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Derek Schuurman
Derek Schuurman Product Manager Madagascar and Alternative Africa
"Now, more than ever, it is evident that carefully managed tourism provides vital revenue needed to support conservation initiatives under way in Madagascar. Thanks to employment opportunities created in areas of biological significance, permanently resident communities are able to appreciate that it is better having wildlife roaming free, than in cooking pots over fires fuelled from their forest homes."

Ifotaka Community Forest Holidays

Ifotaka is a remote Antandroy village notable for its dry Tamarind gallery forests, two of only four stands in the Mandrare River Valley. Its ground-breaking community ecotourism project began in 2001 and the luxury Madagascar Classic Camping’s Mandrare River Camp is situated nearby.

From Easter through New Year, you can explore intact, sacred gallery forest where the island’s national mammal, the Ringtail lemur, and the adorable, critically endangered Verreaux's sifaka - are commonly seen. They are equally at home in the healthy Spiny Bush which travel writer Dervla Murphy so aptly Christened ‘Nature’s Botanical Lunatic Asylum’. The Baobabs in this part of the south are of the large southern Malagasy species Adansonia za, standing like sentinels among much bushy Euphorbia, endemic Aloes and tall, spiky Finger trees (Didieraceae).

Reptiles such as the now critically endangered Madagascar radiated tortoise still exist there, and birding is rewarding, with specials such as Giant, Running and Crested couas being frequently spotted, along with garrulous Sicklebill vangas and Sakalava weavers.

While parts of Ifotaka's spiny bush have been decimated due to 'hatsake' (slash and burn agriculture), there are still impressive tracts remaining (2018). In many cases, parcels of forest or woodland are protected when they conceal tombs, so are considered 'ala fady' (sacred forests). Guests at Mandrare River Camp are usually taken by guides to see examples of Antandroy tombs in the ala fady, during which time it is also possible to learn about the resident culture. 

Read more about Ifotaka Community Forest

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Madagascar Contrasts in Style
  • Wildlife
From £13520 per person
16 day holiday
Flights included
See the full trip
For discerning travellers who wish to explore Madagascar's incomparable habitat diversity in a hand-picked selection of remote wildlife hotspots offering fabulous wildlife and excellent accommodation, this sample itinerary offers an unrivalled choice.
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