Most Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in Madagascar from $580

Video and Photos

Furcifer Pardalis ( Panther Chameleon)
Furcifer Pardalis ( Panther Chameleon)
View on a forest walk
View on a forest walk
Turtle in a marine nationalparc- Nosy Tanikely
Turtle in a marine nationalparc- Nosy Tanikely
In the Village Ampangorina next to Ilo Village (Hotel and Restaurant)
In the Village Ampangorina next to Ilo Village (Hotel and Restaurant)
Just an average Malagasy sunset...
The cuties on one of the many english classes.
Having a little fun in the marine conservation program.
The adult's class in Ampang village

About

Trusted by 90,000+ volunteers, IVHQ offers the most popular volunteer programs in Madagascar and 40+ other destinations around the world.

You can choose from 6 volunteer project options in Madagascar and give back for periods ranging from 2 weeks to 12 weeks. Your Program Fee includes airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support. You’ll be accommodated in locally built huts, with other like-minded, impact-focused travelers from around the world.

IVHQ is trusted to support the meaningful adventures of thousands of volunteers every year, so before you even depart for Madagascar, you’ll receive outstanding personalized service from your expert Volunteer Program Manager and exclusive access to superior pre-departure volunteer training.

With IVHQ, you can expect to establish real connections within the local community while supporting projects that make a genuine difference.

Highlights
  • IVHQ’s Madagascar program is available year-round, starting on the first and third Monday of every month
  • Highly affordable program fees starting from $550 for two weeks - IVHQ provides the most affordable and top-rated programs
  • You’ll be joining between 5 and 20 other IVHQ volunteers who start in Madagascar each month
  • You’ll be traveling with IVHQ, the volunteer travel experts, and joining a network of 90,000+ volunteers. Our outstanding safety systems and track record set us apart, we are the world’s safest organization
  • Your efforts will have a positive impact because our programs are community-driven with a focus on supporting long-term local needs

Questions & Answers

No! Every year we place thousands of volunteers abroad and around 15 percent of these volunteers are aged 30 years and older. While the opportunity to volunteer abroad is popular among young travelers, an increasing number of senior travelers are choosing to volunteer with IVHQ each year, delivering a great deal of value to the communities in which we work. Jordan McFadyen IVHQ Community Manager
The weather in December was generally pretty good. Generally in the high 80s for the temperature and varying clouds and sun. It is the transition period into the rainy season though, so towards the end of the December expect a bit more rain especially at night.
Go snorkelling, read in the hammocks, visit the towns and villages, do a long walk on the island, play cards, wash clothes and learn Malagasy

Reviews

93%
based on 24 reviews
  • Impact 8.8
  • Support 8.8
  • Fun 9
  • Value 8.7
  • Safety 8.8
Showing 16 - 24 of 24
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Devin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing people, amazing place, amazing experience

Upon arriving in Madagascar I had no idea what to expect but when I arrived on Nosy Komba it exceeded my greatest expectations. The camp is the most beautiful place in the entire world, waking up to the incredible view of Lokobe Strict reserve and the stretch of turquoise blue water in between never gets old and the thought of it as I am writing this review makes me miss it so much. I had so many great experiences while I was there and all I can say is go and experience them for yourself and I guarantee you won't regret it.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Devin, It is awesome to hear that the program in Madagascar exceeded your expectations! We agree that the program location is paradise. Thanks for recommending this program and for being a great volunteer.
Claire - IVHQ Madagascar Program Manager

Default avatar
Eleonor
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unique experience teaching in Madagascar

I've just spent 6 weeks out on Nosy Komba (an island in the north madagascar) teaching during my Gap Year and couldn't tear myself away! I extended my stay as much as I could and will definitely be going back to this beautiful country soon. The IVHQ program which links to the Marine Research Conservation Institute on the ground was a perfect way to learn the language and get to know the locals, great trips with fellow volunteers on weekends to! If you are thinking of going the Teaching is the program for you, no prior experience needed, just a willingness to jump in and make a difference. Contrary to the other programs (except construction) you really feel the difference you are making in the communities. There are five sites you teach in, all a little bit of a scenic walk away (half hour to an hour maximum) over sandy beaches, over rocks and in the jungle. There are both children's classes (around 10 years old) and adult classes, the schedules are very flexible so if you have a favorite it an be accommodated. The camp was a great buzzing atmosphere with young volunteers from all over the world in an assortment of basic but comfortable huts for 6. There is a lovely common area for reading in hammocks, card games, or just chatting as you overlook the reef with the abundant turtle colony poking their heads up now and again. The food is nice but repetitive with a base of rice and beans, sometimes with meat or fish and some vegetables, but we found ways to spice it up with avocado or curry powder. There is no wifi on camp which is quite refreshing, for a long stay it is easy to get a local sim card, but as a teacher you get access to wifi in some of the villages you visit so might not even need it. For charging devices there is a generator at camp which is on 2 hours a day, otherwise once again teachers have an advantage getting off camp and going to an internet cafe in Nosy Be or a lovely restaurant half hour away in Ampangorina. I loved my volunteering experience meeting so many wonderful people from all over as well as being so immersed in the local culture and making friends with the local students in our english classes. If you do end up applying then make the most of it! Join the facebook page and don't be afraid to ask for any advice. When you apply you can also tick the "Have you been referred to IVHQ by an IVHQ Ambassador or IVHQ Partner?" and enter my code (2f79a30c).

