Join our award winning dive expeditions to Madagascar

Based in the remote fishing village of Andavadoaka on Madagascar’s southwest coast, our diving expeditions offer volunteers from around the world a unique opportunity to get involved with Blue Ventures’ marine research and conservation work.

Join our team surveying one of the Indian Ocean’s most extensive coral reefs, and contribute to our efforts supporting coastal communities to conserve these spectacular ecosystems. From sea cucumber farming to environmental education with local children, expedition volunteers are immersed in the full breadth of Blue Ventures’ innovative and integrated programmes.

From gap year students and university graduates to career breakers and retirees, our expeditions attract a diverse range of people from around the world, who share an interest in diving with the purpose of supporting our marine research and conservation work.

You’ll be immersed in Madagascar’s beautiful coral reefs and vibrant coastal culture while assisting with our rigorous underwater research and gaining skills and qualifications. Expedition volunteers are at the heart of everything we do and we’d love to have you join us.

Challenging, exciting, rewarding... an expedition with Blue Ventures will change your life!

Nick Hayes

When I look back, I can barely remember the person I was before I came to Andavadoaka. It has been a most wonderful and educational experience for me. I hate to have to go.

Sayoji Pothuneedi

Being able to identify so many coral and fish species has opened up an entirely new underwater world to me!

Suzie Nott

All of our volunteers complete an intensive two-week science training programme run by our field scientists at the beginning of each expedition, involving numerous snorkelling and diving excursions as well as informal lectures, small group discussions and practical exercises on coral and fish species identification.

Both qualified and non-qualified divers are welcome to join our expeditions, with the PADI Advanced Open Water course offered to those without this qualification, including a Peak Performance Buoyancy adventure dive. Dive training is carried out during the first two weeks of expeditions, so that all volunteers are qualified to participate in underwater surveys once they have successfully completed their science training.

In your time at our base in Andavadoaka, as well as relaxing in a hammock by the beach you might be able to learn to sail with local fishers, explore the baobab forest, or take a picnic out to one of the nearby islands – bliss!

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Volunteers

And counting… We’re extremely proud to have supported so many brilliant volunteers who have actively contributed to our research and conservation work in Madagascar.

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Nationalities

We’re delighted to welcome volunteers from all over the world to work with us in Madagascar.

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Survey hours

On average you’ll do 1-2 dives a day after your dive and science training is complete. You’ll be diving up to 5 days a week (weather dependant) so you’ll clock up a lot of underwater time!

Get our volunteer guide

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Our expeditions take place by the village of Andavadoaka, which lies on the edge of a shallow lagoon, protected from the open ocean by a series of fringing and submerged coral reefs, providing a vital resource base for local fisheries.

Our team and volunteers are based at a hotel-restaurant called Coco Beach, with a number of comfortable wooden eco-cabins overlooking the white sandy beach and turquoise blue sea beyond.

Every six weeks a new group of volunteers arrive at our site, ensuring year-round sustainability of our marine research. We host an average of 12-14 volunteers per expedition, and we never have more than three volunteers per staff member.

madagascar

Want to see more of Madagascar?

overland-tour-1170

We also offer a very popular overland tour from Madagascar’s capital city of Antananarivo to the expedition starting point in the southwest coastal city of Toliara.

Find out more

Meet our Madagascar team

Expedition Manager
Andavaoaka, Madagascar
Dive Manager
Andavadoaka, Madagascar
Dive Leader
Andavadoaka, Madagascar
Boat Captain/ Dive Assistant
Andavadoaka, Madagascar
Boat Captain/ Dive Assistant
Andavadoaka, Madagascar
Field Scientist
Andavadoaka, Madagascar
Field Scientist
Andavadoaka, Madagascar
Assistant Volunteer Liaison
Andavadoaka, Madagascar
Driver and Mechanic
Toliara, Madagascar

Madagascar Expedition Dates

We have spaces for our Madagascar expeditions starting and finishing on the following dates:

Expedition Years:

Find out about flexible start date arrangements

We understand that volunteers are not always available at the time when an expedition is scheduled to begin or for the full 6 weeks. We therefore offer mid-expedition start dates, and further flexibility for start and end dates can also be accommodated. Our mid-expedition start dates for 2014 are as follows:

Actual expedition start date Flexible expedition start date
30-Jun 7-Jul or 21-Jul
14-Aug 21-Aug or 4-Sep
27-Sep 4-Oct or 18-Oct
11-Nov 18-Nov or 2-Dec

Please note the following regarding our flexible dates:
If you decide to join an expedition late we are unable to provide you with the same level of staff support and introductions when you arrive in Toliara and at our site as you would otherwise receive on the scheduled dates. We will do our best to make your experience as smooth as possible but it is likely to be slightly more challenging so we advise you to stick to scheduled dates if possible.

