North Madagascar adventure and wildlife vacation
Description of North Madagascar adventure and wildlife vacation
Endemic wildlife, otherworldly flora, limestone pinnacles and the fusion of Malay and African culture into one, unique Malagasy identity – Madagascar is no ordinary island. This 18-day north Madagascar adventure and wildlife vacation explores the lesser explored northern tip, hope to sifakas, natural swimming holes and the Saklava tribe. You’ll spend four days trekking through the remote wilderness of Marojejy National Park, far beyond the reach of vehicles, and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Atsinanana. Home to the critically endangered silky sifaka, this park has a bewildering array of diversity blanketing its steep slopes, high altitude rainforest, mountaintop moorlands and lowland jungles. Sleeping in camps or basic huts, you’ll really be immersed in nature.
Look out for more lemur species in Daraina and the Tsingy – a surreal landscape of razor-sharp limestone pinnacles. Then complete the loop back to Tana with detours to Ankarafantsika National Park and Lake Ravelobe for more weird and wonderful wildlife in amongst the deciduous woodland.
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1 Reviews of North Madagascar adventure and wildlife vacation
Reviewed on 16 Oct 2019 by Margaret Stevens
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
The excellent guides who enabled us to see so much wildlife, beyond our expectations and beyond what most tourists will ever see.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
You need to be flexible and robust - don't choose this vacation if you want to relax and chill out by a pool!
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Yes, especially in Marojejy and Mahitsizato
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
It lived up to my expectations. Some amazing wildlife experiences.
PlanetThis tour focuses largely on the wonderful national parks in the North of Madagascar such as Marojejy which cannot even be accessed by road. These parks are home to species found nowhere else on earth such as the critically endangered Golden Crowned Lemur and the Silky Sifaka. By visiting these parks we contribute to crucial conservation and research projects designed to ensure the long term well being of the wildlife that lives here.
We work with local Malagasy guides in the parks who know the areas well – they are from the communities that surround the parks which ensures that these vital areas are seen not just as the preserve of wealthy western tourists but as a valuable source of employment and income for local people, thus further contributing to conservation and acting as a discouragement to unsustainable use of the parks’ resources. We issue guidelines to our travelers about the importance of leaving these parks as they were, and taking all litter out when we leave.
We work with our local suppliers to highlight best practice in terms of environmental issues, an important effort in a country where the environment is often taken for granted and green thinking is largely absent which has led to the vast deforestation of many areas of Madagascar. The presence of tourists serves to remind the government of the importance of preserving what remains of Madagascar's wild areas and the flora and fauna therein.
PeopleWe visit a number of areas that are considered sacred to local people on this tour. We use local guides from these regions, who are able to explain to us cultures and customs and ensure that we do not unwittingly offend the local people, many of whom have very complex social beliefs. The Malagasy believe in fady – taboos – which can often seem bewildering to outsiders and may differ from village to village, and we believe that it detrimental to both visitors and hosts to transgress these.
Our philosophy is to only use small and locally owned suppliers and that is no different in Madagascar, meaning that the income remains within the country and creates a real economic contribution. We also feel that the passion inherent within such suppliers means that the experience of the client will be enhanced. We also try to engage with our suppliers on an equal basis – getting the lowest possible price usually isn’t the best outcome for local communities and is ultimately unsustainable. We aim to always treat our suppliers fairly and with respect; they are after all part of the key to our success and to us working together is much more than just a business arrangement, but an ongoing relationship that we aim to ensure truly benefits everyone involved.
We believe that tourism is a double edged sword that needs to be wielded very carefully. Our philosophy is to have a limited amount of departures, in this case no more than 3 departures a year. By limiting our presence in areas where local culture can be quite fragile.
We only employ local staff and unlike many operators we believe that sending a foreign tour leader along to accompany your trip is an unnecessary burden on your wallet and our carbon footprint. We believe that locals know best.
The accommodation on tour is a mixture of camping and hotels which employ local Malagasy staff. This means your money stays in the area to benefit the local community. We visit local markets and local handicraft shops to support local enterprise for example on Day 12. In order to allow our clients to make an informed decision on where a greater proportion of their money should be spent, we avoid including pre-paid full board meals where possible. Local restaurants and cafes then benefit.
Our groups average only six clients, and many tours operate on a private basis with just two travelers. This has much less impact when traveling through rural areas, reducing our environmental and social impact.