Stride climate

Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Trekking in Madagascar tour
Hiking & Walking Hiking Trekking in Madagascar package

Trekking in Madagascar

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4.6 . Excellent
99%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
16 days
From: $ 3,499 $ 219 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Trek in Isalo National Park
  • Climb Madagascar's second highest peak - Peak Boby
  • See lemurs in their natural habitat
  • Relax on the beach in the coastal town of Ifaty

Short Description

This exciting itinerary allows us to experience the incredible diversity of Madagascar, predominantly on foot. We trek in Andringitra National Park, one of the most beautiful and biodiverse parks on the island, and in Isalo National Park with its unique landscape of rock formations, deep canyons, waterfalls and natural swimming pools. We go in search of lemurs in Anja Reserve and visit Ranomafana National Park, walking through spectacular scenery in the hope of spotting endemic lemurs, including dancing sifakas. Throughout the trip, the unique wildlife of this island will enchant and amaze.Explore Madagascar's National Parks, mountains and incredible wildlife.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City Antananarivo
End City Antananarivo

Travel Theme

Hiking & Walking

Destinations

Madagascar

Cities & Attractions

N/A

Activities

Hiking Trekking

Age Requirement

18

No Single Supplement
See more

Trip Includes

  • All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 5 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

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Itinerary

Flight Inclusive

Day 1 Depart London.

Depart London.

Day 2 Arrive Antananarivo; overnight.

The group flights usually arrive into Antananarivo in the early afternoon and the group will be met and transferred to the start hotel. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon. In the evening our guide will hold a welcome meeting to discuss the week ahead, give advice on the local area and answer any questions. Accommodation: Hotel Belvedere or similar *Standard Hotel*

Day 3 Morning city tour; transfer to Ambositra.

We take a morning walk to the upper part of Antananarivo, ascending to Antaninareina (the commercial and administrative part of town) and walking to the main entrance of the Queen's palace, with outstanding views over Tana. In the afternoon we drive to Ambositra, where we have the chance to visit some Zafimaniry handicraft centres. Walk: Distance 4 km Ascent 160m Descent 0m Max Altitude:1360m Time: 1.5 hours Accommodation: Artisan Hotel or similar *Standard Hotel*

Day 4 To Antoetra; full-day trek through hills and rice fields, visiting local villages.

A full day walking to Antoetra allowing us to discover and explore the Zafimaniry villages. The Zafimaniry people are renowned for their woodcarvings; in their villages, even the houses are works of art! In 2003, the Zafimaniry people and their work with wood were considered to be masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, a list maintained by UNESCO to protect and preserve their way of life. We will walk through habituated areas - through rice fields, hills and small villages, following regular paths used by locals. After the walk, we drive back to Ambositra. Walk: Distance 10 km Ascent 238m Descent 311m Max Altitude: 1780m Time:6 hours Accommodation: Artisan Hotel or similar *Standard Hotel*

Day 5 Transfer to Ranomafana N.P.

Today we head south and east to the well visited national park of Ranomafana. The drive takes us through spectacular scenery, past neat Betsileo rice paddies and thick forests. We reach our destination in the afternoon and after some time to rest at the hotel, we take an evening walk along the roadside of Ranomafana to spot nocturnal wildlife. Accommodation: Hotel Le Grenat or similar *Standard Hotel*

Day 6 Morning visit to Ranomafana N.P.; transfer to Ambalavao in the afternoon.

In the morning we visit Ranomafana National park - a mountainous rainforest park with elevations ranging from 600m to 1400m that contains many different forest types (from lowland rainforest to cloud forest and high plateau forest), and provides opportunity to see various species of lemurs (Golden bamboo lemurs, Greater and Lesser bamboo lemurs, Red-bellied lemurs, Red-fronted lemurs, Mile Edward’s Sifaka) as well as birds, frogs, reptiles, snails and orchids. In the afternoon, we drive to Ambalavao, the commercial centre of the southern Betsileo region, renowned for its folk art and craft. Whilst here we will visit a wine farm and also take the opportunity to learn about the production of the Antemoro-paper: a paper which is produced from the bark of the Havoha-tree. Walk: Distance: 6-8 km Ascent 120m Descent 120m Max Altitude: 1000m Time: 4-5 hours Accommodation: Tsienimparihy Lodge or similar *Standard Hotel*

Day 7 Early transfer to Andringitra N.P. to start the three-day trek to climb Peak Boby.

Early transfer to Andringitra National Park - one of the most beautiful and biodiverse parks in Madagascar. Andringitra National Park has been managed by the WWF since 1993, and has three distinct eco-zones: low altitude rainforest, montane rainforest and high altitude vegetation. Although Andringitra contains diverse wildlife (over 100 bird species, 50 mammal species, including 13 lemurs types, and 55 species of frogs), the prime reason for visiting is for the stunning landscape, vegetation and superb trekking. More than 1000 plant species are known to exist in this national park alone, and the guides are highly knowledgeable on the plants contained within the park and their medicinal uses. In the morning we visit two famous waterfalls: 'Riandahy' and 'Raimbavy' and then we begin our trek to reach the second highest peak in Madagascar, Peak Boby. Peak Boby is also known as 'Pic d'Imarivolanitra' which means 'close to the sky'. The trek begins in forest which slowly becomes replaced by alpine meadows covered with orchids by the end of the rainy season. Leaving the forest we ascend a steep path which arrives onto the Andohariana plateau, climbing higher behind granite mountain tops. As we walk through the high montane vegetation we reach a natural pool, which offers a freezing but very refreshing swim! After approximately 6 hours of walking, we camp at Anderamposty (2100m). Walk: Distance 9 km Ascent 530m Descent 90m Max Altitude: 2080m Time: 6 hours Accommodation: *Full-service Camping*

