I departed Cape Town at 10am on the 13 November. Upon arrival at OR Tambo, I made my way to the International terminal where I headed straight to the Air Madagascar check-in counters. I was informed that our flight was delayed by a bit …. Air Madagascar made this few hours a bit more bearable as myself and the rest of the group were invited to the Premier Lounge! The rest of the group consisted of agents from Explore Plus, Jambo Safari, Self Tours, African Encounters, The Journey, Animal Tracks, Unusual Destinations and last but not least Air Madagascar (the educational was arranged by the airline).
We eventually departed from Johannesburg at around 19h30. Our flight was via Fort Dauphin. The funniest thing happened at the airport – Fort Dauphin Airport is absolutely small, the terminal building is no bigger than the Jenman offices. You literally disembark from the aircraft, make your way through customs, collect your luggage all to just check in again and make your way to the same aircraft!
We eventually landed in Tana shortly after midnight. Our first night was spent at the Panorama Hotel. We checked in at about 01h30. The hotel is located about 25km from the airport – yip, long day we had!
The next day we drove to Andasibe. The road to Andasibe is absolutely windy and the drive is about 3 hours long! So, for those of you who can’t take too much windy roads, keep you motion sickness tablets on hand! We got to the reserve just before 13h00. We struggled for just under 3 hours to spot 1 lemur! Our guide informed us we came too late as lemurs are more of an early riser!
The next few days were spent exploring the east of Madagascar. This included Brickaville, Akany Nofy, Tamatave, Foulpointe, Ille aux Nattes, St Marie (St Marie’s beach is absolutely idyllic, real breathtaking experience)!
The cherry on the top during this educational has got to be the litchi festival (similar to what we know as a carnival, besides the fact that they were promoting litchis) that we attended in Tamatave. If ever we were treated like royalty, this has probably got to be it! As our bus approached this event (took place on a beach front and was attended by hundreds of people), it was announced that “a group of South Africans has just arrived and we are honoured to have them grace our function!” As we entered, the locals formed a pathway for us to walk through and make our way to the stage! Our group leader was selected to hand out a couple of prizes for competitions that were held during the day. The hospitality and friendliness of the Malagas people were truly remarkable.
This is definitely a trip to be remembered! Definitely a place I would love to go back to in the future!!