SEED Madagascar Conservation Internship Madagascar

Video and Photos

Beach in Sainte Luce
River in Sainte Luce
Pointed-nose chameleon
malagasy lesson
field work
the group
Manafiafy Bay
Sifaka, or Dancing Lemur


Our conservation programme is based in the beautiful coastal region of Sainte Luce, surrounded by extremely rare and threatened fragments of littoral (coastal) forest. You will combine hands-on conservation fieldwork on endangered species including lemurs, reptiles and amphibians, with community initiatives and environmental education. Sainte Luce is one of only three significant area of this forest type remaining in Madagascar, having been reduced by over 90%. SEED Conservation Research Programme works to integrate scientific research with community conservation.

The SEED Madagascar Conservation Programme is offered as an internship for those wishing to gain experience and/or credit for a college or university course. The major difference between whether you take the programme as an intern or a volunteer relates to the amount of mentorship and self-evaluation available to you during your time on the programme.

For Information about project dates, please visit our website.

Questions & Answers

Hi! No, we don't require our volunteers to speak Malagasy or French to take part in our programmes, although either would be beneficial! Our teams on the ground will speak English with volunteers, and there will be some language lessons during your orientation sessions. We encourage volunteers to learn some Malagasy greetings but do not expect anyone to know the language fluently.

Reforestation, environmental education and biodiversity research.


based on 25 reviews
  • Growth 8.9
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 8.9
  • Housing 8.9
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 16 - 25 of 25
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Yes, I recommend this program

Azafady Conservation Programme - Experience of a lifetime!

My 4 weeks with the Azafady Conservation Programme were just amazing! The research into the wildlife of Ste. Luce was fascinating and will hopefully help protect the amazing endemic species found there. 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 Azafady fantastic, as they combine conservation and community work. I would definitely recommend Azafady to anybody wanting an experience of a lifetime!!!

What would you improve about this program?
There seems to be a slight lack of communication between the London Office and the Malagasy Office, so I didn't receive completely correct information before I left. But once in-country this was cleared up and things ran smoothly.
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Yes, I recommend this program

A fantastic experience

I choose to do the ACP program on a whim after finIshing unIversity so I could put off getting a job and it was one of the best decisions I have made. The people, environment and azafady staff that I encountered during my time with azafady made the experience one I won't forget in a hurry and my only regret was I didn't go for longer than 4 weeks. So if you want to do some worth while conservation work and don't mind rice & beans, drop toilets and bucket showers this is the place for you.

The initial contact with azafady and the sorting out of your volunteering stuff before you leave is pretty good, they can book you hotels in mada and help with flights and so on. I was never left wanting more information.

Once your in Fort Dauphin (actually a pretty cool town with a decent night life) your shown around and the whisked of to the bush for all the fun stuff. The conservation work up there was fantastic and I actually learnt some worth while ecology skills doing which was convinient. Basically the work revolved around lemur behaviour, HERPs (reptiles and amphibians (so much more fun than lemurs)), endemic palms and conservation education with the locals.

Life in camp was a ball, you've got the local madagash staff who keep the place running, the local guides which keep you from getting lost in the bush, the azafady guides whom are experts on everything wild in mada and really amazing people and then you have the ACP research assistants whom are responsible for your well being and were beyond amazing and really made my time there fun and worth while. There are also other volunteers. And while much is made of the rice and beans you have the opertunity to by fruit, fish and lobster at redicously low prices and the local shop is more often than not stocked with beer (warm but still good). The work can wear on you at times I guess but I found my self often wanting to do more.

But basically this is an amazinging program done by amazing people and unless there is something wrong with you you will have a fantastic time.

What would you improve about this program?
More work could of been done at times I thought but that's just me, some people would argue it could get too much. Depends on the person.
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Yes, I recommend this program

A wonderful place

Coming to Madagascar has been an ambition of mine for a long time, ever since I first read one of my favourite books, The Aye-Aye and I by Gerald Durrell. The project certainly hasn't disappointed. Everyone on camp has been friendly and welcoming, and to be in such a wonderful place with like-minded people has really helped to generate an amazing experience for me so far.

Getting stuck into the research on some exciting new projects has been great, especially getting to know our local troop of black lemurs that live just outside the village. The highlight for me has been the birds (they are my thing) and getting to visit Ankarafantsika to see the fish eagles was magical.

I was a bit worried that I wouldn't see much of the mainland while I was here, but the sat camp solved that problem. The camp feels like home, and the home-comforts that I'd thought I'd miss seem unimportant now. I would definitely recommend this to anyone with an interest in nature.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Azafady and Madagascar are amazing

I absolutely loved my time in Madagascar with Azafady. I had wanted to volunteer on a conservation project and seeing this opportunity in such a special place I just had to go. I was really helped with all my preparations for going out there by the London office who were really helpful and supportive. And once we arrived the local staff were increadible and I felt really at ease even though I was in such a different place having not really travelled much on my own before.