Day 8 Andringitra National Park

The longest day of treks, we begin our climb to the summit of Peak Boby early, to avoid climbing in the full heat of the day. This is a day to keep your camera handy as the trek climbs higher, giving unrivalled views and superb high-altitude flora. Although this is the highest accessible peak in Madagascar, it is a technically easy ascent up carved steps, and we should reach the summit after about 3-4 hours. We descend the same route back to our campsite where we have a chance to relax by the river while our lunch is prepared. After lunch, we head out through moon-like landscapes, granite cliffs and a forest of palm trees known as Gloka, on our way to our campsite. After approximately 6 hours of walking we camp at Iantaranomby (1650m). Walk: Distance 20 km Ascent 1092m Descent 1526m Max Altitude: 2658m Time: 10.5 hours Accommodation: *Full-service Camping*

Day 9 Andringitra National Park.

Today we have our final day of walking in Andringitra National Park. After breakfast we leave the mountains, exploring some of the villages on foot. With the decreasing altitude, we pass by many forms of succulent plants, such as the Pachypodium (looking like a mini baobab tree), Euphorbia and through savannah landscape. After approximately 4 hours, we camp at Meva Campsite in Tsaranoro Valley (900m) Walk: Distance 13 km Ascent 237m Descent 899m Max Altitude: 1535m Time: 5-6 hours Accommodation: *Full-service Camping*

Day 10 Visit Anya Reserve to look for Ring-tailed lemurs; to Isalo N.P.

We drive to the little town of Ranohira today, which is the base for visiting Isalo National Park. Along the way we visit the small reserve of Anja, where Katta (otherwise known as Ring-tailed) lemurs can be observed in their natural surroundings. Accommodation: Les Toiles de l'Isalo or similar *Standard Hotel*

Day 11 The first of two days spent exploring isalo National Park.

One of the highlights of the trip, we spend two days exploring Isalo National Park. Isalo is a vast region of wind-polished and water-scoured rock towers, deep canyons, gorges and oases, often described as Eden. Today we will start by walking along a relatively flat path, following the foot of the rocky mountain range, until the magnificent Canyon of Makis where we will search for cheeky Ring-tailed lemurs and the Verreaux Sifaka. From here, we will do a fairly steep climb, (those suffering from vertigo may find this challenging) and then walk through the scenic, moonlike landscape of the park to our campsite. Walk:  Distance 11 km Ascent 461m  Descent 410m Max Altitude: 1094m Time: 5-6 hours Accommodation: *Full-service Camping*

Day 12 Continue exploring Isalo National Park.

Today is our second day spent exploring Isalo National Park. Today we will visit Namaza waterfall, once again in search of cheeky Ring-tailed lemurs and the Verreaux Sifakas. We will then head to the 'Piscine Naturelle' (natural swimming pool), a beautifully lush spot in such an arid landscape, where we can swim and relax after the hot walk. Perhaps the magic is just to soak up the sheer beauty of the park. The combination of coloured, eroded rock formations, strange plants and the enveloping silence make this one of the most captivating places in Africa. Walk : Distance 10 km Ascent 30m Descent 20m Max Altitude: 1200m Time: 5 hours Accommodation: Les Toiles de l'Isalo or similar *Standard Hotel*

Day 13 To west coast and beaches; overnight at Ifaty beach.

After an early breakfast, we drive to Tulear, among the dry forests of the west and the spiny desert of the south, and we pass both the 'Mahafaly tombs' and the 'Antandroy tombs', briefly observing their ornate decorations. Antandroy and Mahafaly are reputed to be the most impressive of all Malagasy tombs, with the Antandroy tombs being large and brightly painted, relating to the life story and wishes of the deceased. They are also topped with zebu skulls which were sacrificed during the funeral festivity - a ceremony of great significance. Mahafaly tombs are characterized by their wooden sculptures known as 'Aloalo', relating to the life of the deceased and their unfulfilled dreams, as well as their rank within the clan. After a brief stop in Tulear, we continue past the coastal town of Ifaty to our hotel on the beach. Accommodation: Hotel de la Plage or similar *Standard Hotel*

Day 14 Free time for relaxation or optional activities at Ifaty beach.

Today we have a free day at  Ifaty beach. Running all the way around the south-west Malagasy coastline, Ifaty beach lies on one of the world's largest barrier reefs and hence is an excellent venue for scuba diving. Between late June and early September, whales can be observed off Ifaty's beautiful white beaches and the offshore islet of Nosy Ve is a terrific place for snorkelling. Protected by coral reefs, the beach and waters beyond the hotel offer a welcome rest from your trekking itinerary for those who wish just to relax. Accommodation: Hotel de la Plage or similar *Standard Hotel*

Day 15 Fly to Antananarivo.

