We flew with Air Madagascar from Marseille & back to Paris. The flights were very good & the aircraft was very comfortable- they now have an ex Air France aircraft with individual TV screens, good legroom etc. There are no direct flights to Madagascar & with the French history with the Island, the better connections go via Paris. Air France has the best timetable & offer connections for UK regional airports as well. Air Madagascar only fly 2 -3 times a week but the big advantage in flying with Air Mad is that the domestic flights are half price- so if your trip involves a number of flight transfers it really helps keep the cost down.
We arrived very early in the morning & had a couple of hours to freshen up @ the IC Hotel- which is ideally located 5 minutes from the airport. After breakfast, we then had the 40 minute drive into the city to see some of the hotels. There are some nice ones but the city is not really somewhere to spend any time in, so I preferred the shorter transfer from the airport & the IC Hotel. But if clients do have more time between flights & would like to be in the city then we really liked Hotel Pavillon de L’Emyrne – this was a small 13 room boutique hotel with heaps of character. Other good options are the Palissandre Hotel & Hotel du Louvre – both of which have a swimming pool.
After the hotel inspections, we headed to the airport to take the domestic flight south to Port Dauphin. On arrival our local guide Benoit met us & we left with the driver to travel along the very bumpy road to Berenty Lodge. It was certainly worth the bumps as this was our first chance to see the Lemurs. There were so many Ringtail Lemurs & the highlight for us was seeing the Sifaka Lemur dance across the ground- they were hilarious. What I particularly liked about this lodge was that they did not feed the lemurs & discouraged guests from doing so. The lemurs were all around the lodge & on our roof waking us in the morning. But we did also see lots of them in the reserve & also took a night time tour to see the nocturnal lemurs – those photos didn’t come out so well.
Next stop was Port Dauphin & we visited a lovely reserve called Reserve de Nahampoana. Staying the night in Port Dauphin is generally needed to fit in with the domestic flights.