Derek Schuurman
Derek Schuurman Senior travel and product specialist
"The undeniable 'weirdness' of so many Malagasy animals and plants adds to the country’s attraction as a destination for nature enthusiasts."

Beaches and Islands Reviews

'Njiva was a fantastic guide - thoroughly recommend him. Driver, Dodo, was also very good. Overall holiday satisfaction (Classic Madagascar overland: the RN7 route): excellent. 

Vakona Forest Lodge is a lovely place but they wanted us to leave the bar/seating area by around 9pm. 

Setam Lodge: good in all respects. Location excellent.

La Varangue de Betsileo: Service and comfort: excellent. Location, meals and facilities all good. 

Relais la Reine d'Isalo: excellent.

Moringa Hotel: good in all respects; excellent meals.

Princesse Bora Lodge: Comfort, meals and facilities good; service and location excellent.'

 

Ms Godfrey and Mr Naylor
January 25, 2016

'Fiona put together an incredible trip with short notice and we will remember this once in a lifetime experience forever. 

Relais des Plateaux: good for an overnight stay.

Vakona Forest Lodge: food outstanding. We had bungalow at end which was quite damp. Didn't hinder our experience at Vakona.

Eden Lodge: a little piece of paradise. 

Our experience with Rainbow Tours has been exemplary having both travelled extensively together and apart. We were anxious about booking a 'package'; we needn't be. Fiona listened to our requirements and organised the perfect combination of active and relaxation in a country that was more than we could ever dreamed of. We would both like to thank Fiona and Rainbow Tours for the honeymoon we thought we weren't going to get' 

Mr Finnie and Ms Scott
January 15, 2016


'Holiday of a lifetime! Michel in Tana and Ernest at Manafiafy were excellent ambassadors for Madagascar - well educated, informative, personable.

Luxury Camping Safari: Excellent in all respects. Couldn't have been better looked after; very comfortable. Enjoyable camping experience.

Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge: excellent. Elene is an excellent hostess and superb manager. The lodge runs like clockwork; her staff are well trained, enthusiastic and polite. She and they deserve continued success'

Mr & Mrs McClelland
December 10, 2015

'Service from tour operator: Excellent. Overall holiday satisfaction: Excellent. Mandrare River Camp: Excellent in all respects. Same for Manafiafy and Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina. Maison Gallieni (Antananarivo): comfort, service and meals excellent; location and faciltities good.

We had the most AMAZING tme. Thank you for all your help - it was a very, very special trip'.

Mr & Mrs Parsloe
December 9, 2015

'Transfers were very functional and helpful. The local guide at Andasibe (Dizzy) was outstanding. He put in a lot of extra effort to ensure we saw as much as we could. Overall holiday satisfaction: excellent. Anjajavy was a truly wonderful way to spend our last week. Only one small comment: drinks are expensive BUT everything else was fantastic'

Mr and Mrs Greg
December 8, 2015

'Your brochure offered us a suitable trip with option to customise sample tour. We had a wonderful trip. Food at Litchi Tree and location at Iharana Bush Camp wonderful. Sakatia Lodge is very friendly. We enjoyed snorkelling especially with Whale sharks!! As we are not divers, a magical experience. Very lucky to be there at right time of year to see Whale sharks'

Mr and Mrs Thompson
November 26, 2015

The quality of all our guides was first rate and really made the holiday as they told us about traditions and beliefs, had a good sense of humour - got us singing and dancing! They also had expert knowledge about the wildlife, history and religion. They could not do enough to help taking photos, helping us climbing up rocks, fending off beggars, translating in shops....

Overall satisfaction: excellent.

Petite Relais Masoala: excellent service and location. Probably didn't need the extra guide with us as the park guide was excellent.

Iharana Bush Camp: stunning location.

Eden Lodge: excellent staff across the board. A great place to relax but four nights was too many...we just got a little bored.

Mr and Mrs Holmes
November 20, 2015


'The trip met with all our expectations throughout. Aside from the cancellation of the flight from Tana to Morondava, all our other flights were on time. A highlight for us was the Kirindy Forest. We enjoyed the setting and the variety of the more unusual wildlife sightings, e.g. the Fossa on the trails around the lodge and also the Giant Jumping Rat, which was fascinating to watch.

