Madagascar Azur: Tsiribihina, Tsingy, classic south, train to Manakara & Analamazaotra NP
This extensive route takes you past all the major sights of the center and south of Madagascar. Varied landscapes, from tropical rainforest to arid desert regions, jagged rock parks and pure white secluded beaches. One minute you’re among the rice terraces, the other time in a remote village with a local tribe. We drive through the highlands and vast steppes, riding the train only in Madagascar and boating on beautiful canals. Meet friendly locals, interesting cultures and collect many wonderful memories. This can easily be the trip of a lifetime!
- Tsiribihina River
- Tsingy de Bemaraha (National Park of Bemaraha)
- Kirindy Forest Reserve
- Baobab Avenue / Morondava
- Coastal trail and beaches (Belo sur Mer, Manja, Salary and Ifaty)
- Route Nr. 7 (Isalo NP, Anja Reserve, Ranomafana National Park)
- Andringitra National Park (Hiking – Camping)
- Fianarantsoa – Train to Manakara
- Excursion on the Pangalane Canals(Manakara)
- Analamazaotra National Park
Madagascar Azur: Tsiribihina, Tsingy, classic south, train to Manakara & Analamazaotra NP
Madagascar Azur: Tsiribihina, Tsingy of Bemaraha, Creek of Andavadoaka, South, west Coast (Salary or Ambatomiloa), Seaside resort of Ifaty, Classic south, train to Manakara , Analamazaotra NP, Antananarivo the Capital
Including: Transport by private car, fuel, the drivers and tour guides (incl. meals, lodging, ect.) Continental Breakfast, entrance fees and local guides, The trip on the canal, Train Tickets: Fianarantsoa – Manakara
The descent on the Tsiribihina River and trip to Tsingy Bemaraha. Motorboat or Pirogue Local / Camping / full board on the river and also Tsingy trip / Formalities at the police office in Miandrivazo / car 4×4 – 4 Days / Mineral water on the river and Tsingy / the entrance and local guide National Park Tsingy, ect.
Price on request
Best time: February to November
Day 1: Antananarivo – Antsirabe
Loading luggage and departure for Antsirabe. Driving through the High Lands beautiful mountanous landscapes and rice paddies, contrasting with laterite houses of the Imerina. Several photo stops along the road. Ambatolampy: renowned for its many aluminium workshops making cutlery and cooking pots. It’s also the repair centre for taxi-brousses (the popular local transport). Arrival in the city of Antsirabe, also nicknamed ‘The Malagasy Vichy’ (Thermal baths). City tour and visiting Tailors and Gemstone shops. Hotel.
Day 2: Antsirabe – Miandrivazo
Visit around Antsirabe and it’s Volcanic lakes. Then en route to Miandrivazo. The city where we will start our decent down the River Tsiribihina. Walk through town. Hotel.
Days 3 and 4: Miandrivazo – descent by motorboat – camping
A Long boat equipped with kitchen, dining room and a flat roof / vantage point to enjoy the beautif scenery: gorges, rugged mountains covered with forest, spot our first Lemurs. Visit to the cascades and natural pools for a dip. In the outputs of the gorges we can spot several traditional villages. The landscape is dotted with large areas of endemic plants en Baobabs. In the evening we camp on the large sand banks bordering the river and forest. Sit around a Campfire where songs can be sang in honor of the guide.
Day 5: Belo sur Tsiribihina – Bekopaka
Arrival in Belo sur Tsiribihina. The scenery of the river port is the most intense. 4×4 transfer to the village of Bekopaka (Early Tsingy). Hotel.
Day 6: Great Tsingy de Bemaraha (Circuit Andamozavaky)
Hike through the maze of canyons, primary forest, clusters of limestone carved by rain for millennia, one of the most fascinating sites in Madagascar. Observation of large Sifaka lemurs. hotel.
Day 7: The river Manambolo and small Tsingy de Bemaraha
Local boat ride (Pirogue) on the river gorge in the shadow of huge towering cliffs with vertical walls carved by the river, enjoy the impressive silence! Visit to the small Tsingy. Hotel.
Day 8: Bekopaka – Belo sur Tsiribihina – Kirindy forest
Visit to the Kirindy Forest Reserve, located 60 km north of Morondava. With about 10,000 ha it used to be managed by the Swiss, hence its nickname ‘Swiss forest’. This reserve is pursuing several goals: the preservation of several species of diurnal and nocturnal lemurs and the presence of animals like the Fosa and Giant jumping rat. It also protects the unique freshwater turtle of Madagascar. The reserve furthermore houses 45 species of birds and 32 species of reptiles. Hotel Ecolodge.
