Madagascar South West Treasures – 12 Day

11 - 14 Days
DIFFICULTY

Medium

MIN. AGE

12 Years

£ 2395

Explore The Land Of The Lemurs

Explore the wonders of Southern Madagascar experiencing its most diverse environments. We will visit some of the best national parks accompanied by a Malagasy naturalist guide to ensure you have the best chance of witnessing as well as learning about all of the wonderfully unique flora and fauna of Madagascar.

The south west is filled with adventure, iconic Madagascan animals, fabulous wildlife watching opportunities, outstanding landscapes, an abundance of culture and gorgeous hidden beaches lining the Indian Ocean; all waiting to be explored, encountered and cherished.

Price £2,395 / $3,050

Based on 2 pax. Full board. Includes internal flights. Excludes international flights.

Single supplement - £450

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Day by Day

After arriving in Antananarivo (or Tana, as it is known by the locals), you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.

Antananarivo is the capital and largest city in Madagascar. It is buzzing with activity and full of people flooding the streets, selling everything you could imagine! Tana (as the locals call it) resembles a Mediterranean hill town and exploring its rich cultural and architectural sites on foot is relatively easy (as long as you are willing to climb hundreds of ancient stone steps).

Overnight – Hotel

This morning we will set off to the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park (previously known as Perinet)  where you will spend 1 ½ days exploring this wonderful environment. En-route we will stop at a farm specialising in Madagascan reptiles and butterflies, before arriving at our hotel. This afternoon you will get a chance to stroll around the private reserve of Vakona Lodge with the opportunity to spot  lemurs and crocodiles. This evening, take a twilight/nocturnal walk, looking out for the nocturnal species of lemur by catching their eyes in the torchlight.

Overnight – Hotel

Today we will explore Andasibe National Park.

Andasibe-Mantadia National Park (formerly known as Perinet) is a 155 square kilometer protected area, about 150 km east of Antananarivo (approx. a three hour drive) consisting principally of primary growth forest.  These are home to the teddy bear-like Indri, the largest of Madagascar’s lemur species, as well 11 lemur species in total and a wide array of bird life too. Listening to the piercing yet melancholy cry of the Indri in the morning is an evocative experience and for those who are prepared to follow them through the thick rainforest, the reward is often a close-up view of these beautiful creatures. This National Park was inscribed in the World Heritage Site in 2007 as part of the Rainforests of the Atsinanana.

Overnight – Hotel

We will set off early this morning for a full-day journey to Antsirabe (via Tana). We will stop for lunch along the way. Before arriving in Antsirabe, today will be a great chance to experience Malagasy life on the road.

Antsirabe is a tidy, well maintained town which combines the tranquility of a small European provincial town with the exuberance of traditional Malagasy buildings.  The third largest city in Madagascar, Antsirabe is known for its relatively cool climate (as the rest of the central region of the country), its industry and the high concentration of pulled rickshaws.

Overnight – Hotel

We will set out after an early breakfast towards Ranomafana National Park. Our accommodation is locate­­d just outside of Ranomafana (just 10 minutes from the park entrance).

This afternoon you have the option of visiting the thermal baths in Ranomafana or looking around the village which offers the most superb scenery.

Overnight – Hotel

Today you have the opportunity to explore the enchanting Ranomafana National Park and search for lemurs on a full day nature walk  through lush rainforest.

Ranomafana is particularly rich and beautiful, a mountainous subtropical park which contains lowland moist forest, cloud forest and high plateau forest and is the home to a large number of lemur species (13 in total), as well as 118 birds and more than 70 amphibians and reptiles so is really a great place to see some of the unique species living in Madagascar. Lemurs include the brown lemur, golden bamboo lemur and the exceptionally rare greater bamboo lemur which is relatively easy to see in Ranomafana. Wildlife viewing is good all year round but is most productive from mid-Sept to May.

Overnight – Hotel

Transfer to our hotel near the Isalo National Park. En-route we may get the chance to stop off at a traditional market and pass through quaint villages.

Overnight – Eco-lodge.

Today we will visit this breathtaking National Park.  This extraordinarily unique area of natural beauty is unlike any other place in Madagascar.

Included will be the opportunity to swim in a natural pool with lunch on the trail.

Isalo is the park of the Big South and the most visited parks of Madagascar. It is known for its exceptional landscape. The Isalo National Park protects over 81,000 hectares of widely eroded Jurassic sandstone massif. The grassy plains are surrounded by sandstone ridges. Most of the vegetated areas of the park are covered with dry grassland or sparse, low deciduous woodland, however near streams and in deeper canyons there are also ferns and feathery palm trees.  Animal life isn’t the parks most prominent feature, but there a few species to look for including six species of lemur (three nocturnal, three daytime) including the ring tail lemur and the White (dancing lemur) sifaka. It is also home to approx 55 species of bird including the rare Benson’s rock-thrush.

Overnight – Eco-lodge

Today we head to Ifaty and the Indian Ocean. If time allows, we will stop by Zombiste National Park en-route.

