Tailor-made tour of Madagascar

Helga Kok and her husband Adam were searching for a special travel destination last year; somewhere with a pleasant climate and beautiful nature. They chose for Madagascar and booked their trip with our local travel expert Frank. “You can feel the love Frank has for this country and its people.”

Madagascar experience
In the past, Helga and Adam mostly travelled around Europe. Last year, they were looking for something a bit different. “We were immediately drawn to Madagascar,” says Helga. “It is an extraordinary island; a paradise for biologists as it’s home to so many unique plants and animal species. We thought the nature would be spectacular—and we weren’t wrong. We came in contact with local travel expert Frank, and immediately hit it off.” Frank has lived in Madagascar for many years, and knows the country through and through. “We felt the love Frank has for the country and its people,” says Helga. “Frank knows exactly what he’s talking about. He was able to plan a great trip for us, organized but flexible. We chatted about what kind of trip we wanted and Frank designed a tailor-made travel schedule for us. We spent 3,5 weeks traversing the island with our personal driver, Zoo.”

Madagascar experience

Travelling with a local

Helga and her husband had to get used to travelling around with a driver. “I did feel like a spoiled tourist at first, being chauffeured around.  But it turns out it’s really great being able to travel around with someone who knows the country well and is able to answer your questions. Zoo knew the best local tour guides, which meant we were able to see lots of animals. We also really wanted to visit a local school, and he was able to advise which school needed our supplies the most. He would stop if someone was selling local fruit along the way; we stopped in little villages and really got to know the island. I really got attached to Zoo in the 3 weeks we travelled together! Travelling around Madagascar with a driver is ideal. We felt very safe throughout the trip, and this way of travel definitely contributed to  that.” Madagascar experience

Discovering the local way of life

Helga and her husband like to come in contact with locals during their travels. They planned to do a mountain-bike trek in the country side for that very reason. This turned out to be one of the highlights of their trip. “It was so special to see people come out of their homes to greet us,” Helga recalls. “And all the children waving at us enthusiastically, just beautiful. During the cycling trip, we saw first-hand how people on the island live, and how difficult the conditions are at times. I always like to feel that our trip contributes something to the place we are visiting, so that the local population can also benefit from tourism. We were able to achieve this in Madagascar, by for instance choosing to stay in small-scale accommodation run by locals (rather than big hotel chains). We were also able to visit some fantastic places off the beaten track and stay in the middle of nature. Camp Catta for instance, on the foothills of the Tsaranoro Massif is a real must.”

Madagascar experience

Magic nature

Helga and Adam’s trip had many highlights. One of the big ones was the unique animals they spotted in the national parks along the way—from lemurs to colourful iguanas. “We did a wonderful evening trek through Perinet Special Reserve and saw lots of different animals along the way,” Helga says. “We saw ring-tailed lemurs (makis), large Parson’s chameleons, and even Indri-indris—the largest living lemur. Madagascar has so much to offer: nature, culture, animals… And the best thing? It’s still undiscovered. I loved just sitting in the car and watching the different scenery pass me by. Mountains, jungle, beach; the changing landscape never seized to amaze me. That would be my most important piece of advice to travellers thinking about visiting Madagascar: don’t look up too many photos or videos before you go, just let yourself be surprised. Go for a drive, a trek, a cycle; and let this beautiful place wash over you. You won’t be able to escape the magic of Madagascar.”

Madagascar experience

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