I initially found it difficult to find reliable information on tour companies in Madagascar. I was planning a trip for myself and 2 friends and was lucky to stumble upon ‘Remote Rivers’ Tour Company who seemed to have everything we needed. They plan trips to suit your age, fitness ability and even take into consideration family groups. We wanted a tour where it wasn’t just sitting in a tour bus and going from one National Park to another or staying in plush accommodation. Basically we wanted to experience the life of the Malagasy people and their wildlife. We had a wonderful 18 days in Madagascar and would dearly love to go back.
Gary was excellent in communicating and checking as to what we wanted prior to our arrival. Ludo, our local guide who spoke excellent English, met us at Antananarivo airport and welcomed us to his beautiful county. He really took care of us from the time he picked us up until the time he put us on the plane to leave. We had several nights in Tana which gave us a chance to see and experience an amazing city before heading east to Andasibe and Lemur Island, both well worth the visit.
We then headed back towards the west crossing the high mountains and seeing an amazing amount of fossilized wood, local villages with their beautiful people and of course the lemurs. We also had a couple of days of very rough 4x4 driving to get to Akavandra on the Manambolo River. If you chose not to do the 4x4 drive Gary will arrange for you to fly in. From Akavandra we began our adventure paddling down the Manambolo River (very still waters-no rapids) for 4 days camping on the river banks each evening. Travelling this way we saw the way the Malagasy people in this area really live and the most wonderful wildlife. Ludo and his crew really looked after us during this time pitching tents and preparing and serving the most wonderful food in very remote conditions.
At the end of the river leg we had the opportunity to visit and climb both the ‘Petite’ and ‘Grand’ Tsingy de Bemaraha. Yet another area that is well worth the visit. From there it was to the Kirindy Forest where we did both night and day walks and also saw the Fosas. Heading south west we passed through the Ave of the Baobabs which we were then able to go back and see at sunset. A remarkable sight.
To conclude our journey we had several relaxing days at Morondava staying at the Chez Maggie Hotel where Gary and his wife Baholy live and operate both the hotel and Remote Rivers Tour Company. It is right on the beach of the Mozambique Channel and truly the most beautiful place to stay.
All in all a fabulous experience and holiday where we always felt safe and I would recommend this to anyone who wants a true adventure.