1000 Views of Madagascar - 11 days
FROM USD $2,329
An island of adventure! Discover rare lemurs, colourful tribes, stunning national parks, tropical beaches, bustling markets and ever-changing scenery in 11 breathtaking days.
Day 1: Antananarivo
Arrival in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. Welcome and assistance at the airport. After a short briefing, drive to Andasibe through the green and luxuriant vegetation of the east. This first step brings you to the humid part of the country with many primary forests and lakes. Along the way we will see Merina villages in the rocky mountains. Arrive at Andasibe around 18h00. Check-in to your ensuite bungalows, overlooking the forest. Later this evening at approximately 19h00 enjoy a night walk in the area of Andasibe to observe night active lemurs and other nocturnal animals. Overnight - Andasibe
Day 2: Natural Reserve of Andasibe
A morning visit to the Special Reserve of Andasibe, to see the Indri Indri, the largest lemurs on the island. This 810 ha reserve is unique with its endemic fauna and flora. It contains a wide variety of orchids, canopy, and endemic animals like chameleons, tenrecs, and many birds. After the visit, walk through the orchid park to admire all the nice flowers. In the afternoon, visit Andasibe village, a typical Betsimisaraka (The-Many-inseparable) village, and the second largest tribe on the island. They cultivate rice and live mainly off the forest. This visit allows contact with the local people, to see how they live and what they eat. Overnight - Andasibe (B)
1000 Views of Madagascar - 11 days Go Guide
: :Check out the go guide for details of the tour, info on visas, climate, money, what to bring and more!
Day 3: Antsirabe
Andasibe - Antsirabe. Drive back to Tana, and head south to Antsirabe, across the highland landscape with its beautiful rice fields on stage. The spectacular eroded hills called ‘lavaka’ reminiscent of the Far East with its rice fields and green landscape with vegetables and fruit trees. A stop in Ambatolampy for a short visit of this huge agricultural city, which is also known as a source of aluminium. Arrival in Antsirabe around 17h00, or ‘the place of salt’, an elegant city well known as the centre of the beer industry, you can smell the Star Brewery as we enter the town!
Founded by the Norwegians in 1856, it is the only place which really feels and looks like a European city. It has a temperate climate and all fruits and vegetable, which grow in cooler climates, are found in Antsirabe. Overnight - Antsirabe (B)
Day 4: Ranomafana National Park
Antsirabe - Ranomafana National Park. After breakfast, we drive to Ambositra, the centre of Madagascar's wood carving industry. We are still in the highland, which is characterized by its architecture: The houses are made with ornately carved wooden balconies and shutters with bright colours. Further on we pass the ‘le col de tapia’, a type of tree resistant to the bush fires of the area. The landscape is still dominated by rice fields, pine and eucalyptus trees and rocky mountains. Onward to stunning Ranomafana National Park. Overnight - Ranomafana National Park (B)
Day 5: Ranomafana National Park
Parc National de Ranomafana (approximately 40,000ha), with its rain forested hills and abundant wildlife, has long been considered one of Madagascar’s highlights, and is one of the most heavily visited of the country’s national parks. Its entrance lies about 7km from Ranomafana village. Altitudes in the park range from 800m to 1200m. In addition to its densely forested hills, Ranomafana’s terrain is characterised by numerous small streams, which plummet down to the beautiful Namorona River. Although much of the region has been logged, the easternmost part of the park retains relatively large areas of primary forest. We will go for walks in the National Park for several hours spotting some of the lemurs, chameleons and other animals. Overnight - Ranomafana National Park (B)
Day 6: Wine Tasting
Ranomafana - Fianarantsoa – Isalo. We leave Ranomafana using the road that you entered on, and pass Fianarantsoa ‘the city where one learns good things’. It is the gate to the South and the capital of the Betsileo tribes. This is the centre of the Catholic religion and most of the best schools are found here. Then we head southwards, your first stop is in Ambalavao to visit a wine industry for wine tasting, as Ambalavao is the centre of wine industry. The climate is said not to be ideal for grape vines, but winemaking is a tradition left by priests and monks, who lived in the area of Fianarantsoa. Still in Ambalavao, visit the ‘Anteimoro Paper Factory’ a vestige of the Arabian civilisation in the island. Continue to Ihosy, the capital of the Bara tribes, who are the shepherds of Zebu, and pass through the mountain chain of Andringitra, which serves as a transition between the dry south and green highlands with its famous ‘3 hillocks’ and its huge ‘archbishop's cape’.
