Everything you need to know
Our Seychelles volunteer project focuses on three key aspects: Endangered Species monitoring, Marine Conservation and Ecosystem Restoration. For a unique ecotourism experience which allows you to give something back by supporting a dedicated conservation research and volunteer team on a private tropical island paradise, come and support those volunteering in the Seychelles. Ecotourists live and experience land and marine conservation life on the exclusive North Island in the Seychelles – considered by many to be the most beautiful archipelago in the world with its luminous white beaches, granite outcrops and azure oceans.
This unique island and marine conservation experience allows you to accompany scientists and Seychelles volunteers while focusing on Endangered Species Monitoring, Marine Conservation and Ecosystem Restoration. The project seeks those with a keen interest in tropical island conservation and ecology. Currently no more than 2 participants join a dedicated conservation and research team on a private island and get involved in all the activities of the Environmental Department and conservation volunteers – from field work to data entry.
North Island represents a Noah’s Ark – a sanctuary where natural habitats are being rehabilitated and where critically endangered Seychelles fauna and flora are being reintroduced by conservationists and volunteers – providing a haven to regenerate. It is very seldom that the opportunity arises to make such a significant and positive impact on a region, a specific area, its wildlife and surrounding environment. North Island was recognized for its island and marine conservation work by being awarded as the National Geographic World Legacy Awards winner for Conserving the Natural World.
ISLAND AND MARINE CONSERVATION ACTIVITIES
Activities include morning beach patrols to search for evidence of nesting sea turtles, assisting with the removal of coconut saplings and other invasive species, planting indigenous/endemic plants, collecting seeds, monitoring the White Eye population, Giant Aldabra Tortoise population and Hawksbill Sea Turtle population, taking care of babies if necessary, Terrapin trapping, and conducting snorkeling photo surveys in support of marine conservation. While conducting these activities with research staff and volunteers, participants gain a better understanding of the environment and the challenges faced by island conservation initiatives around the world.
Seychelles conservation ecotourists can expect to be active 6 days a week with a rest day on Fridays. You will stay in a traditional 2 bedroom stone cottage between the palm trees and close to the beach. There are plenty of opportunities to mix with and learn from the full-time staff and volunteers after-hours as well as partake in fun activities such as swimming, surfing, enjoying sun-downers, paddle-boarding or kayaking – all available every day after 4pm at the dedicated staff beach. Or you may choose to explore more of the Seychelles between island and marine conservation activities on this beautiful private island!
THE SEYCHELLES CONSERVATION TEAM
- Dominique Dina (Environment Manager)
- Elliot Mokhobo (Environment Supervisor)
- Angelin Saunders (Environment Groundsman
Dominique Dina is the newest member of the North Island Environment team and previously worked with the Seychelles’ Ministry of Energy, Environment and Climate Change, focussing on turtle monitoring across the beaches of the main island of Mahé.
Elliot Mokhobo is an integral part of the Environmental team and has more than 12 years of experience on North Island. He was part of the original construction team who built the lodge on North Island and decided to stay on the island after construction had been completed. He first joined the Maintenance department before moving to the Environment department in 2006. His many years of experience on North Island means he has seen all of the island’s land and marine conservation projects at work and therefore has a wealth of knowledge of the island.
Angelin Saunders is another long-term North Island family member and has been on the island for over 15 years. For many years Angelin assisted the Environment team in many different conservation activities, from conducting nightly turtle patrols for our elusive Green turtles to assisting with terrapin monitoring in the marshes, while still working for the Maintenance Department. He is affectionately called the “turtle whisperer” as he has an uncanny ability to know when a turtle is on the beach. His passion has become his job (although Ange will never call what he does “work”) when he joined the Environment team full time in 2020.
Join our award-winning ecotourism experience
What Will I Do?
