A dream fulfilled! In autumn 2007, courtesy of some
time off from our employer, we were finally able to visit the fabled
island of Madagascar, in peak wildlife season, just at the end of
the dry season.
We decided early on not to do this trip independently,
as we had read some horror stories about birding crews missing out
on a lot of endemics, and having all kinds of administrative and
logistical problems. We considered all the big and many smaller
outfits, and eventually settled on Rockjumper,
a small South African company, whose itinerary was clearly the fullest
on offer, and who had a good reputation with various of our worldwide
The logistics were completely smooth, largely as a
result of the superb ground agent work of Fano Mezana (and his trainee,
Solo Herivelona). Our leaders, Glen Valentine and Rainer Summers,
were as enthusiastic as advertised, and we had a great time birding
All the hotels were comfortable and more than adequate
- some were simply superb, others a bit more "characterful",
but we were well looked after. The food was good throughout - another
Malagasy myth exploded!
Transport on land was in spacious midi-buses - the
roads were either good and empty, or appalling. The Berenty stretch
will stick in our minds (and spines) for many years.
We took a total of six internal flights - again, Fano's
superb organisation made the whole thing utterly slick and unproblematic.
Boat trips - fun, but sometimes nerve-wracking....read the main