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Madagascar called the “eighth continent” because of its vast extent and its magnificent unique natural treasures, offers the discerning travelers the perfect destinations, from the rain forest for the adventurer, over the mountain passes for sporting fanatics, and for families and honeymooners alike the “never-crowded” fantastic white sandy beaches. You will enjoy going to some amazing spots and experience the best memories you will ever have in your life!
During this safari, you will be staying in various accommodations including Lakana Hotel or Maningory Hotel in Sainte Marie for four nights and several mid-range hotels like Feony Ala or Indri Lodge in Andasibe, Palmarium Hotel in Lake Ampitabe, Tamatave, and La Pirogue in Mahambo for the rest of the nights.
You will start your tour by visiting and knowing more of the charming capital of Madagascar. “The Queen’s Palace”, located on the highest hill overlooking the city, is the main sight. There, you will learn some history, legends, and admire an incredible 360 degrees panorama. After lunch, you will drive to Andasibe, through a landscape composed of a succession of rice fields, waterfalls, forests, and rare plants.
A quick stop en-route to visit the Peyrieras Reptile Reserve. There, you can admire beautiful butterflies, chameleons, and other insects to the amazing appearance. You then continue towards Andasibe, check into the hotel to get ready for a night walk with an English speaking guide by the edges of the park. At night, all you can hear are the screams of the Indri Indri, the largest species of lemur. Hopefully, you will be able to sleep.
Today, you will visit the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. If you are up for it, you can visit the park in its depths. The route proposed is the trekking circuit, a fairly tough six miles with steep slopes and hard-ish trails. You will see many waterfalls and lots of wildlife, hopefully, some of the 14 species of lemurs, 51 species of reptiles, and 84 species of amphibian. You should be tired at the end of this circuit but you will be happy with the visit.
Today, back on the national road 2, towards the east. Eight miles past Brickaville, you veer on to a small track towards Manambato, you are now in the Canal des Pangalanes area. Canal des Pangalanes was built at the beginning of the last century, it is a series of waterways that stretches for over 400 miles from Foulpointe to Farafangana.
You will enjoy the ride by a motorized boat to Lake Ampitabe. As soon as you arrive, you will check into the hotel and have lunch. The afternoon is at leisure. This place has a small forest station that holds many species of wildlife such as frogs, snakes, and tortoises to mention a few. After sunset, you will have a short night walk too.
Today after breakfast, you will visit the Palmarium Private Reserve. This place has a small forest station that holds many species of wildlife such as frogs, snakes, and tortoises to mention a few. The afternoon is at leisure to give you an opportunity to take some more photos of this magical lake or even to use a canoe and visit the lake independently.
You will leave the Palmarium and continue the boat ride to discover the Canal des Pangalanes towards the city of Tamatave, you navigate for about three hours. You will arrive in Tamatave early in time for lunch. In the afternoon, you will start an interesting city tour.
Tamatave is a pleasant place, with long and wide avenues lined with palm trees, a seaside promenade, and a good selection of hotels and restaurants. The city is also Madagascar’s commercial hub due to its commercial port but is also a popular holiday destination among the Malagasy people.
Today, you will head north, by car, to visit Parc Ivoloina just eight miles from Tamatave. There, you will have the chance to see some of the 13 species of lemurs including the elusive aye aye. This park offers great photo opportunities. There are also many reptiles, frogs, and parrots, unique to this area.
After the visit, back on the road towards Mahambo which takes around one and a half drive, you’ll arrive at a lovely beach resort for you to relax in the afternoon. This area is a bit of a gem as most visitors prefer Foulpointe being nearer to Tamatave. The beach is surrounded by palm trees and the nearby village is also a pleasant visit to do.
Continue north to reach the final stop on the “big island” soil, Soanierana Ivongo. From there, you will catch the ferry towards Saint Marie. The ride will take about two hours. Upon arrival, you’ll transfer to the hotel where you’ll spend your next four nights. The afternoon is at leisure by the beach.
