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Beoordelingen van onze reizigers

Reisbegeleiding 9,0
Vervoer 7,9
Overnachtingen 8,2
Reisroute 8,4
8.8 19 beoordelingen
  • 8

    TREKKING IN MADAGASCAR

    The trip was a wonderful introduction to Madagascar. We saw a variety of landscapes, animals and plants as we trekked and drove southward. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the top of Peak Boby/ Spotting lemurs. Dancing with the porters and guides the first night of camping 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armel was a fine group leader. He handled that demands of the group very well.  

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

      I'd suggest obtaining a visa prior to the trip. This should prevent you from being held up getting through Immigration at the Airport. Bring flavour crystals or a squash to add a bit of flavour to your water. You will be drinking quite a bit of it.   

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • 10

    TREKKING IN MADAGASCAR

    This trip was beyond fantastic, it was the first trip I have done with Exodus and the first trek I have done! It was completly fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone, meeting the people, seeing the country and seeing the wildlife makes this an amazing experience!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    When we had walked accross a drier desert area, in 34 degree heat.... we walked into a large crack in a cliff into a tropical paradise... there were palm trees and a beautiful lagoon. We jumped in, had a swim and within a hour were back ontop of the mountain again in a barren, dry, dusty area. ONLY to then go for another area before walking down into a forrest in the valley to our camp site to be greet by lemurs trying to steal buscuits off the table!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was completly fantastic! He really made the trip with his passion, knowledge, willingness to help and I cannot thank him enough for giving me the holiday of a life time! He really loved his job and gave everything he had to looking after us, I dont know how anyone could do what he does, stay so positive and happy and do such an amazing job!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Remember to take tipping money, there is more of an expectation to tip than I thought there would be so aim for about one hunderd pounds for trip leaders, guides, drivers and restaraunt tips (which given the service is more than desereved!)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As a first trek, a holiday, an experience, this blew me away. Thank you Exodus and thank you to our tour guide for giving me one of my fondest memories of an amazing country! If this is on your list and its your first trek, JUST BOOK IT!

  • 10

    TREKKING IN MADAGASCAR

    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.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your 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!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    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.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    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...

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    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!

  • 10

    TREKKING IN MADAGASCAR

    An interesting and absorbing holiday. A sound introduction to Madagascar in just over 2 weeks. Trekking, towns and a beach to finish off. Landscape takes you through endless terraces of the central highlands, rainforest, Dolomite -like mountains of Andringitra and, desert canyon lands of Isalo. Ultimately the Lemurs have it though.  Accommodation fine (not luxurious) for Africa and excellent local tour leader.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing the second highest mountain - Peak Boby. The 'concerts' given on the camp evenings by the porters - get out those guitars and sing boys. Swimming in the flowing water of the pools in the canyons of Isalo on hot afternoons.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader - Armel - revealed the secrets of Madagascar to us very carefully, allowing us to feel we were the first to see them. He had tremendous knowledge of his country- all flora and fauna   and this extended to the constellations of the southern skies. He found us great local guides who were always the first to find the Lemurs. He had fantastic energy, always happy and full of smiles and very concerned about our welfare, tailoring the trip to meet all our expectations. Excellent group organiser, he used the iPad to great effect and included many individual touches - a quick visit to an 'illegal' rum distillery, rides in the Pous Pous as well as a great trekker and mountain guide himself.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for rain even in the dry season.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • 10

    TREKKING IN MADAGASCAR

    Trekking in Madagascar was a fantastic holiday. It is a beautiful country with so many varied landscapes and wildlife.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    My most enjoyable part of the trip was walking in Andringitra and reaching the top of Peak Boby. It is such a beautiful part of the country with stunning views. The walking was excellent and there were several natural pools along the way to have a dip and cool the feet! The campsites we stayed in were fantastic and our guides and porters were very friendly. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was fantastic. His vast knowledge and experience of Madagascar was obvious from the start. He knew everything about the different species of birds and wildlife we saw and the history - past and present - of his country. He was a great team leader, talking to everyone in the group and always making sure we were happy. Most importantly he had an amazing sense of humour!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I would recommend this trip to anyone, Madagascar is a wonderful country with very friendly people. I went during July - their winter - so we had various temperatures. Sometimes hot, sometimes cool during the day. It was also quite cold at night so when you're camping you may need to wrap up warm. It is worth taking a good camera!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Trekking in Madagascar was a trip of a lifetime, go for it!

