Marine turtles, Red Colobus Monkeys, reptiles, environmental education for children... at a National Park rain forest and a tropical paradise beach - our animal and nature combination project includes all of this!
The "Mother Nature Conservation Camp Zanzibar" is a combination of 10 volunteering activities at the two locations Rain Forest and Beach under professional guidance. It is ideal for everyone of any age who loves animals and nature, and who wishes to become active in the conservation of the island's unique fauna and flora. You will live in a comfortable camp in the forest and at an attractive bungalow directly on the beach.
The Project Activities
(Click on an activity to read more and to see pictures!)
You can join the conservation of endangered marine turtles in Nungwi and in Jozani.
The marine turtle conservation project in Nungwi is an established conservation project under the direction of a local initiative. Marine turtles are looked after and raised in a large natural lagoon and at several smaller pools, which have been found with injuries. Furthermore eggs are collected at beaches where due to human pressure the hatching or survival of the hatchlings is at risk. The eggs are incubated inside the protected area of the sanctuary and the young turtles are released to the ocean once they reach a certain size. The main tasks of volunteers at the marine turtle sanctuary include nursing and treating injured sea turtles, collecting food and feeding the turtles, cleaning the lagoon and pools, and guiding visitors using foreign languages.
In Jozani, just next to the National Park entrance, a local farmers' cooperative is keeping marine turtles in a large pool. The empoverished farmers are trying to generate funds from tourists who pay an admission fee to see see the marine turtles. The funds are used to compensate members of the cooperative whose fruits have been lost to Red Colobus Monkeys (please see details about the conflict between farmers and Red Colobus Monkeys below). The construction of the pool was financed by United Nations as an alternative source of income for deprived farmers, but no further capacity-building was offered to the farmers who neither have knowledge about the conservation of marine turtles nor about tourism. World Unite! is now working with the farmers and also financially supports the implementation of the following projects:
1) Improvement of the conditions how the turtles are kept at the pool. This includes addition of shaded areas to reduce the water temperature and a beach area where turtles can leave the pool.
2) Implementation of a program where turtles are regularly released to the open sea and which includes revenue generation through tourism, to be able to use the generated funds to regularly purchase/rescue turtles which are sold at informal fish markets for human consumption.
3) Implementation of a program of relocation of eggs and rearing of the offspring, to make sure a higher number of young turtles can survive
4) Improvements to the educational aspect of the project and the tourist experience
As a volunteer you can contribute to all of these activities. With the help of our volunteers, we also try to achieve a knowledge transfer from the well-established marine turtle conservation project in Nungwi.
Locations: Nungwi and Jozani
Even though the endemic Red Colobus Monkeys are an endangered and protected species, they are killed by farmers, as the monkeys are taking fruits from their farms. The farmers see the monkeys as a threat to their livelihood. Under the direction of biology teacher Mohammed, volunteers are experimenting in cooperation with a local farmers' cooperative in various techniques to keep the monkeys away from the farms. These techniques includes setting up scarecrows made from recycling materials, planting hedges that the monkeys don't like, and planting alternative food sources for the monkeys. Volunteers are creating a "Monkeys' Paradise" away from the farms. Also other species of monkeys such as Blue Sykes Monkeys and Bushbabies (Galagos) are regularly showing up at this project.
Biology teacher Mohammed has been running the little zoo "Zala Park" in the village of Muungoni for 20 years. The zoo's several enclosures mostly host local reptiles such as snakes, lizards, tortoises and chamaeleons. Even these animals impose no danger to humans, they are often killed by the rural population out of superstition. Local school classes are visiting the small zoo for free and it is Mohammed's aim to provide a scientific approach to the animals to the children in order to bust superstitious beliefs. The project is financed through tourists visiting the park. Volunteers are guiding tourists in foreign languages, they work in the improvement of the park, feed and look after the animals, and they communicate environmental topics to school children who are visiting the park.
Local school classes are not only visiting Zala Park, but they are also visiting the World Unite! Forest Camp where they can learn about solar energy, compost toilets, recycling, and keyhole gardening. Volunteers are carrying out environmental workshops with the children in a playful way. Furthermore, volunteers are teaching biology and environmental protection at the village kindergarten and primary school of Muungoni. Also at our Nungwi recycling project, we regularly do activities with local school children.
Locations: Jozani and Nungwi
The Muungoni Community Tourism Initiative is a group of citizens from Muungoni Village who are offering various excursions and activities such as kayak tours through the mangroves, bicycle tours, hikes and village tours to tourists. The group is also running two tourist accommodation in the forest and inside the mangroves of Muungoni. Half of the group's profits are used for community projects. For instance, the operations of the kindergarten and primary school of Muunongi, and the construction of wells are financed through this money. Volunteers are teaching English and service skills to members of the initiative (e.g. communication skills with foreign tourists, and improvements to the offers and service levels). They furthermore assist with the preparation and operations of activities, tours and tourist's overnight stays.
