In Madagascar, the rain season is a time when magnificent vegetation animates a life resplendent and full of force.
Nature, of extreme beauty, is illuminated by the clear, beautiful and gentle lights.
This route takes place between the Highlands and the Mozambique Channel. The diversity of landscape and vibrant life present everywhere, makes it incomparably attractive for who wants to live Madagascar fully and differently.
In this season, the lights are beautiful, the rice fields are as many mosaics declining shades of greens to infinity.
In the fields, people work hard and cultivate during this propitious period, which will allow them to make a living for the rest of the year.
Beyond the Highlands, the plateau of Horombe, covered with green and undulating pasture, allows Bàrà pastoralists to raise their zebu herds.
Then, the Mozambique Channel, protected by a coral reef, offers a haven of peace and multiple discoveries for passionate travelers.
Day 1Flight from Europe to Antananarivo
Paris Roissy CDG - Antananarivo
Flight to Antananarivo, dinner and overnight on board.
The Détours Madagascar Team welcomes you on arrival. Transfer to your hotel.
Day 2Discovering the Central Highlands, Antsirabe the Thermal City
Antananarivo - Ambatolampy
We take the road towards the city of Ambatolampy, located South of Antananarivo on the Road National 7. Crossing typical landscape of the central Highlands, we drive along a sinuous road lined with a mosaic of crops and terrace rice fields.
Ambatolampy - Antsirabe
We meet with a dynamic rural world, evolving all around us as we drive through. Coming closer to Antsirabe, various fresh products from the fields are displayed along the road.
We reach Antsirabe, the thermal city, nestled in the middle of the central Highlands.
The name « Antsirabe » comes from the malagasy words « Any sira be », which means « Where there is a lot of salt ». The salt made the reputation of this place from a very long time ago.
The best way to stroll around the city is by taking the « pousse-pousse » (rickshaw), to discover its streets in the most authentic way.
Day 3Hiking around ricefields and villages in the valley of Betafo
Antsirabe - Betafo
In the morning, we leave Antsirabe to head West. We follow during a short time the large valley of the Vakinankaratra, flowing between ancient volcanoes. We reach the small town of Betafo.
Betafo - Betafo
We start our easy hike around Betafo, to discover the mosaic of rice fields, transforming themselves in various shades of green and yellow, looking absolutely beautiful.
Overlooked by sumptuous volcanic slopes, this Valley of the Vakinankaratra offers splendid landscape, emblematic of the malagasy Highlands, made of a succession of hills, perched villages, red brick houses with thatched roof, and colorful ricefields. We walk from village to village, from house to house meeting with our hosts.
The town of Betafo is also very interesting historically speaking, and we encourage you to take a look at our article below to find out more about this cradle of the Andratsay Kingdom.
Betafo - Antsirabe
After this nice discovery, we head back towards Antsirabe.
Day 4Driving in Betsileo country, between wood crafts and ingenious traditional agriculture
Day 5Canoe descent on the Matsiatra river and discovering the tea plantations in Sahambavy
Departure for the village of Mahasoabe, located about twenty kilometres to the East of Fianarantsoa. Presentation with the piroguiers, beginning of the river’s descent in traditional pirogue. Two and a half hours of navigation, the river winds its way between rice fields and granite mountains, many stops to immerse itself in peasant life. Several species of water birds are visible.
We reach the village of Iseta and after half an hour of walking through fields and villages, we take back our vehicle for Sahambavy. In the afternoon, visit of the Madagascar’unique tea plantation. Back to Fianarantsoa at the end of the day.
Day 6Meeting with the Lemur Catta and driving on the vast plains of the Horombe Plateau
Fianarantsoa - Ambalavao
Through the patchwork of terraced rice fields and various cultures where all the shades of green are declined, road to Ambalavao known for its vineyards.
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.
Visit of the artisanal factory of Antemoro paper, secular method invented by the first Arab migrants.
Continue to the South in Bara country and cross of the largest highland of Madagascar, the Ihorombe desert, before seeing the village of Ranohira that we reach in the late afternoon.
Day 7Hiking in the Isalo National Park
A beautiful day of discovery walk in the massive ruiniform of Isalo. We cross cliffs, the plateau of Tapia, a tree with many uses, savannahs and the massif eroded in strange shapes. The presence of the Bara burials makes the mystical touch of the circuit. This circuit is also a slideshow of plants "adapted" to the dry climate, plants as strange as the others.
Day 8Tulear and Ifaty, the Mozambique Channel
Departure to Tuléar. We cross Ilakaka, a small village of 50 residents that has become a real mining town since the discovery of a Sapphire deposit in 1998. First overview of baobabs and the famous tombs topped with funerary sculptures called "Aloalo" and painted in naïve scenes of life.
Visit of Tulear city and lunch.
Road in the early afternoon for Ifaty, about thirty kilometers north of Tulear, to join the country of Vezo fisherman.
Day 9Free stay in Ifaty, on the Capricorn Coast
Ifaty, Mangily, Madiorano and Ambolimailaka are small villages facing the majestic lagoon of Ranobe with turquoise water, renowned for its coral reef. They serve as seaside resorts.
Free stay, activities to see with the hotel or with your guide: hiking in the hinterland of the dry forest to various endemic varieties of endemic thorns, euphorbias, Didieraceae, pachypodiums and Baobabs. The visit can be done in zebu cart or on foot; or possibility of relaxation to enjoy the joys of the beach, a beautiful invitation to bathe in this beautiful lagoon.
Will also be present: Featured excursion, canoeing in traditional dugout canoe, trolling, water skiing, snorkeling or diving in bottle... Or simply stroll along the beach and meet the local people and explore in depth the life of these fishing villages.
Day 10Back to Tulear, Flight to Antananarivo and then towards Europe
Free time before the transfer to Tuléar airport.
Flight to Antananarivo (1h15), welcome on arrival and assistance for the flight to Europe.