Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute

Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute

About

We are a Government Approved Institute undertaking environmental research for our partners, which includes the Malagasy Government

Our Volunteer Programs include forest conservation, marine conservation and teaching English at local schools, as well as to staff of the National Oceanographic Research Centre (CNRO).

Our Turtle Cove research centre is ideally located next to the beach allowing easy access to the wider surrounding waters, as well as being directly opposite the Lokobe Forest Reserve and CNRO.

Founded
2013

Reviews

Anna
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was volunteering in the forest project for 4 weeks and I thought it was amazing. During my time here I got to see wild lemurs, chameleons, and tons of snakes and geckoes. We would hike on Nosy Komba in the morning, these hikes are though, but they are also beautiful and I think it was absolutely worth every drop of sweat and mosquito bite. I started studying my species before I got here, and that really helped me when I got to camp. It is so much more fun when you know what you are spotting in the forest and you also feel like you are doing more of a difference

The huts are basic, but that lets the ocean breeze in, which is nice on the warmer nights. The food is good and carb based. Most volunteers go to Hellville in Nosy Be on the weekends. Form there you can go different islands, se the sacred waterfalls and do some shopping, and much more.

Bardia
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My time spent on Nosy Komba has been unreal. As a marine volunteer, I would typically start the day with a dive along the reef about 100 meters off the shore from camp. After the dive there are typically dry activities, like data entry, turtle monitoring, or snorkeling available to the volunteers as well as activities with the other programs such as hikes with the forest program or construction and teaching with the community program.

Camp itself is an isolated location off the bigger island of Nosy Be. It is nestled on the beach with the forest directly behind it. The location of camp is perfect, and I enjoyed relaxing on the hammocks or going swimming on the beach. In addition to camp there are activities such as the sacred waterfall on Nosy Be, diving at Tani Kelly, and snorkeling at the beach of Nosy Iranja.

Overall my experience here has been great, and I would recommend this camp to all potential volunteers. A couple things to keep in mind is the weather during the winter months is still extremely hot and humid, and the camp is quite isolated with limited access to electricity and access to wifi.

Isabelle
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Being on the forest program was an absolute blast! I enjoy hiking and getting outside and on forest that is the main thing we did, whether it was hiking to do reptile transects, walking around the perimeter of the island, or going to see lemurs in the wild. Each day was something different, which I enjoyed, and at the same time the staff gave allowed us to give input into what we wanted to do each week, such as more time doing agroforestry or wanting to do a bird transect in a week. I would definitely recommend the forest program to others who love to hike, love animals, and are okay with sweating, a lot! For those thinking of joining the forest program, I would recommend a good pair of hiking shoes (mine got a lot of wear with all the walks up steep hills, along beaches, and other rocks), lots of bug spray (especially if you are coming during the rainy season), sunscreen, and a good back pack (for carrying around water, snacks, and more water).

Erin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering with the Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute has been a trip of a lifetime. Being able to dive at least one a day during the reef and have a gorgeously healthy reef right out front has been an amazing way to spend 12 weeks. Being a part of the survey team, tracking the health of the reef over the years and working to make sure it stays protected is truly remarkable. The water conditions are gorgeous and the staff is so amazing. Some truly amazing divers who have shared so much knowledge to help improve my diving skills, plus make the environment fun as well as serious. Safety is truly a top priority which isn't something that you always find when it comes to diving. The overall experience here has been life changing in a very positive way.

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Nicole
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Not only is Madagascar an incredible place to volunteer but the camp itself is absolutely beautiful. The MRCI staff is so welcoming and helpful and the local staff does an amazing job with cooking the (meat and vegetarian) meals and the most delicious desserts. I came to Madagascar without any SCUBA certifications but the dive instructor made it so easy to learn and within two weeks I had my advanced certification and was diving in the most beautiful reef. I made the best friends that I plan to visit all over the world and have learned so much during this experience. I spent four weeks there and I can honestly say it was not enough time to take it all in, I was so sad to leave but can't wait to go back some day.

What would you improve about this program?
A larger emphasis on teaching conservation and science related topics

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Anna Vindenes

Anna is a 20 year old girl from Norway. She loves to travel, photograph and to learn about New cultures.
Anna Vindenes

Why did you choose this program?

I wanted to travel in my summer vacation, and i also wanted to do a smal difference in the place I went. To volunteer seemed like the perfect choice. I have always seen how important research is for conservation and after reading about MRCI I thought that the way they worked on collecting data in Madagaskar was amazing and i wanted to help with what I could.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

IVHQ helped me a lot during my time before departure. The packing list was very helpfull. They also prepared me for what to expect when getting there. I fixed my own flights, visa, and vaccines. I did feel a lot safer traveling, knowing that there was someone who would help me if something went wrong.

When I got to Madagascar, MRCI helped me with all the problems that can occur while traveling (for example, problems with flights and health).

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Bring good hiking boots and lots of mosquito repellent. It is a good idea to bring two pairs of shoes so that one pair is always dry. Flip flops work just fine at camp.

Start to think about your visa and vaccines a while before you go, so that you do not have to stress about that.

My last tip is to bring your camera. This is going to be an amazing experience that you do not want to forget.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

We wake up at dawn and eat breakfast. After that, we would get ready for a hike up to a transect, bird point or wild lemurs. We would stay there for a while to collect data before we went back to lunch. After lunch, we would walk over to the lemur park to study the lemurs there, or have species study at camp so we would be able to help more in the research.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I travelled alone, and before I went, I was afraid that I would be just that, alone. That I would not get new friends to share this experience with. Of course, I knew that this was all in my head.

When I got there, it was easy to see that it was a stupid thing to be afraid of. There were a lot of people at camp and all of them where so nice.

What did you do on your weekends?

There were a lot of things you could do on your weekend on and around Nosy Komba. Nosy Be is only 30 min away by boat. There, you can explore the sacred waterfalls, the amazing beaches, and the restaurants. It is possible to go on Island jumping, arranged by the staff on camp as well. Or if diving is your thing, there are shark dives in the area.