Facing the Mozambique Channel and the superb coral reef of Ifaty, less than 20 kms from Tuléar, you will discover the beauty of beaches not tainted by mass tourism. Ifaty is a small fishing village with palm-fringed white beaches on the south-western coast of Madagascar, and is an ideal place to relax after visiting the central highlands.   The beach is relatively narrow, but the (off shore) snorkeling and diving is good. In July and August, you may see migrating whales pass nearby through the Mozambique Channel. Between May and October, the humpback whales can sometimes be seen with their whale-calves.

Overnight – Hotel

Today can be spent at your leisure, experiencing what beautiful Ifaty and its surrounding areas have to offer.

Just north of Ifaty you can find the Reniala Nature Reserve ‘Spiny Forest’ , a remarkable habitat adapted to the heat and drought of the area giving it the resultant thorny &/or bloated drought resistant trees and plants. The spiny forests inland from Ifaty are of great interest to birdwatchers and botanical enthusiasts alike. Here you will be able to see some very large iconic Baobab trees, an abundance of birds (a true paradise for ornithologists) as well as possibly some locally endemic species such as the long-tailed ground roller and sub-desert mesite. This unique habitat is severely threatened by deforestation and by visiting these sites, you will not only enjoy some of the little remaining spiny forest in Madagascar, but also actively contribute to its conservation (the sites are currently not protected). A visit here can be organized by the hotel, and you can even travel there by pirogue – which we highly recommend.

You will have a transfer to Tulear Airport, where you will catch the Air Madagascar flight from Tulear to Tana.  We will meet you again at Tana airport and depending on your time of arrival, you can visit the handicraft market, before transferring to your hotel.

Transfer to airport in time for flight home. If you are on the Air France or Air Kenya trip which leaves early morning of day 13, you can opt to have a day use room &/or driver/guide for the day (not included).

 

NB: This itinerary is subject to change – arrangements, routes and facilities are subject to variation depending on local conditions.  Please note times given are approximate driving times and do not include stops, the journey times are therefore longer. When driving times are given, this is only an indication.  It aims to reflect the actual driving time (and doesn’t include stops, lunch, traffic). The road journeys, while often long, are one of the great ways to experience Madagascar.  There is so much life on the road and many photographic opportunities along the way from a natural and people perspective.  

We can also tailor itineraries to suit your exact requirements.

BEACH EXTENSION OPTION 1: IFATY

 

BEACH EXTENSION OPTION 2: ANAKAO

 

OPTIONAL MORONDAVA EXTENSION

If you have time, why not add an extension to Morondava onto your Madagascar trip.  This will allow you to experience the Tsingy des Bemaraha as well as the Avenue des Baobabs (approx. 7 days needed – email us for details).

 

OPTIONAL WILDLIFE EXTENSION

This extension will give you an extra day in each of the following destinations: Andasibe National Park, Ranomafana National Park, Isalo National Park and Ifaty. It will also including a day of rafting on the Namorana River and a visit to Ambalavao and Anja Reserve.

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Pioneer Expeditions
Average rating:  
 11 reviews
 by Davis
Madagascar

we wanted to make the special effort of writing to say that we had a fantastic time and to say thank you to the whole team who made this possible. However, I must give special praise to Blaze our guide who did an excellent job; always prompt, always polite, always informative and always with a solution to any problem that may have arisen (of which there were very few. When the worst “disaster” is the hotel forgetting to prepare the picnic lunch then you know it’s been a smooth trip). Special praise also for our driver Pique, not only for his excellent driving on difficult roads but also for his permanent happiness and smile, even when the need for us to change money and to take twice the time at one “quick stop” park meant that we would arrive at the next hotel much later than planned.

Madagascar itself was fantastic. The scenery was outstanding, the wildlife superb, the local guides informative, helpful with excellent English skills and patient (as they tried to carefully clear more foliage out of the way so that we could actually see what was a blindingly obvious chameleon!) and the people friendly and helpful. We were surprised by the quality of the hotels with no problems or hiccups at any of them; all were clean, all were comfortable, all had hot water when needed, all had power and most had really good wi-fi (and even the two that didn’t had reasonable wi-fi in the lobby area – something that I expected to be a luxury everywhere). The Satrana Lodge in Isalo was our favourite for its tent-type lodges. The food was also a pleasant surprise, ranging from good to first class with the Plumeria Hotel in Antsirabe and the Thermal Hotel in Ranomafana being standout moments.

I’m trying to think of some negatives but none come to mind. There was, as expected, a lot of travelling but the car was comfortable, there were enough breaks and on all but one day there was a stop at a National or locally run park, but with Madagascar passing by the car window there was aways something to see so it was never boring. Mind you, we were grateful for that last day of relaxation at Ifaty beach.

So, thank you to everyone at Pioneer Expeditions who made this trip such a good one.

 by L. Shi
Great Experience

Great experience. Highlights - Visits to Rainforest national park and tropical national park.

 by L Spencer
Beautiful Country

Beautiful country, extreme poverty but rich in landscape and natural resources. Not for the faint hearted.

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