Along the way, we see from afar a spectacular huge granite dome with twin rock towers called: ‘the gate of the south’, which marks the end of the highland and the beginning of the south. The other imposing one is the ‘Bishop's hat’, which is a sacred place for the local people, as it is a place where their ancestors chose a collective suicide rather than to give in to the Merina tribes. We then pass through the huge ‘Plateaux de Horombe’ where with its very deep red soil, reminds us of ‘the no man's land’. Arrive in Isalo. Overnight - Isalo (B)
Day 7: Isalo National Park
Visit to Isalo National Park. The park covers an area of 81 540 ha comprising the entire stretch of the Isalo massif. This huge mountain is spectacular with its eroded sandstone mountain. Today walk to the ‘Natural swimming pool’. After a 10-minute drive from Ranohira village you'll walk about 1½ hours to reach the Natural Swimming Pool. Along the way, see vegetation like Uapaca Bojeri, Pachypodium Rosulatum or ‘elephant's foot’, Aloe Isaloensis, a native species of aloe and endemic to Isalo.
Walk through the eroded mountains where the Bara people place their dead before they can be interned into their final resting place. Start the climb and reach the massif, (after a 20 minute walk) where we will have a spectacular view of the huge sandstone mountains with its beautiful colours and its strange and eroded forms creating many different images such as ‘the tortoise’, ‘the masks’ and ‘the crocodiles’. See small streams of water, and rivers which are marked by lines of brilliant green, generally made up of numerous Pandanus Pulcher and the delicate, slim-stemmed, feathery leaved palm Chrysalidocarpus Isaloensis. Along the way, for lemur lovers, there may be sifakas, brown lemurs and ringtailed lemurs, as well as fifty-five species of birds, lizards and snakes. Finally reaching the swimming pool, with its crystal clear water. A great reward after your trek.
Overnight - Isalo (B)
Day 8: Ifaty
Isalo - Ifaty. After breakfast, continue to Tuléar at the end of National Road N° 7. Admire some different scenery - the dry forests of the west and the spiny desert of the south. En-route see the fascinating ‘Mahafaly Tombs’ and the ‘Antandroy Tombs’. After a short visit of Tuléar we drive to Ifaty, which lies about 27 km from Tuléar. Due to the bad condition of the road it will take about 2½ hours to reach Ifaty which brings we to the driest part of the country. Situated in the deep south, the landscape is dominated by the spiny forest cacti, Baobab trees and thorn-bushes.
Mangrove trees line the coast alternated by Vezo villages, the locals earn their living from fishing and there are many small pirogues (small traditional fishing boats) lining the coast. The men of the vilages typically go fishing twice a day while the women and children await their return to fetch the fish and take them to Tuléar for sale. Overnight - Ifaty (B)
Day 9: Free Day to Relax or Explore
Day at leisure. Ifaty, being a beachside town is an ideal place for diving, snorkelling and is also a popular destination for birdwatchers. This is a great opportunity to experience the Vezo Fishermen's life. Many excursions are possible. Visit the ‘Reserve Domergue’, a communal reserve where you can see two species of baobabs, spiny bush, reptiles like ‘Boa Madagascariensis, geckos and Parson's Chameleon (Calumma Parsonii). Take a boat trip to see the whales. From July to mid September, whales come to the cool sea off Madagascar to give birth to their young. This is a spectacular experience and it is possible to see the whales up close by taking a boat trip. Situated in the largest lagoon of the country, Ifaty is also protected by a large coral reef, which makes it an ideal for diving and snorkelling. In the afternoon you can walk to the village of Mangily where you can visit a local school. Overnight - Ifaty (B)
Day 10: Back to Tana
Ifaty - Tana (Antananarivo). Early in the morning around 6h00, transfer to the airport for your flight back to Tana (Please note the price does not include cost of internal flight Tulear - Antananariva approx Euro 190. This should be booked in conjunction with international flight). Check in at your hotel and enjoy a free afternoon. Tana also called the ‘City of Thousands’ is the capital of Madagascar. It is the city where the first King started to unify the different kingdoms of the island. Built in stages: The high city, the first area occupied during the royal period where the old queen's palace is situated, the mid-city, where all the chic boutiques of the capital are found and then the low city, which is the commercial area of the town. Our walk can start from the high city to see the Rova, the queen's palace, the house of the first minister during these days, which is now a museum; all built by Frenchman Jean Laborde during the royal period. The mid-city, or the administration area ends at the Rainiharo tombs and the lower town is situated in the main avenue called ‘L'avenue de l'independence’ dominated by the railway station. Overnight - Antananarivo (B)
Day 11: Tour Ends
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.