GVI: Volunteer in Seychelles

Video and Photos

Measuring a turtle at the beach
Measuring a turtle at the beach
Working close with our friends the lemon sharks
Working close with our friends the lemon sharks
Seychelles beach clean up
Seychelles beach clean up
Manta (the boat)
Turtle dive success
GVI: Volunteer in Seychelles
GVI: Volunteer in Seychelles
GVI: Volunteer in Seychelles
GVI: Volunteer in Seychelles

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 has a Community Development Internship in Thailand!


This is an opportunity to learn more about Chiang Mai's local Karen hill tribe culture, gaining intercultural communication skills and valuable teaching experience.

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

95%
based on 27 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.1
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.1
Showing 16 - 27 of 27
Default avatar
Jamie
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

4 weeks on curieuse island

I spent 4 weeks out in the seychelles on a tiny island called curieuse. The GVI base and seychelles national park authority rangers are the only groups living on the island which in itself is difficult to comprehend. With this came huge benefits. It developed you as a person, not just the surveys but the lifestyle and routine of things, and because there are very little seasonal changes to daylight your body clock switched to 6am starts followed by dinner at 7 and most in bed by 8. Likewise, the whole ecological and biodiversity side of things was surreal, the species you saw were something I didn't comprehend until I got home and likewise with the beaches- you don't expect them to be like they are in the postcards, but they're even better. Overall this is an experience I'll take away with me when it comes to finishing my final year at university and as I begin to look for jobs abroad.

What would you improve about this program?
Further engagement from the staff and offering alternative activities as most surveys are seasonal, focus on surveys that are weekly or monthly and make them more frequent to aid the enjoyment of volunteers and increase the applicable skill set different volunteers may be able to use for different surveys
Default avatar
Leigh-Anne
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GVI Seychelles

My experience of travelling to the Seychelles through GVI was one of the most exciting I have done in my life, and I have travelled extensively across the world. The reason this trip was so special to me is because I was volunteering and contributing to a cause I am passionate about, marine conservation; I think if more people volunteered it would help many more of the world in need across a variety programs GVI offer. I did this trip on my own and was nervous at first but soon became like part of the family with the GVI staff and volunteers on Mahe island, scuba diving daily and undergoing vigorous training in fish identification and scuba diving made this whole experience more enjoyable. Don't go to just relax and do nothing, this course needs people that are determined to learn and become part of something that is vital to the Seychelles marine eco environment, but of course have fun at the same time. Wish I could have stayed longer, it really, truly is a chance no one should miss.

What would you improve about this program?
Possibly expand the base and equipment, boat, diving gear etc for chance of doing more diving in the day when it's a really busy month for volunteers
Default avatar
Alison
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Island Conservation Seychelles

I took part in the gvi Island Conservation programme in Seychelles in August 2015. I loved living on the uninhabited island, Curieuse with the gvi staff and my group of volunteers. Seychelles has to be one of the most beautiful and unspoilt places on earth and the wildlife is unique. I loved the deserted beaches! I loved working with the giant tortoises and the green turtle hatchlings. I flew to Bird for part of my programme to spent 4 days exploring this wild and remote private island. Standing on the edge of the sooty tern colony on the North Point, listening to 800,000 pairs nesting was incredible! The remoteness and beauty of Bird is a recommended experience. Snorkelling with a green turtle on Praslin was unforgettable. I had a lot of fun making new friends and having new experiences out in the field. It was physically challenging at times, due to the heat and humidity so I would make sure you have increased your fitnness levels before you go! The camp is well equipped you don't need to take half of what you would expect. The gvi staff were really firiendly - very professional and loads of fun. I would recommend this conservation project with gvi - it may be expensive but it is definitely worth it.

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

Coral Paradise

This is truly one of the best things I've ever done. I improoved a lot in diving, independence and so on. The one thing you have to know as a participant is that this is not vacation. This is an actual job you are about to shoulder. It's hard work but so much fun! Diving 1 or 2 dives a day, making the base go round. You will also work with children from the President's Village Childrens' Home and represent GVI in several occasions such as local festivities. You are free to do as you please friday and saturday, there is so much on the islands to explore!

Only the best people choose to go here, by the obvious cause that participating is a really generous thing to do.

What would you improve about this program?
more dives! :D (and cheaper so that I could afford to go several more times)
Default avatar
Christin
7/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Its fun more for fun

People who love diving and international parties, this is the volunteering you want to do.
You have 1-2 dives and a lecture per day.
You have to fill tanks, clean the bathroom and cook for your mates.
Food supplies are limited.

