Reef Doctor EcoDiver

The Reef Doctor EcoDiver Programme is open to anyone of the age of 18 and over who can only join us for a limited period of time. No prior skills are required, just a general enthusiasm to learn more about the marine environment. You will get to experience eco-diving, community-based marine management and conservation, the unique Vezo culture, and the amazing environment of this mega biodiversity hotspot.

Expeditions run from January to December for 3, 4, or 5 weeks, with spaces available for 6-8 people per expedition month.

Divers and non-divers are both welcome. If you are not yet a certified diver, the EcoDiver programme provides training to PADI Open Water and PADI Advanced open water levels. If you are already certified to PADI Advanced Open Water or above you can jump straight into the ‘EcoDiving’. Your dive qualification determines the point in the month at which you will start an expedition.

This programme is also suitable for marine and environmental science undergraduate students who wish to gain practical field based experience during their vacation periods. Students joining as part of their degree experiences can be fast tracked to gaining survey skills as found in our Research Assistant programme during a 4-5 week expedition.


For more information and photos, download our EcoDiver Programme Guide:

EcoDiver Programme Guide

What to expect from the EcoDiver Programme:

     PADI dive training.


     Learn about the marine biology and ecology of one of the most extensive barrier reef systems in the world and its associated marine habitats.

     Marine species identification. The EcoDiver programme trains you in the underwater identification of commercially important reef species and coral reef health indicator species (fish, benthic life and invertebrates).

     Experience life living alongside a traditional Malagasy fishing community and gain insight into the unique Vezo culture.

     Gain first hand experience of the workings of a marine conservation NGO.

     Participate in local environmental education with the Reef Doctor Kids Club and Junior Reef Doctors.

     You may also have the opportunity to assist the Reef Doctor team in their core research, management and conservation projects (e.g., coral gardening, aquaculture).

     The training of marine science and environmental undergraduate students (or any quick learners!) can be fast tracked to undertake marine surveys during their time with us.

     Enjoy exploring the local area; the popular beach resort of Mangily, the Spiny Forest, take a pirogue trip across the Bay, or visit one of the local National Parks (in your free time, at your own expense).


EcoDiver Expedition Start Dates














EcoDiver Expedition Fees








Services Included in the Expedition Fees:

  • Airport pick-up in Toliara and transport to the Reef Doctor site in Ifaty.
  • Arrangement of hotel in the capital city Antananarivo, if required, includes free pick up by hotel from airport.
  • Three meals a day, Monday-Sunday.
  • Filtered water, brewed local coffee and tea.
  • Lodging: Interconnecting, single reed huts and 6-person dormitory (wood dividers) with bed sheets, pillows and mosquito net provided.
  • Standard first-aid medical care.
  • Electricity for charging cell phones, laptops, etc.
  • Internet access on site
  • Dive training: PADI Open Water and Advanced dive certification included in the costs for all expeditions.
  • Science training: level of training will vary according to the expedition duration, dive certification and progression of the individual.
  • Project equipment and educational materials: dive slates, paper, pens etc., all required for your working activities.
  • Dive equipment, including: Buoyancy Control Device (BCD), full regulator set, weights, and tanks.
  • Occasional excursions to help some of our conservation partners in the area, such as HONKO (mangrove conservation and re-plantation).
  • Pre-departure support and pre-departure guides: advice on flights, equipment, Madagascar, medicals, vaccines, insurance etc.
  • UK based support/communication throughout the expedition for the volunteers’ friends and family.
  • Fuel, equipment and staff (international and local) to make this all happen!

N.B. Your financial contribution not only goes to your living and work needs with us but also goes towards the other projects and local staff we employ to undertake the conservation work we do.


Services NOT Included in the Expedition Fees:

  • Round-trip airfare (flight ticket must be return ticket you cannot enter the country on a single flight ticket!)
  • Visa which can be easily bought on arrival to the International Airport Antananarivo Madagascar.
  • Diving, travel and medical insurance cover
  • Vaccines: Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus and Typhoid.
  • Reef Doctor and PADI International standard recreational dive medicals (forms provided by us to be filled in by a medical professional) – you may be charged for Doctor to sign off the forms.
  • Anti-malaria drugs.
  • Any personal excursions (often groups of volunteers plan excursions to nearby national parks or other areas of interest) or drinks, snacks meals in village and local hotels.
  • For everyone undertaking the PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water certifications there are additional costs (added upon joining the team to the above programme and expedition costs) which all go to PADI International. These are for PADI dive instruction manuals and PIC cards: all participants in the dive training courses MUST purchase their own manuals, as per PADI International Rulings May 2006, and bring these materials with you. PADI PIC-cards are required to process each level of all PADI courses we offer – for all volunteers doing these courses PIC cards cost of £30 (33 Euros) per course will be added to your expedition invoice.
  • All volunteers must bring their own wetsuit, mask/snorkel, fins and booties, time piece and/or dive computer and weight belt.
  • Extra PADI dive courses (Rescue, EFR, night dives, deep dive).


If you are interested in becoming a volunteer you can apply online now by filling out our Volunteer Questionnaire VRAQ

Upon receiving your completed questionnaire we will send you further information on the programme and provide guides to help you plan your trip.
If you would like to speak to someone we are always happy to speak with you just call us on +44 (0) 7866 250 740. See our contacts page for further contact details


See our contacts page for further contact details