Andavadoaka, Madagascar: Pre-Departure Briefing

Please click on the images and links below to download pre-departure forms and guides.

Paying your balance

You can pay your balance via cheque, bank transfer, or securely online via PayPal (please note there is a 3% PayPal charge).

For more information on the different options, please download the payment details.

If you need a PayPal invoice or have any questions at all, please contact the London office.

Pre-departure information

Download the pre departure handbook

It is very important that you read this thoroughly before you leave and print important sections.


In the pre-departure guide, we recommend a number of places you can get quotes for your flights – however, you may find it convenient to check flight prices using Longreach’s online booking tool:

Click here to search for flights! >>

PLEASE NOTE:  If you are flying through Nairobi on your way to Antananarivo you may be asked for your Yellow Fever vaccination certificate on arrival.  Please either take a copy of your Yellow Fever vaccination certificate if you have had it, or you can get an exemption letter from your travel clinic/GPs stating that it is not required.

Dive Kit

We have prepared a Dive kit list – essential reading if you’ve never dived before and you’re feeling a bit bewildered about what kit to buy. You will need to bring the items marked ‘essential’. We have some items marked ‘recommended’ on site for you but some volunteers may like to invest in these items too.


Once you place down a deposit you will be sent an email with some links to forms to upload information that we need from you.  These links are specific to you, so please don’t lose them and don’t let any other volunteers use them.  If you have any problems filling these in, please contact our London office.

You will need to take copies of various things to site with you.  These are:

  • Your travel insurance certificate (if you decide not to buy the Blue Ventures travel insurance)
  • Your DAN membership card or copy of confirmation email
  • Your diver certification cards (where applicable)
  • A copy of your passport
  • A copy of your medical forms

Madagascar Visa

**Please note the Madagascar Embassy in London closed in 2011, all applications by UK nationals and residents after this time should be made to the Embassy in Paris**

A 90 day, non-extendable, visitor visa is available on entry when you arrive in Madagascar.  Should you be staying in Madagascar for more than 90 days you will need a courtesy visa which you must arrange BEFORE you leave your home country.  Please contact your local Embassy or Consulateto apply for a courtesy visa.  Please contact Blue Ventures to request a letter of recommendation to support your application before you apply.


You will need valid travel insurance and Divers Alert Network (DAN) membership to cover you for your entire expedition. You can purchase travel insurance from the insurer of your choice, but it is very important that you join DAN as they are familiar with the location of our research and dive sites. Divers Alert Network is an organisation which provide emergency medical support and logistics for divers worldwide.

For DAN insurance, we require a minimum of Basic Membership (Student Membership will not cover all the diving you will be doing):

Travel Insurance

Safety is extremely important when travelling on a Blue Ventures expedition. It is therefore within our booking conditions that you have adequate insurance in place before you travel with us.


Species Identification guides

It is very important you have a copy of either Ewald Lieske’s “Coral Reef Fish” or Gerry Allen’s “Reef Fish” – either will help you immensely in mastering your species identification.

Marine Training guides

Following previous volunteer feedback we have put together some training guides to help you familiarise yourself with common marine flora and fauna before you go.

Marine Science Training Handbook

Download Marine Science Training Handbook

The handbook provides an important overview to the training you will be given on your expedition. We recommend reading this prior to your expedition as it will prepare you for your training on site and enable you to start work on our underwater survey programmes as soon as possible.

For a 1-page summary of Blue Ventures’ aims and activities in Madagascar, download our Blue Ventures Projects Overview sheet.

A digital species library for the fish families and species of Andavadoaka, Madagascar can be found **please note that this website is still in development**

There is also an online Benthic and Fish Test where you can practise your species

This library can be used as an online learning resource to help you with your fish identification skills before you depart for Madagascar. The library currently contains many of the photographs Blue Ventures has taken of fish species at our research site and will be continually updated. The species library can be used alongside the Marine Science Training Handbook to familiarise yourself with the main ID features of each fish family.


In case of an emergency only, you can contact our field site in Andavadoaka by ringing:

+44 (0)7909 525 410

If normal communication are not working, a message will be relayed to the camp via satellite telephone.

Please remember to inform family and friends that to contact them from Madagascar is difficult and therefore they should not worry if they have not heard from you whilst you are in the field.

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