was so lucky to be invited on a trip to visit the West coast area of Madagascar – the only main area I had not been to. The trip was organised by the Madagascar Tourism Board & Air Madagascar – to Morondava, Kirindy & Bekopaka. There were 7 of us in total as well as our excellent guide Daniel & it was lovely to travel with other people – normally my trips are on my own so it can be lonely sometimes. We were looked after so well by the Tourism Board & Air Madagascar – we all had a wonderful trip.
We arrived into Antananarivo (Tana for short) in the morning & had a couple of hours to freshen up before heading to the opening day of the countries Tourism Fair. It was being opened by the President of the Madagascar & after the speeches I even spoke to him. I have no idea what he said as it was in French & I lapsed into Spanish – just to confuse matters even more.
The next day we flew to Morondava to travel straight out to Kirinidy Reserve & 1 night @ the Kirindy EcoLodge. This is a very basic Lodge but we saw lots of Lemurs during the day walk as well as the nocturnal walk – they included the Grey Mouse, Fork Marked, Red Tailed Sportif, Vereaux Sifaka, Red Fronted Brown lemurs as well as Magpie Robins, owls & the Crested Drongo bird. We even saw a Fosa that came into the camp to have a drink – I have never seen one so close up before, so I was very happy about that.
The next day we drove for 1.5 hours along a very bad road to Belotsirihina to take the ferry across to the other half of the town which is divided by the river. On the other side we had an amazing lunch @ a restaurant called the Mad Zebu, it was exceptional food & we met the chef who had trained in France but retuned to live in Madagascar. We were even given tiny hats to put on our bottles of the famous Three Horse Beer- the Malagasy beer. We thought it was such a good idea we bought some to bring back at the 1st market we saw them for sale.
Onwards for a long & bumpy 5 hours to Bekopaka – which took in another small ferry crossing. The ferry engine was broken so they had to use long poles to pull us & the 2 4X4’s across – incredible !!
We arrived very tired at our hotel where we were staying for the next 3 nights- nice -the Olympe de Bemaraha Hotel. This is a lovely & comfortable hotel- again the food was great & the pool was enjoyed after the long hot treks / climbing in the Petit & Grande Tsingy’s of Tsingy de Bemaraha.
The next morning was an early start to take the canoe boat ride along the Gorge of Manambolo River- in this area you are not allowed to point as there are Sacred tombs etc. really difficult not to point & we all got caught out.
After the boat trip we visit the Petit Tsingy leaving the harder Grande Tsingy to the next day – well if the Petit Tsingy was easy, I was dreading the Grand Tsingy. We were climbing up & down the limestone needles – which are Tsingy’s & much of it was a bit tricky. But we all made it- even me with my fear of heights.
The views from the top were amazing. The Grande Tsingy route was way to high for me so I took the more “sedate” route- still a bit scary – as it didn’t take me onto the hanging rope bridge. On the plus I saw lots of lemurs including my favourite Sifaka lemurs.
Visiting The National Park of Tsingy de Bemaraha is definitely for our more adventurous clients. Its tough going but the views are stunning.
Next day we head back the way we came, we knew it was going to be a long & bumpy 7 + hours- stopping for lunch @ the Mad Zebu again. However, it wasn’t as bad a trip back as we anticipated. Before we knew it, we were at the Avenue of Baobabs, outside of Morondava, waiting for the sunset. The Avenue of Baobabs was a real highlight & we got some amazing photos.
Sunset produces great photo opportunities & I did my best to catch the colours & impressed myself ?
From the Avenue of Baobabs we headed to Morondava for a night at the really lovely beachfront hotel, Palissandre Cote Quest Hotel – & finally we had wifi that worked!!! What did we all do before mobile phones, Facebook & WhatsApp?? Next morning, after visiting some other hotels we had some free time to visit the market to buy our bottle hats & relax by the pool before heading back to the airport to fly to Tana.
Our last stop on our trip is the night & the whole of the next day in Tana. We stayed the night in the city hotel- Palissandre Spa Hotel- which was lovely. Getting there through all the heavy traffic was tedious, but some of us took advantage of the spa!!. The next day we had most of the day to go & visit the UNESCO Heritage site if Royal Hill of Ambohimanga to learn the history of the Malagasy Kings & Queens. Then the excitement of visiting the handicraft market – & yes I bought 3 more baskets- I just cannot resist them – they are just so pretty & cheap!! Then onto another hotel near the airport for a day room before my flight, that night, to Marseille.
This is now the perfect time to catch with my good friend & ground agent, Hely..
It is always great to catch up & tell her all about my trip etc.
Our flight back with Air Madagascar to Marseille was excellent & I slept all the way- was fast asleep before the drinks & food service. It did help that we were upgraded to Business Class :). I arrived into Marseille @ 8am & my sister who lives on the South of France met me & I stayed with them that night before flying from Avignon to Southampton the next day – a perfect end to a wonderful trip.
If you have any questions about Madagascar or want to talk to me about the perfect itinerary to suit your preferences & interests, please do get in touch. You can call me on 01202 232335 or e-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org