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Madagascar Expedition Management

  • In Brief
  • The Project
  • What to Expect
  • Reviews
  • Gallery
  • Extras
  • Dates & Costs
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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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BTEC Qualification

Apply for one of our unique internationally accredited BTEC courses and give your CV something exceptional.


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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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The magical Island of Madagascar is famous for its bizarre assemblage of wildlife, its dramatic landscapes and its unique and varied ecosystems. No other island or place in Earth boasts such a combination of species richness and endemism! For example, every native terrestrial mammal species found on this huge island is endemic, and found nowhere else on Earth! Most famous of all of its inhabitants though are the Lemurs, primitive prosimians whose name, derived from the Roman Lemures, or 'spirits of the dead' exemplify the islands biological wealth, yet also its fragility.

There are currently 103 recognised Lemur species on the island, all of which are believed to have evolved from a single colonising ancestor, who reached isolated Madagascar some 50million years ago! Sadly however, recent assessments made by the IUCN now show that the Lemurs are now the most endangered group of vertebrates in the world, with 94 species being classified as threatened with extinction! However, Lemurs are not the only group of animals in need of help! The Amphibian fauna of Madagascar is considered to be one of the greatest on Earth, with 238 recognised species and with another 182 candidate species currently awaiting classification! Madagascar has sadly already lost over 90% of its original forest cover though, and this has put increased pressure on all of the endangered species who live here.

Madagascar is also the centre of diversity for Chameleons, with almost half of this old world fauna being found exclusively on the island! Including both the largest, and smallest species in the world! In Madagascar, there are weird, unique and wonderful forms of life everywhere that you look, and the more you discover about each of them, the more amazing they become! This sentiment was summed up perfectly by the 18th century French doctor and explorer, Joseph Philibert Commerson in a letter to his tutor in Paris:

"Of Madagascar I can announce to naturalists that this is truly their promised land. Here nature seems to have created a special sanctuary whither she seems to have withdrawn to experiment with designs different from any she has created elsewhere. At every step, one meets more remarkable and marvellous forms of life"

Despite these tantalising early accounts, Madagascar is still an island shrouded in mystery, and remains relatively un-studied to this day! Myths and legends abound in Madagascar, and remain deeply embedded in the collective imagination, adding to the sense of magic surrounding the island!

You will join an elite group of adventurers to trek across some of the world's most remote, wild, and spectacular locations in Northern Madagascar, an area which represents a transitional habitat between the floral communities of both the East and West, an area renowned for its high species diversity and high levels of endemism! One of the most threatened forest habitats in Madagascar - The seasonal humid forests of the Sambirano biome.

Whilst on the project you’ll discover a huge variety of Madagascar's exotic species, as you trek through rugged and remote regions of this hugely exciting island. Your journey will be incredibly challenging but highly rewarding journey.

As expedition trainees you will learn all of the necessary leadership and expedition management skills; From how to plan, organise and implement projects, to leading your own treks, camp craft, navigation, field safety and an array of surveying techniques.

Working alongside other dedicated expedition volunteers, you’ll help to monitor the distribution and abundance of many groups of animal, and help assess how they are responding to human induced stress factors such as deforestation, habitat fragmentation and other forms of anthropogenic disturbance. Your expedition team will perform important research, assessing and comparing habitats, in the aims to inform local government about how to manage the remaining forests and conserve their invaluable natural assets.

But of course it is not all work, and after a hard days trekking and exploration you can always and relax on the golden beaches, snorkel in the crystal clear waters or play football!

  

  

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

  • Trek through some of Madagascar's most spectacular landscapes
  • Learn survival and survey skills
  • Make lifelong friends
Airport Pickup Camping Emergency Physical Ground Transport Meals Research Terrestrial Qualification Trekking Wildlife Encounter
FAST FACTS
Location Madagascar
Activities Pre-departure planning & preparation
Expedition skills
Expedition leadership
Scientific survey work
Transport Airport pickup first Monday of the month
Transfer to town centre and beach camp from Nosy Be Airport weekly on a Monday
Accommodation Communal camp and forest camping

WHAT'S INCLUDED
Before you go Pre-departure support
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Equipment advice
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt
UK expedition management training weekend
In-country Airport pickup first Monday of the month
Food - 3 meals each day
Accommodation
Internal ground transfers & in-transit accommodation (arrivals on first Monday of the month)
Local orientation and training  
In-country emergency support
24-hour international HQ back-up
Vocational qualification certificate in Expedition Management available


 

WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?

