Derek Schuurman
Derek Schuurman Product Manager Madagascar and Alternative Africa
"Madagascar always delivers for those keen on wildlife – seemingly around every corner and along each trail, wonderful surprises await."

Antananarivo Reviews

'This [video of Daniel Austin's Wildlife Extravaganza October 2017 tour]  is brilliant! Many of the animals I thought I saw, but missing so much detail. And such spectacular scenery. And Daniel, thanks for your exhaustive list and very memorable group photos.

Thanks especially to all of you for the great company. I am now back in Paris, where the chill and short days of winter are setting in. Our trip in Madagascar already seems like an incredible dream, brightened by that amazing and authentic country.

My best to all,  Tony'

Mr Kleitz
November 10, 2017

'Gersica is an absolute star - knowledge of everything from culture to flora and fauna and any Madagascar topic inbetween. Nothing was too much trouble for her; always a smile on her face. The best guide we have ever had the pleasure to have been led by on any tour we have ever been on. 

Overall holiday satisfaction (07 - 22 October 2017 Madagascar Wildlife Discovery Small group tour): Excellent

We appreciate that we signed up to a hectic schedule  but it would have been ideal to weave a little more free time into the programme. We recognise however that there were often great distances to cover, which makes this difficult. 

Overall, a very comprehensive tour of a fascinating island. We went expecting an adventure - and were not disappointed!

Thanks finally to Derek for the excellent support and advice; and to Gersica and her team for their hard work and their dedication to make such a memorable tour' 

Mr Riley and Ms Stokes
November 10, 2017

'Overall holiday satisfaction: excellent. A gem of an itinerary and lots of luck. 

Camp Mantella at Marojejy had the best cooking of the trip and facilities are fine (for a Yorkshireman!): comfort and facilities good; service, locations and meals all excellent. 

Le Soleil des Tsingy: excellent comfort, location, service and facilities. Food good. Very opulant. 

Camp Amoureux: very comfortable furniture and friendly staff.

Andasibe Hotel:  excellent comfort, service and location. Meals and facilities good. Enormous rooms and luxury facilities. 

Daniel Austin was a patient tour leader with a leaning towards herps (reptiles and frogs) and Harry, the ground agent leader was excellent in enabling connections, checking bookings, monitoring our health as well as ensuring we had a chance for our favourite beasts through communication with the local guides. We were very lucky to see so many things but Harry's hard work may account for Mr Luck. As a 4th visit to Madagascar I can say it was a remarkable trip'

 

Mr Armitage
November 9, 2017

'Ankarafantsika was great and we saw all the main species including Van Dam's Vanga.... Sending you two photos (Aye aye and Fosa) which are self explanatory.

I have published a 33 minute presentation of photos and video on YouTube.

For those who have the time and inclination to watch it

David'

Mr Huntbatch
November 9, 2017

'I am missing the Malagasy forest walks already. It [Daniel Austin's Madagascar Wildlife Tour October 2017] was an amazing adventure for me...real discovery and conquering that have such exhilaration feeling. I enjoyed every day of the tour.

Thank you for organising all the logistics so well making it seemed effortlessly, and your deep knowledge making every encounter informative and interesting.

Yes I hope I can return one day.

All the best,

Van'

 

 

Ms Le
October 30, 2017

'Our overall guide Gersica was absolutely brilliant (Madagascar Wildlife Discovery Tour 07 - 22 October 2017 departure). Everything was well organised. Gersica ensured that everything ran smoothly and was extremely competent.

Overall holiday satisfaction: Excellent

Andasibe Lemurs Lodge: Comfort, service and location: Excellent. Meals and facilities: Good. 

Thermal Hotel Ranomafana: Comfort, service and location: Excellent. Meals and facilities: Good'

 

Mr and Mrs Fuller
October 27, 2017

'Hi Craig

Just a quick note, Want to tell you what an amazing trip we had.  (Madagascar Wildlife Discovery Tour: 07 - 22 October 2017 departure)  Not a holiday more an adventure!   All the things you said about the trip were true.  It is not a destination for everyone.  The journeys are long and tiring but necessary to see the different landscapes and wildlife.  We had a few issues with some of the accommodation but nothing we did not expect thanks to your accurate briefing before we booked.    We had a lovely group overall but a couple of them were struggling....   All in all everyone got something out of the trip....    We had absolutely no problems with it and indeed felt that we had a real adventure.    Our guide, Gersica was superb.  She was professional, charming, knowledgeable, helpful and patient throughout the trip'.

I am totally in love with Lemurs!!  See attached picture (one of thousands).

Thanks again for all your help

Very Best Regards

Mandy Upton'

 

Feedback report:

We had a fantastic time in Madagascar. It is a challenging country to visit in some ways. The infrastructure is a 'work in progress'. I think travellers should be encouraged to do some research before going there. It is a very special place and anyone who has an interest in wildlife and the natural world generally, should go there and soon. 

Our experience with Rainbow Tours was very good. Craig Kaufman gave us a very good briefing as to what to expect before we booked. It turned out to be very accurate on tour, so nothing disappointed us. 

The choice of itinerary turned out to be a perfect introduction to Madagascar. We saw a variety of landscapes and a good number of different species of fauna and flora. We saw 22 different lemurs, 10 different chameleons, many birds, lizards, frogs, insects, snakes, and a few other mammals including a Vontsira mena (ringtailed mongoose) and a Tenrec. 

Journeys were very long but interesting and necessary to cover the different habitats. 

Accommodation was better than expected in some places. Food was good but too many three-course meals with large portions. The tour guide Gersica was exceptional. She was always cheerful, patient, helpful and knowledgeable. On our walks through the reserves she was as good as spotting and identifying things as the local guides were. Her choice off local guides was excellent. They did everything they could to ensure we all had good views of anything they found. 

No complaints re: tour content; we had a great time and a real life experience!'

 

I am totally in love with Lemurs!!  See attached picture (one of thousands).

Thanks again for all your help

Very Best Regards

Mandy Upton'

Mr and Mrs Upton
October 25, 2017

'Service from tour operator: excellent. (Madagascar Wildlife Discovery Tour 02 September 2017 departure)

Jessica was outstanding. Knowledgeable, charming, efficient. 

Les Dunes d'Ifaty: very comfortable, beautiful setting.

Relais la Reine: Excellent. Lovely gardens.

Aux Bouganivillees, Ambalavao: basic but clean, adequate and friendly

Thermal Hotel: comfort of room good. Meals excellent. Facilities and serivce average. No lounge or bar; no easy-chair in room.'