The actual work with the ACP programme consisted of various data collection on either lemurs or reptiles and amphibians which were both really interesting and involved walking a lot to beautiful segments of forest and exploring remote places. We learnt how to handle some reptiles and amphibians for indentification purposes which was great. I learnt so much in this time, the guides were increadibly knowledgeable and patient with teaching about the local environment and the culture customs and language.

We also had classes with the local children twice a week to teach them about thier environment and conservation. This really made us feel like we could help the local community a little as well as the wildlife and also to be welcomed in by the people. We were camping on the edge of a village called Ambandrika where the people are wonderfully friendly and kind and inquisitive about us visiting. The campsite is more basic than what peopl are used to back home (UK) but you quickly get used to it and its actually really nice to live like this for a while.

I was extremely sad when my 4 weeks were up and I had to go home, this is a wonderful experience and I highly recommend it to anyone considering it. I wish I could have done the whole 10 week programme or even be able to work there for a year.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Adventurous wilderness research in the back country

I was looking for something very specific when I joined Azafady's ACP team: an opportunity to practice immersive field work in Madagascar for over two weeks. I signed up for the maximum length, 10 weeks.

Azafady was the cheapest, most reputable program for the length of stay I wanted. We camped in tents for the full period.

As an American, it was very interesting to go with Azafady because I felt like I was not only learning about Malagasy culture, but about English/British culture (as the staff were primarily British, and the majority of volunteers were European).

I was very satisfied with my experience. The volunteer coordinators were caring, knowledgable and dedicated. We got to know some of the Malagasy people who were our guides through the forest, and they were amazing, swift-footed, with eagle eyes. Our main activities: researching amphibians and reptiles, surveying palms and lemurs, and teaching the local schoolchildren environmental lessons (once a week), were all extremely rewarding. If you have a sharp eye for spotting creatures, can estimate distances, and have an intrepid spirit, you will serve your team very well!

The pace of life is slower there. I got used to things taking longer to do and being a bit less clean: bucket showers from the well, huge muddy puddles on the road, rice and beans every lunch, "mofo" and banana and rice for breakfast, with simple vegetables, pasta, and occasional fish or zebu for dinner. Everyone missed some food luxuries, like cheese, more meat, spices. We longed for our beds a bit too, after that long in a tent. And hot showers. But let's face it, being in Madagascar and getting to walk through forest fragments almost every day is worth a little sacrifice.

Your volunteer team will most likely be diverse: my team came from at least 10 different countries (but mostly the UK). I had some stomach issues halfway through that didn't really leave me until I was back home recovering, but was never horribly ill. I took the anti-malarials (malarone) and those worked out fine.

One thing that was suggested to me to save the most money was to go on my own and just find an organization once in Madagascar. But I don't speak French, and for a first time to the country, didn't want to worry about safe food sources and accommodations. I'm really glad I decided to go with Azafady. With their knowledge and connections with the local people, it allowed me to do and see things I never would have otherwise.

It's the experience of a lifetime, and you'll be glad Azafady's got your back.

What would you improve about this program?
I would have a few more practical Malagasy lessons. I wanted to be able to chat more with the locals :) Although we did have great conversations with our fluent-in-English Malagasy guides!
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Yes, I recommend this program

Most amazing experience

Hands down, volunteering with Azafady was the greatest decision I ever made. I cannot say enough good things about the program - the people are fantastic and very supportive, the program itself (I took part in the Conservation Programme) was interesting, educational, and fun, and the chance to experience Madagascar was priceless. It is a beautiful country filled with beautiful people, and I truly left my heart behind when I came back to the US. I can't say enough good things about the program.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Azafady - Would love to go back & couldn't recommend more

