Location
  • Seychelles

Pricing

Price Details
The volunteer contribution includes all food and accommodation; airport transfers; all training materials, technical dive and science equipment; discounted PADI Open Water Courses, locally arranged prior to the expedition: PADI Advanced Open Water Course with all materials included, PADI Coral Reef Researcher speciality, and heavily discounted further dive training options up to PADI Divemaster.
Jul 13, 2020
Sep 28, 2022
64 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

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.

Video and Photos

Program 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.

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.

Program Reviews

9.41 Rating
based on 41 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 87.8%
  • 7-8 rating 9.76%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 2.44%
  • Impact 9.1
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.2
  • Value 9
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 1 - 8 of 41 reviews
Default avatar
Christian
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable time in Seychelles

Seychelles was incredible, the scenes were that out of a movie and the people made the memories, I genuinely couldn't change a thing because I don't know what could beat it.
The number of times I thought to myself, "how is this real" would be surprising, but that's exactly how it felt, I was swimming in coral reeds on the other side of the world, identifying fish and helping make a difference, and that feeling will be difficult to match. Seychelles made one of the best months of my life and I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to go.

Pros
  • Friends
  • Experiences
  • Fun
Cons
  • Price
2 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Dominic
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering with GVI on the Seychelles

Staff members are very nice. It takes a bit of time to get used to the base and your daily schedule but once you get used to it you will have a wonderful time. You get introduced to a life of a marine biologist who has to take care of his/her diving equipment which includes filling up your tanks by yourself. The weekends off are a great opportunity to discover the rest of the main island (Mahé) but you can also discover other islands (I went to Praslin and La Digue with the other volunteers on base). Speaking of other volunteers, during these 4 weeks I got to meet some incredible people. Working together from Monday to Friday and then having a nice weekend really helps making friends.
To conclude, I definitely do not regret signing up for this experience and encourage everyone reading this to do it too!!

Pros
  • You get to make very good friends
  • You dive a lot
Cons
  • Try to avoid monsoon season if you do not like rain :)
3 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Dominic,

Thank you for this lovely detailed review.

We are so glad to hear that your experience on base was memorable and that our staff made you feel welcome! It sounds like you made the most out of every day and we are so glad to hear you made beautiful connections while contributing such great efforts.

We would love to see you back on base soon.

Default avatar
Travis
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Marine Conservation in the Seychelles

This program was full of once in a life time experiences, from swimming with turtles, sharks and whale sharks. The conservation work done by this program has had a meaningful and long lasting effect around the Seychelles protected area and is seeing a recovery. The Dive opportunities are some of the best in the world, and will stay with me for life. There is also plenty of socialising opportunities on the weekends when you can explore the surrounding islands and experience the unique local culture.

Pros
  • amazing Diving
  • new friends
  • swimming with a whale shark
Cons
  • it rains a lot
  • lots of mosquitoes
2 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Travis,

Thank you for taking the time to leave this great review!

GVI values hearing about your experience, and we are thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your time with us. It is so lovely that you made great connections and discovered the beauty that this world has to offer.

We look forward to welcoming you back on base (with open arms) and continuing to make an impact. Please keep on spreading your love for GVI.

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

Unforgettable experience

Volunteering with GVI this summer as a Marine and Coral Reef Conservation Research Intern was one of the best experiences of my life and made me realise how much I love fieldwork and marine conservation…so much so that I’m actually changing my major and am working towards setting up a conservation dive club in university which will aim to collect data and conduct PADI DAD dives!

I loved that not only was I in paradise, but I was also able to contribute to real-world research and aid conservation efforts in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss. Not to mention, the dives were spectacular! The highlight for me would be seeing some whitetip reef sharks, a school of humphead wrasse, and swimming with dolphins.

Early wake up was around 6:30, followed by the morning chores, either cleaning the bathroom, preparing breakfast, or starting the compressor shift. Cooking for so many people and the loudness of the compressor was definitely something that took time to get used to. After breakfast, depending on the dive wave I was in, I would either kit up and go for the morning dives or do some more chores before the afternoon dives. Although I didn’t stay for a very long period (I wish I could have stayed longer), I still managed to do some surveys, which I really enjoyed. I especially enjoyed the Sharking surveys we did in the morning and evening. Even though there were no sharks in sight, we were able to spot some beautiful rays, and I loved the tranquillity of the water whilst wading through it in search of anything exciting.

