Africa’s Most Unique Safari Destination
Rarely visited but rich in culture and natural wonders, Madagascar is Africa’s best-kept secret. Separated from the continent by 250 miles of ocean, the island is home to thousands of species found nowhere else on earth. The human culture is just as vibrant- a mix of African, Southeast Asian, and French influences and deeply held local traditions. Discover the magic of this otherworldly place as you journey by barge down the peaceful Tsiribihina River, spot lemurs in the distinctive canyons of Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, and share meals and songs with villagers. Your remarkable Madagascar adventure ends with two relaxing days on the tropical island of Ile Sainte Marie.
- Experience a world unto itself- over 1,000 unique endemic animal species and pristine untouched rainforest. Gain special access to remote areas via private air charter
- Be awed by the the otherworldly geologic formations in Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Marvel at the beauty and isolation of Ile Sainte Marie and witness today’s vibrant mix of cultures including a real pirate cemetery!
Duration: 12 days Start Location: Antananarivo End Location: AntananarivoDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Antananarivo
Welcome to Madagascar! Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to the Royal Palissandre Hotel where you will check in, enjoy dinner, and overnight. Please note that as international flights will be arriving at different times, this evening's dinner is not a group dinner.
Day 2 : Antananarivo Exploration
After a leisurely breakfast, you will meet your group and Malagasy tour leader. Drive to Lazaina, which is about 13 niles from the capital. This village is very representative of the Merina villages with its old houses of majestic architecture and its old walls.
Once there, we will walk through fields, visit the rolling hills and discover the local fauna and flora, often surprising. We will spend time watching the women, bent double, feet in water, currently working in the rice transplanting, or later to collect them. We will discover villages and hamlets where we will be greeted warmly by inhabitants and children. Next on the list is a visit colorful markets with various perfumes. Everywhere smiles, colors and beautiful nature.
We will then take lunch in a cottage in the wilderness to enjoy a range of typical Malagasy dishes of multiple flavors made of local produts. Then we will see the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga is one of the twelve sacred hills surrounding Antananarivo. After visiting the ruins of the Palace of King Andriaanampoinimerina you will return to town in late afternoon.
Day 3 : Depart for Miandrivazo
This morning you will depart to Miandrivazo (258 miles/8 hours), with a nice stop in Antsirabe for a short visit of this beautiful city of the Highlands of Madagascar. Lunch at is served at Couleur Cafe. Famed for its “pousse pousse”, gemstones and handicrafts, the wide tree-lined avenues vof Antsirabe invite you to discover its workshops where people work on transforming natural materials like zebu horn (for cutlery) or wheat straw. (for hats).
You will arrive late in Miandrivazo, a big peaceful village and the point of departure for the descent of Tsiribihina River.
Day 4 : Descent of the Tsiribihina River
Transfer to the jetty of Masekampy (28 miles/1 hour) where you will board on your barge and start of the descent of Tsiribihina River through the landscape of Menabe formed by mangoes trees, tobacco plantations and Sakalava villages. After lunch we enter the gorge, and observe the first lemurs encountered on the trip. Stop navigating around 4:00 PM and set up the camp on a huge sandbank that borders the forest.
Day 5 : Continue on the Tsiribihina River
Continue the descent of the Tsiribihina River. En route today you will stop at a beautiful waterfall for a swim! You also have an option to take a 30 minute walk where you will encounter a beautiful natural pool. After a refreshing break, the cruise continues, crossing high cliffs and villages until you reach your campsite. The children of a village nearby will join us, and a small party with songs and pods will be held in your honor.
Day 6 : Disembark & Drive to Bekopaka
The village wishes us "bon voyage", and the barge takes its way through the river. We perceive the first baobabs. We disembark in
Belo Tsiribihina, where our 4WDs are waiting for us to join Bekopaka (62 miles/5 hours), crossing the Manambolo River by ferry to reach our hotel.
Day 7 : Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park
Canoe expedition along the Manambolo River until the gorges to discover its caves (full of stalagtites and stalagmites ) and Vazimba Tombs. Afterwards you will enjoy a full day to explore Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. The Tsingy are a very peculiar rock formation, only existing in Madagascar. These are limestone pinnacles, formed by the slow sedimentation of coral and shell, worked by wind and water movements, since Madagascar separated from Africa 165 million years ago. These strange "cathedral like" peaks can tower several hundred meters high. The NP of tsingy of Bemaraha is classified UNESCO World Heritage. These "stone forests" contain caves, underground rivers, canyons, where bats, lemurs, birds and a specific flora have adapted.
