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Marvellous Madagascar
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Gorongoza National Park

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The Wino & Rhino Safari

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Seductive Swaziland
Seductive Swaziland

Trance Dance with the Ancestors
Trance Dance



Marvellous Madagascar

Madagascar Magic - 15 days / 14 nights

This itinerary offers an improbable variety in just two weeks – mountains, coast, river journeys and the best of the baobab forests, numerous cracks at finding lemurs and other exotic wildlife and from luxury lodges to camping. Transport is by vehicle, 4x4s, pirogues and airplanes.


Antananarivo - Ankarafantsika NP
Mahajanga - Andasibe-Mantadia NP
Moramanga - Mitsinjo Association Forest station
Antsirabe - Canoeing down the Tsiribihina River in a traditional wooden boat
Miandrivazo - Anosin' Ampela waterfall
Morondava - Daily life in the western region of Madagascar

The sacred baobab tree
Baobab in love
Avenue of the Baobabs
Walks and Exploration of the baobab forest


Proposed Safari itinerary
Day 1

Touching down in Antananarivo
Today is an arrival day. We are free to arrive in Antananarivo at any time where we will be greeted and transferred to the hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Antananarivo, (Tana), takes its name from King Andrianjaka, who established his royal palace and stronghold with one thousand warriors here and named this city.

Day 2

Antananarivo – Ankarafantsika NP
An early start will see us on our way to Ankarafantsika National Park, one of the last stands of north-western deciduous forest. Although the area has been conserved since 1927 it was not until 2002 that it was declared as a National Park. En route we will pass through picturesque rice paddies before reaching the sleepy village of Ampijoroa which is famous as the home of World Wildlife Fund's Plough-shear Tortoise captive breeding program and is an ideal base from which to search for the numerous endemic birds of the region. Later we pass through the extensive deciduous forests of the Ankarafantsika reserve.

Day 3

Ankarafantsika National Park
A paradise of birds Ankarafantsika is one of the largest and last remaining dense dry deciduous forests and forms a mosaic with extensive wetlands and provides the final refuge for numerous critically endangered and endemic species including lemurs, reptiles and birds. We have a full day to explore the network of trails in this region which includes no less than eight species of lemurs

Day 4

Ankarafantsika NP – Mahajanga
The 120km to Mahajanga on the coast picturesquely traverses the catchment area of the Betsiboka and Mahavavy Rivers and this fertile region produces rice, sugar cane and cotton in abundance. Teak and ebony dominate the dry forests. The 'City of Flowers', Mahajanga, is famous for its large coastal baobabs and with its cosmopolitan population this town offers an explosion of different dishes that have their origin in southern Asia, east Africa, Europe and China.

Day 5

Mahajanga – Antananarivo – (Andasibe)
We fly to Tana and depending on flight programs, we will either stay in Antananarivo or we begin our 140 km drive eastward through the highlands to Andasibe. On the way we visit the Exotic Reptile Park which is often the most realistic chance that we have of seeing many of the endemic chameleons, snakes, insects and reptiles that Madagascar offers. We will use Andasibe, a former logging village, as our base to explore Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. After lunch, we drive past villages belonging to the Betsimisaraka ethnic group. This group, unified from rival tribes into a single entity by the son of an English pirate and a Malagasy princess, once formed the most powerful grouping on the east coast of Madagascar and their name means 'the many inseparable ethnic groups'. We take a spotlighted night-walk to look for night active lemurs and other nocturnal animals.

Day 6

Andasibe-Mantadia NP
The eastern rainforest Reserve of Andasibe-Mantadia is one of the last strongholds of the mythical Indri-Indri lemur, the largest of all lemurs. The animals and birds are most active in the early morning and there should be good opportunities to see and hear the lemurs. The black and white coated Indri-Indri is an extraordinary lemur, known for its wailing call. Indri's are active on and off throughout the day but are best seen in the morning. Later we visit Mantadia National Park to search for the Diadema Sifaka – a rare lemur of the island. Mantadia also contains a wide variety of fauna and flora in the moist mountain forest, including beautiful and varied insects, spiders, butterflies, reptiles and many orchids. After searching for the lemurs and other fauna we visit the orchid park to admire Madagascar's beautiful flora.

Day 7

Mitsinjo Association Forest station
Another early morning sees us visiting the Mitsinjo Association Forest station to look for Indri again. This short-tailed primate which may reach an age of sixty lives in families from two to six individuals. The chances of seeing endemic chameleons, frogs and various other animals are good.

Day 8

Andasibe – Antsirabe
Leaving for Antsirabe. Still in the morning we visit the Ambohimanga Rova, the 'blue hill'. This is one the sacred places in Madagascar. The traditional design, materials, and layout of the Ambohimanga are representative of the social and political structure of Malagasy society from at last centuries. Later the drive takes us across the highland landscape with its beautiful rice fields and its spectacular eroded hills called 'lavaka' and through a lush green landscape where vegetables and fruits are farmed. We will take a tour of the city, wandering through wide, palm-lined boulevards. Also we visit some artisan production. Night in a colonial style hotel where, in earlier years, farmers from the East coast relaxed.

Day 9

Miandrivazo Antsirabe is a charming mix of agriculture, tourism and industry and a stroll around its streets will bring you in contact with quaint shops that ply Malagasy artefacts and handicrafts. After a short visit of the town we drive to Miandrivazo, about 220 km. En route we pass a moonlike landscape and this is the starting point of the pirogue tour.

