FACE TO FACE WITH MALAGASY AND THE LEMURS
FACE TO FACE WITH THE MALAGASY AND THE LEMURS
DAY 1 ANANANARIVO
Depending on flight arrival, meet and greet at the international airport of Antananarivo Ivato and transfer to the hotel Belvedere in the city center or similar, overnight there.
DAY 2 ANTANANARIVO – AMPEFY (about 120 km)
Breakfast at around 07.30, then slow drive on the National Road No. 1 towards the “wild west” with many opportunities for taking nice pictures. Stop after around 21 km at the lemurs park where 9 species of lemurs can jump around freely. A short stop later in a small village, you can see how many families manufacture from used beer cans and other recycled materials miniature vehicles which will be exported worldwide. Continuation via Miarinarivo, where we’ll visit residential home for pupils (only possible during school season), run by a German/Malagasy association and have lunch there. Continue and arrive then to Ampefy at the lake Itasy. In the region are grown tomato, pineapple, papaya and avocado. Overnight with breakfast at the Hotel Kavitaha.
DAY 3 AMPEFY (max. 100 km)
Visit of the surroundings, waterfall of the Lily river, geysirs of Analavory, and the view point on the Ilot de la Vierge. In Analavory, there’ll also the weekly market, which we’ll visit. With a little bit of luck, we’ll find near the hotel a friendly extended family, who’s producing in a rustic way popcorn with a transformed gas bottle. Lunch and dinner possible at Chez Jacky. Second night at the Kavitaha.
DAY 4 AMPEFY – ANTANANARIVO – ANDASIBE (250 km)
Early drive (start shortly before 7.30 AM) back to Antananarivo on the National road (RN) No. 1. Short stop to buy food for a picknick lunch and possibly change the vehicle. Then continuation on the RN 2 (around 140 km) to the well-known National Park Andasibe (Analamazaotra – Mantadia). On the way, stop at the reptiles park in Marozevo where we can see chameleons and other animals close up. Check-in at the hotel Andasibe Forest Lodge. Possibility to do a nocturnal visit with a local nature guide where with the help of flashlights you can see nocturnal lemurs, sleeping chameleons, tree frogs, etc.. We’ll walk maximum one hour along the flat road. Dinner possible at Mary’s guesthouse. Overnight at the Andasibe Forest lodge, surrounded by nature.
DAY 5 ANDASIBE (40 km)
The around three hour long morning walk (first a little ascent, then mostly flat) leads with a local park guide through the evergreen secondary forest of the Park Analamazaotra, on the trail Indri 2. Here we can see with some luck two of the 63 families of the biggest lemur, the Indri, with its distinctive call. You can also see many birds, some reptiles (if its not too cold) and other species of lemurs (Diadem Sifakas, Brown lemurs, Bamboo lemurs etc.). In the afternoon other encounters with animals possible. Overnight at the Andasibe Forest lodge again.
DAY 6 ANDASIBE – AKANIN’NY NOFY
(125 km good road, 7 km dirt track, 1,5 hours boat on the canal)
Early drive (07.15AM) on the RN2 to Brickaville, we’ll then shortly after the big railway bridge turn right and drive on a dirt track to Manambato which is situated on the shore of lake Rasoabe. Then drive by boat along the Pangalanes canal to Akanin’ny Nofy at lake Ampitabe, where we’ll stay in the Palmarium hotel with an attached lemurs park or at the annex “Palmarium beach”. Walk in the surroundings of the hotel. Overnight with breakfast at the Palmarium hotel or annex , electricity is produced by a generator and switched off at night. We’ll only take light luggage with us if possible for this two days.
DAY 7 AKANIN’NY NOFY
In the morning, walk of several hours in the Palmarium park to spot several species of lemurs, who’ll watch us attentively, we’ll see some from very close up. When night falls, boat excursion to a place where you can spot the very rare and nocturnal Aye Aye lemur with the long middle finger, seven of them live on this well guarded island in the canal. Overnight with breakfast again at the Palmarium hotel or at the annex.
DAY 8 AKANIN’NY NOFY – TAMATAVE – FOULPOINTE
(around 2,5 hours by boat, en some 60 km on the road with some potholes to Foulpointe)
Motorboat transfer to Tamatave, the biggest harbour town of Madagascar, then continue after lunch by bus to Foulpointe, a seaside resort, which is also popular among the Malagasy on weekends. We’ll discover the old Fort with its guide Fidel, enjoy the sea and its food, walk along the beach or relax. Dinner possible at the “Friendly Fisherman” restaurant. Overnight at the Manda Beach Hotel.
