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  • Overview
  • Objectives
  • Skills you gain
  • Costs to Consider
  • Site Conditions

On this expedition, you will spend four weeks in the dry forests of Mahamavo with the opportunity to move around the three different field sites. During your first week in the forest you will receive lectures about Madagascar wildlife and conservation, but for most of the time you will be rotating between a series of research projects. With four weeks in the forest, you will have the opportunity to try out all projects, and then either continue rotating across all of them, or specialise and gain more specific field skills in particular surveys. Our
biodiversity surveys include studies on the structure and species composition of the forest, Pollard counts of butterflies, spotlighting for amphibians, crocodile transect surveys, herpetofauna routes, mist netting and point counts for birds, distance sampling for lemurs (both day and night). In addition, there are other more specialist projects running such as colour change in chameleons, sifaka population studies, DNA sampling of herpetofauna, mark-release-recapture of nocturnal mouse lemurs and others that also require assistance from time to time. During your time on site it will also be possible to be involved with a mangrove replantation project, working with people from the local community to restore the mangrove forests in the adjacent wetlands.

Madagascar Nosy Be Research Objectives

Nosy Be is the premier dive destination on Madagascar, but there are few data on the coral reef communities that support this industry. Opwall teams will be gathering baseline data on these reefs, including data on fish community structure from stereo-video surveys, coral cover from video transects and 3D modelling.

  • Gain an internationally recognised SCUBA qualification
  • Complete a week-long training course on Indian ocean reef ecology
  • Attend our marine research lecture series
  • Collect ecological survey data on coral reef health and diversity (if snorkeling or already dive trained)
  • Opwall fee
  • Cost of international flights into and out of Antananarivo
  • Cost of internal travel to and from the start and end point of the expedition, plus any hotels you might require. This costs around £275 or $400 on average.
  • Visa costs of €25 (30 days) or €35 (30-60 days) to be paid in cash on arrival in Madagascar
  • Park entrance fees – £20 or $29 for the terrestrial site
  • Vaccinations and prophylactic medicines – cost can vary depending on your healthcare provider.
  • All prices in GBP or USD unless specified. Visa costs are all in EUR.

Most of our volunteers fundraise for their expedition costs. Find out more.

In Madagascar it is the dry season so it is hot during the day (temperatures between 25 and 30degrees Celsius) with extremely little chance of rain in the forest and very occasional rain at the marine site. During the evenings the temperature does drop to around 18 degrees Celsius with occasional cold spells getting as low as 14 degrees Celsius.

Fitness level required
Moderate. In the forest most surveys require walking long distances, and although the terrain is relatively flat you will be walking mostly on sand.  Fitness requirements for the marine site is low.

Creature comforts
Facilities at the forest camps are basic (tents, bucket showers, long drop toilets). The site has no phone signal or wifi. Facilities at the marine site are a little less rustic with dorm style accommodation and running water for showers and flushing toilets. The marine site does get some phone signal and limited wifi.


  • Madagascar
  • Mariarano
  • Matsedroy
  • Antafiameva

Want to get involved with this project?


Want to get involved with this project?

   Latest from our blog

  • Madagascar – mist netting and elephants’ nests

    Posted on 2nd November 2018
    Written by Alexandra Birtles These are the extremes of my time as a volunteer research assistant in Madagascar – two weeks spent in the forest in Mariarano and two weeks marine in Nosy Be. The early morning mist netting with Solohery was...
  • Madagascar – Sunrise with the lemurs

    Posted on 17th November 2017
    Written by and Photos Courtesy of Quinn Parker I recently read an article that claimed that if you spend just forty-eight hours out in nature, your outlook on life can improve. You begin to relax; you feel rejuvenated, and you spend a...
  • Madagascar – Dissertation Students’ researches and more

    Posted on 18th August 2017
    Written by Joseph Bailey Cover photo courtesy of Alex Toser For the third year in a row, I have had the privilege of supervising and advising on a whole range of dissertation students’ projects in the dry forests of north-west Madagascar, with...
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