A bonus was to spend another night in the area at Camp Amoreux on the return from Bemaraha. All praise to our guide Lova and our driver Fily who took us between camps to maximise our wildlife viewings.

Ankarana: here we visited the Bat Cave and also went on a morning visit to the Crocodile Cave (where we walked through from the entrance to the sunken forest on the other end), seeing a single crocodile in each, as well as many bats in the former. The many stalagmites, stalactites and other weird and wonderful calcareous formations at the crocodile cave were intriguing. Not surprisingly we were the only tourists at the Crocodile Cave due to it being somewhat  remote from the other attractions.

Perinet and Mantadia: (Andasibe). Because of the greater flexibility of independent travel, at Perinet our guide arranged visits to two lesser visited reserves within the park area: Parc Villageos Reserve and Parc Mitsinjo. There we enjoyed closer wildlife viewing with no other tourists in the vicinity, although there was a BBC wildlife team filming at Mitsinjo. Mantadia was  rewarding (and far away from th annoying crowds) and where the guide found a Scaly ground-roller for us after we specifically mentioned our interest in seeing one of the Madagascan Ground-rollers.

We thoroughly enjoyed Bemaraha, paticularly the Grand Tsingy which added a bit of interest to the walking. This was in part due to having to use harnesses in order to scale the pinnacles.  We are used to scrambling about in rocks as this is something that one encounters when walking some of the bigger mountains of North wales or the Lake District, particularly if one deviates off the main tourist routes.  However it will not be to everyone's taste and we did encounter people who had to turn back on the 'classic' route as they were unable to cope with the heights / exposure.  Also the ,rope bridge caused others to falter/turn round. 

By contrast the Tsingy at Ankarana seemed somewhat tame (not so jagged at the part where we went to) but it made up for it with it's size.  However we only had about 2 hours there as we had been to the Crocodile Cave in the morning which linited the time available to us at the Grand tsingy in the afternoon.  (We met some people whose guide had taken them on an 8 hour circuit at Ankarana, which was inappropriate for their fitness levels). 

What we saw of the Petit Tsingy at Bemaraha was a bit tame by comparison, although there was wildlife to be seen (sifakas), which was not the case with the Grand Tsingy on our visit.  We arrived there about 20 minutes before closing time after driving from Kirindy, but our guide managed to arrange for a guide to take us round a small circuit for about 45 minutes. 

In the evening it was good to be able to return to the lodge (Solei des Tsyingy) which was up-market, comfortable and had good views.  The only minor thing about the hotel was the need to order one's evening meal in advance, which is OK except that on arrival on the first day there may not be very much choice avialable for the evening meal, unless one were to arrive earlier in the afternoon in order to place one's order.  Only a minor niggle though.  (There were not many people staying there whilst we were there).

The route to Bemahara via the ferry at Belo-sur-Tsirbihina was enjoyable despite the state of the roads.  Now that the local govenor has some influence in the central government funds have been made available to improve the section of the road north of Belo with new culverts /small bridges being built as well as some straightening out and re-alignment in some sections.  No tarmacing or anything like that but an useful improvements nevertheless. 

Travelling the road north of Kirindy makes one realise the extent of the deforestaion, with areas the size of medium English towns turned into black smouldering landscapes that look like the something out of the Somme.  They seem to clear the land both sides of the road leaving a thin strip of vegetation either side of the road which serves to hide the reality from the traveller.  Quite depressing to see.  

Despite the difficulties facing the guides in Madagascar, we found them to be dedicatedand enthusastic at all times'.

Mr & Mrs Mellor
November 12, 2015

'We had a wonderful time in Madagascar and the great majority of things worked out very well. The diving, transfers, food and lodging on the trip to Sakatia was very good, went off without hitch and we really enjoyed the lodge there, and the people. In fact we got our advanced diver certificates.

There were a few hitches and cancelled flights with the aptly named Air Mad.... 