Help Conserve species found nowhere else on earth

The projects aims are to contribute to the current understanding of the local environment and help conserve 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! Madagascar's unique fauna includes leaping Sifaka's (Propithecus) diminutive Mouse Lemurs (Microcebus), the spectacular True Lemurs (Lemuridae) and surely one of the world’s strangest creatures, the Aye-Aye (Daubentonia)! Reptiles include rare Tortoises, Snakes, Gecko's (including the superbly camouflaged Leaf-tailed Gecko's!) Skinks and a vast array of Chameleon's.

There is spectacular Bird life on the island as well as a remarkable assemblage of Carnivores, including the elusive Fosa, Falanouc and Fanaloka! Over three-quarters of the islands vast diversity of plants and trees are also endemic, with huge Palms, ancient Baobabs and more Orchids than are to be found in all of mainland Africa!

Sadly the whole of Madagascar suffers from an unsustainable level of forest clearance for agriculture and logging for charcoal production, furniture and jewellery production. Madagascar's human population has doubled since 1960, leading to the 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. We need to work to protect what’s left, before it’s too late!

The current location of the Frontier Madagascar Forest camp is on the island of Nosy Be, North West Madagascar and The Expedition project helps to explore new areas for research around the North of Madagascar, both on the surrounding islands and the mainland for future research locations for the long term research programme. By compiling a comprehensive species list and identifying areas of disturbance, we will help to highlight areas and species that need protection. We attempt to observe and collect data on the islands more elusive and scarce species, so be prepared for adventure!

WHAT WILL I BE DOING?

Along with your fellow Expedition trainees you will be responsible for planning you expedition itinerary, the logistics and procuring supplies for the trip. Planning taxi buses, getting directions and haggling with market traders will be much easier if you practice your Malagasy, or French, so it’s a great idea to practice before you arrive!

When you have made your travel plans then you will begin your adventure on boats, taxi buses and on foot in exploration of the breath taking mountains, valleys, forests and villages of Northern Madagascar.

You will be performing Rapid biodiversity assessments of areas to record the species present and evaluate the impacts of human activity in the area. This data may be vital to understanding of endemic species, the protection and conservation of their habitats for their future survival. The expedition will also explore new areas that may hold the potential for further research and conservation.

Scientific survey work will involve studying a number of indicator species using standardised rapid biodiversity assessment methodologies. The details of the programme will be put together by the Expedition Scientist but typically will include elements from:

  • Small mammal sampling
  • Amphibian & Reptile sampling
  • Black Lemur behavioural studies
  • Butterfly trapping
  • Bird watching

You will be an important team member helping to make key decisions but will also have the opportunity to learn leadership skills and health and safety of expeditions.

You'll learn all the skills that you need to lead your own unforgettable expedition. These will include:

  • Pre-departure planning and preparation
  • Risk assessments
  • Personnel team selection
  • Fundraising
  • Marketing
  • Budgeting
  • Health and safety awareness
  • Expedition skills
  • Navigation
  • Expedition leadership
  • Route-planning
  • Debriefing
  • Team communication
  • Decision-making
  • Problem-solving
  • Taking responsibility

If this is your first time doing conservation work, don't worry! It will only take a short while for you to feel totally at home and confident with the science work. Although the work is intense you'll find that living in such a beautiful and inaccessible environment alongside friends who share your passion for conservation will be the experience of a lifetime!

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 by a Frontier representative on the Madagascar Forest project. While on base camp, Nosy Be you will have a series of briefings and introductions to the expedition and Frontier-Madagascar.

Here you will learn how to identify species and perform rapid biodiversity assessments and meet the rest of the Forest research team before moving on to your next camp and exploring Northern Madagascar.

WHERE WILL I BE STAYING?

