Come with us to discover beautiful Madagascar, the Great Island ! The perfect trip for a first overall sight of this country with outstanding landscape, and always welcoming population.
Our trip begins East, with a nice overview of the richness of the humid forests of the Atsinanana Region. The Andasibe National Park counts among the last portions of primary forest in Madagascar, which are truly fascinating environments : their very high rate of endemic species, both fauna and flora (lemurs, orc...
Day 1Arrival in Antananarivo, the malagasy capital
Paris Roissy CDG - Antananarivo
Flight to Antananarivo, dinner on board, arrival during the night at the Ivato Antananarivo airport. Program developed with Air Madagascar for international flights.
Day 2Arrival in Antananarivo and departure towards the East, Andasibe
Antananarivo - Andasibe
A member of the Détours Madagascar Team welcomes you upon arrival early in the morning at Ivato Antananarivo airport. Transfer and settling down at your hotel to finish the night.
Departure to Andasibe, driving East on the Road National 2 which connects the capital to Tamatave, main harbor of the Great Island. Various stops possible along the way, to take a walk, visit some villages and discover the local fauna and flora, rich and exploding in thousands shades of green in this part of Madagascar.
Arrival at the beginning of the afternoon in Andasibe and setlling down at the hotel. Strolls around the village and the surroundings of the National Park, which we will visit the next morning, are possible. Nocturnal visits of private or community reserves are also possible (not included).
Day 3Discovering Andasibe National Park and meeting with the Indri Indri Lemur
Discovering the Andasibe National Park, conservation site of the Indri-Indri, the biggest of all lemurs still alive. We will start our exploration of the primary forest of Andasibe with the former Périnet Reserve, today called Mantadia Reserve. It offers visits between 2 to 6 hours long, according to our fitness. We may choose between 5 different tours, which we will choose directly on site with the local guide.
The Mantadia Reserve is accessible outside rain season, from April to November (sometimes not easily accessible in July/August). It is crossed by 3 rivers, Iofa, Sahanody and Vohitra, and if going a bit further we can also discover a sacred waterfall, allowing us to find out about some elements of the local culture.
A lot of species of animals can be observed, among which 11 other lemur species such as the Bamboo Lemur, Sifakas, but also chameleons, birds… Flora is also of great interest, with many varieties of orchids such as eulophiella, and also rosewood, palm trees and medicinal plants.
Day 4Driving South towards the Manandona Valley and Mount Ibity
Andasibe - Ambatolampy
We leave Andasibe towards the Central Highlands, driving on a sinuous road lined with small waterfalls and terrace rice fields, heritage of the Indonesian culture, and its villages with red brick walls. We drive through Ambatolampy, well known for the aluminium crafts.
Ambatolampy - Manandona
We continue our route to the beautiful Manandona Valley, on the foothills of Mt Ibity, where we settle down in a cottage with simple comfort (bathroom outside and bucket shower).
Day 5Strolling around the Manandona Valley, on the foothills of Mount Ibity
From our lodge, we set foot to discover the typical environment of the Highlands. Snuggled up at the foothills of the powerful massif of Ibity, the Manandona Valley is rich and prosper. The earth is generous, and rice is the main crop.
After climbing higher following ascending tracks, we come back to the bottom of the valley to meet the locals. All of them are rice farmers and own zebus, some of them raise silk worms, others are smiths, basket makers or carpenters.Traditional crafts are everywhere.
Our guides are part of a local organization which works for this region's development. They will tell you everything about their activities, habits and traditions, and local development.
Day 6Passing by Ambositra and its wooden crafts, and driving to Ranomafana the Thermal City
Manandona - Ambositra
After breakfast, leaving the Manandona Valley to continue our way South. pour continuer vers le sud. We rejoin the RN7 and visit the city of Ambositra to discover the wooden crafts, close to the art of the Zafimaniry tribe. Meeting with the local craftsmen who realize incredible work out of wood.
Ambositra - Ranomafana
After lunch, we continue on to Ranomafana, and its national park, which shelters many species of endemic lemurs, birds, reptiles and plants. We will visit it the next day. We reach the village of Ranomafana at the end of the day.
Day 7Exploring the Ranomafana National Park and continuation to Fianarantsoa
A morning to discover the forest of Ranomafana, with its very rich and diverse fauna and flora (lemurs, reptiles, orchids, rosewood …). The National Park of Ranomafana covers about 41 600 ha of tropical rain forest. Registered on the World Heritage UNESCO List, this forest shelters an exceptional endemic biodiversity, among which many rare and endangered species.
You may be lucky enough to glimpse a few of the 26 species of lemurs classified in the forest, as well as birds, butterflies, bats, chameleons, reptiles, amphibians. We also find a great diversity of medicinal plants, orchids and carnivore plants.
Keep your eyes open!
We hit the road again towards Fianarantsoa, the historical and cultural capital of the Betsileo region. It is the Malagasy city which gathers the highest number of cultural monuments and schools.
Just like Antananarivo, the city is divided in three parts:
- The Upper town, where used to be the Palace of the Merina Governor, and where we can admire today protestant churches, a Lutheran school, the brick Tuscan-style Cathedral, the Jesuit school of Ambozotany, and the Antsenakely Square where is held a small market, as its name indicates.
- The New town : the administration neighborhood, where is also held the zoma (Friday's market).
- The Lower town Ampasambazaha, heart of the city where are located the trading Chinese and Indian neighborhoods.