If you join late or leave an expedition early, you will be responsible for your transfer costs between Toliara and Andavadoaka. We can arrange a 4×4 vehicle with a driver for you, and the cost is approximately £200 each way, which can be shared with anyone else travelling at the same time. We do our best to coordinate journeys with other volunteers and staff to reduce the cost, but you should be prepared to pay the full amount if this is not possible.

Madagascar Expedition Costs

Expedition prices vary according to your current diving qualification and length of stay in Andavadoaka. Half of our volunteers have never dived before and our PADI dive courses represent excellent value for money.

Expedition lengthYou are a PADI Advanced Open Water (or equivalent) diverYou are a PADI Open Water (or equivalent) diverYou have no diving certificationNon-diving volunteerNon-diving under 18Expedition medic
3 weeks£1,900£2,000£2,100£1,000£950
4 weeks£2,095£2,195£2,295£1,200£1,150
5 weeks£2,295£2,395£2,495£1,400£1,250
6 weeks£2,425£2,525£2,625£1,600£1,400£1,750*
7 weeks£2,700£2,800£2,900£1,800£1,600
8 weeks£2,975£3,075£3,175£2,000£1,800
9 weeks£3,250£3,350£3,450£2,200£2,000
10 weeks£3,525£3,625£3,725£2,400£2,200
11 weeks£3,800£3,900£4,000£2,600£2,400
12 weeks£4,075£4,175£4,275£2,800£2,600£2,750*
12+ weeks£225 per additional week£225 per additional week£225 per additional week£150 per additional week£150 per additional week£3,650* (18 weeks)

What is included in the price?

Our expedition costs include:

  • Transfers between Toliara and Andavadoaka for volunteers joining and leaving at the expedition start and end dates
  • Accommodation for the duration of your stay in beach-front eco-cabins – each cabin has a shower and toilet with a maximum of four volunteers per cabin
  • Three meals per day including tea and coffee at breakfast and lunch – all meals are prepared by local chefs using fresh local ingredients
  • Science training with our team of field scientists and researchers
  • Scuba diving training and certification to PADI Advanced Open Water level (depending on your existing qualifications)
  • Use of our scuba diving equipment including buoyancy control devices (BCDs), regulators, weights and cylinders
  • Comprehensive logistical support and pastoral care from our large team of permanent field staff
  • Health and safety briefings from our expedition medics and dive managers

What is not included in the price?

Our expedition costs do NOT include:

  • International flights to Antananarivo
  • Domestic travel to the meeting point in Toliara; we offer overland tours from and to Antananarivo for this journey (the cost is £185 for the 4-day / 3-night trip from Antananarivo to Toliara and £160 for the return 3-day / 2-night trip from Toliara to Antananarivo – including minibus hire, driver, accommodation, national park entry and guide fees)
  • Entry visa for Madagascar – this can be purchased upon arrival in country
  • Malaria prophylaxis and vaccinations
  • Travel and dive insurance
  • Personal diving equipment: wetsuit, mask, snorkel, fins, watch or dive computer, dive torch and underwater slate
  • Personal field equipment: sleeping bag, torch, mosquito net
  • Scuba diving training manuals
  • Additional dive training; costs are detailed below
  • Velondriake marine reserve entry fee
  • Spending money for drinks, snacks and souvenirs
  • Hotel accommodation in Toliara before or after your expedition dates
  • More information about all these costs can be found in our volunteer guide

How much extra money should I bring?

While at our base in Andavadoaka there will be little opportunity to spend money – one of the benefits of running such a remote site! We recommended budgeting around £50 per week for things like drinks, snacks and telephone/internet credit. The women’s association in the village also sells a variety of inexpensive gifts and souvenirs, including necklaces with marine life pendants fashioned out of local silver coins. There is no ATM (!) in the village of Andavadoaka so all spending money should be withdrawn in the city of Toliara at the beginning of the expedition.

Next steps...

Download our Expedition Guide

Download

Read our Madagascar FAQs

Read more

Then, when you're ready...

Apply Now!

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