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MADAGASCAR- Summer

Rich history, diverse culture, unique biodiversity, and of course, lemurs– Madagascar might be an island but there’s nothing small about it. For those who like to get remote, this isolated island is packed with wildlife, landscapes and people you’ll find nowhere else. You’ll get to embrace local life and still have time to relax at the beach.

GEEO and Boston University's African Studies Center (www.bu.edu/africa/outreach) are collaborating on the Group 2 departure of this program. That group will be accompanied by an experienced tour leader arranged by GEEO, as well an academic guide with expertise in Africa from Boston University. Together they will help provide background, context, and narration throughout the journey, and help you think of ways to use the experiences in your teaching and your classroom.

This program is open to all educators and their guests.


Itinerary

July 27 : Antananarivo

Arrive at any time.

July 28 : Antananarivo

A day exploring the capital of Madagascar. Included visits to the Queen's Palace and the Prime Minister's Palace.

July 29 : Antananarivo/Andasibe

Travel to Andasibe-Perinet National Park with scenic stops en route. Stay in a quiet area near Andasibe and explore the Indri Special Reserve section of this massive area.

July 30 : Andasibe

Spend the day exploring this national park.

July 31 : Andasibe/Antsirabe

Travel to the colonial city of Antsirabe, stopping to see rice paddies and artisan workshops along the way.

August 1 : Antsirabe/Fiadanana (L, D)

Visit Lake Andraikiba before continuing to the small village of Fiadanana. Opt to explore this beautiful village by foot, bicycle, or in a famous "pousse-pousse". Listen to a ghost talker, enjoy a stay at a community guesthouse, and dinner with a local family.

August 2 : Fiadanana/Ranomafana (B)

Option to hike back to the bus taking in the stunning views. Continue on to Ranomafana. Learn traditional rituals from the local villagers.

August 3 : Ranomafana/Ambalavao

Opt for an early morning forest walk to get a feel for the incredible wildlife of the area, or explore on your own. In the afternoon, enjoy a scenic journey heading south through Madagascar's wine-producing region.

August 4 : Ambalavao/Ranohira

Stop at Anja Community Reserve, known for groups of ring-tailed lemurs. Continue on through the changing landscape to Ranohira and Isalo National Park.

August 5 : Ranohira

Spend a full day exploring the park on foot, stopping at a natural swimming pool and waterfalls.

August 6 : Ranohira/Ifaty

Drive through the desert landscape, viewing Mahafaly tombs and giant baobab trees en route. Continue to the beautiful Mozambican Channel beaches of Ifaty.

August 7 : Ifaty

Spend two full days enjoying this gorgeous area. Opt to do some hiking or hit the beach.

August 8 : Ifaty

Second day of free time in Ifaty

August 9 : Ifaty/Antananarivo

Travel to Toliara for a flight to Antananarivo and an optional last night out on the town.

August 10 : Antananarivo

Depart at any time.

Detailed Itinerary

July 27 : Antananarivo

Arrive at any time.

There are no planned activities until an evening welcome meeting. Check the notice boards or ask at reception for the exact time and location of the group meeting (Typically 6 or 7PM). After the meeting, you might like to take the option of heading out for a meal in a nearby local restaurant to further get to know your tour leader and traveling companions.

Please make every effort to arrive on time for this welcome meeting. If you are delayed and will arrive late, please inform us. Your tour leader will then leave you a message at the front desk informing you of where and when to meet up.

Antananarivo is the capital city of Madagascar, in the island’s Central Highlands. Overlooking the city, the Rova of Antananarivo palace complex was the center of the Merina kingdom from the 17th century. It features wooden houses and royal tombs. The pink baroque Andafiavaratra Palace sits in the nearby Haute Ville neighborhood. In the city center, heart-shaped Lake Anosy is ringed by jacaranda trees.

Please note, occasionally the following itinerary may have to be shuffled due to changes with the internal flight schedules. Typically, this results in shuffling days of the itinerary around but does not cause any missed activities, destinations or experiences.

July 28 : Antananarivo

Today we will explore Antananarivo, known as "Tana" to the locals.

We will first visit the Queen’s Palace. Belonging to a complex of seven monuments, the Queen's Palace (also called Manjakamiadana) was destroyed in a fire in 1995. Take a wander around the remaining stone walls of this site, 200m above the city center.

We will then visit the Prime Minister’s Palace. Located on the highest hill in Antananarivo, the Andafiavaratra Palace was the residency of Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony of Madagascar, who governed the island kingdom in the late 19th century. The site has now transitioned into a museum boasting over 1400 artifacts rescued from the fire at the Rova of Antananarivo, giving visitors insight into Malagasy history.

For Group 2 we are also planning to have a half-day educational workshop organized by Boston University. More details TBA.

July 29 : Antananarivo/Andasibe

Depart the capital and continue east, with stops along the scenic rainforest route of the world-renowned Andasibe-Perinet National Park. Opt to stop en route to spot some lemurs, along with other animals like chameleons and leaf-tailed geckos.