Ms Yate
October 4, 2017

'The (Madagascar Wildlife Discovery Small Group Tour, 02 September 2017 departure) was wonderful and lived up to expectations. The guide Gersica was fantastic - I can't praise her enough. She is extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and very well organised. She even organised a birthday cake for me at our last dinner. Both bus drivers were excellent as were the local guides, in particular the guide at Ranomafana. He was also a photographer and kindly took excellent photos for everyone in the group.

I seem to have made a lot of comments about comfy chairs but when you're travelling alone its nice to have somwhere comfortable to sit either in the room or preferably in the lounge area rather than on a bed. Although Aux Bougainvillees was not as smart as all the other hotels, I enjoyed staying there for 1 night - its too easy to remain in a 'bubble' on thes tours. 

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this tour to anyone'. 

Ms Halsall
October 3, 2017

'I have never met such helpful staff as the ones at Eden Lodge. Nothing was too much trouble. The waiter taught us Petanque and showed us his village. There were only 4 other guests there; felt very special! 

Relais des Plateaux: very handy for airport. But didn't experiency city centre

Camp Amoureux: Basic but fun! Wonderful lemurs. 

Soleil des Tsingy: food good, but no choice of evening meal.

Palissandre Cote Ouest, Morondava: lovely hotel, shame the beautiful beach had lots of human excrement.

Vakona Lodge: fantastic place, could not fault.

Eden Lodge: WOW, Paradise itself, could have stayed longer! 

Would thoroughly recommend Rainbow Tours'

Head family
September 13, 2017

'Dear Helen

Overall we had a great trip, absolutely memorable.

Our guide was called Vola (?) and she looked after us very well In Andasibe and Mantadia.  There with a local guide, we saw 6 species of Lemur; Indri, Common Brown, Sifuka, Red bellied Black & White, Bamboo and Easter Woolly.  Having IS binoculars helped a great deal and with a new camera we got some good photos of Lemurs 30m or 40m above us.  In fact we could see things the guide could not.  The night walks were less successful, but interesting all the same.  Orchids & birds were a tad disappointing due to the season.  The Orchid Park was devoid of any blossoms on any of its many orchids due to the season.  It must be wonderful when they bloom.

The Andaside Hotel was comfortable and the service good.  We experimented with Malagasy food with varying success.  Zebu steak was good; a chicken curry mostly bone!  Rice with every meal!  Vola took us through the village to see how the locals live and Di bought some small locally made Indri lemurs. 

The road transfers were most interesting seeing the paddy fields and brick making and the washing.  More alarming were the mountainsides cleared and planted with Eucalyptus for charcoal production – but that seems to be the main fuel.  We came across a 100 or so people singing and dancing with a body taking it for re-wrapping; later we saw a second just as we were leaving Ste Marie.    We also saw the freight train; pity it does not carry passengers.

The transfer to Ste Marie began slightly bizarrely.  It was a very early take-off, but we had been directed to a back entrance to the airport, where we sat in the car for almost an hour as the aircrew gradually arrived.  Eventually we were admitted and processing the 10 or so passengers was pretty quick. 

The arrival in Ste Marie is memorable as is the transfer to the Princess Bora in a wagon drawn by two Zebu.  We very much enjoyed our stay at the hotel which was outstanding in a number of ways, although we do have one or two adverse comments which I will come to later.  What was excellent was the staff service who were all extremely friendly and helpful.   Despite the restaurant having burnt down a few months ago, the food was wonderful.   For the evening meals, there was a choice of two for each of the three courses.  Often Di had one choice and I took the other as the quality and presentation was so good.  Breakfast was an extensive buffet with plenty of choice of fruit and pastries and a chef who was pleased to cook you eggs any  style.  We always ate breakfast outside the restaurant tent with our binoculars.  On many occasions we were able to see whales as we ate breakfast!  Not many hotels can offer that!

We liked our villa; it is wonderful to go to sleep with the sound of the waves on the beach.  You might note that they do provide separate beach towels, so we brought our own towels back unused.  Also while there was one ordinary bike available free (another under repair), but there is a charge for a mountain bike – 30,000 Ar. for a half day and 40,000 Ar. for a full day.  We hired for a morning to cycle to Ambodifotatra to get more of a feel for the local life.  We had previously been into the town by Tuc-Tuc, but they travel at such a speed you cannot see much.  We walked to the Pirates Cemetery which was most interesting.  The sign says you can go without a guide, but we were compelled to take one and he was thoroughly worth the money.

After a lecture one evening by a young American on whale research programme, we went out the next day and had plenty of sightings including mothers and their calves.  Again lots of photos and videos.  We then got absolutely soaked in a torrential downpour, but that’s life.... 

The swimming and snorkelling are rather oversold.  While it is a major diving centre, the sea between the beach and the reef is only about 3 feet deep, is pretty polluted with a lot of weed and sea urchins and almost no fish.  We did borrow snorkelling equipment (good quality) on two occasions.  Locally we were told that you had to swim out through the gap in the reef used by the boats, about a 100m.  I did this, but felt uncomfortable that with no safety boat and a long swim back.  Di did not attempt it.  We were advised to try on the Ile aux Nattes and at the southern end of Ste Marie near the crossing.  However, we found the same.  Despite looking ideal, it is not a swimming or snorkelling beach.... The pontoon has a swimming area, but that is also not very deep.  If the pontoon had reached beyond the reef, it would be much easier to snorkel.  Another thing for your information, they offer Wi-Fi in the library/lounge but it is pretty slow and intermittent.  They also have it in the reception area where it is much faster, so we usually went there before breakfast each day.

As you know, our return flight time was changed and we are very grateful that it was re-arranged that we stayed a further day at Princess Bora rather than waste two days in Tana.  The flight in the Bora 4 seater was also memorable as we flew quite low.

On the final day, Lionel took us to the Craft Market, which was rather overwhelming – the relentless sales pressure is not for the faint hearted, but there is a fantastic range of souvenirs.  We had in fact bought most things we wanted from roadside craftsmen and vendors In Ste Marie.  After lunch we had a walk round the high town and visited the Queen’s Palace, where again we had an extremely good guide, who was an Anglophile.  He showed us the George III cannons and the positive influence Britain had from Mauritius before the French invaded.  Rugby is their second national game and his heroes were Jonny Wilkinson and Lawrence Dellaglio; a bizarre conversation to have in Madagascar.

Many thanks for helping us have a memorable and enjoyable trip; we saw plenty of lemurs and whales.   We had excellent guides, but we also saw how local people live e.g. when we visited Andasibe village and when we walked across the middle of the Ile aux Nattes; how despite their poverty (by our standards) there are plenty of smiles around and many are colourfully dressed.

Best wishes

John

PS I am still going through photos; if I find any good ones I will copy them to you.'

Mr and Mrs Mathisen
September 13, 2017

'Dear Derek 

We had a fabulous time in Madagascar, thank you. In summary everything worked perfectly (well jolly nearly and one cannot expect more in Madagascar) and we are delighted to have chosen Rainbow Tours to organise it for us and would not hesitate to use you again or to recommend you. 