Accommodation will vary from camp to camp. On Forest base camp, Nosy Be you will have the luxury of sleeping in traditional Malagasy wooden huts on the beach and cooking on an open fire. We aim to provide you with a unique and memorable living experience. Our camps will make no permanent or intrusive impact on the environment and will provide you with a special home during your stay.

When moving from camp to camp you will be sleeping in your tent or even under a tarpaulin under the starry sky. You will be assessed in camp set up, choosing a suitable place to camp ensuring that it's close to a water source and, if possible, with the best views! After you set up your tents, it's time to build a fire and get down to cooking your dinner of beans, rice, and vegetables, and whatever else you've brought. You will help run camp from day-to-day, taking turns to cook, collect firewood, purify water, and other essential camp duties.

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, low footprint, unencumbered lifestyle!

WHERE 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 as we travel in order to help support the local economy. Luxuries such as chocolate, peanut butter and drinking chocolate must be imported from the local towns, so make sure you stock up before heading to the field!

Trekking the wilds of Madagascar  | 31 Aug 2007
August Update Well what an amazing time, I can't believe how quickly the time has gone. ...

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Dolphin and whale encounters on Madagascar Marine  | 31 Aug 2007
If Madagascar entered a lonely hearts column, it would read....."Wild, passionate, exotic, b...

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Madagascar Volunteer Diaries 31st July 2007  | 31 Jul 2007
After four weeks of thrills and spills the Madagascar expedition has finally come to a conclusion...

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Madagascar Volunteer Diaries 1st January 2007  | 1 Jan 2007
We've just returned from expedition MGE071, where we had an amazing time studying assessing a...

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Madagascar Volunteer Diaries 1st August 2006  | 1 Aug 2006
"Aah, wasps!" shouted Tim, shortly before the pirogue tipped over, carting its forlorn ...

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Madagascar Volunteer Diaries 1st July 2006  | 1 Jul 2006
The July expedition to Analamerana Special Reserve Northern Madagascar was eventful from the star...

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Madagascar Volunteer Diaries 1st January 2006  | 1 Jan 2006
Our adventurous expedition to Analavelona was an amazing experience. After negotiating the crossi...

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Madagascar Volunteer Diaries 1st July 2005  | 1 Jul 2005
"We started out long trek to the Munombo River from Heathrow in the early hours of the morni...

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Madagascar Volunteer Diaries 1st January 2005  | 1 Jan 2005
"A group of expedition management trainees met up with leaders in Tulear after two days trav...

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Madagascar Volunteer Diaries 1st August 2004  | 1 Aug 2004
Getting to our expedition starting point from Tulear was an expedition in itself! - It turned int...

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1 to 10 next >
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THE BTEC QUALIFICATION

Participants on the Frontier-Madagascar Expedition Management Project can gain a nationally accredited BTEC Advanced Certificate in Expedition Management for an additional £260.

The Expedition Management BTEC incorporates the training and participatory learning already experienced by all volunteers on Frontier expeditions but adds depth to your experience by actively building your research and fieldwork skills under the close supervision of field professionals.

To complete the BTEC you'll fill in a daily work diary, create written survey plan, briefs, debriefs and a verbal presentation of your expedition. You will also be assessed on Rapid Biodiversity assessments, species identification, camp craft, team work and group leadership, all of which will work towards your qualification in Expedition Management.

Modern conveniences

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

COSTS

4 weeks £ 1,600

DEPARTURE DATES

June, July, August
Departs first Monday of the month

DURATION

4 weeks in length

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Before you go

  • Pre-departure support
  • Travel & medical advice & documentation
  • Equipment advice
  • Discounted medical kit
  • Free Frontier t-shirt
  • UK expedition management training weekend

In-country

  • Airport pickup first Monday of the month
  • Food
  • Accommodation
  • Internal ground transfers & in-transit accommodation
  • Local orientation
  • Project training
  • Project equipment & materials
  • In-country emergency support
  • 24-hour international HQ back-up

AIRPORT INFORMATION

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

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

Flights

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 .

Visas

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.

Insurance

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.


LEGAL STATEMENT
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.