Madagascar Adventure


    enquire now 21 Days From NZD $5,490 pp twinshare
    Small group
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    https://worldexpeditions.com/Madagascar/Wildlife-Safari/Madagascar-Adventure

    Discover the diverse wildlife and ecology of Madagascar on this unique multi-activity tour. Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island and about the size of France. Isolated from Africa millions of years ago it has evolved an incredibly rich ecology and landscape that is as bizarre as it is unique. Home to one of the richest ecosystems on earth, you will be in awe of its quirky lemurs and endemic varieties of Baobab trees. Madagascar is “home” to nearly one-quarter of all the flowering plants in Africa. It also boasts ninety percent of the known species of lemur and half the world’s population of chameleons. Marvel at the diverse landscapes, from lush tropical rainforest to semi arid and jagged limestone pinnacles. The local people, who are descendants of seafarers from the Indian Ocean, are proudly distinct from the peoples of continental Africa and are unfailingly polite and hospitable. We explore the spectacular collection of the island’s national parks on this itinerary including the UNESCO World Heritage site of Tsingy de Bemaraha.

    Highlights

    • Hike the colourful sandstone canyons and swim in natural pools in Isalo National Park
    • Traverse the limestone pinnacles of Tsingy de Bemaraha
    • Search for lemurs in Ranomafana Nature Reserve and Kirindy Forest
    • Trek amongst the granite peaks and valleys of Andringitra National Park
    • Enjoy the magnificent sunset colours at the Baobabs Alley
    • Canoe and beach camping along the Manambolo River

    Itinerary

    Day 1 Arrival in Antananarivo
    On arrival in Antananarivo you will be met at the airport and transferred to the group hotel for overnight. The rest of the day is at leisure.

    Day 2 Antananarivo to Tsiroanomandidy
    We begin our exploration of Madagascar with a drive through typical landscape of mid-west Madagascar, a land of volcanic origin with rich soil and abundant agriculture. We will stop for lunch and explore the area around Ampefy before completing the day’s journey in Tsiroanomandidy, leaving us well placed for tomorrow’s adventure. (B, L, D)

    Day 3 Drive to the Bongolava Massif via Belobaka
    As we drive further west, the landscape is dominated by starkly eroded hills that serve as pastureland to the numerous cattle (or ‘zebu’) in this part of the country. The road to Belobaka is very rough but makes for an interesting journey. We have a short break here while our trek leader arranges any final supplies. Lunch is a picnic outside the village before driving another two hours, on rougher roads, into the Bongolava Mountains and our campsite. Here we meet our porters, cook and the rest of the trek crew. Overnight camping. (B, L, D)

    Day 4 Trekking to Ankavandra and begin the descent of the Manambolo River (walk approx 3 hrs)
    We begin walking through a small rocky trail along the massif. We follow a natural spring where cascades have formed a natural swimming pool. Arrival and lunch in the village of Ankavandra in the region of Menabe (big red). In the afternoon we begin Manambolo river descent. Overnight camping on the river bank. (B, L, D)

    Day 5-6 Canoeing Manambolo River (approx. 6 hours of canoeing daily)
    This is a spectacular and isolated part of Madagascar that is only accessible by boat or by foot. We pass through scenic riverscapes of low hills, exposed low cliffs and bamboo thickets. Red, orange and yellow are the dominant colours of the cliffs due to erosion exposing the laterite soil. We will see some local people on the river performing their daily activities as well as seeing plenty of endemic water birds and possibly some chameleons along the way. With stops for lunch as well as occasional land excursions, the pace is leisurely. Our rhythm is determined by sunrise, sunset and the flow of the river. On Day 7, the landscape changes abruptly as we enter the spectacular Manambolo Gorge where the river carves a deep channel through the limestone plateau. Dry forest and sheer, vertical cliffs on both sides dwarf our canoes to insignificance. You can hear the silence. We set up camp each night on sandy banks at the river edge. (B, L, D)

    Day 7 Canoeing Manambolo Gorge, Bekopaka (approx. 6 hours canoeing)
    After breakfast we continue our way through this imposing gorge, between limestone walls, craggy caves and overhangs on which we can see unusual vegetation, much birdlife and many colours. We may also hear the shrill cries of black parrots resounding against the rock walls. Cliffs on both sides are marked by horizontal lines indicating the levels of water at different times of the year. Side canyons reveal pockets of rainforest where we may see our first lemurs if we are lucky. This is our last day of canoeing and in the afternoon we come out of the gorge at Andadoany village near Bekopaka. We enjoy the opportunity to have a cold drink to celebrate our river journey. Overnight permanent campsite (B, L, D)

    Day 8 Tsingy of Bemaraha (4 – 5 hrs walking in the Tsingy)
    After breakfast we visit the “Tsingy of Bemaraha”. The World Heritage listed Tsingy is the largest reserve in Madagascar and is home to diverse wildlife including many species of Lemur. This fascinating raised limestone plateau is a complex of countless chaotic razor-sharp pinnacles. The limestone plateau also hosts an extensive network of underground caves and many succulents growing in the crevices. We take an adventure walk traversing the pinnacles. Overnight permanent campsite.  (B, L, D)

    Day 9 Bekopaka to Kirindy Forest
    Today is a rugged 4WD journey (a rough and dusty road!) through the remote west of Madagascar. We stop for lunch at Belo Tsiribihina before crossing the Tsiribihina River by local car ferry. The drive beyond passes through Madagascar’s endemic western dry deciduous forest. Of great biological significance, these forests are home to many endemic species of flora and fauna, including some species of baobab. We reach Kirindy Forest in the late afternoon. As the wildlife here is abundant we make the most of an opportunity on dusk to take a night walk by torch light to spot nocturnal fauna. Dinner on return to camp. Overnight permanent campsite. (B, L, D)

