THE GASH PACK - A BACK TO THE ROOTS SURFING ADVENTURE
The Gash Pack is not a surf camp but more so a mobile surf trip with four main base camps located in Tulear and the Vezo fishing villages of Ifaty-Mangily, Sarodrano, and Anakao, it is if you like four surf trips in one combined with four totally different cultural experiences. The 60km stretch of coastline between Ifaty and Anakao lays host to more than 18 breaks which are accessible by boat only. At least 12 of these breaks are world class on their day. A mobile surf tour is the best and only real way of maximising potential surfing time in the region. The waves are quite fickle and local knowledge as well as a good boat are essential in scoring the best waves on offer each day. Tulear is no real secret to SA, French or Reunion Island surfers as they have been coming here for some years now. However due to the aforementioned complications a lot of surfers have not had the best experiences as they have had to just stay in one particular spot for their stay and have often missed the best waves. Add to this the language dilemma and dealing with local fisherman to get out to the breakscombined with the lack of local knowledge and it hasn't always been an easy trip for nomadic surfers. I have been surfing here for more than 15 years, know the waves and local conditions like the back of my hand and will get you to the best waves on offer everyday! Surfing in Tulear is definitely going to explode in the future as quality uncrowded waves such as we have on offer here are a very rare commodity nowadays. This place is basically a time bomb just waiting to explode!!
When the conditions are right we'll pack everyone up and head off towards Ifaty and Mangily to surf the reef passes which are situated on the barrier reef a couple of km's offshore. You'll be staying on the edge of the lagoon in prime beachfront bungalows with en-suite shower and toilet facilities. Mangily is a little Vezo fishing village and seaside resort that has become somewhat touristic but still remains pretty much laid back and a nice place to hang. Plenty of cheap restaurants to choose from and you can even get the local fisherman to cook you grilled lobster on the beach for around five bucks if you like. There are three main breaks that we can surf here. The first is a reef break called the South Pass and has a right and a left hander breaking to either side of it, both of which can absolutely go off on their day. Probably best in the 5-6ft range the right can handle a solid 10ft plus if the swell is clean and from the right direction. The left which has recently been renamed "Laity Peak" after a South African clients request, although less surfed than the right, can also get really good too if the conditions are right. The second break, another left hand reef break called the False Pass, works best on a larger swell and is reputed to be the best wave in the Ifaty-Mangily area when it's on. The last break is an enormous reef pass almost 1km wide and situated around 8km from the beach. This wave to date still remains a bit of a mystery but has both a right hander and a left hander to each side which is rumoured to be able to hold any swell the ocean can throw at it. This wave definitely still remains in the unchartered category. When the trades kick in its chill out time and no shortage of little rasta bars around to help you relax in style! We'll hang here as long as the swell does then head back to Tulear which is a couple of hours away by boat.
Anakao - Nosy Vé
With modern internet surf tools it's pretty easy to forecast when big swells are going to hit. When this happens we'll let everyone know the night before and head on down south towards either the legendary Flameballs or TT's depending on how big the swell is. Flameballs is situated off the northern tip of a tiny offshore island and is a screaming left hander which rifles off down the reef over a carpet of fire coral, hence the name Flameballs! At 4ft the wave is pretty fun but when it starts hitting the 6-8ft range is time to pull out the guns cause it's pretty full on and definitely reserved for the brave. When the swell is too small or the tides or winds wrong for Flameballs there's a real hot doggy little right situated around a kilometre from the main village of Anakao called Jelly Babies. This is an excellent fun wave for all levers of surfer and definitely much more forgiving than it's predecessor. There are also several other left and right hand breaks in the area we can surf too if there's nothing happening elsewhere. Anakao base camp is located just to the northern fringe of the main fishing village on a sandy white beach on the edge of the lagoon. You will be staying in prime beachfront bungalows with double bed, and en-suite Malagasy shower and toilet facilities for the duration of our stay.
