• Madagascar
    • Nosy Komba

Program Details

Year Round


What's Included
Accommodation Activities Meals
Apr 11, 2017
Nov 21, 2019
7 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Our Forest Conservation volunteer program in Madagascar consists of constant monitoring of the forest and its surroundings on Nosy Komba.

We assess the biodiversity of several species (including lemurs, birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians, as well as some insects) using various survey techniques.

Our surveys include weekly night walks to monitor the nocturnal reptile population. As there are no roads on the island and paths are often steep and unclear, a decent level of fitness is required to reach the survey sites.

Program Reviews

4.86 Rating
based on 7 reviews
  • 5 rating 85.71%
  • 4 rating 14.29%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 4.3
  • Support 4.45
  • Fun 4.85
  • Value 4.6
  • Safety 4.45
Showing 1 - 7 of 7 reviews
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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).

41 people found this review helpful.
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.

34 people found this review helpful.
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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).

39 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Nosy Komba, Madagascar

My 10 weeks on the forest conservation project in Madagascar were full of hiking, wildlife, new friends, and beautiful scenery. The accommodations turned out to be better than I expected and I enjoyed spending weekends exploring other parts of Madagascar with other volunteers. You'll meet people from all over the world who share a similar passion for travel, volunteering, conservation, and community development. You'll have the opportunity to learn the local language, Malagasy, and to immerse yourself in Malagasy culture by talking with people, trying traditional Malagasy cuisine, and exploring the country. As one of the world's poorest countries, you'll see firsthand the effects of poverty on people's lives, but you'll also spend your days volunteering in ways that will improve people's lives, which can be very rewarding. In addition to the forest project, I also had the opportunity to teach English classes in the afternoons and to go on several construction trips to a rural village on the main island where MRCI volunteers are building a medical clinic for the village. It was rewarding to help in as many different ways as possible, and I made life-long friends from all over the world. I would highly recommend this program to anyone who is interested in conservation, community development, experiencing new cultures, or simply making a difference in someone's life.

38 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

Top 5 Reasons for Volunteering with MRCI

1. The “Local Experience”: Stayed in a campsite located in the middle of the forest, atleast 30 minutes away from the nearest village, a life without mobiles and tablets, woken up at dawn everyday by the pet rooster; enjoyed the local diet of rice and zebu(local cattle) meat; hiked daily among the mountains, passing by charming always smiling local villagers scampering by.
2. Expanded my knowledge database exponentially: I am originally from a Biology background, and I have been able to gain so much more knowledge about the endemic species of Madagascar and the ecology.
3. Accumulated valuable Survey Skills: Performed surveys in the forests of Nosy Komba. This was also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to observe the endemic species of Madagascar in their undisturbed natural habitat.
4. Met people from…everywhere!- From Canada to Australia, Iceland to Columbia!
5. Fun Fun Fun: This volunteering trip has been possibly the best experience of my life till now.
A big thank you to MRCI :D

What would you improve about this program?
The volunteers could be provided with more information about where and how the surveyed data was going to be used. This would help in give a better picture of the impact our work is having on the local communities.
42 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Forest Conservative in Madagascar

The program itself was great, we went out on hikes everyday and if you couldn't hike as was the case for me for a bit they also had something you can do and there was always a way to help out on camp. The accommodation for Madagascar was better then I expected and had most amenities like flushing toilets and good showers. The rooms we stayed in where hostel style with 6 beds in a room but there was more then enough room for everyone. The food was also really good with rice and beans being staples but there was also fish, chicken and beef that served. For the program itself it was very cool and rewarding to see some of these amazing creatures in the wild. With most of them you can only find in Madagascar. The research that you gather exploring the forests in nosy komba is so valuable when it comes to studying these creatures and for someone who wasn't really a reptile person before I left I was in awe of some of the things I saw. So I would highly recommend this trip

What would you improve about this program?
One of things I think the program can approve in is that you really need to know alot of of different species in order to identify them on the hikes. Before you arrive it would be nice to be able to study up on some of them before you arrive.
38 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Forest Conservation at MRCI in Madagascar

I spent an amazing 9 weeks at MRCI doing forest conservation and helping with their social media efforts. Nosy Komba, Madagascar is not an easy terrain. The nearest village is a 30-40 minute walk from camp over rocky and beach terrain. The locals walk this island like experts and put all the volunteers to deep shame. The locals are humble though and one time while walking back from the village, I stepped aside to let some young local girls passed. The last one grabbed my hand and showed me where to step easily and it was very sweet and a great bonding experience between me and the locals. They are a wonderful caring people, certainly worth meeting!

What would you improve about this program?
As far as forest goes, I would suggest the first week allowing newbies to walk every other day. Perhaps breaking them into 2 groups. On off days, they can do extensive data entry to get them familiar with what were collecting. I think this would do two things: 1) allow people a bit of time to get used to the weather before big walks, and 2) give them a chance to see the data (even out of context) early on, so when they do on walks they have an idea of what they're collecting.
39 people found this review helpful.

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