Fianarantsoa is also well known for its tea plantations and its vineyard.
Day 8Pirogue stroll on the Matsiatra river
Mahasoabe - Sahambavy
Departure to the village of Mahasoabe, located about 20 km Est of Fianarantsoa.
Once we get there, we meet with the sailors. Starting our descent on a traditional pirogue, which will last for 2 hours and a half. The river slithers between rice fields and granite mountains. We will stop a few times to meet the locals and discover their rural lifestyles. We might also be able to spot various aquatic bird species.
Reaching the village of Iseta, we will hike across fields and villages, and get back our car to Sahambavy.
In the afternoon, we will visit the unique tea plantation of Madagascar in Sahambavy, and do a tea tasting. The factory was built in 1978 by the Malagasy State. It was then privatized by an Anonymous Society. About 20 tons of humid leaves are being collected there daily on average, on the 355 ha of plantations, among which 94 ha are held by local farmers.
Back to Fianarantsoa at the end of the day.
Duration : +/- 2h30 of navigation, +/- 1h30 walking, +/- 1h car transfer.
Distance : 40 km
Day 9Anja Community Reserve´s Lemur Catta; and Ranohira, doorstep of Isalo National Park
Fianarantsoa - Ambalavao
Across the patchwork of terrace rice fields and diverse crops where are all shades of green are present, road to Ambalavao famous for its vineyards.
Ambalavao - Anja
We make a stop at Anja's reserve : a forest of ficus, lianas and orchids developed in between a spectacular rock chaos, sometimes forming caves used as shelter by animals.
The rocky slopes have been colonized by succulent plants such as kalanchoes and pachypodiums.
In this lush green paradise live in small colonies the makis catta, this lemur with a striped tail which represents Madagascar. They spend a lot of time on the ground, are not too wild and so easily observable.
The profit of Anja's reserve are managed by the AMI (Anja Miray) organization, and are donated to finance social and economical projects, which purposes are to improve crop yield, crafts development, health and education towards the villagers.
Duration of the visit : about 01h walk.
Anja - Ranohira
Continuation to the south to Bara country and crossing of the largest plateau of Madagascar, the Horombe desert, before seeing the village of Ranohira that we reach late in the afternoon.
Day 10Hiking across Isalo National Park
A beautiful day of hiking, discovering the Isalo National Park, between deep canyons, plateaux, natural swimming pools… We should be able to spot many endemic species of lemurs, birds, reptiles, plants and butterflies.
Isalo National Park was created in 1962, and is classified in the category of Exceptional Parks. Its area is 100 km large from North to South. It is unique in Madagascar thanks to its geological formation, dating from the Jurassic period. This mountain massif made of continental sandstone and dug with deep canyons, welcomes a rupicolous vegetation (Aloes, Euphorbias, Pachypodium…).
You can also find there an exceptionally rich fauna, where most species are natives, such as rock reptiles, makis and other lemurs.
The main ethnic group in this region is the Bara, living essentially of farming zebus and agriculture. Considered as descendent of the Bantu, the Bara are livestock breeders but also fierce warriors, proud and ready to give up their life to defend their freedom.
Day 11Exploring the fishing village of Ifaty, on the Mozambique Channel
Ranohira - Ifaty
Road towards Tulear. We cross the villages of Ilakaka and Sakaraha, still on top of the Horombe plateau, small towns which used to be quiet, until a huge sapphire reservoir was discovered there, turning these quiet towns into mining cities worthy of the American Far West Gold Rush.
First sight of the baobabs and crossing the Mahafaly limestone plateau, with its famous and impressive burials called « Aloalo », painted with naive everyday-life scenes.
Visit of Tulear and lunch. Road early in the afternoon to Ifaty, about thirty kilometers north of Tulear, to join the Vezo fishermen countries.
Day 12 - 13Free stay at Ifaty, on the Capricorn Coast
- Day 12Day 13
Ifaty, Mangily, Madiorano and Ambolimailaka are small villages that face the majestic lagoon of Ranobe with turquoise water, renowned for its coral reef. They are here as seaside resorts.
Free stay, activities to see at the hotel or with your guide: hiking in the backcountry of the dry forest to various varieties of endemic spiny, euphorbia, Didiéracées, pachypodium and of Baobabs.
The visit can be done in zebu charette or on foot; or relax to enjoy the beach, a beautiful invitation to swim in this beautiful lagoon.
Will also be at the rendez-vous: excursion featured, balade in traditional dugout canoe, trolling, water skiing, snorkeling… Or simply walk along the beach, meet the locals and discover in depth the life of these fishing villages.
Activities and transfers at your own charge, to give you more flexibility according to your envies at that time. Possibility to organize excursions on demand, please consult us.
Day 14Back to Antananarivo, Boarding on your international flight
Ifaty - Tulear
Free time before your transfer to Tuléar airport.
Tulear - Antananarivo
After a wonderful stay by the seaside, return flight to Antananarivo. Transfer to Tulear airport to take the flight connecting Tulear to Antananarivo.
A member of the Détours Madagascar team welcomes you upon arrival at Ivato Antananarivo airport.
Antananarivo - Paris Roissy CDG
According to your flights schedule, option to take a last stroll around the capital city Antananarivo with your driver guide, to the crafts market.
In the evening, transfer back to the airport for your international flight back home with Air Madagascar. Assistance to boarding and farewell… Night flight.