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Wed 25 Oct - Sun 05 Nov 2017

OVERVIEW

What to expect

ITINERARY

What you will do

COSTS

Ways to pay

INFORMATION

All you need to know

Everything you need to know

This page provides you with a variety of information about the challenge that you might find useful.

About Ash Dykes

Leadership

Clothing & equipment

Toilets

Phone & WiFi

Safety

Training

Training Weekends

Level of Difficulty

Money

Visa

Vaccinations

Flights

Insurance

Group Size

Climate

Luggage allowance and valuables

Terrain

Responsible Tourism

Should I take gifts or clothes for the locals?

Typical Day

What happens if I fall ill, can't keep up or there is an emergency?

Accommodation

Do we need to take our own sleeping bags and mats?

Food & Drink

About Ash Dykes

In February 2016, adventurer Ash Dykes trekked the length of Madagascar taking on eight of the highest mountains in the country. Throughout this expedition he trekked 1,600 miles in just 155 days.  He is the perfect man to take you on this journey experiencing Madagascar's unique beauty.

Named one of the world's most fearless outdoors men, Ash has been invited to 10 Downing Street on two occasions after his exploits and won support from Bear Grylls and Sir Ranulph Fiennes on his way to winning the 2015 UK Adventurer of the Year award.

As well as Madagascar, Ash is known for being the first person to walk across Mongolia solo and unsupported, cycling through Cambodia and the length of Vietnam and trekking the Himalayas to name but a few.

For more information about Ash check out his website www.ashdykes.com

Ash is a famous explorer who has done countless expeditions and was the first person to traverse Madagascar's whole length - making him the perfect person to be with on this challenge!

@Ash Dykes

Leadership

You will be led a first aid qualified challenge leader and joined by explorer Ash Dykes. They will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group. The itinerary is there as a guide and may change due to unusual weather patterns, the strength of the group, and so on. While we will do our very best to keep to the set itinerary, we cannot be held responsible for any last minute changes that may occur. In all such circumstances, your challenge leader will have the final say.

Clothing & equipment

Good quality, durable kit could mean the difference between a fantastic challenge experience and an uncomfortable one. For this challenge, well-worn in boots will be indispensable, particularly coupled with some really good quality walking socks. You don’t need a clean pair every day, but enough to make sure you have dry socks each morning. The benefits of a comfortable day sack cannot be underestimated, so make sure that you train with this. Other essentials are high quality light weight waterproof jacket and trousers, and technical/wicking t-shirts rather than cotton shirts. Walking poles are also recommended, as a preventative as well as for anyone with any pre-existing leg injuries or niggles. A full kit list for this challenge can be found here and once you book you will have access to kit discounts with our partners Outdoor Hire and Cotswold Outdoor

Toilets

We arrange basic toilet pits which will be dug out in the camps. Your camp team will provide the supplies needed to keep up group hygiene. There will be no showers other than the first and last nights. Please take plenty of wet wipes and anti-bacterial hand gel with you. There are no toilets on the trek route during the day, so you must make sure you bury all waste, and carry out wet wipes in nappy sacks.

Phone & WiFi

Phone signal is available, but intermittent.

There is no opportunity to recharge any electrical equipment during the trek, but if you want to bring a solar charger these can work well to charge phones.  There are charge points in your rooms at the hotel.

Safety

Charity Challenge considers the safety of all of its participants and staff to be a top priority, and as such we have set up one of the most advanced and thorough safety management systems in the industry. In a nutshell, Our Challenge Safe brand formalises our ethos when it comes to safety, and brings together the procedures and risk management strategies that we use to audit all aspects of our challenges, from vehicles to accommodation to the activity itself. Your welfare is paramount!