What would you improve about this program?
We need more teaching volunteers! It's the only worthwhile program in Madagascar <3
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Eleonor, What an awesome review! Thanks so much for taking the time to write an in-depth review from your time on the program in Madagascar, we really appreciate it. We are so glad that you found the teaching work fulfilling and met many wonderful people. It sounds like you had a really special time and we are glad that we were able to help facilitate this for you. Thanks for being an IVHQer and we can’t wait to have you back!

Default avatar
Abigail
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My best teaching experience so far!

The four weeks i spent on the IVHQ program in Madagascar was incredible. I have completed many teaching programs around the world and i can confidently say this has has been the most enjoyable and rewarding program so far. The NGO (MRCI) is very well organised and supportive throughout your whole stay and the staff are great. The living area and meals were well worth the money. The actual teaching experience itself was probably the most rewarding thing i've ever done. You form an incredible bond with everyone in the local village from adorable 5 year old kids to 40 year old adults, they all show their appreciation for you every single day. One of the things i will never forget is how the children would shout my name and wave with the happiest faces i've ever seen! Thank you for everything. I'll never forget it.

What would you improve about this program?
Hot water at least once a week would be nice but apart from that nothing!
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Abigail, thanks for sharing a review of your volunteer experience in Madagascar. It is great to read that you felt well looked after by the local team and had a rewarding time on the teaching placement. Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ!

Default avatar
Charlotte
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Six Month Experience

I am coming to the end of my stay here at MRCI on Nosy Komba. I started as a volunteer in the teaching program and after 4 months became the teaching coordinator! The growth that i have seen in the project itself is overwhelming, you can really see the students improving and the impact you are making on the local community and school. In the six months I have been here we have expanded to a new school on Nosy Be, and our class sizes have grown noticeably. The day to day life is absolutely unbelievable surrounded by stunning views and loving locals and volunteers. My volunteer experience was irreplaceable and my time as an employee has taught me so much for the future. MRCI is currently, and always, looking for new enthusiastic teachers to join our team and continue the amazing work that is happening. I would recommend to anyone to either apply for a job within the teaching program, or at least consider volunteering with the teaching project here in Nosy Komba. It isn't something you will ever regret.

What would you improve about this program?
Easier access to wifi to contact friends/family and do work, reliable transport to and from placement in the village of Ampangorina.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Charlotte, It sounds like you have had a completely unforgettable 6 months. Thanks for sharing a little bit about volunteer life in Madagascar. We hope to have you back again in the future. Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ.

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Andrew
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Forest project

I had a great time meeting people around the world and getting close to them. I was in the forest for half of my experience here and it was a lot of fun getting data from all the lemurs and reptiles. The second half half of my trip was mostly in the water where i saw beautiful scenes. The thing i enjoyed most in Madagascar is the place is covered with life. The staff here in Nosy Komba were awesome and always there to help. overall my experience here was well beyond my expectations and I can't wait to see some of the friends i've made here again.

What would you improve about this program?
WiFi
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Andrew, It's so great to hear that your 6 weeks volunteering in Madagascar on our Forest Conservation project was beyond your expectations. Thanks for being an IVHQer! We hope to have you volunteer with IVHQ again in the future.

Default avatar
Awena
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best experience of my life by far.

Echoing what someone else said in regards to the negative review; when you are volunteering in a third world country, you can't expect luxury! There will be bugs, basic facilities and basic food. Having said that - I was in Madagascar for 8 weeks and was able to see how drastically all these things improved! The owner of the campsite is very invested in making it as pleasant as possible for the volunteers and I loved the camp. It's beautiful and has such a friendly atmosphere!

