We are Jacqueline and Paul from the Netherlands. We went to Madagascar on the 13th of november. We had a fantastic holiday with Ramartour for 26 days and are very satisfied. They arranged everything for us except our flight. Nice memories are left now, it was very special.
Jacqueline and Paul
We are Malgorzata, Dorota and Marta from Poland. We spent three unforgettable weeks in Madagascar in June/July 2013. Thanks to the Ramartour team that took up the challenge to realize our adventurous route including the most difficult stage: Tulear - Ifaty - Andavadoaka - Manja - Belo sur Mer - Morondava - Bekopaka. We thank the whole team for excellent sense of humor and friendly atmosphere!
Malgorzata, Dorota and Marta
The welcome in Tana was warmly. With our flexible and helpful driver Joel we had a very nice time. The other drivers and (local) guides that have guided us in several places, adapted themselves to our needs and were very helpful.
From the beginning till the end of the trip, everything was well organized. It was a great experience.
Regards Rob and Anita
Rob and Anita
Our experiences with Ramartour are very good. They have cared well our round trip of 3.5 week to our wishes and showed themselves flexibly at the times when it was necessary for us. Everything was well organized. We have made a custom-made trip with guide and driver.
Sandra and Bert
My visit to Madagascar, after my voluntary work for the Rotary Doctors in Kenia, was awesome. The guides in the national parks are very helpful and indeed very committed and with their help those visits are a true experience, by day and by night!
I travelled in February, the hurricane season, but no hurricanes at all and very quiet, so you get a lot of personal attention. I took the one and only train ride, what an experience. Do it yourself and you have a life time remembrance.
Pieter van Essen
Going to Madagascar wasn't something that I planned or even thought about before. As I had a month of I could go anywhere I wanted and for some reason I choose to go to Madagascar.
I only booked a flight and didn't do much research, so I guess you can say I'm not your average tourist. I haven't even been outside of Europe before, let alone traveling by myself. So it was quite the adventure.
Coming to Madagascar with no plan and no idea what to expect is honestly the best way to experience the country and its people. I was lucky enough to meet the Ramartour staff and even become friends with them. They not only made sure I saw some sights of this beautiful country, but I also experienced the local life. This is an experience which is very dear to me, as I never imagined to fall so in love with a country and I think it's due to the fact that I got so close to the locals.
Malagasy people are shy at first with the ''vazaha'', but very welcoming and I felt right at home!
I went on the South tour, ending in Infaty, for 9-days with a driver and I went to Sainte Marie for a couple of days. The capital was my base where I also spent some days during and at the end of my trip and I mostly spent them at the Ecole Lodge.
The Ramartour staff made sure that all of my needs and wishes were fulfilled and I could always contact them during my trip. They definitely made this the best experience possible!
And I'm already planning on going back! ;)
The capital of the island nation of Madagascar, Antananarivo is also the largest city and is located in the heart of the island, 1,276 meters above sea level. The city is far from the coast of the Indian Ocean and doesn’t have any beaches. However, the rest of the attractions in the city totally make up for the anomaly, making Madagascar a must visit tourist haven wrapped in a crossover of European and African culture. Initially the seat of the Kingdom of Imerina, Antananarivo was colonized by the French in the late 19th century and has maintained its colonial heritage and architecture since 1897 and is thus one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Due to the high altitude location and Madagascar’s geographical location, Antananarivo enjoys a temperate oceanic weather all around the year. Its picturesque architecture, castles, historical monuments, music and culture makes it one of kind tourist location in Africa. Let us have a look at the various things one can do on his trip to Antananarivo.
1. Lemurs Park
Photo by Magnus Hagdorn, CC BY-SA 2.0
Most of the wildlife enthusiasts know that Madagascar is a home to some of the most exotic animal species and especially the endemic population of Lemurs. Spread around 12 acres, Lemur’s park combines a botanical garden and a lemur reserve and several endemic plant species in Madagascar. A majority of the lemurs in the park comprise of confiscated exotic pets, which were saved from the illegal trade of exotic animals. There are around 9 species of lemurs that inhibit the park.
Photo by HeryZoRakotondramana, CC BY-SA 2.0
Located in the heart of the city, Rova is a large palace complex situated at around 1,480 meters above the sea level and also served as the seat of the Kingdom of Madagascar. It is also a part of the fortified hamlet of Ambohimanga which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace is spread around a property of around 2 acres and has several important buildings that comprise the entire palace. Manjakamiadana, Tranovola, Manampisoa, Besakana and Fiangoana are its important buildings.
3. Analakely Market
One of the most important shopping districts in Antananarivo, Analakely market is also known as the Zoma market. The market has it all, be it clothes, food items, meats, vegetables, fruits and other household items. The place is mostly crowded and is a great place to gel with the locals and get a taste of the local Madagascar cuisines.
4. Andafiararatra Palace
Photo by Alex Dunkel,CC BY-SA 3.0
The Andafiararatra Palace is located at the highest point in the city and also serves as the residence of the Prime Minister of Madagascar. The palace was originally built in the 19th century and featured a wooden structure. The palace was later replaced with concrete and stone by the British architect William Pool who was commissioned by the Queen. The palace was used as a military boot camp, art school, a court, presidential palace and finally as the prime minister’s residence. Unfortunately the palace caught a fire during 1976 and was later restored as a residence and a museum that houses several historical findings and articles that provide a deep insight into the history of Madagascar and the French Empire.