Continue on to the national park. With free time over the next two days, opt to visit other small private or community reserves around Andasibe, and go on guided night walks inside those reserves or along the main road. Walk to the little town of Andasibe or simply enjoy the relaxing tranquility of the surrounding forest.

Please note: Our accommodation here are simple bungalows with shared facilities.

Travel Time: Approximately 4 hours by private vehicle

July 30 : Andasibe

Explore the Indri Special Reserve and national park located 1.5km (0.93 mi) from the town of Andasibe. One of the park’s primary purposes is to protect the natural habitat of the indri, a large black and white diurnal lemur species that feeds on leaves and fruit. In addition to the indri, the park has 10 other diurnal and nocturnal lemur species, large chameleons, and the rarely seen blue boa.

The flora is just as spectacular with numerous species of trees, palms, and orchids.

July 31 : Andasibe/Antsirabe

Travel to the ancient colonial town of Antsirabe. Along this stretch of road you will see Merina tombs and the labor-intensive cultivation of rice paddies. Stop at Ambatolampy to visit a traditional family-run aluminum cookware factory.

Antsirabe is known as a thermal city because of its volcanic lakes. It's also famous for its precious and semi-precious stones and handicrafts.

Opt to explore this quaint little city upon arrival or the next morning.

Options include:

Vakôna Reserve, 20000 MGA per person
Take a guided visit to the Vakôna Reserve for a chance to spot a variety of lemur species, Nile crocodiles, fossa (cat-like mammal), and birds.

Mitsinjo Canopy Walk, 30000 MGA per person
Experience the Analamazaotra rainforest with views from the top! Walk along the tree top canopies, and zip-line back down. Please note that operational hours are irregular; speak to your CEO about booking this activity in advance.

Travel Time: Approximately 7-8 hours by private vehicle

August 1 : Antsirabe/Fiadanana (L, D)

After a short visit to Lake Andraikiba, we will have a 3 hour hike to the small village of Fiadanana. (If you cannot handle the hike you will stay in Antsirabe for the night and then be picked-up by the group the next day) This beautiful village is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes of rice fields and panoramic views of the nearby mountains.

Get to see how the villagers live by interacting with them and enjoy a chance to learn their rituals during an authentic community experience. Opt to explore this beautiful village by foot, bicycle, or in a famous "pousse-pousse". Listen to a ghost talker, enjoy a stay at a community guesthouse, and dinner with a local family.

Please note: Accommodation is in a traditional style house that has been purpose-built to meet the needs of guests. There is a kitchen and a dining/lounge area to enjoy lunch or a drink, and a beautiful veranda overlooking the rice terraces. It is equipped with shared, basic shower facilities and outdoor toilets (a squat toilet and one western-style toilet). This accommodation is basic but, for one night, the experience of living like a local and staying somewhere unique and remote is worth it.

Travel Time: Approximately 1 hour by private vehicle, 3 hours by foot

August 2 : Fiadanana/Ranomafana (B)

Enjoy a local breakfast then opt for a scenic hike in the area to take in stunning views of Mt Ifasina.

After, hike back out to the bus (about 3.5km/2.2 mi) and (after picking up non-hikers) continue to Ranomafana, a little village named after the hot springs in the valley.

The nearby national park is one of the most important mammal viewing sites in Madagascar.

Travel Time: Approximately 2 hours by foot, 7 hours by private vehicle

August 3 : Ranomafana/Ambalavao

In the morning enjoy a walk in the forest to see golden bamboo lemurs, greater bamboo lemurs, and other lemur species. There's a possibility of seeing reptiles such as the Madagascar boa, chameleons (the largest rainforest species being the Parson's chameleon), or the well-camouflaged leaf-tailed gecko.

You could instead take a dip into a pool heated naturally by the hot springs surrounding the Namorona River. Opt for a massage on site to deepen your relaxation

Or, take a trip into town to get a feel for the local hustle and bustle. Stroll around the open market, or shop for a locally-made handicraft.

We then depart Ranomafana and enjoy the wonderful changes of landscape along the way to the pleasant rural town of Ambalavao.

Ambalavao is famous for its "Papier Antemoro", a papyrus-type paper impregnated with dried flowers and sold throughout the island. Visit a little paper factory where the locals will tell us about the traditional methods used to produce this unique, hand-made paper. You can even buy some and use it to write letters to your friends and family back home.

We will take a trip into town to get a feel for the local hustle and bustle. Stroll around the open market, or shop for a locally-made handicraft. We will also visit a silk factory in town and learn about the local way of making fabric or clothing from silk, and the process of dyeing it with natural dyes.

Travel Time: Approximately 3.5 hours by private vehicle

August 4 : Ambalavao/Ranohira

Journey from Ambalavao to the Anja Community Reserve, which is known for having some of the most accessible groups of ring-tailed lemurs in the country. Enjoy looking at these fascinating creatures.