    Day 10 Kirindy Forest to Morondava (walk approx 2 hrs)
    After breakfast we take another guided walk in the forest while the animals are active in the early morning period. Kirindy Forest is the only place in Madagascar where we may see Fosa (the island’s largest carnivore). Striped mongoose, the giant jumping rat, the popular Verreaux’s Sifaka and the widespread Brown Lemur also inhabit this area. We return to camp for lunch before driving a relatively short distance to the iconic “Baobabs Alley” near Morondava. These distinctive trees make great photographs and we can watch the world go by as locals and visitors alike traverse the alley. We continue our drive to the port town of Morondava. Overnight hotel. (B, L, D)

    Day 11 Morondava to Antsirabe
    Today is a long day of driving but we are rewarded by spectacular scenery. From Morondava we drive to Miandrivazo, a small town on the edge of the Tsirbihina River. We have a picnic lunch near here before continuing our drive to Antsirabe, known as the rickshaw (or “pousse-pousse”) capital. It is also known for potatoes, clothing manufacturers, tobacco and vanilla. The landscape en route is beautiful with the highlands decorated by rice fields. Overnight hotel. (B, L, D)

    Day 12 Antsirabe to Ranomafana
    Today we travel to Ranomafana Rainforest National Park located on the eastern mountain slopes of the island and dominated by a humid tropical climate – quite a contrast to the dry western regions. En route we stop for lunch at Ambositra, home of woodcarving (marquetry) craftspeople. We have a chance to visit a wood carving workshop before continuing our journey to Ranomafana. The drive this afternoon is picturesque with terraced hills and villages becoming thick rainforest, along a winding road that passes by the tumbling waters of the Namorona River. Overnight in hotel. (B, L, D)

    Day 13 Ranomafana National Park, transfer to campsite outside Andringitra National Park
    Today we have a whole day exploring this evergreen primary forest. This is one of the most extensive wildlife areas. It‘s the only locality for the recently discovered Golden bamboo lemur as well as the world‘s rarest primate, the giant bamboo lemur. There, we can appreciate the views of the tumbling waters of the Namorona river. Picnic lunch. Diner and overnight in hotel. (B, L, D)

    Day 14 Ranomafana to Andringitra
    In the morning we will drive to Ambalavao to visit the factory of Antemoro paper and the market. After lunch drive to Andringitra. We arrive to our camp just outside the park in the evening to settle in for dinner and a rest ready for tomorrows adventure. (B, L, D)

    Day 15-16 Andringitra National Park
    There are 2 different trekking excursions for this day, however the entire group stays at the same campsite (2050m) tonight. On day 2, we continue walking across a grassy plateau, and then climb up amongst the strange rock formations known as the ‘Moonscape’. The beautiful trail descends steeply to the west of the massif with a stone staircase where the vegetation contrasts with the eastern part of the park. Enjoy magnificent views over the Tsaranoro valley, three 800m high granite peaks and a waterfall. Our campsite this evening is located outside Andringita National Park – 1650m. (B, L, D)

    Day 17 Andringitra to Isalo National Park
    This morning we farewell our guides, porters and crew, and drive back to Ambalavao for lunch. In the afternoon, we travel on good road via Ihosy (zebu territory) across the Horombe plateau with its grasslands dotted with termite mounds. We reach the dramatic Isalo Massif in the late afternoon, a mysterious landscape of imposing rock formations called “ruiniforme”. Overnight hotel. (B, L, D)

    Day 18 Walking in Isalo National Park (walk approx 5 – 6 hrs)
    Today we explore the colourful and deeply eroded sandstone plateau of the Isalo National Park. We have a great day excursion, walking in “the Canyon des Makis” where we may discover some lemurs, exploring the rugged canyons with their abstract erosion sculpturing, and discovering natural swimming pools such as the “Piscines Naturelle, Noir or Bleu”. Overnight hotel. (B, L, D)

    Day 19 Isalo to Toliara
    As we leave the Isalo region today we drive through a semi-arid landscape known as the “Spiny Desert” and the famous “Mahafaly Tombs”. We keep driving southwards, passing through wealthy sapphire mining towns, to reach the coastal town of Toliara. Overnight hotel. (B, L, D)

    Day 20 Fly from Toliara to Antananarivo
    Today we say our final goodbyes to our guide/driver and make our way to the airport for our flight back to Antananarivo. (Please note: flight at own expense – schedule is subject to change and availability, and the flight is unescorted). Upon arrival in the capital city we transfer to our hotel with the remainder of the day at leisure. This is a satisfying conclusion to our journey around Madagascar. Overnight hotel. (B)

    Day 21 In Antananarivo, trip concludes
    After breakfast, the trip concludes. You will be transferred to the airport for onward travel if you leave Tana today. (B)

    Inclusions

    • 20 breakfasts, 18 lunches and 18 dinners
    • airport transfers (day 1 and 21 only)
    • 9 nights in 2 star hotels on a twinshare basis
    • 11 nights fully supported camping on a twinshare tent basis
    • group camping equipment including tent and sleeping mat (sleeping bag and pillow not included)
    • English speaking local guide (or driver-guide only for groups of 2-4 people)
    • porters and cook/camp crew for trek in Bongalava
    • canoe assistants and cook/camp crew on Manambolo River
    • permits and entry fees as listed in itinerary
    • local guide in Isalo, Tsingy, Andringitra, Ranomafana National Parks
    • private vehicle transport throughout
    • tourist taxes

    WEX-MDG