Secrets of Madagascar


Madagascar - Secrets of Madagascar

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 17 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers

Itinerary

Optional pre-tour extension – Anjozorobe Forest Corridor 4 days 3 nights

Pre-tour Day 1 – Arrive Antananarivo
Arrive in Antananarivo. On arrival transfer to the hotel. Overnight Gassy Country House or similar. Please note that for those arriving before 3pm into Antananarivo it is possible to travel straight to Anjozorobe. 

Pre-tour Day 2 – Antananarivo – Anjozorobe (Overall driving time: 2-3 hours)
Depart after breakfast and our first stop is the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga (UNESCO), a significant symbol to the culture and people of Madagascar. We then journey to Anjozorobe Forest Corridor where you can relax or take walks in the surrounds of the beautiful forest. Overnight Saha Forest Camp (BLD)

Pre-tour Day 3 – Anjozorobe
A full day to relax in the surrounds of the beautiful forest of Anjozorobe. There will also be the opportunity to take walks in the forest with a local guide to get your first taste of some of the magnificent flora and fauna of Madagascar. The forest has an abundance of plant and animal life. It may be possible for you to spot the beautiful Indri Lemur as well as other flora and fauna. Overnight Saha Forest Camp (BLD)

Pre-tour Day 4 – Anjozorobe – Antananarivo (Overall driving time: 2-3 hours)
After an optional early morning walk in the forest the rest of the morning is at leisure before returning to Antananarivo in the afternoon. This is Day 1 (arrival day) of the main tour. (BL)

 

Main Group Tour

Day 1 – Antananarivo
Arrive in Antananarivo and transfer to the hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, you may have time to explore the city. Overnight at Gassy Country House or similar. No meals are included today.

Day 2 – Morondava – Kirindy (1-hour domestic flight; overall driving time: 2 hours)
Fly west across the island to Morondava, a coastal town with a laid-back atmosphere and home to many of Madagascar’s different ethnic groups. On arrival, we start our journey to the Tsingy de Bemaraha passing majestic Baobabs en route to the remote village of Kirindy for the night. This evening we enjoy a night walk in Kirindy Reserve which has the best opportunity for viewing the elusive Fossa as well as nocturnal lemurs. Overnight at the Relais du Kirindy or similar (BD)

Day 3 – Bekopaka (Overall driving time: 6-8 hours)
An early start and a full day of travelling by car and boat to cross the Tsiribihina River with great opportunities to see a side of rural Madagascar that few other visitors experience. Continue the journey to Bekopaka and again take to the water to cross the Manambolo. Arrive at Bekopaka by mid-afternoon and if you wish you may take the Petit Tsingy circuit which gives you a first very good overview of the Tsingy de Bemaraha. Overnight at Hotel Olympe du Bemaraha or similar (BL*) – * Picnic lunch

Day 4 – Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park
Spend today exploring the remarkable World Heritage Site of Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, a bizarre landscape of eroded limestone pinnacles and one of the most scenic areas in all of Madagascar. We take the Grand Tsingy circuit where boardwalks and ladders between the pinnacles allow us to explore the area, replete with deep canyons and gorges and home to several species of lemurs and birds. Overnight at Hotel Olympe de Bemaraha or similar. (BD)

Day 5 – Bekopaka – Morondava (Overall driving time: 10–12 hours)
An early start and a full day of driving back to Morondava. We stop for lunch at the restaurant Le Mad Zebu, where the Chef Onja is renowned in the whole country for its excellent cuisine. Continuing our drive south, we then stop en route around sunset at the ‘Avenue of the Baobabs’ where these imposing trees up to 800 years old line the road and provide an iconic snapshot of Madagascar, giving hints of the extensive forest that once covered this part of the island. Overnight Baobab Café hotel or similar (BL)

Day 6 – Morondava – Miandrivazo (Overall driving time: 6 hours)
After breakfast, drive towards Miandrivazo. En route experience varied landscapes and the transition from the very dry west to the red soil and rice fields around Miandrivazo. Situated on the Tsiribihina River, Miandrivazo is a very fertile region for cotton, corn, manioc, beans, tobacco and rice. The rest of the day is at leisure either to enjoy the countryside or relax at the hotel. Overnight at Princesse Tsiribihina or similar (BD)