Today we transfer to Tulear airport for our flight to Antananarivo. Depending on the flight schedule, you may have the afternoon free to explore Antananarivo on your own.Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport in the evening for the very early flight the next morning.  

Day 16 Fly to London.

**



Land Only

Day 1 Start Antananarivo; overnight.

The group flights usually arrive into Antananarivo in the early afternoon and the group will be met and transferred to the start hotel. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon. In the evening our guide will hold a welcome meeting to discuss the week ahead, give advice on the local area and answer any questions. Accommodation: Hotel Belvedere or similar *Standard Hotel*

Day 2 Morning city tour; transfer to Ambositra.

We take a morning walk to the upper part of Antananarivo, ascending to Antaninareina (the commercial and administrative part of town) and walking to the main entrance of the Queen's palace, with outstanding views over Tana. In the afternoon we drive to Ambositra, where we have the chance to visit some Zafimaniry handicraft centres. Walk: Distance 4 km Ascent 160m Descent 0m Max Altitude:1360m Time: 1.5 hours Accommodation: Artisan Hotel or similar *Standard Hotel*

Day 3 To Antoetra; full-day trek through hills and rice fields, visiting local villages.

A full day walking to Antoetra allowing us to discover and explore the Zafimaniry villages. The Zafimaniry people are renowned for their woodcarvings; in their villages, even the houses are works of art! In 2003, the Zafimaniry people and their work with wood were considered to be masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, a list maintained by UNESCO to protect and preserve their way of life. We will walk through habituated areas - through rice fields, hills and small villages, following regular paths used by locals. After the walk, we drive back to Ambositra. Walk: Distance 10 km Ascent 238m Descent 311m Max Altitude: 1780m Time:6 hours Accommodation: Artisan Hotel or similar *Standard Hotel*

Day 4 Transfer to Ranomafana N.P.

Today we head south and east to the well visited national park of Ranomafana. The drive takes us through spectacular scenery, past neat Betsileo rice paddies and thick forests. We reach our destination in the afternoon and after some time to rest at the hotel, we take an evening walk along the roadside of Ranomafana to spot nocturnal wildlife. Accommodation: Hotel Le Grenat or similar *Standard Hotel*

Day 5 Morning visit to Ranomafana N.P.; transfer to Ambalavao in the afternoon.

In the morning we visit Ranomafana National park - a mountainous rainforest park with elevations ranging from 600m to 1400m that contains many different forest types (from lowland rainforest to cloud forest and high plateau forest), and provides opportunity to see various species of lemurs (Golden bamboo lemurs, Greater and Lesser bamboo lemurs, Red-bellied lemurs, Red-fronted lemurs, Mile Edward’s Sifaka) as well as birds, frogs, reptiles, snails and orchids. In the afternoon, we drive to Ambalavao, the commercial centre of the southern Betsileo region, renowned for its folk art and craft. Whilst here we will visit a wine farm and also take the opportunity to learn about the production of the Antemoro-paper: a paper which is produced from the bark of the Havoha-tree. Walk: Distance: 6-8 km Ascent 120m Descent 120m Max Altitude: 1000m Time: 4-5 hours Accommodation: Tsienimparihy Lodge or similar *Standard Hotel*

Day 6 Early transfer to Andringitra N.P. to start the three-day trek to climb Peak Boby.

Early transfer to Andringitra National Park - one of the most beautiful and biodiverse parks in Madagascar. Andringitra National Park has been managed by the WWF since 1993, and has three distinct eco-zones: low altitude rainforest, montane rainforest and high altitude vegetation. Although Andringitra contains diverse wildlife (over 100 bird species, 50 mammal species, including 13 lemurs types, and 55 species of frogs), the prime reason for visiting is for the stunning landscape, vegetation and superb trekking. More than 1000 plant species are known to exist in this national park alone, and the guides are highly knowledgeable on the plants contained within the park and their medicinal uses. In the morning we visit two famous waterfalls: 'Riandahy' and 'Raimbavy' and then we begin our trek to reach the second highest peak in Madagascar, Peak Boby. Peak Boby is also known as 'Pic d'Imarivolanitra' which means 'close to the sky'. The trek begins in forest which slowly becomes replaced by alpine meadows covered with orchids by the end of the rainy season. Leaving the forest we ascend a steep path which arrives onto the Andohariana plateau, climbing higher behind granite mountain tops. As we walk through the high montane vegetation we reach a natural pool, which offers a freezing but very refreshing swim! After approximately 6 hours of walking, we camp at Anderamposty (2100m). Walk: Distance 9 km Ascent 530m Descent 90m Max Altitude: 2080m Time: 6 hours Accommodation: *Full-service Camping*

Day 7 Andringitra National Park

The longest day of treks, we begin our climb to the summit of Peak Boby early, to avoid climbing in the full heat of the day. This is a day to keep your camera handy as the trek climbs higher, giving unrivalled views and superb high-altitude flora. Although this is the highest accessible peak in Madagascar, it is a technically easy ascent up carved steps, and we should reach the summit after about 3-4 hours. We descend the same route back to our campsite where we have a chance to relax by the river while our lunch is prepared. After lunch, we head out through moon-like landscapes, granite cliffs and a forest of palm trees known as Gloka, on our way to our campsite. After approximately 6 hours of walking we camp at Iantaranomby (1650m). Walk: Distance 20 km Ascent 1092m Descent 1526m Max Altitude: 2658m Time: 10.5 hours Accommodation: *Full-service Camping*

Day 8 Andringitra National Park.

