Volunteer stays offers a unique opportunity for one to gain hands on experience that focuses on marine mammals. For some it is a month long journey tuning into mother nature and for others it is used as platform to extend their knowledge on marine mammal behaviour, their environment & ethical eco/edu-tourism.
Volunteers can expect to have regular in-water encounters with our local dolphins while collecting and entering baseline data & assisting guests whilst at sea. The project operates year-round with programs lasting four weeks. We will generally start each four week program on the first Monday of every month, each holding a maximum of eight participants. Additional weeks can be arranged upon request.
30-90 NIGHT VOLUNTOUR
Edu-Tourism & Research
During your time you can expect to learn about ethical marine mammal tourism and gain experience in land based observations, photo id capture and cataloguing, data entry and other related projects.
30N..... R21 560
60N..... R40 000
90N..... R58 460
90 NIGHT INTERNSHIP
Interns will be required to apply to the Department of Conservation area’s to undertake their research within the reserve. This is done prior to arrival & permit fees apply. Interns will have full use of DC’s data & imagery. Interns will be expected to supervise volunteers and participate on all levels. Interns seeking academic credit are to do so with their supervisors or academic advisor at their university. We will provide a letter summarising your activities with us as well as a certificate of attendance.
90N..... R55 000
Basic meals (2 per day)
Training for specific tasks
Field trips ~ 3 p/w weather dependent
Mentoring by the Dolphin Team
Dolphin Pack (t-shirts to be worn on duty, certificate of attendance, pictures & dolphin diaries from your stay; information on our dolphins, research & interesting reference papers.
All travel costs to/from Ponta do Ouro
Visa, medical & travel insurance costs
Soft drinks, alcohol, dining out, spending money, recreational & additional activities
Research permit fees (interns)
Boat & in-water data & image capturing
Land based observations
Data entry & image cropping/cataloguing
Dolphins of Ponta fin id & adoption project
Preparation of educational/information boards
Educational orientation with tourists
Marine animal stranding assistance
Bone/skeleton preparation, cataloguing & reconstruction
Tourist / lodge surveys
A TYPICAL DAY
Volunteering for DolphinCare..
Our mornings start early in Ponta! If we are launching one can expect to be up at sunrise in preparation for the days dolphin sessions at sea. After a quick cuppa and snack you will head down to the dolphin center where you will assist with guest preparations for their encounter with wild dolphins in the open ocean OR head to the beach on dolly watch! This normally takes about an 30 mins, after which you will head to sea with the Dolphin Team to look for dolphins and whales during season. Once located, time will be spent collecting data that includes photography, acoustics, environmental and behavioural. Time is dedicated to the capturing of ‘fin shots’ for the id project. A set of steady sea legs, a good eye and some photography skills might find you behind the lens. Private cameras can be brought along to help with the project and your images will be added to the extensive data base.
Depending on behaviour, we will enter into the water for observations and further collection via underwater video and cameras. Volunteers will be asked to undertake certain tasks in the water which may include assisting participants and dolphin counts. One can expect to be at sea for around two hours at a time depending on sea state.
There are a number of red-data list species that may be encountered at sea including the majestic humpback whale, whale sharks, turtles and manta rays. Once back on land volunteers assist with de-briefing participants, rinsing & sorting gear.
Time for a break with breakfast before heading to the office where specific post launch activities take place that include camera cleaning, capturing and sorting of days images and data.
After lunch break the afternoon is spent in various projects that include updating the fin id catalogue, project dolphin adoption, skeleton re-construction, beach-clean-ups, land based observations, community/tourist education etc..
An early dinner and the evening is yours. Turtle season may find you accompanying local monitors on their routine walks which are set to the tide (ever changing).
WHAT SKILLS DO I NEED?
You will be required to be fluent in English, with Portuguese being a bonus. Some computer literacy will be needed for data entry, image cropping social media updates. You will be working off Windows and possibly Mac. You will be required to have good people skills, be friendly and accommodating. A willingness to work as a team is required. You should be in good physical health, be comfortable on and in the ocean and promote the values of our project.
