User Reviews – Madagascar
Email CarolineG | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: first safari
I thought my trip to Madagascar was amazing. I went for 2 weeks with Natural Habitat Adventures in the Summer of 2013. We saw 21 species of lemurs, an endless number of birds, with many endemics, and lots of chameleons. Our accommodations were superb and our two guides were both very knowledgeable and friendly.
Email lukasz36 | 35-50 years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
Great place for close ecounters with wildlife
We had a 8 days trip to Madagascar in November 2019. We spend the time on east cost of the island - Andasibe & Palmarium Reserve. The wildlife was very good - lemurs are close and provide excelent opportunites for photography. Birds in Andasibe were good and approachable, a bit worse in Palmarium (very few visible). We used Assiten Travel and the service was excelent - very good accomodations, great driver, food and transportation.
Mine key target was to photograph lemurs and I am very happy with the results :).
Email Gaston Batistini | 65+ years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
Email Zoizeaux de Gabriel. Gabriel Leboff | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
Madagascar : country of landscape and light !
Wildlife is unique and amazing, sceneries are exceptionnal ! Wheater, let's say : hot in september , accomodations are at the opposite : you can get high level comfort as well poor with sanitaries very very ... simple (forget hot water !).
if you travel by car : 4 x 4 is obligatory and you could have 10/11 hours driving on terrific tracks !
We knew our driver and guide and he is Great !
If you "break the ice", malagasy people are sweet and kind, you just have to avoid Tana !
Email johco266 | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
A fantastic experience overall
Due to the winter time wildlife was not aboundend but spectacular anyway. Lots of encounters with lemurs, chameleons, lizards, spectacular insects, mangoose and quite some birds wich resulted in quite spectacular pictures. Accomodation was better than expected with some unique locations included. Especially since we had not required for high standards. Transportation is quite a challenge in most parts of the country as the roads have degraded a lot and there does not seem to be any major maintanance done. This is the case for accomodation in general. F.i. there are some railways between the more important locations but most stations are out of order and trains are only occaisonally riding. As the winter is a dry season a lot of dust was unavoidable on the roads which are sometimes crowded with lorries, zebu charts and push charts. Local food is very good and cheap for European standards. Seafood sometimes exquisite. Guides do rather focus on the lemur encounters but all of them knew a lot about the use of plants and medicinal plants. We invited them to look for insects and reptiles. We crossed the whole country from north to south. There is a big difference in standards between north and south. The south is dryer and definitely poorer. We collected a lot of water bottles which our driver handed over to the children along the road in the southern area. Whilst moving up north there is more water available and thus more crops. Landscapes varies from savanne over mountain ranges, rain forest, agricultural areas, rice terrasses and can be extremely beautiful. Temperatures can varie a lot in the different biotopes. For those who love it there are lovely islands in the north and lots of possibilities to dive or snorkle and to spot whales and dolphins. It is obvious though that most of the original forests have been destroyed for agriculture and charcoal winning. We drove along quite a few bushfires. We found the local people friendly and helpfull. We've had some lovely contacts with local children, fishermen etc. To remember. Living conditions can be quite harsh and people try to make the best of it with what they have available. Villages and towns are always crowded with people living in the streets, busy and very colourful. Having a local driver is absolutely a surplus. He contacts the guides and knows his way around.
Email B. Wilson | under20 years of age | Experience level: first safari
One of the most amazingly diverse countries on Earth, yet not adequate for safari/larger animals.
Wildlife and scenery - spectacular wherever we went
Food - some western foods, obviously, but there was traditional foods also available; some delicious, some not so.
Transportation - No coaches, buses were more Transit vans with seats. Nevertheless we still managed to get around safely and in reasonable comfort.
Highlights - Lemurs, rare species of Gecko, and the spectacular views at Andringitra NP
Email Pardo1910 | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
Nature and people of Madagascar
I’ve just spent only a few days in one of the most beautiful countries i’ve ever seen in my live.
A lot of uncontaminated lands in an incredible nature frame were the local population can still keep its traditions alive.
Very little roads connections makes some part of the country difficult to be reached so that the impact of modernity is kept far away. Endemic animals and plants within an incredible landscape make this country really unique and was for me a big concentration of nature and beauty overall.
We should do everything to protect countries like this from the economic speculation, insane modernity and mass tourism.
Email abattlingbishop | 65+ years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
Lemurs are endemic to this island, the 4th largest in the world.