Today we have our final day of walking in Andringitra National Park. After breakfast we leave the mountains, exploring some of the villages on foot. With the decreasing altitude, we pass by many forms of succulent plants, such as the Pachypodium (looking like a mini baobab tree), Euphorbia and through savannah landscape. After approximately 4 hours, we camp at Meva Campsite in Tsaranoro Valley (900m) Walk: Distance 13 km Ascent 237m Descent 899m Max Altitude: 1535m Time: 5-6 hours Accommodation: *Full-service Camping*

Day 9 Visit Anya Reserve to look for Ring-tailed lemurs; to Isalo N.P.

We drive to the little town of Ranohira today, which is the base for visiting Isalo National Park. Along the way we visit the small reserve of Anja, where Katta (otherwise known as Ring-tailed) lemurs can be observed in their natural surroundings. Accommodation: Les Toiles de l'Isalo or similar *Standard Hotel*

Day 10 The first of two days spent exploring isalo National Park.

One of the highlights of the trip, we spend two days exploring Isalo National Park. Isalo is a vast region of wind-polished and water-scoured rock towers, deep canyons, gorges and oases, often described as Eden. Today we will start by walking along a relatively flat path, following the foot of the rocky mountain range, until the magnificent Canyon of Makis where we will search for cheeky Ring-tailed lemurs and the Verreaux Sifaka. From here, we will do a fairly steep climb, (those suffering from vertigo may find this challenging) and then walk through the scenic, moonlike landscape of the park to our campsite. Walk:  Distance 11 km Ascent 461m  Descent 410m Max Altitude: 1094m Time: 5-6 hours Accommodation: *Full-service Camping*

Day 11 Continue exploring Isalo National Park.

Today is our second day spent exploring Isalo National Park. Today we will visit Namaza waterfall, once again in search of cheeky Ring-tailed lemurs and the Verreaux Sifakas. We will then head to the 'Piscine Naturelle' (natural swimming pool), a beautifully lush spot in such an arid landscape, where we can swim and relax after the hot walk. Perhaps the magic is just to soak up the sheer beauty of the park. The combination of coloured, eroded rock formations, strange plants and the enveloping silence make this one of the most captivating places in Africa. Walk : Distance 10 km Ascent 30m Descent 20m Max Altitude: 1200m Time: 5 hours Accommodation: Les Toiles de l'Isalo or similar *Standard Hotel*

Day 12 To west coast and beaches; overnight at Ifaty beach.

After an early breakfast, we drive to Tulear, among the dry forests of the west and the spiny desert of the south, and we pass both the 'Mahafaly tombs' and the 'Antandroy tombs', briefly observing their ornate decorations. Antandroy and Mahafaly are reputed to be the most impressive of all Malagasy tombs, with the Antandroy tombs being large and brightly painted, relating to the life story and wishes of the deceased. They are also topped with zebu skulls which were sacrificed during the funeral festivity - a ceremony of great significance. Mahafaly tombs are characterized by their wooden sculptures known as 'Aloalo', relating to the life of the deceased and their unfulfilled dreams, as well as their rank within the clan. After a brief stop in Tulear, we continue past the coastal town of Ifaty to our hotel on the beach. Accommodation: Hotel de la Plage or similar *Standard Hotel*

Day 13 Free time for relaxation or optional activities at Ifaty beach.

Today we have a free day at  Ifaty beach. Running all the way around the south-west Malagasy coastline, Ifaty beach lies on one of the world's largest barrier reefs and hence is an excellent venue for scuba diving. Between late June and early September, whales can be observed off Ifaty's beautiful white beaches and the offshore islet of Nosy Ve is a terrific place for snorkelling. Protected by coral reefs, the beach and waters beyond the hotel offer a welcome rest from your trekking itinerary for those who wish just to relax. Accommodation: Hotel de la Plage or similar *Standard Hotel*

Day 14 Fly to Antananarivo and end.

Today we transfer to Tulear airport for our flight to Antananarivo which will arrive in the afternoon. Depending on the flight schedule, you may have free time to explore Antananarivo on your own. Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport in the late evening for the very early flight the next morning. Please note that flight delays on the internal flight are not uncommon – we strongly advise not to book your international flights to depart before midnight.

