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Madagascan Ports


tring
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We visited Antisirana (Diego Suarez) as well as Nosy Be and Toamasina last year from a cruise. Madagascar is a very poor country, but wonderfully rich culturally and in its flora and fauna - we very much enjoyed our three stops there. For all three stops we used a company called Madagascar Excursions MAD'EX (voyagemada.com) who were really good and made sure we were well taken care of throughout. This company is very much used by French speaking passengers, but we had a wonderful guide with very good English.

 

For Diego Suarez we went to the Red Tsingy and Ramena for lunch and the beach, and enjoyed our day very much. At the end and start of each day the company owner was there to make sure everyone got to their excursion as booked and had enjoyed their day.

 

From Nosy Be we visited Lokobe, Nosy Tanikely and Nosy Komba. we saw lots of wildlife at close quarters and at Nosy Tanikely the snorkeling was very nice, we even had a short time with a turtle there (this was very unexpected as we had no thought that the snorkeling would be that good!).

 

Hope thats useful.  We found this a very interesting place,  know that toilets can be basic, so be prepared, and take care with any food eaten there, but a wonderful place to visit.

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1 hour ago, Janevo said:

We visited Antisirana (Diego Suarez) as well as Nosy Be and Toamasina last year from a cruise. Madagascar is a very poor country, but wonderfully rich culturally and in its flora and fauna - we very much enjoyed our three stops there. For all three stops we used a company called Madagascar Excursions MAD'EX (voyagemada.com) who were really good and made sure we were well taken care of throughout. This company is very much used by French speaking passengers, but we had a wonderful guide with very good English.

 

For Diego Suarez we went to the Red Tsingy and Ramena for lunch and the beach, and enjoyed our day very much. At the end and start of each day the company owner was there to make sure everyone got to their excursion as booked and had enjoyed their day.

 

From Nosy Be we visited Lokobe, Nosy Tanikely and Nosy Komba. we saw lots of wildlife at close quarters and at Nosy Tanikely the snorkeling was very nice, we even had a short time with a turtle there (this was very unexpected as we had no thought that the snorkeling would be that good!).

 

Hope thats useful.  We found this a very interesting place,  know that toilets can be basic, so be prepared, and take care with any food eaten there, but a wonderful place to visit.

 

Thank you very much indeed for your detailed reply.  Information on unusual ports is hard to come by.  We will look closely at the places you mention and also the company you used.  We have had a couple of land holidays in Gambia and got used to the toilets when travelling outside the main tourist areas 🙂

 

We were on a cruise from Liverool (UK) to Mauritius about 18 months ago and were supposed to call at Toamasina, but it was when there was a big plague epidemic, so we could not call there.  We were very disappointed as we had a trip booked with a local company for ourselves and three other couples on the cruise roll call.  Good to know tourism has got back to normal since then. 

 

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Hi Tring,

We went to Antsiranana (Diego Suarez) in 2013 on a Costa cruise. Below is my diary entry for the day which you may find useful as I don't think things will have changed much since then. We will be revisiting the town in December 2020 when we sail on Boudicca from Cape Town to the Seychelles and are really looking forward seeing the area again.

Madagascar

We were so excited to be going to Madagascar as it always sounds so exotic. We went to the most northerly point of this very large island and docked in Diego Suarez. The sail in was lovely as the town is at the heart of a large bay and the sun was just peeping over the hills as we got to the bay. I think everyone was amazed to see the huge crowd of local people sitting on the hill just outside the port watching our approach. I believe there are very few cruise ships that visit this area so we were obviously a great attraction!

 

There were only 3 tours offered by the cruise line as, actually, there is not a lot to see.

I did the ‘Highlights of Diego Suarez’ and came back to the ship realising that, in our terms, this is a desperately poor area but the people we met were charming, happy to see us and really pleased to show us what they had.

The mini-bus was quite cramped and old so the ‘air-conditioning’ was the open windows! The roads, once we left the town were all dirt tracks and very bumpy in places but that wasn’t so noticeable as we spent most of the time waving to the lovely welcoming people along the roadside who came out of their homes to greet us.

We were taken to a beach, a view point to see the ‘sugar-loaf mountain’ in the bay, a local craft market, the town market and a small souvenir shop.

I left the tour in the town and made my own way down the hill to the port so I could explore a bit more at my own pace.

