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Join us on an adventure trip to the ‘African pearl’ Madagascar and be amazed by its unique wildlife, lush vegetation, amazing land- and seascapes with its friendly people!
Antananarivo; Anamalazaotra forest; Torotorofotsy rainforest;Ranomafana; Varibolomena circuit in Talatakely; Vatoharanan;new Biodiversity Centre; Anja community reserve; Andringitra National Park; Tsaranoro valley of dreams; The Diavolana circuit; Isalo National Park; Ranohira; Namaza trail; Zombitse Vohibasia National Park; Honko Community-Based Mangrove Reserve; Salary Bay; Soariake community-managed marine protected area; Tulear;
Good rain gear; Hiking boots; Head torch; Swim gear; Water bottle (75 cl or 1 l); Day backpack (also for camping); Long trousers and shirts that dry easily; Sunscreen; Repellent; Hat or cap; Compact towel; Small waterproof bag (for valuables); Binoculars (optional); Snorkelling gear (optional);
Minimum age 12 years. Younger children are allowed upon request
Single supplement available on request from app. €295
Transfers upon arrival and departure are included
Antananarivo – Antananarivo
Departure from Antananarivo in the morning on day 2
Landing at Ivato airport in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. Welcome or ‘tonga soa’! Our driver will bring you to your hotel near the airport to relax and have dinner. Along the road and near the hotel, you can enjoy the vast views of the characteristic rice paddies of the high plateau right away! Your journey already begins!
– Visa and money exchange upon arrival at the airport – Shuttle from airport to hotel – Overnight at Chez Jeanne or similar.
Today we visit the Andasibe area with Mitsinjo, a local association that takes an integrated approach to conservation in close collaboration with the local communities. They will take you on an afternoon walk in the moist mountain Anamalazaotra forest, an independently managed protected area. This forest is home to seven groups of the indri. The indri is currently the largest living lemur species on the island with a very unique call. After the forest, we will visit Mitsinjo’s amphibian captive breeding centre which is part of the national amphibian conservation strategy to tackle a global fungal disease. If you like, in the evening, you can attempt your luck and go on a short night walk to find mouse lemurs, frogs, chameleons, and geckos who become active after sunset.
– Transport Antananarivo – Andasibe (3.5 hours) – Overnight at Feon’ny Ala Hotel or similar
After a wake-up call by the indri and a nice breakfast, Mitsinjo will take us on a 3-hour hike through a scenic agricultural landscape in the south of the Torotorofotsy rainforest. This is a RAMSAR wetland of international importance and home to the endangered Greater Bamboo Lemur. Mitsinjo will explain and show us the current conservation challenges and their forest restoration programme along a hike, while also enjoying the rich biodiversity. Lemurs tend to be shy in this forest. But birds, insects and amphibians can be easily observed. We will pay a visit to the local women’s handicraft association and enjoy a traditional Malagasy lunch in one of the local villages before heading back to your hotel. You will stay at a hotel just outside Tana (to avoid traffic jam in the morning) and is a 3,5 hour drive from Andasibe.
– Return trip Andasibe- Torotorofotsy (30 min each way) – Transport Andasibe – Tana (3.5 hrs) – Overnight at Le Carat or similar
Today, we have a long but very colorful journey ahead of us along the National Road 7 to Ranomafana. First, we will pass by Ambatolampy, considered the coldest Malagasy town at 1500m altitude. This is due to the mountain range of Ankaratra, which separates it from the heat of the island’s Western Region. Then we will pass by the gasy capital of rickshaw in Antsirabe with colorful markets full of fruits and vegetables. In Ambositra we will have lunch and take a look at the craftsmen workshops, famous for its Zafimaniry wooden sculptures. The final stretch of the road will take us to Ranomafana, known in the old days for its hot springs, but in the last 2 decades it is more renowned for its 40,000 ha national park of mid-altitude rainforest with an incredible and unrivaled diversity of endemic fauna and flora. There are 12 lemur, 115 bird, 58 reptile, 98 amphibian, 90 butterfly and over 200 spider species to discover along with lush plant diversity to admire. No wonder that in 2007 Ranomafana was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we are hosted by Centre ValBio (CVB), a unique research and conservation center that works in close collaboration with Madagascar National Park for over 26 years. CVB facilitates research and manages numerous projects including development, reforestation and biodiversity monitoring. Their main aim is to improve the health and well-being of Malagasy people while safeguarding the surrounding ecosystem and its biodiversity.
