1 independent reviews for Baobabs, beaches & Lemurs vacation in Madagascar

Reviews for Baobabs, beaches & Lemurs vacation in Madagascar

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review 12 Dec 2019

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

The most memorable (positive) was to see the wildlife - lemurs, birds, chameleons etc etc in the parks and reserves. The tour guides were excellent and very informative, and in most cases were the local guides at each location. The most memorable (negative) was the abject poverty across most of the country, the severe depredation of the environment and the awareness that much of the wildlife that we saw was endangered or on the verge of extinction.

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

This trip requires a huge amount of road travel (over several days this was between 6 and 10 hours). The roads are terrible so you need to be in a very good 4x4 vehicle (as we were) with a/c and a driver who can make progress as quickly and smoothly as possible. Also, for much of the trip you are a long way away from any medical facilities or shops of any sort so make sure that you have whatever supplies you need. The hotels we used were good to very good and the food satisfactory - mostly fairly bland and westernised. The water is not drinkable, so be prepared for at least one bout of 'vacation tummy'! Downtown Tana is not safe (or particularly attractive), epitomised by being provided with a security man armed with a taser to escort us to and from a restaurant only 200m from the hotel. Also we suffered a theft in the market on our first day - not a pleasant introduction to the country.

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

To a limited extent. The hotels and reserves provide employment for small numbers of people (given the very low literacy levels in the country these jobs go to the better educated). More importantly, tourism is the industry that brings in most cash to the economy and the need to develop tourism requires considerable emphasis on environmental issues and preserving the lemurs (e.g. it is now illegal to hunt lemurs and eat them - and this seems to be enforced reasonably effectively). Continuing to attract foreign visitors is essential to any development in the country and, in particular, to ongoing conservation. However, current numbers are tiny - only 300,000 visitors a year for a country the size of France.

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

It was both amazing and shocking. The service by the local travel company was excellent, and we saw a great deal of what we went to see. The shocking part was the poverty and the realisation that things are getting worse rather than improving, not least because of ubiquitous corruption.

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