Day 1 Antananarivo – Andasibe
We will start our 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. Here you will learn some history, legends and admire an incredible 360 degree panorama. After Lunch, we 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 Exotic Park Marozevo. Here you can admire beautiful butterflies, chameleons and other insects to the amazing appearance. We then continue towards Andasibe, check into our 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 specie of lemur.Hopefully we will be able to sleep.
Day 2 Andasibe
Today we will visit the National Park of Andasibe Mantadia. If you are up for it, we can visit the park in its depths. The route we propose is the Trekking Circuit, a fairly tough 6 miles with steep slopes and hard-ish trails. We 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 I am sure you will be happy of the visit.
Day 3 Andasibe – Lake Ampitabe
Today, back on the national road 2, towards the East. Eight miles past Brickaville, we veer on to a small track towards Manambato, we are now in the Pangalanes Canal area. The Canal of the 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. We will enjoy the ride by a motorized boat to Lake Ampitabe. As soon as we arrive, we will check into our hotel and have lunch. Afternoon 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 we will have a short night walk too.
Day 4 Lake Ampitabe
Today after breakfast we 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. Afternoon 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.
Day 5 Lake Amitabe – Tamatave
We will leave the Palmarium and continue our boat ride to discover the Pangalanes’ Canal towards the city of Tamatave, we navigate for about 3 hours. We will arrive in Tamatave early in time for lunch. In the afternoon we will start an interesting city tour. Tamatave it’s 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.
Day 6 Tamatave – Mahambo
Today we will head north, by car, to visit Park Ivoloina just eight miles from Tamatave. Here 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, 1.5 hours drive, 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.
Day 7 Mahambo – Soanierana Ivongo – Sainte Marie
Continuing North to reach our final stop on the “Big Island” soil: Soanierana-Ivongo. From here, we will catch the ferry towards Saint Marie. The ride will take about 2 hrs. Upon arrival we’ll transfer to our hotel where we’ll spend our next 4 nights. Afternoon at leisure by the beach.
Day 8 Sainte Marie
The best way to explore this amazing tropical island, and 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 here. This is one of those few places in the world you would enjoy even on a rainy day. Apart from tropical beauty, we will also visit the pirates’ cemetery and have lunch in one of the restaurants of Ambodifotatra, the capital of Sainte Marie. Afternoon at leisure by the beach and, remember to look out at sea, there might be few whales showing off (when in season).
Day 9 Ile aux Nattes
The turn of visiting real paradise on earth: Ile aux Nattes. This island is car free so it is truly peaceful, we will tour the Island on foot and it will take us about 3 hours. We will stop anywhere you want and enjoy the rest of the day by the beach and have a picnic. Believe me when I say that you will not want to leave.
Day 10 Sainte Marie
Early after breakfast, when the sea should be calm, we will visit some of the coastline by pirogue. If we are lucky and the water is clear, we could see some amazing marine life and coral reef during low tide. Afternoon at leisure and since this is the last day of our tour we suggest to head to the Panorama point, south of the main island, where you could watch the sunset over Ile aux Nattes. This will be another unforgettable moment of the trip.
Day 11 Saint Marie – Tana
Breakfast and transfer to the airport to catch your flight to Tana. End of tour.
- Transport by motorized boat over the the Canal from Manambato to Tamatave
- Boat transport from Soanierana Ivongo/Mahambo to Sainte Marie Island
- Simple hotels on B&B basis
- National Park entrances with guides
- Transfers from and to Airports
- All drinks
- All flights, International and Domestic
Domestic flight: Air Madagascar flies to Antananarivo (TNR) to Sainte Marie (SMS) from every day of the week, at different times depending on the day. A one-way ticket, SMS – TNR is about $250 (as of Dec 2015). If you want to avoid the domestic flight, we can take you to Antananarivo at the cost of £125. The journey starts in the morning at 5.15 AM from the hotel to go to the port of Sainte Marie. From there we’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 8/9 PM. We will stop for breaks along the way.
Road Trip: The number one problem in Madagascar are the conditions of the roads. During this tour we will cover a little over 300 miles from Antananarivo to Soanierana-Ivongo. Here below, the approximate time we will spend in the car or travelling on water:
Antananarivo – Andasibe 3.5 hours | Andasibe – Manambato 2 hours | Manambato – Palmarium (small river boat) 2 hours | Palmarium – Tamatave (small river boat) 2.5 hours | Tamatave – Mahambo 2 hours | Mahambo – Sonierana Ivongo 1.5 hour| Sonierana Ivongo – Sainte Marie (ferry) 1 hour |
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.