  • 10

    TREKKING IN MADAGASCAR

    This was an excellent trip with a good balancing of hiking and doing some touristy things, with absolutely stunning scenery, amazing unique wildlife, and lovely people. It is properly graded with a couple of definite C walking days but otherwise B walks. Note the mattresses provided for camping were too thin so if you have room for a thermorest, bring it. Lunches on many days were simply what we could buy in a supermarket, so bring a penknife and spork. And if you have time, a couple of extra days on the beach at the end are well worth it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • 10

    TREKKING IN MADAGASCAR

    Not for the faint hearted or unfit, strenuous long days, worth it to get to the remote locations to meet the people and wildlife.  Guaranteed to see a variety of lemurs.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The local people, who basically had so little yet were happy and friendly and helpfull and expected nothing in return.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was great, he had excellent knowledge, looked after the group, made sure everything run smoothly and couldn't do enough to help and make sure we enjoyed the holiday.  He even organised contacts/trip for us after the planned trek as we were staying a few extra days.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for long and strenous days, its definetely one you need to be fit for, to be able to cope with the walks and also enjoy them.  Take the opportunity to give away your old clothes after use, they will be very much appreciated there, its truely is a very poor country, your guide can advise on when and who to donate to.  Locals were some of the happiest we have ever encountered.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • 10

    TREKKING IN MADAGASCAR

    Beautiful country with ever changing landscapes, fascinating people with strong traditions and beliefs, unique wildlife in their natural environments.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Personally I was pleased to see the wildlife in their natural habitats and to have several occasions to witness them. We happened across curious ring tailed lemurs at the top of Isalo National Park, saw brown lemurs playing in the trees in a canyon, spotted the smallest chameleons and the most invisible of stick insects while on our walks.  For complete wildlife fanatics I should mention that as the trip heads south, the landscape is quite open (due to many years of deforestation) it's not everywhere that you will see wildlife. However the combination of wildlife spotting with seeing the amazing landscapes, unique flora and trekking in relatively isolated parks is just right. I loved the changing scenery of Isalo National Park. From Grand Canyon-esque landscape, to grassy plains, windswept rocks, canyons with lush green palm oasis and pure white sands, to the occasional idyllic waterfall and pool. Seeing the Boabab trees in the Spiny Forest at twilight was also pretty impressive. I appreciated being able to learn about the culture, history and what is currently going on in the country from the tour leader/guides/drivers. Also getting to see the rural communities in a way which, on the whole, didn’t feel too touristy and not (yet) commercialised. The local villagers were very welcoming and friendly. Although the country on a whole, particularly in the rural communities, is really very poor, people never-the-less seemed happy and content with what they have (or rather don't have). It certainly makes you think.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our Tour Leader, Armand Rakotonoely, couldn't have been more helpful. Not only being Malagasy but having lived in several towns around Madagascar he was able to provide us with so much information about the traditions, culture, politics, nature etc not only about his own tribe/area but also about those areas we visited. He was always making notes from the local (National Park) guides and gave us a great summary at the end of every day. He had a motto 'together as a family', which sounded cheesy at first but actually provided a good basis for our group. He also taught us some Malagasy words which were appreciated.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Food: For anyone with food allergies take your snacks/essentials with you. There is one supermarket you visit as you leave Tana and this is the last one you will see for the rest of the trip until you return to Tana, so stock up on anything you require for picnic lunches and snacks (I found rice cakes but not much for gluten free/dairy free diets). Snacks that you can buy en route tend to be biscuits, sometimes get fruit/cheese/yoghurts/chocolate. Breakfast is limited (breads/cakes/fruit) but being GF I often got omelettes or rice.  Footwear/walking gear: unless you have ankle problems, then good approach trainers are suitable for the trekking, if you prefer them to walking boots (I'd taken both). The rocks are quite grippy. There wasn't any muddy/boggy ground (although you come across about every other surface). Gaiters are useful to keep the dust out. If you ordinarily use walking poles then you will definitely want to take them (to both Andringitra and Isalo treks) as there are large, uneven, rocky steps. Weather: I went in September. All the previous reviews mention the heat which we noticed in Isalo and the closer to the coast we got, however we weren't expecting a cold, rainy walking day in Zafimaniry village (approx 14 degrees). Also the first night camping in Andringitra was close to zero, so pack for all weathers.  Currency: GBP can easily be exchanged at the airport for Ariary (as can EUR or USD). You can change Ariary back to GBP/EUR/USD on your return to the airport but you need to have a minimum of GBP50/EUR50/USD50 (at the time we went). So either spend it, or pool the currency as a group if you have less than the minimum left. Note, once in the departures bit of the airport they don't (officially) take Ariary! They only take GBP/EUR/USD. In the rest of the country you can only spend Ariary. There are cash machines in Tulear. Mosquito nets: all except one of the hotels (which needed mosquito nets) had them (not all towns need them). So if you have a mosquito net then you might want to take it just in case. Language: if you have ever learnt French it will be very useful. Ask your Tour Leader to teach you some Malagasy words - very helpful.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you like to combine beautiful vast countryside, with some activity (trekking), some wildlife spotting and getting to know a unique country & its people, then I'd definitely recommend this trip to you.