 

My husband did the ‘Amber Mountain’ tour and had a wonderful adventure when the late afternoon torrential downpour turned the dirt road to a skating rink for the 4x4 vehicles. The vehicles were skidding all over the place and many got stuck. The local people were very helpful and used ropes and brute force to get the vehicles out of the situation. The ship’s laundry cleaned my husband’s dirty clothes as a goodwill gesture. The group got back to the ship over 1 hour after the designated sailing time. Thank goodness it was a ship’s tour or he might still be there!!!

As the ship left the port there were crowds of people on the hill side to wave us off despite the heavy showers.

·         The port was small and there didn’t seem to be a terminal building. The tour busses were parked on the quay

·         It was approximately a 30-minute walk up hill into the town centre.

·         There were a few bars and cafes as you got near the centre. There was also a small supermarket set back from the main road on the right as you go into town.

·         The town centre had a large market selling mostly food and household items. There were some shops and several colonial style buildings.

·         Tuc-tucs and taxis were available from outside the port but the condition of these was generally very poor.

·         The condition of the tour mini-buses also left a lot to be desired but I’m sure we had the best of what was available.

·         Most roads were unpaved dirt tracks.

·         The souvenir shop and craft market took Euros and US dollars.

DSCN3363.JPG

DSCN3386.JPG

IMG_8765.JPG

IMG_8769.JPG

IMG_8779.JPG

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22 hours ago, soccerref said:

Hi Tring,

We went to Antsiranana (Diego Suarez) in 2013 on a Costa cruise. Below is my diary entry for the day which you may find useful as I don't think things will have changed much since then. We will be revisiting the town in December 2020 when we sail on Boudicca from Cape Town to the Seychelles and are really looking forward seeing the area again.

Madagascar

 

We were so excited to be going to Madagascar as it always sounds so exotic. We went to the most northerly point of this very large island and docked in Diego Suarez. The sail in was lovely as the town is at the heart of a large bay and the sun was just peeping over the hills as we got to the bay. I think everyone was amazed to see the huge crowd of local people sitting on the hill just outside the port watching our approach. I believe there are very few cruise ships that visit this area so we were obviously a great attraction!

 

 

 

There were only 3 tours offered by the cruise line as, actually, there is not a lot to see.

 

I did the ‘Highlights of Diego Suarez’ and came back to the ship realising that, in our terms, this is a desperately poor area but the people we met were charming, happy to see us and really pleased to show us what they had.

 

The mini-bus was quite cramped and old so the ‘air-conditioning’ was the open windows! The roads, once we left the town were all dirt tracks and very bumpy in places but that wasn’t so noticeable as we spent most of the time waving to the lovely welcoming people along the roadside who came out of their homes to greet us.

 

We were taken to a beach, a view point to see the ‘sugar-loaf mountain’ in the bay, a local craft market, the town market and a small souvenir shop.

 

I left the tour in the town and made my own way down the hill to the port so I could explore a bit more at my own pace.

 

 

 

My husband did the ‘Amber Mountain’ tour and had a wonderful adventure when the late afternoon torrential downpour turned the dirt road to a skating rink for the 4x4 vehicles. The vehicles were skidding all over the place and many got stuck. The local people were very helpful and used ropes and brute force to get the vehicles out of the situation. The ship’s laundry cleaned my husband’s dirty clothes as a goodwill gesture. The group got back to the ship over 1 hour after the designated sailing time. Thank goodness it was a ship’s tour or he might still be there!!!

 

As the ship left the port there were crowds of people on the hill side to wave us off despite the heavy showers.

 

·         The port was small and there didn’t seem to be a terminal building. The tour busses were parked on the quay

 

·         It was approximately a 30-minute walk up hill into the town centre.

 

·         There were a few bars and cafes as you got near the centre. There was also a small supermarket set back from the main road on the right as you go into town.

 

·         The town centre had a large market selling mostly food and household items. There were some shops and several colonial style buildings.

 

·         Tuc-tucs and taxis were available from outside the port but the condition of these was generally very poor.

 

·         The condition of the tour mini-buses also left a lot to be desired but I’m sure we had the best of what was available.

 

·         Most roads were unpaved dirt tracks.

 

·         The souvenir shop and craft market took Euros and US dollars.

 

DSCN3363.JPG

DSCN3386.JPG

IMG_8765.JPG

IMG_8769.JPG

IMG_8779.JPG

 

Wow, thank you very much for that really good post.  Fred's 2020 cruise you have booked  is the one we are considering, though we are now thinking of leaving it until his new brochures come out next spring as he often does good offers then (e.g. 3 for 2).  His prices do seem to have gone up a great deal, though perhaps we should be thankful he is still in business as some long haul itineraries are very good.  His really cheap offers seem to be last minute, which is no good for us as we want to arrange a 2-3 week land holiday pre cruise and choose our own flights.  Never keen on saver fares either.