Then travel through the savannah before the massif of Isalo becomes clearly visible in your destination, Isalo National Park.

Travel Time: Approximately 4 hours by private vehicle

August 5 : Ranohira

Spend the day exploring Isalo. After a short trek within a small canyon, take a break from the sun and stop at fresh natural swimming pool. Continue on to the "cascades", which is considered to be amongst the best waterfalls in Madagascar and has a large natural swimming pool.

With a little luck, you may see sifaka, brown lemurs, or ring-tailed lemurs.

August 6 : Ranohira/Ifaty

En route to Toliara, drive through the magnificent wide-open and vast desert landscape. Pass through several unique frontier-style sapphire mining towns, and see baobab trees en route.

This drive will also pass by the tombs of the Mahafaly, a local tribe in Madagascar known predominantly for their large tombs. They were built for chiefs and kings and are covered in stones, sculptures, and horns. The more important the deceased, the more horns and statues the tomb is adorned with. One of the largest tombs has over 700 zebu horns! As this is a sacred site we will just be passing by, and photography is not permitted.

Continue on to Ifaty to relax and enjoy the breathtaking beaches of the Mozambican Channel.

Travel Time: Approximately 6 hours by private vehicle

August 7 : Ifaty

There's plenty to see and do in Ifaty, and we wanted to make sure that you had some time to take it all in. Feel free to relax or try optional activities like Spiny Forest Reserve visit, dugout canoe ride, snorkeling, or simply relax on the beach. Your tour leader has more ideas if you need them. Just ask!

More details on optional activities:

Dugout Canoe Ride, Price varies
Head out in a traditional dugout canoe to see the area from a new perspective.

Reniala Spiny Forest Reserve Visit, 35000 MGA, per person
Visit this unique ecosystem belonging to the last pieces of primary forests of southern Madagascar. Learn more about the plant and animal life in the area, and gaze upon the largest baobab tree in Ifaty. Price includes entry fee and transportation.

Snorkeling, 2h-3h, 320000 MGA per person
Grab a mask and some fins and check out what's living just under the water.

Tortoise Reserve Visit, 3h-4h 30000 MGA per person
This 70,000-sq-meter park protects over 1000 radiated and spider tortoises. Follow a guide who will explain the history of these endangered animals, and present day conservation efforts. Fees include entry and transport.

Fishing, Price varies
There are tons of different types of fishing opportunities available in this area. Speak to your tour leader to learn more.

Quad Biking, 4h-6h, 230000 MGA per person
Hop on an ATV to explore Ifaty. Rates will depend on duration, and if you'd like a guide to accompany you.

August 8 : Ifaty

Second day of free time in Ifaty

August 9 : Ifaty/Antananarivo

Travel to Toliara for a flight to Antananarivo and an optional last night out on the town.

Due to the unpredictability of local flights, if we are unable to secure your domestic flight, we will instead transport you in 4x4 vehicles. This journey can take approximately 10 hours.

Travel Time: Approximately 1 hour by plane or 10 hours by 4x4

August 10 : Antananarivo

Depart Antananarivo at any time.

Want more adventure? GEEO will give you a discount for booking more than one program in the same summer! Book two or more GEEO programs and receive 10% off on the lesser value program (up to 3 programs). For more details please click here.

Want more adventure? Book two or more GEEO trips in the same year and receive a discount! GEEO will give you 10% off of the lesser value program(s) (up to 3 programs).

If you don’t see a program that interests you that pairs with this trip, but still would like to extend your time abroad, let us know. We will work with you to find a non-teacher trip from our tour operator’s much larger catalog. Even better, if you are an educator we can still offer you a discounted price on the trip you choose!

Stuff You Need to Know

Terms and Conditions

Terms and Conditions

It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.

We want to emphasize the cancellation policy:

All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to jesse@geeo.org. If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your written cancellation request, please call us at 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.

* Cancellation 60 days or more prior to departure = Deposit is kept on file for future use and all other program fee payments are refunded

* Cancellation between 30 and 59 days prior to departure = 50% refund and your deposit is kept on file for future use

* Cancellation within 30 days of departure = No refund, but your deposit is kept on file for future use

Trip Notes

1. DOMESTIC FLIGHTS
Please note that there are limited domestic flight options for our internal flights during the trip - we are at mercy of the national flight schedule, which often is only released 5 months at a time. Though there is normally one flight a day to and from each center, we have designed the itinerary around past and current flight departure times. However, these times may change and this may result in a slight adjustment in the itinerary in order for us to match up our trip itinerary with this local constraint. Typically, this results in shuffling days of the itinerary around and does not cause any missed activities, destinations or experiences.

2. VACCINATIONS
It may be required to show a Yellow Fever certificate upon entering the country visited. Please check in with your local health expert for advice on Yellow Fever and other inoculations required for this area. The government of Madagascar requires proof of yellow fever vaccination only if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever.

