Reef & Rainforest is the United Kingdom’s longest-established and most experienced specialist tour operator for Madagascar. It takes a long time to truly know the island, which is bigger than France with many hidden attractions, and our knowledge leads to superlative tailor-made and group tours there.
Our director, Alan Godwin, first went to Madagascar in 1992 when it was still a rigid communist dictatorship with few visitors, awful roads and hotels, abject poverty and clapped-out Citroen 2CVs literally held together with rubber bands. He clearly saw the potential, however, and persevered: now Madagascar has improved infrastructure and a good range of high quality accommodation. And of course, its unique wildlife is as wonderful as ever.
Back then our groups were led by Hilary Bradt (Bradt Travel Guides’ founder and author of the first ever travel guide to Madagascar) but our clients endured poor accommodation and infrastructure – the wildlife made up for it, though. Things have since improved considerably: many good hotels, lodges and resorts have opened; the roads and vehicles are far better; the parks have upgraded their accommodation; the guiding has become much better; and the food is even more delicious.
Wildlife tourism has emerged as a major source of foreign income for Madagascar. By visiting Madagascar, you contribute directly to the conservation of its precious remaining forests with their unique wildlife, and the welfare of its people who are among the poorest (yet friendliest) in the world. Your presence facilitates the hiring of park rangers who guard the precious reserves from illegal logging, slash-and-burn farmers and bush-meat hunters. Fees paid to local guides and hotel staff salaries percolate down through the poor communities near the parks. Isolated lodges such as Anjajavy and Eden Lodge fund local schools and clinics. It all adds up.
Wildlife-wise, our clients are regularly seeing such rarities as wild ring-tail lemur, various sifakas, predatory fossa, giraffe-necked weevil, helmet vanga, flatid leaf bug, and perhaps the oddest of all Madagascar’s mammals, the nocturnal aye-aye. Added to that are the three main habitats: wet rainforest, dry tropical deciduous forest and the unique spiny forest, found only in Madagascar’s far southwest. Our expert English-speaking guides are all tried, tested and trusted to deliver to you a marvellously memorable journey to the Big Red Island.
Come with us to Madagascar and you will see in the best possible way what makes the Big Red Island so special.