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Madagascar Marine Conservation N.G.O. Internship

  • In Brief
  • The Project
  • What to Expect
  • Reviews
  • Gallery
  • Extras
  • Dates & Costs
  • Apply
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Get Project Info

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Get Country Info

Download a PDF with details about Madagascar for you to keep or print out

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How To Apply

Simply fill in our no-obligation application form and we will get back to you with full project details

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PADI Qualification

Get trained up to Advanced Open Water on many of our marine conservation projects.

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Find out more about Madagascar

Start your adventure now by reading our country guide for Madagascar!

Frontier Group Project

Working in collaboration with institutions and NGOs with the country, projects are research-based, creating sustainable and biodiverse programmes.

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Escape to Madagascar – the magical island which is home to some of the world's most spectacular and least explored dive sites. The crystal clear waters host a dazzling array of pristine marine habitats and support a huge diversity and abundance of marine creatures.

The vivid multi-coloured corals and luxuriant sea grass beds provide rich feeding grounds for an extraordinary array of colourful reef fish, rays, sea urchins, anemones, octopus and even sea turtles. While barracuda, sharks, dolphins, migrating whales and shoals of pelagics cruise the deep blue waters offshore. You can explore this exquisite, untarnished underwater world as you work on the island of Nosy Be. Meaning ‘Big Island’ in Malagasy this location certainly lives up to its name.

You will discover and chart extensive coastal areas, record healthy populations of fish and coral cover, and learn to identify a wide range of intertidal creatures from tiny Hermit Crabs to sparkling sea anemones. You will discover lush mangrove forests; the unique ecosystem which straddles the land and the ocean. You'll learn how artisanal fishing communities live and utilise the rich marine resources. You will discover which groups of marine organisms are being harvested sustainably and which are being over exploited or hunted to extinction.

Your days will be eventful; the work will be challenging, rewarding and fun. Your discoveries will be of huge benefit to the conservation of these fabulous coral reefs and you will gain immense satisfaction from knowing that you have helped protect these precious natural resources for future generations.

The results from your investigations will supply vital information on the Madagascan coastline to enable the sustainable management of natural resources in the region and the protection of the marine wildlife.




  • Helping to preserve Madagascar’s marine and coastal biodiversity
  • Work on data from some of the world's best dive sites
  • Make lifelong friends and return with incredible stories, photos and memories
  • Extend your experience of tropical marine and coastal zone conservation field work


  • CV required
  • Minimum 2 month placement
  • Relevant academic qualifications to at least degree level
  • Some experience of coastal zone or marine field work
  • Diving (you may be able to dive train on the project prior to your internship) 
Airport Pickup Beach Emergency Meals Research PADI CV Wildlife Marine Coastal Snorkelling Encounter Free Time Beach
Location Madagascar
Activities Locating, mapping and studying the coral reef data
Underwater visual censuses of reef and commercial fish
Assessment of algal and coral cover
Line intercept transects for benthic life and indicator invertebrate species
Study the impact of potentially destructive fishing methods on the corals reefs
Note any indication of the impact of the marine-curio trade on endangered marine invertebrates

Airport pickup on first Monday of the month. Alternative start date possible, additional £35GBP applies for pickup, please speak to an adviser.
Transfer to town centre and beach camp from Nosy Be Airport if arriving first Monday of the month

Accommodation 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)

In-country Airport pickup first Monday of the month. Alternative start date possible, additional £35GBP applies for pickup, please speak to an adviser.
Internal ground transfers & in-transit accommodation (first Monday of the month). Alternative start dates possible
Project orientation and training
In-country emergency support
Basic food
24-hour international HQ back-up



An Exotic Island Paradise

165 million years of isolation have created a globally important biodiversity treasure with over 80% of species endemic to this island paradise. Frontier Madagascar’s conservation project is located on the island of Nosy Be in the northwest Mozambique Channel. Characterised by shallow continental shelf waters, the mangrove and coral reef ecosystems are home to a diverse array of associated fauna and flora and home to many charismatic and unique marine mega- and micro-fauna.