Service Level

Standard:

Step out of the normal tourist mind-set and truly experience the world. Most nights will have you staying in a simple yet clean twin-share hotel or lodge rooms with private facilities, complete with running water and electricity. Occasionally you may have a multi-share night at rustic local guesthouses, with communal bathrooms and the sporadic cold shower. Transportation will be a combination of public transport, private buses and some private vehicles.

Physical Grading

3:

May include moderate hiking, biking, rafting, kayaking and other activities that require only an average/moderate level of fitness to enjoy.

Minimum/Maximum Group Size

This program is confirmed to run and will have a maximum of 16 participants.

Group Leader Description

All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure's group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.

While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.

It is important to note that in Europe, all guiding is based around local guides all of whom are licensed to work only in a particular city. As such, our leaders are able to provide orientation walks which will show you the layout of each town and city as well as the location of local services such as post offices and laundromats, but are unable to legally share historical facts and figures in public places. Your tour leader will be able to help you find a local guided tour in each location if you would like one.

Packing List

You are expected to handle your own luggage. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them between transport and hotels and up and down stairs. Luggage space is limited so again, smaller is better.

Most travelers carry a large multi-day backpack or rolling suitcase of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!). In general you want a bag that has a capacity of around 40 to 65 liters. If you are asking us for our suggestion, we would recommend a backpack over a rolling suitcase. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like smartphones.

Suggested Checklist

•Light windproof/waterproof jacket
•Small towel and swimwear
•Sun hat
•Personal clothing for weather in the 60's to low 80's (We recommend packing 8 or 9 days of outfits so you only have to do laundry once)
•At least one pair of long pants
•Comfortable walking shoes
•Sunblock
•Sunglasses
•Toiletries (Your hotels will have soap and shampoo)
•Watch or alarm clock
•First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine,
Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, insect
repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
•Personal Electronics such as iPhone, iPad, etc.
•Camera
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•USD cash (See personal spending money and FAQ)

Optional Checklist

•Travel pillow
•Money belt
•Water bottle
•Light fleece top
•Packing cubes (These are awesome)
•Flip-flops/Sandals
•Ear Plugs (Hearos Xtreme Protection 33 decibel ear plugs are a life-saver if you have a snoring roommate)
•Snacks (Packing a few granola bars is a good idea. You can buy snacks when you get there too, so don't go crazy here.)
•Reading/writing material
•Hand Sanitizer/Baby wipes
•Phrase books

Document Checklist

•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•Credit and/or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required (Check our FAQ to see if you need them)
•GEEO Classroom action plans for your group (This is sent 10-30 days before departure)

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge or ask your group leader where the nearest laundromat is. There will be times when you may want or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring your own non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Single Travellers

Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with, GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. Most of our trips have a "My Own Room" option, also known as a "Single Supplement" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email jesse@geeo.org. To see the price for the "My Own Room" option, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.

Money

Spending Money

Every traveler is different and therefore spending requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, and tipping. Please look at our “Costs” tab when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

The currency of Madagascar is the Malagasy Ariary (MGA). We recommend that purchases locally be made in MGA.

Credit cards are useful for cash advances in Antananarivo, but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs.). International debit cards may work as well, especially is they are linked to major credit card networks. Credit cards may sometimes be used for purchases in Antananarivo, but please do not rely on them as a method of payment because they are generally not widely accepted. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies.

ATM’s also have limits on how much money can be taken out at a time. Visa and Mastercard are both accepted.

While ATMs are available in the capital, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Africa. Some travelers have two or more cards which they find will not work in the ATMs. Best to bring large denominations EUR or USD in 50 or 100 notes and change into local currency. You cannot pay in USD dollars.

We do not recommend bringing traveler's checks to Madagascar. Additionally, outside of Antananarivo you will find that it is difficult to use foreign currency.

Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of Euro and US dollar cash is best, with accessing money via cards second best. Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.

As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com.

Medical Forms

GEEO travel programs bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, at minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage. While our tour leaders work hard to ensure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings above for more information.

Optional Activities

Please note: All optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance which activities you would like to sign up for. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please feel free to use them as a guide for budgeting your trip.

Antananarivo

Tsarasaotra Bird Park, 25000 MGA per person
Take a wander around this quiet park located near the city center. Hang around the lake to catch a glimpse of this park's abundant aquatic bird life.

Antsirabe

Vakôna Reserve, 20000 MGA per person
Take a guided visit to the Vakôna Reserve for a chance to spot a variety of lemur species, Nile crocodiles, fossa (cat-like mammal), and birds.

Mitsinjo Canopy Walk, 30000 MGA per person
Experience the Analamazaotra rainforest with views from the top! Walk along the tree top canopies, and zip-line back down. Please note that operational hours are irregular; speak to your CEO about booking this activity in advance.

Ifaty

Dugout Canoe Ride, Price varies
Head out in a traditional dugout canoe to see the area from a new perspective.