We are also arranging tourism internships under professional supervision for students of tourism, service management, economic geography and others, with the Muungoni Community Initiative, in the development of the Jozani Turtle Centre as a tourist attraction, and with the Zanzibar Butterfly Centre.
Permaculture is a holistic concept of sustainable and resource-optimized land usage. World Unite! has sponsored the participation of several citizens from Muungoni to a permaculture training. They are now applying permaculture farming techniques on their own land. Also on the plot of the forest camp there are keyhole gardens where fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices are cultivated. A keyhole garden is a circular raised garden with a keyhole-shaped indentation on one side. The indentation allows gardeners to add composting materials to provide nutrients for the plants, allowing the cultivation of plants that otherwise won't grow in Zanzibar, such as lettuces, bellpeppers and certain herbs. You can also help at the Kilimo Hai organic mushroom farm where oyster mushrooms are grown. As a volunteer you can assist with the cultivation of vegetables and fruits in these gardens, and you can learn about the permaculture principles.
We are regularly planting mangroves in the mangrove area between Uzi Island and Muungoni, which is the largest in Zanzibar. Mangrove forests play a very important role against coastal erosion and as a breeding ground for many marine creatures such as fish, crabs, mussels and shrimps and therefore must be protected. As a volunteer you can contribute to the conservation of the mangrove forests.
Under the guidance of our coordinator we do several types of recycling und upcycling of plastic materials. This includes the production of ubuntublox as a construction material for walls. Ubuntublox are made from strongly compressed soft plastics such as plastic bags and foils, and are replacing concrete blocks. Another example is the use of bottle cutters to make strings for weaving mats, curtains etc from the plastic of bottles. Volunteers are working on the creative design of useful and decorative objects from waste materials.
Even though Zanzibar is surrounded by paradise beaches and turquise blue warm ocean water, only few people in Zanzibar know how to swim. Unfortunately, tragic accidents frequently occur, which could be avoided if more people had at least basic swimming skills. In cooperation with the Assalam Community Foundation, volunteers are teaching swimming to children on the beach of Kizimkazi.
Occasionally, volunteers can support various charitable activities in the village. This includes restauration and construction works at the community school, the building of wells and water supplies, or helping the village community with the preparation for celebrations and special occasions. Completed projects include the construction of a new school building in Muungoni, a new school building in the neighboring village of Charawe, and the renovation of the Charawe medical dispensary.
The Locations & the Shuttle
You will join volunteering activities at 2 locations. Every Wednesday, a shuttle will connect the two locations, allowing you to change from one location to the other. The two locations are firstly, the region around Jozani Forest National Park, which is characterised by dense tropical rainforest, vast mangrove areas, and small traditional villages, and secondly the tourist beach destination Nungwi on the northern tip of Zanzibar.
Around Jozani Forest National Park, the volunteering activities are guided by biology teacher Mohammed. There is a weekly work plan which includes a variety of activities that you can join with a group of volunteers. If you prefer to focus on certain specific activities only, it is also possible to spend more time or full time on one or just a few selected activities only. It is possible to decide this on location. Here you can see a weekly sample plan.
You can decide whether you want to stay at the World Unite! Forest Camp or with a local host family in Muungoni. All volunteering activities are located within a 3 km radius from the accommodation, reachable by bicycle, which is provided tp you at no further cost.
The Jozani Forest area boasts several tropical coastal habitats and is a paradise for nature lovers. The little villages around the area have barely changed over the last hundreds of years, as they have remained largely uninfluenced by tourism. They give visitors the opportunity to become part of a village community and to get to know traditional life of Zanzibar.
In Nungwi, you will volunteer with the marine turtle conservation project of the Mnarani Natural Aquarium, and you will join creative recycling activities under the guidance of our team member Lisa and the local staff of the marine turtle sanctuary. You will stay at the bungalow of the marine turtle project directly at one of the most beautiful white sandy beaches of Zanzibar. Nungwi is a main tourism destination in Zanzibar where you will find many hotels, restaurants, bars, and tourism offers.
Every Wednesday you can use our shuttle at no extra cost to move between the two locations (Jozania Forest and Nungwi). We recommend you to start your stay in Jozani and to stay there for more time. Good combinations are for instance 2 weeks Jozani + 1 week Nungwi, or 2 months Jozani and 1 month Nungwi. However, it is also possible to stay just at one location for the whole duration of your stay.
