Day 1 Antantanarivo – Antsirabe

We’ll begin our tour in the morning, visiting the charming capital of Madagascar. The Queen´s Palace, located on the highest hill overlooking the city, is the main sight. Here you will learn some history, legends and admire an incredible 360 degree panorama. After Lunch, we will drive to Antsirabe. If we don’t find too much traffic on the way out from Tana, we will pay a visit to Ambatolampy´s pot casting factories. Here you will see how time hasn’t gone forward very much from the 19th century. We should arrive in Antsirabe before dark.

Day 2 Antsirabe

We will spend the day in this town is known as the “Vichy of Madagascar” for its many thermal springs. We will tour Antsirabe on a rickshaw, to discover local traditions of silk-weaving, stone cutting and zebu horn carving. In the afternoon we 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.

Day 3 Antsirabe – Miandrivazo – Tsiribnha Cruise

Early breakfast today, to reach Miandrivazo before 9 am. We’ll board a motorized barge and begin the descent to the river Tsiribihina. It is going to be 100 miles of fun and relaxation. Everywhere along the river, you can find smaller and bigger sandbanks at the riverside and this is where we can have our picnics or pitch our tent at sunset. Birdwatchers, have your camera ready! Overnight camping on a full board basis.

Day 4 Tsiribnha Cruise

Continuation of the descent of the river at the edge of which there are plantations of tobacco, vegetables and rice and you can also see various water birds (herons, egrets, ibis, wild ducks and many more). Today, depending on timing, we should visit a beautiful waterfall and swim in a natural pool. Be warned, the water is cold here despite the warm temperature of the area. Overnight camping on a full board basis.

Day 5 Tsiribnha Cruise – Belo sur Tsiribinha – Bekopaka

As we enter the last stages of the descent small villages, mainly inhabited by fishermen and farmers, enliven up the already beautiful scenery. Our car is waiting for us in Belo-sur-Tsiribinha to take us to our next stop, Bekopaka. We will have lunch in Belo sur Tsiribinha. After 60 miles and 4 hours drive, we reach the Manabolo river where another boat is waiting for us to cross the river to our destination.

Day 6 Bekopaka – Tsingy de Bemaraha

Great day ahead as we will visit of the famous Tsingy de Bemaraha – a national park set in the UNESCO list of world natural heritage composed of sharp fluted and laminated limestone up to 160 ft high, home to endemic animals and plant species in Madagascar (lemurs, birds, plants). According to many of our visitors, this is one of the most beautiful sights of the whole of Madagascar, but believe me, there are many more to come. We suggest to wear hard comfortable shoes and wear long jeans (despite the usually high temperatures) to avoid cuts. Our visit should take about 3/4 hours. Afternoon at leisure by the pool with amazing views over the lowlands.

Day 7 Bekopaka – Kirindy

Today we´ll leave early and have breakfast as early as possible as we have 6 hrs drive to our next stop. We should arrive early in the afternoon to visit of the Kirindy Reserve. This is one of the most rewarding natural areas of Madagascar because wildlife here is abundant. We could see the fossa, the giant jumping rat (it is the size of a rabbit) and the narrow striped mongoose amongst some of the endemic animals of the area.

Day 8 Kirindy –  Morondava

After breakfast, back on the road for Morondava. Within a few minutes of drive, we will see one of the most photographed sights of Madagascar:  the “Allees des Baobabs” or the Avenue of Baobabs. I’d say that when you think of Madagascar, this is what you’ll see and what most magazines show. We will be in Morondava by midday on time for lunch. The rest of the day at leisure by the beach.

Day 9 Morondava – Belo sur Mer

After breakfast, we’ll drive south to Belo sur Mer, 4 hours drive. Here we’ll spend the next 2 nights. Belo sur Mer is famous to be the shipbuilding center of Madagascar and here you will see how locals still make boats like they used to hundreds of years ago. Afternoon at leisure by the beach. Here, great possibilities to do snorkeling or diving, the coral reef here is amazing and seldom visited.

Day 10 Belo-sur-Mer

After breakfast, we will spend the whole day at sea. Belo-sur-Mer, is the base for visiting a cluster of 9 beautiful, interesting islands, just offshore. We can spend a few hours and prepare a picnic in your favorite remote beach.

Day 11 Belo sur Mer – Manja – Morombe

Tough day ahead! Early in the morning, we drive southeast to Manja, then southwest to Morombe. We will cross desert areas, passing by traditional Sakalava tombs decorated with the famous “aloalo”, a symbolic representation of the deceased person’s life. The bush is full of spiny plants and trees endemic to Madagascar. In time for lunch we should arrive in Manja, the capital of a former Sakalava kingdom, today only known to travelers that go from Morondava to Tuléar or vice-versa. After Manja, we will see only a few villages, and the road is more difficult than the previous days. The wild landscape is very nice and makes you feel so far away everything! Today’s drive is 8/10 hours and we should arrive in Morombe before sunset.

Day 12 Morombe – Andavadoaka

Today, we will head south to Andavadoaka. This fishing village, is one of the nicest of the whole of western Madagascar. It is so remote that just getting here makes it rewarding. If that’s not enough, marine life is so rich that is second to no other place in Madagascar. The white sandy beach here is also spectacular.