  • 10

    Wonderful experience

    This trip was just amazing. An excellent opportunity to discover this beautiful country. During the two weeks, you can discover a big variety of landscapes (rainforest, savannah, beach...) and see many animals. I found it particularly great, that we spent almost two days in the Ranomafana (rainforest) region. I appreciate that there are no visits to animals in captivity/ zoos. During our tour, we saw unexpectedly plenty wild animals. I would say that chances to see many various Lemurs are quite high! The highlight of the trip for me were the two trekking "sequences" with camping. It is just awesome to have a swim in one of the most scenic "natural pools", and then walk refreshed through the breathtaking landscape of the Andringitra national park. I furthermore really liked the sunrise hike to Peak Boby, Madagascar's second highest peak. Eating at the fireplace and singing with the local helpers Malagassy songs was very inspiring and a great experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I found the encounter with the lemurs very touching. These animals seem so friendly and it is a great pleasure to observe them.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armel took great care of the group. Including all sorts of special needs. He has a great spirit, respects the nature and his funny comments has lead to a great atmosphere among all travellers. He supported us in all possible needs (hiking tips, airport transfer, clothing, lost sleeping bags...) We could profit from his multiannual experiences: he showed us animals and places that are otherwise overseen by tourists.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Please be aware of the long driving days. Even if you can stretch your legs during the breaks, those days are very long. I experienced myself - even though I expected many hours in the bus, they became somewhat annoying. But also note that this is just the nature of the trip. Without the travel, it is just not possible to discover all the sites we have seen. And after all, there are of course still many hiking opportunities! So don't let the drives demotivate you, just be prepared for them. And even in the "always sunny south", there can be rainy days. If you are prepared for them, you'll enjoy the holidays weather independently. We also had a great time on hikes in the rain.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    During the two trekking phases, there are local porters that cook, guide and set up the tents for you. They also transport the luggage. You should thus restrict the to-be-transported luggage. Since we can store away luggage that is not needed during the three trekking days, this can very easily be achieved. I even managed to carry my luggage by myself. Personally, I think it is important to respect the native porters/ helpers. Even though they get a (very small) wage, it is nothing but fair to be polite and grateful for the great services they provide. This is not the place to be demanding, but to make new friends. And finally, don't hesitate to book this trip. It will be an unforgettable journey to encounter amazing animals and to discover a wonderful place on earth!

