Conserving Madagascar’s Weird Things with MRCI

I left Tanzania to head to Madagascar, where I’ll be for the next 3-ish months and stopped in Antananarivo, the nation’s capital for a few days. Tana, as they call it, is not the easiest town to navigate, but if you do your research you can find some nice things to experience. I stayed at Lemur Hostel and highly recommend it. The people are fantastic and can help organize anything you may need.

(Typical street view in Tana)

For the next few months I’ll be volunteering with Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute (MRCI) in Nosy Komba, a volcanic island off the north west coast. They were established as a volunteer camp to do research on the endemic species of the island in the hopes to work with locals and preserve natural habitats. Having no cars or roads on the island is a good start! 

(Typical view in Nosy Komba)

Getting to Nosy Komba from Tana over land is no joke. They have a “taxi-brousse” system that will bus you there over 18-36 hours, depending on the weather. Thankfully I met some other girls to experience the hell with. It took us 24 hours to reach our destination and our knees were very sore from being shoved up our noses for so long. They will certainly pack you in tight. We had 2 flat tires along the way and no spares. We sat on the road waiting for someone to come by and sell us their spare. It was certainly an experience. I think I’ll fly back when it’s time to leave. 

(My first class seat on a second class ride)

So I get here and we hit the ground running. I’m volunteering in the forest conservation project and every morning we start around 7am with a hike straight up the mountain to conduct some study. The studies are typically on birds, reptiles, or lemurs counting what we see and what they’re doing. Learning the species and being able to spot them is an important part of the work here. 

(The beautiful forest… the creatures that inhabit this rainforest aren’t quite as a treacherous as the ones in the Amazon.)

(The chameleons are just so cool.) 

This project is very similar to what I did in Peru and that makes me really happy. The scenery is stunning with a beautiful ocean and a beautiful rain forest within feet of any direction. I’m excited to share more of my experience as my time here continues. Viva Madagascar!