Some of the lodges we not of a great standard, notably the one in Kirindy which was very dirty ( full of litter which they  mostly cleaned up once we pointed it out). Also showers were cold.  We do not mind roughing it but these place advertise warm showers which were absent. Food was really good every where especially chips!!

All in all we enjoyed the trip a great deal and we pleased with the guides from Za tours, no cancellations there and they were very willing and able to reschedule our trips and destinations.

Thanks to you and Rainbow tours

Anne and Jon Bander'

Mr and Mrs Bander
November 11, 2015

'Thank you for an excellent holiday. Fiona Herring has been very helpful all the way through - thank you Fiona! We would certainly recommend Rainbow Tours to other people thinking of a holiday in Madagascar'

Mr and Mrs Monckford
October 30, 2015


'Having only got back yesterday we wanted to say a huge thank you to you for organising such a truly wonderful holiday which we thoroughly enjoyed'

Mr and Mrs Emerson
October 20, 2015

' Dear Derek

We wanted to thank you very much for all your help with our honeymoon (in July 2015) to Madagascar. We had the most amazing time in a country we'd wanted to visit for many years and it didn't disappoint! The itinerary you arranged for us was fantastic, and we loved the lemurs at Andasibe/Mantadia and the whales in Ile Sainte Marie and the sea turtles at Eden Lodge. Our highlight was the magical tsingy at Ankarana. This completely alien but incredible landscape will live in our memories for years to come. However, the asspect we most appreciated was the extra mile you went to to keep rearranging and re-planning and reassuring each time Air Madagascar changed our plans. We really appreciated all your effort and phone calls - it ended up seamless (from our end!) and some of the 'extras', particularly Anjozorobe, were highlights of the whole trip. We can't wait to go back to Madagascar! '

Mr and Mrs Warland
October 12, 2015


'We were very impressed that Rainbow Tours ensureed we had tickets on a private charter from Ile Sainte Marie when the Air Madagascar flight looked like it was going to be cancelled. This could have ruined the end of our holiday but it just goes to prove that Rainbow Tours are exceptional at what they do. We'd happily travel with Rainbow Tours in the future'

Ms Clements & Mr Stephenson
September 25, 2015

"Hi Derek, just a note to say thank you to yourself and Rainbow Tours for a great trip. June and I got back home at about 7:30pm last night after an amazing time on this beautiful island. It surpassed all expectations and so difficult to pick one highlight, but to list a few:

* Great support by Za Tours

* Excellent guides and drivers

* Lovely accommodation

* Lovely food

* Lovely, friendly people

* Driving through Tana - an experience not to be missed!

* drivng through villages, getting a glimpse of life - very humbling

* Rainforests were lovely

* Sainte Marie island - beautiful

* Performing Humpback whales - how lucky were we?!

* Wildlife, flowers, birds

* And of course...lemurs. FABULOUS!! Saw 10 different types (including aye ayes at the zoo).

I could go on but had better stop. Would highly recommend this trip. Will definitely return. Thank you to all the team. "

Ms Elgar
September 14, 2015

We thought you would enjoy these two photos which hopefully express how much fun we had in Ambodiforaha, blowing soap bubbles with the children, and touring Sainte Marie!

Ambodiforaha

Sainte Marie

Nicole Fraser and family
March 16, 2015

Service from tour operator: excellent. Overall holiday satisfaction: excellent. Anjajavy was paradise!

T Harrison & J Bawden
October 26, 2014

From the very beginnings of our contact with Rainbow Tours we have been impressed with your service and prompt replies to our queries. The holiday itself was an astonishing mix of history, natural history, culture shock and relaxation – just as we had hoped. Our guides (Fan, in particular) and drivers were mines of information, charming and helpful. Barry in Andasibe had an incredible knowledge and ability to find lemurs, chameleons and birds – without him we would never have seen them.

M Hall & W Bayne
June 10, 2014

A small fridge in the room would have been useful. Otherwise could not fault it. Superb

J Downing
November 11, 2013

The perfect way to end a tiring trip. Just heaven away from the busy Nosy Be. Everything to hand. Great food with great staff. Well organised and according to Ron a really top class dive school. The canoe trip round the island and beach lunch in the local village enabled us to support the locals and at the same time have a really great experience. 

