AFRICA

MADAGASCAR EXPERIENCE - july 6 to july 26/2019

Photo by Martin Callum

The country of Madagascar or Mada as the locals fondly call it, is the fourth largest island in the world. It has been separated from mainland Africa for millions of years and encompasses an ecosystem found nowhere else on earth; the sheer quantity of endemic flora and fauna is staggering.  Mada has diverse forests, white sandy beaches, emerald oceans, bizarre limestone formations, but most importantly, an abundance of welcoming, friendly locals throughout the country.  We will search for some of the 100+ species of lemur throughout the national parks protecting their natural habitats, attempt to find strange insects like the long, articulated-neck giraffe weevil, walk night safaris in hopes of spotting well camouflaged chameleons, and view ancient baobab trees that age back 1000 years and almost appear to be growing upside-down.  Unfortunately, times are changing in Madagascar and the environment is suffering.  Forests are being cut back at an alarming rate as the population continues to rise, and the survival of Madagascar’s diverse species is threatened by the human race. Now is the time to visit Madagascar before more of its beauty, habitat and endemic species are lost forever.  With excessively long town names like Ambatofinandrahana and Ambohimahamasina, Mada is a country like no other.  Your experience here will be a rewarding adventure, one you will crave again.

$4900 CAD or $3800 USD plus applicable taxes

Based on double occupancy.   Single supplement also available for additional cost.

Maximum group size 16.

21 DAY ITINERARY:

Day 1 – ANTANANARIVO – If you arrive early, experience a few highlights of the capital on your own.  Suggestions include the Rova (the Queen's Palace), Andafiavaratra Palace (the Prime Minister's Palace) or even Ambohimanga on the outskirts of the city - a Unesco World Heritage listed royal settlement on a hill.  At our first planned activity, get to know your fellow travelers at an introductory meeting followed by an optional dinner.   Accommodation - Hotel Sakamanga or similar

Day 2 – ANDASIBE – A morning departure heading East of the capital to Andasibe National park.  Enjoy scenic stops along the drive and get your first taste of the Malagasy people and landscape.  Enjoy and photograph some interesting creatures at Pereyras exotic park.  Participate in an optional guided night walk for your first chance to see lemurs.   Accommodation - Feon'ny Ala or similar

Day 3 – ANDASIBE – Begin the day with breakfast while listening to the sounds of the rainforest.  Explore Andasibe National park on foot with a guided day walk, searching for the largest of all lemurs - the indri.  You can hear the indri's call from miles away, but finding them will take a bit of effort.  In addition to the indri, the park is home to 10 other lemur species and many chameleons and reptiles.  Get up close and personal with some lemurs at the Vakona Forest Lodge that are rescued and nursed back to health on an island.  Finish the day with a walk through the local town of Perinet, meeting some of the friendly locals.  AccommodationFeon'ny Ala or similar

Day 4 – ANTSIRABE – Today we depart Andasibe and head back towards Antananarivo before continuing on to the colonial town of Antsirabe.  Enjoy the scenery of local villages and rice paddies along the route.  There are plenty of opportunities for photographs and visits to some local artisans along the way.  An afternoon stop in the town of Ambatolampy will give an insight into some of the local manufacturing techniques.  Antsirabe is known for its cooler climate and volcanic crater lakes, and this is our destination for the evening.  AccommodationHotel H1 Antsirabe or similar

Day 5 – RANOMAFANA - Enjoy some free time in the morning to see some of the sights of Antsirabe.  In the late morning, we begin our drive towards Ranomafana National Park.  Along the journey, we will stop for lunch in the well known artisanal town of Ambositra.  We will get a chance to see the artisans at work, and check out their creations.  A curvy, scenic drive awaits to Ranomafana where we will arrive for dinner.  There is a chance to do an optional night walk, looking for chameleons, geckos and maybe the smallest of lemurs - the mouse lemur.  AccommodationChez Gaspard or similar

Day 6 – AMBALAVAO – Explore the forest in Ranomafana National Park on a guided walk.  Ranomafana, meaning 'hot water' is also one of the six parks that comprise the 'Rainforests of Antsinanana' which is Unesco World Heritage listed. Search for bamboo lemurs, sifakas, dwarf lemurs and sportive lemurs - all found in this park.  After lunch we depart on a short journey to Fianarantsoa where we find some scenic views high on the hillside in the old city.  Take a stroll through the historic old centre before driving to rural Ambalavao, a town known for it’s paper making, and our destination for the next two nights.    AccommodationAux Bougainvillees or similar

Day 7 – AMBALAVAO – Take a day trip to explore the amazing mountains around Ambalavao.  The stunning Andringitra National park has been described as 'Yosemite' without the crowds.  These beautiful mountains are home to sport climbers and hikers in search of adventure.  Andringitra is also one of the six 'Rainforests of Antsinanana' and home to the famous ringtail lemur.   AccommodationAux Bougainvillees or similar