Day 9: Kirindy – Morondava
Our first part of the trip ends here: We make some stops at about 25 km from Morondava to visit the sacred Baobab, the Baobabs in love and the majestic avenue des Baobabs. Accommodation by the sea.
Day 10: Morondava – Belo sur Mer
Early morning departure in a 4×4 for a 80 km track up to the beautiful little village of Sinners Belo sur Mer, famous for the manufacturing of dhows. Wonderful little village by the sea with cristal clear water. Accommodation by the sea.
Day 11: Belo sur Mer – Manja
The 4×4 will take us inland to the small farming town of Manja. Hotel in Manja.
Day 12: Manja – Andavadoaka
After breakfast we take the 4×4 and drive towards the charming city of Morombe, through a beautiful and versatile landscape. We cross the river at the village of Mangoky Bevoay. The Baobabs are quit ubiquitous in this region of the big island. After about 45 km, we reach the wonderful site of Andavadoaka. Overnight at the Hotel.
Day 13: Andavadoaka – Salary
Today we drive along the beautiful Coastal Trail in our 4×4, we will only see some zebu carts on this road. We cross a huge forest of spiny topped Baobabs before arriving in the overwhelmingly charming village of Salary by the sea. Enjoy the pristine white sandy beaches and dunes where you might find some pieces of the eggs of the elephant bird.
Day 14: Salary
Today is a resting day. You have the opportunity to relax, take a walk, diving, snorkeling or make a canoe trip along the coast.
Day 15: Salary – Ifaty
After breakfast we continue our coastal trail before reaching the beautiful beaches of Ifaty. After checking into our hotel, you can visit the charming little village Mangily or participate in a range of activities related to the water and the sea. Ifaty beach is also ideal for relaxing under a palm tree and watch a beautiful sunset.
Day 16: Ifaty – Tulear – Ranohira
Big day ahead when we drive up north to Ranohira. We pass through the city of Toliara (Tulear). With 100,000 inhabitants, it is the largest city in the south. The city is also known as the “city of the sun”. On the road we go to Antsokay Arboretum where a Swiss botanist has created a garden dedicated to plants endemic to the South – West, but also other regions of the island. The arboretum of Antsokay (about 52 ha) is visited by many researchers and it houses more than 950 species of plant, several tortoises and chameleons.
We continue on the road RN 07 and drive through a landscape of thorny flora typical of the south. Also there are here and there to see the beautiful tombs Mahafaly tribe (one of the many ethnic groups in Madagascar). We drive through the sapphire town Ilakaka. In 1998, a farmer found a sapphire here and since then the gemstone extracted from the ground on a large scale. At the end of the afternoon we arrive in Ranohira and check in at our hotel.
Day 17: Isalo Massif
Ranohira is a small town that is used as a base for visiting the famous Isalo National Park. Isalo, is also called the “wild west of Madagascar”, because of the many sandstone canyons, ranging from red to pink, massive granite rocks and caves. Much of the jagged rockformations have nicknames like: the window, the boat, the cabbage and the queen. We visit Isalo park and enjoy it’s wildlife and fantastic landscapes. In the park we can take a refreshing bath in an idyllic natural pool. In the late afternoon we return to our hotel.
Day 18: Ranohira – the reserve of Anja ha – Ambalavao
After breakfast we will continue our journey through the large and monotonous Horombe plateau, home of the Bara tribes, zebu breeders. We drive through the city of Ihosy to look at Ifadana peak (1.025m) is nicknamed “The bishops Cap” because of its shape. Another 18km before we enter the town of Ambalavao and the beautiful little Anjaha Reserve, rich of plants and wildlife (Many ringtailed lemurs).
The ride is pretty long but beautiful and we can have as many (photo) stops you want. In the evening we check in at our hotel.
Days 19-20: Ambalavao – Andringitra National Park – Hiking – Camping – Hiking – Ambalavao
National Park Andringitra is situated about 47 km southeast of Ambalavao. The park covers an area of 31,160 ha and is also very rich in flora and fauna. Many birds, reptiles, primates, orchids and palms. All with a high rate of endemism. There are also 4 different Ecosystems in this Reserve. There are 6 different circuits available in the park, and you can easily walk for about 5 to 7 hours per day.
The Asaramanitra circuit: To see the waterfall
The Diavolana (lunar) circuit: To see the beautiful scenery (Hiker confirmed)
Pic Boby (Imarivolanitra): To the top (Hiker confirmed)
The circuit Imaitso: To see the drill (Hiker confirmed)
The circuit Isahavato: To see the palm trees (Hiker confirmed)
Valley Tsaranoro Camps (Catta) to the chameleon peak.