In terms of your Madagascar trek, there are a couple of important points that you should be aware of:

  • You will be trekking through the remote Madagascar massif
  • Terrain can be tricky
  • Basic bathroom facilities

Training

A good level of fitness is definitely required. Anyone who leads a fairly active and moderately healthy lifestyle should be able to complete the challenge, as long as they train regularly over a period of at least three months leading up to it. Don’t forget that the temperature and climate will be different from the UK, and that you will be exercising constantly for a number of days.

In your Charity Challenge account you will find more comprehensive Fitness Training Notes. You can also look to join one of our training weekends.

Training Weekends

We offer superb training weekends across various locations in the UK, from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon. These training weekends not only help you become physically prepared for the challenge, but our experienced instructors and leaders will talk you through your clothing and equipment, camp craft, health and wellbeing, trekking skills (walking on different terrain/at altitude/at night/using walking poles), teamwork on expedition and many more themes designed to make you get the most out of your challenge. The weekends are great ways for you to get out into the mountains of the UK, while also meeting other Charity Challengers and sharing your experiences. To read more about our training weekends, including dates and prices, check out our dedicated page here.

Level of Difficulty

The Madagascar Trek is graded as “challenging”.

You can tell your supporters that on your Madagascar challenge you will be:

  • Trekking 5 - 6 hours a day for 6 days
  • Battling the terrain of the Madagascar massif
  • Camping out in basic conditions

Money

Currency: The local currency in Madagascar is Malagasy Ariary. The most accepted foreign currency is Euro, but US dollars and GBP are easily changed. If you are taking money to change, please take small bills.

Credit cards: Major credit cards are sometimes accepted at larger hotels. Other than that their use is limited and are not generally accepted in restaurants, shops etc. Bring enough money and do not carry all your cash on you. Cash point machines can be found, but are rare in smaller towns. You won't need a credit card during the actual trek.

Spending money: You will not need to carry a large amount of money during this trip, and other than at the start and end of the trek, you will be away from any foreign exchanges or banks. We recommend that you take a sufficient amount of cash. Somewhere in the region of £200 in Euros should be enough to cover presents, tips, and drinks. You will be able to make purchases in Euros so you should bring low denominations. 

Tips: Tipping is personal and at your sole discretion. You should only tip if you feel that you have received good service. We recommend approx. €70 for the entire trip which should be given to the challenge leader at the end of the challenge, who will distribute it among the support team. In the event that a particular member of staff gives you extra service you might leave him spare trekking gear at the end. If you do want to give one member of staff an extra tip, please also leave this until the end and allocate over and above the recommended tipping amount. Make sure you have plenty of €1 and €2 coins for tipping.

Visa

You can get a 30-day tourist visa for a fee (€31 - subject to change so please double check before travel and bring exact change) at the airport on arrival. Make sure an entry stamp is recorded in your passport. A tourist visa has a maximum validity of 3 months and isn’t extendable.

Your passport must be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Madagascar. You should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport on arrival.

You will be asked for evidence of onward or return travel at check-in in the UK and on arrival in Madagascar.

Vaccinations

For the latest information please see www.nomadtravel.co.uk/pages/travel-vaccination-country-guide or www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk.

Flights

You will be flying overnight with Kenya Airways from London to Antananarivo via Nairobi. Your flight tickets will be issued to you upon departure at the airport by our airport representatives. 

Insurance

It is a condition of booking that you have a suitable travel insurance policy whilst participating on the challenge. We have a special policy which covers among other things, medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) arrangements, cancellation and curtailment of the challenge, and more specifically for the adventurous activities undertaken on this challenge. If you have your own travel insurance policy, you must ensure that it provides at least the same level of cover as our recommended policy, including protecting the charity in the event of your cancellation 56 days or less prior to departure. If you choose not to purchase our recommended policy when you book we will send you a disclaimer which you should complete and return.

For more general travel insurance questions, please refer to our main FAQs page.

Group Size

This group is intended to run with 20 - 30 people.

Climate

You will be walking though varied terrain with some cover of trees and vegetation. Temperatures vary at this time of year but average at about 18 degrees centigrade.