Reniala Spiny Forest Reserve Visit, 35000 MGA, per person
Visit this unique ecosystem belonging to the last pieces of primary forests of southern Madagascar. Learn more about the plant and animal life in the area, and gaze upon the largest baobab tree in Ifaty. Price includes entry fee and transportation.

Snorkeling, 2h-3h, 320000 MGA per person
Grab a mask and some fins and check out what's living just under the water.

Tortoise Reserve Visit, 3h-4h 30000 MGA per person
This 70,000-sq-meter park protects over 1000 radiated and spider tortoises. Follow a guide who will explain the history of these endangered animals, and present day conservation efforts. Fees include entry and transport.

Fishing, Price varies
There are tons of different types of fishing opportunities available in this area. Speak to your tour leader to learn more.

Quad Biking, 4h-6h, 230000 MGA per person
Hop on an ATV to explore Ifaty. Rates will depend on duration, and if you'd like a guide to accompany you.

Costs

Please keep in mind this trip is designed to give you the freedom to do whatever interests you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and keep in mind these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. Other than daily breakfast, few meals are included on this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat on your own budget. The prices below are in US dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.

Tour Company Fee

$2387 USD

Non-Educator Fee

$100 USD (Educators do not have to pay this fee)

Optional Activities

$40-$65 USD, See optional activities tab to get a better idea of your budget.

International Airfare from USA

Roughly $1200-$2200 USD, See our FAQ for flight advice.

Insurance

$26-$186 USD
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance as well.
See our FAQ for advice on Travel Insurance.

Tipping

$120 total should be enough. We recommend $70 USD for your tour leader, $40 for your driver and another $10 for other tips.

Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary

Allow $360-$460 for meals not included.

Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.

(Make sure you budget for these types of expenses)

Airport Transfers

$60 Total

It costs about $28 USD to get a taxi from the airport to the hotel. Same for the ride back.

Vaccines

$0-$???? USD (Check with your doctor to see what you will need and what is covered by your insurance)

Visa

$28.70 for visa plus $11 tourist fee. These may vary slightly due to currency fluctuations

Souvenirs

$0-????

FAQ

What should be my expectations for this GEEO program?

Before you decide on traveling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. To summarize, our programs are quite adventurous.

• The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe, well-located place for you to sleep. The hotels in Madagascar are pretty basic. ( Feel free to google some of the hotels that are typically used: Hotel Chalets des Roses in Antananarivo. Feon' ny Ala in Andasibe. Hasina Hotel in Antsirabe, Manja Hotel in Ranomafana, Aux Bougainvillees in Ambalavao, ITC Lodge in Ranohira, Hotel Bamboo Club in Ifaty)

• You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack. We recommend using a large backpack along with a smaller daypack, which is typically the most comfortable way to carry your possessions.

• We recommend always carrying snacks with you because sometimes meals can be far apart.

• We try to set up either a school visit or a meeting with local teachers. Sometimes this is not possible due to time constraints, summer vacations, etc. Please understand this is not a guaranteed part of the program.

Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!

Do I need a Passport? Do I need a visa?

All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. Many countries require that your passport not expire within six months of your arrival in that country. Please take the time to look up the passport validity requirements for the country/countries you are visiting on this trip by clicking here.

If you have a U.S. passport, but it has expired, or will expire within 6 months of trip departure, click here for information on how to get it renewed. If you have never been issued a passport or have lost your passport, please click here. Processing time for US Passports is 4-6 weeks so please start this process immediately.

As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double check the information we provide below by searching here.

Please note that upon arrival by air or by land to Madagascar, all non-Malagasy nationals must pay a fee of 80,000 Ariary (About 28.70 USD at time of writing) for a tourist visa of 30 days or less (adults and children). Payment for this can be made directly at the border or airport and all major currencies are accepted. We advise our travelers to ensure they have close to the exact amount needed in bills (plus a little extra to account for any fluctuations). Cash is preferred. Any change will be given in Malagasy Ariary.

If you arrive into Ivato Airport (Antananarivo), you should make your way to the border control desk closest to the Direction Generale des Impots (DGI) Office where there is an electronic sign indicating the cost of the visa.

Please also note that in addition to the visa fee, you will need to pay a tourist tax of 10 Euros (about 11USD at time of writing). Please also have this fee available in cash.

We always advise our travelers to check with their Embassy/Consulate for the most up-to-date information as fees and policies frequently change. It is the travelers responsibility to have the correct travel documentation.

IMPORTANT NOTE
It may be required to show a Yellow Fever certificate upon entering the country. Please check in with your local consulate and health expert for advice on Yellow Fever and other inoculations required for this area.

Is it OK if I am traveling alone? Do I have to have a roommate?

Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with, GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. Most of our trips have a "My Own Room" option, also known as a "Single Supplement" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email jesse@geeo.org. To see the price for the "My Own Room" option, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.

Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single accommodation for all night stops, with the following exceptions: Day 5 in Ambositra (homestay - multishare).

What is group travel like?

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of traveling in a group. Your fellow travelers will probably come from all across the US and beyond and are likely to be of a variety of ages too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travelers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.

Is it possible to get references for GEEO?

Over 2000 educators have traveled with GEEO since we ran our first programs in 2008. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the quality and value of the life changing experiences that we provide.

To read comments from past travelers, please feel free to visit a website that reviews non-profit organizations called Great Non-profits. Please click here for those reviews.

Please contact us if you would like to communicate with some of our former participants for a reference.

Who travels with GEEO?

GEEO participants are mostly made up of American K-12 teachers. Each group tends to have a good mix of educators in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. About half of our participants are coming alone and do not know anyone in the group prior to the trip. We group single travelers of the same gender together as roommates, unless a participant prefers to pay an additional fee for their own room. If we have an odd amount of one gender we will rotate the single room for free among the participants.

GEEO trips are open to all Kindergarten to University teachers, school staff, school administrators, and soon-to-be teachers pursuing their teaching certificate. Our programs are also open to retired educators. Non-American educators are welcome on our trips.

Each educator who participates in our programs is permitted to bring along up to three friends or family members who are not teachers. Each participant must be of adequate fitness level for their chosen trip. If you wish to bring a guest under the age of 18 GEEO will consider your request, but typically we only allow participants over the age of 18.

What vaccinations do I need for this trip?

We legally cannot give you any medical advice. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. GEEO recommends contacting Passport Health, (http://www.passporthealthusa.com/) who have travel clinics throughout the US. Please take this seriously!

Where do I meet the group? What happens when I arrive at the airport?

Our groups meet at the hotel we use for the first night of the trip. We will provide you with the starting hotel information roughly 90 days before departure. Your tour leader will leave a note for you at the hotel's front desk with the introductory meeting time and location.

Upon arrival at the airport in Antananarivo, as you make your way out of the airport you will find a number of official taxis. You may also look for airport porters wearing their marked jackets. They will help you carry your luggage and find a recognized taxi just outside the airport. The fee for this porter service handling is about $1 USD or 1000/2000 Ariary, per piece of luggage. A taxi to the center of Antananarivo, where your joining hotel is located, will be approximately 45 minutes, and will cost approximately US$28.

If you have paid in advance for an arrival transfer, a G Adventures representative will be at the airport to meet you. If for any reason you are not met at the airport, please call our local support line. If you are unable to make contact for whatever reason, please make your way to the joining point hotel via taxi.

Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day. Upon arrival to the city on day 1 (or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us), please make your way to the joining hotel (note that check-in time will be in the afternoon). Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your tour leader. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5pm and 7pm), where you will get a chance to meet your tour leader and other travelers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!

If you are arriving later and will miss the Welcome Meeting, your tour leader will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need, and with morning instructions for the next day.

Where can we get a list of hotels for this trip?

Other than the first hotel our partner G Adventures does not provide hotel lists for any of their trips.

The reason for this is sometimes hotels change at the last minute. G Adventures does not want to give out incorrect information because in an emergency that can only cause more issues. Instead we give you 24-hour emergency phone numbers where you and your family can reach staff in the country that you are travelling to or in Canada at G Adventure's headquarters. This way at any time your loved ones can call the emergency contact who can immediately put them in touch with your tour leader no matter how plans have changed.

Is it OK if I arrive a few days early or stay a few days late?

You may want to arrive a few days early at the start of the trip or stay a few days extra at the end of trip. Please feel free to do so.

We will send out an email to all participants roughly 90 days before departure with information on which hotels we will be using for the start and end of the trip as well how to go about booking them.

When should I purchase my flights?

This program is confirmed to run so you may purchase your flights whenever you wish.

What cities/airports should I book my flight in and out of?

This program begins and ends in Antananarivo.

Where can I purchase flights?

We recommend using www.kayak.com or www.google.com/flights/ to see what is out there in terms of flights.

You may also want to take a look at the prices at www.flyforgood.com or call 1-877-359-4466 to speak to a person. They get humanitarian rates from airlines and GEEO is registered with Fly for Good as a non-profit. If you purchase a humanitarian rate flight, you will need a supporting document from GEEO. Please request this from us after you purchase the tickets. Note that humanitarian rates are not available for all flights to GEEO destinations and are sometimes higher than tickets found on Kayak, Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia etc. Often the layovers are long and sometimes impossible to navigate. Look very carefully at the offer before purchasing your ticket.

Where can I purchase travel insurance?

Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency medical, emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. Regular health insurance plans almost never include emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance, so you will almost certainly need to purchase a separate TRAVEL health insurance plan.

You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you like. In order to receive your trip vouchers you must enter your insurance information into our tour operator’s online check-in system, Good To Go. We recommend doing this 60 days before departure.

The least expensive travel health insurance plan that we have found is the International Teacher Identity Card, better known as the ITIC Card. They have a $26 card that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits. The card will also get you discounts and benefits in over 125,000 locations, including many museums and hotels. Another great thing about the ITIC Card is that it covers you for an entire year and can be used for all your travel during that period, including domestic travel.

GEEO has reached an agreement with the makers of this card to pre-approve all GEEO travelers, so you do not need to submit paperwork proving that you are a teacher. Also, non-teachers who are traveling with GEEO can get this same card, which normally is only for teachers.

To sign up for the card please follow this link:

www.myisic.com/orders/GEEO

While not required, we also highly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance! The $186 Explorer ITIC Card comes with $3000 of cancellation insurance, which is also valid for multiple trips (domestic and international) within a one year period. Even if you don't use the cancellation insurance on your GEEO trip, you might end up needing it for travel expenses relating to a conference!

Please note: Residents of Washington, New Hampshire and Massachusetts cannot purchase this card due to some odd state laws. If you are a resident of one of these states, we recommend purchasing an "International Volunteer Card." They have a $42 card (Plus Plan) that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits. DO NOT get the Basic Plan that they offer as it does not have enough coverage for our programs. To sign up for the card you can follow this link: http://www.volunteercard.com/geeo.html/.

The ITIC and IVC cards are for American residents. If you are not American or are an American living abroad, you will have to find another option.

Will I be eating on my own? With the group? Why aren't all meals included?

Eating is a big part of traveling. Traveling with GEEO you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is affordable. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets. When meals are not included, your hotel will have a restaurant or your will be advised of a good local establishment.

Is the water safe to drink?

In general, the water is not safe to drink in Madagascar. All local water should be considered contaminated. You should buy capped bottled water from reputable brands.

What is the weather like?

July and August are in the midst of the Madagascan winter and you will get some of the best weather of the year. We will be in a few different climate zones, but expect highs in the upper 60's and lower 70's and lows in the 60's. At Ifaty it will be a bit warmer with weather typically in the upper 70's to mid-80's.

This means trekking the naturally humid rainforests can be refreshing and airy. The rainforests are alive with unique flora and fauna, with loads of different lemurs and other animals getting on with their daily lives in the jungle depths. Being so dry does mean that some of the species are hibernating; mainly small mammals and reptiles.

If you’re looking for marine-life, you won’t miss out. You may have a chance to spot humpback whales near Ifaty.

Is there Internet access? Should I bring a computer? Mobile phone?

Many of the hotels we use have WiFi (often free, sometime not). There are internet cafes in most of the places we visit and many of the hotels also have computers that can be used. Expect to be able to check your email every two to three days. You can also bring along your mobile phone if you choose. Make sure you check with your phone company before you leave to find out the rates for calling back to the US and if they have any special international plans that are worth taking advantage of. International roaming rates can be extremely high, so you don’t want to be surprised. You can bring a laptop/tablet/smart phone if you wish, but remember, GEEO and G Adventures are not responsible for the damage or theft of your valued items.

Is there clothing that is considered inappropriate that I should not bring?

You can wear pretty much whatever you wish on this trip.

Do I need plugs and current converters for my electronic devices?

There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.

Madagascar uses a European-style two circular prong plug. Their voltage is 220-240 Volts. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an "Input" line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, "Input: 100 - 240V" means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can't handle the different voltage, you'll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.

Why are some activities included in the price of the trip and others are not?

We have found paying locally for activities allows our participants to save money. Not every activity is appealing to everyone and we don't want you to pay for services you might not use. Perhaps you feel sick one day and would prefer to rest. This allows you to decide on the spot what you want to do each day with your free time and at the same time control your budget.

How much money in US cash should I bring? Should I exchange local currency in advance?

This is hard to say, because a lot depends on on how much you spend on souvenirs. I think $800 to $1000 would seem about right to me. See below for advice:

"The currency of Madagascar is the Malagasy Ariary (MGA). We recommend that purchases locally be made in MGA.

Credit cards are useful for cash advances in Antananarivo, but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs.). International debit cards may work as well, especially is they are linked to major credit card networks. Credit cards may sometimes be used for purchases in Antananarivo, but please do not rely on them as a method of payment because they are generally not widely accepted. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies.

ATM’s also have limits on how much money can be taken out at a time. Visa and Mastercard are both accepted.

While ATMs are available in the capital, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Africa. Some travelers have two or more cards which they find will not work in the ATMs. Best to bring large denominations EUR or USD in 50 or 100 notes and change into local currency. You cannot pay in USD dollars.

We do not recommend bringing traveler's checks to Madagascar. Additionally, outside of Antananarivo you will find that it is difficult to use foreign currency.

Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of Euro and US dollar cash is best, with accessing money via cards second best. Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.

As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com."

Do you have advice on tipping?