Sarodrano fishing village
When the swell gets really big and Flameballs starts doing its Teahupoo impression it's time to hit Sarodrano which hosts TT's, on it's day probably the best wave in the area. This winding left hander reels off down a horseshoe atoll reef for up to 500 metres and is without a doubt a world class wave. When the wind is wrong or the swell too small there is also a classic right hander on the other side of the reef that can be really good fun. The right is called Inners cause about 3kms further out to sea there is an insane right hander called Outers that can handle just about anything that Huey throws at it. When the conditions are right there is also another insane right hander called Jammies which on it's day looks like a miniature version of Kirra. In all Sarodrano lays host to 8 different breaks and is probably one of the best surfing set ups you could ever see. Our base camp is set up on the sand dunes in front of the main fishing village with a panoramic view of the entire lagoon. Sarodrano is a tiny unspoilt fishing village with around two hundred inhabitants set on a white sand peninsula that has remained virtually untouched by the white man. A nicer friendlier people you would be hard pressed to come across. We will be mixing it up with the villagers and staying with the president and his family in their home stay style bungalows. Your accommodation is in back to the roots beachfront bungalows with double bed and Malagasy shower with outside share facility toilets. We will be eating the freshest seafood everyday and surfing some of the best waves on offer in Madagascar, this is your true deep in the heart of Africa travel experience!
The common denominator ...
What is the common denominator in all of the above photos? In case you didn't notice there is nobody on any of the waves and no crowds in either the foreground or background and quite simply because there are no crowds whatsoever. When we pull up to a break it's just us and mother nature alone. No Joe Pro's hogging all the waves, no hassling and snaking, no dropping in and fighting, it's good old back to the roots essence of surfing, just sharing waves with your buddies and hooting each other on, they way it used to be back in the old days, and the only way it should be, but unfortunately in this day and age, something that has become an extremely scarce commodity. So if you've had enough of all the BS that goes down at most of the breaks that you can surf today it might just be time to try the Gash Pack surfing adventure, mixing it up with the locals in the coolest little off the beaten track fishing villages you could ever imagine ... a 100% pure back to the roots surfing experience guaranteed !!!
Day 1 – Arrival Tulear : Meet n Greet at either Tulear airport or bus station and transfer to base camp hotel with your guide who will give you the run down on exactly how the trip works and give you some good local tips to help you have an enjoyable stay. Every night at 6pm we all meet up on the Mada Surf Tours balcony for a sunset drink and inform everybody of surf destination and departure time for the next day. When the sun goes down your guide will take you to the best restaurant in Tulear!
Days 2 & 3 - Googles – Joey’s – Pete’s : RDV on the Mada Surf Tours balcony then we head off to Googles where we’ll surf until the south wind comes in. On our way back to base camp depending on conditions we can also sneak in a surf at either Joey’s or Pete’s which are both offshore with a southerly wind! After the surf afternoon free to check out Tulear or nap off your jelly arms! Sunset drink at 6pm and forecast is looking good for Ifaty - Mangily for the next couple of days so tonight everybody packs up and gets ready for an early departure the next morning!
Day 4 – Tulear - Googles – Ifaty Reef - Mangily : Early departure then off we head to Googles where we’ll try and sneak in a quick surf before continuing up to the South Pass at Ifaty Reef where we’ll surf until the trades hit. After the surf we get set up in our beachfront hotel and the guide will give you the rundown on Mangily and it’s best eating spots etc. Sunset drink at Anne’s on the beach for tomorrow’s program before heading off to Freddy’s for dinner!
Day 5 – The South Pass and The False Pass : Early departure to surf either of two different reef passes. Depending on conditions we’ll either be surfing a cracking right hander or if the swell is big a reeling left which is renown to be the best wave in the area! After the surf it’s chill out time on the beach or in one of the many laid back little rasta bars in the village! Usual suspects sunset RDV to set the next days plan of attack!
Day 6 - Mangily – Ifaty – Googles – Tulear : Early departure and surf along the way at either of the reef passes or Googles before arriving back at Tulear base camp in the early afternoon. Rest of the day free to chill out or probably sleep as chances are unless you’re an iron man you’re gonna be knackered! Sunset RDV on the Mada Surf Tours balcony for next days plan.
Day 7 – Tulear - Flat ! Free day : The forecast is pretty shitty so today is free to do as you like. The boat will remain at your disposition to go snorkelling or fishing on the Tulear reef or you can just hang out and relax! Sunset drink at 6pm and big swell hitting the south so decision has been taken to pack everyone up and head south next day.
Day 8 - Tulear – Sarodrano : Early departure for Sarodrano where we’ll surf and sleep for the next two days. We’ll hit either Jammies or Outers on the way before heading to the beach to set ourselves up in our bungalows. If the wind and swell is big enough we’ll surf TT’s, reputed to be the best wave in the Tulear region, but that’s a huge call as there are several waves that could easily be the best on their day! After the surf you can explore this little lost paradise and tonight we’ll have a drink with Manjaka, the president of the village and owner of our accommodations!
Day 9 – Outers – TT’s : Early morning surf at either Inners, Outers, or Jammies then when the trades kick in and depending on the swell it’s either TT’s, Mussolini’s, or Seconds for a classic session! Sunset aperitif on Manjaka’s terrace! Swell is dropping so the call is made to hit Anakao tomorrow.
Day 10 – Sarodrano – Seconds – Flameballs – Anakao : Sparrows fart departure for Anakao where we’ll be surfing and sleeping the next three days. Along the way we’ll check out Seconds and Flameballs before getting set up in our beachfront bungalows just to the north of the main fishing village. Depending on the surf this afternoon we’ll either hit one of the spots or you can check out the village. Sunset meeting on the beach and next days program.
Days 11 – 12 : Jelly Babies – Flameballs : Depending on the winds and tides we’ll either get an early at Jelly Babies then head off to surf Flameballs or vica versa. After the surf it’s back to the beach for chill out time before our nightly sunset apero to set up next days program.
Day 13 – Anakao – Flameballs - Tulear : This morning we pack our bags and say goodbye to Anakao. We’ll surf our way back to Tulear at whichever breaks are working best which can also include a possible stopover and extra night at Sarodrano depending on conditions. Sunset apero wherever we are and next days plan of attack!
Day 14 – Googles – Pete’s – Joey’s : Back in Tulear ! Up the for dawnie and Googles here we come! On the way back we’ll check Joey’s and Pete’s and if it’s on we’ll get another surf in before heading back to base camp. Tonight tears and celebrations all around! Farewell dinner and last night festivities for the game!
Day 15 : Outbound: Depending on your departure time and state of mind for those who partied it up, we can either get a last surf in or you’ll be transferred to the airport or bus station for your outward journey with a heap of good memories in mind ! So far we got a pretty impressive return rate so will probably be a see you next time rather than a farewell!
Peak season winter rates - 350€pp per week on twin share
Valid for travel from 01 April to 30 September 2016 - Extra days 50€. Single traveller rate 395€ per week extra days 57€
GASH PACK MOBILE SURF TOUR INCLUSIONS:
Meet and greet from Tulear airport plus return transfers
Accommodation in Tulear beachfront base camp hotel
Beachfront accommodation in Mangily, Sarodrano, and Anakao
All transfers to northern and southern reef break base camps
All outer reef surf transfers by boat with outboard
Experienced local surf guide and trip assistance
Basically travelling to and surfing in Madagascar can be a major shit fight if you don't know what you're doing. From the moment you arrive in Antananarivo we can look after all the shitty little details and keep you headed in the right direction. If you need to overnight before catching the Taxi B or plane down to Tulear we can sort you out with a good airport or city hotel with transfers being assured by our own trustworthy chauffeur guide. Once you arrive in Tulear we pick you up at the airport and basically keep you out of harms way for the rest of your trip. Aside from looking after the whole surfing aspect of your trip our experienced guides remain at hand throughout your stay to give you helpful tips and local advice..
Southern Hemisphere Summer rate - 295€pp per week on twin share
Valid for travel from 01 October 2015 to 31 March 2016 - Extra days 42€. Single traveller rate 385€ per week extra days 55€
WHY BOOK THE GASH PACK?
Wave count - You'll be catching twice as many waves as anywhere else gauaranteed
The Gash Pack is not just about surfing but is also a cultural discovery trip deep into the heart of Madagascar
Traditional Malagasy homestay and possibility to sponsor a school kid with the Secret Spots Add On
Fresh seafood straight off the boat everyday and cooked with traditional malagasy flavour and style
When the surfings done for the day kick back and relax in the comfort of your beachfront bungalow or on the white sandy fringed lagoons
Get yourself "off the grid" and mix it up with the locals in the coolest little fishing villages way off the beaten track
Jump on board with the first and most experienced surf tour operator and surf guide in the region
Check out our client testimonials and facebook page and compare with our competitors
Comprehensive trip support from the moment you step off the plane until your outbound flight home
NB: Please note that this is a real back to the roots surfing adventure and authentic Malagasy travel experience suited for surfers wanting to mix it up with the locals in the coolest little fishing villages and surf perfect uncrowded waves with just themselves and their mates. If you're looking for 5 star luxury, comfort and crowds please book a tour with gosurfmentawais.com
For more recent pics please check our FB page https://www.facebook.com/madasurf.tours
SECRET SPOTS EXPLORER TRIP & SCHOOL SPONSORSHIP ADD ON...
Book the Gash Pack for 07 days and add on secret spots for just 50€ extra including child sponsoship pack
On a recent exploratory surf mission we discovered a virtually unknown fishing village that lays host to five all time breaks including a left hand reef break, a right hand reef pass, an A-frame left and right reef peak as well as another classic right hand reef break . All of these spots are located within close proximity to a tiny little fishing village where we managed to organize accommodation with one of the local families who took us in and looked after us like we were royalty, a nicer family and location you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the world. We slept in very modest but comfortable cabins right on the beachfront and our host family served us freshly grilled fish, calamari, and lobster every day. When we eventually left the whole family came down the beach to see us off and we assured them that we would be back...
I couldn't stop thinking about this place with its perfect unridden waves and lovely people and thought it would be a real shame not to let our clients benefit from what was one of the most pure and authentic Malagasy experiences I have ever encountered. It is however not suited for everyone as it's a bit out of the way and is definitely big time back to the roots but if you're comfortable with modest accommodations, eating fresh seafood every day and mixing it up with the locals in a little lost slice of paradise this could be exactly the kind of deep in the heart of Africa Malagasy experience you've been looking for !!
NB: For all bookings of one week or more the Secret Spots Add On is compulsory as tour will visit village and the extra cost includes supplementary fuel charges as well as child sponsorship package.
OVERNIGHTING IN ANTANANARIVO
We have excellent hotel partners both in the city and near the airport. Our own trustworthy chauffeur guide Lanto can pick you up when you arrive and safely transfer you to the hotel of your choice. If you want to visit the sights or maybe do a bit of shopping in the markets Lanto is also available to help you during your stay and keep you out of harms way. Please check http://hotel-laribaudiere.com/ for city centre accommodation and http://www.hotelsraphia.com/residence-hoteliere-raphia-ivato.html for the airport. Hotel accommodation is 80 000 ariary per night in the city and 60 000 ariary at the airport. Transfer rates are 80 000 ariary return for the city and 30 000 ariary for the airport hotel. All fees should be paid directly to the providors. If you would like to book please let us know and we will organize it for you.