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12,871 Exodus Travels Travel Reviews & Ratings

99%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 9,050
Great 3,136
Average 526
Disappointing 111
Terrible 48
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.6
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.6

Trekking in Madagascar

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Trekking in Madagascar - September / October 2017

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This trip is a thoroughly varied and perfectly paced active journey through
one of the most captivating African destinations I've ever visited. The
scenery is constantly stunning, the wildlife which is often unique was a
privilege to see and the Malagasy people are humblingly friendly and
welcoming.
Inspiration was frequent and varied on this trip: from spotting lemurs in the
treetops (we saw a total of 5 species) to being amongst some dramatic rock
scenery in both Andringitra and Isalo National Parks. If I had to choose one
moment, it would probably be the sense of achievement in reaching the summit
of Pic d'Imarivolanitra and marvelling at the remoteness and drama of the
surrounding scenery. The Hotel de la Plage at Ifaty on the coast was a
gorgeous way to end the trip too with the opportunity to take a sedate
pirogue trip out to sea and snorkel on a beautiful reef.


Rija worked tirelessly and always with a great sense of humour and patience
to ensure that the tour operated smoothly. She was typical of all the
Malagasy people we met who continually impressed me with how they achieve
high standards with limited resources in a country that is obviously lacking
in economic clout.


Although the road journeys are often quite long, the scenery is continually
interesting and helps you get a real sense of rural Madagascan life so don't
let that put you off. Temperatures can be quite high and the sun can be
fierce in late September so sun protection is important. Although
accommodation and food standards were generally high, there were a few cases
of food poisoning in our group so don't forget to pay attention to food
hygiene.


I had high expectations for this trip before I left and they were exceeded by
a significant margin. I would urge any traveller who likes to get away from
it all and combine activity and wildlife into their adventure travel
destinations to seriously consider Madagascar - a country so deserving of the
opportunity for economic growth through the sustainable development of its
tourist industry. This trip contributes towards this goal perfectly.


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Fascinating experience

4.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide4.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
The trip was a great experience. Madagascar is very different to anywhere
else I've been in Africa. The tourist industry is less developed, which in
itself added to the 'adventure'. This does mean that there was no
alternative to eating in the hotels along the way. We covered a lot of
ground, which leads to long hours in the bus, but there is lots to look at
along the way, and it's the only way to see all the different locations that
we visited. The unmade road to Andringita National Park was an experience in
itself - in 4x4 jeeps, with planks on top, in case they are needed (and they
were) to enable us to cross basic wooden bridges. We saw less wildlife than
I had hoped, but never had the dispiriting experience of seeing nothing!
The trekking days were great. The countryside varies - the granite in
Andringitra is very different from the sandstone in Isalo. Some of the
trekking gradients, particularly in Isalo, were more challenging than I had
expected from the trip notes. Be prepared for hills up and down throughout -
and some steep drops at the side of the path. It was hot, we needed lots of
water. The trekking guides were attentive, very knowledgeable and keen to
share information. The porters singing and dancing in the evening in
Andringitra was very special, and not just because of the local rum!

The night wildlife walk was busy with chameleons, mouse lemurs and a rat, and
the local guide's enthusiasm was infectious.

The rain forest of Ramomafana was beautiful, but really brought home how
horribly deforested Madagascar is.

The Madagascan people are lovely, and keen to make contact. The children
love having their photo taken, and then seeing themselves on the camera
screen. Crayons, balloons etc are very welcome gifts - but take advice from
your guide how to give them, as you can provoke a feeding frenzy if you're
not careful, or provoke begging. The guided visit to the fishing village was
really interesting, with the opportunity to ask questions about local life.
The local shop was amazing.


Rija worked hard for us, and was always positive and enthusiastic. We
sometimes could have done with better details of the day's activity - for
example, we didn't know that we would be spending nearly 3 hours at the
natural swimming pool in Isalo.


Be prepared for long days on the bus. There is always plenty to see outside,
but I was glad to have an iPod with me for some of the longer journeys.

We had a number of power cuts, and some of the hotels switched off
electricity overnight. Be alert to charging batteries when you can. A
powerbank is a useful backup, and removes some of that stress.

I was surprised by the blandness of the food. If you crave something a
little spicier, you can ask for chilli sauce ('sakay') at any meal -
including breakfast!

The first night camping at Andringitra is cold, you do need a warm jacket,
gloves, etc.

Change your money at Tana airport, the rate is fine and it's much quicker
than using a bank. There is very little opportunity to spend money on this
trip, around £200 was ample for me. You need a minimum of 50 Euro to change
money back on your way out of the country, and the change back rate is poor.


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Trekking in Madagascar (September 2016)

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
A very busy but well paced trip that I thoroughly enjoyed. The trekking is
tougher than I'd expected, due to the heat, and there were some stiff
climbing and descents, but the paths were very good and the views en route
were stunning. Both Isalo and Andringitra, where the majority of the trekking
takes place, are very different and offer very different experiences.

Madagascar is an interesting country, quite different to other places in
Africa that I've been too, but sadly, almost totally deforested nowadays, so
the distances between the various national parks are several hours drive
apart, meaning some long sessions on the bus. However, the scenery is very
interesting nevertheless - Madagascar is not a flat country so there is
plenty to look at while you drive. A nice touch was that the bus would stop
one side of a village, you'd all get out and the bus would drive a couple of
miles up the road allowing you to amble through the village to break up the
journey - we did this several times and they were very welcome breaks.

This did mean, however, that there was very little wildlife to see outside of
the parks, and indeed, within them sometimes. I had expected more if I'm
honest, however, our tick list of Lemur spieces was still good - around 6-8 I
think. In Ranomafana, the rainforest, we saw quite a few, although they
tended to be high up in the canopy. The night walk we did here was excellent
though - our guide managed to find 2 mouse lemurs in the dark, and there were
lots of Chameleons, and this was definitely worth doing.

