Conservation

Madagascar

Our Madagascar Conservation team work to protect and conserve the endangered coastal forest through biodiversity research and supporting sustainable community initiatives.

Volunteers support the team collecting valuable research in the tropical coastal forest which is home to unique species including lemurs, flying fox bats and chameleons. The research helps to drive the region’s conservation strategy for protecting the area. You can help to make a difference by assisting on the conservation treks, reforestation projects and community education sessions.

Live in a beautiful coastal village which is surrounded by a tropical forest and near to stunning beaches.

Join the conservation team and be part of the vital research in unique Madagascar.

Apply

Key Info

key info
  • Location: South East Madagascar
  • Start dates: Throughout the year - see role section
  • Duration: 2 - 10 weeks
  • Age requirement: 18+ (groups also welcome)
  • Availability: Spaces available
  • Cost: From £895 / €1045 / $1145 - see fees table below

Project Information

Volunteer role: What will I be doing?

The Conservation project aims to protect the fragile ecosystem by conducting valuable research into the region’s biodiversity which helps to drive a conservation strategy for future protection.

Volunteers support the local team in their ongoing conservation work and your role will depend on the current research aims. Activities may include population, distribution and behaviour studies on:

  • Lemurs – Southern Woolly, Brown Collared, Fat Tailed Dwarf and an endemic Mouse Lemur species
  • Flying fox bats
  • Reptiles
  • Birds
  • Amphibians
  • Insects

99% of amphibians, 96% of reptiles and 93% of mammals found in Madagascar are unique and found nowhere else on earth, so it’s a very exciting project to be part of with new species found almost every year!

In additional volunteers will help the conservation team on tasks including:

  • Habitat mapping
  • Plant studies, including monitoring and planting of endangered palms and fruit trees important for lemurs
  • Sustainable lobster fishery data collection (during lobster season)
  • Long term reforestation projects - seed collection and planting
  • Environmental education sessions for the community
  • English language club
  • Alternative livelihood community projects

During your first few days you will have a project orientation which includes information about Madagascar, local customs and the project work which you will be involved in. You will be briefed on the project rules and health and safety guidelines as well as advice on the cultural sensitivity when working alongside the village communities.

Working days and hours

Volunteers normally work 5-6 days a week, usually from 8am to 6pm. On a work day volunteers generally have a two hour lunch break to eat and relax at the research base. In your free time you can relax or explore the local area and activities that South East Madagascar has to offer.

Other volunteers

There are normally 2- 6 volunteers with a maximum of 15, who work alongside the conservation team.

Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award

This placement has been approved by the DofE as meeting the requirements for the Residential section of the Gold Award, including a minimum number of other participants.

Volunteer reviews

Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our Madagascar Conservation reviews.

Why are volunteers needed?

Rapid deforestation of the area is putting many species at risk of extinction. So with the help of volunteers, the team are able to conduct vital research on the littoral forest ecosystem, which is getting increasingly threatened and only a few patches remain in the whole of Madagascar. Research is often labour intensive and so volunteers are able to provide a valuable extra pair of hands to the long term research staff.

There has been very little research done into the biodiversity of the forest and so, with the help of volunteers, the team aim to document species, many of which have not been studied previously and may be new to researchers worldwide.

Volunteers’ time and work is not only valuable for the conservation of endangered species, but also for the Malagasy communities. Volunteers help to run the conservation clubs and assist in initiatives which empower local communities, raise awareness and protect the forest long term.

“For us here in this region, every extra volunteer means extra investment, extra employment and training, and a multitude of benefits.”
The Mayor of the region

Start dates

2018

9 Jan (2-10 weeks), 23 Jan (2-8 weeks), 6 Feb (2-6 weeks), 20 Feb (2-4 weeks), 6 Mar (2 weeks), 3 Apr (2-10 weeks), 17 Apr (2-8 weeks), 1 May (2-6 weeks), 15 May (2-4 weeks), 29 May (2 weeks), 3 Jul (2-10 weeks), 17 Jul (2-8 weeks), 31 Jul (2-6 weeks), 14 Aug (2-4 weeks), 28 Aug (2 weeks), 2 Oct (2-10 weeks), 16 Oct (2-8 weeks), 30 Oct (2-6 weeks), 13 Nov (2-4 weeks), 27 Nov (2 weeks)

2019

8 Jan (2-10 weeks), 22 Jan (2-8 weeks), 5 Feb (2-6 weeks), 19 Feb (2-4 weeks), 5 Mar (2 weeks), 2 Apr (2-10 weeks), 16 Apr (2-8 weeks), 30 Apr (2-6 weeks), 14 May (2-4 weeks), 28 May (2 weeks), 2 Jul (2-10 weeks), 16 Jul (2-8 weeks), 30 Jul (2-6 weeks), 13 Aug (2-4 weeks), 27 Aug (2 weeks), 1 Oct (2-10 weeks), 15 Oct (2-8 weeks), 29 Oct (2-6 weeks), 12 Nov (2-4 weeks), 26 Nov (2 weeks)

Location, free time and accomodation

Madagascar

Madagascar is an incredibly diverse island off the South West coast of Africa and a perfect destination for intrepid travellers. It is home to thousands of animal and plant species which are found nowhere else on else including the famous lemurs, aye-ayes and fosas.

Popular places to visit in Madagascar include:

  • Nosy Be
  • Avenue of the Baobabs
  • One of the many unique National parks – including Tsingy de Bemaraha and Isalo

To find out more see: Lonely Planet Madagascar

Local area and free time

Based in the heart of the tropical, coastal forest, volunteers often spend their free time at the beach, walking to local markets or just relaxing with a book in a hammock at the rural camp.