In the evening, volunteers would hang out together or cook dinner together. I love cooking, so I would try to be involved whenever possible. I was surprised at how quickly I settled into a routine on base. I loved it - the complete immersion in nature and the sense of community and belonging I had whilst being there. I have made so many wonderful memories there.

I thank GVI for such a wonderful experience and look forward to staying involved as a GVI Ambassador!

Pros
  • Gain research experience conducting surveys
  • Complete nature immersion
  • Make lifelong friends
3 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Vivika,

Thanks for your great review!

I am thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your time with us and had such a beautiful experience. It is lovely to hear that the experience has inspired you to look into being part of the conservation dive club at UCLA. Your hard work and efforts have certainly impacted this project in a meaningful way. I hope you keep the fantastic connections you have made. Please keep on spreading your love for GVI! And obviously, we would love to see you back on base soon

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

An Unforgettable Experience

I stayed on the base located at Cap Ternay, northern west of Mahe, for five weeks. I was actually supposed to stay four weeks, however I acknowledged, as I spent my time there, that I was not ready to leave this beautiful island, the precious work for conservation and friends I have made, hence I went for one week extention of my stay. The base is located in the middle of the forest with two beautiful beaches near, Bay Ternay and back beach in which we do beach cleanups around twice a week. I really loved the remoteness of the place as I came from a big, crowded and caotic city. We often go to the beach to watch sunsets on the rocks located on the rightside of the plage where once I cut my foot trying to climb one of the rocks covered with oysters. I am thankful for Rose who has trained all of us for first aid response, we managed to treat the wound properly. Similar injuries are inevitible there. After every weekend, when we returned back from Beau Vallon or other cities, something happened whether a scratch from a trekking or a foot sprain. Once, one of the volunteers ''accidentally'' got bitten by another volunteer while playing American football on the beach. So, you can imagine how the staff must be sick of our injuries, although they were really helpful with the incidents happenning currently. Let me talk about some not depressing things happening on the base other than the wounds. So, our daily routine basically is an early wake up at around 6.30 a.m., then we do the duties such as cleaning bathrooms, changing binbags, preparing dive equipments, compressor shifts...We are all responsible for the preparation of three meals. Aaand diveeess. We do two dives a day. We generally spend three or four hours on the boat. According to the tide, we may walk around two hundred meters on a very bumby, sandy road in the sea towards the boat, hence I love high tide when we do not suppose to walk with 20 kilos on your back. But either way, once you enter the water, you forget all about the struggle coming on the boat. Numerous, vividly colored reef fish, various types of nudibranchs, giant rays and so on. I have managed to see three, 2.5 meters long white tip sharks chilling under a rock. I have missed the whalesharks seen two weeks before I arrived to the base unfortunately. During the dives, I have done distinct works underwater including removing debris from the bottom, coral surveys, invertebrate, reef fish and nudibranch surveys. Everyday is an opprtunity to learn something new and the staff tryies really hard to make variations on the daily schedule. One day you go for a seagrass research in the bay, another day you find yourself snorkelling at dawn, searching for juvenile sharks. Withnessing the work I have done there is utilized for conservation purposes by local institutions makes me eager to do more, and learning from the people working there about their experiences of conservation in distinct countries gave me hope to plan my future oriented around conservation while travelling around the world. It was a once in a life time experience for sure. I am greatful for the opportunity to get to know both volunteers and staff members and to share precious moments and memories with them. I felt how much this experience contributed to my perspective of life and my personality as soon as I landed in Turkey. I will definitely continue participating in other programs with GVI.

Pros
  • Gaining a broad knowledge about indian ocean marine life, scientific methods and diving
  • Getting to know likeminded people and learn from their experiences
  • Explore one of the beautiful islands in the world
1 person found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hi Cansu,

Thank you for your super detailed review.

It is so lovely to hear that you had such an amazing experience that led you to stay an extra week. The island is truly beautiful and the fact that you spent your time with friends you made on base brings a smile to our faces. Your hard work and efforts have certainly impacted this project in a meaningful way. Wishing you all the best on your future career journey.

Please keep on spreading your love for GVI! And obviously, we would love to see you back on base soon!

Default avatar
Eleanor
1/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Terrible

Sadly a really really poor experience at GVI Seychelles, please don't be duped into spending your money here. Maybe I just got unlucky, but I am surprised to see so many good reviews considering the feeling of the volunteers whilst I was there.