Luggage allowance and valuables

Luggage should be kept to the absolute minimum – details of what to pack are provided in your Kit List. You will need to carry a daypack during the day while the luggage vehicle will carry your main rucksack. Your daypack should be about 35-litre capacity. NB. You should take a soft-sided bag or rucksack as hard suitcases are too unwieldy. Your main pack should be 70-80 litres capacity. On your outward journey, please wear your trekking gear, hiking boots, and carry a spare change of clothing in your hand luggage. No formal clothes are needed.

While we will do everything to provide adequate safety for the group and security for your possessions, the general rule is that if you don’t need it, don’t bring it. This includes jewellery, necklaces, rings and even watches. Your passport and money should be kept on you at all times. 

Terrain

This trek takes place in the untouched Madagascar massif which can be barren and rocky with sections of lush vegetation. It can vary in slope and altitude and during the trek you will summit Pic Imarivolanitra.

Responsible Tourism

At Charity Challenge we are committed to sustainable and responsible tourism, and work closely with bodies such as the International Porter Protection Group and Climate Care to ensure that our challenges benefit the local environments and communities in which they take place. We ensure that all rubbish is disposed of responsibly, and following local guidelines on cultural and environmental protection and respect, we aim to limit our impact on the natural environment. In addition to taking these practical steps to ensure that our challenges are sustainable, we also make a contribution each year to a number of local community projects, so as to give something back directly to the communities that we visit. Since 2000 we have donated almost £200,000 to such projects, supporting a range of initiatives, including schooling for children in Africa, shelter for street children in Brazil, and Orang-utan conservation in Indonesia. We recommend that any gifts brought over for children are given to the UK challenge leader and distributed where needed by them and our local Ground Agent. If you wish to do more, you should consider buying drinks, postcards and souvenirs from the local vendors. For many, it is their sole source of income. For more information, please visit the Responsible Tourism section on our website.

Should I take gifts or clothes for the locals?

It is a nice gesture to give the local children small gifts, but we actively discourage the giving of sweets or money, however small, because this encourages begging. It is better to bring pencils and notebooks for the schools in the villages you will be passing through. Please give any gifts or donations to the tour leader as they will know who to distribute it to. 

Typical Day

You will trek for about 5 - 6 hours a day in the heat.  Depending on the weather and the day, rest/water stops will be set up regularly, where you can regroup, rest and relax while drinking water and eating your snacks. Lunch will be a packed lunch stopping in a reasonable spot. You will get to your campsite in the afternoon where you can relax, have a drink and enjoy the sunset.

What happens if I fall ill, can't keep up or there is an emergency?

The challenge is not run as a race and there is always a large discrepancy in people’s walking ability. This is allowed for. There will be a staff member at the back of the group at all times to ensure that you are not left behind and can take things at your own pace. In the event of an emergency, one of our backup vehicles will take you to the nearest clinic or to simply rest in. We are always in contact with the backup vehicles and medical services are available in the nearby towns.

Accommodation

Camping throughout the trek is in two person tents. At the end of the trek, you will be staying in more comfortable accommodation in a hotel. If you are travelling with a friend or partner who you wish to share with, please let Charity Challenge know in advance.

Do we need to take our own sleeping bags and mats?

Yes, you will need to bring a light sleeping bag. A sleeping bag liner, which can be used in place of your sleeping bag if you get too hot, is also advisable. An inflatable mattress is provided. Also see Kit List.

Food & Drink

Each morning you will be provided with a very filling breakfast. Lunch will be a packed lunch, while dinner will vary between Western and local fare. Food will always be ample and will provide heaps of energy. Please let Charity Challenge know prior to departure if you have any specific dietary requirements or allergies.

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ATOL protected

We hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 6546. Many of the flight-inclusive challenges on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. This ATOL protection only covers challenges that include flights booked by Charity Challenge and that originate in the UK. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate

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