  • 8

    TREKKING IN MADAGASCAR

    A very enjoyable trip overall. Madagascar is an interesting country and different to what I expected or to how it's presented to us on television. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On a personal level, the hike up Peak Boby - especially as I think the trip notes don't give an accurate view of the difficulty of this climb. Other than that, I think the people we met along the way who live in remote areas, with very little, yet were still interested in us being there and greeted us with smiles wherever we went.   Obviously the lemurs were a highlight. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I think Sol was great leader - although his sense of timescales leaves something to be desired. If he said something would take 2 hours we got to learn that actually it would be 4 hours!! I also think that some of the advice given about walks was a little misleading, especially the advice that poles weren't needed on the first walk of the trip. They are!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes mention that the accommodation is in tourist hotels. I found this to be misleading as actually we stayed in eco lodges (which I prefer) - but some people might be disappointed if expecting a hotel. The accommodation is basic which is to be expected, electricity limited and on some occasions no water available - even though we had bathrooms. It's worth bearing this in mind if you haven't done this kind of trip before. The camps are  very basic so take plenty of wet wipes! We always arrived at camp too late to be able to bathe in the river. Don't be fooled by the trip notes to thinking the climb up Peak Boby isn't difficult. I've done quite a lot of Exodus holidays and I think this climb was hard - probably due in some part to the heat. This day we climbed to the peak was also far too long a day and is something Exodus should look at. We left camp at 6am. It took 5hrs to get up and down Boby; we then had a short break for lunch and then had another 5.5 hour walk to the next camp. Again, I don't want it to sound like I didn't enjoy the holiday - I just think that some people might be misled and then not be able to physically do the walking.  If you can cope with the above then this holiday is excellent and well worth considering.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think that this trip would be better if all the meals were included and paid for with the trip. The reason for this is that the meals at the lodges were a set menu at a set price, sometimes with a choice of 2 things, sometimes with no choice. It would then save time as we wouldn't have everyone having to pay a bill. Also, it would be better if the leader organised bread, cheese etc for lunches rather than the endless stops at supermarkets which added time on to already long days. This then might mean that you arrive at your lodge a little earlier rather than always arriving about 30mins before dinner.  One last point, to Exodus - I really think you should stop letting more people on the trips than specified on the trip notes. This has now happened on our last 2 trips and makes the group too large, the buses too cramped and space round camping tables too squashed. I really hope that this isn't going to keep happening as it does take away from the experience of what an Exodus holiday should be.   

  • 10

    Brillant trip and a great adventure!

    A delightful trip into the realms of Madagascar. Well designed tour/trekking holiday with plenty to see and do. The pace was good and relaxed. The opportunities to see wildlife were maximized at every opportunity and a host of endemic species were on view as well as some stunning scenery. Would definitely recommend.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are so many...from discovering the "giraffe" weevil, dancing lemurs, views from Peak Boby, entertaining camp fires and Armel's singing!!! Full of diversity. My favorite moment was dozing on a rock to have three ring-tailed lemurs join me for their lunch!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armel was excellent and a pleasure to spend time with. Without doubt a highly passionate man, with a great depth of cultural and wildlife knowledge. Made for a joyous adventure.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Like any country which has not got a fully developed infrastructure there a few hicups...or indeed bumps in the road! In general the standard of infrastructure was good, roads are a bumpy at times (in other cases not so and there are plenty of stops for stretching legs on the couple of long drives). It can be hot and humid so remember rehydration salts and take on plenty of fluids. The trek portions of the trip are well designed with plenty of breaks/opportunities to take pictures.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip is a delight and the speculator views and wildlife were amazing. All the standard hotels were good and had a local touch, very pleasant. The camps were good (tents/mats in excellent condition), and plenty of opportunity for a quick dips in natural pools/rivers. The food is lovely as well.

  • 10

    TREKKING IN MADAGASCAR

    A land of spectacular and diverse panoramic landscapes, friendly people and unique wildlife.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It’s always a great sense of achievement to reach a high summit and in the Madagascar heat and humidity getting to the top of Peak Boby was a moment to celebrate (and recover) but the main inspiration was the people. Always smiling and wanting to be photographed, chatting and curious about what we wear and how we look. Crossing the mountain from Antoetra to the isolated village of Ifasina felt like travelling back in time and fascinating to see the Zafimaniry people living with few resources as they probably have done for hundreds of years.   The isolation of Isalo National Park is as described... a combination of coloured, eroded rock formations, strange plants and the enveloping silence making this one of the most captivating places in Africa. The last night at the camp there under an immense star-filled sky listening to the local folk singers around the campfire was very memorable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As others on here have commented Solofo (Sol) handled the group with grace and patience. Always knowledgeable about his country, enthusiastic and organised - well apart from a tendency to be so relaxed that early starts were hard to achieve and on some days that meant arriving at camp not long before sunset! But this was all part of his likeable character and was the subject of much friendly banter :-) Our driver (Narina?) also deserves thanks for negotiating the often unmade roads in tight situations, crossing rivers and log bridges with confidence and for keeping us safe over some long long journeys.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is graded as partly challenging and I wouldn’t take that lightly. Having done many treks at much higher altitude several of the group had to sit out the long day to the peak due to exhaustion or minor knee injuries. Again the heat makes this a much more strenuous trek than expected. You are walking on very rocky terrain a lot of the time, so walking poles would be recommended. You can be walking for long periods in relentless sunshine so plenty of sunscreen and long sleeves are a good idea.    Although you will encounter a variety of flora and fauna... many Lemurs and the small things - frogs, chameleons, stick insects, millipedes, spiders etc.  it becomes apparent that the deforestation you might hear about is continuing and threatening the existence of much of the unique wildlife. Lack of education is part of the problem so maybe if you want to take something for children you meet along the way maybe books an wildlife or the ecology...and rather than handing out sweets some kids asked for soap.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip notes specify tourist class hotels, but aside from camping the other accommodation was mainly lodges. Although basic and clean these often didn’t have full electricity or water, so be prepared to go without showers for several days and charge batteries whenever the opportunity arises. I must add that I thought the lodges were a better solution than hotels, but you will have to modify your expectations.    A great trip in a beautiful country and highly recommended.

  • 10

    TREKKING IN MADAGASCAR

    This is the first time I have used any company such as Exodus and I was extremely impressed with all aspects of the holiday. The literature described the itinerary perfectly without spoiling some of the additional surprises along the way.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the ring tailed lemurs for the first time in their natural environment.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was fantastic and could not be faulted in any way; he was very knowledgeable, patent, ever-so friendly and a true credit to the policy of using local guides. He made everybody on the trip feel very welcome and his hard work throughout the trip was truly appreciated.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My advice to anybody considering this trip is to: Just go, you will be amazed. If treking and wildlife spotting is you thing then this is the trip for you. The trip notes covers everything you will need for the holiday, but you will need plenty of memory cards as there is just so much to photograph.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would like to pass on my thanks to everyone involved in organising this trip as it truly was an amazing place to visit. I can honestly say that it is one of the most spectacular places I have ever been and the way in which the trip was run could not have been better. Although there were a couple of mishaps along the way, it added to the experience of visiting a county which is so different from the UK. In all I am extremely impressed Exodus and will not hesitate to use them again.

