Wild Madagascar tour, small group
Description of Wild Madagascar tour, small group
On this Wild Madagascar tour, you’ll travel to the western part of the country, whose national parks, rivers and gorges are far less visited than their eastern counterparts. Here you’ll discover untrammelled coastline, soaring mountain ranges and fertile national parks.
Highlights of this three week adventure include viewing lemurs, bats, crocodiles and incredible birdlife in the forests that line the Gorge of Tsiribihina; a possible meeting with the Mikéa, a local tribe who rarely have contact with westerners and who exist by hunting bees; walking among the spiny forests of Zombitse National Park; two days hiking through the incredible landscapes of the Makay Massif; and searching for ring tailed lemurs in Andringitra National Park.
You’ll travel in a small group of up to 12 people, with the services of expert local guides along the way. Accommodation will be in a mixture of lodges, hotels and campsites, some of which are in fixed, permanent camps in national parks or along the banks of the Tsiribihina River.
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PlanetSeveral nights on the tour are spent camping, either in fixed, permanent camps in national parks or on the sandbanks of the Tsiribihina River. We make a point of ensuring that we do not leave any permanent traces of our stay behind, making sure that we take all litter with us. The national parks and particularly the sandbanks of the river are fragile environments and we ensure we do not disturb them.
This tour focuses on some of the most spectacular national parks of Madagascar, which are home to many species found nowhere else on earth. By visiting these national parks, we contribute to the crucial conservation and research projects designed to ensure the long-term wellbeing of the wildlife that lives there. We work with local guides in the parks and this therefore ensures that these vital areas are seen not just as the preserve of wealth 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 travellers about the importance of leaving these parks as they were, and taking all litter out when we leave.
We visit villages along the West coast in between Morondava and Ifaty, which is relatively unexplored. When visiting areas that are not well-known to tourists, we brief our clients on the appropriate behaviour, and listen to the local guide's advice about sticking to paths and marked trails, as to not disturb the environment or create unnecessary erosion, so this sight can be enjoyed for years to come.
This tour does not include international flights and therefore reduces our carbon footprint on the environment.
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 Madagascar's precious wildlife.
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 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 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 is detrimental to both visitors and hosts to transgress these.
We believe 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 locals know best. Our local operators only use locally owned accommodation, which 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 cafes and restaurants then benefit.
Our groups average only six clients, and many tours operate on a private basis with just two travellers. This has much less impact when travelling 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 Travellers Code of Conduct with their travel documents.