DAY 9 FOULPOINTE – SOANIERANA-IVONGO – SAINTE MARIE
(75 km on the road, then some 1,5 to 2 hours on the ferry boat to the former pirate island)
At 6 AM departure to Soanierana-Ivongo, then do the registration formalities there and then cross the sea with the “Gasikara Be” ferry to the beautiful island of Sainte Marie. Overnight at the bungalow hotel Lakana on the beach between the airport and the city of Ambodifotatra, on BB base. If the sea should be too rough and the boat transfer forbidden, we’ll change the program spontaneously, and stay another night in Foulpointe.
DAY 10 SAINTE MARIE
Free day in Sainte Marie. We can explore the south of the island with the Ile aux Nattes or explore the North or east by walking or bicycle, or do water sports or relax on the beach. The pirates cemetery is also interesting to see at low tide, it can now be reached easily and without guide. Between July and September, a whale whatching excursion can be booked through the hotel. Enjoy the nice sunset. Overnight again at the Hotel Lakana.
If due to the rough sea, the ferry transfer to Sainte Marie wasn’t possible, we’ll start the drive back, and will drive until Andasibe or Moramanga (depending on hotel availability), overnight there and continue to Tana next day.
DAY 11 SAINTE MARIE – ANTANANARIVO
Transfer to the airport and flight to Tana if there are no changes with Air Madagascar. Rest of the day free. Overnight at the Belvedere hotel or similar.
DAY 12 ANTANANARIVO – ANTSIRABE
(around 170 km (some 3,5 hours driving time) on the RN7 (national road No. 7))
In the morning, we’ll visit a social project in the outskirts of Tana, “Liters of light” of the german-malagasy project with streetkids “ Zaza faly”. Then drive to Ambatolampy, where we can see how they use recycled aluminium to manufacture pots etc. They also produce tabletop soccer games etc nearby. Thursday is market day here as well, and you can also see some “open-air hairdessers”. Continuation to Antsirabe, which is also known for its Rickshaws and gemstones, if time allows it, visit of a workshop for stone cutting. Check in at the Flower Palace hotel or similar, then some free time. We’ll also do a little shopping and buy for the train ride the next days some cookies, juice etc. Possibility to have dinner at the restaurant Manambina run by Liliane and Dieter. Overnight at the hotel with breakfast.
DAY 13 ANTSIRABE – AMBOSITRA – FIANARANTSOA
(around 240 km (some 5,5 hours driving time) on the RN7 (national road No. 7)
Drive through beautiful landscape via the woodcarving town of Ambositra to Fianarantsoa, the ” place where one learns the good “. From the highest point of this “city of a 1001 churches”, we’ll have a nice view towards Ambalavao. In the shop of the most known Malagasy photographer Perrot Men, we’ll get a nice view into his works. We’ll then get the tickets for next day’s train ride. Overnight at the Villa Sylvestre or La Rizière (which is a tourism school training hotel and restaurant) or similar.
DAY 14 FIANARANTSOA – MANAKARA
(163 km, 8–17 hours of driving time with the jungle –Express, in rare cases, it even takes longer). About 7 A.M. trip with the “jungle express train” to Manakara, over 67 bridges and through 48 tunnels, and the tropical forest to Manakara on the east coast. In every station the villagers offer fresh fruits (bananas, tangerines, manioc), fish and pastries for sale. The train trip lasts in the best case 8 hours, but it mostly takes longer, arrival sometimes is only after midnight. Shortly before arriving in Manakara, we’ll cross the airport landing strip, this exists only in three cities in the world. In Manakara, a city with many rikshaws, transfer to the hotel Partenay Club at the sea, or similar. Since the train often has massive delays, we’ll take from 4 to 8 participants the draisine (if available and working), a track motor car, instead of the train, and this way, we can also have photo stops along the way .
If the train should be out of order or departing with a big delay, we’ll visit the historical upper city of Fianarantsoa instead. We’ll then drive to Ambalavao and spend the night there at the Bougainvillées Hotel or similar.
