Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute


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.


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Yes, I recommend this program

Where did the time go??

Kathelijn van Heusden, 23 (Marine Program, MRCI)

My four weeks at MRCI have flown by in a complete whirlwind of wonderful new friends, a heap of marine related knowledge and above all, many scuba diving adventures. As I was not PADI certified before joining the Marine Program, my stay at Turtle Cove on Nosy Komba started off with meeting my instructor Jacques, who I would be spending most of my mornings with over the first week here (lucky for him, somehow the Madagascan sun has turned me into way more of a morning person than I am at home…;) ) Being able to do my confined open water dives, not in a pool somewhere, but in the shallows of our very own beach has been amazing, and Jacques is a wonderfully kind and patient instructor. My fellow Mariners waste no time in filling me in on which are the nicest creatures to find on our reef (Nudi’s and Boxfish for the win!), their weekend plans on Nosy Be and how to make sure you can be first in line for seconds at dinner. Since we get the weekends off we plan a Whale Shark trip (Snorkeling with these majestic creatures should truly be on eveyone’s bucketlist) and an excursion to Nosy Iranja (A beautiful tropical island Jack Sparrow would gladly finish a bottle of rum on). I seriously am beginning to wonder why I even packed clothes for this trip as I am spending every day morning till evening in my swimsuit or wetsuit, participating in dives or on one of the many dry activities that are organised, beach cleans and turtle watch being two of my favourites. The time here flies by and you’ll find yourself wondering why you even booked a ticket home in the first place in no time at all…

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Yes, I recommend this program

Did you know a group of lemurs is called a conspiracy?

Before this program most of my knowledge of the place came from the rather inaccurate movie Madagascar. The lemurs I had the opportunity to work with did not sing but oinked not unlike a pig. Obviously they didn't talk either. I loved them regardless. Despite it not being quite what I expected I enjoyed my trip in Madagascar. I learned the different species of frogs, skinks, snakes, birds, chameleons, and geckos present in the island of Nosy Komba. I got to conduct surveys on the wildlife present in order to aid forest conservation efforts. Not only did I feel that what I did was impactful but it was also extremely interesting and fun. The hikes through the incredible scenery, both beaches and forests, are experiences I shall never forget. The people, both staff and locals, were incredibly friendly and welcoming. Put simply Madagascar is amazing and this program was a great way to get there and learn about Madagascar (the place not the movie).

Yes, I recommend this program

Review of MRCI Camp on Nosy Komba

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.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Review of MRCI Camp on Nosy Komba

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.

Yes, I recommend this program

Fun on Forest

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).


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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.