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

Conserving paradise

Early starts made the most of each day in the sunshine, beginning with duties then breakfast and the first of up to 4 dives kitting up. Or for new starters - off to coral or fish lectures! You never stop learning while on expedition; how to perfect your bouyancy, which coral is that, how to bake fresh bread from scratch, how to husk and grate a coconut, how to fill a dive tank... Even so, it's a stress-free world in one of the most popular tropical holiday destinations in the world. And while you're busy having fun, you're also learning about the impact of human activity on the health of our oceans - food for thought when you return home to 'reality'. Fridays and Saturdays spent in town or touring the island provide the chance to catch up with family and friends back home, discover local markets and cool cafes to escape the heat, stock up on luxury food items and top up your phone credit.

Default avatar
carltoyer
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Under the sea

I arrived in the Seychelles feeling very excited and apprehensive about what the next 3 months would hold. When I arrived I had never dived in my life but as soon as I put on my cylinder on my back and got in the water it just felt right. I can’t explain in words how beautiful and calming diving in the Seychelles was. Before I arrived I looked at the sea and saw it as a vast mass of water but now I appreciate it for what life it holds. Sharks that make your heart race , the chilled out turtles , the graceful rays and the masses of colourful fish .What makes it more rewarding was the fact that I was able to identify the fish (through the science training we were given and exams we took) and start to notice their behaviour which made diving far more enjoyable . Furthermore it’s good to know that the survey dives that we conducted were creating valuable data and were giving us an insight into the health or the reef. It’s a great feeling knowing that our surveys are increasing the knowledge of the local reefs and thus helping to conserve these delicate ecosystems. I can now say that I am totally hooked on diving and can’t wait to get back in the water
GVI Seychelles was an amazing experience and I couldn’t have wished for a better 3 months, it far outstretched my expectations. The GVI staff were very professional and you could easily see their passion for the ocean, there knowledge was extensive and they were always there to help with any problems whether it being personal or in regards to the science training. The staff were also very friendly and made you feel very welcome especially in the 1st few days, when everything was new and a little overwhelming. As expedition life is so different to normal life, but you soon get used to it and never want to give up the simple way of living, who needs a TV when the ocean is a 10m walk ?!?

Top Memories
Island Hoping
Making new friends from around the world
Helping turtle hatchlings to the sea
Going to the local beach knowing know one else will be there , what more could you ask for ?
Hearing the waves from our huts
Watching the world go by in the hamocks
Diving

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

Paradise Above and Below the Water

If you're looking for a diving experience that takes your breath away then this is the project for you. I am not going to tell you all about the island as a whole as i think this is not something you can get across to people in a letter, instead all i will say is this place is paradise both in and out of the water and everyone has different experiences there but i haven't met anyone yet who hasn't fallen in love with both the island and the project:)
Instead i will give you some advise on what to expect and some advise if you are thinking about joining this project.
Firstly make sure you understand what you are signing up for. I attended Cap Ternay and You have to remember that you are not going to be living in a hotel this is an expedition with shared dorms and bathrooms. There is no hot water (which you wouldn't want anyway as it is very hot here)You work in duty groups which cover cleaning, kitchen, Boat duties and operating the compressor these are done on a daily basis except for weekends. And you are living a fair distance from any local shops / bus stops etc. I personally enjoyed all of these aspects as i was aware of what to expect before i left.
My second piece of advise for anyone going on this project is to read through the training manuals which are given to you in advance before you leave. You will be allocated either fish or coral which will be the subjects you will survey during your time on camp. My main piece of advise is to revise this as much as possible before you leave and if you have time make up some flash cards for them, as i found this the easiest way to learn. The reason i advise this is because when you arrive in this paradise you are taken away by all the beauty of the island and get caught up in meeting new people and learning new skills that it makes revising more difficult than you think. The staff are very helpful in teaching you everything you will need to know but if you can arrive already prepared then it will make the first few weeks on camp alot less busy.
After the first few weeks of getting used to all the duties, getting signed off on your coral or fish spots and once you have passed all your exams you are set to be let loose into the ocean to start you surveys. After this point your days become more free so you have alot more free time during the day. I think personally that 4 weeks is not enough time to really enjoy this program as the first 4 weeks are the busiest and so you don't get the chance to appreciate or put to use all the training you have been given. I was originally on the program for 8 weeks and then extended to 12 weeks when i was out there as i enjoyed the program so much.
I would defiantly recommend this program to anyone wanting to get involved in marine conservation, this program allows you to not only have first hand experience in biological underwater surveys, it also allows you to spread your newly gained knowledge to the next generation of people though weekly teaching sessions with one of the schools on the island. You meet every Wednesday on the local beach with one class and you get to put together your own lessons with them to teach them the importance of saving our oceans.
I have only mentioned a few key aspects of the program as to be honest there are far to many to list. From the whale sharks, dolphins, sharks, scenery and amazing friends you meet i could not have picked a better expedition to go on.

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

GVI Seychelles Marine Conservation Internship Curieuse Island

I was extremely fortunate to take part in the GVI Seychelles Marine Conservation Internship - a fantastic opportunity to expand my knowledge, diving experience and contribute to a truly important cause while having a great time, meeting new and wonderful people, and experiencing another part of the world, it's people and culture.