DAY 15 MANAKARA – RANOMAFANA (ca. 200 km)
Morning free in Manakara. We can go to see the fishermen who come back from the catch, or do a little dugout tour on the Pangalanes canal. Before lunchtime, we’ll drive to Ranomafana, along ravinala palm trees, spice plantations etc. Ranomafana has thanks to the thermal sources even a swimming pool. Night walk along the road to spot the mousemaki, chameleons, frogs etc. Overnight at the Lodge Chez Gaspard with breakfast.
If the train should be out of order or departing with a big delay, we’ll visit the Anja reserve 12 km south of Ambalavao, where we’ll have good chances to see some families of Katta lemurs. After that drive to Ranomafana and overnight.
DAY 16 RANOMAFANA – SAHAMBAVY (some 65 km)
Morning visit of the approximately 41.000 hectares large Nationalpark Ranomafana which is situated at the Namorona river, with its fauna and flora, such as the golden bamboo lemurs discovered only in 1986 by the german researcher Bernhard Meier, the brown lemurs and the Sifaka. This walk is a bit tiresome, as it goes up and down and sometimes through the forest, it can also be a bit slippery at times. It requires a good fitness level and condition from the participants. Early in the afternoon, we’ll drive to Fianarantsoa, from where we’ll make a ride on the historical Micheline train car with the air filled rubber tires (if it’s working) to the lake of Sahambavy (only if minimum 6 Pax will be on the tour we’ll do this train car ride, if less Pax, we’ll drive from Ranomafana directly by minibus to Sahambavy). If we get there early enough, we can visit the tea plantation if they’re working. Overnight at the Lac hotel on BB base, with its magnificent flower garden, on the shore of the lake.
DAY 17 SAHAMBAVY – AMBOSITRA (some 150 km)
The people from the Betsileo tribe are good landscape architects. They use the ground even in relatively high altitudes for rice crop growing. Drive the short distance back to the National road no. 7 (RN7), and then north until Ambositra. Visit of a Zafimaniry woodcarving workshop. Overnight at the Grand hotel, the oldest hotel on site, or similar.
DAY 18 AMBOSITRA – ANTSIRABE (90 km)
After breakfast and a little walk through a part of the city, continue the drive on the winding RN7 to Antsirabe. If time permits it, visit of the Andraikiba lake, then short city tour, and perhaps visit of a workshop where they make miniatures out of recycled materials. Lunch possible at chez Jenny /Green park. Overnight at the Flower palace hotel or similar.
DAY 19 ANTSIRABE – ANTANANARIVO (170 km)
We’lll visit the fruit – and vegetable market of this city with around 180’000 inhabitants. Then drive on the RN7 via Ambatolampy to Tana. Depending on the arrival time in Tana, possibility of a visit of the handicraft market with many handmade items made from leather, stone, natural fibres etc. Possibility to have dinner in a restaurant near the airport, then transfer to the airport for the flight back to Europe with AF, check in around 8 PM. Or to the hotel near the airport and overnight (night not included).
DAY 20 ANTANANARIVO
Take off at about 01.00 AM or later, depending on the airline.
- Transfers airport – hotel – airport
- Accommodation based on bed and breakfast
- Parks and reserve fees (Andasibe, Ranomafana)
- Service of local guides in parks and reserves
- Visits which are mentioned in the program
- Sedan car, Minibus or bus rental with a driver and fuel for the road trip
- Train trip Fianarantsoa to Manakara (if there should be changes of the timetable, tour must be adjusted accordingly), if minimum 6 participants, a drive with the rare Micheline train car is included, if it’s working, and from 4 to 8 participants, we’ll use the draisine instead of the train, if it’s working and available
- Transfers by the hotel owned boat (there may be other passengers on board) Manambato – Akanin’ny Nofy – Tamatave
- Boat transfer with the local ferry Gasikara be from Soanierana-Ivongo to Sainte Marie, there can be other passengers on board, If the sea should be too rough, this will be cancelled and the program changed accordingly
- English and german speaking guide escort from the agency
- Aye Aye nocturnal visit
- A bottle of drinking water per person per day
- Tourist levy and VAT
- International flights and their taxes
- Domestic flight Sainte Marie – Tana, approx.. 250 € incl. taxes
- Visa fees (around 23 to 27 Euro depending on exchange rate for stay of max. 30 days)
- Other meals and drinks
- Water sports, bicycle rental on Sainte Marie
- Whale whatching excursion on Sainte Marie
- Individual travel insurance, also for luggage,
- accident, theft and cancellation