Volunteer Abroad FAQ Seychelles

Volunteering on Cousin Island

Prior to arrival

Do I need specific requirements or abilities to apply for this project?

You should be at least 18 years old to participate in our project and have good English skills. A good physical state for the project is extremely important due to long beach patrols by foot which you have to do every day in the tropical climate of the Seychelles. Specific knowledge or requirements are not necessary – instead, it is important to show some serious interest in a dedicated species conservation project and to be flexible, open and adaptive. This also means that you should be able to work and live in very basic conditions (long-drop toilet, cold water etc.). Furthermore, you should not be afraid of small animals living in tropical regions. Before departing to the Seychelles, you should make sure to get information about visa requirements at the Foreign Office of your country or feel free to directly contact NATUCATE.

Which services does the price include?

Before starting your voluntary work in the Seychelles, we will save you a place on the project and help you with planning your journey, getting travel insurance and booking flights. Transfer from the Praslin Airport to the island of Cousin and back home will be organised by our partner. During your stay you will be accommodated in a volunteer house, provided with drinkable tap water and supervised by experienced nature conservationists to get a deep insight into research methods concerning nature and species conservation. Flights, travel insurance, potential visa and meals/drinks are not included in the price.

Do I need certain medical precautions or requirements?

In general, it is not necessary to get special vaccinations before departing to the Seychelles. You may want to get vaccinated against measles-mumps-rubella, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis if planning a journey. Also, if you are staying for a longer period, we recommend having vaccinations against hepatitis A and hepatitis B, typhus and rabies. Although there are skilled first-aiders on site, you should take your own first-aid kit and carry special medicine you need from your home country. Before departing, you should see your doctor and get advice on potential dangers, vaccinations and protective measures. In addition to that, you should get information about possible travel alerts and safety information at your country’s Foreign Office before. It is obligatory to get foreign health insurance to be able to participate in the project.

How long am I allowed to participate in the project?

In this project we provide volunteer stays with a duration of two or four weeks.

What kind of equipment should I take with me?

For the project you should take sturdy shoes, aqua shoes, light trekking pants (long/short), headgear, sunscreen and bug spray. Packing a water bottle, headlamp (including batteries), rainproof clothing, flip-flops, sunglasses and long-sleeved shirts is important as well. Do not forget to bring along hygiene products, a small first-aid kit, towels and regular sandals. You should not forget to pack a camera, your cell phone, laptop, swimwear, books, pens and paper, binoculars and snorkelling equipment.

Arrival

How do I arrive at my destination? Do I have to organize it myself?

The weekend before your project starts you will arrive at Praslin Airport. You should book a room near the airport (near Grand Anse) until you will be picked up by an employee on Monday. On Monday morning, the programme coordinator will welcome you and your team at a certain meeting point and take you to the harbour where you will take a boat heading straight to the island of Cousin. We help you organise your arrival to Praslin Airport; you need to take care of the final booking, though.

During the project

What's the project's procedure?

After arriving on the island you can familiarize yourself with your accommodation, acquaint yourself with the area and meet your fellows and instructors. After a short introduction to the project’s work and goals and specific security, the actual project work will begin. Under the supervision of experienced species conservationists you will dedicate yourself to the following topics:

  • Turtle nesting monitoring (mid-September to mid-March)
  • Turtle hatching success monitoring (December to April/May)
  • Seabird breeding success (January to June and June to September)
  • Endemic birds conservation work (all-season)
  • Bird ringing (all-season)
  • Seabird censuses (August and February)
  • Land bird censuses (April)
  • Reptile censuses (September)
  • Beach patrols (monthly)
  • Conservation maintenance like removing invasive plants etc. (monthly)
  • Participating in Ecotourism: supervising and guiding guests (individual)

In most cases, your day starts at 7 AM and ends in the afternoon around 4 PM. Sometimes you will need to take part in specific animal counts in the evening hours or at night.

How big is the group?

In general, the maximum amount of people participating is 6 per month.