Fort Dauphin, Madagascar
A beautiful, sunny day greeted us on Monday, day 95, when we arrived on Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world. In 1643, Fort Dauphin was the first European settlement in Madagascar. The settlement, named in honor of the Dauphin, the Crown Prince of France and future King Louis XIV, is known by locals as Tolanaro. Madagascar gained its independence in 1960.Our Fort Dauphin Highlights tour drove through the city’s bustling market. We stopped at the square near City Hall where we admired the view of the bay and harbor situated below Saint-Louis Peak. Hawkers selling carved wooden items, necklaces, and shells were active. We observed the entrance to Fort Flacourt from a respectable distance. Another stop allowed us to see the rugged coast and pleasant beaches. We passed a mining company complex of homes. The company with partial government ownership is extracting ilmenite and zircon from heavy mineral sands. This is the only local industry. Tourism is also helpful, but only eight cruise ships visited this port in the past year.
In afternoon we visited the Nahampoana Reserve, located only about 4.5 miles from town, but with only half of the road paved. Once our school bus was on the bumpy, dirt road, we encountered the small, mainly thatch roofed houses these bush people live in. Extreme poverty. The Reserve itself is about 125 acres originally a botanical garden known as the Garden of Acclimatisation. We were successful in seeing three varieties of Madagascar’s endemic lemurs: sifaka, ring-tailed, and brown. It was fun watching their leaping antics. Their large eyes are captivating. In a fenced area, we saw the head of a crocodile protruding out of a pond. A guide moved a radial turtle so some guests could more easily see it. When the turtle set back on the ground, it scrambled back to familiar territory. One young man (seeking payment) hoisted his baby hedgehog for photos. Others offered chameleons for pictures. Later, two different costumed dance groups performed for us. We learned that locals buy a cow instead of saving money in a bank. Also, it is customary for a young man to offer a cow when requesting the hand of a potential bride. If a young person becomes a herder, his pay might be one cow for a year’s work. It was sad to be shadowed by children begging.
An outstanding place for birdwatching.
We traveled with a private guide, and were looking primarily for birds although the lemurs and the lizards were fantastic. Overall the food was outstanding. We avoided high end tourist hotels and stayed in smaller more local places which suited us better.
Lots of spiders but I'm told they aren't venomous. Please don't tell me otherwise even now :-)
Madagascar: An island of stark contrasts, with many unique animals and birds that make it special.
Madagascar is a land of enormous contrasts. It has some of the most beautiful locations, such as Nosy Be and the surrounding islands, but it also has stark poverty and ravaged land, as we experienced when driving through the interior of the island. Our main focus was to bird watching, as there are hundreds of species, of which about 120 are endemic (only found in Madagascar). In many ways the animals are similar, with many endemic species, especially lemurs.
We hired a guide for our two week trip, which was necessary, as directions are not easy to follow, driving can be hazardous, language is a barrier and accommodation difficult to find, especially in rural areas . Our guide solved all these potential problems for us. He was also a source of amazing information about the country and people, helping to answer all the questions we had as we drove through a diversity of landscapes and habitations.
Madagascar has a lot of poverty, quite an eye-opener for someone coming from the first world. Finding good quality accommodation was a challenge when going anywhere off the beaten track, as is the case when visiting remote National Parks, as we did, to see some of the wonderful birdlife. We had to rely on the services of regional experts, who did us proud.
Even in Antananarivo, which is a huge, sprawling city with limited infrastructure, good hotels were few and far between. Once arrived at a hotel, there was little desire to go out and walk around, we used the city as a link to go from one side of the country to the other. Having said that, the hotels we stayed at in Tanna were excellent.
We spent a couple of weeks seeking out a number of widespread National Parks which had wide-ranging habitats for animals. These included Maevatanana, Akarafantsika, Anasibe and Mantadia National Parks, which were wonderful. One jewel, in Antananarivo itself, the Tsarasaotra Private Park, was quite amazing, with thousands of different birds.
After having driven around the country for two weeks, we then flew from Tanna to a different world at Nosy Be, right on the north coast of the country, where we found the most picturesque and modern holiday world. The coastline, the islands, the sea and the animals were stunning. We stayed a few nights on the island of Nosy Komba, just 30 minutes boatride from Nosy Be. We felt totally spoilt at our accommodation at 293 Nosy Komba, a small villa. I'd go back there in a heartbeat, it was so beautiful. One can snorkel from the beach, or take a boat to various other spots nearby.
I believe that some airlines have flights directly to Nosy Be from Europe, it is such a magical spot, far away from everything.
For something completely different, go to Madagascar. Our trip was arranged by regional specialists, something I would recommend.