To review the Forest Project itself: it was incredible. The lemurs were so interesting to study, always getting up to some new kind of mischief each day. I unfortunately was in a scooter accident my first weekend and couldn't make the hike to the wild lemurs (around 2 hour walk away) and so got to be very familiar with the village ones instead. It was great to be able to focus on them, I felt like I was making more of an impact because I was able to ID them better and such. The reptile and birding programs got going while I was there and are very interesting, already a few strange looking lizards and snakes have been seen - I'll be very surprised if some of what they find isn't a new species.

The Malagasy people are probably the friendliest I have ever met - safety is definitely not on issue on camp or in the village. The locals adore the volunteers and will do their best to help you out if you hurt yourself or anything! You will make lots of friends there as well, even if you are only in the village occasionally, which really adds to the experience of the project.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Awena,

We are so glad to hear about your great experience volunteering in Madagascar. We are sorry to hear about your scooter accident, it definitely sounds like you didn’t let this effect your volunteer experience in any way which is awesome!! A positive outlook goes a long way :)

It’s also nice to hear that in your time in Madagascar you were able to see the improvements to the volunteer accommodation that our partner has been working hard toward.

Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ.

Catherine

Default avatar
Jessi
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Came as a volunteer and decided to stay

I signed up to teach for one month and half way through that time decided that I wanted to stay. I fell in love with the students, the neighboring village, beautiful camp, the staff, and wanted to make it a somewhat permanent situation. So I applied to stay as staff and thankfully, was granted a role within the organization.
I'm so very happy to have made the decision to volunteer and stay here with IVHQ.

What would you improve about this program?
I would ask for more solar power for the whole house.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jessi,

Thank you so much for your review! It is great that you loved your experience volunteering in Madagascar so much that you were in a position to make it more permanent.

We wish you all the best in your new home and look forward to catching up with you soon.

Catherine.

Default avatar
Venesia
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

AMAZING EXPERIENCE!!!

My stay in Madagascar was amazing! Madagascar is more touristy than I expected but I loved every minute. Although I would have liked to stay with a local family, the volunteer house was great too... the volunteers and staff made it fun. We were like a family watching movies together and playing interactive games we made up that involved everybody. I felt comfortable sharing my thoughts and feelings with these people... I didn't think I would be being more reserved and shy.

At first I was a bit skeptical about leaving my stuff around but you soon learn to trust... No one would steal your stuff at camp and even in the village we taught at, the locals make sure your stuff is safe... they are so happy we're there. Everyone I have met in Madagascar has been nothing but nice and welcoming! Even the construction workers building the bungalows are really friendly and helpful and they work to make sure that the surroundings are safe and that there isn't material lying around.

We did only have one bathroom during my stay but it usually worked out... it's part of working/living together. It was a bit tricky walking down if you have to go the bathroom at night but I know more bathrooms were being built and there would be one closer to the bungalows that were higher up. As for the water, I don't think it's an issue... no one has ever gotten sick from it. In terms of power, I actually liked the fact that we only got it for a limited time... it is more environmentally friendly anyway and that's kind of the point if we believe in conservation efforts. The food was fine and we got zebu sometimes... It would help to have some more food on some days but I think the local staff realize that are working on improving the situation with the many new volunteers that are headed there.

I participated in the teaching project. It was very interesting to come up with lessons after assessing the needs of the students, the teachers and locals who also wanted to learn English. We had lots of time to plan, explore and engage with local people.

You can really tell that the students wanted to learn. They never act out and thanked us with songs, hugs, smiles and lots of little gifts. Because their level of English is very basic, being able to speak and write in French was really helpful. Our lesson plans aren't necessarily the most fun but the students were still eager to participate. I hope the lessons can get more interactive and be more discovery-based as they progress and improve in English.

Working with local teachers allowed me to learn a lot of Malagasy. I also found out that they sound things out quite differently so if we were to help students remember pronunciation of words in English, talking to the local teachers would definitely help. The teachers there are so nice and even invited us into their homes, shared their honey and snacks and one even played us a tune on his keyboard. I also played him a song... it was like a sharing of culture.

I am hopeful that we can have a huge impact on the students' learning. I loved teaching there... it was a very rewarding experience that solidified my desire to finish up my Education degree and teach. The students again are awesome and are happy for what we may think of as little things... like when we showed them funny moves, like when I decided I wanted to learn their jump rope game thing. They are excited for pictures and were super happy when I brought them stickers, supplies, a soccer ball and a basketball.

As a volunteer teacher, I was able to not only teach them but really interact with them outside of the classroom setting during recess and the sport sessions by the beach. I would have loved to stay longer and teach them some sport or tag games. Teaching is so community based there. I know we were making a difference just by being there and the locals have told me time and again how grateful they are. It makes everything worthwhile. I even ended up enjoying our walks to the village from camp every morning. The scenery is gorgeous along the way.

