GVI: Volunteer in Seychelles

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About

As a country supporting 115 islands, Seychelles is ecologically diverse. Home to area-unique marine and terrestrial ecosystems, you’ll find over a quarter of the land under protection. This is an opportunity for you to contribute towards sustainable development projects in marine, animal, and environmental conservation.

Gain practical skills and experience by; researching coral reef recovery and climate change, working with lemon sharks and turtles to learn a range of safeguarding techniques, and collecting important data for government run sustainable initiatives. Each program has set objectives that are measured against the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Connect with the local community and international volunteers alike, learning about different cultures. Make new friends, encounter the rare and giant Aldabra tortoise, or travel to nearby islands.

Highlights
  • Live and volunteer on an archipelago of 115 islands, connecting with local communities and international volunteers.
  • Learn about ethical volunteering and actively contribute towards long-term UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Increase your conservation skill-set, and gain your PADI divers and PADI Coral Reef Research qualifications.
  • Travel to UNESCO world heritage sites, swim in supreme tropical waters identifying native aquatic sea-life.
  • Experience a different way of life immersed in local communities, learning about the culture and customs.

GVI global programs are open!

We're thrilled to announce that nine of our global locations are now open, including Greece, Thailand, Nepal, Seychelles, South Africa, Costa Rica and Mexico. We're also taking bookings for our Thailand, Chiang Mai, Lao and Peru locations for 2021. Stay tuned for more locations coming your way soon, including a new location addition in the Canary Islands.

Popular Programs

Volunteers on a boat in the Seychelles

This is an expedition to gain a range of skills and qualifications in marine conservation, such as species identification skills, your PADI divers and research qualifications, and coral reef surveying techniques, all while contributing towards sustainable development objectives. As Mahe is a central location, you can easily travel to and explore other islands in the Seychelles.

Sea turtle swimming in the Seychelles

Travel to Curieuse, an island surrounded by the Curieuse Marine National Park, where you can join in their conservation activities to protect green sea turtle hatchlings, study the hawksbill sea turtle’s nesting behavior, and collect data on sickle fin lemon sharks for an active catch-and-release project. In your free time, you could explore nearby islands, snorkel in warm clear waters, hike to access panoramic views, and meet people of varying nationalities.

Interns swimming during the sunset in the Seychelles

Gain your PADI Advanced Open Water and PADI Coral Reef Research Diver certificates as you learn to monitor techniques, and how to identify coral species and assist with their recovery. As you will spend a large portion of time diving in the supreme clear waters, you have an opportunity to see an array of native aquatic sea-life up close.

Sea turtle on the beach in the Seychelles

This program takes place in Curieuse, a remote national park. This is a unique opportunity to stay on the island while working alongside experienced conservationists. Contribute towards the lemon shark catch-and-release project, and collect data on hawksbill and green sea turtles while assisting in their protection.

Sea turtle swimming in the Seychelles

Contribute directly to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life On Land, while staying on Curieuse, a small granitic island known for its giant Aldabra tortoise inhabitants. You will be a part of the conservation and population analysis of these rare species, as well as assist in ongoing flora and fauna studies. Learn hands-on sustainable skills to propel you into your future career.

Questions & Answers

For the Marine Conservation Expedition on Mahé, all volunteers require a current PADI Open Water. No additional skills are required, but it certainly helps if you’re already familiar with diving safety protocol and marine / boating experience. You will study either fish, coral or invertebrates and be taught survey methodology. Writing on a slate underwater would be a good activity to practice...

Reviews

9.59 Rating
based on 32 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.2
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 1 - 8 of 32
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Alex
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

So amazing I went back a second time!

I spent a month on Curieuse island just after graduating university and had such an amazing time that I then went back again a year later!

You get stuck in from the word go and it’s amazing to be able to be so hands on in the survey work with the shark pups, giant tortoises and turtles even if you have no prior experience. The experience is amazing and I’ll never forgot the moment I first saw a female turtle coming up the beach to nest. It’s also great to see the work you take part in actually being used by the Seychelles national park authority to drive future decisions.

Curieuse island itself is a wonderful place where you’re lucky enough to be able to live on an island in the national park that tourists can normally only visit for the day. Whilst the accommodation is pretty basic, it’s great to fully embrace island life with the dorms right on the beach and the ability to explore the island or snorkel on days and afternoons off. Curieuse is also really well placed to explore other islands like Praslin and La Digue or go scuba diving at weekends.

I can’t recommend the programme enough!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
4 weeks was wonderful but time goes so quickly there. I’d definitely recommend staying for 6-8 weeks if you can
Default avatar
Hannah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best decision of my life!

I have now volunteered with GVI twice - in Seychelles and South Africa on wildlife conservation projects, both experiences were genuinely life changing. The staff are incredible, providing support from the very beginning, and the people that you meet become life-long friends because they are all like-minded individuals looking to make a difference.

I had very little knowledge and no experience of wildlife conservation before volunteering with GVI but that didn't affect my contribution and experience. GVI have provided the tools I need to start a career in conservation if I want to.

10000% recommend to anyone looking to give back while travelling, have a career break and learn something new, or gain valuable experience for a career.

I am now receiving regular job updates from GVI and I am planning another trip with GVI next year.