COMMUNICATION & INTERNET?
There are FEW land lines in Ponta so a mobile phone & Moçambican SIM card are necessary. SIM cards can be purchased & registered in Ponta. Limited internet access is available however some of the restaurants have wireless that can be accessed at a set fee per hour.
The local currency in Mozambique is the Meticais, but the South African Rand (ZAR) is accepted. Many vendors accept VISA & MASTERCARD, some with a surcharge. Euros are not accepted. There is an ATM in the village.
IS THERE AN AGE LIMIT?
From 18 to 70 (fitness important). Younger adults are welcome, however supervision is to accompany the group by means of a responsible adult. Applicants should be able to work in a group environment as well as take initiative when working alone. Some knowledge of computers is required and one should be enthusiastic and confidant to enter into the water as well as willing to lend a helping hand when necessary.
WHERE WILL I BE STAYING & WHAT ABOUT FOOD!
Currently our volunteer and interns are accommodated at Lar do Ouro which is a lodge owned by DolphinCare's biologist Diana Rocha. Brunch & dinner is served at the lodge restaurant and basic foodstuffs are made available for lunch. We are is in the process of re-building our facilities after the great fire of 2010. Once complete space for 8 visiting volunteers | students will be available.
CAN I GET MY LAUNDRY DONE?
A hand washing area is available. Alternatively, you can visit the local laundromat or ask the lodge. Nominal fees will apply.
HOW SAFE IS PONTA?
The area is currently stable from any political unrest and borders South Africa to the south. Normal safety measures should be followed as with any country
DO I NEED A VISA?
You will need a valid passport with two bank pages and validity for at least 6 months. A Mozambican entry visa is required if your are not South African or belonging to one of the SADAC countries. Visa’s should be obtained prior to arrival. We will supply you with a visa request letter on request .
MEDICAL FACILITIES, MALARIA & INSURANCE?
There is a local clinic & pharmacy in the village and across the boarder a state hospital (border hours 8am to 5pm). Ponta do Ouro is a low malaria area. Locals do not take meds. Travellers venturing north of Maputo should take malaria meds. Bring your own meds and repellant. Arrange vaccinations & travel medical insurance prior to arriving. Bring a ﬁrst aid kit & any necessary prescriptions for the duration of your stay. Bring your own motion sickness medication if you have a tendency to be sea sick.
CAN I BRING A CAMERA & LAPTOP?
Yes, please do bring your own equipment for data and image processing.
DIFFERANCE BETWEEN INTERN & VOLUNTEER
Intern is visiting as part of their studies for university and produces a report/paper in collaboration with us at the end of their stay. Interns are required to apply to the Department of conservation area’s to undertake the collaborative research in the Reserve. Minimum stay is 90 nights.
WHAT ABOUT MALARIA & OTHER VACCINES?
Ponta do Ouro is located within a malaria zone. There have however been only 2 confirmed reports of malaria over the last 24 years. It is up to you as to whether you take anti-malarial medication. Locals do not. There are various homeopathic alternatives available. Travellers venturing north of Maputo should take malaria meds. Arrange vaccinations & travel medical insurance prior to arriving. Bring a small ﬁrst aid kit & any necessary prescriptions for the duration of your stay. Bring your own motion sickness medication if you have a tendency to be sea sick.
HOW DO I REACH YOU?
For international volunteers it is best to fly to Maputo and transfer down with one of the transfer companies listed below.
Sandra’s Transfers: +258 84 731 9049
Isack Transfers: +248 84 200 3717 | 82 465 0320
Tours Maputo +258 2149 9644
firstname.lastname@example.org ±300U$ return.
Please note: Transfer companies are not managed or maintained by DERC. It is the visitors responsibility to confirm and settle up payment direct with provider.
ADD ON ACTIVITIES
OpenWater One scuba course
Maputo Special Elephant Reserve Day Trip
Please note: ADD ON ACTIVITIES are not managed or maintained by DERC. It is the volunteers responsibility to confirm and settle up payment direct with provider.