We seek participants with a keen interest in tropical island conservation, marine conservation and ecology. Participants on our North Island project need to be quick learners and able to remain independent in the field after only a few days induction. At certain times of the year be prepared for high temperatures of 28 – 32o C, with high humidity. You must be in good physical condition and able to walk up to 5km per day on deep sands and hilly terrain, and have a good sense of observing animals and birds. Participants should be self-disciplined, responsible, enthusiastic, patient and able to get along well with others.
Marking and monitoring of Green (Chelonia midas) and Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) populations.
- Daily beach patrols including night patrols (tagging of individuals when needed)
- Hatched turtle nest excavations – shell counts of old nests (when needed)
Marking and monitoring of the Aldabra Giant Tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea) population.
- Finding and recording GPS locations of tortoise locations for territory identification and movement patterns across the island.
- Monitoring baby Aldabra Giant Tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea) growth rates within a baby tortoise pen.
Rehabilitation of the endemic vegetation of North Island, particularly the Takamaka forest.
Vegetation Rehabilitation Work
- Coconut seedling removal in rehabilitated areas
- Cultivating of seedlings in the tree nursery
- Planting of indigenous trees in rehabilitated areas
- Alien vegetation removal, focusing on the 3 hills on the island
- Marsh vegetation clearing (dry season only)
- Marking and re-capturing the Seychelles Black Mud turtle (Pelusios subniger parietalis) population to obtain population estimates.
- Locating and recording the GPS location of White-tailed Tropicbird nests
- Conducting bird counts around the island and monitoring migrant bird species
- Snorkelling along the coral reefs of the island in order to compile a photographic ID database of corals and fish occurring on the reefs and monitoring changes in coral.
- Monitoring beach movement patterns on the three beaches of the island by means of photographs and by using Abney levels.
- Collecting and digitizing the oceanic trash that washes onto the beaches of North Island. This data is entered into an online database managed by The Ocean Conservancy to assess trends in global trash movements around the world’s oceans.
- Digitalize the field fauna and flora database of North Island.
The assigned staff beach on North Island provides the perfect opportunity to go swimming, snorkeling or even a sun-downer after work in the afternoons. North Island equipment such as surfboards, paddle-boards and kayaks are available for use every day after 4pm, so there are plenty of opportunities to have fun!
Participants can expect to be active 6 days a week, with a rest day on Fridays.You can choose to spend your rest day on North Island, or you can accumulate your rest days to leave the island 3 days early at the end of your time on the project to visit other islands. This way you can explore the Seychelles while you contribute towards island and marine conservation, on a beautiful private island!
Important note !
North Island is one of the world’s most exclusive resorts where guests pay a high fee for privacy. With this in mind you will not be able to use the guest beaches for relaxation purposes and will not be able to make use of the guest facilities on the beaches (sun loungers etc.)
You will be required to wear the official island conservation uniform at all time, which will be provided to you on arrival. While the staff uniforms may not be particularly flattering or perfectly-fitting, they are functional, and it will be compulsory to wear them at all times while working and moving around the island. Please note that you will also not be able to eat in the guest restaurant.
What To Expect
Seychelles is an ideal destination all year-round, as it is always warm and does not reach extremes of heat or cold. The temperature rarely drops below 24°C or rises above 32°C. It is generally cooler when the north-west trade winds blow during the months of November to March. The sea is generally calm and the weather warm and humid, with average winds of 15 – 22 kilometers per hour.
A larger amount of the annual rainfall falls during the months of December to February, compared to other months. This generally occurs in short bursts rather than prolonged rain. It is also fairly cloudy at times during those months. The weather is hottest from December to April, and the humidity is high – often 80% or higher. The months of May to October bring drier, cooler weather, and livelier seas and winds of 19 -37 kilometers per hour are common.
Two participants will live in a shared-accommodation house and will have opportunities to mix with conservation staff after hours, if they so choose. The house consists of 2 bedrooms, 1 lounge and 1 bathroom. The house has air-conditioning in the shared lounge and standing fans in each room. There are mosquito nets provided in the bedrooms within the Eco-tourist house.
