Madagascar holiday, overland adventure
Description of Madagascar holiday, overland adventure
Discover why there is so much more to Madagascar than its famous lemurs. This exploration of the world's fourth largest island reveals a cornucopia of natural and cultural wonders, experienced at a gentle pace using transport like riverboat as well as on foot.
Travel from fertile highlands through terraced rice-fields and spectacular eroded hills (lavaka), cross savannah and trace the River Tsiribihina through semi-dry tropical forest to the iconic Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Then take little used coastal tracks from Morondava to Tulear to experience the stunning scenery of a rarely seen part of the country and also meet the locals, from Mikea hunter-gatherers to Vezo fisherfolk.
The final week of this unique trip takes in some of the better known sights of the country, including Isalo National Park - and the lemurs, in both Anja and Ranomafana. But it also detours off-road on 4WD to places like Andringitra, with its dramatic granite outcrops and the villages of the Zafimaniry tribe whose wood carvings have been recognised by UNESCO.
From Madagascar’s highland capital, Antananarivo (better known by its shortened name Tana), you'll travel to the craft centre of Antsirabe. Wilderness experiences range from spotting crocodiles from your private riverboat to a drive along the famous ‘Avenue of the Baobabs’ to witness a spectacular wilderness sunset.
Combine brilliant bird-spotting in the Kirindy Mitea National Park with relaxing in the laidback coastal town of Morondava and driving along stunning coastline to Tulear. Other national parks you'll visit include Isalo National Park with its canyons and natural swimming pools, the community-run – and lemur-filled - Anja National Park, plus the walking mecca of Andringitra National Park, its trails commanded by soaring granite peaks.
En route to the jungle paradise of Ranomafana National Park, meanwhile, you'll visit a unique paper-making factory at Ambalavao – perfect to buy something to jot down your unforgettable memories of the trip!
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PlanetWe have a strict environmental policy to make sure that the environments we visit are not damaged or spoilt in any way. Our “Leave No Trace” ethic is applied to this trip and as tour operators, it is something we are careful to promote. Your guide on this trip will have been trained to uphold this policy and all clients are fully briefed on appropriate/responsible behaviour whilst in wilderness areas.
We are very aware of the economic, ecological and ethical impact tourism can have on ancient cultures and fragile environments. We realise that taking clients around this island can have a negative impact on the environment if not handled responsibly and as such, on all of our trips we go to great lengths to minimise the negative and accentuate the positive - after all, there are also many good things that the traveller can bring.
By keeping the group size to a maximum of 12, we can also minimise the human impact on the fragile sites we visit – particularly important as this trip visits some delicate ecosystems.
This trips eschews domestic flights, in favour of exploring at a slower pace and in greater depth by minibus, riverboat, and on foot, cutting down carbon emissions.
PeopleIn Madagascar we use local ground handlers - this means that all the operational costs go directly into the local economy and helps to improve employment opportunities in remote regions. By incorporating homestays, locally owned hotels, family run restaurants and the services of guides and drivers into our itineraries, we ensure that money you spend on your trip goes directly into the local economy and local communities benefit from tourism.
We also recognise the importance of supporting, respecting and engaging with local culture, particularly amongst the smaller communities. On day 20 of our tour you will visit the Zafimaniry, masters of wood carving, whose art has been recognised by UNESCO and whose elaborately decorated wooden huts are a beautiful sight to behold.
In order to facilitate an enduring support structure for the communities we visit, and to show a commitment to these values, in January 2009 we set up a charitable foundation through which we can directly channel funds to both existing NGOs and our own development projects. In addition to organising ethically sensitive tours, having our own charitable foundation allows us to raise money – through the cost of our tours, charity trips and fund raising events – which can then be used to fund various projects in education, sanitation, reforestations and a number of other important issues facing developing communities.