Our guide Claudia was absolutely excellent, a real gem and she escorted and looked after us with fantastic attention to detail. She is a real asset to your organisation. We agree! Claudia is indeed an asset to our organisation as one of our amazing Madagascar guides who expertly takes guests around the country, always making them feel at ease. We asked her a couple of questions about Madagascar, herself, and why she decided to become a guide.
Where are you from?
I am from Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar.
Why did you decide to be a guide?
When I was a child, my dad used to take me and my sister to museums, the botanical garden of Tsimbazaza and some sacred and historical places. I was amazed by the way the guides of those places shared their knowledge and passions to the visitors, making every little thing interesting. And then I knew that I would become a guide later.
What do you enjoy most about being a guide?
The thing I enjoy most from my job is to see my guests enjoying their visit and being stunned by the landscapes.
Where is your favourite place or area in Madagascar?
My favourite area is the South East part of the country, called Fort Dauphin.
What is a Malagasy word visitors should know?
They should know the word “Azafady” which means “Please” or “could you” or “don’t you mind if…” It’s a word we – Malagasy people – use a lot every day before doing or asking anything in order to maintain a good relationship with everyone.
Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?
For me it was the national park of Bemaraha, where the famous Tsingy are located, there are so many interesting things to see and to discover in that place.
Where do you usually go when you when you have time off?
I like trekking around the capital or going to the West part of the country near Majunga.
What is special about the place you grew up?
Antananarivo is special due to its history and inhabitants. This city was the birthplace/cradle of the Merina ethnic group kingdom, and later the capital of the kingdom of Madagascar and nowadays the capital of the country.
What is something you will NEVER do again?
For sure I will never travel again on those camion brousse or truck buses down to Fort Dauphin. In this way of transport, you are travelling with 70 people in one uncomfortable truck for three days and 2 nights on a bumpy road. You only have few minutes of stops on the way and you are travelling also with goods and the even poultry!!! I won’t mention the heat and the bad smell. At the end of the trip, you don’t feel any part of your body anymore.
If you had to choose only 3 adjectives to describe yourself, which would you choose?
Always smiling, a leader, lively.
What animal best represents you and why?
If I were an animal, I think I would be a bird (Hamerkop), they leave their nests to look for food, migrating to different places but they always come back to the same nests. I like travelling all over the country, maybe abroad one day, for my job or holidays but I really enjoy going back home to be with my family which is a very important part of my life.
If you could only take 3 items with you on a trip/safari, what would they be?
A backpack, a book, and a music player.
Why do you think conservation is important?
Conservation is important because it is not only about us, but it is also about the future generations. We should think of implementing sustainable environmental projects for conservation if we want the future generations to enjoy and receive the benefit of the richness of fauna, flora, cultural identity we still have now.
What do you want people to know about Madagascar?
I want people to know that Madagascar is a unique island which is rich in endemic fauna and flora, with various fascinating landscapes, where they encounter its friendly inhabitants and their culture.