Wild Madagascar

Wild Madagascar

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 22 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers


Day 1 – Antananarivo
Arrive in Antananarivo and transfer to the hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, there may be time for you to explore the city. For those arriving late evening we use a hotel very close to the airport. Overnight at Gassy Country House or similar.

Day 2 – Antananarivo - Antsirabe – Approximate Driving time 3-4 hours
After an early breakfast take a city tour of the capital including a visit to the high parts of town affording great views all over Tana. After lunch drive to Antsirabe. You will notice changes on the features of the local people as Asian heritage becomes more prominent. We finish the day in Antsirabe, founded by Norwegians in 1856 and home to Madagascar’s brewing industry. Overnight Chambres des voyageurs or similar (BL)

Day 3 – Antsirabe to Miandrivazo – Approximate driving time 5 hours
This morning explore points of interest in Antsirabe and the surrounding villages. After lunch head west to Miandrivazo leaving the highlands behind. Continue through a landscape where we leave the highlands behind. Continue through savannah to Miandrivazo, a fertile region for cotton, corn, manioc, beans, tobacco and rice. Overnight Princesse Tsiribihina or similar (BL)

Day 4 - Miandrivazo – Cruising the Tsiribihina River
This morning transfer to Masiakampy where our boat will be waiting to navigate us gently down the Tsiribihina River. Spend the day relaxing on-board and taking in the beautiful scenery stopping at Sahambano village on the way. Arrive at camp in time for dinner by the river. (BLD)

Day 5 - Gorge of Bemaraha
Continue the journey downstream today, with a good chance of seeing lemurs, crocodiles, bats and some amazing birdlife in the primary semi-dry forests that line the riverbanks. Once again this evening we camp and have dinner by the river (BLD)

Day 6 - Coastal plain of Menabe – Tsimafana – Kirindy Reserve - Morondava
Depart early this morning and at the end of the Gorge of Tsiribihina cross the plain of Menabe characterised by rice fields on the banks of the river. Observe the Sakalava tribe who live close to the river. Continue to Kirindy Reserve and walk in this picturesque dry deciduous forest with opportunities for good wildlife viewing including the possibility of seeing the elusive Fossa. We continue towards Morondava stopping at the “Baobabs amoureux” intertwined Baobab trees, see some of the colourful Sakalava tombs, and at sunset we stop at the iconic Avenue of the Baobabs where we hope to see magnificent trees silhouetted against the late afternoon light. Overnight Baobab Café or similar (BL)

Day 7 - Morondava - Manja - 160 km - Approximate driving time 6 - 8 hours
After breakfast enjoy a short visit to a fishing village close to Morondava and then drive for around 4 hours on a dirt track to reach Antsira. Adventure awaits with a crossing of the Kabatomena River followed by the Maharivo River. Arrive in the fishing village of Antsira for lunch and then continue to Manja for our overnight stop. Overnight Kanto or similar (BL)

Day 8 - Manja - Andavadoaka - 160 km - Approximate driving time 6 – 8 hours
Today is a long drive but a rewarding one with beautiful scenery comprising of baobabs and spiny forest, experiencing the true back country, crossing rivers by local ferry. Expect a 4 hour drive on a bumpy road to reach Bevoay where we cross the Mangoky River and 2 other smaller rivers. The second part of the journey is the drive to Andavadoaka which will take a further 4 hours making some stops along the way to stretch our legs. Drive across the coastal line through large dunes with great views of the Mozambique Channel as well baobab trees and spiny forest. Arrive in Andavadoaka by late afternoon and take a walk on the beach and in the baobab forest nearby. Overnight Manga Lodge or similar (BL)

Day 9 - Andavadoaka - Andravona - 60 km - Approximate driving time 2 hours
After breakfast, visit the small pretty fishing village of Andavadoaka. Later continue to Andravona which includes a difficult 17km section of sandy track to Befandefa before reaching Andravona, one of the most beautiful lagoons in the country. Overnight Mikea Lodge or similar (BL)

Day 10 - Kirindy Mitea National Park or Andravona at leisure
Andravona lies on a large white sandy beach and is ideal for sea sports or just for relaxing. For those wanting to have an active day we can hike inside the Kirindy Mitea National Park, excellent for its endemic vegetation and abundant birdlife. We may also be able to meet and experience the Mikéa’s life, a primitive tribe who rarely have contact with westerners and who exist by hunting bees. This afternoon visit a Vezo fisherman village and hopefully watch them bring in the catch. Overnight Mikea Lodge or similar (BL)

Day 11 - Andravona – Zombitse National Park – Isalo - 320 km - Approximate driving time 8 hours
Leave the West coast and drive approximately 4 hours to Tulear, the end the dirt track where we join the National Route 7 taking us into the interior of Madagascar, the land of Mahafaly and Antandroy. Along the way we should be able to observe many of the tombs of these tribes. Continue to Zombitse National Park and enjoy a short walk in amongst the spiny forest. Zombitse is a transition zone between the dry south and the land of Isalo, a formation of continental sandstone rocks. Continue to Ilalaka, a town known for its sapphire and precious stones. Arrive in Isalo late afternoon. Overnight Satrana Lodge (BL)

Day 12 - Isalo – Makay Massif - 130km - Approximate driving time 7 hours
Today we start the next part of our amazing off the beaten track adventure. Drive on a dirt track to the village of Beroroha, located 120 km north of Isalo in the direction of the Makay Massif. Cross the Mangoky River before arriving at Beroroha village where the fixed camp is based. Settle into camp before visting the village to meet some of the local people. All of the staff for the next few days: cook, porters and guides originate from this village. This evening enjoy a campfire with traditional music played by local people from the village (BLD)

Day 13 – 14 - Makay Massif
For the next 2 days spend time exploring the remarkable landscapes of the Makay Massif. The hiking will range from 4 – 6 hours each day with a picnic lunch returning to the same camp in the evening. Overnight fixed camp. (BLD)

Day 15 - Makay - Isalo - 120 km - Approximate driving time is 7 hours
Drive back to Isalo after our adventure exploring the Makay Massif. Expect to be back at Isalo for mid-afternoon where you can enjoy some time at leisure. Overnight Satrana Lodge (BL)

Day 16 - Isalo – Anja Reserve - Andringitra - 240 km - Approximate driving time 4 hours
After breakfast, continue to Ihosy the capital of the Zebu herders, the Bara tribe. Pass through the huge "plateaux de Horombe” with its vast savannah resembling a kind of no man’s land. All over this area expect to see droves of zebus, accompanied by a Bara man with his rifle. Continue to the community run Anja Reserve, a park run by the village where serves to pay the teachers of the local school proceeds of the income. Take a walk in the forest where it should be quite easy to spot families of Ring Tailed Lemurs. From hare transfer by 4WD for around 35 km on a dirt track track to reach Andringitra, situated in the stunning Tsaranoro Valley. Overnight in Camp Catta (BLD)

Day 17 - Andringitra National Park - Walking in the Tsaranoro Valley
Enjoy a hike across the Tsaranoro valley, the primary habitat for ring tailed lemurs. The trek leads through open savannah, tropical humid and dry forest. Various species of falcon, snakes, lizards, chameleons and plenty of orchids may also be observed. The walk is also an opportunity to meet the Bara, cattle herding tribe and the Betsileo, who mainly live on rice cultivation. Return to the camp after the walk. Overnight in Camp Catta (BLD)

Day 18 - Andringitra – Antoetra - 185 km - Approximate driving time is 6 hours
This morning return to the route National 7, and then continue to Ambalavao. Wednesday is a big zebu market in Ambalavao so it is a good opportunity to experience the local atmosphere. Also visit the Anteimoro paper factory in Ambalavao. Since this area is known for grape plantations visit one of the local wine factories. Continue to Fianarantsoa for a short city tour before continuing to Antoetra, the capital of the Zafimaniry tribes. Overnight in Sous le Soleil or similar (BL)

Day 19 - Antoetra 
Ambositra and its surrounding are the land of Zafimaniry. They are sub tribe of the Betsileo who are the third largest tribe in the country and the second largest after the Merina in the highlands. The Zafimaniry live mainly in the forest. They are the masters of the practice of wood carving and their artistry is UNESCO recognised. During our walk today we will visit the typical Zafimaniry wooden huts, with carved windows frames, door. Practically all wooden surfaces – walls, window frames, posts, beams, stools, chests, tools – display elaborate ornamentation. Overnight in Sous le Soleil or similar (BL)

Day 20 - Antoetra – Ambositra – Antananarivo – Anjozorobe - 364 km - Approximate driving 7hrs
An early start today and quite a long driving day. Firstly we have a short drive back to the National Route 7. We then head to Ambositra for a short stop. Continue via the capital Antananarivo to the beautiful forest corridor of Anjozorobe, north east of the capital. Overnight Saha Forest Camp or similar (BL)

Day 21 - Anjozorobe Forest Corridor 
Today you can either relax in the beautiful surrounds of the Saha Forest Camp admiring the stunning views. There is also the option to take some walks in the forest with a local guide. Anjozorobe Forest Corridor is one of the last high plateau forests in Madagascar and its biodiversity is well recognised. It is possible here to see the magnificent Indri Lemur the largest of the lemur species. Walks range from 1 – 7 hours in duration. Overnight Saha Forest Camp or similar (BL)

Day 22 - Anjozorobe – Ambohimanga - Antananarivo – Approximate driving time 2.5 hours
This morning drive back to the capital. On the way, visit the King’s Palace of Ambohimanga, the first palace build by the big King Andrianampoinimerina (UNESCO). Arrive back in the capital by mid-afternoon and day use rooms will be available for you to use to freshen up before your late evening flight (B)

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