D1 – ANTANANARIVO
Welcome, Tongasoa to Madagascar. Once your plane has landed at Ivato International Airport, relax. The moment our driver escorts you and welcomes us, our motto is to make your trip to the Big Island, a real dream of discoveries whose images, emotions, sensations and colors will enrich your experience.
You have chosen this circuit but know that we can always offer you a circuit customized to your wishes.
After your transfer and your installation at the hotel, depending on the time available, you will start your journey with a visit to Antananarivo, a small tour in the city of the Thousand, question take the pulse of the Malagasy capital.
It is thus possible to see:
-the hill of Analamanga where is the Rova of Manjakamiadana, palace of the different Malagasy sovereigns, currently undergoing renovation, following a fire in 1995;
– Anosy Lake guarded by its famous « Golden Angel » and surrounded by sumptuous jacarandas;
-Avenue of Independence, downtown Antananarivo, where modernity coexists with an architecture of the past and a traditional atmosphere, specific to the districts and markets of Madagascar.
D2 – ANTANANARIVO – ANTSIRABE
Day 2. We take you to the heart of the Big Island. Our first destination: the city of Antsirabe. Your driver will drive you to the destination via the RN7. A journey of 170 km (3 to 4 hours by car) awaits you, a journey during which you will be able to contemplate the diversity of the landscapes of the Highlands: rice paddies with the zebu, while passing by the markets along the road, the traditional villages and the spectacular rock masses.
Your tour guide will stop you first in Behenjy, famous for its green rice fields or gold color depending on the season, but especially for its traditional fat liver. During this break, you will taste the fat liver, « Malagasy », a fresh fat liver, superior quality, velvety taste and unmatched sweetness. What happiness for your taste buds …
Next stop: Ambatolampy, a small town located near the Massif Ankaratra, the third highest peak of the island at over 2500 meters. Ambatolampy is characterized by its atypical landscapes, its developed agriculture, its numerous water points and also by the specialization of its population in the trades of the foundry. It is precisely to a small workshop of manufacturing aluminum pots that we will head to know more about the inhabitants of this welcoming city.
Then we will continue our drive to the spa town of Antsirabe, to spend the night and part of the third day.
D3 – ANTSIRABE – MIANDRIVAZO
Day 3. Antsirabe, the third largest city in the country at more than 1400 meters above sea level and where the austral winter mornings are probably the coldest in the country but also the warmest. City of rickshaws in bright colors, decorations and names full of humor, town with well-preserved colonial architecture, city of tranquility, city of walks and city traditions, Antsirabe will seduce you.
Your tour guide will take you first to the big market of Sabotsy. You will discover the atmosphere of a Malagasy market where voices mingle, where people meet, where the colors of the different products of the earth are bright and where the recovery gives a new life to the objects, in the hands of craftsmen with overflowing imagination. The purchase of lunch, a picnic to make it simple, will be done at this time.
Next visit: a small workshop of miniatures and horns, where you can admire the work of craftsmen. Their watchwords: originality and meticulousness. Their source of inspiration: the Big Island, the dream island, its fauna, its flora, its daily life. Then, an artisan confectioner will welcome us to make us taste the traditional Malagasy confectionery.
We can not go through the city of Antsirabe, without going to Lake Tritriva, ten kilometers away. Located in a crater a little less than 200 meters deep, this sacred lake is known for the variations of its colors, sometimes emerald green sometimes turquoise depending on the brightness. At the edge of the lake, two trees intertwined … according to legend, two lovers with impossible union would have thrown into the lake to make their link immortal, then were transformed into branches. The mysteries of Lake Tritriva have fascinated many. A visit not to be missed and featured on our tour.
Early afternoon: heading to Miandrivazo. You will spend the night in a hotel of the city, before beginning the descent on Tsiribihina from day 4 to day 6.
D4 to D6 – DESCENT ON TSIRIBIHINA (137km long)
Day 4 to Day 6: descent to Tsiribihina, 137 kilometers long and up to 1 kilometer wide by location.
You will be transferred in 4 × 4 to the pier of Makiasampy. During the descent, you will be able to discover the lush flora and fauna of the Big Island. The banks of the Tsiribihina will bring you different types of shows, ranging from scenes of everyday local life, to the magic offered by nature. Villages animated by carefree children’s games, impressive cliffs on the banks of the river, vegetation and many lemurs whose habitat is on the banks of the Tsiribihina.
After the presentation of the crew, we will start the descent by traditional canoe. During the descent, you will observe the cliffs that project to the sky, the villages along the river which reflect lifestyles, practices, stories, behaviors … As the progress of the canoe, we will meet again in a landscape where the forest will be more and more present.
