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23/In 1000 views, 11 days southern tour


INTRODUCTION

This version is to avoid domestic flights operated by Air Madagascar (expensive and not reliable). It goes from Tana till Isalo and drives then back to Tana. The itinerary was written in a way that clients enjoy the wide diversity of the country, landscape, alternating with visits to National Parks, private parks, hand craftsmen and meet local people on the way.

DETAILED DAY TO DAY PROGRAM


Day 1: Sunday: Arrival ANTANANARIVO (TANA) – Antsirabe

Arrival in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. Then with a private car, 3 to 4 hour drive southward to Antsirabe across the highland landscape with its beautiful teraced rice-fields and its spectacular eroded hills called “lavaka”. Optional stop in Ambatolampy, an agricultural city, also known for its aluminum recycling workshops that we might visit during the weekdays. The next hours, we’ll drive among rural scenery with thatched roof villages, valleys, rivers, rice and vegetables fields. This region supplies vegetables and rice to almost the whole country. Overnight at ROYAL PALACE  on BB

Day 2: Monday: ANTSIRABE – FIANARANTSOA

After breakfast, drive towards Ambositra, we are still in the Highlands with its green landscapes dominated by terraced rice fields and pine and eucalyptus forests. One thing which marks the Highlands is its architecture. Almost all houses are made from brick, with ornately carved wooden balconies and shutters with nice colours. Before Ambositra, we see the ” col de tapia” where the Tapia tree grows, a type of tree which resists bush fires. Arrival in Ambositra, a city known for its wood carving and its numerous small handicraft workshops. Visit to workshop where one attend craftsmen working. Continuation to Fianarantsoa, the capital of Betsileo tribes, the second largest tribe of the Highlands, also the second most populated city of the country after Antananarivo. Night at ZOMATEL on BB

Day 3: Tuesday: FIANARANTSOA – ISALO

Morning, we’ll leave Fianarantsoa, the capital of Betsileo tribes, the second largest tribe of the Highlands, also the second most populated city of the country after Antananarivo. From there, 60mn drive to Ambalavao and visit the “Anteimoro paper” workshop; Paper making was introduced in Madagascar by Arab traders. Then we’ll visit ANJA, a park run by the local community where part of the income serves to pay the teachers of the local school. We will spot ringtail lemurs during our 1 hour hike inside the park. We’ll head on to Ihosy, the capital of Bara tribes, through the mountain chain of Andringitra, which serves as a transition between green Highland and the dry South. The landscape is more and more grandiose. Huge Granite blocks are marking the spacious and empty plains. It is ” the gate of the south ” which marks the end of the Highlands and the beginning of the South. We feel like being swallowed by this emptiness, as we pass through the “plateau de Horombe» with its spacious red soil, reminding us of ” no man’s land”. In various places we can see zebu herds, accompanied by Bara men with rifles. Arrival in Isalo at the end of the afternoon. Overnight in MOTEL DE L’ISALO on BB

Day 4: Wednesday: ISALO NATIONAL PARK

4 to 6 hours hike in ISALO National Park. The park covers an area of 81,540 ha comprising the entire stretch of the Isalo massif. This huge massif is spectacular with its eroded sandstone mountains. 10 minutes drive from Ranohira village to the entrance of the park, then 90 minutes hiking through the massif to get a spectacular view of Isalo’s eroded sandstone mountains with its different colors, its strange and eroded forms giving many different images like “the tortoise”, “the masks” and “the crocodiles”. Vegetation is composed of Uapaca bojeri, Pachypodium rosulatum, an endemic species in Isalo, Aloe isaloensis. During the hike, one can see tombs inside rockclefts, as these mountains are also a Bara burial place. The canyon is just spectacular with its deep gorge. One will see small streams of water, small rivers which are marked by lines of brilliant green, generally made up of numerous Pandanus pulcher and the delicate, slim-stemmed, feathery leaved palm Chrysalidocarpus isaloensis. Along the way, for lemur’s lovers, one might see sifakas, brown lemurs and ring-tails, also fifty five species of birds, lizards, snakes. Back to the hotel at the end of the afternoon. Back and overnight in at the same hotel

Day 5: Thursday: ISALO – IFATY

After breakfast, head on to Tuléar, the terminal of the National road N° 7. After 1 hours drive, stop in Ilakaka, a tiny village transformed into a busy town since the discovery of sapphire 15 years ago. From here, new scenery arises, composed with semi-dry forest of the west, baobabs tamarind trees. We pass through Zombitse National Park wherewe will have 1 hour hike with a special guide in a semi-dry tropical forest, home to few endemic birds and 6 species of lemurs. Established in 1997 and covers 363 km² of dry forest, marshes, and savannas. As we come closer to Tulear, we start to see thorny bush and from time to time some colorful tombs of Mahafaly and Antandroy tribes. Arrival in Tuléar, the end of this long and stunning National Road 7. Afterwards we take the National 9, and head northwards to Ifaty along the coast along mangroves, thorny bushes, dunes. Overnight at BELLE VUE on BB

Day 6: Friday: IFATY

Day off. Ifaty lies on the north of Tuléar. Situated in the largest lagoon of the country, it is an ideal place for relaxing. Many excursions are possible on the spot like whales watching or sea excursion with local boat. From July to mid-September, whales are coming to the cool sea of Madagascar to give birth. It is a very spectacular experience as sometimes we will see the whales very near our boat. Situated in the largest lagoon of the country, Ifaty is also protected by a large coral reef which makes it an ideal place for diving and snorkelling. In the afternoon we can walk to the village of Mangily where we can have an experience off the Vezo Fishermen’s life, especially when the fishermen come back from fishing. Overnight in your Hotel

