GEG 4000 Tropical Field Research – Zanzibar


GEG 4000 Tropical Field Research (6 units)

During this 2-week long course (6 course units) you will learn how to combine field data collection with GPS, GIS and Remote Sensing technology to study spatial ecology on land and in the water. Also, you will study the cultural heritage of this island which has been at the crossroad of many different cultures for the past centuries. You will discover Zanzibar, its natural coastal environment and rich cultural heritage.

Dates: This course typically takes place in the summer but is offered on alternating years with GEG4001 and GEG4100. For more information contact

Students enrolled in a major or honours bachelor's degree must take GEG/ENV 2918 as well as one of our national or international course. Students in environmental studies must, for their part, take GEG/ENV2918 and ENV4910. All students may, if they wish, take several national or international courses.



Why there?

Zanzibar is a cultural crossroads that has served as the epicentre of trade along the East African coast for centuries, including as a slave trade hub and a globally important producer of spices. Today its cultural heritage as well as its natural landscapes, including its beaches and coral reefs, are the foundations of a tourism economy. There’s plenty to experience, study, and learn, in this fascinating place. Karibu Zanzibar!



What will I do?

The field course is divided into two sections – one focused on the cultural heritage of the island, the other on its natural coastal environments. On this course you will learn practical tools and techniques to study both. These include survey and interview techniques, as well as identification of coastal flora and fauna, above-water and in-water monitoring, and basic data analysis and visualization.



What will I learn?

Most of all, this course will expose you to a culture that is unlike anything found in the Western world. You will learn how the Zanzibari live, what they eat, how they work, and what they care about. You will also learn how to do research to investigate these things in a scientific manner, and you will learn how to map and monitor the environments on which the Zanzibari economy depends.



Where will I stay?

We will spend most of our time in Stonetown, the ancient Zanzibari capital city – specifically in a place called Kiponda B&B, which is located near the port in an old mansion. We will spend our days out and about, either in Stonetown or in smaller towns around the island. One day will be spent on Chumbe Island, a flagship ecotourism project sure to blow your mind.

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