Default avatar
Richard
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Overall, an amazing experience

Having never volunteered abroad before I was unsure of what to expect but my whole experience with GVI was excellent. Everything was very clear and well organised from beginning to end.
Although my time there was cut short (due to the corona virus pandemic, I only completed 6 out of the 12 weeks) my time in the Seychelles was some of the best weeks of life.
The base at Cap Ternay is situated in a beautiful area by a marine protected bay.
We did have to complete duties around base in small groups during the week (Tanks and grounds, Kitchen or Boats) but also had sufficient time to ourselves during the week. We also went diving twice a day in the warm, clear sea. I had done a fair amount of diving before I went to the Seychelles but learning about the coral and local marine life (including turtles, rays and sharks) has only increased my love for the ocean and the need to protect it.
At weekends we were free to do what we want, like go on hikes, visit the towns or nearby islands or just sit and relax on the beach near base.
I have nothing but good things to say about the staff on base. The were very professional and always there to help but would also never miss a chance to let their hair down on party night.
I would highly recommend the GVI Marine Conservation project in Seychelles to anyone. You learn so much, meet some amazing people from different areas of the world and enjoy the weather, culture, stunning scenery and incredible diving the Seychelles has to offer.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be get stuck in and immerse yourself in the project.
The base takes a bit of getting used to but enjoy the experience, enjoy the incredible diving, make friends, explore the island and take in the beautiful scenery.
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Amber
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Baby sharks stole my heart

In January 2019 I traveled to the Seychelles. During my travels I spent two weeks on Curieuse Island as an volunteer for GVI. I would completely and 100% recommend this to everyone and anyone!
We did work with turtles and lemon sharks. As I've been fascinated by the ocean my entire life and started diving when I was 8 years, the work with the shark was life changing. I was so humbled by these amazing animals.
In the weekend we could go diving and explore other islands.
I am already planning my next trip back...

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Not panic so much beforehand! I was quite worried traveling alone to a country where no backpackers are going and really it can be scary!
Default avatar
Liam
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A literal paradise

I spent 2 months volunteering here during collecting data on turtles and sharks. The island looks like an actual postcard, it’s tough to put into words how beautiful it is. White sand beaches and perfect blue oceans full of wildlife, not a bad place to chill out when your surveys are finished. I spent January and February here and was lucky enough to be there at the end of turtle nesting season and the beginning of hatching season, meaning I got to see turtles come up on the beach to nest and also young hatchlings go to the ocean. It was also shark pupping season so I got to see some young sharks in our surveys. After a full week of surveys weekends were tour own to do with what you like, either stay on the island and climb the mountain or explore the surrounding islands. I can’t recommend this place highly enough.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
See as many of the other islands as you can, each one has a unique story to tell
Default avatar
Kieran
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Living on an Island - Kieran Wilkinson

Hi,

My name is Kieran, 22 years old and from the UK. I went on a 4 week volunteering course with GVI in the Seychelles on their island conservation program. It was truly an incredible place and experience. I met people from all over the world and everyone had a passion for the work. Real difference from my usual job working in Insurance in the city. Everyone got along and the staff were really friendly, knowledgeable and funny. The support GVI staff were also very informed and present when you wanted help organising the trip.

The base it self is simple, but more than I had first thought. It has clean filtered water. Solar panel electricity for the base. Enough water for the toilets and showers. There is also a good single on the island if you have a local sim for internet and texts. Bear in mind this is an island. The base only has a small boat and the other other people living there are some rangers stationed on the other side. The base is also right on a stunning beach and there is a lot of wildlife around. Food is mainly vegetarian but I was surprised to how much I would like it and the opportunity to cook with different people. There is also a constant supply of local beer and BBQ nights to relax.

The work itself is amazing. The island is certainly breathtaking and holds so much wildlife. Turtle surveys, Shark tagging, Tortoise monitoring and also a ratting program. The ratting program may not be for everyone and the staff are very considerate and will not make you do anything that you do not want to. My personal favourite was the sharks. Catching a baby Hammerhead was incredible. Cute little head. The water around the island is also incredible for the snorkels and certainly beats the tourist chaos and makes you an in depth feel for life their and another way of living.

Enjoy!

Kieran

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I will definitely need a waterproof camera. The Water and snorkels were amazing and you get up close with wildlife that you wouldn't get on a standard holiday.
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Chelsea
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An Unforgettable Adventure

The time of my life!

Diving twice a day in the beautiful waters of Seychelles, becoming family with people from all over the world, learning about the reefs, becoming part of the culture, beautiful hikes and some fun evenings out ;) can sum up the amazing adventure I had in Seychelles.

The accommodation is something to get used to but this becomes part of the experience. Everyday you will get a duty to complete with a time between your dives which help you grow in team work, leadership and make you appreciative of the privileges we have at home. You will definitely grow within yourself while on this adventure!

I found my passion for marine life which changed the direction of my life and with this I got qualifications there to help with my CV for the future. Definitely recommend for those thinking of going into the marine industry as well as those looking for an amazing diving experience!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Put yourself out there, enjoy every moment. Your time there will fly by!
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Grace
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Adventure of a Lifetime

This experience was truly life changing and something I will hold close to my heart forever. If you ever get the chance to go on a trip abroad, this would be the one. Living in rural conditions right on the beach really put me out of my comfort zone and forced me to adapt to this new way of living. The interaction with the locals was awesome, getting to see how the island natives live and what they enjoy around the Seychelles. I stayed on the lovely Cureiuse Island (a completely uninhabited island with just GVI, the Seychelles National Parks Authority; no roads, no infrastructure) for two months. I worked with Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles, studying their growth and nesting habits. I also got to perform the catch and release of juvenile Blacktip and Lemon sharks as well as working with other volunteers on the giant tortise census, analyzing of the growth of the endemic Coco De Mer trees, and beach profiling. Traveling to the Seychelles was an extremely spontaneous choice, however I wouldn't change a thing. Meeting people from around the world that share the same interest as you and becoming family with the other volunteers and staff is something I can't explain, you just have to experience it.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Really read the packing list and contact past volunteers to see what they brought and how it worked for them so you dont over/under pack!