Marine Conservation Project – Zanzibar

Marine Tourism and Fishing are key elements that underpin Zanzibar’s economy and predominant food source. The Zanzibar Marine project works with the local community to champion and pioneer Conservation work relating to the Southern islands Marine biodiversity, predominantly Kizimkazi Dolphin population. On this project you will assist our team to collect information on tourist and wildlife interaction, monitor reef health and help train eco-tourism providers in better environmental practices while ensuring stronger customer service.


  • Monitor and research Dolphin Behaviour.
  • Education boat drivers and tourism providers on eco-friendly practices that also maximise customer service
  • Work within the local community to Educate the next generation in Conservation
  • Perform Coral-Reef bleaching in beautiful tropical waters.

Quick Facts

  • Where Zanzibar, Tanzania
  • When all year
  • Price $2,077
  • Who Anyone interested in conservation

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Zanzibar is a small tropical Island off of the East African Coast, part of Tanzania, with a population of 1.3 million people. Arab settlement in the late 1600’s brought the spice trade, cultural influences and the Islamic religion, all of which remain to this day and resulted in the founding of Zanzibar’s name as ‘The Spice Island’. It is also credited as the home of the Swahili language, the most widely spoken Bantu language in Africa.  However it is Zanzibar’s beautiful coast line, tranquil waters and location within the Indian Ocean that have helped it to carve out as a go-to Tourist destination.

Staying with Big Beyond in Zanzibar gives you the opportunity to scratch beneath the tourist experience and build relationships with Zanzibari people, understand life on the island and learn Kiswahili. You’ll be based in the village Jambiani and go daily to the village of Kizimkazi to carry out our research and conservation education efforts.


The climate in Zanzibar is very comfortable and it’s normally warm and dry outside of rain season. The long rains fall in March, April and May and the short rains in November. As we’re close to the equator the sun is strong and sunscreen (water-resistant if possible) is important. It’s generally best to wear light and breathable clothing for your trip with warmer clothes for the night time if needed. To respect cultural norms staff and volunteers need to wear light clothes that cover their shoulders, chest and knees while in public areas and while not in the water.


Your accommodation will be in Jambiani and all your meals are included in the Big Beyond volunteer fee, so you won’t need to worry about organising anything. During your stay with the Big Beyond Zanzibar team, you’ll stay in our volunteer house in shared accommodation with up to two other people with an en-suite bathroom. You’ll be fully catered for, with three meals a day and filtered water at camp. Big Beyond provides a menu with a mix of local and international dishes to accommodate all tastes.

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Marine Tourism and Fishing are key elements that underpin Zanzibar’s economy and predominant food source. The Zanzibar Marine project works with the local community to champion and pioneer Conservation work relating to the Southern islands Marine biodiversity, predominantly Kizimkazi’s Dolphin population.

This project seeks to use conservation education alongside community partnership to champion the development of environmentally friendly marine tourism behavior and business opportunities for the local community who rely on tourism as a key revenue and income generator.

As Zanzibar is one of the last remaining Dolphin habituated areas in the World that does not have government policy and guidelines protecting Dolphins and limiting Tourisms impact on their natural behavior, one of the key project objectives is to offer accurate, reliable and longitudinal data to support the implementation of such guidances.

Our project takes a holistic approach to achieving this objective, establishing the organisation within the local community further ensuring the sustainability of the Project and its longevity through means-testing and partnership development.

All projects are needs-based and are designed to address key needs identified by the communities themselves. As a volunteer you underpin the success of this, by engaging with a the following activities;

The projects

Dolphin Monitoring

Boats-1789The local Kizimkazi area is frequented by roughly 140 Bottlenose and 20 Humpback Dolphins. These Dolphins and their regularity in the coastal waters has underpinned the development of Dolphin orientated Tourism with the prospect of swimming with wild Dolphins attracting Tourists from all over the Island and becoming the primary income source for a significant proportion of the local residents.

This Project identifies the negative impact that increasing Tourist numbers can have on the dwindling Dolphin numbers and highlights Education, Training and Eco-Tourism as key proponents that will both protect the Dolphin population and ensure a sustainable income stream for the local residents.

This project seeks to overcome this challenge by carrying out daily monitoring and research sessions, contributing to longitudinal quantitative data collection that is carried out in partnership and with the oversight of Dar Es Salaam University and the Marine Research Institute. The data is intended as the key evidence to influence and lobby the Government to implement regulations protecting the Dolphin population, in line with the rest of the World.

Dolphin Engagement

Tdolphins-602he experience of engaging with Dolphins in an intimate and natural setting, unharried by wider tourism is a key opportunity that our Volunteers take to identify the difference in the Dolphins behavior from when they are forced to act whilst attempting to rest during the busiest tourist activity and how they are when free from harassment.