I also got to help out with the construction project also taking place in the same village during our free time. Students and locals also helped a bit and it became like a group effort to give the school a lift. The new blue paint gives the village more liveliness and energy. Even the tourists commented on how nice it is and asked us about the volunteer program. I am happy that we were helping the community in a variety of ways. The forest and marine conservation groups also talked about what they have done and I think it's great!

I loved Madagascar and the island life... learned to take things slowly and be in the moment. Many new experiences... got to see wonderful sunsets, swam with turtles, touched a jellyfish, of course there are the lemurs... I also liked how we could walk almost anywhere barefoot! Loved the weekend trips. All the volunteers are awesome people with different backgrounds and personalities but all wanting to help in their own way. We were really kind of like a family: looking out for each other, sharing clothes, fixing stuff for each other, joking around... I love them! I also love the kittens and I have learned to love the chickens that visit us and lay eggs in our bungalows.

Yes, there are some minor things that could be improved on but I think overall the program was great. I learned a great deal about myself. I found out I really don't need as much as I think... I don't need a lot to be happy. I also found out I was a lot more capable of doing things on my own than I give myself credit for and that positive thinking is really important and can lead to great changes. It was an amazing experience... I would go again in a heartbeat...

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Veneisa,

Thanks for sharing your review - we are pleased to hear that you enjoyed the opportunity of living alongside other IVHQ volunteers in the volunteer house and felt very welcome in Madagascar with the friendliness of the locals.

It’s great to hear that you were able to learn a lot of Malagasy during your Teaching project and that the support of the local teachers enabled you to communicate more effectively with your students.

We are happy to learn that your time in Madagascar has solidified your desire to pursue a career in teaching too! Thanks again for sharing your experience.

Default avatar
Cinzia
1/10
No, I don't recommend this program

An absolute scam. Don't go there!

Everything is still under construction, including the so-called 'conservation programs' managed by an obscure organization Madagascar Research & Conservation Institute. The premises are messy and hazardous with construction material scattered everywhere and power for only 2 hours a day. Hygienic conditions are appalling with 20-30 people sharing a single toilet/shower and no proper cooking and washing facilities. Food is scarce and inadequate with only rice, instant noodles, salad and beans in canned tomato sauce dished out every single day. Drinking bottles can only be filled from a tap inside the toilet and the water is not treated. Hardly a coincidence that after two weeks more than 50% of all volunteers (including myself) and the zoologist tested positive with salmonella typhi (typhoid fever). A very sick US volunteer was treated in hospital for three days and has been repatriated today.

IVHQ should immediately cancel this program and only resume it if and when the minimum standards will be met. In any case they should tell people about the real conditions on Nosy Komba. Unsuspecting and full-fee paying volunteers are presently financing MRCI's still non-existing conservation curriculum, as well as the construction of some ruthless businessman's private 'corner of paradise'. Totally unethical and unacceptable.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Cinzia,

IVHQ prides itself on providing high quality volunteer programs and although it is never nice to receive feedback like this, we do appreciate you expressing your concerns as this helps us to ensure we are providing the best possible service to our volunteers.

Our partner organization in Madagascar provided you with a program fee refund and as you are aware, your IVHQ Program Coordinator has been in communication with our partner to discuss your concerns to ensure these are addressed.

Our Madagascar program has proved very popular, as such the accommodation facilities have needed to be expanded to accommodate a growing number of volunteers. These renovations are scheduled to be completed shortly and we are sorry you felt these were hazardous to your stay.

During your stay, 3 toilets and 4 showers were available at the volunteer accommodation and it is stated on the IVHQ website that power is delivered to the volunteer accommodation by an on-site generator and there are pre-specified times in the mornings and evenings during which volunteers have access to power to charge their laptops and cell phones.

In regards to the meals, volunteers are informed via our website that meals will have a rice base with a serving of beans, usually cooked in a sauce with vegetables. The one volunteer who fell ill during your time in Madagascar received immediate medical attention through the support of our local team, however the illness has not been linked to program provisions. It is strongly recommended by our local team during the program orientation that volunteers should avoid foods and beverages from street vendors, as it is difficult for food to be kept clean on the street.

We understand that the outcomes of the Marine and Forest Conservation projects may not have been apparent to you during your few days on the program, however the ongoing efforts of volunteers within these projects are contributing towards global research and conservation efforts. Dr Mario Lebrato, a well respected Oceanographer and Environmentalist, will be leading a seminar and field research activity in conjunction with MRCI this November.

Thank you again for sharing your feedback.