Prior to departure to Mauritius
In order to become part of this volunteer programme, you need to be at least 18 years of age and have solid communication skills in English. It is very important that you are physically fit and a good swimmer as you will be involved in lots of hands-on conservation tasks – in a tropical climate – as well as activities that require snorkelling. As part of the application process, we will therefore ask you to hand in a doctor’s certificate confirming that you are physically fit enough to successfully take part in the project. Furthermore, it is obligatory for each project participant to get adequate travel health insurance before departing to Mauritius. Last but not least, it is essential to be enthusiastic about terrestrial and marine conservation, to be open-minded and flexible and to be willing to gain lots of new knowledge and know-how. Before departing to Mauritius, you should get information regarding visa requirements at your country’s Foreign Office or contact the team at Natucate directly. Useful information regarding visa and entry can also be found at the online Passport and Immigration Office of the Mauritius Police Force.
Before starting your volunteer adventure in Mauritius, the Natucate team will secure a place in the project for you, help you choose suitable travel health insurance and assist you in booking your flights. Moreover, we will provide you with a pre-departure information pack including more details on the project and the country you are travelling to.
Transfer from the airport to your base in the beautiful Kestrel Valley Nature Reserve and vice versa will be organised by our partner. During the project, your accommodation, three daily meals (plus juice, tea, coffee) as well as conservation activities are included in the programme fee. Free WiFi is also available on site. Furthermore, one 5kg load of laundry is included per week.
Flights, any travel insurances, visa (if needed), additional drinks and snacks, any transfers/accommodation outside programme hours, and personal expenses (trips, souvenirs etc.) are not included in the programme fee.
Depending on which country you are coming from, it won’t be necessary get any special vaccinations before departing to Mauritius. In general, you may want to get or refresh standard vaccinations like measles-mumps-rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, chickenpox and polio as well as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid and rabies.
Don’t forget to pack a small personal first aid kit which includes items like plasters, painkillers, antihistamines, electrolytes and medicine against diarrhoea and travel sickness. Furthermore, it is advisable to take required medication from your home country since medical treatment in Mauritius might sometimes be insufficient.
About 6-8 weeks before departing to Mauritius, you should visit your doctor and get advice on potential dangers, protective measures and recommended vaccinations. In addition to that, institutions like the CDC and the Foreign Office of your country can provide you with information about recommended vaccinations, travel alerts and safety information. Before departing to your volunteer adventure, it is obligatory for you to get adequate travel health insurance.
In this project you can participate for 2 – 12 weeks.
For your time in the project you should pack sturdy, closed-toed shoes (e.g. good hiking boots preferably with ankle support), pants and knee length shorts, short- and long-sleeved shirts, a waterproof jacket and warm clothes for the winter and early mornings. Don’t forget sunscreen, a sun hat, mosquito repellent, a daypack, a refillable water bottle, a personal first-aid kit, hand/head torch plus batteries, binoculars and a sleeping bag. Snorkel, mask, fins, water booties, a wetsuit, an adapter, your smartphone and a camera should not be missing in your luggage, either.
You will receive a detailed packing list before departing to Mauritius.
Arrival in Mauritius
Arrival day is always on Sunday. Volunteers need to arrive at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport where they are met by a representative of our partner and then transferred to their base. The transfer time to the volunteer base takes about 20 minutes. On the last day of the project, also a Sunday, you will be transferred back to the airport to catch your departing flight.
On arrival at the base, a staff member will help you settle in and give you an overview of your new surroundings and the project’s work. The next day, Monday, the actual project work begins.
During the project in Mauritius
Throughout the project, you may become involved in the following activities:
- Mauritius Kestrel monitoring: record sightings, monitor behaviour, check nest boxes
- Endemic bird monitoring: supplemental feeding of free-living birds, provision of nest boxes, enhancement of natural nest sites, control and exclusion of invasive alien mammals around feeding and nesting sites, monitoring of bird populations, behaviour and movements
- Mauritius fruit bat conservation: bat census counts, community interviews, carrying out education campaigns
- Tortoise conservation: food preparation for tortoises, maintaining/monitoring nest sites and recording behaviour and movements
- Coral farming: construction and cleaning of coral farming structures, collecting coral fragments from the ocean, attaching the coral fragments to the structures, relocating corals of the right size to natural coral reefs
- Turtle monitoring: taking pictures of the facial profile of the turtles, collecting behavioural data
- Biodiversity surveys: data collection through monitoring programmes of all types of species, including plants, invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals
- Community work: Environmental education and awareness campaigns at local schools, human-wildlife conflict resolution, identifying opportunities for collaborating with communities
- Beach clean-ups
- Veggie garden
- Recycling: assistance in making Eco bricks from waste collected form the litter clean-ups
- Trail maintenance
- Road maintenance
- Soil erosion control and prevention
- Deer census and monitoring: deer counts, monitoring of behaviour and movements as well as recording of births and natural deaths
- Fence patrol
Arrival day is always on Sunday, while the project itself starts on Monday. A typical week in the project may look like this:
- Day 1 – Morning: Botanical transects, deer count and monitoring, fence patrol
- Day 1 – Afternoon: Tree nursery, vegetable garden, herbarium
- Day 2 – Morning: Biodiversity surveys
- Day 2 – Afternoon: Reforestation, conservation management
- Day 3 – Morning: Coral reef farming, snorkelling, turtle monitoring (note: every second week is either coral farming or turtle monitoring)
- Day 3 – Afternoon: Beach clean-up, documentation
- Day 4 – Morning: Bird monitoring, multi-species conservation at Ile aux Aigrettes
- Day 4 – Afternoon: Alien vegetation removal, educational nature hike, fruit bat count, overnight camping, setting up overnight camera traps
- Day 5 – Morning: Hike back to camp, collecting camera traps, analysis and data entry
- Day 5 – Afternoon: Community visit, environmental presentation at school, or making Eco bricks
- Weekend: Leisure time
Please note that this is an example itinerary of a typical volunteer week. Your schedule is dependent on weather conditions which is why your daily activities are subject to change.
