Madagascar Journals

Mad About Madagascar

A September 2003 trip to Madagascar by rodeime

Vakona Forest Lodge Photo, Madagascar, Africa More Photos
Quote: I went to Madagascar knowing only that it is an immense bio-resource hosting some of the world's most fascinating flora and fauna on what is essentially a micro-continent. Hence my experience was one of total discovery. My tour was arranged by: Adventure Associates

Mad About Madagascar

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Overview

Madagascar Photo, Madagascar, Africa
Quote:
Best known for its lemurs (the most ancient relatives of monkeys, apes and humans), Madagascar’s fauna also includes colourful and bizarre looking chameleons, reptiles, giant butterflies and great numbers of birds. Vegetation includes majestic baobab trees, the amazing ‘spiny desert’, carnivorous pitcher plants and stunning orchids (including the Black Orchid) among the rare and endemic plants. Almost all of Madagascar’s reptile and amphibian species, half of its birds, and all of its remarkable 30 species of lemurs are endemic to the island - they can be found nowhere else on earth in their native state. In fact over 85% of all Malagasy living species are unique! Most visitors to Madagascar will...Read More
Berenty Private Reserve Photo, Madagascar, Africa
Quote:
When you visit Berenty, you are not much concerned about the accommodation as you are there to see the fantastic lemurs all around you.

Many travellers report the bungalows as overpriced, but they are clean, spacious and comfortable. Perhaps you are paying a small premium for what is one of the world's key (albeit small) wildlife locations.

Laundry service is cheap by comparison to other properties and as with most places, the food is tasty and plentiful.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 5, 2004

Berenty Private Reserve
Along The Mandrake River
Madagascar, Africa

Vakona Forest Lodge Photo, Madagascar, Africa
Quote:
The Vakôna Forest Lodge is the key accommodation point for visitors travelling to the famous Perinet Reserve and surrounding attractions at Andasibe. Surrounded by jungle and forest, Vakôna Lodge is perfectly situated for day trips to the area. The lodge also has its own small reserve which offers an excellent close-up experience with a troupe of superb Black and White Ruffed and Brown Lemurs. The cabins themselves are clean and roomy, with a delightful "rustic" charm that is perfectly in keeping with the location. The restaurant and bar is perfectly adequate and of a standard that at least matches similar properties. The quoted travelling time of 2.5 hours from Tan...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 5, 2004

Vakona Forest Lodge
7 Kms from Perinet National Park
Andasibe, Northern Madagascar

Colbert Hotel Photo, Antananarivo, Madagascar
Quote:
The Hotel Colbert is one of the few international-standard hotels in the capital, Antananarivo. The hotel is a curious establishment. It is charming, clean, and a mixture of several styles, as the property has been updated over the years. The main restaurant is rated one of the best in the city even though the decor is somewhat outdated. I could not fault the food. Located in a convenient central location right opposite the main post office, it is handy to quality shops and services. A small supermarket is close by and is useful for defraying the costs of in-house services and purchasing supplies if you are travelling away on excursions. Laundry is ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 5, 2004

Colbert Hotel
29 Rue Printsy Ratsimamanga
Antananarivo, Madagascar

Le Renala

Hotel

Le Renala Photo, Madagascar, Africa
Quote:
Le Renala is a quaint, comfortable lodging with cute little beachside bungalows that look like they are out of tropical romance novel. It is well located on a beautiful white sandy beach, facing west, so perfect for postcard sunsets as the colourful dhows sail past.


The very satisfactory food was served at their own restaurant/bar which, while rudimentary, was full of charm, and the "Three Horses" beer was always cold and served by the glamourous Suzanne.


Le Renala is also a useful location for booking local tours and activities. The area is renown for the huge Baobab trees after which the hotel is named. Le Renala has a two star rating, but don't let that put you off.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 6, 2004

Vanila Hotel

Hotel

Vanila Hotel Photo, Madagascar, Africa
Quote:

The Vanila (yes, that's how it's spelt) Hotel is a high-standard resort compared to anything else on Madagascar and is clearly catering to international guests. By world standards it rates three stars.

It has 23 suites, four family suites and two VIP suites. The restaurant is excellent and features a wide selection of local cuisine, but like most establishments in Madagascar, service standards are polite but definitely unhurried.

My stay at Vanila Hotel was an overall pleasant experience with no substantial complaints.

Wesite: http://www.vanila-hotel.com/

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 5, 2004

Vanila Hotel

Madagascar, Africa
+261 20 86 921 01

Périnet (Andasibe) Reserve

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Attraction

Indri Indri Photo, Madagascar, Africa
Quote:
If you are staying at the Vakona Lodge (see separate accommodation entry) it's about an hour by bus. Your guide will lead you into the forest in a small group, pointing out the bird and plant life along the way. It can get a bit hard-going for less than moderately fit, but I went with a group of fiesty seniors and they all got there eventually. When you get deeper into the wooded areas, you'll first hear a far-off cry like nothing you've ever heard before. Sir David Attenborough described the Indri's call as a "caterwauling glissendo." I can't do better than that. Your guide will now be alert to the whereabouts of the troupe and your true adventure will begin; duckin...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 6, 2004

Great Leaping Lemurs

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Story/Tip

Berenty Reserve Photo, Madagascar, Africa
Quote:
When the vast island continent of Madagascar wrenched itself free from the mighty Gondwanaland tens of millions of years ago, it took with it a veritable Noah’s Ark of plant and animal species, and established itself as a unique ecosystem that remains so to this day. But only just. The planet’s eighth continent has remained largely undisturbed for the majority of its existence and has only felt the influence of man in the last 2000 years. In this short time, hungry humans have deforested 85% of the landmass, felled huge baobab, tamarind and ebony stands, remodelled vast tracts for agriculture and placed most of the endemic flora and fauna on the endangered and threatened lists. Consequ...Read More

Air Madagascar

Story/Tip

Air Madagascar Photo, Madagascar, Africa
Quote:
Air Madagascar is the national and only carrier within Madagascar. They operate a small fleet comprising mainly older aircraft that includes a 747-200, a 767-300, several 737s of 200 series and at least one of 300 series. Smaller DHC-6 Twin Otters and ATR-42s make up the rest. Despite the reservations one might have about the age of the aircraft, Air Madagascar enjoys an excellent safety record. In flight service is basic, but the staff are friendly and cheerful and perform their tasks competently. Seat numbers are not allocated, so the free-seating frenzy can be a bit of fun. Fortunately, the Malagasy are polite and patient people and despite several internal fligh...Read More

Berenty: Sanctuary at the Big Eel

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Story/Tip

John Cleese Photo, Madagascar, Africa
Quote:
To most of us, Madagascar is a huge, mysterious island somewhere over Africa’s way. Even hardened trivia masters stumble when posed questions about this enigmatic mini-continent. But chances are we could at least name one or two of Madagascar's famous animals. If you said Lemur or Chameleon, you can count yourself amongst the cognoscenti! Lemurs, without too much contradiction, are the key wildlife attraction in Madagascar. In fact, without the lemurs, the world's fourth largest island would have little else but bizarre botanic specimens to attract a trickle of garden lovers. The good news is that there are a slowly growing number of preserved forests in which these ancient primates can now...Read More