Day 10

Start of the River tour on the Tsiribihina
We begin our calm water river journey on the majestic Tsiribihina River where we travel approximately 160 km on the river, using traditional dug-out canoes that are hollowed from a single endemic tree. With the advent of the motorboats on these rivers pirogue builders are becoming increasingly rare. The trip is slow and you can relax and enjoy calls of birds such as bee-eater, coucal, pied crow… We will occasionally work together to lift the boat over high sand banks. We will, finally arrive in Tsaraotana, a small village 100 km north of Morondava. Meals are served on the shore; camp-sites on the Tsiribihina River are usually large sandbars with smooth and clean tent sites.

Day 11

Canoeing down the Tsiribihina River - Anosin' Ampela Waterfall
We pass several ranges of wooded hills before we pass through the steep sided Gorge of Bemaraha before we stop at the wonderful Anosin' Ampela waterfall where we can refresh ourselves and even grab a chance to do some laundry. It is a varied day with dense vegetation towering cliffs and baobab forests interspersed with water birds, fruit bats and lemurs.

Day 12

Canoeing down the Tsiribihina River
Canoeing down the Tsiribihina River With an early start we continue our relaxing boat trip downstream passing through diverse landscapes and isolated natural wilderness leaving us with a profound sense that we are indeed far from home. Friendly smiling river kids wave to us as we pass by the small villages.

Day 13

Tsaraotana – Andranomena Special Reserve – Avenue of the Baobab – Mangily Village
After a final few hours on the river we travel south by 4x4 vehicles to the Andranomena Special Reserve. The Reserve is a wonderland of baobabs with oddities such as a triple baobab, a masculine baobab and a feminine baobab as well as playing host to an array of lemurs and picturesque lakes. We walk in the Reserve and take a picnic lunch in the forest.

Day 14

Mangily village
Morondava The protected area is characterized by a dense, dry forest that alternate with the landscapes of mangroves and occasional wetlands. We spend most of the day there, exploring the mangroves and forests, or we may visit typical Sakalava tombs. Later we try to catch sunset at the 'Avenue of the Baobab' near Morondava where over a dozen majestic old giant baobabs (Adansonia grandidieri) grow next to the track. Weather permitting we will have an excellent photographic opportunity when the day's last golden rays strike the bloated trunks.

Day 15 Morondava – Antananarivo
Flight with Air Madagascar MD and flight out. Transfer in time to the airport for the flight to Antananarivo where our tour ends at the airport.

Safari Description

To call Madagascar 'unique' is as simplistic as saying that the universe is 'nice'. It is a land filled with plants and animals that simply do not occur anywhere else on our planet. Not just one or two species here and there but entire families of some of the weirdest fauna and flora evolved only on this island in the 165 million years since this, the world's fourth largest island, weighed anchor and drifted hundreds of kilometres from mainland Africa.

Nowhere else can you see over seventy varieties of lemur, including one whose call suggests that police sirens were modelled after it, the world's biggest and smallest chameleons and six out of eight of the globe's baobab species. Nor is there anywhere else where you can find over 8000 endemic plant species in a comparible area or venture over the last stomping ground of the elephant bird, the largest bird that ever lived.

Then there are racoons, marmots and sloths, as well as 3000 indigenous species of butterfly. 165 of the extraordinary 170 of palms trees are endemic and so we go on but it is not just the nature that is so diverse and appealling.

The people are no less interesting. They arrived here some 2000 years ago along the Indian Ocean trade routes during a era when people were presumed not to have been capable of sailing such vast distances. They grow rice in terraced paddies, and speak Malagasy, a language based on Indonesian. Their culture is steeped in taboo and magic that imbues caves, waterfalls and animals with supernatural attributes. Some hill peoples still dance with their dead ancestors in a 'turning of the bones' ceremony while their traditional homes are multistoried brick houses with carved balconies. Add a pinch of pirate history, coastlines littered with shipwrecks and some of the world's longest place names to unfailingly polite and friendly people whose varied and delicious regional cooking will enchant your taste buds and your choice for your next adventure destination will surely be Madagascar..

Selected Hotels and Campsites

Antananarivo Manga Guest House
Only a few rooms in the quiet suburb Talatamaty, about 10 minutes drive from the airport. Ideal for late arrival or early departures. Relax in a friendly family atmosphere.

Ankarafantsika Ankarafantsika guest rooms
Guest rooms with electricity and facilities or tents nearby the park entrance.

Andasibe Andasibe Forest Lodge
A beautiful facility, located in the middle of the forest on a small lake. From the patio you have a direct view of the rain forest.

Antsirabe LaVilla
LaVilla is a new hotel-restaurant in the Vakinankaratra region of Antsirabe, located on the National road 7, the axis to the south. The hotel offers its guests a panoramic view and a swimming pool. The restaurant offers a variety of meals while the comfortable rooms, equipped with TV, guarantee a pleasant stay ensures relaxation.

Miandrivazo Gîte de la Tsiribihina
Basic but clean hotel in centre town, view on the Tsiribihina River. 9 rooms with sink, other facilities are common, fan. Restaurant, bar.

Tsiribihina River Canoe (Piroque) Expedition Camping
Spacious tents for two persons, 3-cm self inflating mattress, sleeping bag, blanket, pillow.

Mangily Camp Amoureux
Accommodation services and restaurant.

Morondava Chez Maggie
A romantic hide-away in a secluded garden setting. From the moment you set foot on the grounds you'll know why the Chez Maggie has long enjoyed a reputation as the hotel of choice in Morondava. As one of the first properties on Nosy Kely; the large rooms, established gardens, and west-facing beach front setting provide a tranquil and luxurious retreat.


The Details

This is a complex itinerary and may be subject to change.

Requirements: With this adventure you should be happy to camp but we are flexible and willing to suggest an alternative itinerary.



Email: Cell: (+267) 7567 0277