Prepare for a variety of weather. Temperatures in Andringitra are low in the southern winter and will be down to below freezing at night. Isalo on the other hand will be hot in the day and cool at night. Andringitra can be drizzly and wet, Isalo should be dry, while Ranomafana can get very wet. Light clothing which dries easily and protects arms and legs is recommended along with some warmer wear for Andringitra and evenings. Ranomafana will be humid so waterproof leggings may not be useful but a good lightweight long rain coat is essential. Culturally it is acceptable to wear shorts.
Luggage: On tour
We recommend for you to travel with up to 3 pieces of luggage: A main piece of luggage that can go in the hold of your international flight, an empty trek bag/holdall that can be used while trekking, and a Day Bagmall Backpack for carrying your trekking essentials during the trekking days. Please see below for full descriptions of each bag.
Main luggage (hold luggage on flight):
For all your items, will also needs to be used as storage during day and multiple day trek and your non trekking items will be kept in this bag, clean clothes, sandles etc. This bag should preferably have a lock, there will be no access to this bag during trekking days and nights.
This will be used to carry the items that you need for the multiple trekking days. This will be your main luggage bag during trekking nights and needs to hold a maximum of three nights walkingleeping essentials. Use a strong, soft walled, robust, waterproof trek bag or rucksack that can easily be carried by the porters. The weight limit for the bag and its contents is 18kg but you will probably find that you do not need this much. There will be time the night before leaving for the treks to re-sort your luggage into what you need on the trek. If you pack your gear in plastic bags inside your trek bag they will stay dry in case of rain. It will also be easier for you to sort through. Remember, the less you have to unpack in the evening, the less you have to repack each morning!
Small Rucksack/Day bag (hand luggage on flight):
During the course of a trekking day, you do not have access to the luggage that is being carried for you by the porters, thsi will be the bag that you will carry. In any mountain region the weather can change rapidly and you must be equipped for this eventuality. Your daysack should, therefore, be large enough to carry the following: waterproofs, fleece, long trekking trousers (if walking in shorts), warm hat and gloves, sun hat, sun cream, water bottle (at least 3litre), tissues and your packed lunch. Most people normally find that this adds up to about 3 to 5kg. Camera equipment can be heavy so think carefully when deciding what to take. Remember to carry spare batteries with you during the day. Something between 25 and 35 litres capacity is probably the most suitable. A shoulder bag is not a practical alternative.
You will never need to carry your own backpack (except from the hotel room to the bus) as we provide porters for the trekking sections. You may prefer to leave a bag behind at the hotel and only take with you on the trek what you will need for a few days (that is carried by porters) so it is useful to have a spare bag available to split your luggage. You will only be required to carry your day sack whilst trekking.
Also if you pack your gear in heavy-duty plastic bags inside your trek bag, it will stay dry in case of rain. One of these inside your day bag is also strongly recommended.
As you do not carry it yourself, this may be down or synthetic, but it must be 3/4 season comfort rating (temperature 0°C to 10°C). A silk or fleece liner helps to keep your bag clean and adds an extra season.
An inflatable thermarest style mat is helpful in order to help you get a good night's rest, although a roll matt will be provided locally.
You may find earplugs and an eye mask useful at night.
Trekking poles are recommended.
Water Bottle or Platypus/Camelbak hydration system:
Water along the trail must never be considered as drinkable until purified. Take at least two 2 litre personal water bottles or a system that allows for this much water, preferably insulated. A personal supply of water purification tablets/drops is essential. Powdered fruit juice can be used to disguise the taste. Energy snacks, including chocolate and sweets, are also recommended whilst on trek.
A good pair of sunglasses is essential for protection against UV rays and glare at high altitudes.
Also bring sunblock, a hat, insect repellent and a good torch.
You may also wish to bring binoculars and walking poles.
Tour Leader: At your discretion you might also consider tipping your Tour Leader in appreciation of the efficiency and service you receive.
Local Crew: Although entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognized part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. In order to make things easier for you, the Tour Leaders may organise a group's tips kitty and if this is the case, they will account for it throughout the tour.
Accordingly you should allow approx. £35 for gratuities for local staff.
International Departure Taxes
Ivato (Antananarivo) Airport:
International airport departure tax is approximately 38Euros
Domestic airport departure tax is approximately 20Euros
There is an additional country departure tax of US$15.00 per person.
Flight tickets issued after 04 November 2016 will include the departure taxes as part of the ticket. If you have booked your flight ticket independently please check with your travel agent/airline if these taxes are included in your ticket. If any are not you will need to pay for the above taxes locally at the airport in cash.