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Marine Megafauna Foundation


Underwater Africa

Underwater Africa is a structured volunteer research program aimed at involving interested members of the public in the world-class research conducted at Marine Megafauna Foundation’s facility in Tofo Beach, Mozambique.


Underwater Africa has crafted 4, 8, 12, and 16 week programs where volunteers will get hands-on experience in field research in one of the most beautiful coastal locations in Africa. Southern Mozambique is home to some of Africa’s largest marine megafauna populations (e.g. whale sharks, manta rays, marine turtles, etc) and is also an important refuge for other threatened marine species like the elusive dugong. Volunteers will be hosted at Tofo’s own Casa Barry Lodge, only steps away from the MMF Office, and from the beach! The spacious volunteer house overlooking Tofo Bay can accommodate up to 10 volunteers at a time. We restrict the size of the groups to create an intimate setting and allow participants the one-on-one attention they need to get the most out of the program. The Underwater Africa coordinator, will be on-site with participants to manage activities and oversee the research efforts of the UA team.


The Underwater Africa program was designed by world leading manta researcher, Dr. Andrea Marshall and whale shark expert Dr. Simon Pierce, co-founders of the Marine Megafauna Foundation. Participants will assist with various research and conservation projects in the area, including with MMF’s whale shark, manta ray, and marine turtle research programs. By working with Underwater Africa you will be aiding the Marine Megafauna Foundation as this program was specifically designed to collect data for our Foundation. Participants will also have the opportunity to interact with local communities by supporting MMF’s education and outreach programs.


Daily activities will include megafauna research dives and ocean snorkel safaris with Tofo’s hottest dive centre, Peri-Peri Divers, kayaking estuary tours, turtle walks, wildlife photography workshops, scientific equipment maintenance, data entry & analysis, etc. Volunteers will get to interact daily with scientists from the Marine Megafauna Foundation, and will attend presentations on various scientific and marine-related topics. The longer your stay, the wider range of activities you will be involved in and the more responsibilities you will have (e.g. field trips, individual research projects, etc). Information and prices for program packages can be found on the UA website.


While previous dive experience is recommended, diving certification is included in your package – or free additional dives if already certified. There is no specific age restrictions to our program, but generally we are looking for fit, adventurous, enthusiastic people over the age of 18. Exceptions will be made by the program coordinator on a case by case basis.


This is a serious volunteer program and an opportunity to take part in world-leading scientific research on marine megafauna with top experts in the field. While previous experience in marine research and conservation is not required, participants should be interested, motivated, responsible and ready to work. While diving is an important component of the program this is NOT just a diving holiday. Participants should expect to be working with researchers to sort and upload data, monitor fishing related activities and do outreach work with local communities. Anyone can organize a diving trip to Tofo, but working directly with the MMF team will value add to your overall experience in the area and leave you with a sense of accomplishment and general satisfaction. This program is especially suited for GAP year or transition students, those thinking about career changes, or eco-friendly tourists looking to give back during their time abroad.


Group bookings can be organized as well as special packages at the discretion of our Program Coordinator.


All enquiries about this program should be addressed to [email protected].


For more info, visit


Marine Megafauna Foundation collaborates with Underwater Africa to enable scientific and community projects which help to achieve joint conservation goals in the Inhambane province, Mozambique, the home of MMF’s Manta Ray & Whale Shark research center. MMF is a United States registered 501(c)(3) Foundation. A percentage of the proceeds from each Underwater Africa participant goes directly to supporting ongoing MMF projects.

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