1. In Brief
The magical Island of Madagascar is famous for its bizarre wildlife, dramatic landscapes and unique ecosystems. Journey with us to northern Madagascar, a remote and mysterious land unlike anywhere else on earth! Places on this ancient, exotic island have vegetation and wildlife so strange that at times you'd even think that you were on another planet! Here you can find almost all of the world's 63 kinds of lemurs, dozens of species of chameleon including the world's smallest and largest, and strikingly beautiful fossa, a close relative of the mongoose. Nothing is quite as it seems in Madagascar, with strange animals lurking almost everywhere you look!
Madagascar is home to all of the world's remaining Lemurs, with over 100 species currently described and with new discoveries being made seemingly each year! Madagascar also has a huge diversity of chameleons, including the world’s smallest and largest, many endemic birds and the spectacular fossa, a cat like carnivore which is actually related to the mongoose family. The landscape is also full of strange and unusual plant species including bulbous baobab trees, exotic orchids and sprawling cactus, interspersed with pockets of lush riverine tropical forests and all combining to a produce a varied and wild landscape of steep cliffs and volcanic massifs.
The Frontier-Madagascar wildlife conservation project is based on the 'scented island' of Nosy Be, famous for its vanilla, ylang-ylang and mangoes. Whilst on the wildlife conservation project you’ll discover the huge variety of Madagascar's exotic species as you trek through remote regions of this hugely exciting island. Working alongside other dedicated volunteers, you’ll help to monitor the distribution and abundance of many groups of animal, assessing how they use their forest habitats and the important roles they play within the ecosystems. You will also help to evaluate the impacts that humans are having on the wildlife and the forests, and will contribute to the conservation of this rich and special land.
On the Madagascar Wildlife Conservation N.G.O Internship you’ll discover the huge variety of Madagascar's exotic species as you trek through remote regions of this hugely exciting island. Working alongside Frontier field staff, you’ll monitor the distribution and abundance of species, assessing their use of the wilderness habitats and ecosystem and evaluating the impact of human populations on the Wildlife.
Recover from your trekking and bush-camping with a days resting and relaxing on the Frontier beach camp at Nosy Be where you can snorkel in the crystal clear waters and sunbathe on the fantastic white sand beaches.
Work alongside local Malagasy communities and experienced field staff;
Help to preserve Madagascar’s abundant and unique biodiversity ;
Extend your field work experience in the wildlife conservation sector in this global biodiversity hotspot
Relevant academic qualifications required
Proof of work experience
Minimum 2 month placement
Assessing the biodiversity including lemur and chameleon species
Compiling species lists
Setting up trapsites
Mapping of vegetation
Assessing human disturbance
Recording how local communities use their precious natural resources
Airport pickup weekly on a Monday. Alternative start dates possible, additional £35GBP applies for pickup, please speak to an adviser
Transfer to town centre and beach camp from Nosy Be Airport weekly on a Monday
Communal beach camp
Before you go
Pre-departure support & documentation
Travel & medical advice from dedicated personal travel adviser
Advice on visas & equipment
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt
UK residential briefing weekend including food, accommodation and training (extra cost applies)
Airport pickup weekly on a Monday. Alternative start date possible, additional US$74GBP applies for pickup, please speak to an adviser
Internal ground transfers & in-transit accommodation (weekly on a Monday). Alternative start dates possible
Project orientation and training
In-country emergency support
24-hour international HQ back-up
A variety of qualifications are available on many of our projects. For example, BTEC certificates and diplomas on our Group conservation projects and TEFL certificates and BTECs on most of our teaching projects. You may also be able to gain a CoPE to support your university application. For more information on these qualifications, please see the qualifications section of our website or ask your volunteer advisor.
PADI DIVE TRAINING
On the Frontier Marine Conservation Group Projects, we will train you to PADI Advanced Open Water before you begin undertaking important biological surveys. Depending on how long you spend on the project, you may also have the option to take further courses up to Divemaster!
Please see the "Dates and Costs" tab for dive qualification prices or ask your volunteer advisor for more information.
Find out more about PADI qualifications.
2. The project
WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
Help conservice species found nowhere else on Earth
The projects aims are to contribute to the current understanding of the local environment and help monitor the spectacular array of wildlife found here. Madagascar has been isolated for over 84 million years, creating a biodiversity resource of global significance, with over 80% of species found nowhere else on Earth! Nosy Be's fauna includes three species of Lemur, including the diminutive Mouse Lemurs (Microcebus), the smallest primates on earth! Reptiles include rare Turtles, Snakes, Gecko's including the superbly camouflaged Leaf-tailed Gecko's (Uroplatus), Skinks and an array of Chameleon's.
