Madagascar Adventure11 days & 10 nights, Escorted Discovery Group
Escorted Discovery Group
Antananarivo, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Antsirabe, Ranomafana National Park, Ranohira & Ifaty
Much of Madagascar's exotic flora and fauna is found nowhere else on Earth. This tour offers an opportunity to discover the island's extraordinary natural history along with its stunning scenery, idyllic beaches and fascinating culture, which is based on a mix of Christianity and ancient spiritual beliefs.
Day 1Arrive Antananarivo
On arrival in Antananarivo, you will be met and taken to your hotel.Le Royal Palissandre (D)
Day 2To Andasibe
Make an early start to drive from Antananarivo to Andasibe National Park, a journey of approximately 3 hours.Vakona Forest Lodge - 3 Nights (B, L, D)
Andasibe (formerly Perinet) consists of two reserves; Andasibe and Mantadia. Both are part of the little remaining unspoilt rainforest in Madagascar and home to a variety of lemurs including the largest lemur - the indri. There are excellent opportunities for walking with a local guide and enjoying the peace and beauty of these wonderful reserves.
This afternoon, enjoy a visit to the Analamazaotra Reserve, home of the Indri Indri. Other lemur species which might be discovered during the visit are the common brown lemur and the grey bamboo lemur. The forest is also home to a wide variety of bird species and other wildlife.
After your visit, you will be transferred the short distance to your accommodation.
This morning, embark on a walk in Mantadia National Park. Mantadia is an area of hilly forest, and after a steep uphill walk you will be rewarded with panoramic views across the treetops. The lemurs in this reserve are very shy, and some difficult walking on hilly and uneven forest floor will be required to have any chance of seeing them. It is very different in character from Perinet; due to the difference in terrain and walking here requires a reasonable level of fitness and a stout pair of walking shoes.Vakona Forest Lodge (B, L, D)
En route back, enjoy a short visit of the Vakona Lodge private reserve. Visit the small private reserve belonging to Vakona Lodge where a number of lemur species live on an island (known as 'lemur island'). You will have the opportunity to see the lemurs at quite close quarters, both on foot and by canoe. There is also a crocodile park nearby.
Return to your hotel.
This evening, embark on an excursion to the Mitsinjo private forest. The Mitsinjo forest is a private park pioneered by Mr Reiner Dolch, one of the writers of the book entitled 'Reptiles of Madagascar'. The aim is to protect the forest, its wildlife and the surrounding population. Walk along the road adjacent to the forest and observe a variety of wildlife including primates and possibly nocturnal lemurs such as mouse, greater dwarf and eastern woolly lemur.
Day 4To Antsirabe
Drive to Antsirabe, a journey of 195 miles and approximately 10 hours.Couleur Cafe / Plumeria Hotel (B, L, D)
Drive back to Antananarivo before travelling south through the stunning terraced countryside of the central plateau to the old French colonial town of Antsirabe. En route it may be possible to observe some of Madagascar's more common birds and stop for lunch at the village of Antsahabe, typical of the Merina tribe.
Day 5To Ranomafana
Drive from Antsirabe to Ranomafana National Park, a journey time of approximately 11 hours.The Thermal Hotel - 2 Nights (B, L, D)
Take a tour of Antsirabe town, center of the gem trade and then drive south towards Ranomafana. Visit Ambositra en route for a short tour and a chance to visit local markets and buy the region's famed woodcarvings. Taste a typical Malagasy lunch here accompanied by folklore entertainment. En route it may be possible to spot some birds and stops will be arranged according to timing. This journey may take up to 11 hours, including the stops.
Embark on a morning visit to Ranomafana National Park. After lunch take a 3 hour afternoon walk through Tanala village and this is followed by a short talk at the VALBIO Research Centre.The Thermal Hotel (B, L, D)
Morning walk through the forest in Ranomafana to spot birds and a variety of lemurs, including grey bamboo lemurs, golden bamboo lemurs and greater bamboo lemurs. Return to the hotel for lunch.
In the afternoon, take a walk through the Tanala village.
Return to the hotel.
