Ready for adventure – for a various and often bizarre animal kingdom, dragons and spirits of the forests – breath taking landscapes, that couldn’t be more contrastful between north and south and heavenly beaches? Then you’ve come to the right men with Thorsten and his team Tanalahorizon.
Since I watched my first photo presentation about Madagascar, I was fascinated by this far away country. Now, this is 15 years ago, and it was not before this year that I could realize my big dream. Seven weeks full of indescribable beautiful impressions and experiences are over – seven weeks, in which I learnt to love a country and its people, and since no day passes without me thinking of it. With all my heart, thank you Thorsten and your team!
In 2016, I joined Herpeto Research Expedition Part I and II. During the first tour, we were accompagnied by Christian (our bus driver) and Rapha. On the second tour, we were on the road with 4×4 and I had a real sunshine with Mika as driver. The fascinating animals of the national parks Ranomafana, Ankarafantsika, Amber Mountain and many others casted a magic spell over me. Never before, in none of my many travels, I had seen so many different and fascinating animal species. The experienced national park guides made us draw attention to every hidden and even the smallest animals – and those weren’t only a few – I only say Uroplatus and Brookesia. My goal was to see lemurs in Madagascar. But Madagascar exceeded all my expectations. Not in my wildest dreams I would have imagined such a species-rich nature.
The beaches of Ankify, Nosy Nato, Nosy Tanikely and Nosy Hara were our recovery from all the adventures. But also there I yielded my desire to explore and soon I was walking around with my camera, everywhere one could discover animals. At the beaches, the team came up with something really special: We had BBQ at the beach two times and it left nothing to be desired for gourmets. Everything fresh from the sea and cooked with love – simply unforgettable experiences. Two folklore evenings created a great atmosphere and quickly we turned them into German-Malagasy folklore evenings… :).
I know that tour coordinator is really understated for what he does. Dimby is the man for all situations – he is the sunshine of the Tanalahorizon group! He is guide, driver, animal spotter and outstanding nature expert, and anticipated us every wish. He was there when someone needed a phone card or if hotel staff told us with Malagasy serenity that there was no booked room. Even a cyclone coming closer couldn’t shock Dimby – three phone calls and he had organized people bringing us back from the island onshore. Questions about photography, about the camera or even when my camera felt in the sand and he helped me to free it from sand with a toothpick: Dimby is just always on the spot.
He’s in education to become tour coordinator, and what can I say, one doesn’t recognize he’s still in training. José was always there, no matter if one needed help with translations or when ordering food or if there were other questions. José can also excel with his German skills.
Eric & Andry:
Two top cooks that have no equals. They surprised and pampered us during the second tour each day with tasty meals of the Malagasy kitchen. In Ankify, they even took over the hotel kitchen and conjured an amazing buffet. We honoured them as a group with two GaulMillau stars.
Christian & Rapha:
Christian chauffeured us safely with his bus through Madagascar. Even with pot holes as big as a truck, the bus cleared every hurdle. And even while driving, no animal was safe from Christian and Rapha – they discovered everything. One eye on the street and one eye looking for animals. It was just unbelievable, because they saw chameleons where I could only see bushes. 🙂
His driving skills excited me already when driving along the beach in northern direction, needing 9 and a half hour for 140 km. With coolness he chauffeured us through felt millions of water holes, and safely guided us over all ferries. He even wasn’t shocked by the steep road to the Tsingy rouge – I moreover had the feeling that he had fun driving this rough terrain, and this joy was carried to us. He, too, always had one eye on the street, the other scanned the environment for chameleons. Simply unbelievable what he already discovered while driving!
I always admired her knowledge about animals. Alex is a gold coin in knowledge! She is a very competent contact person, no matter if you have questions about animals or the country. In the evenings, we searched the field guide together to write down all the animals we had discovered before – and that were a lot. Small accidents, for example as I stepped into a sea urchin, couldn’t shock Alex – she was on the spot with her scalpel. Even my new friends – the leeches – weren’t safe from her. 🙂
He’s the chief of the team and he brings all the threads together. Thorsten is open for every fun and also contact person for questions about animals and country. His 20 years experience in Madagascar are of benefit for the whole group. He knows the best local guides in national parks, and I think, he knows almost each animal personally. 🙂 For me, he mainly was my person concerning photography. He showed me how to put animals in the dense rainforest or during night walks in the limelight. Also during our milky way shooting on the island of Nosy Nato, he provided advice and assistance. Thanks to him, I have fantastic pictures of the Malagasy starlit sky.
In summary, I can say that my travel was a giant adventure, that you really need to have experienced once in your lifetime. No two days were the same, and this kind of traveling thrilled me – so you can find me next year’s spring on the “Return to the island of dragons” with Thorsten. This country is so big and there is so much more to discover – and you do it at best with TANALAHORIZON !!!!!
A very special thank you I want to say to the whole team of Tanalahorizon, who made such indescribable amazing holidays come true for me.