Madagascar- I can’t wait to return!

Through the years, I’ve visited some pretty remote places. However, until now Madagascar had not been one of them, although it sat high at the top of my “would love to see” list. Two weeks ago I finally took my first trip to this unique island country in the Indian Ocean – visiting the capital and northern part of the island.  With just a 3 hour flight from Johannesburg, I was in another world.  Stops included:

  • Antananaarivo (capital, located in central Madagascar)
  • Diego Suarez
  • Amber Mountain National Park
  • Ankarana Reserve
  • Nosy Be and nearby islands

 

At first I had mixed feelings.  Much of what I saw (both lush and mountainous rainforests, white sandy beaches and warm sea, traditional culture, rare plant and animal species) could be seen in other countries (e.g. Indonesia, Costa Rica, Mozambique, Malawi). But then I realized… how utterly unique it is to see such a mix in one country- and that’s just with a visit to the north!

And of course, there are the lemurs. And the fact that Madagascar is home to 80% of endemic fauna and flora.

What I especially loved was experiencing a variety of terrain and seeing local culture largely untouched by commercialism and mass tourism. Such a rare encounter these days.

I loved that Madagascar is still very wild and untrodden, and VERY off the beaten path.  However, that means that the infrastructure, especially for tourism, is limited and in some places, nonexistent.  A few of the most visited places (Antananarivo and Nosy Be) do have some 4* accommodation options but most of the less trodden and, in my opinion, more interesting destinations offer very basic accommodations (but always great food on offer!).  Also, distances between the national parks & reserves are often significant with pot-holed roads and limited internal flights. But that just adds excitement to the overall experience!

So… for those who love nature, who seek out locales that are still quite untamed, who don’t mind simple accommodations and are up for adventure, my guess is that you will love Madagascar! For myself, I can’t wait to go back and explore other parts of this unique country- Isalo Massif, Morondava, Ranomafana…!

We’ve got a GS small group trip to Madagascar in the works so be sure to get in touch with us if you are interested!  For those preferring an adventure on your own, we’re happy to set that up for you as well.  Just email us and we’ll get started on your Madagascar adventure!

 

 

 

Combining Adventure and LOTS of Unique Experiences on a GS Giving Circle Trip

GS Giving Circle Coordinator, Paige Hasson, recently traveled to So’n Africa with her friends, Yvonne and Vicki, on a  Global Sojourns Giving Circle trip. The trip combined working side by side with our partner projects, a safari at The Hide in Zimbabwe, and time to unwind in Cape Town.

“What I experienced in Africa was not life as a tourist but life as a fully engaged participant.” Paige Hasson

“Africa was a total unknown to me prior to my recent journey. I found it beautiful and awe inspiring (over 3000 photos taken), of course, but what impressed me most was the spirit of the people. In the three countries I visited (Zambia,Zimbabwe and South Africa) the people were upbeat, positive and most of all hopeful and looking to the future. If you enjoy travel, do not let the long journey to Southern Africa keep you from going. It is indeed the journey of a lifetime, 
one that will leave you much richer in spirit for the experience”.  Vicki Coles

Some of the special things they experienced:

  • seeing Victoria Falls from Zambia and Zimbabwe
  • visiting the studio of a local renowned artist and activist
  • attending a “Girl Power!” workshop in Victoria Falls funded by the GSGC
  • experiencing a braai (b-que) in the home of a GSGC partner in Victoria Falls
  • visiting a local primary school
  • teaching games and reading to children at a pre-school
  • listening to Hugh Masekela at an outdoor concert at the beautiful Kirstenbosch Gardens
  • a wine and cheese picnic at a winery while watching the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean
  • seeing lions feast on their prey in Hwange National Park
  • attending a special sports day for disadvantaged youth
  • cooking “shima” with the chef at the B&B in Livingstone
  • shopping at the Biscuit Mill in Cape Town

Experiences such as these offer our clients an insight, perspective and respect for local people and culture that other visitors may not be lucky enough to have.

For more on their adventures, check out the GS Giving Circle Blog and FaceBook.


De Hoop- A Nature Lover’s Paradise!

Near the southern most trip of tip of Africa you’ll find a place with all the ingredients we love:

  • Gorgeous scenery
  • Wide open spaces
  • Virtually untrodden
  • Wildlife
  • Comfy accommodations

 

On top of all this, during the migratory season, you can witness hundreds of Southern Right Whales sailing, breaching, spouting and more!

One to be added to nature lovers’ “wanna visit!” list!

Photo Gallery from Candra, Matt and Tawni’s Southern Africa Adventure

Three friends share an exceptional adventure.  Enjoy their wonderful photos!

Photos by Matt Glerum

Ecuador: Check It Out

Newsletter_headerEcuador is a country that we love as a travel destination because of the wide and unique variety of landscapes and experiences, the scenic beauty and the warm, friendly people.

Highlights include: swimming with sharks, sea lions and turtles in the Galapagos, the lush beauty of the Andes, excursions to the Amazon and the splendid hacienda accommodations.

Check out some pictures and what some our sojourners had to say about their recent visit.

Africa's Diversity

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Client Photo Favorite

eidam_kid

Don Eidam with a local boy in Tanzania.

Don, his wife Ellie and their three children traveled to northern Tanzania and Zanzibar for 3 weeks in December 2008. During their trip it was amazing how they reached out and connected with the Tanzanian people- playing soccer, exchanging stories, bringing medical supplies, and meeting them with respect and interest.? It was an unforgettable trip- for the family and for those they met!

photo source: Madie Eidam