  • 2

    TREKKING IN MADAGASCAR

    I was disappointed by how few opportunities we had to observe wildlife. From the online itinerary, it seems as if this holiday is about wildlife watching, as well as trekking and seeing the way of life. However, the wildlife we did see was largely incidental, or part of additional excursions that were not included in the trip. And when we did finally get to see lemurs, we were rushed through. If you're looking for wildlife, this is not the trip for you.However, every other aspect of the holiday was fantastic. Our group leader and all of the local guides were very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. The driver was exceptionally good - very good at anticipating problems and navigating undeveloped roads. The accommodation was fantastic and the food was delicious. The trekking scenery was beautiful and very unusual.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing lemurs (sportive & sifaka) in the dry forest, but this was an optional extra excursion. The day on the beach at the end.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armel is wonderful - very helpful and well organised. He is passionate about his country and eager to show tourists around and to ensure that everyone gets what they want from the holiday. He worked hard, while making us all feel very welcome and comfortable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take many blister plasters! :) Make sure you have a few euros left for the airport: they don't accept Ariary beyond security, not even for a drink. Pounds sterling are not readily accepted, either. The electrical plugs are all standard european two-pins.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Fantastic trekking holiday, but not recommended for wildlife fundis. :) Note: this holiday does not explore any rainforest at all!

  • 8

    TREKKING IN MADAGASCAR

    From the hustle and bustle of Antananarivo to the remoteness found within Andringitra National Park, this trip offers ever changing scenery and thought provoking experiences for all. I would unreservedly recommend this trip to anyone interested in walking in unspoilt and peaceful scenery

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Perhaps the most inspirational facet of the trip for me was the moment of realisation that 'personal wealth' cannot in any way be attributed to, or influenced by one’s own economic status. Having taught Geography for many years here in the UK, I have discussed with students on many occasions the principals behind GDP, First/Third World Classifications and the importance of trade on a Nations economy, but perhaps all this was in some way flawed because my own preconceived notions of Madagascar (The world’s 4th Poorest Country, limited power supplies/transport infrastructure, unstable politically and high levels of depravation) were all for the most part completely and utterly wrong. Yes Madagascar is economically poor on a scale developed by western societies, but in the remote villages away from the hubbub of emerging tourism routes, there is evidence of strongly cohesive and stable communities, who have ample food, well built homes and a passion for family and community that the West can only dream of.So while travelling South on Route 7 in an air conditioned mini-coach, I recognised that although I may have some higher degree of economic wealth than many citizens of rural Madagascar, I was able to appreciate for the first time that I do not have their social wealth, and within the society we live in today, this would be almost impossible to achieve. Trekking in Madagascar has thus afforded me the opportunity to reflect on the importance of my own family and friends in my daily life.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Upon arrival at Antananarivo airport we were greeted by the usual pandemonium and confusion surrounding passport control combined with an intense stale heat that no ceiling fan was able to cool. Yet beyond the etched sécurité glass panels stood an individual wearing a pristinely ironed black exodus polo shirt waiting to meet us. Solofo welcomed us with a broad smile, impeccable manners and an enthusiasm that is rarely seen. He immediately took care of our luggage and helpfully directed us to the windows of the Bureau de Change. I was once told as a child that you can only make a good first impression once, and following our brief encounter I was left considering my own politeness as it had been totally eclipsed by that of our group leader Solofo.Throughout the whole tour Solofo ensured our every desire and need was catered for with an unflappable enthusiasm and unfaltering energy. He took time to ensure that our knowledge of local customs and traditions was kept sufficiently full and helped us to decide from many an endless menu which zebu dish would be best for dinner. Perhaps for me my abiding memory of or group leader will be the term ‘Congratulations’, which he often imparted upon us at each evening briefing, yet it is with hindsight, that I think it is I who should had said ‘congratulations’ to Solofo each evening for his wonderful daily efforts, his patience and meticulous attention to detail.Solofo is a wonderful group leader whose realistic enthusiasm towards Madagascar is enchanting.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As a first time traveller and a real novice of global travel I’m not sure I can offer a seasoned traveller any meaningful or useful tips, so apologies in advance if you have already considered all of these points, but they are specific to this trip;1.       Consider what bags you take on the trek. I opted for a small Osprey day sack and an Osprey Transporter 65 holdall. This worked out excellently well as it can be carried by hand and easily converts to a rucksack should your porter prefer. This provided me with more than enough luggage space yet was compact at the same time.2.       Cable-tie everything you check in or leave out of sight. One small cable tie can secure your bag and offers you peace of mind against opportunistic theft. Some of the airport connections are a little lengthy especially in Nairobi.3.       Espadrilles are an excellent choice of footwear for this trip at all times when walking boots are not worn. Mine started off light grey but through constant use are now much more of a ‘well used brown’ in colour. 4.       Madagascar is a very beautiful country and you may want to capture its many facades but ensure you spend time enjoying the scenery through your own eyes and not just through the lens of the camera.5.       At the top of Pic Boby is a small note book where you will have the opportunity to write a short note to say you’ve made it. I would advise everyone to think about what to write on the way up to take your mind of the endless steep steps J

