We are often asked whether there is any advantage travelling with a small group, versus travelling by yourselves. For Madagascar, travelling alone can be tricky in many ways. Language can be a problem, especially if you haven't a good grasp of French. Domestic travel by road can be time consuming and if just fro one or two people, quite expensive, as you will probably need x 4x4 (4WD) vehicle for many areas of the island, and they are costly to hire. Self drive is even more problematic.
We can organise travel for one or more people without joining a group. We always recommend that we organise most of the tour in advance to ensure guaranteed transport and accommodation (it is not unheard of that foreigners who have booked on a website arrive and find absolutely record of their booking - whether they have paid in advance or not). Using a tour operator who has decades of experience makes sure that your tour will go smoothly.
Our group tours are always accompanied by experienced English speaking professional guides. We select them not only on their many years of experience, but because of their specialist knowledge (particularly for natural history), They add incredible value to your experience. These guides are also available for individual travellers, as well as for small groups, they add a small cost to your tour, but add soo much !!!
Read the next stage of the journey through Madagascar ... see "Lemur Tales"
Never underestimate what Madagascar can offer. For those who dive, Madagascar is special.
Let me share with you some comments from a friend of mine at Airlink, who operate direct flights from Johannesburg to Nosy Be and Antananarivo. Chris Hoare observes that the Nosy Be area has over 450 kms of reef which protects from fishing fleets and weather and creates a stunning diving environment. Says Chris “It’s also on the western side of Madagascar, so is well sheltered from the prevailing north-easterly winds as well as the tropical cyclones that come through the region in late January through to March on the eastern side of Madagascar”.
From Chris' expereince , “when you dive in South Africa, usually you’re dealing with commercial entities that are trying to maximise what they do with their equipment,”. “They limit the amount of time you can spend underwater, 50 minutes, 50 bar. But in Nosy Be they don’t pressure you during the dive, so you can really relax and maximise your underwater time.”
Given the location of Nosy Be region only “Deeper dives and night dives will require more advanced certification,” Open Water dive certification is basically fine. Chris points out, “Generally, for logistical reasons, Nitrox is not that readily available, but the profiles and the planning of the dives is such that you can still do up to three dives a day without compromising safety. Talking of safety, there is a DAN-accredited decompression chamber facility on Nosy Be, which is pretty unique in the context of other dive destinations in our region.”
For divers Nosy Be presents superb opportunities and opns the door to the rest of the amazing experiences of Madagascar. Dive Nosy Be - Discover Madagascar
Thanks to Chris Hoare for letting us share his experience and insights. Fly Airlink - our favourite airline to Madagascar.
New air routes are being opened into Madagascar allowing better access to areas of the nation besides the capital, Antananarivo. You can already fly directly into Tana from Paris, Marseille, Istanbul, Nairobi, Johannesburg, Addis Ababa, Mauritius, Reunion, and the Comores. Nosy Be, Sainte Marie and Toamasina also have direct services from overseas.
In December a new service will commence, linking Reunion with Tolanaro and Toliara. This opens up southern Madagascar to many more travellers and is great news for a part for the country that is definitely worth discovering. Jointly operated under the new sharing arrangements between Air Madagascar and Air Austral this will be a twice weekly service.
This week sees the launch of Madagascar's new domestic airline, "Tsaradia". In Malagasy Tsaradia means "have a good trip". This is a joint venture between Air Austral (Reunion based) and the Madagascar Government. It will use the existing Air Madagascar fleet, supplemented by aircraft from Air Austral. This new strategic direction for aviation for Madagascar has already paid dividends, with a noticeable improvement in on-time reliable services during recent months. Congratulations to Tsaradia and Madagascar.
Our 2019 Madagascar Group Tour has been launched.
Basic details on our website. Email or phone us for full information. The number of participants on this tour is strictly limited. Departing on the 10th Sept 2019, with an option to extend it to include the fabulous wildlife Parks of Ankarana and Amber Mountain in the north of the island after the core tour.