Day 13 Andavadoaka

Whole day at leisure. We recommend a nice walk in the afternoon to explore the beautiful dry deciduous forest that surrounds this peninsula or just walk along the coast to visit some of the beautiful sheltered coves that dot this beautiful Vezo village.

Day 14 Andavadoaka – Salary

After breakfast, is the turn of Salary Bay. This must be the best looking beach on the west. The sand is so white that you will always need sunglasses even more on cloudy days…not to worry, you won’t see many cloudy days here. Enjoy this incredible beach, you will really love the feel of the incredibly fine sand under your feet.

Day 15 Salary

One more day at leisure in this paradise. Only the strength of the midday to three o’clock sun can keep you away from the warm turquoise water. Remember all the water activities you can do here such as swimming, snorkeling and diving.

Day 16 Salary – Ifaty

After breakfast, we leave salary to go south and you will see how sandy roads are around here. The coast is still amazing and we should arrive at Ifaty by early afternoon. Afternoon at leisure, this is your last day of the tour. Ifaty is probably the most popular coastal town of western Madagascar with tourists due to its closeness to Toulear.

Day 17 Ifaty – Toulear

We’ll leave Ifaty before midday to reach Toulear for lunch. Our services end once we are at the airport of Toulear.

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What’s included

  • Car with English speaking driver
  • Car river crossings by barges
  • Single canoe during the descent of the Tsiribihina River
  • Hotels on a B&B basis
  • Full board during the Tsiribihina river descent
  • All mentioned excursions with National Park entrances and  local guides
  • Transfers from and to Airports

Not Included

  • All drinks
  • All flights, International and Domestic

Additional Info

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Domestic flight:

Air Madagascar flies Toulear – Antananarivo daily with different times depending on the day of the week. The cost of the flight TLE – TNR one way is about $220 pp (Nov 2016). Many visitors buy the international flight with Air Madagascar to get a discount for domestic flights. You MUST purchase of both the international and the domestic flight at the same time in order to get the discount.

In case you want to avoid the domestic flight, and save some money ($300), we also offer the trip back to Antananarivo by the car, 600 miles along the “route seven”. The cost of this service is of $140 for two people, that includes the hotel in Ambalavao (with the possibility of a short tour of Anja Private reserve – at extra cost). The trip Ifaty – Antananarivo will be done in two stages: Ifaty – Ambalavao 9 hours and Ambalavao – Antananarivo 9 hours.

 

Road Trip:

During this tour, we will travel a distance of about 1000 miles by car. Here below the approximate time of each leg:

Antananarivo – Antsirabe 3 hours | Antsirabe – Miandrivazo 4 hours | Belo Tsiribihina – Bekopaka 3 hours | Bekopaka – Reserve of Kirindy 8 Hours | Reserve of Kirindy – Morondava 1 hours | Morondava – Belo sur Mer 4 hours | Belo sur Mer – Manja 8 hours | Manja –  Morombe 7 hours | Morombe – Andavadoaka 2 hours | Andavadoaka – Salary 3 hours | Salary – Ifaty 4 hours | Ifaty – Tulear

 

Travelling over water:

This tour is for lovers of the sea and for the adventurous! For the crossing of the river Tsiribihina, we will use a small pirogue (individual dugout canoe). You will paddle with the current of the river, so your only concern is that of only guiding the canoe rather than pushing it. However, we recommend a minimum of training, sunscreen, sunglasses and a spirit of adventure. Also note that you will spend many hours on the dugouts and that they are not the most comfortable means of transport. We can provide you with a motorised boat upon request (extra $150 pp)

As for the visit of the surrounding islands of Belo sur Mer, we will use a modern speedboat. The crossings should not exceed 1 hour.

With a supplement of $300 pp we offer the trip on a small motor boat from Morondava to Ifaty. You have two extra day to spend by the beach. Here below the approximate timing of each leg by boat:

Morondava – Belo sur Mer 4 Hours | Belo sur Mer – 8 hours Morombe | Morombe – Andavadoaka 2 hours | Andavadoaka – 3 hours Salary | Salary – Ifaty 4 Hours | Ifaty – Toliara 1.5 hours

 

Extras:

We all know, the unexpected can happen anywhere, a domestic flight cancellation, impassable road due to flooding, the car breaking down etc. We suggest 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: 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. Contact us for the extra day in the capital.

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Duration
18 days
Price of the tour
From $2000 pp
Eighteen days from $2000 pp based on 2 people sharing the same room. Based on 3 people with 2 rooms $1750 pp with a single supplement of $350. Based on 4 people, 2 rooms, $1550 pp. The price is based on basic clean hotels with private facilities and restaurant. Half board or higher standard hotels available upon request, a supplement pp will apply. Should there be more travelers for the same/similar period, we will let you know about the possibility to joining them/you, saving you all money. Our 4x4 will comfortably carry up to 5 adults.
Travel distance by car
1100 miles
Meal plan
Bed & Breakfast
Full Board during the Tsiribihina River Descent
Difficulty for this tour