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Responsible tourism: Highlights of Madagascar vacation, tailor made
Madagascar is one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet with a huge array of wildlife not found anywhere else. Unfortunately large swathes of it are under threat from logging, mining and human pressures. On this trip we visit a number of important national parks and protected areas Tourism here plays an important part in ensuring that these areas both remain under protection and obtain the financial resources needed for their continued maintenance. The park fees that are included in this tour are vital in ensuring that conservation work is carried out to ensure long term viability.
When in the national parks we are careful to stick to the established tracks and not stray off these so as not to damage the habitat. The guides that we work with are fully trained to ensure that encounters with wildlife are carried out with sensitivity and do not unnecessarily disturb the animals in question.
As well as the larger national parks and reserves we also try to support smaller scale community initiatives, such as Anja, a park maintained by local people which provides a habitat for ring tailed lemurs.
We work with the hotels to try to ensure that responsible practices are put in place - in many places in Madagascar water usage can be a problem and so in conjunction with our local team we have helped hotels to put policies in place to manage this effectively.
We also give all of our travelers detailed information about traveling responsibly and how to minimise their impact upon the often fragile environments that we are traveling through.
Although now becoming a popular tourist destination, Madagascar is still far enough off the beaten track to maintain unique cultural practices. One of these is the way on which villagers believe in a complex system of taboos, which vary from place to place. Our guides ensure that travelers always respect these customs, which can often be difficult to comprehend for westerners, and we do our utmost to ensure that we do not accidentally cause offence by transgressing these taboos.
At Andasibe we visit a village belonging to the Betsimisiraka people. To ensure that the villagers also gain from this exchange we make a donation to the elders, who ensure that this is used according to the needs of the people.
In the national parks that we visit, we also make use of local guides, rather than just having one guide accompany travelers from Antananarivo - this helps to ensure that local communities also gain from the presence of tourism. We also encourage our travelers to eat in local restaurants where possible, rather than just the hotels, again spreading the benefits of tourism among small businesses.
Reviews of Highlights of Madagascar vacation, tailor made
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 20 Aug 2014 by Cesare Maraglio
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
The whale watching.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
To plan in advance, especially in high season, because we had problems finding the flights to choose an area to visit (North-West, North-East or South..) as the country is big and moving around is not that practical: passing three times in Tana and having to spend three nights there was really a waste of time and it's not worth it.
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
We travelled around, we dined in local restaurants, we bought local products, we used local guides, so I'd say it benefited local people.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
O.K. but very tiring and we could have definitely used some more useful advice on the itinerary and especially on the hotels.