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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.
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.
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!
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.
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. We will go for walks in the National Park for several hours spotting some of the lemurs, chameleons and other animals.
Along the drive today, 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 by evening.
Spend today hiking with our guide in the incredible mountain scenery of Isalo National Park taking in natural rock swimming pools, villages and mountains.
This morning we transfer early to Tulear Airport for your flight to Tana where you can connect on your flight to Mauritius.