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
Mar 10, 2022
60 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

9.39 Rating
based on 36 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 88.89%
  • 7-8 rating 8.33%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 2.78%
  • Impact 9.1
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9.1
  • Value 9.1
  • Safety 9.1
Showing 1 - 8 of 36 reviews
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
8 people found this review helpful.
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

9 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!!
33 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!

Default avatar
Franz Luis
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of my life

Even if it's been two years now, I still remember very well my first day at the GVI camp on curieuse-island. For me, it felt like I was immersed in another world when the other volunteers and I were picked up from a beach on Praslin and we drove towards the nature-protected island with the camp boat "Dexter". The camp was located on one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. The camp, despite its simple design, looked very inviting and perhaps even a little enchanted. The impression of immersing yourself in a completely different world was reinforced by the idea that, together with the other camp residents, you were almost alone on the island. In the following six weeks, I experienced the time of my life, along with the consistently nice and great other volunteers. Every day we went on versatile excursions on the island with the amazing GVI-Stuff and got to know its flora and fauna. On this way, we learned to identify different sea turtles based on the traces in the sand, how to measure the unique "coco de mer"-palm or how to chip a young lemon shark. In the evenings we often sat together, ate cake or cookies and played cards. To tell the truth, there were also strenuous tasks, such as cleaning the camp or the boat, but most of the time you were just overwhelmed by the versatility of the island and the associated possibilities. In your free time, you could go snorkeling, climb up the island's mountain or just chill out with the camp-tortoise "Obama". Once I also had the possibility to play soccer with some of the residents on Praslin. On weekends, we were also able to make some trips to the other islands, whereby the Stuff could always give us very good tips for sights and accommodation.
My personal highlight was my weekend-trip to bird-island, which one of the stuff members had previously recommended to me. All in all, I have gained an infinite amount of experience over the six weeks, been able to get to know many different people of different cultures and nationalities, and I was able to contribute a small part to the environmental protection necessary to preserve the beautiful nature on the Seychelles. All this has enabled me the GVI program, so that today I'm very glad that I participated.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The biggest surprise for me was the sheer size of "Esmeralda", the biggest tortoise on this planet, that I met on Bird-Island.
35 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Franz, 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!

Default avatar
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
35 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Alex, thanks for your review! You are always welcome to come back as quickly as you like! We'd love to have your input and passion back on base.

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.

35 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Hannah, thanks for your great review! I am thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your time with us as much as you did. Your hard work and efforts have certainly impacted this project in a meaningful way. Please do keep on spreading your love for GVI. And obviously, we would love to see you back on base soon!

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.
37 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Richard, 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!

Default avatar
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!
35 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Amber, 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...