Explorers Connect

Madagascar, May 2016: Epic 'Peak to Sea' expedition

Join a TeamJames Hipkiss

Explorers Connecters: you are just the kind of people were looking for to join our pioneering coast to coast adventure. Trekking, jungles, peaks, summits and white water. What more could you want?

Ah yes, lemurs: we've got those too! EXPEDITION AIM The aim of this expedition is to summit Pic Boby on foot (Madagascars second highest peak), thence to strike out eastwards, forging a route to the coast of this incredible island. After crossing the huge granite massif of Pic Boby, the team will trace a route through the rolling hills of rural Madagascar before plunging into some of the last untouched forest in the country. If mountains and jungle were not enough adventure, the final push is then afloat, with a three-day expeditionary river journey in two-person whitewater rafts, to follow a remote river to the coast.Watch our short film to see the route youll be taking and hear from Secret Compass director, Tom Bodkin, who conducted the recce for this expedition, and Ops Assistant Bryony who was a team member on an earlier Secret Compass expedition to the north of the island.

Questions about joining this epic challenge? Why not request a call back so we can answer them in person; one of our Ops team has been part of a Secret Compass Madagascar expedition and will be pleased to share her first-hand knowledge.HIGHLIGHTS Climb Madagascars second highest peak, Pic Boby, a stunning granite outcrops reminiscent of Yosemite Move through rural villages and experience the traditional Malagasy way of life in a little visited part of the country Forge a route through some of the last remaining wild forest in Madagascar Raft a wild, untamed action packed river bursting with rapids Experience highland peaks, tropical coasts and everything in between. SUMMITING PIC BOBY - The climb up Pic Boby is short and sharp. The granite massif runs north to south and rises up to just over 2,600m. The teams route will begin in the west and cross to the east, via the peak itself.

The huge granite protrusions and numerous waterfalls here are reminiscent of the USAs Yosemite National Park. It is visually stunning and the views are simply amazing. It is a mountain, however, and the weather and temperatures will soon remind you that we are at altitude! Once we summit the peak, its then downhill all the way to the coast. Well, mostlyA HUGELY DIVERSE ROUTE - This route is an action-packed adventure and has it all, from mountains and jungle to rivers, communities and culture, and remoteness. The route was pioneered by a Secret Compass team in 2015, who carried out the first rafting descent of the river, which was wild and remote throughout. The route is far from roads and is in a part of the country rarely visited by Westerners. This is a real opportunity to interact with rural Malagasy folk in person, and to experience a huge diversity of landscapes in a short, intense period of time.As we leave the shadow of Pic Boby behind, the team will move through rolling hills and farmlands which are expertly irrigated. The villages consist of large two-story brick buildings in small settlements overlooking rice paddies. The footpaths connect these small villages winding up, down and around rolling hills. Well buy fruit and supplies from the villages as we pass through them and will experience some strange looks; outsiders are rarely seen here.INTO THE FOREST - The forest section will then provide a real contrast to previous days. Suddenly you are plunged into dense, claustrophobic forest.

A tiny, winding path used as a trade route between the lowlands and highlands is the only route through the almost impregnable forest. The trading currency: rum. We may pass locals taking rum barrels through to the highland markets, 45kg rested on a single bamboo branch over their shoulder. The path is steep, slippery and treacherous with regular river crossings to contend with. Be warned and be prepared.HITTING THE RIVER - As we emerge from the forest into the lowlands the team will hit the river. Running! Settling into the expeditionary two-man rafts will be a welcome break from the previous days of trekking. Team members will need to keep their wits about them as we will immediately plunge into a series of fun rapids. After negotiating a number of them, well need to scout and at times portage our rafts and gear (get out and carry on dry land) around three or four large, un-runnable rapids before continuing on. As we make our way down the river, it will flatten out to become more mellow towards the coast, allowing us to relax and and enjoy the scenery even more as we float through the rural lowlands. Noticeably different to the highlands, our team will still be a spectacle as the children wait expectantly on the river banks for a raft capsize!

Interested? Wed love to hear from you. Call us on 0207 0968428 for a chat, use the form below to ask us a question or fill out our no obligation application form to get the ball rolling. We look forward to hearing from you.