Take a short evening walk in search of nocturnal species such as mouse lemurs, chameleons and frogs. The walk will take about 1.5 hours and is along a flat trail, just outside Ranomafana National Park.
Day 7To Ranohira
Drive from Ranomafana National Park to Ranohira via Fianarantsoa and Ambalavao.Relais de la Reine - 2 Nights (B, L, D)
The journey from Ranomafana National Park to Ranohira passes through the charming city of Fianarantsoa, which is known for its wineries such as Lazan'ny Betsileo where you will visit. Continue through diverse landscapes to the town of Ambalavao and visit the Malagasy Antemoro paper factory. The paper is traditionally made using the bark of the avoha tree found in the east of the island and is impregnated with dried flowers. You will then continue to the Anja Reserve. Spread over 30 hectares, the reserve is home to ring-tailed lemurs. After the visit continue to Ranohira.
The total journey distance is 217 miles and takes approximately twelve hours, including visits.
Day 8Isalo National Park
Take a full day to explore the Isalo National Park and see the breathtaking eroded sandstone landscapes that have brought about a variety of local superstitions. Your guided walk will begin in the morning with the natural swimming pool where you will discover the fascinating landscape of the park including a crystal clear waterfall that tumbles into a deep green pool. In the afternoon, return to your hotel to rest before going to an early evening traditional music performance with a view of the sunset.Relais de la Reine (B, L, D)
Day 9To Ifaty
Drive from Isalo National Park to Ifaty via Toliara (Tulear), a journey of approximately 186 miles and approximately 8 hours including all stops.Les Dunes d'Ifaty - 2 Nights (B, D)
Stop at villages en route and admire the landscape as it changes from rugged mountains to grassy plains. The region is well known for its large baobabs and traditional family tombs, central to Malagasy beliefs and culture. Included in this journey time is a longer stop, of approximately 1.5 hours, in Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park. The guided wildlife walk here is along flat pathways. The park acts as a transition zone between the dry and humid forests of Madagascar. Eight lemur species, including groups of Verraux's sifaka and ring-tailed lemur, inhabit the forest as well as one of the most endangered endemic birds of the island, the rare Appert's greenbul. Lunch will be taken in Tulear (payable locally).
This morning, enjoy a short visit to the tortoise village and Reniala forest by bus and zebu cart.Les Dunes d'Ifaty (B, D)
The tortoise village was specifically set up for the protection of three endangered species of tortoise: the radiated, the spider and the northern spider tortoise. The need for the facility came about due to the growing illegal trade of tortoises in Madagascar.
Continue on to the Reniala Private Reserve, a small protected area of only 60 hectares, managed by an environmental association called Reniala (which means baobab in Malagasy). The reserve contains the unique and bizarre spiny forest, which only occurs in the south-western part of Madagascar. The towering spiny bushes are home to more than 2,000 plant species (many of them locally endemic), some spectacular and very old baobabs (there is a giant baobab with a 41-foot diameter) and a completely endemic plant family, the didieraceae. Reniala includes a botanical trail and a bird sanctuary.
Reniala Reserve is also a paradise for birders, who can easily observe some very rare endemic species, such as the long-tailed ground roller, the sub desert mesite, the red-capped coua and the blue vanga. There are 65 bird species in total within the reserve.
Visitors can spot mammals including grey-mouse lemurs, one of the smallest primates, and reptiles, like the threatened radiated and spider tortoises, warty chameleons, lizards and snakes. The association organizes guided visits where the excellent English-speaking guides give visitors all kinds of information about the local fauna and flora.
Enjoy moving from A to B on this tour partly by open zebu cart and partly by bus. Zebu are a sub-species of domestic cattle originating from south east Asia. They have a fatty lump on their necks and are strong animals, well adapted to high temperatures.
Return to your hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure.
In the evening you will have a farewell dinner with your Malagasy guide.
Day 11Depart Antananarivo
You will be collected at your hotel in Ifaty and taken to the airport in Tulear.(B)
You will be met at the airport in Antananarivo and taken to your hotel, where you will have the use of a day room before your international flight.
You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport.