Madagascar and South Africa

In October 2016, Sheila and I took a trip to South Africa (for a safari) and Madagascar (for beaches, rain forest, and lemurs.) The trip turned out to basically be three different vacations back to back.

First, a safari in South Africa

Madikwe gate with elephant
Madikwe gate

We visited the Madikwe Game Reserve – the fourth largest game preserve in South Africa in the north of the country, close to the border with Botswana.

Next, beach time in Madagascar

We stayed at Princess Bora lodge on Ile Sainte Marie for a few days. It was nice to relax with some free time after the regimented time in Madikwe.

Then, jungles and lemurs

Next, we visited Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. This was a rain forest area with many lemurs and other wildlife. We stayed at Eulophelia Lodge, which is locally owned (unlike most of the high-end hotels.) We had a guide and driver for this part, and they were both appreciated.

In case you were thinking…wait, where is that again? Madagascar is a large island off the coast of Africa. According to Wikipedia, over 90% of its wildlife is found nowhere else on Earth. (According to Wild Madagascar documentary, it’s 70%; Madagascar: A Natural History said 80%. There’s still a lot of unknowns about Madagascar nature.)

Before departure

The travel agency cautioned us the “Madagascar is an underdeveloped country and tourism is very new. Camps and lodges are full of character, but they are not like the slick, efficient camps you find on mainland Africa…” and also “pack your sense of humor and patience.”

From reading Madagascar: A Natural History, I now know that, in addition to lemurs, it also has giant spiders and tiny scorpions. Can’t wait.