 

Enjoy the cruise and we may just be there with you.

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I second soccerref review, it is a different port of call as to the usual cruise stop. We also did a Highlights of Diego Suarez tour. Local market, stop to see Windsor Castle (rock), Botanical Gardens - another name for a swamp. The highlight for me was a visit to th British and Commonwealth Cemetary (something I didn't know about). When the ship sailed it seemed half the town's population turned out to wave goodbye, shows that not a lot happens there.

 

Cemetary

image.thumb.png.a4ae6b7d39240d4ba197d16855a0d6de.png

 

Equivalent to Boris Bus

image.thumb.png.b7cf1138bee2e55db86f8d818821f4c6.png

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51 minutes ago, G.M.T. said:

I second soccerref review, it is a different port of call as to the usual cruise stop. We also did a Highlights of Diego Suarez tour. Local market, stop to see Windsor Castle (rock), Botanical Gardens - another name for a swamp. The highlight for me was a visit to th British and Commonwealth Cemetary (something I didn't know about). When the ship sailed it seemed half the town's population turned out to wave goodbye, shows that not a lot happens there.

 

Cemetary

image.thumb.png.a4ae6b7d39240d4ba197d16855a0d6de.png

 

Equivalent to Boris Bus

image.thumb.png.b7cf1138bee2e55db86f8d818821f4c6.png

 

Yes it can certainly be described as different.  We have had a couple of holidays in Gambia and was pretty much the same when we left the hotel.  I do find it fun visiting such less developed places though and certainly stops you complaining about anything at home.  People are usually lovely.  Thanks for the post G.M.T. it is appreciated.

 

 

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  • 2 months later...
On 9/21/2019 at 8:33 PM, Janevo said:

We visited Antisirana (Diego Suarez) as well as Nosy Be and Toamasina last year from a cruise. Madagascar is a very poor country, but wonderfully rich culturally and in its flora and fauna - we very much enjoyed our three stops there. For all three stops we used a company called Madagascar Excursions MAD'EX (voyagemada.com) who were really good and made sure we were well taken care of throughout. This company is very much used by French speaking passengers, but we had a wonderful guide with very good English.

 

For Diego Suarez we went to the Red Tsingy and Ramena for lunch and the beach, and enjoyed our day very much. At the end and start of each day the company owner was there to make sure everyone got to their excursion as booked and had enjoyed their day.

 

From Nosy Be we visited Lokobe, Nosy Tanikely and Nosy Komba. we saw lots of wildlife at close quarters and at Nosy Tanikely the snorkeling was very nice, we even had a short time with a turtle there (this was very unexpected as we had no thought that the snorkeling would be that good!).

 

Hope thats useful.  We found this a very interesting place,  know that toilets can be basic, so be prepared, and take care with any food eaten there, but a wonderful place to visit.

Janevo

I have tried to contact Mada Ex but not had a reply, did you book beforehand or was he at the port?

 

How much was the tour that you took?

Thank you.

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lammy1952

 

We booked all three tours in advance, payment could be made once you met them at the port. I have just looked back and these are their contact details :-

 

WhatsUp : +261320439607 Mail : madadiego201@yahoo.fr Web : www.voyagemada.com


I think we paid $60 for the first tour, then $75 for the second and $40 for the third, but of course these prices may well not be the same now.

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On 12/17/2019 at 9:47 AM, Janevo said:

lammy1952

 

We booked all three tours in advance, payment could be made once you met them at the port. I have just looked back and these are their contact details :-

 

WhatsUp : +261320439607 Mail : madadiego201@yahoo.fr Web : www.voyagemada.com


I think we paid $60 for the first tour, then $75 for the second and $40 for the third, but of course these prices may well not be the same now.

Thank you Janevo, very helpful.

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  • 1 month later...

We eventually contacted Mad Ex and booked three tours with them. Unfortunately we didn’t make Nosy Be due to weather conditions, but the remaining two tours were good, particularly the Diego Suarez tour to three beaches and Ramena, our guide spoke very good English.

The tour in Tamatave was interesting, especially the lemur zoo, the canal was a mixed experience, some good some bad, but this would apply to ship tours also.

We were pleased with the. content and price of the tours and would recommend this company.

 

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