Population growth and removal of foreign aid has lead to the coastal zones being under chronic stress from socioeconomic anthropogenic pressures. Increased deforestation causes sedimentation to the reefs and removal of mangroves for wood and building materials has removed many precious nursery areas for coral reef fauna.

The Malagasy government is now working with international conservation and aid agencies to halt this destruction and save the island's invaluable biodiversity, and Frontier volunteers are an integral part of this effort.

Record Marine Biodiversity

Through SCUBA and snorkel surveys you will measure coral cover, identify reef fish and invertebrates, study the behaviour of fish and possibly sight whale sharks. Diving under the supervision of a professional dive officer, you will become confident and comfortable underwater. By qualifying as a part of the survey team you will assist quantify the different facets of coral reef diversity and community health which assist in formulating future management plans.

Other activities include surveying mangroves, a vital buffer against storm surges caused by cyclones, and an important part of the coastal ecosystem and regular beach cleans.

Malagasy Culture & Communities

Working alongside the Malagasy people will give you an insight into their extraordinary culture. You may even be invited to some of their ceremonies as such as local weddings or the Donia street festival.  Community work includes Environmental Awareness Days in local schools to explain Frontier's work, and interviewing local fishermen on their catches and opinions with regards to reef health. The data from your investigations will supply vital information on the coastline for the Madagascan National Programme.


The marine research and conservation programme is run in association with L'Institut Halieutique et des Sciences Marine (IHSM), with whom Frontier has been in partnership since 2000. This research and conservation project aims to provide the local communities, stakeholders and government bodies with the information they need to design and implement management plans for the future protection of this pristine marine ecosystem.
To gather the data needed you will undertake diving surveys and snorkel surveys (weather permitting), mangrove active searches and beach cleans, with one day off each week. If you need dive training we will train you up on the Frontier camp at the start of the project. Your activities will involve recording the live coral cover and benthic make-up the extensive, pristine coral reefs and studying the various communities existing on them. The number of dives completed each week on the project depend on the quarterly science plan and itinerary as set by the Frontier field staff.

As an intern, you will be given additional responsibilities to assist the running of the project and training of new volunteers. These include teaching volunteers the species surveyed, assessing volunteers to ensure quality of data collection and assist in the day to day running of the diving program.

You'll also explore the important mangrove forests and record the rich variety of organisms living there and in the other intertidal zones. Whilst diving you will discover dense sea grass beds rich sources of nutrients for the marine communities. You will deploy a wide range of newly learned research skills and scientific techniques including: underwater visual census of reef and commercial fish such as triggerfish and parrot fish, assessment of algal and coral cover to determine the extent of coral bleaching and damage, and line intercept transects for benthic life and indicator invertebrate species such as nudibranchs. You may even get to study the impact of potentially destructive fishing methods on the corals reefs, study the effects of global warming on marine communities or note any indication of the impact of the marine-curio trade on endangered marine invertebrates.

Whilst diving and snorkelling, you'll see an extraordinary array of animals from colourful reef fish species to turtles, sea cucumbers to cushion stars and spiny urchins to octopuses. By the end of your project you will be capable of identifying a wide range of colourful and patterned reef organisms, as well as being an experienced and competent diver. Although the work is intense and challenging you'll get immense satisfaction from having survived and from having made a valuable contribution to the conservation of this marine environment. You will return home with vast numbers of photos, lots of new friends, a wealth of fascinating stories and extraordinary memories.

You'll find your team to be a fun, dynamic mix of ages and experiences, with members who all share a passion about travelling in developing countries and conserving nature. Your staff will be a friendly and welcoming group who are highly experienced in their research field and many of whom will have been Frontier volunteers at an earlier stage in their career.


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.


Check out our Camp Tour video! 

You will be living on the beach camp in the village of Ambalahonko on the island of Nosy Be alongside other Frontier personnel. We aim to provide you with a unique and memorable living experience. The Frontier camp was built by Frontier volunteers working with local craftsmen, using traditional techniques and locally sourced materials. The camp which is situated in a clearing on the beach has been designed to blend in with the surrounding landscape. Camp life is very simple, unsophisticated and fun.

