2 independent reviews for Madagascar small group vacation

Reviews for Madagascar small group vacation

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review 14 Oct 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The wildlife was what I booked the trip for and it did not disappoint. I had no idea we would see so many species of lemurs, reptiles, birds, plants and trees insects and frogs and at such close range, we really were so very lucky. I cannot underestimate just how special it felt to witness these incredible endemic species in their (rapidly disappearing) habitat. The call of the indri is a sound that I will never, ever forget. I feel inspired to learn more and find out if there is any way in which I can help contribute to the future of this country, as the people and the native plants and animals are facing some very severe challenges, such as a hugely increasing population, rapid loss of habitat moved over to farming, shaky political leadership, the introduction of non-native species of animals, trees and plants that cannot support native wildlife, and the slash and burn agricultural practice.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Go with an open mind, and be prepared to see the mass destruction of the environment which you will definitely witness. Bear in mind, this is a very poor country and life here is hard. Saying that, the people were all very warm and welcoming to the small number of tourists that we saw. We never ever felt threatened or anything other than welcome. This is what makes the environment/humanity inbalance so very difficult to bear witness to, as the people are just as amazing as the flora and fauna that most visitors come to see. We found the physical rating of 1 to be misleading, I would say there are some moderate to strenuous hikes on this tour. Bring camera, binoculars, insect repellent and some detergent to wash clothes. Accommodation and food were excellent, much better than we expected.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Local people - yes, but only in that tourism is going to be a lifeline for this country, if they are able to protect the natural environment that visitors come to witness. We also visited aluminum, recycling, horn and embroidery workshops that employed local people to create crafts for tourists and to make visitors aware of the traditional industries and methods. We also used local guides. We were discouraged for visiting and shopping in the local towns, villages etc. without a guide present. Environmental impact - There was an internal flight and long bus journeys, so our impact was quite high. We did all use 5 litre bottles of water which the group used to fill their water bottles for hikes and overnight to reduce the amount of plastic bottles used. Conservation - I would have liked to learn a lot more about this and had the opportunity to help in some way, whether with tree planting or just to learn more about the efforts the country is making in this area. We visited some community parks, which helps support protect the local forest, which was great (and sorely needed). We visited a 'zoo' which had captive lizards, insects, chameleons, bats etc. which was not listed on the itinerary - if it had been, I may have opted out, as I don't like to support captive-held animals, unless it is part of a properly managed programme for conservation and this was not at all evident.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Superb. It has so much to offer from gorgeous deserted beaches, lovely people, wildlife, birds and trees you won't find anywhere else in the world - not even in zoos! It's got rainforest, culture, spiny forest, desert, incredible rock formations and valleys, natural swimming areas, mountains - everything you could ever want to see, all in one very unique country.

review 7 Sep 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The wildlife - lemurs, Perinet, Alley of Boababs, Kirindy Forest, Grand Tsingy, Ranomafana National Park, Anja National Park, Isalo National Park

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

I visited in August and September the end of winter. 1. It is cool at night in Antananarivo at night 14 deg C, so sweater required 2. You need long trousers and walking boots for the Rain Forest and Mountain climbs elsewhere trainers are fine 3. Not many mosquitos, most hotels/camps had mosquito nets 4. Some hotels work on solar power only, so no electricity at night. So carry spare batteries for camera 5. Wifi is virtually non-existent and where you do find it you are competing with others for bandwidth so it's very sporadic 6. Hotels and Meals surprisingly good 7. If traveling from Europe consider the Air France flight to Antanarivo from Paris. Via Nairobi on Kenya Airways is longer and long connections which are not always reliable 8. It's a really big country, roads in general are very poor and only passable by 4x4 and therefore travel can be slow and uncomfortable.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It benefited the locals who were employed in hotels and restaurants. Otherwise there was no negative impact

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

I travelled with this operator on the Madagascan Discoverer. It was a brilliant trip. Full on not in bed after 06.30 any day for 15/17 days. Saw virtually everything on the "to do" list. A place you must visit.

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