There will be around 10 volunteers on average in a group. The maximum number of participants is 20.
Life on site in Mauritius
Together with the other project participants you will be accommodated in a volunteer house, or one of seven bungalows, located in beautiful Kestrel Valley Nature Reserve. The house that you will live in has five bedrooms of which each sleeps two people. The house also has three shared bathrooms. Bungalows are en-suite, sleeping two people each, and within a short walking distance of the communal area. Rooming is based on many factors therefore we cannot guarantee room allocations to either a bungalow or the house.
In the communal area there is a kitchen, a lounge, a dining area, a swimming pool, a bar and a lecture area. Laundry service is available on site. The communal area of your base allows you to enjoy an awe-inspiring view of the tropical rainforest and the Indian Ocean.
During your volunteer stay, you will be provided with three meals per day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Participants can enjoy an array of local dishes. A cooked breakfast will be served once a week. Lunch is either taken in the accommodation or as a pre-packed serving. Meals are generally taken on a self-service basis with the option of coffee, tea or juice.
Yes, vegetarians and other dietary requirements can be catered for. We ask you to inform us as early as possible about any dietary requests to give our partner enough time for arrangements.
You will be involved in project activities Monday through Friday from around 07:30 AM to 05:00 PM, with a two-hour lunch break in-between. Saturday and Sunday as well as the evening hours of each day can be used for your own activities (except when camping during the programme). However, our partner asks volunteers to remain on site from Sunday evening to Thursday evening.
Mauritius will offer you lots of leisure time activities and places to discover. In your free time you can discover some of the island nation’s magnificent beaches, lagoons and reefs and enjoy some exciting water activities. You can also visit places like Black River Gorges National Park, Ile aux Cerfs, Ile aux Aigrettes, Chamarel Falls and Seven Coloured Earths, Vallée de Ferney, Grand Bassin, Mauritius Botanical Garden or the villages of Grand Baie and Flic-en-Flac which will give you an insight into Mauritius’ fascinating biodiversity and culture.
Yes, there will be a supervisor on site who you can always approach in case of problems or questions. Furthermore, Natucate will provide you with a 24/7 emergency number so you can reach us anytime.
The currency in Mauritius is the Mauritius Rupee (MUR). You should either get a certain amount of Mauritius Rupees at your local bank before departing to Mauritius or take some US dollars with you that you can exchange after your arrival in Mauritius. The easiest method is to take a credit card with you in order to be able to withdraw denominations of the local currency from an ATM. ATM machines will automatically calculate the current exchange rate but will also charge your account a foreign transaction fee (around 5 US$, depending on your institution).
You should check with your bank before your departure and make sure that your card will work and be valid for your time in Mauritius.
On site, you should calculate costs for leisure time activities (including transfers and accommodation outside programme hours), souvenirs and additional snacks and beverages like soft drinks or alcohol. We recommend taking along around 500 US$ for a two-week trip to Mauritius.
In the lounge, the dining area and your volunteer house you will have access to free WiFi as well as mobile reception. Please note that WiFi is not available at the bungalows, however, these are a short walk from the communal area. Another option is to buy a Mauritian SIM card with enough data/airtime so you can contact friends and family at home. Mobile reception at Kestrel Valley is limited to certain areas on the property.
A mild tropical maritime climate can be enjoyed in Mauritius throughout the year. November to April are Mauritius’ summer months while June to September are the winter months. The average temperature in coastal areas is around 23°C. Between the seasons there are only minor changes concerning the temperature, basically there is not much difference between the weather conditions. Mauritius does have a rainy and a dry season which are not well-defined, though. The months with the most rain are January to March.
Alcohol consumption during working hours is prohibited and will result in immediate termination of the volunteer programme with no refund. A moderate consumption of alcohol in your leisure time is allowed.
At the very beginning of your stay you will be familiarised with important safety procedures and rules. In case of minor health issues there are several general practitioners and pharmacies. In case of an emergency you will be transferred to the nearest hospital. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam National (SSRN) Hospital is an hour away, Wellkin Hospital can be reached within 45 minutes.