2 independent reviews for Madagascar holidays, island adventure

Reviews for Madagascar holidays, island adventure

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review 30 Aug 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Madagascar proved such an outstanding destination that it almost seems unfair to single out particular highlights. Those, however, would include whale spotting off the coast of Ile St Marie; stunning and contrasting scenery and walking to be found in the various national parks; the friendliness of local people.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If travelling throughout Madagascar in August, to take careful heed of the varying weather patterns and temperatures. Hot and cold, wet and dry weather are all likely to be experienced - perhaps all inside the same 24 hours. This may seem to conflict with the emphasis on travelling as lightly as possible; but laundry facilities at overnight lodges are both very inexpensive and efficient. As with any holiday of this kind, tipping [guides][translators][taxi drivers][porters] may form the greater part of the typical day's expenditure. Such is the local economy that the most modest tip will be well received - meaning that the stress, if any, is not the cost but simply having local currency in appropriate small denominations. The advice is therefore to keep tipping amounts separately in the back pocket, so to speak, for use as required. - Do not be tempted to dispense with having a guide. You will miss out on so much.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes. It is a matter of record that tourism to Madagascar slumped in 2009. Those involved suffered badly; and visitors in 2010 are warmly welcomed. On various occasions, we were thanked quietly for choosing to visit such a poor country as Madagascar. Guides, drivers, translators, hoteliers, translators, virtually everyone we encountered had that mindset. It was not only those who benefited. We spent time and money in various villages buying nuts, fruit etc. We also had taken inexpensive and light items such as stickers and balloons to give to children we encountered along the way. It also seems evident that locals are learning to recognise that lemurs and whales are no longer species to be hunted but are the very reason or part of the reason why many may choose to visit the country. A specific example might be how villagers now realise that tourists are very likely to buy, say, a well-turned wood carving of the humpback whales. Our personal contribution would have been minute; but every little counts.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Ace. We loved it from first to last. We covered a great deal of ground and saw so much for the first time.

review 26 Aug 2007

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The 7 hour night trek to look at wildlife (two hours in pirogue up river each way) to look at Madagascar wildlife in the rainforest, most of which in pouring rain, with a very good guide from Relais Masoala at Maroansetra and 4 days in a wonderful hotel, Princess Bora Lodge, on Isle St Marie whale watching in gorgeous weather.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Do some homework first perhaps - we hadn't really done any at all and didn't quite realise how much trekking to see some of the elusive wildlife was involved and that the rainforest is not misnamed... But we are now experts on lemurs and whales - The tour operator was very good.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes as all guides and staff were Malagasy and we spent a lot of money on extras - drink etc in local hotels. We were party of 11.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We had a wonderful time and all the logistics were absolutely excellent. Organised on the ground from Antanarivo. All very good

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