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The Lost Continent MD

Visiting: Madagascar
Trip Duration 15 Days
 

Reviews for The Lost Continent

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The Lost Continent reviews verified by reevooReevoo

55 reviews

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The Lost ContinentScores 8.8 out of 10 based on 55 reviews
(10 out of 10)

Hilary

Westerham
A wonderfully varied trip which visited an array of differing habitats. The trip was enhanced by our tour guide who was one of the best I've ever travelled with. Early starts every day but with the chance to recoup on the two days spent on a stunningly beautiful beach largely devoid of other tourists. Some long periods of bus travel which is only to be expected in such a huge country & there was always something to see from the bus windows as we travelled from rain forest to arid desert. The local people are more than happy to be photographed with or without bonbons as an inducement. The Lemurs are everything I'd hoped for & were easier to view than I'd expected. I wish I'd taken the time to learn more about the religious traditions before travelling as they are complicated but form such an integral part of life in Madagascar.
Confirmed traveller: 31 March 2017
Published on: 02 April 2017
(5 out of 10)

Maureen

Sevenoaks
I should have done this type of trip when I was 20 to 30 years younger. The worst thing about it was the tour bus. Broke down 2 on second day, airconditoning did not work, neither did the microphone( could not hear tour leader). long bus journeys were hot, uncomfortable, because of design of window, could not see well, one day I thought I was going to pass out. High lights did see lemurs, birds wild flowers. Local people friendly, need to check bills in hotel, for overcharging. My worst time, was when it was my birthday, please check, if guests want their birthday celebrated! I did not! As another guest had a birthday on tour, and it went quietly, (she put wine on the table), I was unprepared, distressed, angry, when in the largest, best hotel on the tour,with other guest, including a film crew, the lights went out, staff sang happy birthday, and a huge cake with firework came in. I never celebrate my birthday in such a public way. My husband should have been asked if it was Ok. I did not appreciate being on public display! At 71. I was furious. Some religions, do not celebrate birthdays others celebrate on their saints name day. Do not assume this practice is acceptable. Especially after a 10 mile hike. In general I found the holiday, overpriced, and under organized. On the last day we had a decent bus, too late. Please take my email, address,& other details off your system I am unlikely to wish to travel with you again.
Confirmed traveller: 24 March 2017
Published on: 28 March 2017

Thank you for your feedback Maureen, I’m sorry to hear that you were disappointed with the trip and no longer wish to travel with us again. Our local agent has advised that the A/C on the bus is in working order, but it will only be switched on if requested by the group – as most of our groups like to take photos on the way, the A/C can only be on when all the windows are closed. I’m also sorry that you were upset with the celebration for your birthday, as it brought unwanted attention – most of our agents/leaders will do something to recognise the occasion, but if you would prefer a low-key event or not celebrate it at all, please let us know and we would be happy to oblige.

(8 out of 10)

Nicholas

Chicago
Trip was good, but coach being very hot traveling without A/C is very uncomfortable. Especially with the amount of driving and heat in Madagascar on this particular trip.

Wish we had more time in the parks with wildlife rather than a couple of days in Isalo.

Claude was great and helped me personally plan a trip extension. Great guide!
Confirmed traveller: 23 March 2017
Published on: 27 March 2017
(7 out of 10)

Amanda

Hersham
Hearing the Indris early morning - wonderful. If you want to see lemurs in the wild - then of course this is the place to go. But if it's wildlife generally you're after there are places to go where they're easier to see and where the birds are more plentiful. The trip to the palace in Tana on the last day while interesting just took too long because of the traffic and meant that we had only an hour at the lemur park (which was brilliant) at the end of the day. Would be helpful to put in the trip notes that you should change up all the money you need at the airport when you arrive - very difficult and time consuming otherwise. Also pounds are easy enough to change up. The guide was very good and very helpful. Top marks to him.
Confirmed traveller: 02 December 2016
Published on: 17 December 2016
(6 out of 10)

Anthea

Exeter
The amount of time spent in a non-air conditioned coach was a real downside. The itinerary on the last day was poor as 6 hours was spent in the coach and we hardly had time to visit the Lemur Park which should have been the highlight of the day. Take plenty of Imodium - almost all our group suffered to a lesser or greater extent!
Confirmed traveller: 02 December 2016
Published on: 03 December 2016
(8 out of 10)

Ruth

Bristol
Madagascar is a beautiful island and we had no trouble finding many lemurs. This trip is a good overall visit including rainforest and beaches. It doesn't go to the west (Tsingy) or the north but as the island is so big it could not be covered in one go.

The food and the accommodation were better than I expected. There was reliable hot water except at the beach and the community house. We ate very well everywhere and were always comfortable.

The distance are large. There is an inevitable amount of time on the bus. I was OK with it as it was exactly what I expected, but I think some others were surprised by the amount of travel involved.

A couple of nights seemed a bit non-descript as locations, but the journeys needed to be broken up. The last day in Tana needs a rethink but is essential owing to the highly unreliable internal flight which does not always leave on the day expected and lost 50% of the luggage which turned up 24 hours later.

Group size was 15 which I found rather too large for the size of our bus and for what was primarily a wildlife trip. It was quite hard for everyone to see everything in time and we were quite loud.

Overall I had a great time. My feeling is that with the deforestation on the mainland and the desecration of the coral reef, you should go sooner rather than later.
Confirmed traveller: 01 December 2016
Published on: 07 December 2016
(9 out of 10)

Robert

One of our best trips with Explore. Billing itself as a wildlife and scenic exploration, it doesn’t disappoint. You will see lots of lemurs, zebu, frogs, chameleons etc and some amazing bird life.

The wonderful and varied scenery lives up to the name of the Lost Continent ranging from rain forests, deserts, Savannah, plateaus up to Indian Ocean beaches and with canyons and escarpments ranking right up there with anything else I've seen on my travels.

The trip was nevertheless quite challenging at times, not only with the early starts and the “full on” pace accurately described in the brochure, but just generally by being in the country. We had a really excellent guide in Hery who was not shy in explaining some of the problems facing his country but who was on hand with all-encompassing knowledge of the wildlife and flora of his country.

A few tips/comments:

• Brush up on your French from school. It will really help.
• Wi-Fi is generally available at most hotels (apart from the beach) but I spent about 10 GBP on a local data SIM card purchased at the airport on arrival (I used ‘Telma’ on Hery's recommendation and this was pretty reliable albeit a tad slow at times) .
• The size of our group at 16 people was probably slightly too large notwithstanding that on a couple of occasions during wildlife treks the group broke into two. When we were all together it was not always manageable or easy to hear what was going on.
• Do be prepared for a lot of long days driving on really bad roads. The bus wasn't particularly great for 16 westerners but you really couldn't cope with anything bigger and our driver “Fi-Fi” and assistant, Oliver, did a fantastic job. You also really get to see that part of country not portrayed by David Attenborough. Simon Reeve, probably gives the better reality.
• Hotels are pretty good; food is okay with veggies catered for. Zebu and rice pretty ubiquitous. Bread and jam for breakfast with eggs occasionally. Bring cereal bars if you’re one for the munchies
• There’s virtually no free time to do your own exploring and you are pretty much with the group all fortnight, including for all meals. That usually requires advance ordering of food and a degree of patience and understanding in seeing what arrives and when.
• The one night stay in the community centre is good fun. Be prepared to dance with the locals and bunk up with your new friends in a same s3x dormitory. Bring earplugs if your roommates snore. Sorry Dave!
• Do not forget your binoculars and camera but don't spend too long looking for that perfect camera shot. There are lots of opportunities. Just take time, look and absorb.
• Toilet stops can be basic at times so be prepared for that. Bring tissues, hand gel and Imodium. Most of the group had a brief spell of traveller’s tummy.
• We went in early November. Bring your poncho as it rained a lot at first. Ponchos might even work better than a lightweight raincoat which could probably be too bulky.
• Travel light, buy souvenirs from the locals even if you don't want them and spread a bit of the money around.
• Get your laundry done on day eight at the ‘posh’ hotel
• On the guide’s advice, we changed 300 USD at the airport on arrival. This was about the right amount for most people in the group.
• Credit cards aren’t generally acceptable and you won't always have the ability to pay in euros or dollars outside the capital. Some hotels would allow their bill be paid in euros but not always