 Madagascar as a country was an amazing place to go to visit. The wildlife was stunning and you did well in helping us to choose good and varied places to visit to get a wide cross section of things to see. With the help of amazing guides we managed to see a large proportion of what was available in each location. They also took the opportunity of time not walking to tell us more about the country, people and customs thus making us feel we had a better idea of life for the Malagasy. The degree of poverty and the difficulty of daily life for the Malagasy is eyeopening although we tried hard not to appear shocked by it. We will certainly look into the charities you suggest on your leaflet. On the subject of which our excellent guide (see below) mentioned Père Pedro and his work in Tana with the homeless, which I now see is mentioned in the Bradt Guide. Is it a charity you know anything of? By the careful avoidance of unsafe food and practice we largely remained free of illness and although we were obviously shielded from the realities of life in Madagascar for most people we hope we got a good feel for the way of life in the areas we visited. 

 We were very well taken care of.  Our main guide, Belaviv, was brilliant. After some changing of plans he ended up coming to Montagne d'Ambre on the flight with us and escorting us all the way to Ankify which we were very pleased about. He was efficient and dedicated in his arrangement of things, making sure we got the most out of every experience both in terms of enjoyment and what we saw. He arranged lunch stops in very good places and when he discovered Naomi was gluten free he rang ahead a couple of times to arrange suitable food. So when he collected packed breakfast for our early flight to Antsiranana he made sure there was a suitable one for her,  he rang Ankarana Lodge where we had lunch after our journey from Montagne d'Ambre on our way to Iharana Bush Camp and he informed the Bush camp before we got there. He was well informed about the wildlife in addition to the local guides and stopped to show us things during journeys. We had to detour to the office to get some paperwork in Antsiranana and he took the opportunity to take us to a view point for Sugar Loaf Island. He organised the breakfasts and dinners to get the most out of visits to the park in a very quiet but insistent manner to waste as little time as possible. He was also an absolute delight to be with, perfect for our family. He started out quietly and diffidently and opened up as the time went on. He was a pleasure to spend time with so we enjoyed any meals together and he took our request to  learn some Malagasy seriously. I hope you will feed that back as he is a young man who deserves to do very well in his career.... 

The drivers were all brilliant. Our first (Roy) took greatest care of us and never stopped cleaning the car every time we got out. He never left the car unattended with anything of ours in it which I felt very guilty for as he ate his meals in sight of it rather than with us. The 2 from Antsiranana were also very considerate and good humoured despite the road conditions in places. At no time at all did I ever feel in danger and I do have a reputation here for being a very nervous passenger after too many crashes in my Rally Navigation phase in my 20s.

There were always copious bottles of water available in the cars and the one in the north without the working starter motor was an excellent reminder that we had never taught out eldest to bump start a car, although usually it was just carefully parked on a slope to avoid any evidence that it didn't start in the conventional manner. This is an amusement not a complaint as it was good not to be in TOTAL luxury as that would have felt very wrong in Madagascar.

Local guides all brilliant. Edwin in Andasibe very good at finding things, patient with our interest and had a very effective 'bush telegraph to let him know what was where. It took me a while to realise he was not just conducting social chit chat on his phone but finding things for us to see! 

Antonio for Montagne d'Ambre and Ankarana was also very knowledgable, friendly and sensitive enough to tell Belaviv to make sure we did not take valuables to Montagne d'Ambre without telling us why or making us concerned as he was the guide held up at gunpoint there in October 2015. He told us later in Ankarana. He had an amazing ability to find wildlife.

Hotels: no complaints at all. 

Relais: very conveniently close to the airport and, although service at dinner was desperately slow on the 2 occasions we were there to eat, the food was good. Clean, large sized rooms, helpful staff.

Vakona Lodge: I am delighted with my choice. Loved the bungalows, grounds beautiful. Breakfast good, evening meals also good. Used our last morning to go to the two reserves of the hotel (crocodile park and then lemur island). Managed to spend ages at the crocodile reserve looking at so many things the guide from there said 'You are interested in everything aren't you)! but there was so much to see even if that was our first Magpie Robin or Day Gecko! Lemur island was a lovely experience for all its slightly un PC-ness in the fact that it exists at all. We persuaded ourselves it was a rescue area and just enjoyed the time there. 

Litchi Tree: Splendid place. We loved it. Hervé excellent in all respects, rooms a delight, food excellent. With a night walk taking us out we felt we could easily have stayed another night and maybe headed to the Cap d'Ambre or other more northern area for the day of arrival and had a full day in the Montagne d'Ambre park in order to enjoy The Litchi tree even more (of course this wouldn't have fitted with flight schedules but one can dream...)

Iharana Bush Camp: I did briefly wonder why we were driving for 1.5 hours away from Ankarana Est only to return fairly early the next day, but when I arrived I knew why. This was a delightful place. Very comfortable, very exciting and excellent food and service. We loved it. Even the drive there was interesting passing all the houses and the views were amazing. Good birdlife too.

L'Heure Bleue: Splendid choice, thank you. The bungalows with legs in the sea (or whatever the website calls them were sheer luxury). The view at any time of day was breathtaking. The only downside was that that side of the bay is in shadow from before 4pm but the rest of the experience easily surmounts that small fact and one can always get up to watch the sunrise instead. Breakfasts and dinners good and eaten on the terrace overlooking the bay. My daughter liked it so much she declined Tanikele to stay at the hotel. (Snorkelling with company called 'Baleines Rand'eau' just down the beach from the hotel. Pleasant frenchman and 2 Malagasy assistants. 2 sites for snorkelling round Nosy Tanikely and a short land on the island and then excellent lunch at Sakatia and snorkelling with the Green turtles after, good trip although my mask didn't have a clip and was just put through the mask headband so kept kinking. He sorted it out for the second session and it was fine.) 

Anjajavy:

What can I say? Paradise. We had the two cabins at the very far end away from the main lodge and in my opinion the best despite the walk taking 4-5 minutes (you just needed to factor that in to timings) not sure if that was requested by you or just chance? It would not work to come here before other places in Madagascar as many of the things we worked so hard to find and were so excited to have a glimpse of were just sitting around waiting to be viewed. We had worked quite hard with early starts and evening walks so felt justified in a bit of a rest here although there was still so much to do that resting was rationed. The whole experience was fabulous: accommodation, trips, service, food, everything. 

We met people who were here for a week and had spent a week either at Ile St Marie or 4 days at Andasibe and 2 at Tana, both arranged by Audley Travel. In my opinion they were badly advised. They did not see as much of Madagascar as they could have done in the time and I think that showed in their experience of the country compared to ours. Your suggested itineraries undoubtedly swayed my suggestions as to what we would like to do and I am sure that your approach is right and leads to a much more fulfilling holiday. 