You will be sleeping in simple communal bandas, local style dwellings, on a roll mat under your mosquito net. There are outdoor showers, water supplied from the local village. You cook over an open campfire: so prepare for the basic lifestyle!


Check out our video on Frontier Gap Year TV from Frontier-Madagascar, showing you volunteer life on this beautiful island.


Food on camp is simple and nutritious and consists largely of locally sourced fresh vegetables, rice, beans and noodles, all of which are purchased from nearby communities thereby helping to support the local economy. Luxuries such as chocolate, peanut butter and drinking chocolate are only available in the main town, so make sure you stock up before heading to your field camp.

Part of your role on camp will be to help with the cooking. Creating spectacular meals over an open campfire and creating your own fires for cooking will become second nature: so get your cookbooks out now and start thinking up recipes!  The local villagers sell homemade delicacies every day just outside camp, including Banana macari, fresh bread, meat and veggie sambos. The locals also put on dinners once a week to allow you to integrate with the village and sample their food.

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The Frontier-Madagascar camp is fun and in your spare time you'll have opportunities to swim and snorkel, play football against the unbeatable local side or try out beach volleyball. Alternatively you may enjoy a traditional Saturday night themed camp party, play backgammon, poker or chess, or join in a camp quiz night. After a long hard day of sailing and diving you may prefer to relax with a drink and sway in the camp hammock, or sit around the campfire and chat to your new friends.  Later you will drift off to sleep lulled by the soothing lapping of the Indian Ocean.

dive courses run monthly commencing on the first monday of the month

  • Single Day snorkelling off the boats US$18
  • Single Day Dive US$54
  • Double Dive US$90
  • 4-dive package US$180
  • 10-dive package US$360


  • Discover Scuba Diving US$117
  • Open Water Dive Course US$450
  • Advanced Open Water US$414
  • Emergency First Responder US$180
  • Rescue Diver US$540
  • Dive Master US$900 (PADI professional membership fees not included)

*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
  • Internet cafe
  • Medical clinic
  • Nightclub
  • Pharmacy
  • Post office
  • Street food
  • Supermarket
  • Taxis to the rest of the island
  • Telecom office
  • Traditional markets
  • Western style restaurants
  • Western Union


2 months £ 1,719

PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water training £480, PADI Advanced Open Water training £230


First Monday of the month throughout the year.

Alternative dates available on request.

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 1 week

This project is available throughout the Christmas period


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 first Monday of the month. Alternative start date possible, additional £35GBP applies for pickup, please speak to an adviser.
  • Internal ground transfers & in-transit accommodation (first Monday of the month). Alternative start dates possible
  • Project orientation and training 
  • In-country emergency support
  • Basic food
  • 24-hour international HQ back-up


Nearest airport(s): Nossi-Be (NOS)



Flights are not included in our project costs. However, Frontier have partnered with an experienced and professional team of travel experts to help our volunteers find the best flight deals for their trips with Frontier. 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 Frontier’s dedicated team of travel experts on 0800 082 9994 (or +44 800 082 9994 outside the UK) or email frontier@flightcentre.co.uk .


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.

Frontier Partner Projects and Frontier group projects are run in partnership with in-country NGOs, small community based organisations, local research institutes, academic organisations and conservation agencies. Project descriptions and information are supplied directly by our partners or field staff and are accurate at time of publishing.

We aim to keep information up to date and accurate, however, the nature of our projects and in particular the fact that they are constantly evolving and developing in response to changing needs means that project activities, travel schedules, tour itineraries and daily timetables can change overnight and without notice.

To apply for this project, or to register your interest, just click on the orange "Apply Now!" button at the top of the menu. Fill out and submit a short application form and then one of our advisors will give you a call back to answer any questions and to progress your application if you wish to continue.

There is no obligation when making an application, and you do not need to pay anything at this point.