Madagascar’s “Iharana Bush Camp”:http://iharanabushcamp.com/en/ is located down a dusty, sandy track. The drive took 30 minutes but despite the sand, it was less bumpy than the road we’d come off, which was full of potholes and washed away bridges which required frequent detours.
The white cold flannels we were welcomed with were soon brown with dust, whilst the chilled lemongrass tea soothed our throats.
The camp has 18 individual bungalows and ours, B15, was one of only four overlooking the lake. It was built on a wooden deck, using natural materials – mud walls, wooden planks, thatched roof. There was a gap of 18 inches between the wall and roof and, although this had woven twigs, it left the room exposed. In addition, the door was in effect a wooden plank with a fastening which couldn’t be locked. If you’re worried about creepy crawlies in your room, this is not the place for you – we only saw a gecko but our guide found a snake on his bathroom floor.
There was a large single, and small double bed, all with mosquito netting, long sideboard/dresser, safe, open hanging space, and complimentary water. Power was available 24 hours a day for lighting, but charging of batteries, phones etc. had to be done in the communal ‘office’ where there were banks of sockets. Wi-Fi, available in the office, was slow at night when everyone was using it, but quicker in the morning when people were usually out.
The bathroom, through a curtain, had large open shower, with basin and loo. Unfortunately, it lacked a shelf or space for toiletries. We’d been told to run the water for 3 to 4 minutes to wait for hot water, but despite leaving it for longer, it was never more than lukewarm.
We had a small wooden deck with a longer and shorter day bed: the former had wooden planks as a base and a thin mattress, so was a little lumpy. But it was lovely to sit out and watch local villagers herd zebu along the shores and children play in the water.
The dining area/lounge/bar area had an eclectic mix of art and sculptures made from natural materials. The large tables were all made from huge trees: many were low with squashy sofas to sit on, so eating wasn’t ideal. The food was reasonable and on our first night had either octopus salad or quiche followed by zebu brochette with vegetables and potato croquettes, or chicken with a ginger sauce and rice. Pudding was roast pineapple and coconut cake.
Breakfast was served in a second restaurant around the swimming pool. We enjoyed a platter of pineapple and melon, yoghurt, orange juice and were offered eggs and pancakes. There was also fresh rolls and jam, butter and honey.
Included in our stay was a visit to a tsingy and a sundown hike to a viewing point. However, having hiked the “Grand Tsingy”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/attraction/192880-review-the-grand-tsingy we were scarred for life, and decided to watch the sunset from the bar. This turned out to be a wise decision as on leaving for the bar, it began raining heavily and continued for an hour. We therefore enjoyed our complimentary cocktail and canapes in a nice dry bar.