Air France, however you are also right about. Poor disinterested service, 2/5 TV sets did not work on journey home (despite requesting reset), very limited food service (there are help yourself snacks during the flight but no information that they exist. However for UK probably better to have the last leg so short as opposed to changing in Istanbul, but close call. And although they had Gluten free food for Naomi on the way out they did not on the way back, the flight attendant said we should have confirmed it 48 hrs before the flight. As you will know from Anjajavy and most of Madagascar that is not really likely to work. 

All in all a remarkable trip. I have already read your recent brochure from cover to cover to see where to go next...

Thank you again to all at Rainbow who made this trip not just possible but such an incredible experience for the whole family.

Kind Regards

Sonia  C'

 

Chavasse family
August 2, 2017

'Hi Helen,

Thank you very much for your email, and even more for setting us up for such an amazing honeymoon.

We loved staying at Andasibe Hotel (and we really liked Maison Gallieni too).

The local guide in Madagascar, Dennis, was excellent, and so was the driver. We would thoroughly recommend them to anyone going there. Dennis is extremely knowledgeable, and provided us guidance on what we could have done in the park while leaving us time and space for us to make up our own mind on what would work best for us.

Unfortunately having only two full days to spend in the area meant that we could not visit the Mantadia park, also because the quickest road leading there has been badly damaged by the cyclone and access was very difficult. Going back in time we would probably like to spend another day there, but this is our fault... We loved the excursions in the Andasibe park both during the day and at night, and we got to see two Indri families and several Sifaka from a close distance.

Thank you for flagging up the tree planting activities organised by Mitsinjo: we felt it was a really worthwhile cause, and we think this should really be promoted among tourists going to Andasibe.

On the way back to Tana before taking the flight to Mauritius, Dennis also made sure that we could spend some time in a souvenir shop, so that we could get something for friends and relatives.

As for Mauritius, Trou aux Biches is fabulous, and thank you for recommending it to us! The beach is stunning, and so are the scenery and the food. The beach would be even better if they managed to move the motor boats away, as one local beach vendor told us they are already planning to do, as they are quite noisy and tend to run pretty close to the swimming area.

Overall, we are extremely happy with Rainbow Tours: it was the first time ever we were travelling with a travel agency, and we could not have hoped for a better experience. We have already recommended it to some friends, and we will keep doing so whenever the opportunity arises. Needless to say, we will get in touch when we plan our next long-distance trip.

Thank you again for your guidance and assistance.

Best wishes,

Roberto & Daniela'

 

Mr and Mrs Roccu
July 24, 2017

'Hello Derek,

Thanks for the welcome home and thanks so much for organizing our amazing trip! The trip surpassed anything we thought it would be! It was definitely the trip of a lifetime. 

Quite an eyeopener into the life of these poor people. They have so little yet they work so hard and keep smiling.....such a contrast to we privileged North Americans who have so much, take so much for granted and often to not appreciate what we have nor each other. As I tackle my laundry from the trip, I will never again complain about having to do numerous loads in my washing machine!

We were incredibly well taken care of, though I often felt guilty being in such beautiful accommodations with incredible meals. The only thing that eased my guilt was knowing that our tourism creates many jobs to help the people. All hotels were great. Would have liked to have stayed longer than 10 hours at Royal Palissandre (sort of a tease of a visit because we arrived and left in the dark yet could hear the ocean and saw how beautiful the place was), however, I don't think we would have wanted any less time anywhere else. Probably needed another day or two!

Soleil des Tsingy was probably the best, though Princess Bora was fantastic and probably would have been the best had the unfortunate incident of their restaurant not happened. They were working very quickly on the temporary and original restaurant, so let your clients know they don't need to worry. We are very glad that we didn't choose to go to a different hotel. We had a beautiful villa right on the beach.

Le Camp Amoureux was a unique experience, with friendly staff, clean accommodations and good food. Relais des Plateaux was also very good - two basic rooms (the night we arrived and as our day room) and one beautiful spacious room on our longer stay. 

Our guides were wonderful. We had Too (not correct spelling of his name but can't remember how it's spelt) for the first week, Michael at Andasibe, as well as Andry in Tana. They were all great. 

Our drivers Justin and Marc were also amazing and we felt totally safe with them behind the wheel. I certainly wouldn't want to drive there!

Whale-watching in Isle Saint Marie was probably Mike's highlight - we went three times on the boat as well as spotting them from the beach. Whale-watching probably ties with finding lemurs for me. The whole experience (even that road to get to Soleil des Tsingy with its ferries!) was fantastic!

No complaints about anything...everything was amazing! 

Thanks so much!

Janet and Mike'

 

 

 

 

Mr and Mrs Stooke
July 20, 2017

'We had a wonderful time.  Highlights were of course the lemurs!

Mitch also loved the diving (particularly the floor diving) and I absolutely loved the horse-riding.

Food was great too, at Sakatia but we do eat a lot and I think impressed them with our abilities.  Also great massages.

 Loved the wildlife! Wish more could be preserved.'

Dr Carbone and Mr Watsky
June 27, 2017

'Everything worked like a dream. There were no hiccups. Jessica was very informative and eager to go the extra mile to ensure that we were able to do everything we wanted to. Michael was also an excellent guide, showing great concern for our well-being. He told us lots about the politics and cultural life of Madagascar. 

The Litchi Tree: beautigul gardens, Herve was charming.

Iharana Bush Camp: arriving after dark, the accommodation was so poorly lit it was difficult to unpack. Shaving in the bathroom with loits of baby frogs was unnerving initially but in the daylight we got to enjoy their company. 

Sakatia Lodge: it was a tropical island paradise. The family were very friendly and tried hard to ensure we had a good time.

Andasibe Hotel: the lighting was poor. 

Considering our brief of lemurs, baobabs and some beach time we feel you did us proud. It all worked out very well and we had a really fantastic holiday which we will have fond memories of for a long time.  The guides made it for us. Jessica even told us a traditional Malagasy story about the drongo and the fruit bat. '

Mr and Mrs Zacal
June 26, 2017

'Dear Derek

We just wanted to thank you very must for your help and organisation of our holiday.

Our guide was Mike, he said he know you well. We found him excellent.

 

The tour company in Mauritius was very attentive and meet and guided us through to check in and departures.

We had a fantastic time in Madagascar and a very special stay in Mauritius.

 

Best regards

Timothy and Gaynor'

Mr and Mrs Faulks
June 26, 2017

Hi Helen

Overall we had an absolute fantastic trip! Everything went off seamlessly! It was both of our first experiences hiring a company like Rainbow tours on our own and I must say it’s been a pleasant experience from beginning to end: You were timely with responses, you listened to what we wanted and it was all in there in the itinerary. 