D Fisher
November 10, 2013
Review items: Sakatia Lodge    

The dive centre at Sakatia Lodge is undoubtedly the best we have ever experienced. Jacques is the very best operator and can show (you) creatures never seen before. He was very helpful as we are older divers. The dive boat is very good and easy to use. All equipment is well maintained and was carried for us. We have not doubt this is the very best, top notch diving. Jacques uses the tides and his considerable knowledge (for) using the most appropriate sites. We saw better coral and sea life than anywhere we have been before (which covers many parts of the Indian Ocean – Seychelles, Maldives, Mauritius, etc). The hotel made us feel very special and we were treated to a dinner on the sands under the stars. This has been without a doubt one of our best holidays. We are grateful for Rachel’s superb organisation and knowledge. Please encourage clients to use Sakatia Lodge Dive Centre. We talked to some very experienced divers who used a different company and they saw much less than we did’

Mr and Mrs Nettell
October 25, 2013
Review items: Sakatia Lodge    

The staff were exceptional and really looked after us. Beautiful location and so peaceful

K Killner
October 20, 2013
Review items: Eden Lodge    

Perfect place to stay after a busy couple of weeks. The staff were exceptional

H Fuller
September 16, 2013
Review items: Eden Lodge    

The only place we ever would go back too. And we never go back! Wonderful

N Hudson
September 5, 2013

Best chef, should be regarded as Michelin star restaurant, what a surprise!!

S Lindley
August 19, 2013

Fantastic place and people. Very lucky with weather. Recommend upgrade to executive villa, they are beautiful

M Schunke
August 9, 2013

Fantastic time on the reefs and rainforests tour as a family of four with two teenage children. A little bit anxious before we left but there was no reason to be. We were well looked after at every stage….with a high emphasis on safety. Travel arrangements went smoothly, food was great and there was a nice mix of relaxation and interesting things to do (lemurs, whales etc). Madagascar is more turned to tourism than some websites lead you to believe. The dry season only means it is less wet than the wet season – you still need an anorak and won’t have any need for shorts in the rainforest. Really glad we chose Madagascar with Rainbow Tours.

Harrell
July 29, 2013

Couldn’t have wished for a better end to our trip. One of the best places we have ever stayed in all our travels 

R Doig
June 16, 2013

This is the best hotel we have ever stayed in the location, staff, food and service you would find hard to bet

R & W Green
June 9, 2013

Our guides - Clement and driver Sian for the tour and Marisol at Eden Lodge were all fantastic and so incredibly knowledgeable - just adding to the rich experience we had. 

I'm really pleased too that we did not stay on the Island of Nosy Be - Eden Lodge is something very special and the island is noisy and busy by comparison so it is definitely worth the extra money to stay is such private and tranquil surroundings. In fact you absolutely nailed all the lodges to perfection for our holiday and suited us down to the ground. As is was also low season - we were at a couple places on our own for a night or two too.

Kersten Catella
December 6, 2012
Review items: Eden Lodge    

Manafiafy Lodge was our favorite! Ed Tucker made us feel so welcome, and the setting was so breathtakingly beautiful.

Nancy Bell
October 1, 2012

Sakatia Lodge is a lovely quiet spot on the island with clean beach and a pleasant village nearby, friendly management & Lovely Staff

Malcomson
November 20, 2011
Review items: Sakatia Lodge    

Your knowledge of Madagascar was fantastic and the local guides were all fantastic, very friendly and knowledgeable especially Claudia. Princess Bora is a fantastic Hotel and would recommend to anyone.

Hamilton
November 2, 2011

Constance Lodge Nosy Tsarabanjina was amazing!

Anderson
October 28, 2011

Heure Bleue Nosy Be is modern & cool place, well designed Bungalows and good food. We had a wonderful time, saw some great wildlife and spectacular scenery

Atkinson
October 28, 2011
Review items: L'Heure Bleue    

The Tsara Guest House Fianara was a beautiful quiet oasis in the middle of a busy city, highly recommended.

