Volunteer Abroad FAQ Volunteering Madagascar

Protection of Madagascar's Flora and Fauna

Prior to departure to Madagascar

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

If you want to apply for this project you should be over 18 and have sufficient English skills. We need a doctor’s certificate confirming your state of health and physical fitness, since you will go on long walks in extreme temperatures. If you want to be part of the diving missions you need to have an advanced diving certificate (PADI „Advanced Open Water Dive“). Furthermore, you might need a Visa for your volunteering work. Depending on the duration of your stay and your destination the requirements might vary. You might check out the foreign department’s website for the Visa standards or ask the NATUCATE team directly.

Which services are included?

We will save you a place on the project and support you during preparation and organization. We will help you arrange your flight and transfer to the project. Besides our support the price includes your accommodation, three meals daily, transfers during the project and working equipment. Furthermore every participant has the chance to experience a boat tour on a catamaran. Flights and external transfers are not included.

Additionally participants will get the chance to complete a diving course if staying on the project for over 10 weeks. Participants without any prior knowledge can complete the beginner course PADI „Open Water Dive“ and only have to pay the fee for the advanced training course. If you already have the Open Water Dive certificate you can get the advanced training course for free.

Do I need certain medical precautions or requirements?

You will need a travel insurance to start your volunteering work with NATUCATE. We can provide you with all the necessary information. In general you need to talk to your doctor and make sure you are vaccinated against Morbilli, Mumps and Rubella. We advise you to get vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B, Polio and Tetanus. For current information and warnings regarding your destination you should check out the homepage of the foreign department and inform yourself beforehand about possible risks.

What kind of equipment should I take with me?

For your stay you need to bring proper shoes, swimsuit, towels and sufficient sun protection (sun block, hat). You will also need bedding and insect repellent. If you stay longer than 10 weeks you might need to pack diving equipment. Furthermore a waterproof watch, a diving compass, a journal, reel and a surface marker buoy are necessary.

Arrival in Madagascar

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

We will help you plan your arrival, but cannot perform the booking. You have to book the flight to Nosy Be by yourself. You need to arrive one day before the project starts, preferably on a Sunday or Saturday. Once you have arrived in Nosy Be you will be picked up and taken to a harbor where a boat will take you to Nosy Komba Island where the project will take place.

What happens after my arrival?

The Project starts every third Monday of the months. There will be an orientation course where you will be introduced to your upcoming tasks. You will also be introduced to the culture, aims of the project and security precautions. Most of your work can be done on foot. Some work has to be done on Nosy Be and the team will have to take the boat to get there.

During the project in Madagascar

What is the project’s procedure?

The conservation project consists of different research assignments and protection measurements which are divided into different smaller projects. Depending on the duration of your stay you will be active in forest and marine conservation areas. Every stay includes a 10-day excursion on a boat to protect the coast line of Madagaskar and inform the locals about the project.

4 weeks: 10 days Eco-boat tour, 2 weeks forest conservation

6 weeks: 10 days Eco-boat tour, 4 weeks forest conservation

10 weeks: 10 days Eco-boat tour, 4 weeks forest conservation, 4 weeks marine conservation

What is my main function? Can I choose my tasks and will I be working independently?

Eco-Boat: During the 10 days tour on the catamaran you will travel along the coast of Madagascar. Your main task will involve the investigation and control of the flora and fauna on the islands and in the ocean. Furthermore you will try to document the stock and clean up the coast line. The group will also do some awareness training with the locals to make them understand the importance of conservation.

Forest Conservation: You will help to protect the flora and fauna on Nosy Komba Island by performing different field studies and document changes and progress. This way you will get to know the nature and its inhabitants closely.

Marine Conservation: This project division includes the intense research on the marine ecosystem. You will collect data and try to analyze it. You will measure coral reefs and investigate its biodiversity. You will also observe marine animals. Your work will also include cleaning up the beaches and educate the people about your work.

In general participants can choose what kind of work they prefer. The tasks also depend on weather conditions, season and current needs. You need to be flexible and talk to you supervisor if you have any problem with certain tasks.

How big is the group?

The group size depends on the demand. The project is able to take in up to 30-35 people at most.

Life on site in Madagascar

What is the accommodation like?

Your accommodation at Nosy Komba Island on the northern west coast of Madagascar will be your home during the project. You will share a bungalow with up to eight other participants. The bungalows are quite modern and offer enough space for all of you.

Is it possible to get placed with a partner or friend?

It is possible to get placed with your friend, but it always depends on the current booking occupancy. Let us know if you want to get placed with a partner before applying.

How is the food provided?

During the project you will be provided with three balanced meals a day. The food will be prepared by a local cook. You will be able to purchase additional snacks and beverages at the cafeteria.

Is it possible to receive vegetarian meals?

Yes, the cafeteria has a wide variety of food and allows you to realize a balanced vegetarian diet. A vegan or gluten free diet is not as easily to fulfill. Please inform us about your diet beforehand.

How are work time and free time divided?

There will be a fixed working schedule that can be influenced by weather conditions from time to time. Training session will be hold for three hours between 09:00 – 17:00. The rest of the time will be used for research content. When working on the forest conservation division you will work from 06:30 – 10:00 (sometimes until 13.00). Your working schedule for the marine conservation is 06:30 until 16:30. The afternoons and weekends are off and leave you some time to rest.

How can I spend my free time?

During your spare time you can discover the spectacular nature, go for a swim or take a boat to Nosy Be Island. You can also visit Hellville and enjoy some food from local restaurants.

Do I have a contact person on site?

On site you will be working with a team of volunteers and project leaders. The supervisors will be responsible for you and may help you with your problems.

What kind of cost do I have to expect during the project? Can I withdraw cash on site and do I have to pay in local currency?

In general you don’t need a lot of money during the project. You might spend money for additional snacks, beverages or free time activities, as well as extra transfers outside of the project or cost for certain diving lessons. You can exchange and withdraw money easily at the airport. There are ATMs in the bigger cities. Inform yourself about the current exchange rate before leaving your country.

How can I contact family and friends at home?

There will be good reception all over the island but no internet access. You might want to think about getting a local prepaid card to make phone calls. You can also share an internet dongle with other volunteers to connect to the internet, visit internet cafés in the area or visit Hellville.

What’s the weather like?

The weather is quite unpredictable. Due to the central high plateau every region has different weather conditions. In general the weather is tropical and most of the time warm with high temperatures and a lot of humidity. The further you go towards the high plateau the milder the weather gets. The eastern Madagascar is warm and tropical all year around with high amounts of rainfall. The South gets very small amount of rain. The North has high temperatures all year around.

Do I have to expect any risks?

Some poisonous or dangerous animals like spiders, scorpions, frogs or other insects live in Madagascar. You don’t have to be scared but you should always pay attention to your surroundings and listen to the security instructions.

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