Home to leaping lemurs and pinkie-sized chameleons, Madagascar is recognized by scientists as one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth. Settle into a research center near Ranomafana founded by a National Geographic grantee, and work alongside local community members to preserve the unique surrounding ecosystems through a variety of conservation service projects.
Begin in the capital city of Antananarivo and learn about the rich cultural and ecological history of the island as we get to know our group and start to prepare for our community service projects.
Head southeast towards Ranomafana National Park and settle into our home in the jungle, the Centre ValBio—a research center founded by National Geographic grantee Patricia Wright, one of the world’s leading experts on lemurs. Work with local conservation clubs on a variety of eco-service projects. Plant trees for a reforestation initiative, paint murals at local schools, and spend time with community members working on solutions to promote wildlife conservation.
Work with your peers to document your service projects through photos, writing, or video. In the afternoons and evenings, take breaks from your work to search for endemic chameleons near Ranomafana National Park, shadow researchers working at the Centre ValBio, or interview artisans at the Ranomafana village market about Malagasy culture.
Travel to Anja Community Reserve and wander through rock formations as you track Madagascar's famous ring-tailed lemurs; then continue to Isalo National Park, known for its wild sandstone formations and dramatic canyons. In the company of a knowledgeable guide, hike these incredible landscapes in search of desert-adapted wildlife, and cool off in natural, turquoise-hued swimming pools.
Return to the Centre ValBio to finish up your community service projects. Learn about endemic silkworms at a women’s silk-weaving cooperative, dance to Malagasy music at an artisan exhibition, or paddle a kayak along jungle waterways as you listen for the calls of rare bird species. Journey into the heart of the rainforest and camp overnight, falling asleep to a forest symphony and awaking to the sounds of lemurs as they rise to greet the day. On hikes in the park with local guides, analyze primate behavior and search for highly camouflaged geckos. As our expedition winds down, reflect on our efforts to preserve this unique and fragile island and celebrate our journey with the team. Then return to Antananarivo to catch our flight home.