End of September 2015 I was most fortunate to go back to Madagascar and lead a safari with 6 intrepid (and really adventurous) travellers. It was spectacular in so many ways, we managed to visit a host of biomes along the way and came up with a terrific species count! The highlight possibly being able to explore the famed Tsingy de Bemaraha – a World Heritage site of global importance. This eroded limestone carst landscape is one of the most extraordinary landscapes I have ever visited. Spires more than 50m tall, hiding cool lush forests and icy streams below, and caves where some fantastic critters live.
To get there, it is a bit of a mission, unless you are fortunate to charter in by 208 Caravan, which we did. Otherwise it is a tortuous, bone-crushing, 13 hour hell-ride from Morondava on the west coast. We spent three days exploring this landscape, climbing, scrambling, scratching, traversing over 60m razor sharp shards of rock.
The photos rather tell of this adventure – make sure you see the ‘hanging bridge’ we all had to scatter across – look at the size of the landscape relative to someone just about to go over the bridge – that, dear friends, took some nerve! What a monument of utter splendour! We will be back here big time for some more explorations. We managed to also visit Isalo and flying over the Mikea massif on route just showed you how vast and unspoiled some parts of this Island Continent is. And of course ending up in the Andasibe rainforest was a highlight where we even managed to not only see, but photograph a baby Indri indri!
Nestor and John, our two Andasibe guides have been taking care of all Starry Starry Nights’ guests for the last 6 years, and in recognition of this, and thanking them for all their efforts, we decided to give them both a pair of Bushnell 10 x 40 binoculars. Lee has been in Madagascar a few times over the last season, and was at Andasibe handing these over as an official “thank you”. Their knowledge and uncanny way of finding the forest’s hidden treasures is nothing short of amazing.
Another wonderful development is that of a brand new private island being developed by some truly visionary conservationists. Miavana Private Island, one of the brands within the Time and Tide portfolio is being developed and designed by husband and wife team of Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens. I have been most fortunate to have worked with them opening North Island in the Seychelles, and for them to have a toe-hold into the amazing world of Madagascar, is going to redefine travel there. The private island opens end of 2016. Watch this space….