There is spectacular bird life on the island, with the highest levels of endemism of any similar sized area in the world, as well as some elusive tenrecs – a group of small mammals that are incredibly diverse, filling niches in aquatic, teresterial, arboreal and fossorial environments, resembling everything from otters to hedgehogs.
Desertification & hunting
Madagascar's human population has doubled since 1960, leading to increased deforestation and overgrazing, which in turn has caused massive soil erosion and desertification. Only one tenth of the original forests remain, and this situation is rapidly deteriorating as the human population continues to grow. The forests are cut down to provide nutrients and land for agriculture, as well as being used as hunting grounds in the more remote and poor communities.
Empower local Malagasy communities
You will be surveying the flora and fauna of the region through biodiversity surveys of mammals, birds, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians. Madagascar is also one of the few places you can learn to handle snakes without fear of being bitten. You will learn about friendly Malagasy culture from working with local university students, and you will interact with communities to survey their resource use and conduct environmental education days. This will enable you to evaluate the impact of human populations on the wildlife, and help to develop areas where communities can lead sustainable lifestyles.
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
The main aims of the programme are to assess the biodiversity in this little-studied area and compare habitat types suffering from different levels of human disturbance. Compiling a species inventory will involve carrying out extensive surveys of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians in the surrounding forests. Behavioural studies are also carried out on the Lemur populations. In addition we will also be doing mapping of vegetation, disturbance and resource-use in the area to build up an accurate picture of how land use changes over time.
As an intern, you will have additional responsibilities which contribute to the overall running of the project, for example, teaching species ID to new volunteers.
If this is your first time doing wildlife conservation work in the tropics, don't worry! It will only take a short while for you to feel totally at home on camp and confident with the science work. Although the work is intense you'll find that living in such a beautiful and inaccessible environment on the coast in between the ocean and the forest alongside friends who share your passion for conservation will be the experience of a lifetime and develop your experience of field work!
You'll find your team to be a fun, dynamic mix of ages (usually between 18 and 25, though no age limit applies), and experiences, with members who all share a passion about travelling in developing countries and saving endangered life. Your staff will be young, friendly individuals who are highly experienced in their field and many may have volunteered on a Frontier project earlier in their career.
This project looks to utilise skilled interns to develop and grow their experience along with the achievements of this project; please speak to a Frontier Travel Advisor for more information of the kind of skills and experience required of interns, a relevant degree is essential and some field work experience is necessary.
3. What to expect
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I ARRIVE?
Volunteers arriving weekly on a Monday will be welcomed by a Frontier representative at Nosy Be airport. From here it's a short taxi or minibus ride from the airport to the centre of this vibrant town. If you arrive before noon, you will transfer to your project site and be introduced to the Frontier-Madagascar programme on the same day. If you arrive later in the day, you will stay overnight at the Frontier volunteer house in town and transfer to your project site the following day. You will be welcomed onto camp by Frontier and introduced to the Frontier-Madagascar research and conservation program. You will meet staff, receive initial project briefings, including an introduction to the work programme and to the field research techniques used, as well as being given health and safety lectures, so make sure your medical kit is complete and start reading your Safety and Medical Guides now.
When you are not camping or working out in the forest you will join the marine research team on the main beach camp for some well deserved relaxation and may even have time to enjoy some snorkelling off the shore.
Independent travellers arriving on dates other than weekly on a Monday can arrange a separate airport collection (extra cost; US$74GBP) by contacting the camp staff in Nosy Be.
WHERE WILL I BE STAYING?
During the project you'll trek each day from the main campsite on the beach at Nosy Be, along with other Frontier volunteers and field staff, to distant and remote sites in the forest to conduct the field work. You will be fully ensconced in the local community and will enjoy an authentic and memorable living experience. The Frontier field camps blend in with the surrounding natural environments. Camps usually comprise a group of tents and shelters sometimes incorporating simple local dwellings made of locally available materials. Our beach camp will make no permanent or intrusive impact on the environment and will provide you with a special home during your stay.
Life on camp is simple unsophisticated and fun. We believe that part of the excitement of journeying to a foreign country comes from immersing yourself with the local communities and living at one with nature. In your beach-camp your "shower" may consist of a river-pool, jug or bucket of water or wash in the sea and you will be cooking over an open fire: so prepare yourself for the simple, footprint less, unencumbered lifestyle! When you are trekking away from the base camp you may stay on a "satellite camp" which may consist of a mosquito net pitched in a remote clearing. You will help run camp from day-to-day, taking turns collect firewood, purify water, and other essential camp maintenance duties.
FRONTIER CAMP LIFE
Check out our Camp Tour video!
WHAT WILL I BE EATING?
Camp food is basic and nutritious and consists largely of rice, vegetables, beans and noodles, all of which are purchased locally in order to help support the local economy.