Tipping is an expected - though not compulsory - component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. It is one of the most direct ways that you can have a positive economic impact within the East African community. Although it may not be customary for you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, as an important source of income for those in the tourism industry. Giving a tip should be a seen as a formal 'thank you', and the action should in no way be awkward. The best method of tipping someone that has served the whole group is to plan in advance, and not rush when it comes to saying goodbye. A suggestion would be for each group member to contribute anonymously by putting their tip into an envelope. This often works the best and the group as a whole should gather to present the gift to the recipient(s), offering their thanks and showing their appreciation. This method brings the action out into the open, allowing for a friendly and appreciative interaction between the group and the recipient(s).

You may use the following as a guideline, all given in a per client format:

G Adventures tour leader and drivers: $5 USD each (per day worked)

Supply Crew $2-5 USD (full day)

Restaurant/Café servers: 10% of cost of bill, especially when in a large group (no envelope required)

Local guides: $1-3 USD for every couple of hours

Tipping should always be in Ariary if possible, locals find it difficult and time-consuming to have to change EUR/USD tips and therefore always prefer Ariary.

What is expected from me from an educational stand point?

Please take a look at the "Sharing your Adventure section of our website by clicking here.

What should I expect in terms of school visits?

We will try to have a t least one, but sometimes due to holidays these can be difficult to arrange.

Is there any safety advice we should know about?

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travelers' checks, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelry at home - you won't need it while travelling.

When travelling on a group trip, please note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is G Adventure's policy not to allow our tour leaders to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

What happens if it becomes unsafe to travel on this trip?

Your safety is our utmost priority and we will cancel a trip if we do not feel our participants will be safe. If GEEO or G Adventures cancels your trip we will issue a full refund of any payments you have made including the deposit. If YOU decide to cancel your trip you will have to abide by the rules of our terms and conditions.

What are the emergency contact numbers for this trip?

Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so that they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible. If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office, call the international office,

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Representative (Madagascar)
During Office hours (Weekdays, 8am-5pm Local Time): +261 202 202 012
After hours emergency number : +261 32 07 11511

G Adventures Local Office (Nairobi, Kenya)
From outside Kenya: +254 727 208 832
From within Kenya: 0727 208 832

If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office they have a toll-free line within North America (or our regular direct line), which will connect you directly with their Toronto office. In the event that you cannot get through, you can reach a member of their Operations department at the mobile number below.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Outside North America, Australia and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

What is the relationship between G Adventures and GEEO? Who is running this trip?

GEEO is an independent non-profit organization that helps teachers travel. GEEO has chosen to work with the tour operator G Adventures. We discount their prices for our participants so they are even more affordable for teachers. GEEO also is able to get our participants humanitarian rate airfare and discounted travel health insurance. GEEO customizes these trips for teachers. GEEO provides educational materials to teachers before and after the trip to help bring the participating teachers' experience into the classroom. GEEO provides each participant with a Professional Development Certificate. For more about GEEO, please see our mission statement.

G Adventures is a tour company that GEEO has partnered with to run our trips. For over 25 years, G Adventures has been sending hundreds of thousands of people abroad and today they are the largest adventure travel company in the world. They design the trips, provide expert tour leaders, ground logistics, and work hard to make sure you have an excellent experience.

How long have we been running this program?

GEEO was founded in 2007 and our inaugural trips were run to Peru and India in the summer of 2008. 2018 will be the first time we offer Madagascar. G Adventures, who actually handle the logistics of the trip, runs this same itinerary many times a year so they have the experience to make sure your trip will be safe and well run.

Is the itinerary exactly as described on this website?

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Is there any advice for finding funding for this program?

The first thing we recommend you do is speak to your school's principal and/or professional development coordinator. They may know of grants that your school district or state offers. Often schools reimburse teachers for professional development expenses. You can also try contacting your school's PTA or professional organizations that you belong to.

We also recommend applying for a Fund for Teachers grant, www.fundforteachers.org. These grants can be used on GEEO trips. If you want advice on applying for an FFT grant, please email us and we will send you a document that you will find helpful.

2387.00 USD

International Airfare not included

Availability: 0

Book now
2387.00 USD

International Airfare not included

Availability: 5

Book now

This program is confirmed to run and will have a maximum of 16 participants.

What's Included

  • Queen’s Palace Visit
    The Prime Minister’s Palace Visit
    Community Guesthouse and Traditional Dinner
    Andasibe Indri Special Reserve guided walk
    Artisan workshop visit
    Silk Factory Visit
    Traditional healer visit
    Paper factory visits
    Anja Reserve walk
    Isalo National Park visit
    Internal flight

  • G Adventures Tour Leader throughout, driver throughout, local guides

  • 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner (Allow $360-$460 USD for meals not included.)

  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities using Private minibus and plane

  • Simple hotels (13 nts), community guesthouse (1 nt, multi-share).

What's Not Included

  • International air

  • Incidentals

  • Travel Health Insurance

  • Applicable visas

  • Airport Taxes

  • Tips or gratuities

  • Beverages

  • Meals not mentioned above

  • Optional Tours or optional admissions

  • Airport Transfers, unless otherwise mentioned in inclusions.

  • Cancellation Insurance