Cultural Introduction to Madagascar
Spend a week familiarising yourself with this lush, exotic country. Full of rich customs, culture, and breathtaking surroundings, you will spend this week getting to know the beauty of Madagascar through market tours, island day trips and hiking through spectacular tropical forests.
The perfect way to arrive into Madagascar before beginning any further projects, this program is designed to introduce you to the country and local customs as well as providing some lessons on planning sessions in your next project.
During this introduction week, you will learn all about the culture, history, language and traditions of a new and exotic country. You’ll taste the local delicacies and visit archaeological remains, Indian burial grounds, and hidden villages. Your inner explorer will be well and truly sated with visits to mountain peaks, sacred trees, and volcanic craters.
You will have the opportunity to learn more about the rich Malagasy culture through culture and language lessons, and outings to see the traditional dance, dress, and traditions of the local villagers. Nature lovers will get the experience of a lifetime, spotting chameleons, crocodiles, and 200-year-old giant banyan trees, all the while exploring through forests, mountains, and mangroves.
You will have an introduction to our staff in Madagascar- Exposure to our Code of Conduct, House Rules, Liability Waiver and Evaluation Forms. Also, you will get to know about Madagascar and Nosy Be, the country and its culture. After having lunch you will walk around the foot Mont Passot and hike to its peak for sunset.
After breakfast, you will walk from AMBATOZAVAVY to MARODOKA across NOSY BE’s rural areas. You will enjoy a picnic lunch and join a local dance and have pastry class afterwards. In the evening join the Malagasy language lessons and learn some basics to make you feel comfortable to communicate with the locals.
On Wednesday morning, you will visit a place where a banyan tree grows. It’s where people from NOSY BE and even the mainland make sacrifices to the ancestors to ask for blessings. When their “prayers” are answered, they come back to this Sacred Tree to wrap it with red and white linen.
In the afternoon, you will walk through Hell-Ville. Visiting the market place, discovering the old part of the town where the King lives, enjoying the colonial architecture of the houses at Court de Hell.
In the morning, join a painting class with a local traditional painter who will guide you. After lunch, you will continue your language lessons through the afternoon.
On Friday morning, you will join Ampasipohy by car and by pirogue after. Once there, you will walk to the LOKOBE Community Forest’s entrance spotting lemur species, birds and reptiles in a lowland rainforest.
After lunch, you will go either to fish with a local fisherman or to the field. As for the former, you will discover the local way of fishing. For the latter, you will work in vanilla, pepper or pineapple fields.
This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.
The Introduction week is mandatory for all participants.
Nosy is an island off the northwest coast of Madagascar. Nosy Be is Madagascar’s largest and busiest tourist destination. It has an area of 320.02 square kilometers and its population was estimated at 73,010. Nosy Be means “big island” in the Malagasy language. The island was called Assada during the early colonial era of the 17th century.
Here you’ll find volcanic lakes, lemurs, rum distilleries, Ylang Ylang plantations and breathtaking coral reefs that are practically begging to be explored. In May, come to experience the four-day Donia Music Festival. Perfectly located on the Indian Ocean between Africa and Asia, Nosy-Be evokes feelings of discovery and adventure, the rich and endemic biodiversity will have begging for more. There are many spots that are perfect for ones who seek a golden opportunity to swim among turtles, stingrays or manta rays.
Accommodation & Food
In our centre, there is a dining room, a lounge area where you can hang out with fellow participants and a beautiful garden to relax. A balcony and large roof terrace is also available for you to spend some quality time.Furthermore, there is a refrigerator which you are welcome to use to store food and beverages.
- Standard Room
- All meals included
- Persons per room 4 -6
- Mosquito protection
The meals are a mix of Western and Malagasy food, consisting mainly of vegetarian dishes including rice and vegetables. You can expect to have a chicken dish about twice a week. You can also use the kitchen facilities to cook for yourself or eat out at any of the local restaurants at your own expense.
Three meals per day during weekdays and two per day on weekends
ATM – The closest ATM to the Center is about 15-20 minutes away by bus or Tuk-Tuk from the accommodation.
Supermarket – The closest local supermarket is around 15-20 minutes away by bus or Tuk-Tuk from the accommodation.
Sights & Surroundings
You can get sundrenched all year-round, and Nosy Be is paradise for aqua activities. Nosy Be offers you a variety of activities which you can engaged in your free time. The golden beaches are the highlights of Nosy be where you can swim, snorkel or even if you want to just sit back and enjoy the sunshine. Some of the beaches are namely,
- Palm Beach
- Andilana Beach
- Ambatoloaka Beach
- Andilana Beach
Nature enthusiasts and adventure lovers certainly find happiness around Nosy Be. Diurnal and nocturnal endemic lemur species, unique bird species, reptiles or indigenous plants and animals can be spotted among these breathtaking landscapes during your Nosy-Be weekend getaways.
Please note that in Madagascar, the cyclone season is from January until April
Trip Country Info
Language: Malagasy (official) and 17 dialects apart from the official Malagasy language and French.
Currency: Ariary (Ar or MGA)
Time zone: UTC +3:00
Because of its isolation from the major continents, Madagascar is considered as a jewel in biodiversity terms, an exotic country with a high concentration of endemic species. Madagascar’s flagship species are 100% endemic with 101 lemur species. Of 285 bird species recorded 105 are unique to the country. Three fourths of Madagascar’s 860 orchid species are endemic to the island and 6 of the world’s 8 baobab species are found nowhere else in the world. But, human presence constantly threatens these wonders. Over 90% of Madagascar’s wildlife is endemic and cannot be seen wild anywhere else on earth.
Madagascar’s cultural richness differs from one ethnic group to another. And, 18 ethnic groups form the Malagasy population whose culture is based on the respect of the ancestors and the unity of the living.
Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island. It is one of the richest countries for biodiversity, but economically one of the poorest nations. 75.3% of Malagasy live under the poverty line, and the gap between the rich and poor is widening day by day. Despite dire poverty, Malagasy society remains open-hearted to everyone who takes time to discover and enjoy its natural and cultural heritage. This land of smiles and contrasts is ready to take you on your next adventure whether helping out in local communities or just exploring. This island located at the crossroads of the African and Asian worlds will surely amaze your senses. Madagascar will certainly shift the way you see the world.
Madagascar’s wildlife is found nowhere else on Earth, this is due to the isolation of the country. In Madagascar the locals are kind and friendly, you will receive a warm welcome, despite the country not being one of wealth, the people are proud, and are proud of what they have.
If you want to move it move it in Madagascar get involved in one of our volunteering projects here. You will be spending your gap year in a destination that offers a kind of hospitality from the Malagasy that you would get nowhere else.
Participant Criteria & Requirements
|Under 18, Parental Consent is Required|
|Over 65, Medical Clearance is Required|
No requirements have been provided.
- 24/7 support in case of emergencies
- Airport Pick up
- English speaking coordinator
What's not included
- Airport drop off
- Travel insurance