2016: 1 Oct, 15 Oct, 1 Nov, 15 Nov, 1 Dec, 15 Dec 2017: 1 Jan, 15 Jan, 1 Feb, 15 Feb, 1 Mar, 15 Mar, 1 Apr
Responsible tourism: South Africa marine conservation diving holiday
The project’s primary objective is to monitor the fauna and flora of Sodwana Bay, part of the iSamangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The project collects biodiversity data and monitors species distribution on the reef. This data is fed into global and regional databases and aims to identify the migratory patterns and population densities of megafauna. Turtles, rays, sharks and groupers make up the majority the research, which focuses on whether environmental conditions affect sighting rates. As well as this, volunteers record sightings of endemic, iconic and rarely seen species.
The project also works with the local community to teach them about the importance of protecting these marine ecosystems.
Research and data collection is labour intensive, so volunteers are an essential part of the project.
Volunteers help to document various types of megafauna, as well as assisting in the collection of basic environmental and behavioural data. Volunteers contribute to Citizen Science ID databases which is a platform used to centralise knowledge about the biodiversity of southern Africa’s fauna and flora.
Volunteers also upload all data and photographs collected to the global databases along with any personal sightings.
One of the main negative impacts of our volunteers travelling, is the carbon dioxide created from flights. We work with an Amazon conservation project that helps to ensure that carbon is sequestered through tree planting. While our volunteers and customers are overseas, we identify and encourage simple steps to minimise their impact on the local environment. And at our office in the UK we try to recycle as much of our office waste as possible, use recycled products where available, avoid printing (no brochures) and minimise energy usage.
Social responsibility: Before volunteers depart we provide them with a detailed volunteering guide on the area they will be visiting. We try to educate and encourage our volunteers to understand and respect the local cultures and customs, and encourage them to interact with the local communities while they are here as well as supporting them financially by buying food etc.
Economic responsibility: For over 10 years we have been providing volunteers to help at charitable projects around the world. A UK charity has now been launched to build on this success by providing financial assistance to overseas causes as well. The organisations we work with are often struggling to fund the work they are doing so every penny raised makes a real difference.