Visit Madagascar Research and Conservation's website to learn more about their programs abroad
At Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute (MRCI) volunteers participate in environmental research, community development and educational programs.
Through long term monitoring in collaboration with our international partners, our conservation programs aim to actively contribute to the preservation of the unique flora and fauna of Madagascar. While our community programs are aimed at improving the lives of the Malagasy people in rural communities, our further aim is to communicate the importance of preserving the environment for future generations.
Our Turtle Cove research centre, the home base for our MRCI programs, is situated in a tropical rain forest on the beautiful volcanic island of Nosy Komba, overlooking the world famous Lokobe Nature Reserve.
31 Participant reviewsWrite a review
spent 2 months st this camp and was very excited. Met lots of new people from all over the world which was very interesting . I just want to say that for the thousands that I paid I did not expect the trip i did. I was so hungry all the time Every! Every morning is breakfast of a pice of dry baguette with the option of jam or honey and a banana. Sometimes a cold pancake or hard scrambled eggs...That's what you get and I personally don't think its enough to keep my energy up for a 3 hour hike up the island Lunch and dinner would be a very heavy carby meal duch as rice or pasta which everyone piles high because we are so hungry. We will also get 1 table spoon of meat which isn't very much. Perhaps if the company spent more money on the meals instead of the snacks and beer for the bar....? The the huts to sleep in are incredibly cramped and dirty and the toilet situation is dire. Forest conservation is very samey. Hiking for hours with very little short breaks so the people who struggle in the heat are usually left behind. I looked forward to the weekends the most because we could eat and drink whatever we wanted and it was the only time I could replenish my body's vitamins. All in all, an experience I won't forget and arrived home to be anaemic, exhausted and covered in infected mosquito bites. Won't be spending that amount of money on a trip like this again.
I participated in the turtle monitoring program which was facilitated by Russell Fraser, a passionate, knowledgeable and helpful guy. I would highly recommend him for any marine program as they would all benefit from his ability, leadership and people skills. I loved his program and being a part of the team which included Tom his right hand man who was always ready to help.
I was highly disappointed with the maintenance and daily running of the facilities of the MRCI camp.
The rooms are dirty and were not cleaned regularly, in fact ours wasnt cleaned in 2 weeks. The beds have stains on them and are not cleaned between new visits, instead they are left for communal use in the main house.
The food is appalling and you have to supplement your diet in order to have enough energy to get through the days requirements.
Sometimes for breakfast all you get is half a dry baguette which you can put honey or a jam on, green tea or coffee and one banana. On good days you get a tablespoon of scrambled egg or on alternate days you could get banana pancakes or crumpets, which were sometimes burnt or raw.
For lunches and dinners you get high carb meals with little or no vegetables and meat. Vegetarians get beans, sometimes the same meal for days on end. Examples of meals are rice with 3 chunks of zebu meat (the size of your thumb) and a tablespoon of sauce. If its a chicken day you are lucky to get a drumstick per person. On good days you get a quarter of a slice of pineapple for dessert or a slither of mango. At the time I booked the turtle program I wasn't informed of the nesting or hatching periods and was charged a surcharge which I was told was for boat fees to Ampoagna. Unfortunately I arrived too early for this stage of nesting so we never used these boat fees. I asked for a refund and was denied it because now they say it's for 'equipment that is required, the salary of local patrol guards and permits' etc. The facilitators are not equipped with all they require.
I volunteered on the turtle program for a very short two weeks. I learnt a lot about turtles and really enjoyed active turtle surveys where we snorkle across the reef and count how many turtles we see. I had such a great time here meeting people from all over the world who I will never forget!
Trying to put into words what I have experienced these last few weeks would fill many pages. Coming to Madagascar has been a truly magical and life-changing experience. When I boarded my plane, I was feeling very anxious because I had never been to a country as exotic as Madagascar on my own. In my head, I went through all of my previous travel experiences, trying predict how the upcoming weeks would match up with what I had seen in the past. When I arrived on the MRCI camp on a sunny, boilingly warm Monday afternoon, I quickly realized that this stay would be very different to what I had previously experienced. The camp is nestled in the northern part of Nosy Komba, surrounded only by the ocean, the jungle, and the sky. Although I needed some time to acclimate myself to these new living surroundings, I very quickly felt at home in this beautiful place. The main reason for this was the amazing people, be it the volunteers or the staff, who made me feel welcome in no time. In the next couple of weeks, I put my energy in participating in the marine program. The staff and instructors were knowledgeable and very enthusiastic. Loads of dry activities were carried out, and the dives on the breathtakingly beautiful reefs were always filled with loads of impressions. I learned a lot in the five weeks I volunteered in the marine program, and felt like I made a contribution towards the preservation of the Turtle Towers reef. There are certainly improvements that can be made, like having marine volunteers complete their certifications prior to arrival in order to get most of the marine conservation program, but I am certain that MRCI will take the necessary steps to make the most of their available resources. I am grateful that I got the opportunity to participate in this program, and would recommend this experience to anyone who is enthusiastic about preserving our beautiful planet.
My experience in MRCI was amazing, since the second you step on camp you feel like if you were home. Everyone is so lovely and so nice. When you are in construction you immediately feel the impact your making to the community and the people that you are helping are so thankful as they help you out, and the smiles you get back are the most fulfilling thing ever! You laugh so much all the time, and your just enjoying life at its fullest. During my experience in forest, you get to see so many species you would probably never see back home. Although you donât see that much impact right away, it helps specialist understand how humans are impacting in that area. The hikes are so much fun, even though sometimes they can be tough. I would recommend everyone to come and have the same experience I had. I wouldnât change a bit of it.
Coming to MRCI has been one the most enjoyable and life-changing experiences I have ever done. From the moment that I stepped off the plane to be met by Joe and Jake to my final few days on camp I have done nothing but smile and enjoy every second of my time.
I started by coming out to Madagascar with the idea of spending 12 weeks on camp and making some friends. But it has been so much more than that. Camp has become my home for 3 months and the staff and other volunteers have become my family. I have made friends with people from all over the world and have felt honored to have part of such and amazing project with such amazing people running and participating in it.