Unique Madagascar

Highlights

  • Walk amongst the sandstone rock formations at Isalo Massif
  • Spectacular granite rock valleys of Andringitra National Park
  • Cloud-forest National Park of Ranomafana
  • Ambositra wood carving town

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

The Island of Madagascar is synonymous with the exotic, if not the quirky. Isolated from Africa millions of years ago with the break up of Gondwana, Madagascar has its own unique cargo of endemic plants and animals. Lemurs have filled most mammal ecological niches of the forests and spectacular Chameleons are the most iconic of the reptiles. The climate influences the vegetation from arid Spiny Forest in the south to tropical rainforest in the North and East. We explore the spectacular collection of the island's national parks on this itinerary, taking in the full diversity of the land and animals, including the Isalo, Andringitra and Ranomafana National Parks. Our daily wildlife adventures contrast with the comfort of pleasant hotels and tented accommodation, combining the best of local style and French colonial charm.

What's included

  • 10 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 8 dinners
  • Airport transfers on days 1 & 11 only
  • English speaking driver-guide
  • Accommodation in simple but comfortable 2 star hotels/lodges
  • All linen and bedding in permanent campsites (2 nights)
  • Flight antananarivo/toliara valued at us$340
  • Permits and entry fees and local guide in isalo, andringitra & ranomafana national parks
  • Private vehicle transport throughout
  • Tourist taxes

Itinerary

Day 1 Antananarivo
Upon arrival at Antananarivo international airport on Day 1 you will be met and transferred to the group hotel. (Normally this is late in the evening thus, there is a group briefing tomorrow.) Please check at hotel reception for details of the pick-up time tomorrow for your trip to Antsirabe. If you are arriving on any other day, private airport transfers can be arranged at additional cost.
Day 2 Antananarivo to Antsirabe
After breakfast we drive to Antsirabe, which is well known as the capital of rickshaw (pousse-pousse), a hill-station and spa town in the central highlands. Along the way, you can have a look at the beautiful landscape of the highlands decorated by rice fields and green fields. After lunch we will have a city tour and visit to the market. There is a meeting with the group this afternoon; dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 3 To Ranomafana via Ambositra
In the morning we begin our journey to Ranomafana Rainforest National Park located on the eastern mountain slope of the island and dominated by a humid tropical climate. We enjoy a picnic lunch and stopover at Ambositra to visit this little wood carving capital of Madagascar. (The local artisans are most famous for their wood carvings and we have an opportunity to explore and shop.) Then we continue driving to Ranomafana National Park. Overnight hotel.
Day 4 Ranomafana
Ranomafana National Park was established in 1991 to protect the habitat of the rare Golden Bamboo Lemur and is an area rich in wildlife. It's the only locality for the recently discovered Golden Bamboo Lemur as well as the world's rarest primate, the giant bamboo lemur. Today is exploration day: we head out to explore the primary forest, hoping to catch a glimpse of these fascinating animals as well as some of the other 13 species of lemur only found here. We can appreciate the views of the waters of the Namorona river and a picnic lunch. Overnight hotel.
Day 5 Ranomafana to Andringitra Tsaranoro
We start early today as the road is slow and we have a long day. We drive to Andringitra Tsaranoro Valley. We will break up our journey in the town of Ambalavao, with its colourful houses and local craftspeople who manufacture Antaimoro paper from the bark of Ahova trees. Continuing from here we arrive in the evening. Dinner and night of camping.
Day 6 Andringitra Tsaranoro
We enjoy a day of trekking in the high mountain prairies of the Tsaranoro Valley, with it's unique granite and gneiss formations. Andringitra has a wide diversity of ecosystems ranging from low altitude rainforest in the east to high mountain prairies in the west and the greatest diversity of lemurs in Madagascar. Overnight camping.
Day 7 Andringitra to Isalo
We drive across the Horombe Plateau with its grasslands dotted with termite mounds. Today is we drive to Isalo and arrive in the afternoon. Overnight hotel.
Day 8 Isalo
We enjoy exploring the rugged canyons cut deep into the sandstone plateau this morning. Lush vegetation in the moist canyons is home to many species of lemur and chameleon, which we have opportunity to see if we are lucky. After lunch in Isalo town, we spend the afternoon hiking amongst the spectacularly sculptured rock formations of Isalo Massif, with its abstract sculpting and colors of the eroded sandstone rocks to the “Piscine Naturelle” – a natural swimming pool. Overnight hotel.
Day 9 To Toliara
We continue driving southwards to reach Toliara, discovering the semi-arid landscape known as ‘Spiny Desert’ and the famous erotic ‘Mahafaly Tombs’. Overnight hotel.
Day 10 Fly to Antananarivo
Transfer to the airport and flight back to Antananarivo. Transfer to hotel at the arrival and overnight in hotel.
Day 11 Trip concludes
Trip arrangements end after breakfast with a transfer to the airport for onward travel. Please ask your reservations consultant for details if you would like additional nights in Antananarivo (extra cost applies) or airport transfers on any other day (extra cost applies).