Arrival into this project should also be on a Wednesday. The introduction to the project work will then be with a small group of volunteers on the following Thursday. You can also arrive to Zanzibar on any other day of the week, but in this case we would charge an extra of 60 EUR for the additional logistic support.
You'll get cheaper combination rates (compared to two separate bookings) if you combine the Mother Nature Environmental Camp Zanzibar with the Mother Nature Environmental Camp Kilimanjaro! Please contact us for details.
Locations: Jozani Forest Region and Nungwi, Zanzibar
Availability: throughout the year, arrival EVERY WEDNESDAY (see details above)
Minimum duration: 1 week
Maximum duration: 12 months
Language requirements: English
Other languages of advantage: Swahili
Accommodation: In Jozani: World Unite! Forest Camp or Host family; In Nungwi: Bungalow of Marine Turtle sanctuary
Supervision possible: Yes
Qualification Supervisor: Biologist, Teacher, MA Tourismus Management
Minimum Qualification Intern:
no formal qualification required
Further project contribution: No
Volunteering possible: Yes
Expected Qualification Volunteer: None
Further project contribution: No
Professional work attitude, "the right attitude"
Mother Nature Forest Camp Zanzibar:
Use of Solar Cookers:
In Jozani, you will stay at the World Unite! Forest Camp Zanzibar or with a host family in the village of Muungoni. In Nungwi you will stay at the bungalow of the marine turtle sanctuary directly at the beach.
World Unite! Forest Camp Zanzibar
Just next to Jozani Forest National Park in southern Zanzibar you will find our World Unite! Forest Camp on a natural forest ground. It is the exclusive accommodation only for the participants of our Mother Nature Conservation Camp in Zanzibar.
There are three comfortable safari tents (6 m x 3 m x 3.50 m high), which are shared by a maximum of 6 participants, each featuring 3 bunk beds with mosquito nets. The tents are on platforms and covered by a solid wooden thatched roof, protecting the tents from rain and sun. The tents have large windows with mosquito netting, allowing wind to come in for an enjoyable temperature inside the tent. Each tent has lockable cabinet compartments for every participant. A solid building hosting a toilet and a separate shower with cold and hot water is attached to and accessible from inside every tent. In front of each tent you can sit on a wooden verandah deck and enjoy the tropical forest atmosphere.
Just next to the tents there is a large terrace, serving as communal space, covered by a large sail that provides protection from sun and rain. It is a space for everyone to relax, work, and enjoy the meals. The kitchen is next to the terrace, catering for three meals per day. There is a drinking water outlet at the kitchen where participants can refill their bottles with filtered and chilled drinking water at no extra cost.
The tropical garden of the World Unite! Forest Camp has a lawn for sunbathing and a refreshing small pool.
Volunteers can make use of a washing machine.
In the garden there are also several fruit trees and the Keyhole Gardens where we grow vegetables, lettuces, herbs and spices in a resource-saving way for your meals.
Ecological aspects were of great importance when building the World Unite! Forest Camp. All illumination and the mobile phone chargers we provide are solar-powered. The hot water of the showers comes from solar water heaters. We use high-tech compost toilets that remove 90% of the humidity from the excrements. The remaining material is a dry and odorless substrate that is used as a fertilizer for the garden. Local and renewable construction materials have been used as far as possible. The greywater from the showers is filtered through several layers of gravel and flowing into a small biotope, which is planted with yams and reed, where the water infiltrates or evaporates. You can find creative recycled artefacts all around the camp, such as lampsheds and curtains made from recycled plastic bottles by World Unite! volunteers.
The camp has three watchmen, providing 24 hours security. Valuables can be stored at a safe deposit box.
We try to separate the bed occupancy by gender, however we cannot guarantee this, depending on varying booking numbers of males and females.
Host families in Muungoni
If you want to immerse even deeper into the traditional culture and life of Zanzibar's rural population, you can live with a host family in Muungoni. The families are chosen by the Muungoni Community Tourism Initiative. Not all families are experienced in hosting foreign guests and they often only have very basic English language skills. However, they are extremely friendly and will integrate you just like their own family members into the village community.
You will have your own room. 2-3 participants of the same sex, booking together, can also share a room at the same host family. For cultural reasons, participants of opposite sex cannot share a room with a host family.
You have to be prepared for the most simple living conditions. The rooms generally only have very basic furnishing which is not always well maintained. The construction materials are also often very basic and not in a very good condition. Not all families have access to electricity, so that illumination at night has to be done using oil lamps. There are usually only pit latrines. Showers have to be taken making use of a bucket. Such living conditions are the reality for the vast majority of Zanzibar's population and staying with a host family of such standard in Muungoni will give you the most intensive insights into the „real“ Zanzibar life. Your rent payment will contribute to the improvement of the living conditions of the host families.