Adventure Of A Lifetime
Explore The Sea
Once You come You'll Never Want To Leave
Ocean Conservation Done Right
Our internship program is designed for those that want to improve their fieldwork and scuba diving skills, while getting a true cultural experience of life in rural Mozambique. Known for its remoteness, diving in Zavora is still in its infancy, offering you the unique opportunity to explore a marine ecosystem with little human impact and where much of the reef is still yet to be explored. It is also one of the last places in Mozambique where manta rays can still be found in high abundance, giving you a chance to help support the critical research being done on the species. During your time in Zavora, you will learn about manta rays, sharks, humpback whales, and nudibranchs from our experts, and get to participate in the photo-identification and cataloging of these species.
It is also one of the last places in Mozambique where manta rays can still be found in high abundance, giving you a chance to support the critical research being done on the species.
The abundance and diversity of marine life in Zavora, both in terms of mega and macro fauna, make this bay a unique place to dive. Our rocky reefs offer a wide variety of colorful and vibrant fish and many other species that provide a good representation of diving in the Indian Ocean. On all dives, you may see mantis shrimps, scorpion fish, moray eels, crayfish, many turtles (loggerhead, green, hawksbill, even the endangered leatherback) and a variety of rays.
We are fortunate to have Manta cleaning stations where we can encounter both species of mantas – Oceanic (Mobula birostris) and Reef (Mobula alfredi). It’s also a special place where you can find more than 250 different species of nudibranchs. June to October is humpback whale season and we have the opportunity to see these magnificent animals daily from the shore, the boat, and even in the water. Our deep reefs are full of pelagic fish, large schools of tuna, trevallies, barracudas and all kinds of rays and groupers.
Our lead scientist is Nakia Cullain, founder of MAR Expeditions. She is a PhD candidate at Dalhousie University and a researcher/lab manager for the Marine Megafauna Foundation. While in Zavora, you will learn about her research (mostly on manta rays!) and she will teach you the joys and challenges of working in marine conservation in rural Africa.
About Mar Expeditions
MAR Expeditions is generating important research on the movements and abundance of marine animals in Zavora Bay, Mozambique, and beyond. The lab’s core research has focused on manta rays, humpback whales, nudibranchs, and artificial reef and wreck colonization through on-land and underwater surveys since its establishment in 2009.
In addition to its research capacity, MAR is also a platform for natural scientists, social scientists, university students and engaged naturalists to conduct research and gain experience in fieldwork, and data collection and analysis. The lab is engaged with national and international research institutions conducting research on seahorses, whale sharks, coral reefs, and sea turtles.
Our Chosen Provider
Conserve the marine biodiversity of Southern Mozambique and secure a sustainable future for local communities through research, diving, and ocean education. To help train the next generation of scientists in fieldwork techniques. SCUBA diving, data collection and analysis, and science communication; To continue to be an effective and sustainable partner within the Zavora Bay community.
Manta research aims to generate knowledge of the region’s manta ray populations and assist with their conservation in southern Mozambique.
Zavora Marine Lab is conducting the first assessment of nudipleura in Mozambique: solving a complex of species problems and describing new species.
Humpback whales come to Zavora each year to reproduce and give birth. Land-based surveys and fluke ID help provide estimates of humpback populations travelling through the region.
Of the 2 wrecks in Zavora, the newly sunken Rio Sainas  provided an excellent opportunity to monitor the colonization of an artificial reef right from ground zero.
Together with iSeahorse, MAR aims to assess and monitor seahorse populations, trends, and threats in the Inhambane region.
Visual surveys and baited remote underwater videos (BRUVs) are helping to collect baseline data on the elasmobranch species in the region.
Five of the seven sea turtle species can be found in Mozambique. In Zavora, we commonly see 4 of these on our reefs, two of which are known to nest on our beaches.
Expectations and responsibilities
Interns will be joining dedicated scientists who are conducting accredited research projects important for Mozambique and for science in general. These projects demand a level of dedication to the scientific and practical responsibilities from the participants. The demands are well within the capabilities of students, and while challenging, are equally enjoyable and exciting.
Interns taking part in MAR’s marine biology internship can expect to get practical and theoretical training in data collection, sampling and identification techniques.
Assistance and supervision are provided for the duration of interns’ stay, however interns are ultimately expected to work independently in order to achieve their personal goals and the objectives of the research project.
The internship program is an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to exciting marine research and conservation projects, as well as experience the achievements associated with ambitious and challenging marine research in Africa.
Tasks and duties
- Underwater photo identification of manta rays, whale sharks, leopard shark, smalleye stingrays, and turtles
- Humpback whale land-based survey and photo ID (June to October)
- Predatory fish surveys
- Baited underwater video (BRUV) deployment and video analysis
- Nudibranch (sea slug) search per time
- Nudibranch quadrat
- Field research organization
- Fish survey at Rio Saiñas Wreck
- Photo quadrat at Rio Saiñas Wreck
- Seahorse Monitoring Program (data collection and monthly report)
- Turtle patrolling and monitoring (November to March)
- Data entry and database management
- Educational activities including:
- Activities with kids from the local community
- Public talks
- Underwater clean-up
- Beach cleaning
- Workshops (e.g. recycling)
What you can expect to learn and experience while in Zavora:
- Comprehensive knowledge on sharks, rays, fish, and invertebrates
- In depth training on acoustic and satellite telemetry whilst also getting hands on experience assisting with tagging in the field.
- Proper protocol and photo-identification of megafauna, including:
- Whale watching and humpback whale fluke ID (June-October)
- Nudibranch identification and species cataloging
- Turtle patrolling and monitoring during nesting season (March-November)
- Participation in community activities including:
- Public talks
- Beach clean-ups
- Underwater clean-ups
2 weeks - US $1,695
4 weeks - US $2,695
6 weeks - US $3,595
8 weeks - US $4,295
12 weeks - US $5,395
The cost of your internship covers most of your living expenses while in Zavora and helps us with the day to day expenses of the Lab. If you would like to discuss specific requirements for your project or dissertation, please get in touch.
- All dives and dive gear hire
- Transfers from Inhambane or Inharrime to Zavora
- Accommodation (self-catering)
- Lectures and guidance from our marine biologists
- Field trip to Tofo/Barra (2 nights/2 days)
- Pre-departure assistance
Travel. Dive. Explore. Learn.
All of our expeditions support our partner organizations in each of their respective regions. By joining an expedition not only are you supporting their projects, but you are getting to join and learn from leading experts in their fields. In addition to this, you will get to participate in community outreach projects, underwater & beach clean ups, and a variety of workshops. Our goal is to spread love and conservation support throughout southern Africa, while providing you with incredible experiences along the way! Our mission and vision are rooted in an innate respect and appreciation for the natural world and the desire to see oceans prosper under global understanding and stewardship.
DIVE WITH PURPOSE
Explore some of the most wild and untouched places of southern Africa while learning from our experts and supporting a variety of different projects.
Limited group size allows for quality one-on-one guidance with a trained marine biologist during your trip.
Mozambique and South Africa have some of the best diving in the world. Expect to see manta rays, sharks, stingrays, whales, dolphins, and an astonishing diversity of macrolife.
During your expedition, you will live together, learn together and develop lasting friendships.