The beach resort at the end was paradise. You have a free day and although
the whales had gone, so that trip was out, some of us elected to visit the
fishing village just up the coast, which I loved. You can easily walk to the
village, by turning left out of the lodge, but the paid for visit allows you
to wander around the village itself, rather than just watching all the boats
on the beach. In the afternoon, we visited the "Spiny Forest", which was
actually more of a botanical garden, but still interesting.

On the camping portions on the trip, the first two nights (in Andringitra)
were very basic, and it got quite cold at night, but the 3rd night was at a
lodge, which was lovely - and they sold beer there - so was a very welcome
place to end the time in the national park. In Isalo, the camp site is in a
lovely location, and the porters had kindly brought a couple of crates of
beer with them, so we had beer that night too, so it was only the first two
camping nights were we had no beer and very basic facilities.

The hotels were all excellent and tourist standard for Madagascar. They all
had patchy Wi-Fi and the restaurants and bars were good and all sold beer, so
we didn't need to leave the hotels in the evening to eat or drink. However,
there is only 2 places where you stay for 2 nights, and we tended not to
arrive until tea-time, so there was very little unpacking. I think I only had
one cold shower during the two weeks.
I loved seeing the mouse lemur on the night walk in Ranomafana, as that was
very unexpected.
In Anja reserve, you WILL see a lot of ring tailed lemurs, which are great
fun, and I loved the time we spent with them.
The scenery in the two national parks was stunning and worth the effort to
get there.
The beach resort at the end was lovely and I really enjoyed the visit to the
fishing village
Although not a particularly hard slog, getting to the top of peak boby and
enjoying the amazing views was also great.


Rija was delightful - she always had a smile on her face and was unfailingly
nice and polite and it was lovely to meet her.


1. The beer is quite strong. THB, the national beer, is 5.5%. Even the Skol,
the weakest we found, was 5% and there are beers stronger than this. Don't
get caught out thinking you are drinking Fosters, or you will regret it the
next day (speaking from experience I'm afraid).
2. The first two nights of camping were quite cold, so take some warm clothes
for the evening, and something you can sleep in.
3. The food is good generally, and the beer reasonably priced. Just after
Brexit the currency had dropped from around 5,000 Ariary to the £ to less
than 4,000, but the beer was still around 5000 for a large bottle. A main
course for dinner was around 15,000, so still good value. I made do with
£300 worth for the whole trip.
4. Get currency at the airport when you arrive as the banks are VERY slow -
it took 3 or 4 people about 2 hours to change money at the first money stop,
making us very late for the hotel on day 2.
5. During the day it was very hot, even if the evenings were cold, so you
will need plenty of water - so take a bladder to put in your rucksack as
you'll go through bottles very quickly.
6. When camping, you leave a chunk of your luggage behind. If you have a
second Exodus bag, which folds up small, take this to put what you won't need
while trekking. The porters will take up to 10kg for you, leaving you with
just your day sack to take while walking.
7. washing in the rivers is possible, but awkward. The first couple of days
it was too cold in the evenings, but the final two were fine for washing as
it was still warm (there were hot showers at the 3rd campsite).
8. On the last day in Isalo, you visit the natural swimming pool, so this is
the day to take your cozzies. You will have a couple of hours to rest / swim.
Porters bring your lunch to this spot - as it is only 45 mins walk from the
bus.
9. I opted not to do the early walk on the last day in Isalo, as you return
to the campsite for breakfast, but they saw some lemurs on this walk, so I
was gutted to miss that.
10. take a few little gifts for the kids - balloons, pens etc. - they will
greatly appreciate it, particularly if you plan on doing the village walk in
Ifaty.
11. There was very little opportunity for souvenir buying, apart from the
village we visited on the first walk, and on the beach by the beach resort -
although one of the masks I bought turned out to be riddled with woodworm, so
check this if you buy anything.
12. Ignore the height gain / loss that the trips notes give for the Isalo
trek, it's another two days of steep ups and downs, but the scenery is again
wonderful.
13. Take loo roll for the camping, and wet wipes if it's too cold to wash in
the rivers. Pack as lightly as possible, as you don't see your luggage during
the day as it's on the roof, and you have to leave quite a lot behind when
camping.


I really enjoyed this trip and I think it had a nice balance of wildlife and
trekking.


Read more

TREKKING IN MADAGASCAR

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I kind of expected to be 'wowed' by the wildlife, the baobabs (one of
the reasons I had wanted to visit Madagascar for so many years), the
landscapes and the whole experience, but it was the ability of our guide
Armel to provide opportunities to get us close to local people in various
situations (e.g. an unscheduled visit to the zebu market) that really stood
out for me as the highlight of the trip.
Apart from the zebu market, it was also great to have a chance to look round
the market at Camp Robin - again having been briefed by our
guide beforehand for what to look out here, especially regarding
the local custom of the young women and men meeting their potential marriage
partners there!  For me though, having a keen interest in folk and
traditional music, the absolute highlight was probably experiencing the joy
and enthusiasm of the Malagasy song and dance traditions with our guides and
porters around a campfire under a billion and more stars in the dark African
sky!


