Marine turtles, Red Colobus Monkeys, environmental education for children, recycling... in the rain forest and at a tropical paradise beach - our animal and nature combination project includes all of this!
The "Mother Nature Conservation Camp Zanzibar" is a combination of many 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 cooperation with the NGO Under the Wave, volunteers from our Nungwi site take part in beach cleanups and other activities to protect sea turtles on the northeast coast of Zanzibar.
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) Implementation of environmental education program for local school children to make them develop an understanding of the need of marine turtle conservation
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 to make sure a higher number of young turtles can survive
4) Improvements to the tourist experience and the educational aspect at the visitor centre of the farmers cooperative
The project also has several Aldabra Giant Tortoises that roam freely on the site and regularly have offspring. 4 Aldabra Giant Tortoises were sent from Aldabra Island (Seychelles) to Zanzibar in 1919 by the British governor of the Seychelles. The ones that are in Zanzibar now are the decendents of those original 4 ones. A few specimens still live freely in the forests of Zanzibar, where however they are poached for their shells, which are popular as home decoration. The species is considered vulnerable and on the IUCN Red List. The site also has a few other species of tortoises and reptiles from Zanzibar. Volunteers clean the natural enclosures and feed the animals.
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 and with other NGOs such as Under the Wave.
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. Volunteers are planting alternative food sources for the monkeys to keep them away from the farms. Also other species of monkeys such as Blue Sykes Monkeys and Bushbabies (Galagos) are regularly showing up at this project.
Volunteers regularly go to various local schools to educate the children about various environmental issues, both in Nungwi and in southern Zanzibar. The volunteers prepare the classes, making use of an extensive collection of educational materials prepared by previous volunteers. Topics include the oceans, the water cycle, garbage, energy, habitats of Zanzibar, and the relationship between humans and animals.
Locations: Jozani and Nungwi
Permaculture is a holistic concept of sustainable and resource-optimized land usage. World Unite! runs its own garden in Kisauni following to permaculture principles. In addition to various fruits and vegetables, which are also used to feed volunteers at the Forest Camp, various types of bamboo are planted with the aim of building sustainable furniture from bamboo. As a volunteer, you can help grow vegetables and fruits in these gardens while learning 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.
We are also planting fast-growing casuarina trees that can meet the local population's need for wood in a more sustainable way than cutting mangroves.
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. Volunteers also collect plastic waste on the beach and process it into granules that are melted and shaped into new products in cooperation with OZTI East Africa.
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. At both locations we have our own team members who direct, instruct and supervise the activities, which are planned following a weekly schedule.
Around Jozani Forest National Park, the volunteering activities are guided by our team members Deogratius who has three BA Degrees (Wildlife Conservation, Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine) and plenty of experience in the field. He is supported by the team members Shauri, Minimo and Saddam. 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 Kitogani. All volunteering activities are located within a 3 km radius from the accommodation, reachable by bicycle, which is provided to 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 environmental education and recycling activities under the guidance of our team members Pascal Jesse, Gabriel 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 (Jozani 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 reduced 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: BA Wildlife Conservation, BA Agriculture, BA Veterinary Medicine, 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 Kitogani. 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. There is also an additional toilet at the communal area.
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. 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 Kitogani
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 Kitogani. 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 Kitogani 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.