The region is rich in food crops. She also grows cash crops such as tobacco. Some barges carry dried tobacco leaves. Some have changed their vocation and prefer tourists.
You will be able to discover the fauna: lemurs, chameleons, bats. It’s harder to see crocodiles. If they populated the river before, constantly disturbed by the noise of engines, they preferred to decamp further. The lush flora is always interesting. The kapoka tree can be for you a curiosity.
Stop at the waterfall of Anosiampela: the program, bathing in this cascade of a dream color, in the heart of the impressive nature of the Big Island. The villagers come to meet you, sometimes light big campfires. You will camp on sandbars where the boatmen will enliven your evening with their songs and good mood.
Third day in the early afternoon: heading to the village of Bekopaka in 4 × 4 over 110 kilometers, or about 4 hours of track. This western village lies at the foot of Tsingy de Bemaraha, impressive limestone massifs created by the tectonic drift caused by the separation of Madagascar from the African continent more than 160 million years ago, and classified as a World Heritage Site. UNESCO.
A cottage will welcome us for the night.
D7 – TSINGY NATIONAL PARK OF BEMARAHA
Day 7: Discovery of Tsingy and their rich biodiversity. With your guide, you will bathe in the unique atmosphere created by these imposing blocks of limestone. You will carry out the « Andamozavaky circuit » or « Great Tsingy », during 4 hours of walking. If being surrounded by the Tsingy seems, at first glance, very impressive, their discovery remains accessible. The place is very well laid out for visitors and secure to make crossing easier.
So left for the most unforgettable visits! The Tsingy are filled with mystery … in the middle of these limestone monuments, live an impressive fauna and a very particular flora. Lemurs have found their shelter in this special world: it is in Tsingy that one can count the most species of lemurs in the world (propithecus, fulvus …). You will meet on your way. Rare birds have also nestled in the Tsingy, some endemic to the western part of Madagascar. As for the vegetation, it adapted to its environment. Among other things, we find a part of spinescent plant formations – this is the case where the leaves take a thorny state to conserve water – or other forms of vegetation that remain in the dwarf state. More than three quarters of the listed species are endemic.
We will pass by the inevitable passages of this circuit: the caves with the walls decorated with constellations, where one still distinguishes the traces of marine elements and where penetrate by places the rays of the sun in morning, the roof of Tsingy, summit accessible after some efforts but where the breathtaking view of the stone forest overcomes any feeling of tiredness, the belvedere, the suspension bridge 70 meters high and 20 meters long whose crossing gives rise to a contradictory feeling of domination from this intense landscape, but with the sensation of being tiny, tiny, nothing in the immensity of limestone cathedrals.
In the afternoon, we go to the Andadoany circuit or the « Tsingy ». This is a relatively easy journey, compared to that of the « Great Tsingy ». Unlike the latter, we do not dive here in the heart of Tsingy but prefer to direct us to the points of view that allow us to appreciate the splendor of the heights of Tsingy.
Crossing corridors and natural caves, we find ourselves in the heart of a humid forest. Our trip will be punctuated by various discoveries of Tsingy fauna: chameleons, rare lemurs, birds.
We then discover an old pottery Vazimba, first inhabitants of the heart of the Big Island.
In the evening, we return to the cottage that welcomed us the day before, for a well deserved night’s rest, but the head probably filled with unforgettable images because the beauty of the Tsingy is such that we can not tell it …
D8 – BEKOPAKA – MORONDAVA
Day 8. Wake up at dawn. We continue the discovery of the Menabe region. Head for Morondava, for an eight-hour drive, some 240 kilometers, on a « track » type road and with two ferry crossings on Manambolo and Tsiribihina!
En route, the diversity of landscapes does not fail to surprise. Madagascar is an island of contrasts. What will be the next landscape, what will be the next colors? At each detour, new impressions, new sensations, other emotions …
Human encounters are also surprising. The local population is always pleased that foreigners come to discover the beauty of its land, a beauty of which it may not always be aware.
Here we are in the region of baobabs, imposing trees that rise to forty meters in height and seem to take root in the sky. With a trunk in the shape of a bottle, or with a thin, gray trunk, each variety of baobab has its share of magic. No words can describe the feeling of crossing this area, especially when you are in the middle of the famous « Alley of Baobabs ». Here, we have the privilege of dreaming all awake … For a moment, we are part of the landscape just like the carts pulled by zebus, flocks of sheep and children running in the alley.
Baobabs symbolic of these places: the sacred baobab which for the local population is a place of offerings for the Ancestors, and the baobab lovers, a series of two intertwined trees that, according to legend, would bring happiness to couples of lovers who are coming.