Day 7 – Miandrivazo - Antsirabe (Overall driving time: 5-6 hours)
Continue the journey to Antsirabe. You will also notice changes on the features of the local people as Asian heritage becomes more prominent. We finish the day in Antsirabe, founded by Norwegians in 1856 and home to Madagascar’s brewing industry. Overnight Royal Palace or similar (BD)

Day 8 – Ambositra – Ranomafana National Park (Overall driving time: 8-9 hours)
Continuing south, we stop in Ambositra (approx. 4-hour drive), the centre of Madagascar’s wood carving industry and home to the Zafimaniry tribe. We then continue to Ranomafana National Park (approx. 4-hour drive) and, at on arrival, you will be able to take an optional night walk on the on the outskirts of the park to search for nocturnal creatures Overnight Centrest Sejour or similar (BD)

Day 9 – Ranomafana National Park
We spend the morning exploring the rainforests of Ranomafana in search of its many species of lemurs, reptiles and birds. The afternoon is at leisure for you to relax or enjoy a walk in the village and surroundings. Overnight Centrest Sejour or similar (BD)

Day 10 – Anja - Isalo National Park (Overall driving time: 9–10 hours)
Leaving Ranomafana behind we head to Isalo. We stop first at Anja Park (approx. 3-4 hours depending on traffic and road conditions), a community run reserve situated in stunning scenery with great opportunities to see ring-tailed lemurs. Arrive in Isalo in the late afternoon (approx. 6 hours depending on traffic and road conditions). Overnight at Satrana Lodge or similar. (BL*) – * Picnic lunch

Day 11 – Isalo National Park
We spend today walking through the moonscape of Isalo National Park, stopping at the perfectly formed ‘natural swimming pool’, fringed with lush vegetation and a great place for a dip. Later we head to a stunning rock arch to watch the sunset over this dramatic landscape. Overnight at Satrana Lodge or similar. (BL*) – * Picnic lunch

Day 12 - Isalo – Ifaty (Overall driving time: 7–8 hours)
Leaving Isalo behind we head to Tulear. Travelling through the land of the Mahafaly people, we can stop to see the traditional tombs used for burying their dead. From Tulear we transfer to Ifaty on the coast (approx. 1 hour). The region around Ifaty is extremely dry and dominated by ‘spiny forest’ of cacti and other plants that thrive in arid environments. Our accommodation is situated idyllically on a gorgeous beach overlooking the Indian Ocean, where we can watch the local fishermen take boats out as the sun sets. This is a truly beautiful part of Madagascar and a great place to relax or explore. Overnight Hotel La Mira or similar. (BD)

Day 13 – Ifaty
A day at leisure to relax or explore. Ifaty is also home to coral reef and offers good diving and snorkelling opportunities. It’s also possible to take a walk to the nearby village of Mangily where we can get a good insight into the life of the local Vezo fishing community. All excursions can be booked through the hotel and are payable locally. July and August are the best months to see the migration of the humpback whales. Overnight Hotel La Mira or similar. (BD)

Day 14 – Antananarivo (Overall driving time: 1 hour; 1-hour domestic flight)
Transfer to Tulear on due time at the airport to catch a flight back to Antananarivo. Overnight Gassy Country House or similar (BD)

Day 15 – Andasibe (Overall driving time: 4-5 hours)
This morning enjoy a short city tour of the capital before we drive to Andasibe through lush vegetation, stopping en route at a private reptile reserve to get up close to some of Madagascar’s many species of chameleon. On arrival at Andasibe you will visit a private sanctuary where you can get up close to Lemurs. This evening there will be an opportunity to take a walk in the forest looking for nocturnal creatures. Overnight Andasibe Hotel or similar. (BD)

Day 16 – Andasibe National Park – Antananarivo (Overall driving time: 4-5 hours)
Andasibe is probably the best national park in Madagascar and a good place to watch the indri, the largest species of lemur on the island. We take a morning walk through the forest in search of this enigmatic creature as well as other wildlife, accompanied by an expert guide. This afternoon we visit a lemur sanctuary to get up close to these fascinating creatures. At the sanctuary the lemurs may jump on you but please note that this is perfectly safe. Return to Antananarivo in the afternoon. Overnight Gassy Country House or similar. (BD)