Rija was our favorite guide and Loren our favorite driver. They were so much fun and agreeable about stopping, pointing out all the wildlife and surroundings. Rija did all that she could to obtain information and provide us with the best info possible on our hikes.  

The accommodations were all very comfortable and the staff was always very nice and accommodating. Our first stop at Litchi Tree, the owner, Herve, was always polite and accommodating to Michelle and I. 

Bush Camp was amazing, staff attentive and friendly and they had frogs in the toilet! We personally love frogs in the toilet and our own toilets at home are now a huge disappointment :) Eden Lodge also amazing with fantastic staff. And super bonus that we were the ONLY ones there! It really was like having our own private beach. Vakona lodge also great. The rooms were underwhelming after Litchi, Bush and Eden but there was nothing wrong with them. In fact our room had a cat on the porch and that was a welcome bonus. Again staff and was great. The physical surroundings of Vakona were just beautiful and Lemur Island was definitely a huge highlight. Just icing on the cake! 

The place by the airport, Relais des Plateau (?), was okay. Our last stay there which was the afternoon/evening before we left they put us in room 5. Directly behind room 5 is where they burn the rubbish. It was quite an unpleasant smell. We discussed going to the front desk but decided since we weren’t staying the night… But I do regret not saying something. But I suggest for future bookings, tell them no room 5. 

Highlights for me are the Tsingy and ALL the lemurs. It was amazing to have lemurs on your shoulder but they were spectacular to behold on in the wild as well. I enjoy seeing as many animals as possible in the wild and we saw a LOT!

Our guide, Stefan, and driver - whose name I can’t recall! - were good. It was a different experience after being with Rija but still good. Stefan didn’t eat with us and we weren’t sure if it was because we are women, or just technically they are off the clock and eating with us is purely a personal choice. But he was great and loved taking pictures for us which was super helpful during Lemur Island. 

Thank you so much! We plan to be back to book with you! 

I’ll get some pictures together.

Molly 

 

Ms Gras-Usry and Ms Norsen
May 24, 2017

'We felt Anjajavy was just amazing. Staff were superb; animal viewing excellent. The balance of travel; the walks, down time was just right for us. Other people did more excursions but we were vedry happy to relax and digest the sites. The whole Anjajavy experience was one of the best we have had anywhere. The ethos of service/ balance with environment/ comittment to local people/ wildlife/ luxury excursions (private picnic on beach etc) was outstanding. We expected a Relais & Chateaux to be mainly French influenced but the majority of the guests were Anglophone. Cedric was an exceptional manager and was available to talk often. 

NB travelling Premium Economy was worth every penny as it gets you through immigration in Tana quite quickly  - if you are at the back of the plane it is very different'

 

Mr and Rev Thomas
December 8, 2016

'Dear Derek

We chose Madagascar as a joint destination with ourselves and the Keens and it was Chrissy who did the research on which might be the best travel company to use. She found Rainbow Tours, and in fact they used the company some years ago for a trip in Africa.  To our minds her choice has been excellent and we finish the trip with a high regard for the company.  

All the arrangements have worked wonderfully well.  We have been very pleased indeed with our guides and drivers and the hotel accommodation has been right on the button with one exception.   More specific comments are below.  We have rated each hotel out of 10 and allocated the rating recognising the type of hotel we were in (e.g. Setam Lodge and Relais de la Reine are in different categories and marked accordingly)

Arrival and first night: The flight from Paris was fine and we were safely greeted by Vola and Mamy on arrival and installed with no trouble at the Relais des Plateaux - the ideal close to airport location. It provided exactly the service that was needed.  8/10

Day one and Couleur Cafe.  This is an excellent choice of hotel. Charming style and ambience, beautiful well maintained gardens and a high standard of service from the staff.  The decor was wonderfully amusing and the whole style of the place suited all four of us admirably.  We got our first taste of Ti Punch here and continued with them for a good part of the trip.  10/10

Days 2 - 4 Setam Lodge. The drive from Antananarivo through Antsirabe to Setam provided us with the most wonderful scenery despite the distressing poverty which is such a feature of Malagasy life. We were struck by people's industriousness as they went about the business of keeping body and soul together and by the smiles and friendliness we encountered.
Setam Lodge was good forest accommodation although the food was pretty unexciting. We suspect that it was probably the best available anywhere in the area, so no complaints from us. And they managed to put a comet moth just outside the dining room for us to admire and wonder at!  8/10


We enjoyed our first proper rainforest walks and were rewarded with some good lemur sightings.  The second of the two days was particularly enjoyable as there were very few other people in our area of the forest and so we were not fighting for viewing vantage points.  Chantal, the local guide, and her spotter did a great job of finding us some wonderful sights including a beautiful painted frog and the giraffe "bug". It was fascinating to observe how they listened and watched in order to show us the range of forest wildlife.

Day 5    Anja Park and Varangue de Betsileo.  Needless to say the ring tail lemurs of Anja Parc  stole our hearts, with lots of "Ooohs' and "Aaaahs" as they leapt around us.  With respect to the accommodation here we suspect you are in a bit of a bind with little else available within easy driving distance.  

To be honest while the location was very attractive and the rooms spacious and clean, our hosts were clearly doing everything on the cheap.    The only bedroom chairs masquerading as bedside tables, no water glasses (or water for that matter) and a measly bit of soap in the bathroom, two wire hangers, no curtains on the glass paned doors so that to have any privacy it was necessary to close the door and window shutters, leaving the room in the dark. In response to  the question "do you have a hairdryer?",  our hostess said that as she had short hair she did not see the need for one!  Dinner was a poor affair and the only wine available virtually undrinkable.  The final straw was that they charged for water at breakfast and left the offer of eggs until the last minute when we were rising from the table. We turned them down politely.

Recognising that there is probably not a lot of choice as to hotels, we wonder if Rainbow Tours were to have a discussion with them they might up their game.   Even if they were to charge 10 euros more a night that would be a reasonable trade off to get some of the amenities which ought to be standard. Rating 3/10


Days 6 - 10  Relais de la Reine.  Well,  what a wonderful contrast! A beautiful hotel, the most glorious gardens, charming staff, great food, Ti Punches some of the best.  The only thing to spoil it all was the news that Trump had won!!  Rating 10/10
Here too our walks were splendid and the Black Pool that we found at the top of the ravine was paradise. A great stay.   And then on to the Zombitse Transition Forest which too was wonderful.  The sifakas performed magnificently for us.  The Arboretum visit which followed was also very interesting and much enjoyed especially by the Keens who are much more plantsmen than we are.  

