For many adventurers, the allure of travel is in the land itself.
- Wildlife & Polar
Wildlife & Polar highlights
- Types of Holiday
Popular Cultural Holiday
This is a small group guided holiday. The group is usually between 4 and 16 in size, with an average of 12 like-minded clients booking individually, in a couple or as friends together.
Download the detailed trip notes for everything you could possibly want to know about this trip, including detailed itinerary and full kit list.
A good trip which covers a lot of ground, literally. There are some very long days travelling on pretty rough roads in hot and dusty conditions. Perhaps I should have studied the trip notes more carefully before booking the trip. Clean and comfortable hotels, although occasionally only a "set menu" was available. At a small resort, like Grace Lodge this was quite understandable, but at some of the larger places it seemed to be more for their convenience than the guests.
The hightlight for me was Vakona Lemur Island, where you can get up close and personal with the lemurs. Grand Tsingy was suitably dramatic and the walk through Isalo National Park was excellent.
Ben, our group leader was helpful and knowledgeable.
Be aware of the length of the drives involved, and the days of consecutive driving. But the ferry crossings were good fun.
This was a great trip. Comprehensive with lots of variety. Plenty of opportunities to see lemurs and other wildlife along with great scenery.
National parks - Tsingy was spectacular and fun to explore by walking and via ferrata - the views at the top were superb. Isalo was great - walking through desert only to find a lush canyon oasis filled with plants and a (very cold!) natural swimming pool at the end (definately take the option of the local community barbequing food for you rather than the hotel sandwich!). Seeing lemurs in the wild eating and playing was excellent. There are loads of opportunities to see lemurs - mostly in the trees from from a short distance (but note if you want really good pictures you'll need a camera with a proper zoom e.g. 75-300mm DSLR lens... in some areas (where they are more tame a standard compact camera will do). Diving on the reef was great. The landscape changes on a daily basis - lush rainforests, deserts, white sand beaches etc.
Ben (Nambinina) was great fun. He took care of us throughout the trip and ensured we were in the right place at the right time. He arranged a kitty so that all tips for porters etc. were taken care of. He tried to cater for everyone's needs.
Exchange most of your money at tbe airport. This is the easiest place to do so and probably the best rates (certainly compared to hotels in Tana). Cash machines are possible but are only really present in larger places, are often out of order or have no money and there is a maximum of around £100 you can withdraw at one time (often the machine will let you do more than one withdrawl... if there is enough money!). It's also a hassle if one person needs the cash machine as it holds up the whole trip. Similarly there are often queues at banks which can take a while to exchange. The airport currency exchange took sterling without a problem.
Meals are between 15000-25000 ariary (£4-7) each for lunch and evening meal. Drinks are £0.5-1.50 each (cold beer is available everywhere!). By the time the kitty is paid for and tips at the end along with souvenirs and extra trips probably £350 spending money is needed.
There are long journeys - this is clearly documented in the trip notes. It's the only way to see everything. On a few occasions we arrived at the hotel at dark and were leaving early the next day. For one of the internal flights it was a 3am start! There are times to relax on certain days but there is a lot of travelling too.... and some is on very bumpy roads and rather 'interesting' ferry crossings - all adding to the adventure. Most of the journey was spent in a very comfortable mini-bus and a small amount in four-wheel drive cars. For those with a bit more time it would be very easy to book a few extra nights in Ifaty at the end to spend relaxing on the beach or to do some more diving or birdwatching.
Get rid of all Ariary befire you check in to the flight home (Euros is preferred once you pass through security in the limited shops in the airport).
Have some Euro for entering the country to pay for the visa - was 27 euros.
It gets cold in Andasibe and Ranomafana in the evening so take a warm jumper.
It is generally a poor country and children will ask for sweats ("bon bon") - especially on the west side. One person had brought along some pencils, balloons and brightly coloured bangels which went down a treat with the children! They like to have their photo taken and it will amuse them for ages if you show them the picture on the screen afterwards!
There are at least three night hikes so make sure you have a torch.
Hand santiser is useful as often no soap in toilets.... 'bush' toilets may be cleaner!
As you will be staying in remote areas food options can be limited at times - usually chicken or zebu (seafood on west coast which was amazing). In larger areas pasta and other options are available. No vegetarians etc. in our group. There is a three course meal on offer for lunch and dinner but often a main meal will suffice.
It is possible to wash clothes at most hotels but save this for the places that you'll be staying in more than one night. It was fairly cheap.
It is worth taking mosquito spray - I rarely used it and wasn't bothered too much (but some others were).
Great trip - definately worthwhile!
This was my second trip to Madagascar, I wanted to go somewhere that I have not been before so I thought that going to the west of Madagascar would be a good idea and I was not disappointed. The Tsingy was amazing with stunning views and the "Alley of Baobabs" at dusk was stunning.
Walking in the Tsingy, it was better than I ever imagined.
I had not been to Anja park before and I was pleasantly surprised to see the ring tailed lemurs enjoying themselves in a natural setting. I have never seen so many ring tailed lemurs in a single tree as I did here.
Walking in the Isalo National Park was stunning.
Our tour leader Sol was very good and he was very helpful when people had problems.
Don't miss out on seeing the spiny forest at Ifaty.
It was very sunny so take some good sunscreen, I used factor 50 and didn't burn.
The east of the island can be wet as we found at the Andasibe and Ranomafana national parks. However, as this holiday concentrated on the middle and west of Madagascar, there was good weather everywhere apart from the above mentioned national parks.
There is some long coach journeys but it was worth it.
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