The best way to explore this amazing tropical island, and if the weather is pleasant, is on a bicycle. It will be your choice on the day. The very rich green vegetation, the many little fishing villages, and endless sandy beaches shaded by tropical trees have made of Sainte Marie one of the most popular destinations in Madagascar. Peace, tranquility, and natural beauty, all prevail there.
This is one of those few places in the world you would enjoy even on a rainy day. Apart from tropical beauty, you will also visit the pirate’s cemetery and have lunch in one of the restaurants of Ambodifotatra, the capital of Sainte Marie. The afternoon is spent at leisure by the beach and remember to look out at sea, there might be few whales showing off (when in season).
The turn of visiting real paradise on earth, Île aux Nattes, is car free so it is truly peaceful. You will tour the island on foot and it will take you about three hours. You will stop anywhere you want and enjoy the rest of the day by the beach and have a picnic. You will not want to leave.
Early after breakfast, when the sea should be calm, you will visit some of the coastline by pirogue. If you are lucky and the water is clear, you could see some amazing marine life and coral reef during low tide. Afternoon is at leisure and since this is the last day of the tour, you are advised to head to the panorama point, south of the main island, where you could watch the sunset over Île aux Nattes. This will be another unforgettable moment of the trip.
You will have breakfast and be transferred to Ivato International Airport (TNR) to catch your flight to Tana. This is the end of the tour.
Please note that the number one problem in Madagascar are the conditions of the roads. During this tour, you will cover a little over 300 miles from Antananarivo to Soanierana-Ivongo. Here below, the approximate time you will spend in the car or traveling on water.
Antananarivo to Andasibe is three and a half hours, Andasibe to Manambato is two hours, Manambato to Palmarium (small river boat) is two hours, Palmarium to Tamatave (small river boat) is two and a half hours, Tamatave to Mahambo is two hours, Mahambo to Sonierana Ivongo is one and a half hours, Sonierana Ivongo to Sainte Marie (by ferry) is one hour.
Please also be informed that the unexpected can happen anywhere, a domestic flight cancellation, impassable road due to flooding, the car breaking down, and etcetera. Travelers of Madagascar suggests you to spend an extra day in the capital before the international flight, to avoid unpleasant situations.
The capital has many interesting sights to offer such as the Lemurs’ Park, the Blue Hill of Ambohimanga (UNESCO site), the Rova princess on top of the city, and the many markets spread across the city.
During this safari, you will enjoy some excursions to the capital city of Madagascar, Antananarivo, Canal des Pangalanes, Tamatave city tour, Sainte Marie, and Île aux Nattes where you could experience the true peace.
This safari will take place in Madagascar covering Antananarivo, Andasibe, Peyrieras Reptile Reserve, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Palmarium Private Reserve, Parc Ivoloina, Lake Ampitabe, Tamatave, Mahambo, Soanierana Ivongo, Saint Marie, and Île aux Nattes.
You will be provided with a continental breakfast.
You can enjoy various activities to do during this safari trip, for example, you could go to panorama point in Île aux Nattes and watch the sunset there. You could also visit the beach and nearby village in Sainte Marie. Last but not least, you could have a picnic and enjoy the rest of your day in Île aux Nattes.
Ivato International Airport
Please book your flight to arrive at Ivato International Airport (TNR). Transfer from the airport is included. Travelers of Madagascar will pick you up from the airport. On the departure day, you can take a domestic flight from Sainte Marie Airport (SMS) in Sainte Marie to Ivato International Airport (TNR) in Antananarivo. The transfer to Sainte Marie Airport (SMS) is included.
Air Madagascar flies every day of the week, at different times depending on the day. A one-way ticket, SMS to TNR is about 250 USD (as of December, 2015). If you want to avoid the domestic flight, Travelers of Madagascar can take you to Antananarivo at the cost of 125 USD.
The journey starts in the morning at 5:15 a.m. from the hotel to go to the port of Sainte Marie. From there, you’ll board the first ferry to Soanierana-Ivongo. From Soanierana-Ivongo, there are about 12 hours by car to the capital. Arrival is expected for the evening at approximately 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. You will stop for breaks along the way.
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