The overnight stop in Tulear was fine (Rating 8/10) and we were very sorry to say farewell to Vola and Mamy (sp?). They were a splendid team and really took trouble to make sure that we were well looked after.  Mamy drove superbly and at no time did we have the slightest sense that he was not in full control of our safety. It was also touching to see that he quite clearly looked out for Vola as well!  She demonstrated liveliness, humour, a strong sense of responsibility for our well-being and good knowledge in responding to our questions. In particular she was very good in controlling things on the occasions that we stopped and left the car, making sure the begging children did not crowd us and that each got his fair share of sweets or bread.  

Days 11 - 14 Vakhona Lodge After the somewhat hair-raising drive from Tana to Vakhona (one of us felt really quite uncomfortable with this) we actually had the most magnificent stay here. Our new guide Stephan and driver Nyna were again charming and the local guide we had here (Sacha?) was very knowledgeable indeed. We really enjoyed him and his little twists of gentle humour. They went to a great deal of trouble to make sure we were not in crowded spots and yet still managed to get some wonderful lemur, indri and bird sightings for us.  

The lodge itself was very well appointed, beautifully set in the forest, and the food was good - and of course the Ti Punches!  We left with great reluctance, but at least we had the up close and personal experience of the lemurs just before we left!  Rating 9/10

So finally on to the last week at the Ravintsara.  Once more a really wonderful hotel, charming staff whose only wish is to make sure we had a fully relaxed and comfortable stay.  The massage and spa treatments were of excellent quality, food was good and varied and the view from our bungalow over the channel was peaceful.  The gardens were absolutely beautiful. A perfect end to our stay  so we go back to London and France with great reluctance but feeling well set up for the winter.  Rating 10/10

Thank you for your help in arranging this trip for us.  We will remember it with pleasure for many years to come.

If you would like to contact us regarding any of these comments please don't hesitate to do so.  In the meantime our very good wishes to you

Hilary and Kazia' (part of Keen party)

 

Ms Smith and Ms Kantor (Keen party)
December 6, 2016

'Thanks to Fiona for all organisation. Njeeva was fantastic; he was with us for the whole trip except for Nosy Saba. Please advise the local agency of his conduct and empathy.

Litchi Tree is a brillaint place.

Nosy Saba is totally superb; great staff. Would love to go back'. 

 

Mr Pope and Ms Pyman
December 6, 2016

'We undoubtedly feel we made the right choice of tour operator, paricularly in respect of accommodation, guides and logistics. Local knowledge shone through. Quality of all these factors added greatly to the enjoyment of the holiday. Very good to have included Tsimanampetsotsa National Park (also Herilala's favourite). We felt things got steadily better the further south-west we got. Where else do you offer good holidays? 

No question - we will definitely strongly recommend Rainbow Tours if anyone asks us about Madagascar. Thank you for being the very helpful and informative details and for the copy of the Bradt Guide'

Mr and Mrs Bush
December 5, 2016

'We enjoyed this holiday greatly. The itinerary was good but it was the local guide Mike who did a fantastic job on the ground to make the tour work seamlessly. Some of our fellow travellers were very experienced world travellers but we found their expectations to be very high to the point of being ridiculous eg complaining that beer was 'not cold enough'. Overall a fantastic holiday - Thanks!'

Mr Stevenson and Ms Dewberry
December 1, 2016

'Vakona Forest Lodge, Andasibe: lovely location.

Allamanda Hotel, Antsiranana: the food was very good.

Litchi Tree, Montagne d'Ambre: Friendly and characterful.

Iharana Bush Camp, Ankarana: accommodation a bit too basic; got bitten in bed

Eden Lodge: Lovely place'

Mr Foster and Ms Anderson
November 22, 2016

'Hi Derek,

Ref; Madagascar Adventure 2016.

We returned home safely on Wednesday 16th November from our Madagascar adventure; our can we thank you for organising such a wonderful trip for us. From the start to finish we did not experience an issue with the itinerary you had organised for our needs. 

Our guide and driver were superb, throughout the trip, our guide La-la and driver Dude. Dudes driving was superb considering the condition of the roads at times, I will never complain again about the pot holes of the UK roads. Our driver was very careful never took his eyes off the road, and we never experienced a back jarring moment no matter what the condition on the road was in. Our guide was superb, and his knowledge of wild life was most helpful. On many occasions, I would borrow the wildlife books he had in his position to study the creatures we saw daily.  It was also a pleasure that La-la had an avid interest in insects as well has the larger creatures we would encounter. This pleased him, he told us most of his clients are only interested in seeing Lemurs, reptiles or birds. At times we would both be on our knees photographing the smallest creatures we could find. We would then cross references them in the text books for accurate ID. We could not fault the accommodation you had booked us apart from minor teething troubles, we were warned of before leaving,  missing  sink plugs dodgy electrics. It was quite a blessing to  be shut off from the outside world with hardly any Mobile or Internet connections at times.

Relais des Plateaux 1night and day room was most convenient for the airport. Staff helpful our rooms and the food in the restaurant were good.

Vakona Forest Lodge was a nice setting food plentiful and enjoyable a nice start for our incredible journey through Madagascar. Our lodge was elevated. Iit was nice to sit outside and admire the scenery and many birds and other creatures in the vicinity after our day's trip out in the National park. We also enjoyed the night walks at this location and the many strange nocturnal creatures we would encounter. Friday 4th November, it poured of rain all day and the only day we experienced rain on our trip. However, the rain did not stop us from getting out and seeing some amazing wildlife.

Couleur Café 1 night, what a stunning setting looking over the plains and mountains, in the distance, and too be able to relax in the swimming pool after our journey. The French couple who owns the hotel  are most helpful and try their best to make you welcome. The food is ok but limited, but this did not spoil our stay here. It was nice wondering around the grounds taking photos of the many different types of birds and butterflies around the grounds. The electricity here is limited for use only at evenings. The hot water is from Solar thermal and appears to fluctuate in temperature at times. However, we were not disappointed and enjoyed our one-night  stay.

Setam Lodge, 3 nights

The lodge is set in an elevated position looking out over the forest area with good views. All the staff here are more than helpful, and the food was good. Our guide seemed to know nearly everybody at each destination. He often became our translator with the non-English speaking staff. With his advice, we would most times try the local delicacies on the menu. At each national park or reserve we visited, our guide had handpicked and booked in advance his favourite park guide and scout. Not once were we disappointed with his choice their local knowledge and knowing exactly where to find each creature are amazing.

