Expedition Information

Madagascar Travel Advice

Please read each of the sections below carefully. They provide important information relevant to your Operation Wallacea expedition in Madagascar, including travel recommendations prior to your expedition commencing. Of course, should you require further assistance please do not hesitate to contact your nearest Operation Wallacea office.

School groups that have chosen a fully inclusive expedition package do not need to book their own flights or in-country travel as these will be provided by Operation Wallacea.

Updated: October 2016

Start and finish times

All expeditions in Madagascar start on a Sunday. Both forest and marine projects finish on a Friday. The specific dates and times as well as the start and finish points for each research assistant expedition are identified in the project descriptions. Dissertation students need to start on 18 June. 

For school groups all the expeditions start on a Sunday at 1200hrs at Mariarano Village and finish on a Friday at 1300hrs at Nosy Be Marine Camp. For those groups wishing to stay two weeks at Mahamavo Forest the expedition shall finish on Friday at 1200hrs.

Groups and individuals will need to book international flights to arrive in Antananarivo on the Friday anytime before your expedition starts and to depart from Antananarivo anytime the Sunday after your expedition ends.

Booking International Flights

Packaged School Groups

Operation Wallacea will be in contact with the group leader directly and will provide you with a fully inclusive quote for your international flights, internal travel and expedition costs.

Non-Packaged School Groups (Booking Your Own International Flights)

If you are booking your own international flights departing from a country other than the US, then we recommend that you contact the following air suppliers who are all familiar with the Operation Wallacea expedition programme and will be able to provide you with a competitive quote.

Travel Nation
Tel: 01273 964 034
E-mail: Markb@travelnation.co.uk

STA Travel
Tel: 0161 667 0065
E-mail: Jennifer.wilson@statravel.com

For those booking flights from the US please email their preferred travel partner apftravel.com.

When you have booked and confirmed your flights you should enter all the details through the Opwall portal and email a copy of your itinerary or E-ticket to flights@opwall.com.

Volunteers

Once you have booked your expedition with us you will be contacted by our preferred travel partner Travel Nation who will provide you with competitive quotes for your international flights.

Travel Nation
Tel: 01273 947 313
E-mail: opwallvolunteers@travelnation.co.uk
International Contact: +44 (0) 1273 947 313

When you have booked and confirmed your flights you should enter all the details through the Opwall portal and email a copy of your itinerary or E-ticket to flights@opwall.com.

 

Booking In-Country Travel

The internal travel package* between Antananarivo Airport and the expedition start and end points, and between the expedition sites, will be arranged by our Internal Travel team and is not included in the expedition cost, unless you have chosen a fully inclusive expedition package.

Travel in Madagascar can be a slow process and the remote nature of our sites means that to get from Antananarivo to the forest site, and to get from the forest site to the marine site, you will be spending several days travelling. You will take a combination of buses and 4×4 vehicles to move around Madagascar and will stay in hotels or campsites. Additional guided excursions and day trips to be taken prior to and after your expedition are available upon request.

When you have confirmed the details of your international flights you will receive a quote for your internal travel package, which will include airport meet and greet, any required travel and accommodation, as well as full representation.

Madagascar internal travel packages start at £235 depending on your particular requirements.

*Includes airport meet & greet, any required travel and accommodation and full representation.

Medical and Travel Insurance

Opwall has insurance in place to provide medical and repatriation cover up to £1 million for all participants on the expedition.  We do this through Cover-More who are a global insurance company covering in excess of a million travellers every year. Detailed medical and evacuation plans are sent to Cover-More’s medical emergency team in advance of the expeditions.  If there are any medical issues on the expeditions all plans have been agreed in advance so there are no delays in providing any medical support that might be needed.  The medical and repatriation cover provided by Opwall also covers travel to and from the site.

In addition to this medical and repatriation cover provided by Opwall, it is strongly recommended that you have top-up insurance (which can also be provided by Cover-More) to cover the following items:

  • If you have an existing medical condition that may be exacerbated by the expedition and require additional medical treatment in hospital other than that provided by the Opwall medical staff in the field at each site, or may even require repatriation in severe cases, then the Opwall medical and evacuation cover will not cover the costs of this additional medical treatment and evacuation. For pre-existing medical conditions then specialist insurance cover can be obtained from Cover-More.
  • Need to cancel the expedition and flights because of illness to you or a close family member, call for jury duty or other insured conditions making it impossible to reach the departure point for the trip.
  • Costs of re-booking connecting flights, boat or overland transfers to the start and from the finish points of the expedition in the event of delays caused in connecting flights or overland transfers due to delayed flights, ferries or buses because of mechanical breakdown of transport or adverse weather conditions, strikes, industrial action, riot or civil commotion, bomb scares, criminal or terrorist acts, etc.
  • Loss of personal baggage, clothing or items such as cameras or electronic items or the costs of having to buy replacement items if baggage is delayed.

For participants who depart from and return to the UK, a special policy which dovetails into the medical and repatriation cover provided by Opwall can be obtained from Cover-More. If you wish to purchase a ‘Top-Up’ travel insurance policy to cover additional benefits such as cancellation and baggage please contact the Customer Service team at Cover-More Insurance Services on 01245 272408 quoting reference CMU0009.

Note for Canadian volunteers joining the expeditions all the travel insurance elements described above are included in the package provided by Victor Travel.

Visas

Passport
Please be aware that your passport must have at least 6 months validity (period before expiry) at the time of your arrival into Madagascar. Failure to have at least 6 months validity on your passport will ensure denial of entry into Madagascar.

Visas
UK, US and Canadian passport holders can now be issued a Madagascan visa for up to 90 days on arrival , so there is no need to apply in advance for a visa. For those travelling for less than one month a visa cost has recently been introduced of approx 25 Euros, for 31 to 60 days it is approx 30 Euros and 61 to 90 days it is approx 45Euros (N.B. these costs often change with the exchange rate, however we will try to keep you up to date with the most relevant information). This will need to be paid at the airport in either Euros, Pounds or dollars. If you are a national of another country please make sure that you contact a Madagascan Embassy or Consulate to obtain relevant visa information, and also contact your nearest Operation Wallacea Office.

Cultural Advice

In general, the Malagasy culture is very relaxed, and volunteers should have no problems. However, as is the case wherever you are travelling, try to remember that, particularly in remote areas where the locals very rarely see non-Malagasy people, the impression that you make will likely be a lasting one. Treat all locals with respect and courtesy, and behave in a responsible manner.

Alcohol; Excessive drinking is seriously frowned upon, and no drinking is allowed outside the camp at the Mariarano village.