Day 17 – Departure from Madagascar
Time at leisure until your transfer to the airport and your onward flight. Please note optional excursions are possible for those with late flights. Day use available at Gassy Country House until 6pm for clients travelling on late night Air France flight. (B)

 

Post tour Mikea Forest Beach Extension (Available for August and October departures only)

Post tour Day 16 – Ifaty – Tsiandamba or Andravona (Overall driving time: 2-3 hours)
After breakfast, we drive north to the wild and well preserved Mikea Forest, the home of the Mikea people. You have the option to stay either at the Five Senses Lodge (www.fivesenseslodge.com) or at the Mikea Lodge (www.mikealodge.com), both superb accommodation with direct access to a large white sandy beach. This afternoon is at leisure either to relax or to start exploring the impressive marine life or pay a visit to the local Vezo fishing village. Overnight at Five Senses Lodge or Mikea Lodge (BD)

Post tour Days 17 and 18 – Tsiandamba or Andravona
The next two days are at leisure for you to enjoy the activities which are available at the lodge. You will be able to choose your activities on arrival. For further details about activities available and prices, please contact us. For those wanting to have an active day we can hike inside the Kirindy Mitea National Park, excellent for its endemic vegetation and abundant birdlife. Overnight at Five Senses Lodge or Mikea Lodge (BD)

Post tour Day 19 – Tulear (Overall driving time: 2-3 hours)
Morning at leisure until we depart from our little piece of heaven to reach the frenetic city of Tulear. This afternoon it is possible to visit the Arboretum of Antsokay, which offer a large variety of local endemic flora and trees. Overnight at Moringa Hotel (B)

Post tour Day 20 – Antananarivo (1-hour domestic flight) – Departure from Madagascar
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to catch a flight back to Antananarivo. For travellers flying home in the evening with Air France, you can freshen up at the hotel near the airport before your journey home. For whose travelling on day time flights, we strongly advise an extra night in Antananarivo and depart the day after – please contact us for advice. Day use at Gassy Country House or similar (B)

 

Post tour extension – Pangalanes Wildlife Extension

Day 17 – Extension to the East Coast (Palmarium)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your domestic flight to Tamatave. Continue south along the Canal des Pangalanes (Pangalanes Channel), a fascinating and historically important collection of natural rivers and artificial lakes. Until independence, the Canal des Pangalanes was used to transport local spices and fruit to the commercial port of Tamatave. Today, the canal’s charm mainly comes from the small villages on the banks of the Canal. Arrive in the traditional village of Manombato and transfer by express boat to Ankanin’ny Nofy, a peaceful village located on the bank of Ampitabe Lake. Overnight at Le Palmarium hotel, one of the most welcoming properties in the area with its own private wildlife reserve (B)

Day 18 – Ankanin’ny Nofy (Palmarium)
Today take a walk into the private reserve managed by the Palmarium. This is a 46-hectare private wildlife park in which you can spot many species of lemur, including fluffy Coquerel’s sifaka, as well as a hundred species of endemic plants and trees. At nightfall and equipped with your headlamp, you will then go for a guided night walk and try to spot some very tame black and white ruffed lemurs and if possible the elusive Aye-Aye ! Overnight at Le Palmarium hotel (B)

Day 19 – Ankanin’ny Nofy (Palmarium)
Today is a full day to relax or explore the local environment. Apart from strolling on the white sand beaches alongside Lake Manombato, you can walk to the stunning village of Andranokoditra, built on the narrow strip of land dividing the canal from the Indian Ocean. Along the path admire the many carnivorous pitcher plants, and appreciate a peaceful and slow-paced side of Madagascar. You may also consider a visit to the experimental reserve of Vohibola, which protects one of the last Eastern littoral forest, and is entirely managed by local communities, favouring sustainable tourism. Overnight at Le Palmarium hotel (B)

Day 20 – Ankanin’ny Nofy – Antananarivo – Tour end
After breakfast, transfer by express boat to Manambato (approx. 1.5 hour), where a private driver will welcome you and drive you back to Antananarivo in the afternoon. You can freshen up at the hotel near the airport before your journey home (B).


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