5. Lake Anosy
Photo by Francesco Veronesi, CC BY-SA 2.0
Formerly a swamp in the historical district of Antananarivo, Lake Anosy was given its current form by the 18th century artisan and missionary James Cameron. The lake is shaped like a heart and has an island in the center which is connected to the shores via a walkway strip. The lake was commissioned to be built during the reign of Radama I who ordered the swamp to be replaced by a manmade lake to complement the surrounding architecture. The island has a memorial to the French soldiers who fell during the 1st World War and also contained the summer residence of the Queen.
6. Avenue de l'Indépendance
Photo by Lemurbaby, CC BY-SA 3.0
One of the major boulevards of the historic district of Antananarivo and is mostly bustling with several roadside sellers and is one of the most popular commercial areas in the capital city. The shopping arcades on both the sides were built by the French Colonists during the 1930s and provide an essentially European look to the avenue. With several hotels, boutiques, restaurants, eateries and bars etc., Avenue de l'Indépendance, is a must visit place in Madagascar.
The above things are just a handful of the various attraction that the capital city of Madagascar houses. It is highly unlikely for a visitor to expect so much information about France on his trip to Madagascar. Nevertheless, being a former French colony, Madagascar has quit retained the colonial heritage and turned it into one of their most impressive attractions.
Rohit Agarwal likes to travel and is always on a lookout for the various places that exhibit a vibrant culture and rich history. He also writes about his journeys at Transindiatravels.com which is a great place to know about the historic country of India.
Interesting Things to Do In Antananarivo by Rohit Agarwal
We enjoyed our trip to Madagascar immensely and you should be very proud of the level of service your team provided. Please extend our thanks to Ravaka, Christina and the rest of the team.
We will definitely be back to Madagascar and look forward to seeing you guys again.
Phil and Jen
I did a 12 day programme with Ramartour in April 2016. I was given a great welcome by the owner Jonah and his partner and taken to Ecole Lodge, out in the country, a peaceful and clean place to stay, if a little out of town. The staff there were splendid.
They organised the programme exactly as I had asked, even though one of my destinations, the Great Tsingy, was difficult to reach due to the bad roads at the end of the rainy season. Their driver and guide made every effort to ensure I reach the Tsingy, which is a gem of a target, and I did by hook and by crook.
Their choice of hotels / guesthouses was perfect. I was given an extensive tour of Antananarivo and surroundings and even taken into the local people’s heart of Tana by taxi (classic Renault 4s and Citroen 2CVs – a super experience), taxi bus and on foot. Another local highlight was a walk through the village nearest to Ecole Lodge where I met many friendly people and watched their daily hard work.
In a nutshell, I had a marvellous time in Madagascar, thanks to the people of Ramartour.
Franz Opitz, April 2016
Client name(s): Maxim van Wijk, Claire Verhagen
Visit Madagascar from: September 6 till 28 2016
We visited Madagascar for our honeymoon and because we didn't have a lot of preparation time beforehand we went to Ramartour for some travel advise. We chose Ramartour because it was mentioned in Lonely Planet and it was quite close to where we were staying in Antananarivo when we first arrived.
After our call to Ramartour we were picked up by one of their drivers and taken to their office. The Ramartour agent there was very helpful and listened to what we wanted to do and see. She went to work and after a while she gave us two itineraries to choose from. Both looked very attractive, but we opted for one that would take us to the west.
Our trip started with driving west to Miandrivazo. From there we took a river boat trip down the Tsiribihina river. Three days in a pirogue (wooden canoe) and camping along the riverside. We really enjoyed the trip and were blessed with Hugue 'Big Man', the boatsman who happened to be an excellent chef as well. He also had a keen eye for hidden animals that could be spotted from the boat.
The rest of our trip consisted of a 4×4 ride to the National Park de Behamara to visit the Tsingys. A visit to the allée des baobab and the ride back to Tana via Antsirabe.
The second part of our trip started with flight to Nosy Be where we stayed for a week just to enjoy a bit of sun, sea and sand. We toured the island on a rented scooter and booked our own snorkling excurisons. The Vanila Hotel and Spa that Ramartour had recommended was everything you'd expect for a honeymoon destination.
Before flying back to Amsterdam, we stayed another couple of nights in Tana. We were picked up from the airport by a Ramartour representative and taken to our Hotel, they also took care of our transfer back to the airport a couple of days later.
Over all we were very pleased with the service Ramartour offered. We had different drivers and guides for different parts of our trip and of course we did notice some difference in experience between them. But overall they were professional, friendly and helpful and all spoke English (some even some Dutch). Even though they recommended certain accommodations, they were never insistent when we decided to book another one or when we did not feel like visiting certain arts and crafts places.
We would certainly recommend Ramartour.
• Good service
• Custom itinerary
• Good cars
• Good drivers
• Local guide at Tsingy was not good
• Sometimes the driver's and guide's plans did not match ours
Maxim van Wijk, Claire Verhagen
We planned a 14-day tour of Madagascar in June 2017, and Ramartour helped us with all the arrangements and bookings. Everything worked very well, both during the planning phase when many e-mails were exchanged, and throughout the trip itself, including domestic flights, hotel reservations, boat/bus/taxi transfers, and a few days with a car and driver. There was one incident when we arrived at a hotel which did not at all meet our expectations, but it was quickly resolved by the Ramartour staff over the phone on a late Friday afternoon, and we could move to another and excellent place the next morning. We have been super happy with everything from A to Z, and we want to give Jonah and his team our best recommendations. / Maria Bjernevi and family