Africa Tours and Safaris
15 Day Mysterious Madagascar - Antanananrivo to Antanananrivo

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DAY 1 - Antananarivo
Arrive and check in to your hotel. Later this evening you will have the chance to meet your tour leader and the other members of your tour. "Tana" (as Antananarivo is know to the locals) is a colourful, bustling city boasting cobbled streets, marvellous French cuisine and lively markets packed with local crafts. The day will be at your leisure to enjoy all there is to offer in this vibrant city. All meals to your own account.
Meal: All meals to your own account.

DAY 2 - Perinet National Park
After breakfast we start with our first day on the road traveling east, through beautiful landscape of hills with dense tropical rainforest. We drive through spectacular scenery today on our way towards Perinet National Park, stopping en route to see the local wildlife, and passing through local villages and forests. Breakfast.
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 3 - Perinet National Park
This morning we visit Andasibe Reserve in search of the Indri - a rare type of lemur. In the afternoon we visit a Betsimisaraka village to gain an insight into the local culture and customs. Breakfast.
Perinet National Park is home to some of Madagascar's most amazing wildlife, including the endangered aye-aye, bamboo lemurs, chameleons, and the indri, which was named by mistake. When Pierre Sonnerat, a French naturalist, was exploring the island, a local guide spotted the animal and pointed at it, shouting "Indri", which means "look at that" in Malagasy. Sonnerat assumed the guide was giving him the local name, and ever since then the largest species of lemur has been known as the indri, even to Malagasy speakers. These beautiful animals have black and white markings and pale green eyes, and live in the tree canopy. The park itself contains montane forest and a wealth of plant and birdlife as well.

Lemurs are a special group of primates found only on Madagascar and the Comoros Islands. There are fifty species of lemurs, seventeen of which are on the endangered species list. Lemurs are prosimians, or primative primates. They are social animals with long limbs, flexible toes and fingers, and long noses. Habitat loss is the main threat to lemurs today, as people clear their native forests for farmland.

The Betsimisaraka constitute the second largest (15%) ethnic group in Madagascar's population and are mostly found on or near the east coast. They are divided into three subgroups: the northern Betsimisaraka, the Betanimena, and the southern Betsimisaraka. Their territory extends along the coast in a narrow band from the Bemarivo River in the north to the Mananjary River in the south, a distance of some 640 kilometres. The Betsimisaraka, whose name means 'numerous and inseparable', have traditionally been traders, seafarers, and fishers, as well as cultivators of the tropical lowland areas. They trace their origins to Ratsimilaho, reputed to be the son of a British pirate and a Malagasy princess, who unified several small coastal states in the 18th century.

DAY 4 - Antsirabe
Today we depart Andasibe traveling via the vibrant capital of Tana and head south to Antsirabe. It is a long traveling day, but the stunning scenery will make up for the journey. We should arrive in Antisrabe at approximately 18:00 where we will check into the hotel. Breakfast.
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 5 - Ambositra
After a short tour of Antsirabe, we travel today to Ambositra, the centre of Madagascar's wood carving industry. Along the way we stop at a sacred lake for a short walk. Ambositra, meaning 'the place of the eunuchs' (supposedly because the Merina tribe castrated all defeated warriors of the local tribe), is an excellent place to see examples of Malagasy wood carvings, and is the capital of the Zafimaniry tribe. The local houses boast intricately carved balconies, panels and shutters. Breakfast.
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 6 - Ranomafana
Driving through rice fields, forests and mountains we head to Ranomafana National Park, home to much of Madagascar's unique and fascinating wildlife. Breakfast.
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 7 - Ranomafana
Today we have a guided walk through the forest in the hope of seeing some of the many species of lemurs that Madagascar is so famous for. Ranomafana is considered to be one of Madagascar's most beautiful National Parks, and was established in the early 1990s to protect the newly discovered golden bamboo lemur, as well as the very rare greater bamboo lemur. The park is covered with forest, and in higher areas moss and lichens cover the trees, giving it a prehistoric feel. Exotic plants such as orchids, as well as mountains, waterfalls and natural hot springs, make this endangered forest a charming and unusual place to discover. Breakfast.
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 8 - Andringitra National Park
Heading to Andringitra National Park, we stop along the way at Ambalavao, once a center of Arabian civilization in Madagascar. Tonight will be spent in dormitory accommodation in the park. Breakfast and dinner.
Note: if dormitory accommodation is unavailable we will camp instead.
Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Created in 1999, Andringitra harbours a large variety of native species found nowhere else, as well as some of Madagascar's most impressive scenery. The second and third highest peaks in the country, Pic Boby and Pic Bory, lie within its boundaries. The area is characterised by remarkable granite domes, waterfalls, green valleys and, at the highest altitudes, remote heathlands, and is the one place in Madagascar where snow has been known to fall. Andringitra is also an excellent place for walking and hiking.

DAY 9 - Andringitra
We walk through the mountain chain of Andringitra, stopping to admire the scenery and spot the local wildlife. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

DAY 10 - Isalo National Park
We head south today and cross from the lushness of the highlands into the more arid south, passing sacred mountains and interesting villages along the way, until we end up at Isalo National Park. Breakfast.
Meals: Breakfast

Isalo National Park, in the south of the country, is largely made up of interestingly-shaped sandstone rocks, and is a world away from the lushness of some of Madagascar's other parks. The park is renowned for the colours of the surrounding terrain and impressive panoramic views, as well as a sense of utter tranquillity. It is also a sacred area to the local Bara tribe, who use caves in the cliffs as burial chambers.

DAY 11 - Isalo National Park
Exploring Isalo National Park, we walk through sandstone hills and unique geological formations, until we reach an area of rivers and pools where we'll have the opportunity to cool off. Along the way we may spot lemurs and other interesting wildlife. Breakfast.
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 12 - Ifaty
We head south again, through the 'spiny desert', stopping en route to look at spectacular Mahafaly tombs. As we get to the coast we pass fishing villages and see fishermen heading out into the sea on their pirogues, before we arrive at Ifaty, at the beach. Breakfast.
Meals: Breakfast

On the southwest coast of Madagascar, looking out over the Mozambique Channel lies Ifaty, an idyllic sun-soaked retreat which makes the perfect end to your trip. Home to the local Vezo people, Ifaty is an excellent place for snorkeling, diving, or just relaxing and watching the waves lap the shore. Pirogues manned by local fishermen move up and down the coastline, bringing their catches back to land to sell in the local markets, and you'll soon find yourself slipping into an easy pace of life. There are also plenty of other options for the more energetic, including trips to local nature reserves, boat trips to spot whales and other marine life, and walks to local villages.

DAY 13 - Ifaty
Free day at Ifaty to relax or snorkel. There are also many excursions that can be made from here, including a visit to the Reserve Domergue, which is home to many interesting and unusual reptiles. Breakfast.
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 14 - Antananarivo
Today's schedule depends on the flight departure times from Tulear to Antananarivo. We will have a chance for a last swim in the ocean before we head back to Tulear and await our outbound domestic flight back to 'Tana'. The flight time is approximately 1 hour 15 minutes. We will be collected at the airport in Antananarivo and transferred to our hotel, and there should be enough time to visit a local craft market. The rest of the day and evening is free to experience at your leisure in 'Tana'.
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 15 - Antananarivo
Tour ends after breakfast. Breakfast.
Meals: Breakfast


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