9 independent reviews for Madagascar holidays, The lost continent

Reviews for Madagascar holidays, The lost continent

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review 9 Sep 2019

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

I thought the whole holiday was really good - I suppose being lucky enough to see so many varieties of Lemur was the real exciting part.

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

Be prepared - as you said it is Full On - travelling a lot requires comfy clothes and patience on the sometimes slow routes and bumps.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Unfortunately I did not feel that - the only place which we knew to have a direct imput was at the Voteta Bungalows where we saw traditional dancing and made our donations for the children. We had hoped to meet the children or visit the school. However, I definitely did not enjoy the dormitory/lack of personal facilities and along with some of the other single ladies thought that we could have done the trip during the day and had, say lunch, visited the school and seen the dancing without staying there. Some of us thought making a separate donation and staying in an hotel would have been much better. The couple were given a private facility but still had to venture outside for the toilet and shower which they did not enjoy.

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

I absolutely thoroughly enjoyed the holiday. Claude was excellent as was Michel and his assistant ?Sewa? Claude's knowledge and passion for his country and its flora and fauna etc. was outstanding. All the local guides were excellent. And being only 6 on the trip we got to see things a larger group probably wouldn't have done. The journeys were easier with less people and shorter stops for conveniences etc. Some of the hotels were excellent and some just ok - but all made us welcome and they were clean and comfortable. The food was interesting and normally good. Lots of lovely fish at Anakao.

review 17 Sep 2019

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

Seeing all the different Lemurs and many other animals. Sleeping and surroundings at the hotel de la reine between all the rockformations.

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

Bring enough cash money with you as creditcard does not always work.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes it did, only about reducing environmental impacts not really sure.

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

Fantastic.

review 3 Oct 2018

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

I enjoyed the whole tour so it is difficult to identify any one memorable part. Walking the different environments (rainforest, mountains, national parks) and getting close to the animals in their natural environment, for example lemurs, birds, frogs, stick insects and chameleons. Travelling on a zebu cart to embark on a boat to Safari Vezo Lodge at fisherman village Anakao.

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

Would help to know a bit of French to be better able to communicate with the local people more easierly. Most of the journeys are over long distances with some rough road so bring a cushion for extra padding to the seats. There can be some powercuts occasionally so bring a torch which you will probably need walking out in the evenings anyway. I found my walking stick essential to help with some of the terrain.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We had opportunitites to engage with local people, rice farmers, cattle men and children and share items from our back packs/lunches such as sun cream, fresh water, food etc which was gratefully received. There were limited opportunities to shop in the local busy markets due to the tight timetable, but entrance fees for the national parks etc went directly towards maintaining the parks and monitoring the wildlife. Money/taxes also went to towards the upkeep of the local communities. There were opportunities to watch traditional crafts being made such as marketry and purchase items if wished. As not all meals were included in tour so money was spend in various places throughout Madgascar on lunches/dinners and snacks. Presumably this benefited people being employed by those various facilities.

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

Great experience. Great and thoughtful guide Heri. Experienced driver Henri and Gaetan ensured we arrived at our destinations safely with all our luggage intact.

review 19 Nov 2018

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

So many memorable and exciting experiences! Top of the list must be crashing through thick jungle to see the rare golden bamboo lemur and the greater bamboo lemur - at close quarters. And seeing the bizarre giraffe necked weevil! The guide at Ranamofana National Park (Theo) was quite outstanding - he could identify (and imitate) over 100 of the 120 species of bird. His local knowledge of the forest and it’s inhabitants was incredible, and meeting him will stay as one of the highlights of the trip. A close second is perching on the edge of a zebu cart heading into the water so we could board our boat to the beach hotel! The stay there was paradise after 10 days of non stop travel and activities. A wonderful way to unwind and reflect on what we’d seen and experienced. Another exciting day was in Isalo National Park - a wonderful natural swimming pool and a very hot but worthwhile trek to see Madagascar’s version of the Grand Canyon. The saphire town of Sakaraha was unexpected - the local river full of people, young and old, sieving the soil from the near sapphire mines - backbreaking work for a meagre pay. Meanwhile those who had made it rich drove around in large 4x4 vehicles...

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

Come prepared to see some amazing wild and bird life - and insects! The deforestation is heartbreaking as is the poverty, but the people are friendly and inquisitive. A strong bartering tactic is needed when visiting Lake Tritriva - the local vendors are persistent! Be prepared for some very early starts and long days on the road. The roads are better than expected though, and the traffic light - apart from Tana! The accommodation was also much better than expected. It ranged from basic dormitory to some very comfortable hotels. My favourite place was Safari Vezo hotel on the beach at Anako, an hour by boat from the nearest town. No running water and electricity only available from 6 - 10pm, but who needs modern comforts when you are in such a location!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It benefited the locals in as far as they were being employed as guides, hotel staff and drivers. We did get some very interesting comments from a local guide about the real impact the National Parks have had on the local population, not as rosy as is made out, many promises broken or not fulfilled.