This differentiation is a key contrast which gives Volunteers a tangible insight into what we are attempting to measure and the significance of our work. It places into context the beauty of Dolphins natural behavior, and as such the cruelty of ‘chasing’ them during their rest and recuperation time.

Community Education

cclub-All of our projects identify the importance of the sustainability of our work, and therefore prioritise Education as a key focus for the continued and further protection of the marine ecosystem.

Volunteers work within a local secondary school to run an after-school club for 14-17 Year olds, planning lessons based upon a Termly syllabus, preparing and marking homework, helping to organise monthly fieldtrips and maintain a Project funded resource centre.

Coral Bleaching Monitoring

reefs-Surrounded by an abundant coral reef, Zanzibar’s marine wildlife and ecosystem relies heavily on the health of these fragile organisms.

Volunteers take the opportunity to explore the tranquil turquoise waters off the South-West coast of Zanzibar, measuring and capturing evidence of Coral Bleaching in the local waters. This data has already contributed towards an East Africa Coral Bleaching report published by CORDIO (Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean) a non-profit research organisation, highlighting the extent of Coral Bleaching across the EA coast and the damage that changes in wtare temperatures are having.

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January 2nd, 16th & 30th | February 13th & 27th | March 3rd & 27th | April 10th & 24th | May 8th & 22nd | June 5th & 19th | July 3rd, 17th & 31st | August 14th & 28th | September 11th & 25th | October 9th & 23rd | November 6th & 23rd | December 4th

Project participation fees

2 WEEKS USD 2077 GBP 1167 EUR 1524 AUD 2495
3 WEEKS USD 2636 GBP 1481 EUR 1935 AUD 3167
4 WEEKS USD 3195 GBP 1795 EUR 2345 AUD 3838
5 WEEKS USD 4042 GBP 2271 EUR 2966 AUD 4856
6 WEEKS USD 4569 GBP 2567 EUR 3353 AUD 5489
7 WEEKS USD 5096 GBP 2863 EUR 3740 AUD 6122
8 WEEKS USD 5623 GBP 3159 EUR 4127 AUD 6756


  • All airport collection and returns with a Big Beyond representative
  • All accommodation and food, including 3 meals a day (weekends included)
  • 24 hour support with a Big Beyond staff member living on-site at the volunteer accommodation
  • Tea, coffee and filtered water


  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Flights
  • Weekend trips and other non-project activities
  • Alcohol. Please note this is not allowed during day time activities
  • Laundry


Big Beyond projects make long-term sustainable impacts within the communities they work. You’re project fee goes towards your direct expenses on project, supporting our longterm staff who ensure our projects are sustainable and towards the running of Big Beyond to ensure the organisation itself is sustainable. By volunteering with Big Beyond you not only make an impact during your time but help us ensure that everything we do make a sustainable and lasting change.

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Zanzibar is culturally deep as it was the melting pot between Arab and African culture. Its main city Stone Town is a World Heritage site with winding streets rich in history the island is surrounded by the picturesque Indian Ocean and white sandy beaches in the North and South East of the Island. You’ll have no shortage of things to do, with cultural and history tours in Stone Town. Snorkelling, windsurfing and diving near Jambiani. Daytrips to Jozani forest to see wildlife indigenous to Zanzibar and full moon parties in the north of the island. There’s something for everyone in Zanzibar and even if you don’t feel like travelling there’s lots to do in Jambiani itself.


For those interested in exploring the Tanzanian mainland, it’s very easy to get a flight to Northern Tanzania to either Kilimanjaro airport or Arusha. Tanzania has some of the best wildlife experiences in Africa as the parks are not fenced you get a chance to see all of the animals in their natural environment. Apart from being an ideal place to see the ‘Big 5’ African animals. One of the most incredible things to experience is the annual migration of an estimated two million wildebeest between the Serengeti in the south of Tanzania and the Masai Mara in the north of Kenya. If you’d like to spend a weekend or longer on safari we can help you to arrange the trip along with your volunteering.

For anyone interested in climbing Kilimanjaro  mountain we normally suggest arranging to climb it at the end of your volunteer stay with us as it gives you more time to acclimatise to the heat and environment here. We’re also more than happy to advise you and help you organise your climb with a reputable company.

If you’re interested in visiting the region but not climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro offers you an incredible variety of day trips and activities to fill your weekends. From Chaga cultural tours, traditional coffee tours and trips to beautiful waterfalls and secluded hot springs.


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This program offers a unique opportunity to contribute towards conservation research and efforts while also getting to experience life in Zanzibar. You’ll have an opportunity to help our team collect research information, engage with local people on conservation and perform coral reef checks. It’s a great project for those interested in conservation and immersing themselves in the culture of Zanzibar. You’ll spend your time working alongside our team to carry out the project while also getting free time on the weekends to explore the island.

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