The research team normally spends 4-5 weeks based in the rural camp and then returns to the town for a few days off to relax before travelling back to the rural camp.

Volunteers can visit Nahampoana wildlife reserve which is on the outskirts of Fort Dauphin, is a great opportunity to see the diverse ecosystems of Southern Madagascar including many lemur species that are unique to the region. These activities are best booked locally once you are at the project.

Accommodation

Throughout the placement you will be predominantly based at the rural camp, but will also stay a few days at the town camp.

  • The rural camp is located near deserted beaches and tropical forests teeming with wildlife. There is no WIFI access.
  • The town camp base is located next to a stunning lake. It is a 40 minute walk from the town centre. WIFI access is available.

Volunteers sleep in their own tent which they can either bring from home or rent locally.

Read volunteer reviews from the Conservation project

Ben

“An amazing experience. We were constantly surrounded by wildlife of all sorts. The guides were remarkable, both due to their extensive knowledge of the forest and their friendly nature. I have learnt a lot from them and also the research assistants and other volunteers. The locals were very welcoming and their ability to produce delicious meals on an open fire with little more than rice and beans still impresses me.

Most rewarding was knowing that if successful the research we were helping with would make an immense difference to the locals and the wildlife. Also the club A followed by an entire day of football.”

Patrica

“This holiday was the best I had in my life. I will definitely repeat this kind of holiday. I learned a lot about the environment, animals and the culture but also a lot about myself. Being able to combine a little bit of travelling through Madagascar before the volunteering started was the perfect mix. I only regret not being able to stay longer. Everything was perfect. Research, people, support, camping, free time. All in all perfect balance and definitely did not feel like work.

The project in my opinion is a huge benefit to the local community as both the locals as well as the research staff work hand in hand as best as possible. The education about the nature is not one party teaching the other but rather both teaching each other with local guides who know the area inside out even in the dark and with the research staff teaching children how to protect this area in a sustainable way.”

Megan

“My 4 weeks with the Conservation project were just amazing! The research into the wildlife was fascinating and will hopefully help protect the amazing endemic species found there in the future. Watching lemur behaviour and finding chameleons and geckos by night will definitely stay with me for the rest of my life!

The programme also allowed me to interact with the local community by teaching the children about the forest and English lessons. So much fun and the community is so wonderful, always smiling and laughing! That is definitely one of the reasons I find the project fantastic, as they combine conservation and community work. I would definitely recommend to anybody wanting an experience of a lifetime!!!”

Monique

“I spent ten weeks volunteering in the SE of Madagascar. The charity creates the perfect environment for their volunteers to experience the reality of life in the poorest area of the country while maintaining safety and fun. The money really goes where it should!

The staff were extremely energetic and passionate, they are patient and generous and are reason enough to want to go back for a visit (trust me there are 1000 other reasons). The volunteer scheme was diverse, ensuring it never became repetitive or boring and allowing everyone’s strengths to shine at some point. The communities were gorgeous and the people so welcoming. I felt safer there than I often do in my hometown.”

Read more reviews

What's Included?

Before you go:

  • Carefully selected and vetted volunteer project
  • Support from our friendly and highly experienced Pod Volunteer UK team
  • Single point of contact - Gemma is your dedicated Pod Volunteer Specialist
  • In-depth volunteering and planning your trip guides
  • Travel information - visa, health and safety advice
  • Access to specialist travel insurance at exclusive rates
  • Recommended travel agency for flights and tours
  • Access to special deals and resources
  • Fundraising guide and support
  • Financial protection for monies paid to Pod Volunteer

On your placement:

  • Conservation volunteering placement
  • Airport pick up (Fort Dauphin) and return transfer
  • Accommodation - Campsite
  • Food - all main meals
  • Induction to the placement and culture
  • Malagasy language lessons
  • Onsite support from local team
  • Support from Pod Volunteer UK office by phone and email
  • 24/7 emergency back up
  • Incident Management and Emergency Response Plans

On your return:

  • Contact from your Pod Volunteer Specialist
  • Feedback scheme
  • Volunteering certificate (on request)
  • References (on request)
  • Member of the Pod community

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, visa and tent. Budgeting guidance is provided in our Volunteering Guide which we will email you when you apply.

Pod Volunteer is run as a non-profit organisation. Fee levels are set to match costs and any surplus monies are distributed to the projects we work with via the Pod Charity.
Price table
2 weeks £895 GB Pounds
4 weeks £1445 GB Pounds
6 weeks £1845 GB Pounds
8 weeks £2195 GB Pounds
10 weeks £2495 GB Pounds
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Fees in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP. For current exchange rates please see www.xe.com

<10,000

endangered Phelsuma geckos remain in the surrounding forest

"It was an amazing experience that will stay with me forever! Pod Volunteer provided the ideal amount of support and guidance"Satvinder

Gemma

Pod UK Specialist

Gemma has visited the project, apply and you'll hear from her soon!

We look forward to receiving your application! There is no commitment by applying and we will send more information.

Apply

VOLUNTEER REVIEWS

  • Madagascar Conservation volunteer – August

    “Doing the project has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. The people are incredible, the environment is breath-taking, and the work is very rewarding.”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Madagascar Conservation volunteer – Fran

    “I definitely recommend traveling to Madagascar because you will have an incredible special experience at the same time as benefiting one of the poorest communities and most endangered eco systems.”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Madagascar Conservation volunteer – Megan

    “Watching lemur behaviour and finding chameleons and geckos by night will definitely stay with me for the rest of my life! I would definitely recommend to anybody wanting an experience of a lifetime!!!”

    Read more volunteer reviews

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AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal