Our team’s story
Formerly Malagasy Tours (renamed in 2021) was created by Olivier Toboul in 1995. But before landing in Madagascar, Olivier traveled and guided for ten years in Eastern and Southern Africa for French companies.
It was in 1992 that he set foot for the first time in Madagascar and it was love at first sight !
At the time, tourism on the Island was very much in its infancy: very few international flights, a rare few tourists and tourist facilities were almost non-existent. Olivier returned in 1993 and decided to stay regardless. He then met Danz, a taxi driver in Tana with his antique Renault 4 and led him into what is still today a life of travels that created a solid friendship. Together, they roamed all over Madagascar, they learned, they discovered, they prospected, they sought and found countless incredible spots that are well known today. They wandered the whole island, creating varieties of itinerary together. We welcomed our first customers in 1994.
Gradually, as tourism developed in the country, so did our company. While Olivier’s direct address book ran out, outside agencies and mainly French at first, took over and featured the destination in their brochures. Travelers are starting to arrive in numbers, the itineraries created are of interest, few trips became popular. Danz called his buddies, his buddies called their buddies, and just like that, the team was born.
Olivier trained these buddies of buddies to be a guide and to embrace their new profession. The natural kindness of the Malagasy, their voluntary commitment and hard-working side transformed them into competent guides and wonderful travel partners. But at some point when the team kept on growing, it naturally needed some support, to harness its energies. Although the bond is strong, an equally strong personality needed to be called to coordinate and bring additional rigor. Vero was the chosen one to manage all the guides and all necessary logistics.
One year later in 1995, another love at first sight when Olivier met Nathalie, love of his life and became his wife. Together they created Le Grill du Rova, their restaurant in the Tana uplands, steps away from the Queen’s Palace. It became our company’s headquarters for the first decades. Le Grill du Rova has a terrace offering a splendid view of the city and is still serving popular specialities today.
Now tireless entrepreneurs, Olivier and Nathalie built Nature Lodge from scratch in 2000. Nature Lodge is our beautiful and exclusive eco-lodge steps away from the Amber Mountain National park in Diego Suarez region. With 12 spacious ensuite thatched bungalows (chalet style), it is the perfect base from which to look for the lemurs in the forest, chase waterfalls and explore the surrounding Amber Mountain. Visit the website
In the meantime, our agency kept on growing as our team. We moved out from Le Grill du Rova into our new Headquarters with larger offices and a bigger workshop for our twenty odd vehicles.
Hoby had naturally stepped up to join Olivier in Management to ensure the smooth running of the agency . Seheno on the other hand has been leading our team of consultants. Today, we have a team of 12 expert consultants eager and thrilled to create bespoke itineraries and experiences for our travelers.
Tourism in Madagascar evolves, new international airlines serve the destination which opens travel to Madagascar to a more diverse nationalities. The hotel industry also develops, and private investors create high standards of lodging. Small luxury hotels are popular and boutique hotels flourish. Travel offers are diversified all over the Island and the possibilities are endless.
And today, Sense of Oceans Madagascar has grown into a local group of 50 team members. All 100% committed to their profession and confident about their skills. Nevertheless, Olivier is continuously mindful about the business sustainability and “rebranded” Malagasy Tours in 2021 as Sense of Oceans Madagascar following a merger with a reputable partner and a leader in the travel industry. This merger provides the business with innovative tools and a larger business network. We were chosen for our tenure, our caliber, our team and our reputation. We are proud of what we have achieved together and continuously work on a daily basis to ensure that everyone is fulfilled in their personal and professional goals.