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I can only hope you enjoy your trip Madagascar as much as I have.

  • 8

    TREKKING IN MADAGASCAR

    A good all-rounder of a holiday - mixture of excellent landscapes to walk in, villages/ towns to explore and culture to experience.  Good blast of exercise spread throughout the 2 weeks, topped off with a day at a beautiful pool, right on the Indian Ocean.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

     The lemurs were wonderful, especially when they came around the tents in the evening you could really see how they interacted with each other! And the chameleons, you got at least one an hour just on the paths we were walking along. And finally, after all the hard work trekking, the day by the pool relaxing was a particularly inspired entry in the trip itinerary!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Group Leader Solof was a great guy. Really knowledgeable about the whole country and couldn't do enough to ensure all clients had a great holiday.  The other walking guides and camp teams were also great  - made all parts of the walking and camping run smoothly and put on some great entertainment.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Real good mix of a holiday so be prepared for the changes Some long travel days to get around the country - though these are helped with interesting stops, followed by  days all on foot. Accomodation varies between hotel and one-man tent, all great quality - do take an extra soft bag to split luggage for camping.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you are thinking of a holiday here then go now!  Tourism is still in its infancy and the country can be experienced without major western influences spoiling it.

  • 10

    Trekking in Madagascar

    A breathtaking trip, with the perfect balance of stunning scenery, fascinating wildlife, cultural experiences and wonderful people! Madagascar is a truly unique country with incredibly warm and welcoming people; this two-week itinerary gave a really good glimpse into what makes it so special. I literally loved every second of it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Impossible to give just one on a trip of such variety; every day had something new and unique. Getting to the top of Peak Boby was a great feeling; catching a rainbow arching over the hills as we drank beer with our feet in the river after our longest day of trekking was magical; dancing round the campfire with the porters under the stars was indescribably special; seeing a stunning sunset over the sea under the palm trees on a white sand beach was gorgeous; catching glimpses of the black-and-white ruffed lemur and the mouse lemur was unexpected; getting up close to the cheeky ring-tailed lemurs was highly entertaining; swimming in spectacular waterfalls was amazing; soaking up the most amazing silent landscapes was breath-taking; being invited into the homes of local villagers was heart-warming; and seeing the smiles and being treated like a celebrity by each and every Madagascan person we met is incomparable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armel was brilliant! Entertaining, knowledgeable, inspiring, but most of all with an energy and drive to share with us everything he loved about his country, he made sure that every one of us also fell in love with Madagascar!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't miss Madagascar, it's the most incredible country with the most incredible people!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • 8