Day 8 – ISALO – After breakfast in town, our first stop is at Anja Community Reserve.  This Reserve is operated and by the local community and local guides are required.  Anja has the highest population of Maki (ringtail lemurs) in the country and the walk through the reserve forest takes us through huge boulders and interesting rock formations.  You can usually get up close and personal with the maki, as they are quite playful wild animals.  The drive towards Ranohira takes us through some interesting mountain scenery and savannah.  We arrive in Ranohira, the gateway to Isalo National Park, late in the afternoon and prepare for our hike the next morning.  Time permitting, we will visit 'La Fenetre' - a window of rock that creates a beautiful border around the sunset.   AccommodationHotel H1 Ranohira Isalo or similar

Day 9 – ISALO – Today, you have the choice of optional hikes in the park.  Depending on your energy level, you can choose to do a more difficult hike, or opt for an easier walk.   Either of these outings will give you a great taste of the Isalo National Park and hiking in the massif.  During the walk, you can take a swim in turquoise water pools in the valleys between the massif, and you might even have some lemurs for company.  These beautiful pools are fed by waterfalls which you can swim under and behind.  AccommodationHotel H1 Ranohira Isalo or similar

Day 10 – IFATY – We drive through the South-Western section of Isalo National Park on our way to the coast.  Our first stop is in Ilakaka, a town that has exploded from 40 residents to over 60,000 after a 1998 large discovery of sapphires in the region.  Take a tour of these mines to see the hard labour processes involved in finding these precious stones.  We'll stop for lunch along the drive while continuing on through the desert landscape before arriving on the beach in Ifaty, our destination for the next few nights.  Accommodation - Bamboo Club or similar

Day 11 – IFATY – Today is a free day and there are many optional activities for you to enjoy.  Take a boat out into the Mozambique Channel for some whale watching, fishing, or snorkelling.  Opt for a dugout canoe trip, or quad biking around the region.  See the amazing flora on a guided tour through the Reniala Spiny Forest Reserve, another community run park.  Or just enjoy some relaxing time chilling on the beach.  Accommodation - Bamboo Club or similar

Day 12 – IFATY – Another free day on the white sand beaches of Ifaty.  Choose different options from the previous day, or even take a trip to the bigger town of Toliara.  Accommodation - Bamboo Club or similar

Day 13 – MORONDAVA – Mainly a travel day today where we will drive to Toliara and take a morning flight to Morondava via Antananarivo.  This usually arrives in the afternoon but the Air Madagascar flight schedule can change randomly and without much notice.  You may have some free time to explore the beach town of Morondava upon arrival.   AccommodationLes Lagon Bleu or similar

Day 14 – TSINGY DE BEMARAHA – Today we leave early in our 4x4 and get to experience sunrise the Avenue of the Baobabs.  This scene can be a surreal sight, as the floral giants come to life with different colours.   We continue along a rather dusty and bumpy road to the River Tsiribihina where we take an interesting ferry ride downriver.   Lunch is taken in the busy little town of Belo-sur Tsiribihina before continuing our drive to Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park at Bekopaka.  The drive takes us through some dry regions dotted with huge baobab trees and interesting locals before another ferry across the Manambolo River.  Relax by the pool after a long day, and prepare for our adventures in the park tomorrow.  AccommodationL'Orchidee de Bemaraha or similar

Day 15 – TSINGY DE BEMARAHA – On our first of two days in the park, we take a dugout canoe trip along the Manambolo River.  There are interesting flora along the steep canyon walls, and we tour through some caves.  You might even catch a glimpse of a crocodile.  We hop out of the canoe on our outgoing journey and climb up the canyon to visit the Little Tsingy.  This is a great introduction into the rock formations in the area, and an interesting and easier walk than the Greater Tsingy.  It's nice to have your pack lunch in the midst of these crazy rocks, and we should get glimpses of different lemurs in the area.  Return to the dugout and we float back to Bekopaka, where you can enjoy some relaxing time by the pool or take a walk into the little village and meet some of the colourful local people.   AccommodationL'Orchidee de Bemaraha or similar

Day 16 – TSINGY DE BEMARAHA – You have options for walks today in the Greater Tsingy of this Unesco World Heritage listed park.  The longer 6-hour walk is quite strenuous but takes you to all parts of the Tsingy.  You will walk through caves, climb up steep walls, cross suspension bridges and enjoy views over top of the craggy tsingy formations.  The lesser walk still gives you a good taste of the landscape, but is much less strenuous.  Again, we will see some amazing plants and animals along the length of the hike.  Clean up and enjoy a drink by the pool at the end of the day.  AccommodationL'Orchidee de Bemaraha or similar

Day 17 – MORONDAVA – We take a return trip from Bekopaka to Morondava in the 4x4, on the same route.  You will be well practiced at ferry crossings after two more today and a boat trip down the river.  More views of the baobab forest and a stop at the 'love' baobab during the journey.  Sunset at the surreal Avenue of the Baobabs before arriving in Morondava for two nights.  AccommodationLes Lagon Bleu or similar

Day 18 – MORONDAVA – You have a free day to enjoy the beach town and coast of Morondava.  Enjoy meals at a beachfront restaurant and beach activities.  AccommodationLes Lagon Bleu or similar