– Transport Antananarivo – Ranomafana (8 hours) – Overnight at ValBio Centre or similar
Today we will do the 4-hour Varibolomena circuit in Talatakely, the secondary forest close to the research station. This forest has lots of bamboo and the invasive guava species, but nevertheless is a prime habitat for 3 bamboo lemur species, red-fronted lemur, red-bellied lemur and Milne Edward’s sifaka, as well as numerous birds and hopefully we can also find the peculiar giraffe-necked weevil. We will visit the ValBio Research Centre to hear more about the ongoing projects and after dinner attend a presentation of a resident scientist. For those who still have enough energy afterwards; bring your flashlight for a short night walk to go find some nocturnal forest residents.
– Overnight at ValBio Centre.
On the next two days an experienced local guide will take us on a more strenuous trekking up and down the hills into the primary forest Vatoharanana, where the trees grow taller, the vines are thicker, the humidity is higher and the number of tourists is lower. We might be accompanied by leeches but the challenge is well worth it. We will be treated to a lush plant life, across a variety of vegetation types, take a swim in a natural pool and enjoy beautiful scenery. We might even get to see and hear the beautiful black and white ruffed lemur as well as endemic bird species along our way. At night we eat and sleep in a research campsite under the stars while falling asleep to insect and frog orchestras.
– Overnight in a basic camp
In the early morning after a breakfast in the bush, we continue to explore the primary forest Vatoharanana and its wildlife around the campsite and then slowly make our way back to civilization across the hills along amazing forest trails. In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to take a guided visit to the new Biodiversity Centre and continue our exchanges with the local researchers while relaxing and reflecting back on our hike and camping.
– Overnight at Valbio center.
arly in the morning we will drive onto our next destination, Andringitra, home of the spirits. On the way we will pass by Fianarantsoa, the Betsileo capital with its 1001 churches. Our main visit of this morning is the Anja community reserve, a 30 ha private reserve. The reserve was created in 2001 by the local community, and to provide additional income and local employment. This community-run model really works well and nicely demonstrates how conservation tourism supports sustainable livelihoods with benefits for both biodiversity and the people. The reserve is home to the highest concentration of ring-tailed lemurs. The lemurs live in the sheltered forest surrounded by large boulders
The road towards Andringitra National Park sets the scene as the magnificent granite landscape becomes visible on the horizon. This is one of Madagascar best kept secrets with only 1000 visitors per year, managed by Madagascar National Parks. The park offers some of the most scenic trekking in Madagascar. We lodge at the comfortable tented Tsara Camp in the middle of the Tsaranoro valley of dreams with spectacular views on the mountain range marking the beginning of Andringitra National Park. An experience you will never forget!
– Transport Ranomafana – Andringitra (4 hours) – Overnight at Tsara Camp or similar.
The Diavolana circuit is a strenuous yet rewarding full-day hike (10h) that will take us through wild meadows of flowers, and orchids to a lunar landscape with blocks of granite with amazing shapes and lichen carpets everywhere. It is a land made of narrow valleys, high cliffs, streams and waterfalls. The pace of walking is peaceful, but you must be ready to walk hilly tracks, steep slopes, and some harder but non-technical passages. At the highest point, 2100m, there’s a rock slab that serves as a convenient picnic spot and offers an excellent viewing point to spot the ring-tailed lemurs on the opposite cliffs, who have adapted to living in this high-altitude colder habitat. There is the alternative to do the half-day circuit Asaramanitra instead which gives you a good flavor on the peculiar granite landscape as well. Both hikes include the sacred queen and king waterfalls, which tumble 300m down the escarpment. On the second day we will select a shorter exploratory walk to discover the floral diversity, swim in a natural pool or just wander around and shoot images in the granite topped savannah in the Tsaranoro valley. Or you can just relax in the Tsara campsite surroundings – Overnight at Tsara Camp or similar.
After breakfast, we head southwards to the Ranohira village, located near the Isalo National Park, Madagascar’s Far West. We will be staying at the ITC Lodge, that is involved in the Association Soa Zara managing in a reforestation project that we will visit and contribute to by planting a few trees ourselves.
Not even 50 years ago there were small patches of primary forest surrounding the base of Isalo National Park. Unfortunately, now all of those trees have been cut and the local villagers are left with a barren landscape leading into the deep gorges and rocky cliffs. Soa Zara is working to change this reality by creating a natural forest outside of the park. On a small patch of ‘community -run’ land, the association is planting trees and offering visitors the chance to contribute to a better local environment. Soa Zara is restoring this natural forest to provide firewood for the locals, a sanctuary for the lemurs, and improve damaged top soil.
We end our day at La Fenêtre, a popular rock window that frames the sunset, while the surrounding views of the sweeping plains and rock formation turn golden as the sun sets.
– Transport Andringitra – Ranohira ( 3.30 hours) – Overnight at ITC Lodge or similar.
The next two days are dedicated to visit the Isalo National Park. A park covering 80,000 hectares consisting of sandstone rocks cut by deep canyons and eroded into weird shapes. In these canyons local wildlife inhabits the gallery forests that form corridors along small streams. The ring-tailed lemur, Verreaux sifaka and the brown lemur are commonly sighted along with birds and chameleons in the Canyon des Makis and Canyon des Rats on the first day. The second day we will take the short Namaza trail that takes us along a scenic route to a magnificent natural swimming pool where you can just relax and swim.
– Overnight at ITC Lodge or similar.
We take an early start today and leave Ranohira to get some morning hours in the Zombitse Vohibasia National Park, a birders paradise. The baobabs along the road indicate we are entering a much drier area. Zombitse Vohibasia is an isolated pocked of transitional forest between the Western and Southern Domains, that was saved from severe deforestation. The surrounding area is a denuded semi-desert landscape following slash and burn agricultural practices. Nevertheless, this relic forest shelters an astounding 90 recorded bird species, of which 38 species are endemic based on which this location qualifies as an Important Bird Area. We stop here for a 2-3 hour easy hike to explore its richness and look for endemic species. After our picnic lunch we continue to the city of Tulear where you will have the rest of the afternoon free to relax or explore the city.
– Transport Ranohira – Zombitse ( 1.30 hours) – Transport Zombitse-Tulear ( 2.30 hours) – Overnight at Famata Lodge or similar.
Today, we visit the Honko Community-Based Mangrove Reserve, an important wetland and mangrove area. The site was created by an NGO, who decided to restore the mangroves by working closely with local communities. We go on a 2-hour guided kayak tour to observe the 7-mangrove species and several rare bird species. We continue our journey up along the coast and stop in Ifaty for a delicious seafood lunch. We continue further along the azure coast and sand dunes up to Salary Bay where the forests and grasslands are replaced by mangroves, dunes, beaches and coral reefs..
– Transport (4WD) Honko – Ifaty – Salary 5 hours – Overnight at Sirena del Mare
Salary Bay is home to endless beaches and a coral reef that is part of one of the largest coral reef ecosystems in the world, stretching over 150 km. The coral reefs have a higher abundance and diversity of species than any other reef in Madagascar. This is the ideal location to explore the reefs by snorkeling or even diving (all levels) or just enjoy the beach scenery for a swim, a read or a stroll at your own pace taking in the many adventures we have come across on this trip.
– Overnight at Sirène del mare or similar
In the morning we will visit the Soariake community-managed marine protected area, meaning “Beautiful Sea”, that spans a total area of 38 hectares. It includes 12 short-term octopus marine reserves that are formalized through local traditional law and managed by local communities. To diversify local income due to decreased fishing areas, Wildlife Conservation Society promoted aquaculture and today communities engage in sea cucumber and algae farming while selling the resources at a fair price to two private companies. We will visit the marine farms and villages to understand how this new conservation model works and what the positive impacts are for nature and people. After a traditional lunch we will head back to Tulear.
– Transport Salary – Tulear (5 hours) – Overnight at Famata Lodge or similar.
Today, depending on your inland flight schedule, you will be transferred back to the airport of Tulear. There, you will take your return flight to Antananarivo. Upon arrival in the capital, you will be transferred to a hotel near the airport for a day-use. Afterwards, you will be taken to the international Ivato airport and will leave Madagascar with, hopefully, some unforgettable memories!
– Shuttle from hotel to Tulear Airport – National flight Tulear-Tana – Day use at Chez Jeanne or similar