"> Orientation Week - Volunteering Projects in Madagascar with IVI

Orientation Week

Welcome to Madagascar with IVI Volunteers! This week will help you become familiarised with local customs, so you can feel comfortable in your new surroundings. Discover this rich and colourful country with lannuage lessons, day trips and activites. Visit local markets, hike to Mont Passot, try the local cuisine, spot lemurs at the nature reserve and get prepared for your volunteer project.


Program Description

IVI’s cultural introduction week is a fantastic way to gain an insight and learn more about the Malagasy lifestyle. Give yourself a head start by preparing, getting to know and feeling comfortable in your new surroundings. This week, we will be in the stunning island of Nosy Be.

Your week will not only include Malagasy language classes and lessons on cultural norms, but it will also be packed with fun activities to natural hotspots. You will also be introduced to some of the locals via painting, dancing and cooking classes. This is an insightful experience to immerse yourself in the local way of life.

Program Duration & Availability

Min duration (weeks):1

Max duration (weeks):1

Aims & Objectives

The purpose of this week is to gain further understanding of the social etiquette, norms, manners and customs of the Malagasy people, as well as show you around the local area, where you can start to feel at home in this welcoming community, before your project begins.



We begin by an introduction to our staff in Madagascar, who will explain the house rules, code of conduct, liability waiver, evaluation forms and any other important stuff.

You will also get to learn about Madagascar and Nosy Be (where you’ll be staying) and about the country’s culture as a whole. Knowing a bit about the local norms means you can settle in easily, know what to expect and connect on a deeper level with the locals.

After a delicious lunch we will take a walk around the foot of Mont Passot, before hiking up to its peak to see the panoramic views at sunset.


After breakfast, we will walk from Ambatozavavy to Marodoka, taking you through the rural areas of Nosy Be. Here we will enjoy a picnic lunch before joining a local dance and enjoying a pastry class afterwards.

In the evening you will have Malagasy language lessons to learn some basic phrases, which will help greatly to feel more comfortable when communicating with the locals.


On Wednesday morning, you will visit a sacred place where a beautiful banyan tree grows. Here is where the local people from Nosy Be and even the mainland, make sacrifices to their ancestors and ask for blessings. When the Malagasy people believe their prayers are answered, they will return to this tree and wrap it with red and white linen.

In the afternoon, we take a walk through Hell-Ville, a busy market town, where you will explore the old part of the town where the King resides. Enjoy the colonial architecture of the houses at Court de Hell.


In the morning you’ll have fun at a painting class, being taught by a local traditional painter who will guide you through the lesson. After lunch, you will continue with your Malagasy language lessons, gaining more phrases and practising your new skills.


On Friday morning we will drive to the beach village of Ampasipohy, where we will hop on a pirogue (traditional canoe) and drift along the water until we reach Lokobe Nature Reserve. Spend time here spotting the incredible lemur species, birds and reptiles on offer in the lush lowland rainforest.

After lunch, you will either try fishing with a local fisherman and learning about the local methods, or will be working in the vanilla, pepper or pineapple fields. This is a fun opportunity to try something different and unique.


Nosy Be (meaning ‘big island’) is an absolutely stunning island off the north-west coast and is Madagascar’s largest and busiest tourist destination. The population is estimated around 73,010 and the island has an area space of 320.02 square kilometres.

On Nosy Be island you will find volcanic lakes, lemurs, rum distilleries, Ylang Ylang plantations and beautiful coral reefs. There is just so much to explore on this amazing island! In May, you can experience the 4 day Donia Music Festival. Situated on the Indian Ocean, on Nosy-Be island you can relax on the best white sand beaches, take a boat trip through the jungle, go trekking to see lemurs or snorkel alongside turtles and manta rays in the clear waters.

Accommodation & Food

About the Accommodation

You will stay at our volunteer house, where there is a dining room and lounge area to socialise with fellow volunteers. There is also a beautiful garden to relax in during time off. A balcony and large roof terrace are also available for you to chill out in.

There is a kitchen and refrigerator which you are welcome to use to store any food and drinks you require.

Available Room Types

Standard Room
All meals included Yes *
Free beverages Yes **
Persons per room 4 -6
Wifi in public areas No
Laundry facilities Yes ***
Safety box No
Lockable rooms Yes
Hot shower No
Private bathroom No
Bed linen Yes
Towels No
Air conditioning No
Fan Yes
Mosquito protection Yes

* Three meals per day during weekdays and two per day on weekends
** Water
*** At an additional fee

Food Arrangements

Your meals will be a mix of Western and Malagasy food, usually consisting of vegetarian dishes including rice and vegetables. You can expect to have a chicken dish around twice a week. There are kitchen facilities for you to cook your own meals or you can eat out at any of the local restaurants nearby.


There is an ATM and a supermarket around 15-20 minutes away by bus or Tuk-Tuk, from the volunteer house.

Mandatory Orientation Day

During your first Monday, you’ll join our orientation day. This is to get familiarised with the local surroundings and to learn about local culture and customs. Your project will continue as usual from Tuesday and throughout the rest of the week.


  • Welcome meeting, introduction to Madagascar and local co-ordinators, general/ house rules, Dos and Don’ts, Code of Conduct, plus handling of documents
  • Introduction to local areas, useful information on prices for taxis ,tuk-tuks, etc
  • Visit Ambatoloaka to buy SIM cards and visit the market
  • Lunch
  • Malagasy Language Class

Activities & Events

No scheduled activities outside the program.

Sights & Surroundings

The sun shines year-round here, with Nosy Be being a beach and sea lovers paradise, hosting incredible snorkelling and diving. Nosy Be is packed with activities to get up to during your free, the most popular is checking out the paradise beaches. Here are just a few of the stunning beaches you can visit:

  • Palm Beach
  • Andilana Beach
  • Ambatoloaka Beach
  • Andilana Beach

Wildlife lovers and adventure enthusiasts will certainly be at home in Nosy Be too. See if you can spot the diurnal and nocturnal native lemur species, count the unique bird species, see reptiles or indigenous plants, whilst trekking through the lush jungle. There are also scuba diving & snorkelling tours and inland boat trips.

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