The ReefDoctor Base, Location & Activities
We work in the Bay of Ranobe, southwest Madagascar. This shallow bay is protected from the open ocean by an extensive barrier reef system (one of the largest in the world), and consists of a series of patch reefs and seagrass beds. The ReefDoctor base is located on the periphery of Ifaty village, 27 km north of the main provincial town of Toliara. This is a small and traditional Malagasy fishing village; there is no mains electricity or running water and life here is basic. Behind Ifaty village is the spiny forest, considered one of the most endangered (and diverse) habitats worldwide. The flora of this region consists of dry weather plants such as cacti, shrubs, baobab trees, tamarind trees and the infamous octopus tree. The soft, white idyll beach outside the ReefDoctor base stretch northwards for miles. After an hour’s walk you can reach the main tourist destination for the region, Mangily.
Many volunteers also plan weekend excursions. You can kite-surf, sail to a desert island, admire humpback whales breaching, quad bike past 1000-year-old baobabs and discover super-cute lemurs, which are native only to Madagascar. Or simply sway in your hammock under a palm tree.
Named in the Lonely Planet’s top 10 countries to visit in 2013, Madagascar is like no place on earth. Separated from Africa by 80 million years of evolution, Madagascar’s fauna and flora have evolved into some of the most remarkable on the planet, 80% of which is unique to the island. This is matched by epic landscapes of an incredible diversity: you can go from rainforest to desert in the same day. Not for nothing is Madagascar regarded as one of the world’s number one conservation priorities.
The ReefDoctor Compound
The ReefDoctor compound is the working base for all activities for staff and volunteers. It is situated on a white sandy beach with beautiful views of the Bay of Ranobe. The enclosed compound is made up of one main house, 8 brick bungalows, a volunteer dormitory, kitchen area, dive shop and utility room for the dive compressor and generator. The main house is used as an office for all volunteer and staff work. A generator along with solar panels and a wind turbine provides electricity for the compressor, pumping water to the house and bungalows, lighting, charging appliances and computer/internet use. Volunteers sleep in a newly built reed beach hut with cement floor. The communal hut has dividers for privacy and plenty of windows for staying cool. Showers are taken in enclosed reed shower stalls using water from the well. There are also two reed toilet stalls housing hygienic drop toilets. The 8 brick bungalows situated directly on the beach front are for staff, guests and occasional tourists, in addition, any volunteers who wish to have individual, en suite accommodation may upgrade, at an additional cost, to one of these bungalows. We have three boats available for diving and snorkeling.
See the Video Gallery for a quick tour of our base and facilities.
Food and water
All of our meals are lovingly cooked by our chefs Victor and Azy who serve up a unique mix of Western/Malagasy cuisine which consists of the staple Malagasy diet of rice and beans, fresh vegetables, fish, meat, and fruit. Coffee and tea are brewed every morning and the local traditional rice tea is served with each meal. Our drinking water is located sourced and treated on site (bottled water is available but expensive and we try very hard not to contribute to the growing amount of plastic waste in Madagascar).