There is 1 experience offered per month. Volunteers on longer durations will not be eligible to repeat Experiences. Please note, Experiences are subject to change or substitution and are optional. Volunteers who elect, or are unable, to participate will not be eligible for any refunds. Volunteers must ensure their travel insurance covers any activities.
- Learn to cook traditional Seychellois Creole dishes
You will learn how to make traditional Seychellois Creole dishes, using fruits picked from in and around our base or from the local markets. Depending on the season you might pick breadfruit, coconuts or papayas. Creole flavours are a fusion of Indian, Chinese and French cuisines, with a unique blend of herbs and spices. Typical dishes include a local-style fish BBQ and a green mango salad. You'll take turns to help with the preparation, including cutting and preparing vegetables. At the end you'll get to enjoy a delicious Seychellois dish.
- Visit the Mission Ruins at Venn's Town
Venn's Town is a short drive from base. This historic site bears testimony to an important part of the Seychelles' history. After the abolition of slavery, the Seychelles became one of the main locations where liberated slaves settled. With many of them finding work as labourers on plantations, in 1875 Venn's Town was established to accommodate and educate their children. The large numbers of liberated Africans had a great impact on the Seychelles and in the formation of the Creole Seychellois identity. The short walk to the ruins ends with a spectacular view of the east coast of Mahe and the Morne Seychellois National Park. The small village has both ruins and restored buildings with informational boards sharing some of the experiences, trials and accomplishments of these early settlers.
- Paddleboard across the bay
Learn how to stand-up paddleboard (SUP) on the calm blue waters of Mahe's beaches. During orientation you'll learn important safety information, including how to stand and control the board, proper stroke and turning techniques, correct posture and positioning, and how to safely entry and exit from the water. To start you will paddle out on your knees, orienting your body to the movement and the SUP. Once you're comfortable, you can stand up and experience the ocean from a unique vista - standing on water. Paddle with your buddies at sunrise or sunset and explore the beautiful coastline - it’s magical being out there and taking it all in. We often see dolphins, sea turtles and a vast variety of fish as we cruise through the marine park.
- Hike through lush forests and across rocky plateaus
The granitic islands of the Seychelles have all the elements needed to create exceptional biodiversity. With nine signposted hiking routes across Mahe, the hike we choose depends on the groups' fitness level and weather conditions. Ranging in length and difficulty (particularly the ascent/descent), participants can choose a route that suits their abilities and interests. Expect exceptional panoramic views of the east and west coasts, lush forests, rocky plateaus and inspiring flora and fauna - including the endemic insectivorous pitcher plant.
- Explore the ocean after dark with a night dive
Offering a unique perspective on our amazing dive sites situated in the Cap Ternay marine protected waters. You will dive down into the fascinating nocturnal world and explore what feels like a whole new ecosystem. Crustaceans out of their daily hiding spots, rays out hunting for their next meal, resting parrot fish and eels exploring the murky depths. With such a varied experience, it’s no wonder many participants look forward to this amazing opportunity.
- Discover rare and endemic species of plants
Visit the Seychelles National Biodiversity Center - a natural sanctuary that aims to preserve the endangered species that make up the fragile ecosystems of the archipelago in the Western Indian Ocean. A local ranger will guide you through the lush gardens and explain the importance and uses of many of the endemic and endangered species. The area features an arboretum (a botanical garden for propagating endangered species), an Aldabra garden, a palm forest, a living collection garden, a Small Islands Developing States garden, as well as a medicinal garden. After exploring the gardens, you can enjoy a picnic in the beautiful grounds.
- Swim at a secret beach
Lush dramatic landscapes, soft white sand and turquoise water. At the small half-moon shaped secret beach you'll find massive smooth boulders, a freshwater mangrove pool and a rope swing for practicing your inner Tarzan. Offering astounding natural beauty, it is one of the few "untouched" beaches in the Seychelles. Off the beaten track, the beach is a 30-minute swim or 5-minute boat ride from base - but it's well worth it. Spend the day lazing on the beach - swimming and snorkeling and enjoying the crystal-clear water. As one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, it’s easy to see how a visit to this beach ends up becoming one of many people's favourite memories.
- Go fishing with local fishers
In the Seychelles fishing offers a livelihood and a source of nutrition. Fishers prioritise fishing for their families as it provides their main source of protein. The waters outside the marine-protected areas near Cap Ternay are home to a variety of fish species, including rabbit fish, bonito, and snapper. Fishers will take you out by boat to handline fish. Here you will learn the art of handline fishing, reading the tides, feeding times, and breeding patterns - knowledge that is ingrained in Seychellois culture. You might also get a chance to learn about invertebrates, such as crustaceans, shellfish and sea cucumbers. You can bring your catch back to base and share a sustainable supper with the team, or choose to catch and release.
