Following on from an ongoing commitment to reforestation in Madagascar, in 2011 We launched a long term reforestation project in Tsarasoa. This year We are investing in a new long term project, the official project was launched in May 2011.
We have set up a tree nursery and orchard for a local school. We have already started building the fencing (350-400m) and are in the process of planting a well designed/equipped 100 tree orchard as well as 100 luguminous and 100 moringa Oleifera (nutrional plants) on a piece of land we have bought for the school.
After the first couple of years this will produce 200 young fruit trees saplings (to be planted on student's family land) + 1800 leguminous trees (to be planted on community land).
The plan is that the first harvest of Ananambo nutritional leaves will be ready by 2013/14 to supplement the daily diet of students. Once the trees start growing and with the first seeds (papayas, passiflores, moringa, etc, ...) a small poultry operation will be launched, providing eggs and occasional meat for special school events.
The association of poultry and fruit trees is extremely beneficial for both and is a long long time old practice in Madagascar.
After 5-6 years, daily fruit distribution for students will be possible.
We employ one permanent gardener to maintain and direct student's works and are able to implement this with the support of our clients traveling to Madagascar with us (approximately 2% of the trip cost is donated to this project) and our local partner who is extremely active in reforestation of this area.
By supporting the conservation of the rainforest, we can encourage the authorities to recognise the potential of wildlife tourism and photographic safaris, ensuring the protection of this unique environment. You will be issued with instructions as to how you can help to preserve the environment and we hope that you will follow our advice to help make a difference.
As part of our commitment to responsible travel and in conjunction with Woodstock.org we finance a tree nursery and orchard in Italavina – which is a long term reforestation project. Participating in this reforestation project will enable you to be and feel closer to the local population by interacting and discovering their culture. You will learn many instructions about how to develop and conserve this environment.
In addition to the reforestation project of Madagascar this expedition focuses on the very wide wildlife of Madagascar: Lemurian Catta, chameleons, birds and other endemic species... All these wide varieties can be spotted inside and sometimes outside the National Parks. We are committed to respecting all the local rules given by locals and guides such as never disturbing animals in their environment. Our skilled guides will hand down all information about safety, respect and behaviour to our clients.
Our local staff accompanying this expedition will give you a real sense of Madagascan culture. We only use Malagasy guides, pay all staff fair wages and treat everybody on the trip, including staff, with equal respect and we expect you to do the same. We offer a continual training program for our local guides including English language lessons as well as continual development in activities such as rafting. Our local agent has an active approach to employing and mentoring guides in Madagascar. One of whom joined us when he was 16 and a ‘street kid’ . Our agent took him under his wing, trained him up in all rafting skills, language skills, guiding skills and at the age of 29 he is one of our popular guides.
Accommodation We use locally owned. Sample: Camp Catta: Who helpt a development project, in order to help the villages. Which includes the following: Inauguration of the clinic. Consistent of the school Aid and formation to the agricultural techniques
Another camp: Created in 2002 by a French-Madagascan family - Ialatsara Lemur Forest Camp aims at restoring and protecting fauna and flora. Located by the roadside RN7 52 miles away from Ambositra this ecotourism site was initially connected with Ranomafana National Park. Its specific biodiversity gathers together six species of lemurs, seven species of chameleons, as well as wide varieties of birds, reptiles, orchids… By favouring genetic mixing and improving the availability of food resources inside the site this project intends to maintain and even increase the wide population of existing Sifaka.
It is principally wildlife tourism that brings people to Madagascar and by using local businesses and services we can inject much needed capital into the local economy. On this expedition we are following a responsible camping procedure which leaves no negative evidence of our presence. We stay in small towns and villages interacting with the locals.
We have set up a tree nursery and orchard for a local school in Italavina. We are now in the process of planting (and nurturing) a well designed/equipped 100 tree orchard as well as 100 luguminous and 100 moringa Oleifera (nutrional plants) on a piece of land we have bought for the school. We plan for the first harvest of Ananambo nutritional leaves will be ready by 2014/2015 to supplement the daily diet of students. Once the trees start growing and with the first seeds (papayas, passiflores, moringa, etc.) a small poultry operation will be launched, providing eggs and occasional meat for special school events. We employ one permanent gardener to maintain and direct student's works and are able to implement this with the support of our clients traveling to Madagascar with us (approximately 2% of the trip cost is donated to this project) and our local partner who is extremely active in reforestation of this area.
Reviews of Southern Madagascar vacations, Lemurs, baobabs & beaches
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.
I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 16 Nov 2014 by Alex Carballo-Dieguez
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
The most memorable part of the vacation was visiting the National Parks in Madagascar.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Beware of the tour description because it's deceiving. For example, day 4 of my tour was described as: "We will set off early this morning towards Antsirabe (via Tana)... Once in Tana, the journey takes approximately 3+ hours on a good, windy road." Well, the reality is that the road has sections in such bad condition that the car could go no faster than 10 miles per hour, the whole trip took 7 hours, and therefore the day was spent traveling in a vehicle without air conditioning.
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Somewhat. It benefited the driver and the guide working for us, the hotel and restaurant folks (like in any tour) and the few street vendors from whom we bought souvenirs.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
It was interesting, at times beautiful, and often exhausting due to long trips between points, poor road conditions, and lack of AC in the car.
Read the operator's response here:
Many thanks for your comments, and sorry that you only rated the trip 'ok'. This is one of our most popular and well loved trips as takes in some of the best National Parks in Madagascar. Madagascar isn't for everyone though as road conditions are poor and any exploration of the country does involve some long drives (it is definately far removed from New York!) For me the magic of Madagascar more than makes up for this, but for others can take away some of the enjoyment of the trip.
Thank you for pointing out your confusion with the itinerary and we will definately look at changing the tour description on day 4, to make it clearer to everyone as it is a full day drive as road conditions in Madagascar are certainly primitive.
In the itinerary on day 2 we hightlight that we drive from Antanarivo (Tana) to Andasibe National Park which we describe in the itinerary as a 2 - 3 hour drive. On day 4 we drive back to Tana (however just assumed that clients realise this is still a 2 - 3 hour drive) and as highlighted once in Tana the journey takes approximately 3 plus hours. We will now include the journey time clearer for you, and as the roads have got even worse this year - will up the times accordingly. Most of our vehicles are 4wd and some have air-conditioning.
Regarding benefitting the local people, there is a lot of benefits that you don't see. This included using a local partner (all local employees) to arrange all the logistics, employing a number of guides and arranging educational English lessons on a regular basis. But most important is that a percentage of all the trips we run in Madagascar - goes to fund a community nursery (reforestation) project (which you didn't see on this itinerary as it was only a short 10 day trip). In 2011, we (in conjunction with our local partners) bought the land for the community and setup a reforestation project at Italavina. We employ a gardner who works with the mayor, the local school and the community to help create a sustainable nursery with different endemic trees - which are used for both food and for reforestation.
We appreciate you constructive feedback and will definately look to improve both the itinerary and also clients awareness of exactly how we are aiming to help the communities in Madagascar