These full and frank independent reviews are from travellers who have booked directly through Responsible Travel. They are not edited by us or any of the companies we work with. Find the real story, from real travellers below.
Alex Carballo-Dieguez review 16 Nov 2014
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
The most memorable part of the holiday was visiting the National Parks in Madagascar.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Beware of the tour description because it's deceiving. For example, day 4 of my tour was described as: "We will set off early this morning towards Antsirabe (via Tana)... Once in Tana, the journey takes approximately 3+ hours on a good,
windy road." Well, the reality is that the road has sections in such bad condition that the car could go no faster than 10 miles per hour, the whole trip took 7 hours, and therefore the day was spent traveling in a vehicle without air
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Somewhat. It benefited the driver and the guide working for us, the hotel and restaurant folks (like in any tour) and the few street vendors from whom we bought souvenirs.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
It was interesting, at times beautiful, and often exhausting due to long trips between points, poor road conditions, and lack of AC in the car.
Read the operator's response here:
Many thanks for your comments, and sorry that you only rated the trip 'ok'. This is one of our most popular and well loved trips as takes in some of the best National Parks in Madagascar. Madagascar isn't for everyone though as road conditions are poor and any exploration of the country does involve some long drives (it is definately far removed from New York!) For me the magic of Madagascar more than makes up for this, but for others can take away some of the enjoyment of the trip.
Thank you for pointing out your confusion with the itinerary and we will definately look at changing the tour description on day 4, to make it clearer to everyone as it is a full day drive as road conditions in Madagascar are certainly primitive.
In the itinerary on day 2 we hightlight that we drive from Antanarivo (Tana) to Andasibe National Park which we describe in the itinerary as a 2 - 3 hour drive. On day 4 we drive back to Tana (however just assumed that clients realise this is still a 2 - 3 hour drive) and as highlighted once in Tana the journey takes approximately 3 plus hours. We will now include the journey time clearer for you, and as the roads have got even worse this year - will up the times accordingly. Most of our vehicles are 4wd and some have air-conditioning.
Regarding benefitting the local people, there is a lot of benefits that you don't see. This included using a local partner (all local employees) to arrange all the logistics, employing a number of guides and arranging educational English lessons on a regular basis. But most important is that a percentage of all the trips we run in Madagascar - goes to fund a community nursery (reforestation) project (which you didn't see on this itinerary as it was only a short 10 day trip). In 2011, we (in conjunction with our local partners) bought the land for the community and setup a reforestation project at Italavina. We employ a gardner who works with the mayor, the local school and the community to help create a sustainable nursery with different endemic trees - which are used for both food and for reforestation.
We appreciate you constructive feedback and will definately look to improve both the itinerary and also clients awareness of exactly how we are aiming to help the communities in Madagascar