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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. 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. The park contains a wide variety of orchids, canopy, and endemic animals like chameleons, tenrecs, and many birds. After the visit, walk through the orchid park and 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.
Drive back to Tana and head south to Antsirabe. 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. 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 you enter the town! Founded by the Norwegians in 1856, it is the only place which really feels and looks like a European city.
After breakfast, 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 you 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 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. In addition to its densely forested hills, Ranomafana’s terrain is characterised by numerous small streams, which plummet down to the beautiful Namorona River. You will go for walks in the National Park for several hours spotting some of the lemurs, chameleons and other animals.
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. 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. 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. You then pass through the huge Plateaux de Horombe with its very deep red soil.
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 and 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. Start the climb and reach the massif, where you will have a spectacular view of the sandstone mountains. 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.
After breakfast, we continue to Tuléar and pass through 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 you drive to Ifaty, which will take about 2½ hours. 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.
Day at leisure. Ifaty, being a beachside town is an ideal place for diving, snorkelling and is also a popular destination for birdwatchers. 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. Ifaty is also protected by a large coral reef, which makes it an ideal for diving and snorkelling.
Early in the morning around 6h00, transfer to the airport for the flight back to Tana and transfer to your accommodation. (Please note, this flight is not included in the trip price, this can be booked upon request, please contact us for further details). Check in at your hotel and enjoy a free afternoon.
We will transfer you to the airport in time for your departure flight.