D1 – ANTANANARIVO
Welcome, Tongasoa to Madagascar. Once your plane has landed at Ivato International Airport, relax. The moment our driver escorts you and welcomes you, his 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 tour guide will take you to your 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 by Malagasy, a fresh fat liver, superior quality, velvety taste and unmatched sweetness. What happiness for your taste buds …
Next stop is Ambatolampy, a small town near the Ankaratra Massif, the third highest peak on the island, more than 2500 meters high. 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 get to know not only the craftsmen but through them with 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 could 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, ranging from an emerald green to a turquoise blue 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 in the city, before starting the descent on Tsiribihina from day 4 to day 6.Installation and overnight at the hotel
D4 to D6 – DESCENT ON TSIRIBIHINA (137km long)
You will be transferred in 4 × 4 to the pier of Masiakampy. 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 tobacco products like 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. He’s more. It’s difficult 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 kapoaka tree can be a curiosity for you.
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 is located at the foot of Tsingy de Bemaraha, these impressive limestone massifs that were born from the tectonic slide caused by the separation of Madagascar from the African continent more than 160 million years ago, and classified as heritage. UNESCO World Summit since 1990.
A cottage will welcome us for the night.
D7 – NATIONAL PARK TSINGY OF BEMARAHA
Day 7: Discovery of Tsingy and its 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 …). They will probably cross our path. 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 and finding ourselves in the heart of a rain forest, our journey will be punctuated by discoveries
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-like road and with two ferry crossings on Manambolo and Tsiribihina!
En route, the diversity of landscapes is still to be emphasized. The presence of these contrasts characterize the charm of the Big Island and always surprises the visitors who never know what will be the next landscape, what will be the next colors, which they will cross in their path.
The human encounters are also surprising: the local population is always delighted that foreigners come to discover the beauty of its land, beauty of which it may not always be aware.
Here we are in the region of baobabs, imposing trees up to forty meters high and seeming 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 word to 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 of Baobabs is a unique spectacle, 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 – AMBOSITRA
Departure at dawn towards Ambositra by taking the Morondava-Antsirabe road. The trip lasts 10 hours. No need 4 × 4 vehicle because on an overall plan, it rolls except at the entrance of Miandrivazo where ostrich nests strew the road on about twenty kilometers.
Once in Ambositra, go to the hotel where you will spend the night. Considered the capital of Malagasy craftsmanship, Ambositra is famous for its marquetry and wood carvings.
D10 – AMBOSITRA – ANTOETRA – AMBOSITRA
We leave early in the morning on a track of 22 kilometers, a distance that we will travel in 2 hours. Our goal is to reach the village of Antoetra because Antoetra is the starting point for the zafimaniry country where you can only walk.
From this village begins our hike with elevations of 500 meters. Our final destination is the Ifasina zafimaniry village, the easiest to access.
If one goes to zafimaniry country, it is mainly because of the art whose fame has surpassed the confines of its territory. The houses of Zafimaniry villages are typical and original. No nail, no screw holds the boards together. Doors, windows are carved as are the furniture.
We will then return to Ambositra by doing the same route in the opposite direction. The round trip of the day will have lasted nearly 5 hours over a distance of about 10km.
Back to the same hotel for the night.
D11 – AMBOSITRA – ANDASIBE
We take the road to Andasibe very early but with an obligatory passage through Antsirabe and Antananarivo, the capital to then join the National Road N ° 2. If the trip lasts 8 hours, you will not see the time pass as the diversity of landscapes and vegetation will captivate you. At the exit of Antananarivo, you will find yourself very quickly in nature. Already, the vast expanses of greenery and forests mark a break with the city. The ravinala, trees of the traveler, stand in the heart of the vegetation and gently wave their leaves arranged in a fan, as if to greet you.
Once in Andasibe after this 8 hour trek, you will settle in the hotel for the night.
D12 – ANDASIBE
On the agenda of this 12th day of travel on the Big Island, visit the VOI village park, a stone’s throw from the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. In this forest, perched in a tree, lives the Indri-indri, the largest of the lemurs. Monogamous, Indri-Indri has a very strong sense of family. We can also meet the brookesia, the smallest chameleon in Madagascar. This chameleon is not arboreal but terrestrial and has a strong mimicry with its environment. Another peculiarity of this forest: it shelters the giraffe beetle, a species that one finds only in Madagascar. Your tour guide will surely explain that his name, unsurprisingly, comes from his long neck.
The tour to the village of Andasibe, which you will then carry out, will give you an idea of the way of life of the local population.
For more than an hour after, you will discover the reserve Vakôna, the islet with lemurs where you will meet other species: the fulvus, the lemur bamboo, the vari. They will treat you with a lot of friendship or even familiarity by jumping for example on your shoulders. This reserve also contains a crocodile park, except the « fosa » which is a predator of lemurs, the Madagascar boa and wild ducks.
You will spend the night at the hotel, rocked by the murmur of the leaves, stirred by the light breeze of the wind in an environment of greenery.
D13 – ANDASIBE – TAMATAVE
Day 25. Still on RN2, direction Tamatave, port city all east of the Big Island, overlooking the Indian Ocean!
The trip takes about four hours. The infinite green hills are the backdrop for our trip.
With its many turns and high traffic, this road is truckers, carrying various goods to the port.
Once again, the ravinala, the traveler’s tree, seems to emerge from the surrounding vegetation. We are here in a wetland, where nature also offers us a unique spectacle.
Arrived at Tamatave and once installed at the hotel, you can then make a small jump to the market « Bazary Be » of Tamatave. The « Bazary Be » of Tamatave is a picturesque market that is spread out under a compartmentalized warehouse where fruits and vegetables, crafts products, and small food shops adjoin one another. You will dive while visiting this market in the atmosphere of the noisy and crowded popular markets.
D14 – TAMATAVE – SAINTE MARIE – ILE AUX NATTES
Direction Sainte Marie, a small dream island near the big dream island. Very early departure by road with the cars of the company El Condor to the pier of Mahambo for Sainte Marie. Depending on the state of the road, this adventure trip lasts 2 hours and 30 minutes. Once in Mahambo, passengers and their luggage are taken care of to be embarked on the boat. After a crossing of 3 to 4 hours, arrival at Sainte Marie where you will be installed at the hotel for the night.
From Sainte Marie, the transfer of an average duration of 20 minutes to the southern tip of the island, where the Island aux mats is located, is done either by taxi, or tuctuc, new means of locomotion in vogue in many localities of Madagascar. Then, to be in the tone of local colors, by canoe for 25 minutes, to the hotel where you will settle to spend the night.
D15, D16 and D17 – ILE AUX NATTES
Days of freedom so to the “Ile aux nattes”, where you could choose the activity or the leisure which enchants you: exit at sea, safari wall, according to the season however because the ballet of the whales generally happens from July to September , little tour of the island with mats by pirogue or on foot, scuba diving, tour of Ile Sainte Marie by motorbike …
The setting of this day – the sea and the paradisiacal beaches – will fill your dreams of escape and your quest for beauty. The clarity of the sea sometimes come streaking waves, the beaches lined with coconut trees, the fine sand, the unexpected meeting with some lemurs perched on the trees, the abundant vegetation that refreshes the atmosphere … remind you that here again you are in Madagascar, dream island.
D18 – ISLE AUX NATTES – SAINTE MARIE – ANTANANARIVO
You will leave the “Iles aux nattes”, the head full of enchanting but real images to reach Sainte Marie.
In the program of this day, your transfer to the airport of Sainte Marie 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.
D19 – 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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