I signed up to the Azafady Conservation Programme (ACP) for the short period of 4 weeks and the only regret I have about the programme is that I could not stay longer.
I already had a desire to travel to Madagascar and having been recommended of ACP from a close friend who had been apart of the volunteer programme in 2009, I had a justification to go. The experience became so much more than that and I now have lasting elated memory of my time in Madagascar and the bush.
I didn’t have any expectations when I departed for Antananarivo and on to Fort Dauphin. It was remarkably easy to meet people, all coming from a range of different backgrounds, although largely from the UK. I can honestly say that the people that are drawn to the ACP or Pioneer programmes are going to remain some of my closest friends, partly due to our shared experiences but also because I was living with like minded individuals that shared similar passions, points of view and desire to be contributing towards Madagascar’s sustainability on a grass roots level.
Upon arrival and meeting the volunteer coordinators you can say nothing less than how easy going yet helpful the Azafady team are. There are no pressures to over come, yet they are always on hand to help you with any small or large request or dilemma. The consistent nature of the Azafady staff throughout my adventure only ensured my lasting memory or the trip.
We worked closely in the hamlet of Sainte Luce. You are isolated from Western Society, yet it is remarkable how comfortable this becomes. I did not once miss checking my facebook or slipping on to BBC sports to see how the Premier League is panning out.
You work with the biodiversity programme. There are two modules lasting 2-3 hours each day, where you generally go into the forest and assist the coordinators and guides on the work. During my time we embarked on detailed research on lemurs, herpes, phelsuma antonsy and various palms. Everyone has a positive attitude towards the work and the guides are incredibly knowledgeable, and always on hand to offer their wisdom. It also felt like we were making a positive contribution and achieving our goals. An example is that a publication was suggesting that there were only 40 specimens of a particular palm left in Madagascar (or at least our region) and in my 4 weeks out there we found 110, which I understand two weeks later surpassed the 200 mark.
We were able to collect seeds and physically restrict the plight of this palm. In terms of other conservation activities there were regular stove building activities, donating our efforts to the local community in a bid to reduce energy consumption and wood depletion. We also had an active involvement in the schools teaching the children about forest habitats and providing weekend English lessons.
It’s rather difficult to express how the entire trip has reflected on me. I didn’t once have a bad day, and reflect upon my time in awe and desire to return. The forests are no less than stunning. You have plenty of opportunities for adventure, visiting the most incredible naturally pristine beaches I have ever been fortunate enough to visit. The experience has certainly reflected on my life for the better. I am a lot more aware of how significant the work out in Madagascar is and I am eternally grateful that I was able to be apart of that. The wildlife is beyond what I imagined, even the campsite was littered with an array of animals, from a family of chicks to cats to the most unique reptiles. The night walks that occur three times are week are truly memorable.
It’s all very well trying to write down how my time in Madagascar was amazing beyond belief, but I can write nothing better than a suggestion you witness and experience all of this yourself. I have always tried to live an experiential life, pushing myself towards new and interesting things, but I think this has been the best choice I have made thus far.
So lastly be reassured that the contribution you make out there is well worthwhile and not to be fearful as everything falls into place rather effortlessly. So just take the plunge and see for yourself what Azafady can offer you and Madagascar.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Tena Faly Zaho!

Not long into the ten weeks I spent with Azafady in Ste.Luce I was already plans ways to get back and work with them again! I learnt so much about the extraordinary wildlife of the region. I gained valuable research skills and first-hand insight into the problems and opportunities surrounding the forest fragments and the local community. I love the dedicated Azafady staff, the wise local guides, the joyful children in the conservation class, and I miss them every day. Ste.Luce is a stunningly beautiful place where you'll find fascinating animals and plants everywhere you look (the tiny brookesia chameleons and the woolly lemurs that slept above our tents were my favourites!). It is a very poor area, and Azafady are doing wonders to help people deal with the challenges that poses. The programme offers volunteers a chance to really get involved in this work. I could happily live the rest of my life with such an enthusiastic team, in those perfectly simple basic living conditions (very well fed by amazing chefs!), being outside almost all the time in the fresh air and sunshine, doing work that really matters, in such an incredible place with such wonderful people.

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Yes, I recommend this program


The most amazing thing for me was being able to see lemurs every day. Living in the same area as lemurs and other fantastic animals was so cool, and to see how people live in the village was very eye-opening. I felt like I made a difference with my lemur observations, population and habitat studies. The people in the community were so wonderful, you could tell they really loved having us there, and the kids wanted to interact with us whenever they could. Even though we were "roughing it," things were pretty comfortable. I really enjoyed my time with Azafady working in the conservation programe, and I can not recommend it enough. Madagascar is an amazing place, and being able to help the animals and people there is very rewarding.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Lemur Venture

I went on Azafady's Lemur Venture Program in the summer of 2008. It was an AMAZING experience, which immersed me in an interesting and different culture while also allowing me to learn an incredible amount about lemur conservation work in Madagascar. I enjoyed being exposed to other volunteers from many other countries, since I'm from the U.S., while also learning some Malagasy and getting to know our local guides.

The program brings you to both the city (Fort Dauphin) and more rural areas, and I think camping was a great way to do that. (Although, it did get cold at night, even in the summer!)

Doing lemur research was incredible. I was maybe 10 feet away from some of the most endangered animals on the planet, recording feeding habits and other things. We also did botanical counts and research on the folliage.