Holiday review by Miss. Janice Fiske
Name: Miss. Janice Fiske
Date of trip: 29/10/2016
Number of people: 2
We had lots of special moments. Here are just a few that come to mind. At Kirindy the fosas walked through the lodge everyday! We saw the fossa mating up a tree which they only do annually at the beginning of November. We went out on a successful additional nightwalk to see the Giant Jumping Rat at Kirindy The night walks at Kirindy were great as they were thro the forest and not down a road with a myriad of other people as at Andisibe. Finding nocturnal lemurs was awesome. An eye to eye experience with an Indri and baby - after a long climb we emerged opposite an Indri sitting in the top of a tree. After about 5 minutes a little black bundle of fur uncurled itself from its mother's abdomen. Close experiences with Coquerels sifakas at both Gite D'Ampijora and Anjajavy Lodge The wildlife was fantastic - we saw 116 bird species (about two thirds of which were endemic) and 21 lemur species Climbing Big Tsingy - even if it was just to the observation platform - was exhilarating and we felt quite proud of our achievement. Some surprisingly good food with a distinct French influence at both Gite D'Ampijora and Anjajavy Lodge. Also en route fron Tsingy to Gite D'Ampijora we had lunch in Belo at 'the Mad Zebu' - the food would not have been out of place in a good French restaurant in London
We had a brilliant time. Our trip definitely benefited from staying a bit longer in fewer places and cutting down road travel by using charter flights. The trip exceeded our expectations.
Tribes really helped us get the most out of our holiday and put together the package we wanted. Tracy really had her work cut out dealing with Air Madagascar.
Overall guide was good and it was really helpful to have the same person with us right through the trip. When we had a vehicle breakdown en-route from Tana to Andisibe he sorted it all out with very little inconvenience to us.
Local guides were all excellent - great local knowledge and prepared to put the work in to find things for us.
Social & Environmental Responsibility:
Yes, as some of the wildlife reserves are run by local people so that we were supporting them and the wildlife.
Also the various lodges we stayed at employed local people so it was directly beneficial to them and indirectly beneficial to the wildlife as local people understood why tourists came to stay.
Unfortunately, that doesn't stop the forests from being encroached on by humans as it is a very poor country and people take wood for warmth and for home-building.
The places you stayed
We loved Kirindy Lodge. It was exactly what it said on the can. The bathrooms were poor and without running hot water but there was a bottomless supply of hot water on request and a huge bucket of almost boiling hot water was brought to your bathroom. The room was clean and comfortable. You were in the middle of nature and could walk into the forest following fosa (at a respectable distance), looking for birds, finding lemurs, etc. The food was good home cooking in large quantities and considering it was all cooked on fires outside was amazing. There was a large choice of dishes. The staff were lovely, friendly and spoke some English
A nice lodge well placed for a number of reserves both nationally and locally run. Very busy because of its ease of access from Tana. Consequently the wildlife viewing was seldom exclusive. it was very busy in the main National Park. Mitsinju and VOIMMA were quieter and Mitsinju was where we came face to face with mother and baby Indri. Mantadia is quieter too as it takes more of an effort along bumpy roads to get there. The food here was ok but did not reach the quality you would expect looking at the rest of the lodge. The grounds were immaculately kept.
Out of this world. Everything about it was just fabulous and well organised. The villas are lovely. The food is fantastic. The staff are great - nothing is too much trouble. Afternoon tea in 'the oasis' from 5-6pm each day is generally accompanied by sifakas leaping through the trees and a number of birds carrying on as if people are not there. Its a great place to see sifaka bounding - from tree to tree and also across the lawn in front of the dining room. There are excellent facilities - fab swimming pool and a good programme of wildlife and other activities. The lodge manager has local people and nature at the heart of everything he does. He has plans to introduce 2 tagged aye-aye in the next 12 months as part of a research program. There are aye-aye there already but too difficult to find to feature them. They have also had a fosa visit in November for the last 2 years and are hoping to gently habituate them. I am not sure if the have or are about to receive national reserve status. We were very lucky on our stay as including us there were between 4 and 7 people in the lodge. I guess this made it feel even more special. There were 20 people arriving the day we left! We were utterly spoiled there on all counts.
Anyone visiting Anjajavy, we would recommend you do it at the end of your trip rather than early on unless you are prepared to accept nowhere else will live up to it.