer our local partners assists in the conservation of the island’s flora and fauna, and addresses many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, such as Goal 14: Life Below Water, Goal 15: Life On Land, Goal 4: Quality Education, and Goal 17: Partnerships For Goals.
GVI Curieuse Long-term Objectives:
1. Increase scientific knowledge and baseline data on the health of ecosystems on Curieuse Island.
2. Increase awareness of GVI Seychelles projects and the ecological value of the Curieuse Island National Parks within the country.
3. Build local capacity to support long-term conservation of biodiversity and sustainable community development in the Seychelles.
4. Continue to minimise our environmental impact on Curieuse Island and raise awareness of environmental issues amongst participants and visitors.
Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.
We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.
We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.
We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.
We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.
We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.
For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.
We aim to ensure that every participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.
In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.
We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conducted, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.
We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.
We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.
As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics. GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.
However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.
We don’t support or allow participants to work in institutional residential care facilities, also known as orphanages. We partner with ReThink Orphanages and Freedom United.
Our Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy requires all our staff and participants to complete a criminal background check and to learn why you shouldn’t reveal a child’s identifying factors in photographs. We support the ChildSafe Movement.
We don’t offer any programs where our participants engage in medical treatment. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country. Our participants only assist with public health programs.
We don’t offer any programs where our participants work directly with people with disabilities. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country.
Each one of our initiatives is aligned to objectives set by a local organisation or professional. Our staff and participants work to support these local actors in achieving their specific goals.
Our participants don’t replace the staff employed by local organisations. Rather, they support currently employed staff with achieving their objectives. Our goal is always to increase local capacity to address local problems.
Participants require training and support to ensure that they carry out tasks correctly. Our staff provide this training and support so that local staff can focus on what is truly important to their organisation at the time.
We don’t support the use of wild animals for entertainment purposes. This includes riding animals, having them perform tricks, feeding or bathing them or getting close to them to take photos
We don’t encourage, support or allow the rearing of “orphaned” wild baby animals kept at a “sanctuary”. The conservation value of these types of programs is negligent and would only ethically be used in extremely rare cases
When wild animals are restricted for conservation purposes we follow the guidelines of Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA), approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
We ensure that the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare are followed. These include the freedom to express normal behaviour and freedom from distress, discomfort, hunger, thirst, fear, pain, injury or disease.
We ensure that conservation efforts are also always locally led, that community needs are front-and centre of any conservation effort and that our participants, projects and partners work to increase local community engagement in local conservation efforts.
We don’t offer any veterinary programs or animal rescue and rehabilitation programs. We don’t allow participants to do any work they would not be able to do in their home country.
We won’t sugarcoat it — traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.