Life on site

What is the accommodation like?

Together with other participants you will live in a field house on the island of Cousin. It provides three bedrooms which single beds as well as bunk beds. Furthermore, the house has a bathroom, a kitchen and a patio. Instead of a western style toilet, there is an ecofriendly longdrop/pit toilet which you can find next to the field centre. Each volunteer is in charge for his/her daily meals and laundry. Mosquito nets, ventilators, bed linen and mosquito repellent coils can be found on site. Due to scarce water and energy resources, you will be asked to limit your water and electricity consumption and live consciously.

Is it possible to share rooms with a partner?

In general, it is possible to share rooms with a travel partner. Nevertheless, we ask you to let us know as soon as possible, if you would like to get accommodated with a partner.

How is the food provided?

You are in charge for your meals. Once a week, mostly on Mondays, a scheduled boat trip leaves for Praslin where you can buy groceries, gas, petrol and other things needed.

Is it possible to receive vegetarian meals?

Since you are in charge for purchasing groceries and preparing your meals, a vegetarian/vegan diet is possible. Be aware, though, that the Seychelles are a “fish nation”. Fish is available almost everywhere and is really tasty. Fresh vegetables and fruits are available on markets and in grocery stores; depending on the season the range of fruits and vegetables may vary.

How can I spend my free time?

In general, evenings and weekends are free of any work. You can spend this time relaxing in the house or at the beach or you can take part in organised snorkelling trips – the waters surrounding the island are suitable for great under water sightings. Due to Cousin’s unique night sky many volunteers spend their evening hours star-gazing. Outside the turtle season it is possible to have a free weekend to explore other islands of the Seychelles.

Do I have a contact person on site?

If any problems or questions occur, there is always a contact person on site which will support you. Moreover, you can contact the team at NATUCATE at any time.

What expenses do I have to expect during the project? Can I withdraw cash on side and do I have to pay in local currency?

Local currency in the Seychelles is the Seychelles rupee. On site you should consider exchanging euros or US-dollars preferably. Nevertheless, we recommend taking only small amounts of cash and searching for an ATM to withdraw more. You can find these at the airports or in Grand Anse on Praslin. In bigger island cities you can find ATMs as well. But don’t forget that there might be a transaction fee of 4 euros (about $5) for every withdrawal. Contact your local bank before your departure and get advice on that topic. Expenses you will have during your project are costs for catering, the hotel stay before the project starts und potential free time activities. The low-priced accommodations in the Seychelles take about 30 euros per night. Moreover, you can expect to spend about 200 euros for groceries per month. For the time before and after the project or as emergency stash we recommend taking some extra money as well.

How can I contact family and friend at home?

We recommend buying a SIM-card on Praslin so you are able to use your phone for national and international calls. Depending on provider conditions you may be able to use the internet to keep in touch with family and friends. The employees of the project have their own phones; there are no other telephone or internet options on Cousin.

What’s the weather like?

The Seychelles’ climate is perfect climate pretty much year-round. It is pleasant with temperatures ranging from 24°C to 32°C. Between November and March the climate is a little cooler due to Northwest winds. Wind blows with a suitable speed of 15 to 22 kilometers per hour. December and February are the rainiest month. These months are a little bit cloudy and less sunny.

Is there a prohibition concerning alcohol?

Our projects aim at providing our volunteers with a deep learning experience. Thus, alcohol should only be consumed moderately – if necessary. Excessive alcohol consumption will lead to immediate termination of your volunteer stay.

What happens in case of emergency or sickness?

On Cousin there are certified first aiders and first aid kits distributed all-round on the island. It takes about 10 minutes to go to on Praslin by boat, where they have a hospital and doctors. For emergencies there is a helicopter landing strip on Cousin. To avoid emergencies a list of precautions and dos and don’ts are explained to all participants. Don’t forget to get foreign health insurance before leaving for the project.

Your question is not mentioned?

Feel free to contact us under +49 241-91994357 or email us to info@natucate.com.

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