Day 21: Andringitra – Ambalavao – Fianarantsoa
Before we go en route to Fianarantsoa, we first visit the craft shops in Ambalavao: Antaimoro Paper and Silk. Handmade art, with a real sense of resourcefulness, due to lack of advanced technology. The crafts of the city can be rich and varied, which will not let you go empty handed, but with many memories, and a general knowledge of manufacturing and originality.
Also you will find beautiful silk weavings, mufflers, scarves and blankets. Walk to the Zebu market and the Wine Cellar of “Soavita.”
The city of Fianarantsoa, where one learns good. The city was built around 1830 by order of Queen Ranavalona, the first Merina Queen who wanted to educate people. Fianar is also the city where we take the train to Manakara. Hotel.
Day 22: Fianarantsoa – Train – Manakara
Early in the morning we will take the train on a 163 km railroad track dating back to the colonial period. It connects Fianarantsoa, capital of Betsileo, to Manakara coastal town in the heart of Madagascars Antaimoro Country. This is the only working train in Madagascar. The railway line was built around 1936. It crosses one of the most beautiful landscapes from the descending highlands to the sea. Lined with 67 points and 48 tunnels, this railways is one of the steepest in the world (see Ecuador and Burma). A most exceptional experience, the course will reveal panoramic views down the cliffs to the east of Fianarantsoa. Heavily damaged by cyclones Elijah and Gloria at the beginning of 2000, the way is now cleared and rebuilt. Three locomotives are newly rehabilitated, and the Malagasy company is still willing to accommodate individual tourists and groups. You will have the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful landscape which as we descend, is more wild. We leave the forest replacement (eucalyptus, fir) to immerse ourselves in thick vegetation crossed by beautiful cascades, the cruising speed is between 20 and 30 km / h. The journey normally lasts between 8 and 10 hours depending on the technical risks and the time needed to change and unloading of goods. You will have time to explore the local commercial life during the 17 stops. It gets guite colorful with each arriving train, sellers congregate to compartment windows, watch any of a passenger who cede to the desire to buy, samosas, crayfish, mandarins, oranges, bananas, apples, cinnamon or eat a banana fritter, hard egg hard or sausage. Hotel in Manakara.
Day 23: Excursion on the Pangalane Canals
A day trip with a local guide on the Pangalane Canal in a dugout canoe with roofing
Day 24: Manakara – Ranomafana
After breakfast we will drive towards Ranomafana National Park. The flora and fauna of this 41,000 hectares park are very diverse and often unique in the world. Ranomafana is one of the most famous parks in Madagascar and alse very important to the island. The park was established in 1991 after the discovery of the golden bamboo lemur. There are 114 species of birds and 12 species of lemurs and many orchids. You can also visit the hot spring that feeds a thermal pool and spa. Thanks to its composition the water of this sulphurous pool allows for curative treatment. You can make walks in the park during the day and night to see the different species of chameleons, frogs and the small nocturnal “mouse lemur”. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 25: Ranomafana – Visit diurne – Ambositra
After visiting Ranomafana National Park, today we’ll go to Ambositra, a city renowned for its beautiful Malagasy arts: wood carvings, embroidery. Visit a marquetry workshop with Victor markets and souvenirs. Hotel in Ambositra.
Day 26: Ambositra – Andasibe
Early mornuing drive to Andasibe. The landscape is beautiful and varied, highlands, rice paddies and Ravinala, the oil palm. Short break at Marozevo to visit a breeding farm of reptiles and small mammals. Arrival in Andasibe, check inn at the hotel. Later in the evening we drive to the entrance of Analamazaotra park, for a nice and interesting night tour to discover the nocturnal lemurs, chameleons and frogs. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 27: Andasibe – Analamazaotra – Vakona Lodge – Tana.
After breakfast, transfer to the entrance of Analamazaotra park for a tour. With an area of 810 Hectares, this park houses 31 species of mammals, 11 species of lemurs (notably, Indri), 112 species of birds, 39 species of reptiles, 100 species, insects. We will very probably spot (and hear) the largest species of lemur: Indri indri. Next we’ll visit the small reserve of the Vakona Lodge to see some species of Lemur: Bamboo Lemur, Varrecia Varregatta and the brown Lemur. After lunch at the Restaurant we head back to Antananarivo / Transfer to Ivato Airport – International flights.