The experiences on Curieuse are difficult to compare to others. Located in the heart of a marine park, the island is virtually uninhabitable except for GVI, a handful of locals, many giant tortoises and the endemic Coco de Mer. Without electricity, generated power, showers every other day and bucket-flush toilets are easy to become accustomed to, especially when surrounded by forest, beach and reef at the doorstep and the ocean to send you to sleep at night. Days are typically filled with fish and coral identification study, id spot and survey dives, and plenty of time to relax and enjoy the surroundings. The reefs are absolutely stunning, supporting phenomenal marine animal and plant diversity and abundance - some of the most beautiful diving I've done!

The staff at GVI, both in the office and the field, are very supportive and helpful. With regards to the office, they assist in keeping program details in order, while in the field, the staff are not only knowledgable, but conduct themselves in a professional matter, while also having fun.

But this experience extends far beyond the internship itself, with many opportunities to become further involved through Ambassador programs, Scholarshis and the Charitable Trust. I encourage you to find out more, google GVI!

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

Conservation Diving In Paradise

A regular day of Marine Conservation in Seychelles starts at 6, with duty groups at 6.15, breakfast at 6.30 and by 7 the first dives are kitting up and heading down to the boats. Throughout the day, everyone will cycle through some classes, duties and dives. There’s always free time in between activities and that time increases as the weeks go by and classes start finishing. Lunch is usually around 12.30 and dinner at 6.30, after dinner all the time is yours. While I was there a week is Sunday to Thursday, as most shops and places around the Seychelles are closed on Sundays it's quite pointless having the weekend then as you can't do anything. Thursdays are BBQ night, which means party time!!!

The weekends, Friday and Saturday are all yours, go into town for some shopping or internet, visit the rest of the island or even visit the other islands, each with its own beauty.

The project accommodation is quite basic, depending on the base you're placed in, it can vary from no running water and limited electricity to running water but only cold and constant electricity. This is a project well worth doing; all you need is an open mind and an interest in diving. You will meet incredible people from all over the world.

The only thing that can put a dent in this project is the weather. Only in extreme conditions are the dives cancelled, but visibility on a bad day could be up to only 2m or less, compared to the endless view you get on a good day.

The best advice I can give is: learn to cook well with simple ingredients, as the meals you it depend on your cooking abilities!! Other than that, just do it!!!! and do it for as long as you can !!!

Default avatar
AmandaCC
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GVI Seychelles Terrestrial Project

I was a volunteer on the GVI Seychelles Terrestrial Project for five weeks. It was the best experience of my life! I loved every minute and every activity. Part of the project was recording turtle nesting activity and this meant we had the oppoutunity to see turtles lay eggs. It was an amazing sight. We also had did nest relocations twice. This is because the turtle did not lay her eggs far enough above the hightide line. The eggs we moved have since hatched and knowing we played a major role in their survival is something I will tresure forever. The work the volunteers did was important and had a large impact to the overall scientific research being conducted. The project was very physical and involved a lot of walking in the sun but every day was different. There were three different scientific surveys we were collecting data for so I never felt that the program was boring. I highly recomend this program if you are looking for a great volunteering oppourtunity in a beautify setting.

Default avatar
naamoum
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Absolutely amazing

I spent five weeks in the Seychelles with GVI. I started off at the base on Curieuse and then moved to the base at Cap Ternay. The living conditions are very basic yet comfortable enough to feel at home. The base on Curiese is more basic than the Cap Ternay one as it did not have electricity or running water. That being said, the accommodations were still decent. The hardest part for me was adjusting to the lack of running water and therefore bucket-flush toilets.
The days usually start off fairly early, between 6 and 7am. Volunteers are put into duty groups for the day and perform these duties before breakfast. Throughout the day there are different lectures or base projects to keep you busy and everyone dives at least once a day providing that they are fit to dive. For the first few weeks, the dives were mostly skill dives for those who did not already have their advanced open water and spot dives to begin learning the different species to be surveyed. As we got more comfortable with the species, practice surveys were conducted with a member of staff. I was there during the month of August and the water was a little chilly so I would definitely recommend purchasing a wetsuit, I had a 3mm one and was fine, but that varies from person to person.
Like I mentioned previously, life on base is very basic. Meals mostly consist of fruits, vegetables, and lots of rice and pasta. We did have barbeques every week which was a nice change for those of us who ate meat.
Overall, I thought the program was fantastic, the staff are all really friendly and helpful, the volunteers were really nice and like-minded which was a good change from a lot of the people I know at home, and the diving was amazing. I had only dived two other sites before arriving in the Seychelles but I can honestly say that it was just breathtaking.
I would definitely recommend this program to anyone who enjoys diving and is passionate about conservation!