Rutherford
October 22, 2011
Review items: Tsara Komba    

The Anjajavy Hotel was outstanding. 

Snell
October 17, 2011

Amazing meals with brilliant comfort, service and facilities all found in a superb location.

S Dawson
September 15, 2011
Review items: L'Heure Bleue    

Nothing but excellence.

S Dawson
September 15, 2011
Review items: Tsara Komba    

A wonderful experience we would recommend to others. The Princess Bora is close to perfection! Superb staff & food, the resort and spa were beautifully done. 

Everitt
September 9, 2011

We certainly ended our honeymoon on a high at Eden Lodge, everything was again close to perfection and the staff were so welcoming. an outstanding resort.

Everitt
September 9, 2011
Review items: Eden Lodge    

Sainte Marie was bliss, and very exciting for the whale watching (it's also worth noting that we went twice and Princesse Bora gave us an automatic discount for the second round).

: N Hamshaw
August 16, 2011

Beautiful bungalows on the beach and very attentive staff.

M Pullan
July 31, 2011

All the guides at Anjajavy were excellent. The food at Anjajvy rates a special mention.

M MacMillan
July 23, 2011

Anjajavy is fantastic and also such a warm welcome and the guided walks were also fantastic and with knowledgeable guides. The drivers too were extremely friendly. I could really go on and on about how fantastic it was… Thank you so much for your help and advice throughout, I shall definitely be recommending Rainbow Tours to friends and we shall not hesitate to use you again in the future.

G Cobb
July 7, 2011

Fantastic accommodation at Eden Lodge– every was perfect, service and facilities were exceptional !

M Garrod
June 29, 2011
Review items: Eden Lodge    

The team there are excellent.

A Prophet
April 29, 2011

Fantastic service, nothing was too much trouble. It was good not to have to pay for extras. Always well cleaned everywhere. The lodge is in an excellent location and facilities and the meals were good.

R & H Craig
October 30, 2010

Great Stay! Service was excellent and villas very nice. The pool was lovely.

Author: M & G Payne
October 30, 2010

We loved Constance Lodge, Tsarabanjina, location beautiful, staff very friendly and welcoming. Drinks are expensive for Madagascar, but not too bad. (The wine is pricy) We were sad to leave!

M & G Payne
October 29, 2010

The meals and facilities were top class. Excellent beach resort. Hotel trips are a little expensive but the free snorkeling and cycling were very good. 

C Hopperton
October 10, 2010

We loved the hotel’s investment in whale research and conservation. Staff lovely… I would particularly like to mention how fantastic the local agents were in everyway.

C Hiu
September 30, 2010

Wow! All excellent here. Loved every minute and the whale watching trip was exhilarating!

S & C James
September 29, 2010

Full marks. Very relaxing way to complete the trip. Great whale watching.

Author: M Wilkins
September 29, 2010

Top marks for comfort, service, meals, location and facilities.

Hunter
August 31, 2010
Review items: L'Heure Bleue    

Everything was excellent at Princesse Bora Lodge. A corner of paradise!

A Spain
July 30, 2010

Full marks for comfort, service, meals, location and facilities! Very attentive staff.

Reeve
April 29, 2010

Excellent. Anjajavy Hotel was simply amazing. The location, wildlife, service, food, nothing really to complain even the least about. It was the perfect start to a honeymoon.

P Thillainathan & L Pert
October 6, 2009

Just to let you know we had a wonderful time in Madagascar and my arrangements all went very smoothly. Anjajavy Hotel was wonderful , the staff incredibly welcoming, the accommodation was great but most of all the hotel and grounds were superb. It was so beautiful and the fauna and fauna quite simply breathtaking. Loved the fishing expedition - we caught 3 20 pound fish in 25 mins and the tea in the Oasis garden at 5pm and swimming at sunset in the infinity pool....... It really was paradise.

F Neale
June 30, 2009

Marvellous, environmentally friendly, luxury hotel.

Mr Christie
Review items: Eden Lodge    

Fantastic trip!

Mr Christie
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