Varangue du Betsileo 1 night,

After many hours on the road, we arrived at our destination around 5pm. Our bungalow for the stay was huge and comfortable. Like most of the places we have stayed at the bathroom sink did not hold water, this fell into minor comparison with the way some of the Madagascar people have to live. Some of the conditions their people live are truly third world. We have been to many countries around the world in our time. However, some of the living conditions we encountered along the way were an eye-opening experience in its self. No one should have to live under these conditions in the 21st century. Madagascar as something so unique from the rest of the world it should be a top destination to visit. The country appears to have the wealth beneath its feet and not capitalising on it. We found most of the Madagascar people warm, friendly and helpful.

Relais de la Reine 2 nights,

What a delight it was to stay at this marvellous French owned hotel it was a dream, the accommodation is splendid, the food great. A nice place to relax for a couple of days after a long day’s journey. The view of the surrounding area from the lounge is magnificent. The hotel seems to be cut into the actual rock face. There were many steep steps, so a torch with you after dark was essential. The pre-dinner-free  bar snacks with your drinks was a nice touch. My only fault would be the steps down to the lower dining area are open with no hand rail. The lodge we stayed in was stunning and the ground surrounding the hotel with its own abundant wildlife was a delight. I and our guide ventured out for a night walk around the grounds with the intentions of spotting the Eastern Scopes Owl. We were not disappointed with the guide’s scopes owl call recording, within a short time, the Scopes owl swooped in within a few feet from us. An amazing experience the owl is so tiny even in comparison to the UK’s Little Owl.

Le Paradisier 2 nights,

We have arrived in heaven for 2 nights; Individual bungalows were lovely. You had your own veranda and own outdoor chairs and hammock overlooking the sea only a few meters away. We missed the sunset at Relais de la Reine due to cloudy weather conditions. Sitting on the veranda the first night watching the sun go down was truly stunning. Our bungalow was large and comfortable, although we did feel a little vulnerable to nature. No worries the bungalow was sprayed at evenings with insect iced and mosquito net also standard for the bed. Main area, including restaurant/reception/pool area all of high standard. Helpful staff, although English speaking limited. The restaurant and a terrace overlooking the sea were a delight it made you wish you'd like to stay on forever. Our guide recommended we depart for Zombitse National Park at 5am 12th November to avoid the heat during the day and other tourists. And the best opportunity to see as many birds has been possible before it got too hot. This turned out to be good advice we had a fantastic morning bird watching and seeing other creatures. By the time we returned to the hotel at around 10. 30am the temperature was getting unbearable. It was nice to relax for the rest of the day before we joined up with our driver and guide in the evening for a farewell dinner together.

Everything about this trip has been memorable from our visit to the destination show at Earls Court and visiting Rainbow Tours stand and speaking to your friendly helpful staff.

Having Derek Schuurman with is extensive knowledge of Madagascar organising our trip for us. The trip has been tiring at times trekking through the undergrowth and up the steep slopes. However, the rewards out way the disadvantages thousand times. I will be the rest of 2016 categorising the many different species of wildlife and fauna we encountered on our journey into Madagascar.

We cannot praise Rainbow Tours and all their staff at home and abroad that have truly made this a holiday of a lifetime, an experience we will never forget.

If you wish to use any part of this article, you have our permission to do so.

We look forward to travelling with Rainbow Tours again.

Kindest regards Steve & Pat Garten' 

Mr and Mrs Garten
November 21, 2016

'The Royal Palissandre Hotel was lovely.

Sahatandra River Hotel at Andasibe: pool was nice. Staff were friendly. Room comfortable. Dinners were nice.

Princesse Bora Lodge: excellent. So much to do, in a lovely place.

Craig was very flexible in tailoring the holiday to suit our needs. The rest of the Raibow Tours team was very friendly and helpful when we called'

Mr Wilson and Ms Elliott
November 18, 2016

'Hi Derek 

We're all now safely back from Madagascar and just wanted to send our thanks for all you did to organise such an amazing adventure.  The lodges, guides and Marc  were all outstanding. As you warned us, we were affected quite a bit by Air Madagascar's unreliability but Marc and the office staff worked hard to make the changes as smooth and as comfortable as possible.

I do so hope that Air Madagascar sorts out its unreliable schedules before they manage to kill of the majority of tourism. 

We will definitely recommend Madagascar to all our travelling friends and will do all we can to help the great conservation work and tourism industry there.  It's an extraordinary country with the most wonderful wildlife and people.  We were made to feel very welcome and given the very best service people could offer. 

 Best wishes,

 JP'

 

 

Prowse Private Group
November 7, 2016

'Excellent holiday.  We had out own 4x4, guide and driver and all were excellent. There is mention in this form of car and guide but no mention of driver: our lives were in his hands for 10 days and he was excellent, both in driving, handling our luggage, always opening the doors for us. Drivers are an integral and important part of all holidays; please give them recognition. The holiday was excellent in all respects. The changes we made to the advertised tour because of our ages (79 and 70) worked out very well. Would recommend your company to anyone - and we saw loads of lemurs!!!'

 

 

Mr and Mrs Linwood
November 1, 2016

'Overall holiday satisfaction: excellent. Vakona Forest Lodge excellent in all respects; facilities good. Paradise Cove is a lovely place'. 

Mr Fitt and Ms Giglio
October 27, 2016

'Jessica was absolutely excellent. She always made sure everyone got the most out of the trip, according to their abilities. Setam Lodge had lovely food - the best on the trip! Another day in the park (Ranomafana) would have been good'. 

Mr and Mrs Brooks
October 26, 2016

Hi Derek

Some feedback for you....

First of all, another fabulous trip for so many different reasons....

The flight out - what a lovely surprise to travel Premium Economy, what a difference that made, not just in the comfort and service aspects but ultimately getting through Tana airport in 30 minutes rather than over 2 hours - thank you so much.

The Relais des Plateau is such a refreshing first and last stop with no worries about getting to and from the airport and so comfortable.

All accommodation was great - hard to choose a favourite, very good choices.

To our delight plenty of lemurs and birds and absolutely fascinating travelling through such varied landscapes, villages and townships. Thought provoking to compare their world to ours, humbling to see how they manage their lives, always with a smile on their face. It has left us with much to think about.

The itinerary was great and the whole trip went very smoothly. we are always singing your praises to our friends and family and I am sure we will have other trips with Rainbow Tours.

So once again, thank you very much for a great experience.

Chris & June

 

 

 

Ms Elgar and Ms Lawrence
October 24, 2016

'Gersica was superb and success of the holiday was all down to her. She is a treasure! Air Madagascar were for once very reliable. The pace of the tour and some distances travelled seemed unrelenting towards the end but we would not have missed any of it!.

We loved Les Dunes (Ifaty). Chilled out in bungalow overlooking beach. The Malagasy traditional meal at Setam Lodge was the food highlight of the tour. 

Gersica could not have been better organised, more considerate or more attentive. She is one of the best tour leaders we have experienced in over 30 years of travel on small group holidays'. 

