we wanted to make the special effort of writing to say that we had a fantastic time and to say thank you to the whole team who made this possible. However, I must give special praise to Blaze our guide who did an excellent job; always prompt, always polite, always informative and always with a solution to any problem that may have arisen (of which there were very few. When the worst “disaster” is the hotel forgetting to prepare the picnic lunch then you know it’s been a smooth trip). Special praise also for our driver Pique, not only for his excellent driving on difficult roads but also for his permanent happiness and smile, even when the need for us to change money and to take twice the time at one “quick stop” park meant that we would arrive at the next hotel much later than planned.
Madagascar itself was fantastic. The scenery was outstanding, the wildlife superb, the local guides informative, helpful with excellent English skills and patient (as they tried to carefully clear more foliage out of the way so that we could actually see what was a blindingly obvious chameleon!) and the people friendly and helpful. We were surprised by the quality of the hotels with no problems or hiccups at any of them; all were clean, all were comfortable, all had hot water when needed, all had power and most had really good wi-fi (and even the two that didn’t had reasonable wi-fi in the lobby area – something that I expected to be a luxury everywhere). The Satrana Lodge in Isalo was our favourite for its tent-type lodges. The food was also a pleasant surprise, ranging from good to first class with the Plumeria Hotel in Antsirabe and the Thermal Hotel in Ranomafana being standout moments.
I’m trying to think of some negatives but none come to mind. There was, as expected, a lot of travelling but the car was comfortable, there were enough breaks and on all but one day there was a stop at a National or locally run park, but with Madagascar passing by the car window there was aways something to see so it was never boring. Mind you, we were grateful for that last day of relaxation at Ifaty beach.
So, thank you to everyone at Pioneer Expeditions who made this trip such a good one.