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

Excellent. Our guide Hery was perfect, just the right mix of information on a daily basis, a sense of humour and the ability to be guide/accountant/doctor/personal shopper and general multi-tasker! Our group of 16 gelled well and we had many laughs together. I would though repeat past reviewers in commenting that it was quite cramped on the minibus (only one narrow overhead shelf for day bags, water etc) and a group of 10 would possibly have fared more comfortably on the long road journeys (sometimes 10-12 hours). Also the group of 16 had to be split into 2 groups for the National Park walks.

review 24 Nov 2013

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

Visiting the rain forests! Breath taking in the early morning mist, the haunting lament of the Indri echoing across the hill side. The ever smiling children and vibrant colours at the local market places.

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

It is not an 'easy' tour, lots of very early starts, long hauls over less than smooth roads and you will get a funny tummy! But it's worth every dawn wake up and trip to the WC!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, I believe it did!

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

A once in a lifetime experience to a country of extremes that will change rapidly and much of the wildlife and unique plants is about to disappear for good! Go while it's still there!

review 23 Nov 2013

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

Seeing lemurs, chameleons, birds, other creatures, the landscape - rainforest /though I didn't do walkings because of my broken foot/, desert, rice terraces, daily life of the malagasses,

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

I highly recommend Madagascar as a holiday destination, perhaps include some national parks in the north and west of the country

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, I think it did.

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

Because of my broken foot I couldn't see the highlights of the trip so is difficult for me to give any rate.

review 25 Sep 2012

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

Seeing a lemur defecate on my husband whilst he was standing under it to take a photo - he had been warned. Otherwise, just the whole experience. The leader was fantastic, an enthusiastic, knowledgeable man with great people skills. He had a love of his country that shone through. I have been on many holidays both with this operator and other companies. I am convinced - as is my husband, that Rivo is quite the best we have met by far. He is simply outstanding.

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

The first 3 days are chilly and wet in the rainforest so bring waterproofs and something warm. The rest of the holiday was hot. Bring walking stick or poles as very useful where some paths are a bit difficult. Be tolerant of those begging, but don't give to them. Contributing to the local economy by buying local goods, even if you later give them away - they are very, very cheap by our standards - helps far more.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. The leader was very much in favour of education for local people and showed how tourisim, when not intrusive, was a very good way of getting across that there were other ways to make money than by cutting down the forest.

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

It was educational and I enjoyed it very much. Whilst Rivo was the best leader we have ever had we did find local guides also excellent. The driver and his assistant were also friendly and very helpful. We had a different leader for 2 days towards the end of the holiday. He was also very good, though as we had bonded with Rivo we were very glad when he was able to rejoin us for the last day or so.

review 2 Dec 2011

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

Seeing the lemurs and all the other wildlife and swimming in the natural rock pool. The speedboat ride to Anakao. Having a rescued lemur jump on my shoulder and lick my nose-such beautiful gentle creatures and so many more. The Malagasy guide Claude and Fi Fi and Damar the drivers couldn't have been more friendly, knowledgeable and hard working.

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

Take plenty of suncream and deet. Some of the terrain was bit tricky in the heat and some of the older members of the group struggled at times-perhaps the activity level should be moved up one star.

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

I hope so. Our tips kitty was a good idea as the tips were allocate by Claude, so the porters, local guides and hotel staff all received a reasonable amount. I believe the tour operator supports the local community where we had our homestay.

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

I had a great time. The guide and drivers were fantastic and the group great. The accommodation was superb, much better than I expected.

review 14 Nov 2011

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

Crossing the High Atlas, walking in the valley of the Todra Gorge, the souqs of Fes Medina, the Djemma-El-Fna in Marrakesh's Medina, dawn camel ride in Erg Chebbi and watching the sun set on the ramparts of Essaouria.

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

Arrive a day early in Casablanca to visit the Hassan II Mosque.

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

Both our tour leader Ali and driver Ahmed were locals (they were both excellent) and we visited various local cooperatives/workshops and ate in local restaurants, so yes, I would say that the holiday benefited the Maghrebians. Our impact on the environment was possibly the least possible, considering that it wasn't possible to use public transport due to the distances we covered and the amount of time we did it in.

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

The holiday was excellent. Maghreb is a beautiful country and there were some magnificent views on our travels. I had glimpses of the local culture as we walked in the various medinas and towns; and our tour leader was a fount of information on everything Maghrebi.

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