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Madagascar is home to a great number of endemic plants and animal and this tour will give you the opportunity to see many of them. This is arguably the most complete tour of Madagascar on the market, from the northern parks of Montagne d'Ambre and Ankarana to the prairies of Isalo in the south, from the canyons of Ankarafantsika to the rainforests of Andasibe and Ranomafana, from Diego Suarez to Toulaer, and driving all along the famous Route Nationale 7, from tropical lush vegetation to the majestic baobabs on the savanna of the south. This is certainly not a trip to miss!
For the duration of this safari, you will be accommodated at Lakana Hotel in Diego Suarez, at Thermal in Ranomafana, Tsienimparihy in Ambalavao, and H1 Isalo in Isalo. You will also be accommodated at Relais Ankarana Hotel in Ankarana, Blue Vanga Lodge in Ankarafantsika, Feony Ala in Andasibe, and H1 Antsirabe in Antsirabe.
The tour begins from the Arrachart Airport (DIE) or formerly called Diego-Suárez Airport, where your plane should arrive from Antananarivo by noon. This is a free day for you to admire the magnificent view of the Bay of Antsiranana by the hotel pool. Travelers of Madagascar also suggest a short but enjoyable walk to the town center.
After breakfast, you will have a quick twenty-minute drive to Ramena Beach, to board a sailing boat and navigate to a deserted island. Depending on the winds, the crossing will take about 45 minutes. The colors of the Emerald Sea are so clear that you will struggle to believe your eyes and the sand from afar looks like snow. Relax, sunbathe, and snorkel whilst the crew will prepare for you the most amazing lunch by the sea. In order to avoid rough seas and take advantage of the winds, you will leave by 15:00 to be in Ramena by 16:00. The rest of the evening is free for you to enjoy.
The day is dedicated to the Amber Mountain National Park. The drive today is 45 minutes to Jophreville, a little quaint little colonial village where the time has stopped since the 60s. The park, a rainforest that includes six volcano lakes and three waterfalls, is a paradise for many endemic animals and plants. The park is at over 1400 meters above sea level and sometimes, on clear days, the view is spectacular, to say the least. You will get dinner and overnight in Diego Suarez.
It is another amazing day ahead. The magical natural dry thorny Orangea Reserve awaits you, with its three fantastic bays. You will also enjoy the views of some baobabs and some endemic flora in this area. The Three Bays are really beautiful, warm shallow blue waters with very fine white sand. You can walk across these three heavenly looking bays, just don’t expect to see many people around. You will return to Diego Suarez after 17:00.
Today, you will begin the journey south towards Nosy Be. First stop is the Red Tsingy (in Malagasy means ‘where one cannot walk barefoot’). The formations here are from laterite which gives them a strong red-orange color. Right after the Red Tsingy, you will arrive at the national park of Ankarana. The Ankarana is a series of rocky, limestone sharp ridges, tropical jungle, deciduous forest, caves, and canyons. In this reserve, you will find the highest density of primates of any forest in the world. You will contemplate the picturesque landscape of the Tsingy, the duality between the calcareous rocks, the volcanic rocks, and the endemic flora. You will have dinner and overnight in Ankarana.
The whole day dedicated to visit the Ankarana National Park. On the day, you can choose the circuit based on energy level and interests. Travelers of Madagascar suggests the circuit of the cave of the crocodiles and the Lake of Ampandriamborona (six hours) or the Green Lake circuit (9 hours) along the river Amposatelo to discover most of the flora and fauna this amazing park has to offer. You shall get dinner and overnight in Ankarana.
Today, you will drive south to Ankarafantsika. It is 10 hours of driving.
After breakfast, you will be visiting Ankarafantsika National Park. The park is home to eight lemur species and a night walk is usually exciting and rewarding and you may find Milne-Edwards sportive lemur, mongoose lemur, western wolly lemur, grey mouse lemur, fat-tailed dwarf lemur, and it is the only place where you can find the golden-brown mouse lemur. During the day, Coquerel's sifaka are commonly seen. The park is also one of Madagascar's finest birdwatching venues with 129 species (75 are endemic) such as the banded kestrel, Rufous vanga, Van Dam's vanga, and Madagascar fish eagle. You will begin the visit of the beautiful canyon.
Today, you will dedicate the whole day (eight hours) to reach the capital.
You will begin the tour going east towards Andasibe, along the route nationale 7, a trip of about four hours. The scenery will change from just outside the capital from dry to lavish forests just few minutes into the journey. The road itself, with Malagasy standards, is in good conditions, very hilly, bendy with many large trucks not exceeding the 25 mph. Generally speaking, the landscape is fantastic. You will pass few small villages, rice fields, and see beautiful plants that are completely new to your eyes.
The arrival in Andasibe is expected at about midday. The first visit is booked with the Analamazaotra, more commonly known as the reserve of the indri, the largest species of lemur. The indri is an incredible primate, very agile and loud, thanks to his continuous screaming throughout the day. Right after dark, there is a brief walk along the perimeter of the park to spot some wildlife in the dark. If you are lucky, you will admire the ‘mouse lemur’ or Microcebus, the smallest of all the lemurs.
