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The Gap Year Blog

Madagascar Beach Camp: A Day in the LifeĀ 

18 May 2020 16:10 PM

The day starts when the sun rises. Depending on how much of a morning person you are, you can find people doing some yoga, preparing breakfast, or getting everything ready for the day ahead.

Firstly, as with any good day, is breakfast. This is usually at 8am and is normally pancakes. Can you eat too many pancakes? It is hard to say. Conversations along the lines of “Sometimes it might be nice to have porridge (the availability of porridge oats is hit and miss) so as not to ruin the joy of pancakes” will occur with regularity, but does that ever actually ruin the joy of pancakes? No. Not really.

Breakfast is followed by the morning survey for the forest team, plus anyone else who wishes to come and have a gander at some forest critters. Generally, the aim is to be on the way by 9am to avoid the midday heat, especially as some of the survey routes can take a few hours to reach and complete. The route in question is also dependent on the tides, with the best primary routes being easiest to reach at low tide. On return to the camp it is usually close to the midday, which means both lunch time and siesta time. Neither of which you can complain about taking.

The afternoon tends to be when the marine team will do their own surveys of the day, either on the home reef or further afield, which also gives the camp as a whole the chance to go with them and snorkel or just swim in the crystal clear and warm waters of the Indian Ocean. There is also a 'boat pineapple', which is a wonderfully refreshing bit of motivation to go for a swim (in case you needed more motivation to go and maybe spot a sea turtle).



On returning to the camp, after everyone has showered off, it is time to prepare dinner. This is a group activity and involves a lot of chopping and peeling of onions, potatoes, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, leeks, and occasional extras like aubergines or avocados. Peeling and chopping an entire garlic by hand is a thrilling experience that I encourage everyone to try. Seriously, go ahead. Now do it every night. It is real fun.


When we eat our meal, we always realise that having the ability to cook and to improvise cooking makes the world of difference. Plus, given how constant our ingredient list is, there is a surprising amount of variety in our diet, including home-made flatbread!

It is after dinner that the night survey will take place, as by around 6pm it is dark enough to go out and get decent results. For those not going on the survey, it is time for socialising, with TV shows downloaded in wi-fi cafe's being streamed from a phone, or more traditional card and board games.

It is also a truly fantastic time for watching the night sky, star-gazing or practising astrophotography if you've brought a camera with you. This is the case in the dry season where there are fewer clouds looming constantly in the sky above.

You go to bed when you feel you should, ready for the next day to begin.

Lather, rinse, repeat.


By Emily Woolnough, Forest Assisant Research Officer, Frontier Madagascar 

Frontier runs terrestrial and marine conservationcommunity and adventure projects in over 50 countries - join us and explore the world!