Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the islands of Seychelles offer you plenty of picturesque beaches and balmy seas to dive in, as well as unique marine conservation opportunities – whether you want to learn how to identify tropical fish, help sea turtles nest, or swim through colourful canopies of coral.
Volunteer in the Seychelles with GVI and discover a country famed for its endemic flora and fauna, unspoiled beaches and beautiful coral reefs! With a range of marine conservation programs to choose from, you can gain your PADI Divemaster, join an internship program, gain some work experience or simply give back to the environment. Our Seychelles hub offers a variety of options to help you make a genuine difference during your volunteering holiday, gap year or career break.
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.
Our hub is located on the island of Mahe, situated in the Cap Ternay region which borders the Morne Seychellois National Park and the Baie Ternay Marine Protected Area.
From here we run a number of marine conservation projects with a focus on protecting biodiversity through restoring habitats and monitoring the health of coral reefs and endangered species. Based in a marine protected area filled with an abundance of marine life, such as tropical fish, rays, dolphins and sharks, you’ll 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.
GVI offers a range of opportunities for volunteering 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 and local government, marine plastic pollution cleanups, and environmental education awareness.
Along with our volunteer programs, GVI also offers the following internship, apprenticeship and research fellowship programs in Seychelles:
GVI Seychelles alum Leigh-Anne Webster wrote about her experience volunteering in Seychelles. If you’re wondering what life on a volunteer program in Seychelles looks like, read on!
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.
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.
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.
When you volunteer in Seychelles, you’ll be based at GVI’s hub 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 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.
Life on base is exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. This is a normal feeling – you have just arrived at your new home for the next while!
You will arrive at Cap Ternay base in what looks to be a completely isolated 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!
Rooms on base are basic dormitory style (mixed males and females). There are three dorm rooms for volunteers on Cap Ternay, each with around 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 duties, grounds duties, tank duties, boat duties etc.
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 4pm, dependent on current studies and weather conditions. We end off the working week with a BBQ night – which is a great way to break the ice and get to know everybody.
Food on base is varied but mostly vegetarian. Meals are usually rice or pasta based, and meat is usually offered as a treat once 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.
Spend it with a backpack on, exploring the island searching for hidden beaches and spotting giant tortoises along the way. There is even a small mountain to climb! The closest island to base is Praslin which is around 10 minutes away via boat. From here you can also catch a ferry to explore nearby islands, such as La Digue to learn more about the Seychellois culture and enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation. 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!
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. 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.
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.
While you’re in Seychelles, here are a few things to keep in mind:
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.