In the morning, you will get a short drive north to visit the park of Mantadia. Travelers of Madagascar have planned a small four hours circuit, to observe some groups of lemurs like the diadem sifaka, the bamboo lemur, and the indri. The circuit includes amazing landscapes made of small waterfalls, rivers, and some incredible tropical vegetation. After a small break, you will head to the reserve of the Vakona Lodge. Watch your cameras, lemurs are really cheeky here!
It is a long traveling day ahead because you will head south of Antananarivo to get to Antsirabe, seven hours away. Past the capital, the scenery doesn’t change much until Ranomafana. You will drive through typical highlands villages, rice fields, a few planted trees, and some red rivers. The national seven is incredibly beautiful and ‘classic Madagascar at its best’. You will leave behind cars and trucks that in the States would not even be considered worthy of a wrecking yard, souvenir vendors, barnyard animals feeding just by the side of the road, cyclists, and much more.
Five hours into the drive, and you should be in Ambatolampy, where you will stop to visit a foundry that produced kitchen utensils for the whole country. By 15:00 in the afternoon, you should reach Antsirabe, for a short visit to the great local market of Tsara Sabotsy. You should be tired now, in time for a good shower and a dinner.
You will spend the day in this town, which is known as the Vichy of Madagascar for its many thermal springs. You will tour Antsirabe on a rickshaw, to discover local traditions of silk-weaving, stone cutting, and zebu horn carving. In the afternoon, you will take the scenic drive and a short hike to Lake Titriva, a beautiful lake that fills the extinct crater of a volcanic cone surrounded by majestic metamorphic cliffs.
After breakfast, you will drive to Ranomafana National Park, a tropical rain forest over 161 square miles. Along the journey, you will visit Ambositra, the center of Madagascar’s wood carving industry. Here you can buy some amazing gifts for your loved ones. You will arrive in Ranomafana in the evening, just in time to do a short guided walk by the edges of the park to view some amazing creatures at work at night. Please make sure that you wear long sleeve shirts and pants and also bring bug spray.
Today in the morning before it is too hot, you will take a sightseeing hike in Ranomafana National Park, one of the most beautiful rainforests in the world. Here, you will see some of the lemurs and other unique animal species Madagascar has to offer. After the hike and lunch, you will head south to Ambalavao, a large subtropical town in east-central Madagascar. If on time, you will visit the Antaimoro Paper factory. This papyrus-type paper, made from the bark of a tree called avoha, is impregnated with dried flowers and sold into such items as wall hangings and lampshades.
From Ambalavao, you shall drive to the national park of Andringitra. The Andringitra is one of the most spectacular national parks of Madagascar and you will be blown away by its granite peaks and dome, reaching an altitude of almost 9,000 feet. Travelers of Madagascar will take you to the foot of the sacred Riandahy drop (1,000 feet high) and visit the cave of Ijajofo hidden under the forest. This circuit will last four hours and you will see why this is the most scenic national park in Madagascar.
After the hike, you will go back to the route nationale 7 and continue south. You will stop just after Ambalavao to visit the Anja Community Reserve, a gorgeous 74-acre wonderland. Designated a protected reserve in 1999, this fascinating park has breathtaking views, beautiful plant life and hosts more than 300 not camera-shy ring-tailed lemurs. Here in Anja, nature and humans coexist and flourish. After your visit to Anja Reserve, you will drive to Ranohira and you should arrive in Ranohira early in the evening.
Today, you will visit another breathtaking national park of Madagascar. Isalo National Park is a truly unique park with incredibly diverse landscapes, including prairie-like grasslands, mountains, deep canyons, and tropical oases with picturesque waterfalls dropping into inviting blue pools of cold water. You may consider taking a dip after a long hike, where temperatures can easily reach 85 degrees Fahrenheit before midday. You should wear good walking shoes and bring plenty of water. Today’s lunch will be on the go. Before sunset, you will head to the famous Window of Isalo, a rock formation for one of the best sunset photo opportunities of the tour.
You will begin to return to the capital early in the morning. You will arrive in the afternoon of day 19. There is a possibility to go on a city-sightseeing tour depending on traffic.
Travelers of Madagascar's last service is the transfer to Ivato International Airport (TNR).
This safari will take place at Three Bays, Amber Mountain National Park, Red Tsingy, Ankarana National Park, Ankarafantsika National Park, Antananarivo, Andasibe Mantadia National Park, Antsirabe, Ranomafana National Park, Anja Private Reserve, Andringitra National Park, and Isalo National Park in Madagascar.
Madagascar is called the Eight Continent because of its vast extent and magnificent unique natural treasures. Madagascar offers discerning travelers the perfect destinations from rainforest for the adventurer, over the mountain passes for sporting fanatics, and the 'never-crowded' fantastic white sandy beaches for families and honeymooners alike.
Please book your flight to arrive at Arrachart Airport (DIE). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Travelers of Madagascar will pick you up from the airport.
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