From a research point of view- there was nothing to do, and far far too many volunteers to spread the little amount of work out between. There was very very little in terms of education or learning, not regular presentations and lectures as promised. None of the results of the limited data collected was shared with the volunteers. I left with the feeling that all I did for the environment was pollute the air with CO2 on my flight over. You basically just pay to hike around the (very lovely) surroundings and stand aimlessly around on beach for a bit.

The diet is extremely limited and poor (although it is hard for the staff to source good food in the Seychelles as it is limited). Any basic extras, or to even leave the island, you had to pay for yourself. The levels of hygiene in the kitchen was horrendous- there was a fridge that wouldn't even stay on so food would rot. There were rats running through the camp (and in people's beds) at night (although rats are a hard pest to control in an island environment). I did not go with expectations of any kind of luxury, but the standards were a joke (some volunteers had beds under a roof that leaked water onto your face every time it rained).

It was clear that there had been absolutely no investment in the base in a very long time; the fridge, cooker and kitchen area was abysmal, the solar panels were unable to provide any power past about 9pm, there was no fans to cool down the rooms. It is an absolute joke that GVI also tried to charge me £200 for 'cleaning expenses' on base (a plastic box with hand gel in- which we had to use as communal for the toilets).

I am left feeling ripped off, and with a sinking feeling in my stomach when I think about how much money I wasted on what was supposed to be a once in a lifetime trip. The volunteers pay thousands of pounds to be there, and I cannot see where the money goes because it is not going towards conservation, it is not going on investing in the base and it is not going towards staff salaries.

Overall, GVI is a for profit company, and the bottom line will always be profit. If you would like to do good in the world, get in touch with local organisations directly any bypass the middlemen such as GVI and don't fall for scams on the internet like I did.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would love to have not done this programme at all, and instead to have found a research/volunteer programme with a local organisation
27 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hi there,

I am so sorry to hear of your disappointment with the accommodation on base and your GVI experience. Due to the remoteness of many of our bases, accommodation will often, though not always, be more basic than what you would expect on a holiday or guided tour. However, the health and safety of our volunteers are paramount to us.

This feedback has been passed on to our feedback team who will be conducting a full review on the matter. If you have not already been in touch to discuss your experience with us in more detail directly, please contact feedback@gviworld.com and we will assist you further.

That said, transparency is key at GVI and as such, we’d love to take a moment to explain why we charge and where that money goes.

As a social enterprise - essentially the meeting point between the private business sector and the non-governmental or charitable sector - we do make a profit. However, this is done to help us meet our primary objective: make as great an impact as possible. More than 65% of GVI funds from all our programs (volunteering, internships and online courses) goes directly back to our projects on the ground. The remainder is used to cover the overheads of running the organization (such as recruitment of volunteers and training staff salaries), in order to ensure these projects are kept running, growing, and eventually become self-sustainable. You can find even more details about it here: https://www.gvi.co.uk/how-is-my-money-spent/

Thank you for your feedback. We are a feedback led organisation and as such, place significant value on all input from our participants.

Amanda - Head of Alumni Services (Global)

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

Time of my life

It’s hard to begin with talking about what I enjoyed while on my program. For starters, I’ve done volunteer work before and I loved how I finally really had the feeling that I was making an impact and honestly doing something good instead of just being able to put something nice on my CV. Aside from that, all the help I received pre-departure made this all so easy. The only I issues I encountered while on base was with Covid but it’s a world wide pandemic and dealing with it is a double edged sword so I believe GVI did well. Also, the staff on base is amazing and the people I volunteers with are friends for life. I definitely recommend volunteering with GVI, this really was an experience of a life time

24 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hi Helena - thanks for your great review!

I'm so happy to hear you had such a great experience with us. We welcome you back to base again sometime in the future. In the meantime, please do keep on spreading your GVI love!

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

My time on Curieuse

My time on Curieuse was an incredible experience I will never forget. From waking up for early morning sharking or watching the sunset on the beach in front of the base, every day there was something new to see. There is a lot more interaction with the animals than a lot of programmes and you really get involved with the surveys. The feeling I had the first time I saw a turtle come up on the the beach to lay her eggs was like nothing I’d felt before and I’d recommend this programme to anyone! There is also a great opportunity to explore some of the other islands at weekends and if you like diving then there is so much to see below the surface too!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Waking up to find a giant tortoise blocking my doorway!!
54 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Emily, thanks for your review! I'm thrilled to hear you had such a positive experience with us and enjoyed your time on base as much as you did. We'd love to have you back on base sometime soon!

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...