Our guide Armal was brilliant in all regards - and in particular for
his in-depth knowledge of the indigenous wildlife, his tireless
enthusiasm for wanting to share his country and its culture and customs
with us, and his good humour throughout. He also handled some occasionally
tricky and unexpected situations with great sensitivity and
care coupled with professional diligence, while keeping us
informed of the situation as it unfolded.


Always carry your personal medicines, toiletries and a change of
underwear/clothing in your cabin baggage in case your bags get lost, or
delayed, in transit...


Each day we wondered how Armel our guide was going to top that day's
experiences - and each day we were not disappointed. The various places we
stayed in, the hotels and campsites along the way, were all really well
chosen and each had an attraction and character of its own; the food
surpassed expections thoughout and THB beer was great too... Marvellous!


Read more

Fascinating experience

4.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide4.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
The trip was a great experience. Madagascar is very different to anywhere else I've been in Africa. The tourist industry is less developed, which in itself added to the 'adventure'. This does mean that there was no alternative to eating in the hotels along the way. We covered a lot of ground, which leads to long hours in the bus, but there is lots to look at along the way, and it's the only way to see all the different locations that we visited. The unmade road to Andringita National Park was an experience in itself - in 4x4 jeeps, with planks on top, in case they are needed (and they were) to enable us to cross basic wooden bridges. We saw less wildlife than I had hoped, but never had the dispiriting experience of seeing nothing!
The trekking days were great. The countryside varies - the granite in Andringitra is very different from the sandstone in Isalo. Some of the trekking gradients, particularly in Isalo, were more challenging than I had expected from the trip notes. Be prepared for hills up and down throughout - and some steep drops at the side of the path. It was hot, we needed lots of water. The trekking guides were attentive, very knowledgeable and keen to share information. The porters singing and dancing in the evening in Andringitra was very special, and not just because of the local rum!
The night wildlife walk was busy with chameleons, mouse lemurs and a rat, and the local guide's enthusiasm was infectious.
The rain forest of Ramomafana was beautiful, but really brought home how horribly deforested Madagascar is.
The Madagascan people are lovely, and keen to make contact. The children love having their photo taken, and then seeing themselves on the camera screen. Crayons, balloons etc are very welcome gifts - but take advice from your guide how to give them, as you can provoke a feeding frenzy if you're not careful, or provoke begging. The guided visit to the fishing village was really interesting, with the opportunity to ask questions about local life. The local shop was amazing.

Rija worked hard for us, and was always positive and enthusiastic. We sometimes could have done with better details of the day's activity - for example, we didn't know that we would be spending nearly 3 hours at the natural swimming pool in Isalo.

Be prepared for long days on the bus. There is always plenty to see outside, but I was glad to have an iPod with me for some of the longer journeys.
We had a number of power cuts, and some of the hotels switched off electricity overnight. Be alert to charging batteries when you can. A powerbank is a useful backup, and removes some of that stress.
I was surprised by the blandness of the food. If you crave something a little spicier, you can ask for chilli sauce ('sakay') at any meal - including breakfast!
The first night camping at Andringitra is cold, you do need a warm jacket, gloves, etc.
Change your money at Tana airport, the rate is fine and it's much quicker than using a bank. There is very little opportunity to spend money on this trip, around £200 was ample for me. You need a minimum of 50 Euro to change money back on your way out of the country, and the change back rate is poor.

Read more

Trekking in Madagascar (September 2016)

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
A very busy but well paced trip that I thoroughly enjoyed. The trekking is tougher than I'd expected, due to the heat, and there were some stiff climbing and descents, but the paths were very good and the views en route were stunning. Both Isalo and Andringitra, where the majority of the trekking takes place, are very different and offer very different experiences.
Madagascar is an interesting country, quite different to other places in Africa that I've been too, but sadly, almost totally deforested nowadays, so the distances between the various national parks are several hours drive apart, meaning some long sessions on the bus. However, the scenery is very interesting nevertheless - Madagascar is not a flat country so there is plenty to look at while you drive. A nice touch was that the bus would stop one side of a village, you'd all get out and the bus would drive a couple of miles up the road allowing you to amble through the village to break up the journey - we did this several times and they were very welcome breaks.
This did mean, however, that there was very little wildlife to see outside of the parks, and indeed, within them sometimes. I had expected more if I'm honest, however, our tick list of Lemur spieces was still good - around 6-8 I think. In Ranomafana, the rainforest, we saw quite a few, although they tended to be high up in the canopy. The night walk we did here was excellent though - our guide managed to find 2 mouse lemurs in the dark, and there were lots of Chameleons, and this was definitely worth doing.
The beach resort at the end was paradise. You have a free day and although the whales had gone, so that trip was out, some of us elected to visit the fishing village just up the coast, which I loved. You can easily walk to the village, by turning left out of the lodge, but the paid for visit allows you to wander around the village itself, rather than just watching all the boats on the beach. In the afternoon, we visited the "Spiny Forest", which was actually more of a botanical garden, but still interesting.
On the camping portions on the trip, the first two nights (in Andringitra) were very basic, and it got quite cold at night, but the 3rd night was at a lodge, which was lovely - and they sold beer there - so was a very welcome place to end the time in the national park. In Isalo, the camp site is in a lovely location, and the porters had kindly brought a couple of crates of beer with them, so we had beer that night too, so it was only the first two camping nights were we had no beer and very basic facilities.
The hotels were all excellent and tourist standard for Madagascar. They all had patchy Wi-Fi and the restaurants and bars were good and all sold beer, so we didn't need to leave the hotels in the evening to eat or drink. However, there is only 2 places where you stay for 2 nights, and we tended not to arrive until tea-time, so there was very little unpacking. I think I only had one cold shower during the two weeks.
I loved seeing the mouse lemur on the night walk in Ranomafana, as that was very unexpected.
In Anja reserve, you WILL see a lot of ring tailed lemurs, which are great fun, and I loved the time we spent with them.
The scenery in the two national parks was stunning and worth the effort to get there.
The beach resort at the end was lovely and I really enjoyed the visit to the fishing village
Although not a particularly hard slog, getting to the top of peak boby and enjoying the amazing views was also great.

