My first night in the gorgeous city of Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, is spent soaking up the charm and history that radiates in the air around the Pavillon de L’Emyrne. Originally built as a private residence, it now serves as a guesthouse that warmly welcomes my arrival to this island paradise.
The following morning’s light delivers the promise of adventure as we make our way, on a short flight, to the southeastern coast of the island where the luxury tents of Mandrare River Camp will house us for three nights. The river snakes its way alongside our tents and the forest around us is filled with a seemingly sacred radiance. Ancestral tombs of the local Antandroy tribe can be found scattered around the forest and nestled amidst its bewildering array of flora and fauna.
While here, our mornings and afternoons are filled with the opportunity to really experience our surroundings. I lose track of time walking the length of Lake Anony, a soda lake with striking sand dunes beside it. A lakeside lodge provides the perfect picnic spot, from which we are able to take in the majesty of the flock of flamingoes on the water that call the lake their home.
After another night in the luxury of the tented camp, a journey by road delivers us to the Manafiafy Beach and Rainforest Lodge. Here, a beautiful stretch of white sandy beach, fringed by the forest-covered mountains, awaits us and I find myself continually astounded by the beauty of the beaches and the forests around me. The sun setting over the water in which I walk is a sight that I will not soon forget.
Morning light brings with it the chance to choose between a number of unique adventures. Some of us spend time canoeing amongst the mangroves, while others board boats bound for bird watching in the wetlands.
That night, I join the others on a walk through the rainforest that allows me to witness the wonder of the island’s five species of lemur, a sight that reminds me how remarkable it is to be able to explore all that there is to offer on the tropical island of Madagascar.
After making the most of the seemingly endless opportunities that I have been given during this Madagascar Barefoot Luxury Southern Explorer tour, and relishing the rewards that every new experience has delivered, I prepare myself for the return home. I know that my time on this island has come to an end, but I am certain of one thing. The sense of adventure that first encouraged me to set foot here has ensured that I have made memories that I can carry with me, and cherish, long after I’ve returned home.