Luxuries such as chocolate, peanut butter and drinking chocolate must be imported from Helville the local town, so make sure you stock up before heading to the camp. You may be invited to local feasts and festivals – a great way to meet locals and enjoy local culture. On certain days the village women prepare local style meals which are offered to the Frontier volunteers for US$6/$5 a meal.
The Frontier-Madagascar camp is great fun and in your spare time you'll have opportunities to swim in waterfalls, play football and beach / river volleyball against the mostly unbeatable local teams. You can socialise, sit around the campfire, enjoy a traditional Saturday night themed camp party, play chess, poker, scrabble or backgammon or join in a camp quiz night or numerous camp drinking games. After a long hard day of trekking and working in the field you may wish to relax with a drink and sway in the camp hammock, if you've made one, chatting to your new friends under a tropical sky lit by a million twinkling stars, before drifting off to sleep to the exotic calls that fill a tropical night.
A range of adventure and cultural activities like visits to remote villages, dive trips, and river rafting are available. Talk to our local staff teams to fix these with local providers and tour operators.
Scuba diving courses may be available (subject to availability of spaces and time constraints).
dive courses run monthly commencing on the first monday of the month
Single Day snorkelling off the boats US$21/$16
Single Day Dive US$63/$48
Double Dive US$105/$80
4-dive package US$210/$160
10-dive package US$420/$320
Discover Scuba Diving US$136/$100
Open Water Dive Course US$525/$390
Advanced Open Water US$483/$360
Emergency First Responder US$210/$155
Rescue Diver US$630/$470
Dive Master US$1,050/$775
*Medical certificate is mandatory for participation in dive courses
Hellville - 1 hour boat journey at own cost
Attractions e.g. Lemurland, Donia Festival
Banks / ATMs; Bank of Africa (BOA), BFV-Société Générale, BNI-CL
Bars / cafes
Boats to the mainland & Boat Hire
Hostels and hotels
Taxis to the rest of the island
Western style restaurants
7. Dates and Costs
Every Monday throughout the year
Ideally flights to Madagascar and connections to Nosy Be (Fascene) should be arranged for this arrival date.
You can join this project for a minimum of 2 months
This project is available throughout the Christmas period
Before you go
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt
Airport pickup on first Monday of the month. Alternative start dates available.
Internal ground transfers & in-transit accommodation (for volunteers arriving on first Monday of the month)
Project equipment & materials
In-country emergency support
24-hour international HQ back-up
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
Flights are not included in our trip costs. However, we have partnered with an experienced and professional team of travel experts to help our volunteers find the best flight deals for their trips with us. This travel specialist operates in the tailor-made, long haul multi-stop travel market, arranging complex airfares and transfers for independent travellers. They provide expertise, security and a vast product range along with a Travel Butler service which is a single point of contact and support whilst you are overseas.
We recommend that you obtain a quote using the following contact details rather than book online, as our partner will offer you the most competitive fares. To receive your quote or to seek any advice for your flights, please contact our dedicated team of travel experts on 0800 082 9994 (or +44 800 082 9994 outside the UK) or email email@example.com
For fast, efficient and up-to-date visa advice please contact our recommended visa consultancy partner:
Depending on your destination country and your country of origin, you might require a visa. Please see the appropriate country consular website for details or contact our affiliate visa consultancy service. Please note that your visa will usually start on the date that you enter the destination country regardless of when it was issued. Please check with the relevant embassy or high commission. If you are purchasing your visa or paying entry/exit fees in-country you will probably need to pay in US Dollars. If you have any questions please consult the relevant embassy or high commission. Please check the visa information regularly, as changes often happen without warning.
You'll need to buy appropriate travel insurance covering your participation on the
project. You won't be able to go without the right travel insurance so double check
to avoid disappointment. Please make sure that you're covered for the whole duration
of your trip – from the day you leave the UK to the day you return. It's also best
to get your travel insurance at the same time as paying the deposit for your project.
Depending on your policy, this will cover you for any unexpected cancellations.
Your insurance should include the following:
- Medical cover, including medical emergencies and medical evacuations (up to USD$3,000,000 / GBP£2,000,000);
- Personal liability (up to USD$1,500,000 / GBP£1,000,000);
- Cancellation and curtailment of your trip (up to the value of your project contribution).
If you are going to be scuba diving you should get coverage for scuba diving up
to 30m, including hyperbaric therapy treatment (unlimited). You should consider
obtaining insurance to cover you for any additional activities which you plan to
do during, before, or after your Frontier project. We recommend that you obtain
cover for your baggage and personal effects.
8. How to apply
To apply for this placement, click on "Apply Now" below. Fill in the short application form and one of our advisers will then call you back to answer any questions and make sure this is the perfect placement for you. Applying doesn't cost a penny and you won't pay anything until you're completely happy and you're ready to reserve your place.
Add to Wish List |
Request a Callback|
Project FAQs | Frontier FAQs