Day 8 : Baobabs at Sunset
Drive back to Morondava through bad track (125 km/9 hours with 4WD). Before reaching your hotel, stop at the iconic Avenue of the Baobabs to observe the baobabs at sunset.
Day 9 : Fly to Ile Sainte Marie
Transfer to the Morondava airport and board your scheduled Air Madagascar flight to Antananarivo. Upon arrival you will connect with your private charter flight to Ile Sainte Marie. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your resort where you will check in and enjoy the day at leisure.
Days 10 - 11 : Ile Sainte Marie
The next two days you will spend exploring Ile Sainte Marie. This island off the eastern coast of the “Great Island” is known also under the Malagasy name of “Nosy Boraha”. It is peaceful and well established on the Indian Ocean coast of Madagascar in a corner of lagoon where whole quietude reign. Constituted of string of islands, Ile Sainte Marie is surrounded by other islands more or less important. The island profiting from a rather well sprinkled climate is baptized as a tropical garden because of the presence of rainforests which cover it. In other words, it is covered with green vegetation all the year. These luxuriant forests are a perfect and ideal shelter for various species which are also encountered on the Great Island such as the orchids. Two activities will be included inside the package: a guided tour to visit the island's pirate graveyard for half a day and a boat excursion to discover Cocobay for a full day.
Day 12 : Fly to Antananarivo & Depart
After a final leisurely morning you will transfer to the airport and board your scheduled Air Madagascar flight to Antananarivo. Upon arrivla you will be transferred to your nearby airport hotel for a rest and farewell dinner before returning to the international airport where you will board your departing flight home.
DATES: Best time to go: June, September - November Departures: Jun 15 - 26, 2015 Jul 13 - 24, 2015 Aug 10 - 21, 2015 Sep 7 - 18, 2015
2015 Madagascar Discovery Pricing, per person
$ 3,995 double/twin occupancy
$ 2,300 charter flights
$ 800 single supplement
Le Soleil Des TsingyTsingy de Bemaraha
Nestled at the heart of a well-preserved nature, Le Soleil des Tsingy is the ideal base for an extraordinary stay in the Tsingy de Bemaraha. This user-friendly hotel offers 17 cozy and comfortable bungalows and provides its guests with equipments and amenities they need for their stay. Infinity pool, a wide choice of tasty menus at the restaurant and a dramatic view of the Manalambo River and the romantic sunset will provide you with full enjoyment of your western Madagascar adventure where you can appreciate one of the most impressive and unique natural sceneries in the world.
Opened in May 2012, the Princess Tsiribihina hotel welcomes guests warmly to Miandrivazo. The hotel infrastructure is equipped with comfortable rooms with private terraces, a large garden and secure parking, restaurant, bar, and a swimming pool with stunning views to admire the sunset on the plains of Menabe. This is an ideal stopover before heading down the Tsiribihina River.
MTS Private Tsiribihina River CampTsiribihina River
Our private tents are large (6.5 feet x 6.5 feet x 5.9 feet) and are equipped with comfortable cots raised off the ground. There are external long drop toilets and separate bucket showers. Each tent has its own washing basin for shaving and comfort.
Princesse BoraIle Sainte Marie
A lodge of charm, luxury and wild nature in a tropical environment, Princesse Bora Lodge & Spa is a warm and charming property. Lying off the east coast of Madagascar, the lodge is a heaven of peace, far removed from mass tourism. A pioneer of sustainability, the Princesse Bora's 20 villas are integrated into a green setting and built in local, natural materials: cut stone, rosewood, and traditional roofing with dried leaves.
Palissandre Cote OuestMorondava
The Palissandre Côte Ouest is located at Nosy Kely on the beach of Morondava just 30 minutes of the mythical Avenue of Baobabs. An ideal place to relax or from which to attack the Tsingy de Bemaraha! The Palissandre Côte Ouest offers 30 bungalows built in materials from Madagascar: granite stone, palissandre wood and roof mokotry. They are spacious (105 square feet) and all have a private terrace with sea view. The Palissandre Côte Ouest also offers a lovely pool located next to the bar and restaurant (whose head has worked in several great restaurants in Antananarivo).
Palissandre Hotel & SpaAntananarivo
Located on a hillside in the heart of Antananarivo, Palissandre Hotel & Spa overlooks the famous Avenue of Independence and a perfect base to explore the city.
Relais des PlateauxAntananarivo
The Relais des Plateaux Initially opened in 2005 to make the life of international travelers easier because of the hotel's proximity of Ivato International Airport.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
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