I just wanted to give a head's up on a horrible tour experience we took to the west, and it was all due to the guide and trip coordinator. We booked the Tsiribihina 3 day canoe trip, Grand Tsingy, and Ave de Baobabs tour through Nolavy Robne (firstname.lastname@example.org). I had been living and working for 2 months in Madagascar prior to this tour. Although, I must say I enjoyed my time overall in the country, my opinion is definitely clouded due to this experience. The so-called English speaking guide, Daniel, was beyond terrible, which we realized from day 1. We contacted Nolavy about this, esp after we had luggage stolen that was supposed to be in Daniel's care, and were astounded at the response. I strongly recommend going with a different company. Furthermore, we met others using a different company that paid 100Eur less since they booked in Antsirabe. We wished we had known that. I have written a review of the trip for family/friends, which is too long for this forum. If you have questions, please contact me directly and I am happy to pass the specifics on. Here are a few of the highlights in dealing with Novaly, which I also have the texts as proof of the interactions:
1) He accused us of wiring only half of the deposit, even though we showed proof of the bank transfer confirmation. He kept insisting we pay more in cash immediately.
2) After I informed him the trip had been a disaster, which the 6 of us on the tour all agreed, he said there is nothing he can do and inferred that we must be wrong because Daniel said the trip was great.
3) I asked to meet with him in person to discuss. He said my only option was to come to the airport in Tana at 0400 after an overnight taxi brousse ride across the country.
4) When we were stranded with no money, luggage, or guide, we got confirmation that Nolavy would pay for our lunch. When we asked for the money, he refused and said we should be fortunate that he didn't force us to pay the rest of the original deposit.
5) He accused of us lying when I said our luggage got stolen when it was in Daniel's care.
6) We signed a contract prior to leaving for the tour. The contract was not met. For instance, we were told we would get a guided tour of Antsirabe, which we did not. I confronted Daniel on this and he agreed he did not honor that.
Best of luck to everyone in their travels. I truly enjoyed in the north, which is where I spent most of my time. I am happy to give input in that area as well.
Lisa DEdited: 04 January 2013, 16:24