Rija was delightful - she always had a smile on her face and was unfailingly nice and polite and it was lovely to meet her.

1. The beer is quite strong. THB, the national beer, is 5.5%. Even the Skol, the weakest we found, was 5% and there are beers stronger than this. Don't get caught out thinking you are drinking Fosters, or you will regret it the next day (speaking from experience I'm afraid).
2. The first two nights of camping were quite cold, so take some warm clothes for the evening, and something you can sleep in.
3. The food is good generally, and the beer reasonably priced. Just after Brexit the currency had dropped from around 5,000 Ariary to the £ to less than 4,000, but the beer was still around 5000 for a large bottle. A main course for dinner was around 15,000, so still good value. I made do with £300 worth for the whole trip.
4. Get currency at the airport when you arrive as the banks are VERY slow - it took 3 or 4 people about 2 hours to change money at the first money stop, making us very late for the hotel on day 2.
5. During the day it was very hot, even if the evenings were cold, so you will need plenty of water - so take a bladder to put in your rucksack as you'll go through bottles very quickly.
6. When camping, you leave a chunk of your luggage behind. If you have a second Exodus bag, which folds up small, take this to put what you won't need while trekking. The porters will take up to 10kg for you, leaving you with just your day sack to take while walking.
7. washing in the rivers is possible, but awkward. The first couple of days it was too cold in the evenings, but the final two were fine for washing as it was still warm (there were hot showers at the 3rd campsite).
8. On the last day in Isalo, you visit the natural swimming pool, so this is the day to take your cozzies. You will have a couple of hours to rest / swim. Porters bring your lunch to this spot - as it is only 45 mins walk from the bus.
9. I opted not to do the early walk on the last day in Isalo, as you return to the campsite for breakfast, but they saw some lemurs on this walk, so I was gutted to miss that.
10. take a few little gifts for the kids - balloons, pens etc. - they will greatly appreciate it, particularly if you plan on doing the village walk in Ifaty.
11. There was very little opportunity for souvenir buying, apart from the village we visited on the first walk, and on the beach by the beach resort - although one of the masks I bought turned out to be riddled with woodworm, so check this if you buy anything.
12. Ignore the height gain / loss that the trips notes give for the Isalo trek, it's another two days of steep ups and downs, but the scenery is again wonderful.
13. Take loo roll for the camping, and wet wipes if it's too cold to wash in the rivers. Pack as lightly as possible, as you don't see your luggage during the day as it's on the roof, and you have to leave quite a lot behind when camping.

I really enjoyed this trip and I think it had a nice balance of wildlife and trekking.

Read more

Details

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 16

Accomodations

9 nights hotels with en suite facilities, 4 nights full-service camping, some basic campsites, all with shared facilities
5 days walking with full porterage
3 shorter daywalks
Altitude maximum 2658m, average 500m

Age Notes

Min. Age: 18

Additional Information:

  • 9 nights hotels with en suite facilities, 4 nights full-service camping, some basic campsites, all with shared facilities
  • 5 days walking with full porterage
  • 3 shorter daywalks
  • Altitude maximum 2658m, average 500m

Trip ID#:

exodus-TZMA

Meals Included:

Dinner: All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 5 dinners included. Food standards in Madagascar can vary and are probably not of the same standard you are used to at home. A one-course lunch/dinner should cost £4-6 while a three-course lunch/dinner should cost £9-12 . Please allow approximately £160 for meals not included, plus a little more if you enjoy a drink with dinner! Malagasy lager is reasonably priced and easily available. Malagasy wine is also reasonably priced but is not to everyone's taste. It is sometimes possible to get hold of French or South African wine. A delicacy in Madagascar is the various flavoured rum’s which are widely sold and very reasonably priced. Please note that if you eat neither fish nor meat, your food options will be rather limited (i.e. omelette, cheese, pasta, vegetables and rice) on this trip. Breakfasts are usually simple: eggs, a baguette, jam and coffee or tea, and sometimes fruit. You may wish to bring something to supplement your morning meal (e.g spread, peanut butter etc).

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