Small group vacations to Madagascar
Description of Small group vacations to Madagascar
Culturally and geographically unique, Madagascar separated from the African mainland millions of years ago, allowing its flora and fauna to evolve into species found nowhere else on earth. Culturally, too, the island has evolved in a particularly unique way with seafaring Borneans and Bantu Africans having navigated there way here centuries ago fusing their cultures, cuisines and languages into a curious Malagasy identity. This small group vacation to Madagascar explores the center and south of this island in just over two weeks, taking in some of its most extraordinary landscapes including the rock pinnacles of the Tsingy de Bemaraha, and the lunar-like landscape of Isalo National Park. Ranomafana National Park, with its lush rainforests, is a complete contrast; here you will find numerous lemur species including the endangered golden bamboo lemur, discovered as recently as the 1980s.
Look out for indris in Andasibe, and listen out for their eerie, whale-like calls. This small group vacation in Madagascar ends on the coast at Ifaty, allowing for a couple of beach days to relax and reflect over the past two weeks of adventure on an island quite unlike anywhere else on earth.
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19 Reviews of Small group vacations to Madagascar
Reviewed on 10 Nov 2019 by Len ThomsonMadagascar is a real assault on all the senses from the fabulous landscapes of Tsingy and Ramanofana to the unique fauna and the vibrancy of the people. Read full review
Reviewed on 10 Oct 2019 by Ian ChowcatA first-rate trip to a fascinating destination. Read full review
Reviewed on 30 Sep 2019 by Virginia AgnelliThe wildlife was fantastic! Our guide, Danhy, was phenomenal as well. Read full review
Reviewed on 27 Aug 2019 by Kaitlyn MraudI found the Avenue of the Boababs to be the most memorable part of this trip. The sheer size and age of them is very breathtaking and I could have just stood there for hours, I'm glad we got to go once at sunrise and once at sunset. Read full review
Reviewed on 21 May 2019 by Trevor StorerThe vacation was outstanding by its organisation and variety. There were many highlights! The scenery was stunning and people were friendly and helpful. Read full review
Reviewed on 31 Oct 2019 by John JacobsThe wildlife was always going to be a highlight, but for me the most exciting and memorable part was doing the Grand Tsingy circuit. Read full review
Reviewed on 02 Nov 2018 by Genevieve MorrisThis was an excellent vacation that allowed me to see a lot of wildlife. Read full review
Reviewed on 05 Oct 2018 by Paul ShepherdMost memorable was Tsingy de Behamara and getting stuck in the mud when our 4WD became a 2WD due to a fault. Mantadia, Ranomafana and Kirindy are fabulous national parks/reserves. Isalo landscape is stunning. Read full review
Reviewed on 16 Nov 2018 by Mike BrittonVery interesting and well put-together Read full review
Reviewed on 26 Sep 2018 by Peter ReynoldsMost memorable was the day out in Tsingi, for the landscape, various habitats, wildlife, extraordinary rock formations, and getting stuck in the mud on our way out! (after an unseasonal heavy shower of rain). Read full review
Reviewed on 31 Oct 2017 by Ross HamiltonA wonderful and varied country with so many highlights, but the best must be the grand tsingy and of course all those lemurs! That said all of the parks/scenery/coast and walks were hugely enjoyable. Read full review
Reviewed on 17 Jul 2017 by Matthew EdwardsThe most memorable moments were Tsingy, whale wtching, seeing lemurs and chameleons Read full review
Reviewed on 14 Nov 2016 by Lorena SutherlandSo many highlights. It was wonderful to see such a variety of lemurs, chameleons and other wildlife (including a fossa!)... It may have been the best trip of my life. Read full review
Reviewed on 23 Nov 2016 by David WardAn excellent vacation, one of my best for many years.... I shared the vacation with wonderful group of co-travelers, who all gelled and got along from day one. The nature and wildlife of Madagascar were fantastic, discovering new things and creatures on a daily basis. I would totally recommend this trip to any nature lover. Read full review
Reviewed on 27 Jul 2015 by Stephanie DiggonWonderful tho' it was to see wildlife in natural habitate, the standout thing for me was the wonderful people I met and catching a glimpse into their customs and cultures. Read full review
Reviewed on 06 Nov 2015 by Belinda MinshallThe 4x4 trip down the river was the most memorable part of the vacation. Read full review
Reviewed on 26 Nov 2013 by George BannisterThe most fantastic vacation we have experienced and totally different from any location we have been to. The tour company was first class in every respect...Be prepared for poverty, humble experiences, lack of electricity but don't let this put anyone off going to this wonderful country. Read full review
Reviewed on 15 Oct 2013 by Jean MacleanAs I expected not 'comfortable' but an amazing experience Read full review
Reviewed on 20 Sep 2012 by Gill BerrySeeing five out of six possible types of lemur in the first National Park we visited...Excellent. Read full review
PlanetThis tour focuses largely on the wonderful national parks of Madagascar, which are home to many species found nowhere else on earth. 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 guides in the parks who know the areas well these are from the communities that surround the parks and this therefore 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.
PeopleOn this tour we visit Anja Reserve, a community run reserve with good and easily visible populations of ring tailed lemurs. The proceeds from the reserve are channelled back to the local community, thus providing them with a valuable source of local income as well as an incentive to preserve Madagascars precious wildlife.
We 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 the 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, 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 your experience will be enhanced. We also try to engage with our suppliers on an equal basis getting the lowest possible price usually isnt 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 usually between one and three a year - for each of our itineraries. By limiting our presence in areas where local culture can be quite fragile, we hope to avoid as much as possible the phenomenon whereby an area changes in character due to repeated and prolonged exposure to tourism. We want to visit an area as friends, not intruders and to ensure that what we see will also be there for others to enjoy for many years to come.
We only employ local staff and unlike many operators we believe that to send 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. Our local operators only use locally owned accommodation. This means your money stays in the area to benefit the local community. When possible we use local transport, (i.e. rail or bus) and we always use local restaurants, markets and shops and encourage our clients to interact both financially and socially with the communities that they are passing through. In doing this your travels are supporting and encouraging the development of local services.
We only work with operators who are as committed as we are to putting something back into the communities we visit. This may include giving a percentage of the profits from each tour to a foundation to help street children or local conservation projects. Furthermore, 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 affects. Finally to emphasise our commitment to Responsible Tourism all clients will receive a copy of our Travelers Code of Conduct with their travel documents.