Day 19 – ANTSIRABE - Journey from the coast back to the highlands and Antisirabe passing baobab trees and taxi brousse. We pass through hilly scenery and follow the Tsiribihina River at times.  We stop in Miandrivazo for lunch before continuing through small towns before arriving in the cooler climate of Antsirabe.  AccommodationHotel H1 Antsirabe or similar

Day 20 - ANTSIRABE – A free day to explore the charming colonial town.  Tour some of the colonial buildings like the Hotel Des Thermes, Gare d'Antsirabe and the cathedral.  Visit the market, or rent a bike and explore the local countryside.  There are some interesting volcanic lakes to visit between some of the local villages including Lac Tritriva and Lac Andraikiba.  You will be sure to have some great local interactions throughout the day.  Celebrate with a group dinner on our last evening together.  AccommodationHotel H1 Antsirabe or similar

Day 21 - ANTANANARIVO – We will depart in the morning on our journey back to Antananarivo in time for afternoon flights.  Or those with extra time can tour around the capital.

 

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • VIEW THE AVENUE OF THE BAOBABS AT SUNRISE AND SUNSET

  • HIKE AMONGST RING TAIL LEMURS

  • LISTEN FOR THE DISTINCTIVE CALL OF THE INDRI, THE LARGEST OF THE MANY SPECIES OF LEMUR

  • EXPLORE THE UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE LISTED GREATER TSINGY FORMATIONS OF BEMARAHA

WHAT'S INCLUDED:

  • 20 NIGHTS ACCOMMODATION AT HOTELS/GUESTHOUSES (UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

  • SOME MEALS ARE INCLUDED BUT GENERALLY MEAL CHOICES AND LOCATIONS ARE OPTIONAL. THIS ALLOWS YOU THE GREATEST FLEXIBILITY FOR PREFERENCE AND BUDGET

  • TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN DESTINATIONS ON TRIP AND TO/FROM INCLUDED ACTIVITIES BY:

    • PRIVATE VEHICLE WITH DRIVER

    • LOCAL TAXI - TAXI BROUSSE

    • POUSSE POUSSE

    • BOAT

    • CANOE

    • INTERNAL FLIGHT FROM TOLIARA TO MORONDAVA

  • ENGLISH SPEAKING (WESTERN) GUIDE FOR THE DURATION OF THE TRIP

  • PARK FEES AND LOCAL GUIDES

  • ACTIVITIES

    • PEYREIRAS PRIVATE NATURE RESERVE

    • ANDASIBE NATIONAL PARK GUIDED WALK

    • VAKONA PRIVATE RESERVE

    • ANTSIRABE ARTISAN WORKSHOP

    • ANTSIRABE POUSSE POUSSE CITY TOUR

    • SUNRISE AT THE AVENUE OF THE BAOBABS

    • CANOE TRIP ON THE MANAMBOLA RIVER

    • TSINGY DE BEMARAHA - LITTLE TSINGY WALK

    • TSINGY DE BEMARAHA - GREATER TSINGY GUIDED WALK

    • SUNSET AT AVENUE OF THE BAOBABS

    • AMBALAVAO PAPER FACTORY

    • ANJA RESERVE WALK

    • ISALO PARK TOUR

    • ILAKAKA SAPPHIRE MINE

NOT INCLUDED:

  • FLIGHTS TO/FROM MADAGASCAR FROM YOUR LOCATION

  • TRAVEL INSURANCE(REQUIRED)

  • ENTRY VISA (IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO DETERMINE IF YOU NEED A VISA AND WHAT TYPE YOU REQUIRE TO ENTER THE COUNTRY)

  • TIPS FOR GUIDES

  • ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

ITINERARY DISCLAIMER:

  • WHILE IT IS NOT OUR INTENTION TO MODIFY THE ITINERARY, THERE ARE MANY FACTORS INVOLVED BEYOND OUR CONTROL.  SINCE OUR TRIP WILL BE VISITING AN AREA WHERE THERE IS UNPREDICTABILITY, WE REQUIRE THE TRIP TO BE A LITTLE FLEXIBLE TO CATER TO NECESSARY OR DESIRABLE CHANGES.  ALSO, WE MAY DISCOVER NEW ADVENTURES OR EXPERIENCES THAT WE FEEL ARE BETTER THAN ORIGINALLY PLANNED, SO WE CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE ADDITIONS.  THE ITINERARY IS KEPT BRIEF TO ALLOW SOME FLEXIBILITY IN OUR TRIP.  WE FEEL THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO TRAVEL AND A GREAT WAY TO SHARE EXPERIENCES WITH OUR CLIENTS

VACCINATIONS:

  • IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CHECK WITH YOUR LOCAL TRAVEL MEDICAL CLINIC OR LOCAL HEALTH EXPERT PRIOR TO THE TRIP TO DISCUSS WHICH VACCINATIONS YOU NEED FOR YOUR ADVENTURE IN MADAGASCAR (IT MAY BE REQUIRED TO SHOW A YELLOW FEVER CERTIFICATE UPON ENTRY INTO THE COUNTRY)

Photo by Martin Callum - Ranomafana Park 2012

Photo by Martin Callum - Ranomafana Park 2012