Almost everything! The hotels chosen by *** (the local tour agency we went with, through Evaneos) were for the most part brilliant (most of them had great food, amazing views and lovely rooms), our guide Rynah was fantastic and shared plenty of stories of Madagascar with us, including a lot about the traditions of the tribes in each part of the country we visited, and about the wildlife and landscapes and people. Everything on our trip went smoothly, and it was great to plan an itinerary with Lea, who added some trips we had in mind that aren't typically part of the standard itineraries, and modified the hotels to include some one or two we specifically wanted to stay at. We had some fantastic guides in the national parks, too - particularly in Andasibe and Isalo.
While this isn't really any fault of Evaneos' or ***, a couple of the local guides in specific reserves were a little less respectful of the wildlife than we would have liked, bringing animals out of hibernation or bothering them to bring them close to us - some tourists may enjoy this, but we believe this shouldn't be encouraged.
We mostly took the RN7 route through Madagascar from east to west, heading from Andasibe through the highlands to Ranomafana, then through the Savannah and Isalo national park to Ifaty and Tulear, and...We mostly took the RN7 route through Madagascar from east to west, heading from Andasibe through the highlands to Ranomafana, then through the Savannah and Isalo national park to Ifaty and Tulear, and ending our trip in Anakao on the west coast. On our second day, we hiked in Andasibe-Mantadia national park, and a highlight of the entire trip was watching the incredible Indri lemurs and hearing their famous call from right above us in the tree canopy. Hiking in the rainforest was fantastic, and our guide in Andasibe was really enthusiastic - we saw so much wildlife! Throughout our trip we saw about 13 species of lemur, lots of chameleons, gheckos, frogs, orchids, incredible plants etc. The highlands were beautiful and we met so many wonderful people on our trip, and we would've loved to stay and hike in Isalo national park for much longer than 1 day! It was also great to end our trip with a relaxing couple of days on the white sand beaches of Anakao, and the *** (spiny forest) near Ifaty was great to see lots of baobab trees. Take a minute to look up too - nowhere else in the world have I seen a night sky like we saw in Madagascar, with the Milky Way clearly visible. The landscapes, unique wildlife and wonderful people of Madagascar all meant we had a fantastic trip - even if it was tough at times to pass through some very poor parts of Madagascar - we wished we could help every kid we met in some way. We can't wait to come back!