Day 7: Saturday: IFATY – ISALO

After breakfast, we drive back to Tuléar.From there, we take the National 7 and head northwards on to Isalo. This step brings us to the interior part of Madagascar, the land of Mahafaly. Along the way we’ll see many tombs of these tribes. Arrival in Isalo by the beginning of the afternoon. Settling and overnight in MOTEL DE L’ISALO on BB

Day 8: Sunday: ISALO – RANOMAFANA

After breakfast, we head on to Ihosy the capital of Bara tribes which are shepherds of Zebu. We pass through the huge “plateaux de Horombe”, with its very spacious red soil which reminds us of “the no man’s land”. This is a huge savannah and empty grassy plain. From one place to another we can see some droves of zebus, accompanied by a Bara man with his rifle. We arrive in Ihosy, the land of Bara who are darker skinned with African features if compared to Merina. They are cattle-raisers and many activities during their life are associated with Zebu. For instance, to get a wife, a man has to steal few zebus to show his strength and virility. When they die, they have to kill many zebus as well. The landscape is becoming more and more grandoise. Huge Granite Mountains are imposing themselves in the spacious and empty plains. We feel like being swallowed by this emptiness, by this tranquillity. From a long distance, we can already spot a huge imposing rocky hill called “Bishop’s hat”. This is a sacred place for the local people, noon ever venture to walk down there though it is nice area for trekking as it is a burial site and was a place where the local peoples ancestors preferred to make a collective suicide rather than to render to Merina’s domination. Then we will see the “3 hillocks” which area also among the imposing rocky hill. Another spectacular is the huge granite dome with twin rock towers called: “the gate of the south” which marks the beginning of the highland and the end of the south.Then continuation to Ranomafana, we pass through Fianarantsoa the capital of Betsileo tribes. Called “the gate of the South”, Fianarantsoa is the capital of Betsileo tribes. A very catholic city, this is the seat of Jesuits and the best university is found there. We continue our drive to Ranomafana. Night in IHARY HOTEL on BB

Day 9: Monday: RANOMAFANA NATIONAL PARK

4 hours expedition in the forest with a local guide to see 12 species of lemurs, Ranomafana is the most important site of lemurs in Madagascar, it is the only confirmed site for the two rarest species the greater bamboo lemur Hapalemur simus and the golden bamboo lemur Hapalemur aureus. Different species like Fulvus Rufus, Varieca Variegata, Hapalemur griseus, Avahi lanigeur, Lepilemur mustelinus, Propithecus diadema edwardsi, Cheirogaleus major and Daubentounia madagscariensis are also seen there. More than 100 birds, five species of viverrids, reptiles, lizards, butterflies and other insects have been recorded in this park. The area is covered with forest, in the higher areas ,the trees are festooned with mosses and lichens, much of this secondary forest is dominated by the introduced tree Psidium cattleyarum, also giant bamboo Cephalostacyum viguieri. Various orchids such as Bblophyllum and Eulophiella, steep mountains, dramatic waterfalls and natural hot springs make this endangered and exotic forest charming and unusual . The name Ranomafana means ” hot water ” due to its thermal springs. Overnight at the same hotel

Day 10: Sunday: RANOMAFANA – ANTSIRABE

Departure to Ambositra after breakfast. Today we come across the highlands, characterised by its terraced rice fields beautifully arranged on the hills, its valleys decorated with wide vegetable plantation, its chilly climate and its Asian featured population. Arrival in Ambositra by noon. Ambositra and its surroundings are the land of Zafimaniry. They are sub tribe of Betsileo who are the Third largest tribes in the country and the second tribes after Merina in the highland. Zafimaniry lives mainly in the forest and live on forest exploitation. They are the master of wood carving in the country. We stop and visit some “Zafimaniry handcrafts atelier” where we can experience this traditional “know how” of wood carving, marquetery, sculptures, which made this tribe very famous of. Continuation to Antsirabe, arrival in the afternoon Antsirabe or “the place of salt “, an elegant city best known as the centre of beer, we can smell the Bewery as we enter the town. With its temperate climate, all fruits and vegetable which grow in cold climate are found in Antsirabe. Known as a city of handcrafts, we will visit some ateliers, like “miniature of bike, old cars of 2 CV, then the zebu’ horn workshop where we can see the transformation of Zebu’s horn into decoration. Overnight at ROYAL PALACE on BB

Day 11: Wednesday: ANTSIRABE – TANA – OUT

Breakfast then we drive back to Tana. Arrival in Tana, transfer to the airport for the international flight back

END OF SERVICE

PRICE PER PERSON

INCLUDED :
  • Accommodation in double based in Bed and breakfast according to the program
  • Transport with a private 4X4 type TOYOTA LAND CRUISER ( 2 to 4) AND Hyundai H1 ( 10 seats) for 5 and 6 pax with air conditioning with driver (+indemnity), fuel and car insurance during the whole tours
  • The excursions mentioned in the program
  • Entrance fees and special guides in National Parks and private parks mentioned in the program
NOT INCLUDED :
  • All personal expenses, drinks, laundry, services, tips, foods, insurance
  • International flight to Madagascar