Participants have free time over the weekend (usually Saturday and Sunday). They must be back on base by Sunday evening for dinner to be ready for the week ahead.
There are many opportunities in the local area to do day trips visiting local islands Praslin ad La Digue, some of these include scuba experiences, snorkeling and pristine beaches, visit the Valée de Mai Nature Reserve, or enjoy some down time at a local resort.
There is the option to arrange a boat transfer in advance to other islands, and there are taxis and a bus system on Praslin island. Participants can also purchase tickets for the inter-Island ferry system which is very reliable.
Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with us. Our field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in Seychelles!
Included Side Trips
During the expedition, we will usually organise a hike up Cap Matoopa for you to explore the surrounding area after all your hard work on surveys. The last days of an expedition are usually dedicated to taking volunteers to their favourite dive sites to dive just for fun, having completed all the survey work.
Optional Side Trips
On the weekends many volunteers head to Beau Vallon Bay for a well-earned break. The bay is the main tourist area of Mahe with a lovely long beach, hotels and guest houses, shops and restaurants to suit all tastes. The dive shops in the area offer many options for all diving needs.
Most people would agree that sitting at The Coral Strand Hotel bar with a cool drink and watching the sun set behind Silhouette Island is an experience not to be missed. Volunteers may have the opportunity to visit the islands of Praslin and La Digue. Praslin is home to the Vallee de Mai (a world heritage site) thought by early explorers to be the original “Garden of Eden”, that is home of the famous Coco de Mer palm tree that produces the huge double nut famous for its provocative shape. La Digue is the picture perfect tropical island, small and intimate with quaint guest houses and arguably the most beautiful beach in the world - Anse Source d’Argent.
Victoria is the capital city of the Seychelles, the smallest capital city in the world. Volunteers often visit to catch up at internet cafes, do a little shopping, or visit the market to soak up the local atmosphere.
Public transport is cheap and frequent and all parts of Mahe can be explored easily by catching a bus. Many volunteers spend happy times bouncing around the island roads on buses taking in the beautiful scenery whilst enjoying the company of locals going about their daily business.
Accommodation is in shared (mixed gender) dorm rooms (up to 10 people). The tap water is safe for drinking on the expedition base and there is cold running water available. There are male and female bathrooms with cold water showers, which believe it or not is very much welcomed after a hot day in this tropical climate! The hub is very active on environmental awareness (as is most of Seychelles). Keeping up with the recycling is part of daily duties that every volunteer will partake in. Participants also share base duties, including cleaning and other chores. Refrigeration is available for communal food only. You need to bring your own mosquito net and bedding for example a thin sleeping bag liner.
If you need to stay additional nights before or after your project you need to book these separately, ask your travel consultant for help.
Volunteers arrange international flights to Seychelle's main international airport on Mahé Island, arriving on or before the expedition start date. We highly recommend that you arrive on Mahe Island the Friday prior to your program start date, to ensure that you acclimatise to the new surroundings and be on time at the meeting point on your program start date. Most people stay in the village of Beau Vallon which is right on the beach and the main centre for tourism in Mahé, with restaurants and shops close by.
It is a 1h-travelling time from La Perle Noire restaurant in Beau Vallon to the GVI Base by taxi. It is highly important that you are on time to meet the team at 11:00 on your program start date. Late arrivals will not be accommodated. Please ensure our field staff are aware of your arrival plans.
Please note: If you plan to stay in other parts of the island, you will be required to make your own way to the pick-up point.
You can depart any time on the final day, as the base is just one hour away from the airport. A transfer is provided at 08:00 to Cap Ternay or Beau Vallon. If you have a flight before 08:00, a taxi will be organised and paid for locally. All departure transfers are at your own cost.
Participants take turns preparing meals for the group. Food is basic but nutritious, with vegetarian options and optional fish or meat available each week. Breakfast could be porridge, or occasionally pancakes or cereal; lunch and evening meals may include pasta, lentils and beans, rice, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, etc. We do ask you to remember that it can be difficult to cater to certain food allergies or dietary requirements due to our remote location and access to specific items. Sources of protein for vegetarians/vegans are: beans, eggs, lentils and fresh vegetables. Please feel free to bring your own supplements (protein powder, chia seeds, nutritional yeast, vitamins etc) as they will be very expensive and/or difficult to find.
Dive Equipment Rental
If you are renting dive equipment locally, pick it up before meeting the team at the pick-up point on Saturday (project start date) and transferring to the project.
You will have access to long distance communications whilst on the program, but make sure friends and family know how often they can expect to hear from you. Participants typically use internet cafes to keep in touch, with access to internet about once a week. Local SIM cards and pay-as-you-go credit can be bought affordably in the Seychelles and the signal is good in most areas. Contact your mobile/cell phone provider for more information before travelling.