All told, a really interesting trip. Not relaxing in the traditional sense but thought-provoking and very much in the Explore ethos. All our group agreed that it was difficult to know what practically we could do to improve the lot of the genuinely friendly and wonderful Malagasy people, apart from sharing our experiences when we got home; namely to try and educate friends and family of these issues to remind them it’s not all like a nice David Attenborough documentary but that there are severe problems with deforestation, slash and burn and, it has to be said, poor governance at times

It's also inevitable in the country like Madagascar that "they do things differently”. We were upset at the treatment of some of the animals at times including on our Zebu cart transfer to a boat when they were whipped excessively and yet I personally found it hard to say anything without coming across all post-imperialist and patronizing. Tricky.

We would thoroughly recommend this trip. In the words of our guide, Hery, go now. Before it's too late.

Rob and Catherine
Confirmed traveller: 18 November 2016
Published on: 17 May 2017
(10 out of 10)

Helen

Milton Keynes
Pure & Simple, this is a wonderful trip - the accommodation at all stages exceeded my expectations, and mosquito nets were supplied everywhere except hotel au bois vert at the start and finish of the trip, which is the only negative on the whole trip. There is a fair bit of travelling along the way, but plenty of stops for sightseeing, photos, water supplies etc. We had many of sightings of many different species of Lemur(some with delightful little babies on their backs) in the national parks (I could watch them all day) and the sifaka too - dancing lemur. There are many different landscapes along the way, and great walks to soak up the environment, the baobab trees and interesting plantlife. The 2 days at the end on Anakeo are fabulous at hotel safari vezo, and the bungalows all look out on the lovely sandy beach, & indian ocean - so you have a change to relax and enjoy the sunshine before coming home. The experience of riding in the back of a zebu cart which takes you too and from the boat, is one I'll never forget. Hery was our leader and there is no adequate words to tell you what a great travel guide and representative of Explore he is - so knowledgable about the country, people and its traditions, and very passionate about his country. And even more importantly very conscientious about the welfare of each member of our group (there were 16 of us). As a group we all got on really well and I think that added even more to the success of the trip. If you are trying to decide where to go next, then I would highly recommend anyone to take this one.
Confirmed traveller: 18 November 2016
Published on: 22 November 2016
(9 out of 10)

Malcolm

Lichfield, Staffs
A busy full on, as promised, trip visiting a good selection of National and Private parks to maximise lemur viewing mainly but also chameleons, birds and other wildlife.

Contrast of Eastern Rainforests, central/southern highlands, and southern desert areas provided an overview of the geography of Madagascar, whilst highlighting the poor condition of transport infrastructure. Accommodation was on the whole was good, with all breakfasts and dinners taken at the hotels, some picnic lunches en route, which broke up some of the long road journeys.

Food and drink generally good value compared to Europe prices. Good quality waterproof clothing/shoes essential for rainforest hikes otherwise travel light, laundry options at couple of mid-tour hotels. Sun protection essential on most of the tour apart from the rainforest! Mosquito nets in rooms outside Antananarivo, mozzie spray a must for personal protection. Limited Wifi, sometimes only in hotel reception/restaurant areas, and generally weak and slow, mobile phone coverage generally good.

Zebu, the humped cattle of Madagascar, provide excellent steaks and brochettes for carnivores, otherwise there were always vegetarian options. Itinerary was good, although for me two nights at Anakao was too long, the visit to Ambohimanga could be organised better, sitting down for lunch at 11.00, when the host obviously wasn't ready for us was a waste of time, the food when it arrived wasn't that good, a picnic lunch would have been better, to allow more time at Lemurs Park, or to return to the hotel earlier than we did.

If relying on prescription medicines take spares with you, one of our group ran out of hers midway through the trip, resulting in the tour leader having to spend time taking her to a Doctor to get a prescription, the required medicine was not available at the first pharmacy so another had to be visited in the next town, all taking precious time out of the tour for the majority.

Hery, our tour leader had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the country, its culture and customs, and of course the wildlife, he was able to share a lot of his knowledge with the group during the tour, and always had a warm smile, nothing seemed to phase him.
Confirmed traveller: 17 November 2016
Published on: 22 November 2016