You will not be disappointed by the variety this tour offers. Join us in discovering Madagascar in 2019.
A new short film showcases the hidden beauty of Madagascar
See this article at Lonely Planet............... (and watch the video !!)
As the cyclone season draws to an end Cyclone Fakir passed between Madagascar and Reunion/Mauritius during the past few days. Thankfully Madagascar was spared further damage after a punishing cyclone season. Now the on-going process of rebuilding homes and infrastructure continues. A slow and expensive exercise.
Madagascar sits in a zone where Tropical and Sub-tropical cyclones occur. (Called "cyclones" here, they are also know as Hurricanes and Typhoons, depending on which part of the world they are found in.) Each year a few impact Madagascar. This year Cyclone Ava pounded the nation in late December and early January causing many deaths and much destruction. In the past week Cyclone Eliakim has hit the east coast, again with deaths and destruction. Rebuilding homes and schools, and re-establishing farms is a slow process and the impact will last for some time. Our thoughts are with those affected.
Should you be considering visiting Madagascar then note that the "cyclone season" officially runs from mid-November until the end of April, and the main areas impacted are the far north, north and east coasts.
Madagascar is not well known throughout much of the world.
People don't know where it is, or how big it is ..... but most people know it for lemurs, though even then they think there are only a few species.
It is fantastic news that with the recent discovery of a new species, "Grove's Dwarf Lemur",
the total number of lemurs now known has reached 113 !!!
MAY 2018 UPDATE - SPECIALIST LEMUR GROUP DECLARES ONE PREVIOUSLY
IDENTIFIED SPECIES NOT TO BE INCLUDED SO NOW 112 IS THE OFFICIAL NUMBER !!!
Here is the cute, nocturnal "Rufous Mouse Lemur" photographed in Ranomafana National Park - a must visit place !!
One of the rarest of Lemurs is the Silky Sifaka found in Marojejy National Park and a few surrounding Reserves. This strikingly beautiful Sifaka is now under care through various Conservation programs, but was in not for Dr. Erik Patel (http://www.lemurreserve.org/about-lcf/leadership/dr-erik-p-patel-2/) this would not be the case. At the moment you can view an absorbing BBC "Natural World" video ("Madagascar Lemurs and Spies") on the Silky and Erik's work to save them - narrated by David Attenborough, this is a must watch .... see it while you can at : http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x56r48u. To support the work of the Lemur Conservation Foundation make a donation here : https://lemurreserve.crm.salsalabs.org/webDonation/. See also Erik's work through Seacology and their support.
In 2008 (ten years ago) Cane Toads were accidentally introduced into Madagascar via a shipment for a mining company originating in Vietnam. Initially found around the mine at Ambatovy they have spread through adjoining areas.
Given the damage and devastation that Cane Toads have caused in Australia, it is very disturbing that little is being done to eradicate the toad in Madagascar. With the fragile ecosystem of Madagascar many of the rare species found there are in danger.
Read more on this ecological disaster at https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/24/madagascar-toxic-toads-lemurs-ecology-threat
Even though Qantas doesn't fly directly to Madagascar, it has recently listed Madagascar in "Why You Should Visit These 16 Places Before They Disappear ... ". There is no doubt that awareness of Madagascar as a fabulous destination is growing internationally and visiting before tourist numbers overwhelm the infrastructure (as we have seen in Sri Lanka, Iceland and Cuba) is something you should do. Come to Madagascar now and enjoy the delights that many have discovered.
For Australians, Qantas flies to Johannesburg 6 days a week with next morning connections on SA Airlink to Antananarivo.
FLY QANTAS + AIRLINK TO MADAGASCAR
Why do we love Madagascar ??
It is not just the most amazing natural history wonderland on earth, but the people of Madagascar draw us back again, and again.
How many times do we travel to Madagascar a year ?? As many as we can !!! To give our clients the best experiences we travel to where they want to go , discovering new options and ideas, and enjoying and renewing acquaintances with old ones.
We live, what we recommend.