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Holiday review by Simon Saville

Name: Mr S Saville
Date of trip: 01/09/2013
Number of people: 9
Country: Madagascar

Overall level of Satisfaction

 
Tribes Overall: "Madagascar is a fascinating country; lots of variety, and always interesting"
 
Tribes Service: "Excellent help throughout. Very good documentation with lots of details. IC Tours locally were knowledgeable and helpful. All arrangements went very smoothly."
 
Guides: "Our guide, Olivier, was great - we always safe and felt well looked after, and he was full of useful information. Our driver (Tuzusp) was also very good - he drove very safely, and the roads aren't always very good. (It is a third world country after all). The info sheets from Hely were useful, and the advice was correct. "
 
Social & Environmental Responsibility: "We used official guides, and felt that funds we going back to the right place."

Accommodation

 
Hotel le Jardin du Roy
Top quality hotel, good all round - accommodation, food, facilities, pool etc. Bigger than stated in the blurb - over 45 rooms (rather than 25). We enjoyed staying here. WiFi at reception, and Visa possible.
 
Le Paradisier
Lovely location - rooms overlook the beach. WiFi at the lodge only; Visa possible. Great place for R&R after a tiring road trip holiday. We did activities including whale watching, local nature reserve (Reniala), mangrove reserve (www.honko.org - recommended), massages, snorkelling, glass-bottomed boat trip - as well as sitting by the pool. Good food, idyllic setting.
 
La Varangue Betsileo
Lovely guest house run by a characterful French lady and her husband (she had spent 20+ years in Madagascar from age 2, and came back to run the B&B). Fantastic location, in the middle of nowhere. Has its own well, so water is potable. No WiFi, and cash only. Good food, with local ingredients. The only downer was that the facilities and treatment of our guides was less good - they said it was the least welcoming place for them (hence 'good' rather than 'excellent'). The owners need to watch this, as it's the guides that run the tours.
 
Les Chambres du Voyageur
Lovely gardens, well looked after. Good accommodation, though no dinner available. (There are plenty of restaurants in Antsirabe, though.) Cash only. WiFi available in reception on request.
 
Centrest Sejour
We would have chosen another hotel if available, though options in Ramonafana are limited. Location in the village is good; we could hear frogs croaking in the night. Rooms are basic but adequate. No WiFi. Cash only. Main downer is the food, which isn't great. Set meals are expensive for local rates (30,000 Ar pp - for lunch and dinner), and we used another restaurant in the village for one evening. This was cheaper and better.
 
Andasibe Hotel
Good location; we could hear the Indri calling in the early mornings. Accommodation in bungalows, which was OK, but they had big room that contained a smaller bedroom, so privacy wasn't great for some. Takes Visa, but no WiFi.
 
IC Hotel
Very good location, only 5 mins from the airport. But down a street that looks like a slum - which isn't very inviting (though nothing to worry about in the end). Owned by IC Tours, and an excellent place for an initial night - and day rooms at the end, although rather basic. Reasonable food. Free WiFi, but cash only (Ariary or Euros).

Our Memories

"We loved watching lemurs, and being able to get close to them. There were plenty of opportunities to do so. And plenty of other wildlife to see too."
"Watching the whales off the coral reef at Ifaty. Experiencing the local culture, including the "bone turning" ceremony."

customer rating

5/5 from 3 reviews

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facts and information

Time: GMT +3 hours

Flight time: Flights from Europe to Madagascar take about 10/11 hours.

Language: Malagasy and French are Madagascar's official languages. English or German is spoken by a municipal workers and guides.A basic working knowledge of French will make communication easier.

Visas: Most nationalities require a Madagascar visa, obtainable from the High Commission in London (or on arrival into International Airport.

Health: Malaria is present in most of the country. No vaccinations are compulsory.

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