The sunset on the Alley Baobabs is a unique, grandiose: the meeting between the star of fire and these majestic trees, simply … fairy.
At nightfall, your guide will set you up at the hotel.
D9 – MORONDAVA – BELO SUR MER
Day 9. Departure very early in the morning for the small fishing village, Belo-sur-Mer, in the southwest. 4 to 5 hours of track in 4 × 4 are waiting for us.
The area crossed is rather dry despite some green areas and rivers nearby.
We can sometimes cross herds of guided zebus. Once again, the diversity of the landscapes is striking, but the vegetation here is mainly the victim of the drought to which it tries to resist. Last step: the crossing of the salt works to reach Belo-sur-Mer. The salt works are a source of significant income for many families. The visitor dwells willingly on the mode of work as well as on the spectacle that offers salt mounds.
After your installation at the hotel, we will visit the village of Belo, famous for its dhow and schooner shipyards.
Not far from the sea, the inhabitants are therefore engaged in the work, under the watch of their children who one day, will undoubtedly take over. The sound of saws and hammers mingles with the ambient tranquility and the murmur of the waves. The sea, immaculate blue, of rare purity, reminds us that we are on a paradise island, the Big Island, the dream island.
D10 – BELO SUR MER – MANJA
Day 10. After a night spent at the hotel on Belo sur Mer, on route to Manja, our next stop! We make this crossing in 4 × 4, given the impressive state of the road, a track of almost 110 kilometers.
This trip lasts all day. But the poor state of the road can be forgotten thanks to the vegetation, always different, from one corner to another of the Big Island. Here, the wooded savannah spreads its colors.
At the end of the day, we will reach Manja, our village of step towards the city of Tuléar, all in the southwest. Manja, a place with typical Sakalava features. A cottage will welcome us for the night.
D11 – MANJA – ANDAVADOAKA
Day 11. It leaves for 10 hours of 4 × 4! This time we make the journey from Manja to Andavadoaka. Traverse ferry for a period of ten minutes, before starting the track.
We are here in the presence of dry vegetation, a savannah punctuated by trees in places.
As we advance, there are more trees, just like the people we meet. The colors change too, gradually giving way to brighter green and typical villages.
At the approach of Morombe, baobabs still constitute the bulk of the landscape. Morombe is famous for its giant baobab, with a circumference of almost 20 meters. On the road to Andavadoaka, we will pass by a forest of baobabs … As on the Alley of Baobabs, majestic trees that flirt with the sky. The daydream for visitors … The feeling of the smallest importance of the human being in the face of the immensity of nature …
In Andavadaoka, your guide will set you up at the hotel for the night.
D12 – ANDAVADOAKA – SALARY
Day 12. With your driver, you continue your crossing in 4 × 4. Direction: Salary, small village of fishermen Vezo. We take a sandy track for a two hour ride.
Leaving the village of Andavadoaka, the trail that we have to cross is relatively in good condition, with around, a landscape mainly consisting of dry vegetation. In places, we meet some houses, traditional huts, made mainly of wood.
We are still in the world of baobabs and can discover different types, including tattooed baobab, on which nature has drawn curves, shapes and lines.
Upon your arrival in Salary, a small village of white sand and wooden houses, your guide will set you up at the hotel.
The afternoon will be free: you can rest, after these several days of car … or visit the surroundings.
D13 to D4 – SALARY
We spend these two days in Salary, so that you can fully enjoy the tranquility, the sea, the fine sand, the beauty of the landscapes.
Paradise beaches, emerald blue color of the Mozambique Channel, fishing boats sailing on a water of incomparable purity, Vezo women busy with their various activities … Live thoroughly the scenery and tranquility of the Big Island, dream island!
Possible activities: outings at sea, safari whales between late June and end of September, discovery of Mikéa tribes … and of course, relaxing at the beach!
You will spend the night at the same hotel.
D15 – SALARY – TULEAR – ANTANANARIVO
Day 15. Direction South West: Cape on Tulear for 5 hours of track, along the coast.
The city of Tulear is known for its hot climate; it is the most important city in the South, bordered by a coral reef. In the architecture of the city persists the colonial heritage.
In the program of this day, your transfer to the airport of Tulear where you will take the plane for Antananarivo, the capital, principal point of departure of the international flights.
Our escort driver will meet you at Ivato International Airport, and will accompany you to the hotel where you will be staying.
D16 – ANTANANARIVO – COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
According to the schedule of the flight planned for your return in your country of destination, our chauffeur escort will assure your transfer towards the airport. Depending on the time you may have, he will be happy to stop at the craft market located on the airport road, if you want to take with you, besides all these images and emotions that you have lived on this island dream, Malagasy craft products as souvenirs of Madagascar … to offer and to offer …
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