As a tropical island, there will of course be insects including mosquitoes, cockroaches, spiders, beetles etc. They may occasionally come into the house as well. Eco-tourists need to take responsibility for cleaning the house.
Participants eat together in staff canteen – all meals provided (3 meals a day).
Breakfast usually includes a variety of cereals, eggs (either scrambled, fried or boiled), baked beans, a meat item (sausage or bacon etc.), porridge, and bread and jams, spreads etc.
Lunch and Dinner are buffet style with staples such as fish, rice and lentils provided every day. A second meat option is provided at every meal together with vegetables and various salads. Local and international cuisine is cooked.
The staff shop is open 4 times a week: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, from 6-7pm. Items for sale include ice-cream, juices, wine, beer, cigarettes, various snacks and toiletries. Alcohol is for sale on all days, with a maximum of 4 alcoholic beverages per person per shop day.
There is clean drinking water available on the island and a water cooler with purified water is provided in the Eco-tourist house.
*Vegetarians do need to bring supplements to add to their meals to ensure a balanced diet – the island does not cater well for vegetarians or vegans. Supplements could include nuts, snack bars or any other snacks which have high protein content, or a protein shake.
WiFi is available in the Environment Office all the time; the staff use it for work and it is not password protected, so participants are welcome to use it. We merely ask that participants do not abuse it by downloading movies, being on Facebook all the time etc. There is mobile phone coverage on North Island – Cable & Wireless. This is the only Seychelles provider which works on North Island.
North Island in the Seychelles is a tropical island paradise – a rare sanctuary for those seeking island and marine conservation activities on a gorgeous, unspoiled tropical haven. More importantly, it is a Noah’s Ark: a sanctuary where natural habitats are being rehabilitated and. . .
How Do I Get There?
The main island of Mahé, is home to the “Seychelles International Airport”. All travellers need to use the Seychelles Travel Portal, named “SEYCHELLES TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION” (either via the mobile app or the website), to gain entry into the Seychelles.
Please note that no travellers will be permitted to travel to Seychelles from a Red- listed country. In order to enter the Seychelles, all travellers must provide a Negative COVID-19 PCR test (no older than 72 hours prior to departure) upon arrival at the Seychelles International Airport.
North Island will provide a proof of accommodation letter for the duration of the Eco-tourist’s stay on North Island. Eco-tourists will need to arrange their own accommodation bookings if overnighting on Mahé Island prior to their Monday arrival. Given the number of COVID-19 cases on Mahé Island, participants may not spend more than 1 night on Mahé Island prior to their arrival on North Island – i.e. participants must land in the Seychelles on Sunday or Monday morning, in time to catch the 09:00 boat to North Island. (North Island will arrange the boat transfers to and from the main island of Mahé.)
The staff boat which will take you from Mahé Island to North Island, is the North Island staff boat “Elle”, which leaves from the Marine Charter Harbour (in Victoria) at 09:00 am on a Monday morning and takes approximately 1 hour to reach the island. This boat is free of charge, and we will make sure your name is placed on the list for the boat.
The only days when participants can ARRIVE by boat to the Island are Mondays. Eco-tourists must depart from North Island on a FRIDAY, in order to catch the staff boat from North Island back to Mahé Island. The staff boat does not operate on Saturdays or Sundays.
Eco-tourists are permitted to travel further around the Seychelles after they have left North Island, if they so wish. If your home country requires you to obtain a negative COVID-19 PCR test in order to return home, the COVID-19 PCR tests for return travel are conducted on Mahé Island.
Depending on the time of your weekend flight, you will need to depart North Island on Friday. This is to allow enough time for a PCR test to be conducted. Various prices of tests are available, depending on the length of time you wish to receive your results.
Please be aware that a rapid test (results in less than 6 hours) is 3 times more expensive than the regular (24 hours) test.
Download a Seychelles Project brochure for more information regarding visas, vaccinations, flights, transport and packing list.
Dates and Costs