    An amazing country

    This is a very full trip and full of interest from the scenery to the wildlife to the people. There is a lot of time spent sitting on the coach, more I think than is spent walking, but looking out at Madagasgar rolling past was never without interest. The accommodation is quite reasonable especially the two nights at the beach resort which was a little paradise. I went September when the country was still needing to green up after the dry winter season but it was still amazingly beautiful and lush in places.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to pick. Seeing lemurs close up in the wild was probably the most expected highlight but also other things that were not actually on the itinery such as the visit to the spiny forest park near Ifaty and the walk to the fishing village at Ifaty were also highlights. The mountain scenery was spectacular and the canyon was an unexpected treat. Opportunities to swim in natural pools.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was good and full of interesting knowledge about Madagascar and attentive but had not had a lot of experience with trekking groups so was not always clear in his briefing about what to expect, what to take etc for the walking. The local staff were all good and the guides great at finding all sorts of interesting things to see on the walks such as weird insects and had good knowledge of plants, birds etc.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If vegetarian dont expect a particularly good or healthy diet. Take nuts or other snacks. Make a decision about what flights to get. I went on the Air France flight which was the group flight for this trip and this meant that we lost the first day of the itinery. We got to the hotel about 2am after the long haul flight and rather than having a day to recoup and spend a bit of time in the capital (as in the itinery) it was straight up the next morning for a long day on the bus. There are lots of opportunities to recharge camera batteries but take lots of memory cards! It may be a bit obvious to say this but it gets very hot.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Every day offered something new and fascinating and the variety and diversity of experience on this trips is quite something.

  • 6

    Happy Monsters

    An amazing country and a great way to see it, but some questions around the ethical travel policy in a country where exploitation is so evident and the population so poor.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The people are inspirational - the warmth of the welcome and the generosity of spirit in the rural areas is like nothing i have known. The most idylic point was swimming in the lagoons at the base of the canyon having trekked all day in the heat.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was enthusiastic and tried to help wherever possible. He took good care of us all though I think that at points his communication skills were lacking and there was some tension around understanding details of what it a logistically intensive trip. The trip notes could be better set up to assist with this and some expectation management around availability of water / toilets / electricity may also help to condition some of the less seasoned travellers.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take as many spare clothes as you can carry to give away. The children do not ask or beg, but they are often running around in rags with bear feet or odd shoes... an old pair of flip flops can be used as anything from footwear to fishing floats... the people waste nothing and are genuinely grateful for anthing you can spare.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We had an issue with an Air France strike that left us in Tanna 24 hours longer than expected and with no details of connections from CDG back to London - we were completely abandoned by our guide who said we were air Frances responsibility. Becasue we had booked via exodus (as advised at the point of booking) we got NO updates on the fligt status to our email or phones. As the delay was on Sunday we called the out of hourse helpline forExodus who offered absolutely no assistance with regard to infromation on our status not did they offer to try and find out. They only offered to try and assist with paying for a new flight from CDG to london at our own expense and so appeared only to try and capitalise on our distress. I was very disappointed that given the nature of the desitnations you offer that your company was so quick to abandon us. Also note that (though not your fault), the Air France hotel rendered 5 (of 15) of our party bed ridden with a fever and food poisoning for most of our extended stay, an gentleman who had been suffering with prostate problems and had already spent considerable time in a couple of local clinics was also abandoned with us. I am pregnant and mercifully had not touched the food that that poisoned the others so I count myself very lucky. The other issue is an ethical concern - we had a fantastic team (20) of young men who accompanied our 1st trek - they carried all our food luggae and water for 10s of kilometres. I have two issues with this - Firtsly the guidance on the weight limits for this trek were vague and so many partipants had glass bottles of Rum, litres of coke, ipads, multiple changes of clothes for each day as well as other arguably unecessry items that these poor boys had to carry bear foot over mountains in the heat. The second point is the tip. We had pooled the tip pot at the start and I was staggered to later discover that these porters had received just AR5000 each per day... so a total of £4.30 for each person for 3 days of backbreaking work. For a trip that costs close to £3000 I for one would be MORE than happy to tip more. I appreciate that it is a poor country and this £4.30 may well be comensurate with local wages but i would VERY VERY strongly encourage you to try and set a trend to pay a little more, or perhaps provision for better refreshments for them either at the end point or for them and their family's at home once they retrace the full trek in just half a day upon leaving us.

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