Madagascar - PrivateDecember 2, 2013
Once we got to Madagascar, the trip was wonderful! Getting there was hell and, as you know, we missed the connection in Paris due to de-icing the plane and other things in Montreal. So, we ended up taking a flight to Johannesburg from Paris at 11:30pm, as opposed to 10:30am to Tana. We therefore missed a whole day which would have been in Berenty and instead went to a beautiful little reserve (Nahampoana) outside of Fort Dauphin, as we had less than 24 hours there. (Berenty is a 3 hour drive from Fort Dauphin, so it just wasn’t worth it.) We saw our first lemurs at Nahampoana and the accomodation was quite rustic but clean and fun. We had to knock off a few cockroaches when we first went into the room and the kids had to massacre a spider as big as a dinner plate. Plus, the temp. was about 36 degrees C.at 11pm, so getting to sleep was a bit tough, but we really enjoyed this part.
After Fort Dauphin we went to Amarina Resort in Nosy Be. It is absolutely fantastic, a 4-star, with all possible amenities and a beautiful beach. Getting there was part of the adventure, as we had to take a 25-min boat ride. You should definitely feel comfortable suggesting this resort to people.
From Nosy Be, we went to Perinet; driving from Tana it takes about 4 hours, but the scenery is magnificent through the mountains. Vakona Forest Lodge is beautiful – not as glitzy as Amarina, but very nice with good accomodations and quite good food. The 2 forest reserves we visited were great – lots of lemurs and creepy crawlies to gawk at and take pictures of, and great guides. Our guy, Luc, was especially knowledgeable and very nice. We did a 2-hour night walk there and it was pretty fantastic; got to see the rare mouse lemur and lots of chameleons.
Last stop was Morondava, and this is the only part that we’d say we could have passed on. The town is pretty grimy, the roads are the worst we’ve ever seen in our lives and the temperature was oppressive. The beach is rather dirty, nothing like Amarina. The reason we went to Morondava was to see Kirindy Forest, which although it was only 65 km away took us 3 and a half hours to get to (again, the roads were almost impassable, like nothing you could ever imagine). We went through Baobab Alley and got some tremendous pics, but the reserve itself was nothing special and was infested with horse flies which could really pack a whallop, taking half your leg off in one bite. At Kirindy we saw a few lemurs and some rather large snakes, but in terms of travel time it wasn’t worth it (especially after the reserves at Perinet).
Overall, we were very lucky with the weather – a little rain, but not much. Big temperature variations between Tana, on a high plateau, and the coastal towns.
On a final note, when we first arrived at our hotel (Relais des Plateaux), about 10 minutes from the airport, we were tired and a little disappointed, wondering why we weren’t stayed in Tana itself at the Palissandre Hotel, with a spa and nightlife. We kept returning to R des P, after our excursions to other parts of the island and every time we came back to it, it looked better and better and we appreciated not having to drive an hour into Tana and an hour back to the airport for each new leg of the journey.
Overall, a great trip, although tiring because we kept moving. The Malagasy people are delightful and our main guide, Harry of Za tours, was loved by all 4 of us. Just a great guy – so upbeat and knowledgeable.
Hope this gives you some insights and thank you for all your help in planning a real adventure holiday.