Mr and Mrs Johnson
October 20, 2016

'Overall holiday satisfaction excellent.

Iharana Bush Camp excellent all round, 3 nights here would have been better.

Sakatia Lodge excellent, relaxed, plenty to do and enjoy.' 

Campbell party
October 19, 2016

'We loved the country and the people. This has been a fantastic trip. Our itinerary couldn't have been better. I really liked the pacing. Mora mora......  I wish that we could help this country protect their precious natural resources and improve the quality of life for the people. There is so much potential here.

Thank you again for making this a trip of a lifetime.

All my best,

LP'

Ms Parnell and Mr Blaise
October 18, 2016

'We had a wonderful holiday - thank you. Our guide Gersica was fantastic - one of the best we have ever had and we have been travelling for years! She went out of her way to ensure each individual's needs were met and is so knowledgeable, too'. 

Ms Pearson & Ms Chippendale
October 12, 2016

'Thanks for arranging such a wonderful holiday. Lovely, friendly staff at Andasibe Hotel. Excellent in all respects. Princesse Bora Lodge is excellent in all respects. Very good lodge with excellent staff'.

Ms Holland and Ms Boers
October 10, 2016

'We had a great holiday - your itinerary was super - thanks!.Highlights: Relais de la Reine Hotel + Isalo National Park. Sheer variety of terrain and habitats. Quality of the guides, in particular Djato and the driver Barry. Exceptional passion and dedication. Local guides at Andasibe-Mantadia, Isalo and the Ifaty Spiny Forest'

Mr and Mrs Lacey
October 6, 2016

'Herilala was a SUPERB guide - he even went to Berenty with us!. Excellent holiday. Met all our expectations and exceeded on wildlife spotting. Very satisfied with Relais des Plateaux. Food was surprisingly good at Andasibe Hotel. Berenty is stunning for wildlife. La Croix du Sud had the best decorated bedroom and bathroom outside of Anjajavy: the photo in the itinerary does not do it justice.

Mantadia was excellent and order was reversed, which was the right thing to do because of the poor state of the road to the park and the long drive back to Tana.

The road to Berenty was very picturesque but 'deteriorating road' does not describe it......the driver was excellent and managed the jouney in 3 hours thanks to some superb rally driving!'

Mr Alderman and Ms Frost
October 6, 2016

'We had such an amazing time in Madagascar. We were in awe of the beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife. We found the people to be friendly and welcoming.

Maison Gallieni: we had a wonderful first night here. Lovely dinner.

Couleur Cafe: excellent comfort, service, location and facilites. The evening meal was goog, breakfast buffet was not as good.

Setam Lodge: Service, location, meals and faciliities excellent. Comfortable rooms, could do with an update/ renovation but pleased that they were dry and not damp. It was also cold in Ranomafana and they had a heater which was useful.

Relais la Reine d'Isalo: It was a special hotel set in a beautiful landscape. The lady owner of the hotel was very friendly and appreciative.

Anakao Ocean Lodge: surpassed our expectations. Beautiful lodge on a very secluded beach. Wonderful meals created from whatever fish/seafood was caught fresh each day - we really liked this ethos especially as it helps the local fishermen in the nearby village. The speedboat transfers there/back added to the experience.

Vakona Forest Lodge: main building was lovely. A great setting for breakfast and dinner. It was a disappointment that the rooms were not of the same stanard and that the staff could not understand why why we were not happy with a damp room.

We really appeciated Derek getting in touch with us and our guide Njiva when we were having difficulties with or internal flights and for checking that we were OK and that we were still happy with the service from our guide. We were also grateful to Njiva fror staying in Tulear another night and making sure we were on the flight back to Antananarivo the next day. He was wonderful at the airport and and organised everything for us there so that we did not have to worry. We could not have asked for better service from our guide at the airport. We feel that we may not have made it onto the flight from Tulear if it were not for him! '

 

 

 
Mr and Mrs Cunningham
October 3, 2016

'We had a fantastic honeymoon. All the locals were so friendly. Wanting to do more of Madagascar now!. Our guide Rova was brilliant, had great knowledge of the area, answered every question and was very helpful. Would recommend him to anyone!

Relais des Plateaux was jusa used as a place lay down our heads and get a good nigts' sleep.

Princesse Bora Lodge: we had a fantastic stay and made good use of the facilities i.e kayaking, snorkelling, bicycles. The staff are so brilliant and accommodating; would recommend to anyone.

 

Mr & Mrs Hewitt
September 30, 2016

'Well organised tour and couldn't fault the care we were given by our guides and representatives in a very poor country in its infancy of tourism.

Combava Hotel: Good. Fine for overnight stops and very nice to have use of a room before late evening transfer to airport.

Andasibe Hotel: Good. Unprepared for how cold Andasibe-Mantadia National Park was in the evenings. Otherwise absolutely fine.  

Princesse Bora Lodge: excellent. Couldn't fault the hotel - wonderful'.

 

Mr and Mrs Reekie
September 20, 2016

'Great holiday, thanks! Overall satisfaction: excellent'. 

Mr and Mrs Russell
July 13, 2016

'Craig Kaufman was amazingly helpful. He organised our holiday to Madagascar and Mauritius at very very short notice. We thought Vakona Forest Lodge provided excellent accommodation. Having stayed in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest with accommodation provided by local tribes we are very aware that there are different standards in a rainforest to a conventional hotel. We werevery comfortable and happy there. The trips were wonderful and we saw many varieties of lemur. If people went there and expected luxury lodges they may have been disappointed. We expected exactly what we got which was excellent for a rainforest and I would imagine the very best in the area. Some people have unrealistic expectations. 

Best wishes and thank you Craig for organising a wonderful trip.  

Karen and Martin Perrett

Mr and Mrs Perrett
June 10, 2016

'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

'We loved all the forest lodges on our itinerary but as it turned out Saha was the nicest surprise. We didn't mind that the room was relatively simple since the main area was beautiful (design, setting, forest view), the food was fantastic (creative, authentic, delicious) and above all the people were very friendly and genuine. It was the place where we felt most strongly connected to the community. This was in no small part because Harry from Za was the perfect translator/mediator between us and the local staff and guides. Very satisfying, interesting and enjoyable. Our meeting with Fanamby was excellent, too'..

Ms Gregg and Mr Pope
January 18, 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

'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


'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

'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


'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

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

Excellent – very convenient to the airport for a first night – one of the best breakfasts of the holiday.

S Melville
September 13, 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

Tamboho's evening meals were excellent.

 

Harding
November 1, 2011
Review items: Tamboho Hotel    

A lovely old house converted into a ‘quirky’ boutique hotel –dinner and service excellent.

D Barraclough
September 30, 2010
Review items: La Varangue    

Fantastic trip!

Mr Christie
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