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.
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. 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 every year!
Volunteers support the local team of researchers and conservation staff with their ongoing conservation work and your role will depend on the current research aims. Activities may include population, distribution and behaviour studies on:
In addition volunteers will help the conservation team on tasks including:
The project is based in one of the last remaining examples of littoral forest habitat in the world and results from the team’s research are shared with the Malagasy government in order to promote the protection and conservation of the biodiversity-rich areas that are scheduled to be mined.
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.
Volunteers normally work 5-6 days a week, usually from 8am to 8/9pm. On a work day volunteers generally have a two hour lunch break to eat and relax at the research base. You may walk or take a local boat to each day’s project location. The journey from your camp site to the project site varies from around 5 minutes to 1 hour. Volunteers can choose which activities to get involved in each day, depending on their own abilities and areas of interest.
In your free time you can relax or explore the local area and activities that South East Madagascar has to offer.
There are normally 2-8 volunteers with a maximum of 15, who work alongside the local team, researchers and conservation staff.
This placement has been approved by the DofE as meeting the requirements for the Residential section of the Gold Award.
Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our Madagascar Conservation reviews.
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 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
Throughout the placement you will be predominantly based at the rural campsite, but will also stay a few days at a homestay.
All main meals are included in your placement and are prepared for you by the local team. Here are typical examples of the food you will have:
Fruit and simple snacks can be purchased locally.
Vegetarians and vegans are welcomed and can be catered for.
Drinking water is provided throughout your placement.
Based in a tropical forest and surrounded by coastal fishing community, volunteers often spend their free time at the beach, walking to local markets or (electricity permitting) enjoying a film night on the team’s projector. Other free time activities that volunteers regularly enjoy include playing guitar, card games, dominoes and word games or just relaxing with a book in a hammock at the rural camp site. New games and activities are always appreciated too!
The research team usually spends 3-4 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. Whilst in town, volunteers can visit Nahampoana wildlife reserve which is on the outskirts of Fort Dauphin and is a great opportunity to see the diverse ecosystems of Southern Madagascar including many lemur species that are unique to the region. For those with 2 or 3 days free, Berenty Reserve is also well worth a visit for a chance to experience the unique spiny forest, octopus trees, ring tailed and ‘dancing’ sifaka lemurs – famous for being a film location for a David Attenborough documentary. The Berenty trip is best booked in advance whilst most other activities can be booked locally once you are at the project.
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 fossas.
Popular places to visit in Madagascar include:
To find out more see: Lonely Planet Madagascar
2019: 14 May (1-4 weeks), 28 May (1-2 weeks), 2 Jul (1-10 weeks), 16 Jul (1-8 weeks), 30 Jul (1-6 weeks), 13 Aug (1-4 weeks), 27 Aug (1-2 weeks), 1 Oct (1-10 weeks), 15 Oct (1-8 weeks), 29 Oct (1-6 weeks), 12 Nov (1-4 weeks), 26 Nov (1-2 weeks)
2020: 7 Jan (1-10 weeks), 21 Jan (1-8 weeks), 4 Feb (1-6 weeks), 18 Feb (1-4 weeks), 4 Mar (1-2 weeks), 31 Mar (1-10 weeks), 14 Apr (1-8 weeks), 28 Apr (1-6 weeks), 12 May (1-4 weeks), 26 May (1-2 weeks), 30 Jun (1-10 weeks), 14 Jul (1-8 weeks), 28 Jul (1-6 weeks), 11 Aug (1-4 weeks), 25 Aug (1-2 weeks), 29 Sep (1-10 weeks), 13 Oct (1-8 weeks), 27 Oct (1-6 weeks), 10 Nov (1-4 weeks), 24 Nov (1-2 weeks)
|1 week||£845||GB Pounds|
|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|
Your fee covers the overseas costs of volunteering and the costs of running our organisation in the UK, on a non-profit basis. For more details and a breakdown of our costs please click here.
All monies paid to us are financially protected through The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT).
Fees in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP. For current exchange rates please see www.xe.com
“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.”
“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.”
“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!!!”
“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.”
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
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“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
“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
“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