The essence of Madagascar is the unique wildlife, fabulous rainforests and stunning coast. Until you visit, you cannot imagine that the Malagasy people could be so welcoming. All of these attributes, and more, come together on this wonderful trip. From the dry Central Highlands, we pass through lush rainforest and small village communities where tropical fruits and terraced fields set the scene, to reach coastal fishing villages where nets and Travellers' palms abound. We have both day and night walks in the forest to view colourful chameleons, to observe numerous species of lemurs, and to enjoy the rich forest habitat. Our simple lodges are in the midst of rainforest reserves that are home to lemurs that will delight you with their curiosity and gentleness. On the wild east coast, surf rolls onto white-sand beaches lined with coconut palms that protect both the fishing villages and the expansive fresh water lakes beyond. The villagers here are fishermen, taking fish from both the sea and the pristine lakes. We travel by boat on a series of lakes and along narrow canals, known as The Pangalanes, to reach our lake-side beach hotel. Set in the forest, the hotel is our base for exploring the lakes and villages by boat or on foot. You will be privileged to discover areas far from the tourist trails, and which offers amazing experiences in this remarkable country.
Cruise the lakes and canals of the Pangalanes Channel, far from the tourist trails
Search for lemurs and chameleons in the lush rainforest of the Perinet Reserve
Experience the traditional lifestyle of the coastal Malagasy fishing villages
Be immersed in the scenery, villages and forests
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If you are arriving in Antananarivo on Day 1 you will be met at the airport and transferred to the group hotel for overnight. If you are arriving on any other day, private airport transfers can be arranged at an additional cost. Overnight Hotel Belvédère or similar.
Drive To Andasibe (145Km / 4Hrs)
After breakfast, you will meet your driver-guide and afterwards we will drive to Andasibe. We journey towards the spectacular tropical coast, passing through scenery and villages that few get to see, and arrive in Andasibe in the afternoon. Later, we can take a night walk, searching for nocturnal species in the Mitsinjo Reserve. Overnight Hotel Eulophiella or similar. Approx driving distance/time: 145 km; 4 hrs
This morning we take a walk deep into the rainforest of Perinet Reserve, home to more than 9 species of lemurs, including the largest, the almost mythical Indri Indri, the most revered of all the species. But these explorations are not only about lemurs. There is a host of spectacular plant life, and the magical chameleons that are found throughout Madagascar. We will return to the hotel in the afternoon. Overnight Hotel Eulophiella or similar.
To Manambato, Pangalanes Cruise (135 Km / 4 Hrs)
We drive to Manambato passing ravinala, which is one of the iconic plants of Madagascar. The ravinala, which is native to Madagascar and also known as the Travellers Palm, becomes more common as we travel east and enter the coastal zone. Arriving at Manambato, we board our boat to travel along the Pangalanes (approx 1 hr boat crossing). The Pangalanes are a series of coastal lakes and canals along the east coast that are one of the wonders of Madagascar, but have not yet been “discovered”, except by more adventurous travellers and expats resident in Madagascar. These placid backwaters are verged by tropical forest and are home to the Betsimi sararka people, who still lead a traditional fishing lifestyle. We travel to Ankanin’ny Nofy where we stay in a simple hotel where the lemurs come to visit. Overnight Hotel Palmarium or Bush House Hotel or similar. Approx driving distance/time: 135 km; 4 hrs.
We spend the morning exploring a private reserve. It is a small forest station that is home to many species of wildlife, including lemur species we have not yet seen. The afternoon is free to swim, visit the local fishing village, walk on the beach or continue wildlife viewing. The fishing village faces the Indian Ocean and the canal, and a visit here (boat fare) costs around US$7. The fabled Aye Aye live in the nearby forest, and there will be a short excursion this evening. Overnight Hotel Palmarium or Bush House Hotel or similar.
Return Cruise To Manamboto, Transfer To Antananarivo (280 Km / 7 Hrs)
After an early breakfast, we travel on the Pangalanes canal and return to Manambato and our vehicle (approx 1 hr boat crossing). We drive past coastal ravinala and pandanus and enter the forest, climbing to the highlands. After the visit we continue to the capital, Antananarivo. Overnight Hotel Belvédère or similar. Approx driving distance/time: 280 km; 7 hrs
In Antananarivo, Trip Concludes
You may like to take a family walk around the city centre this morning, or depart earlier for the airport to visit the large craft market near the airport entrance and shop for last minute items. (It is an approx. 90 minute transfer to the airport for your International departure). Trip arrangements end after breakfast with a transfer to the airport for onward travel. Please ask your reservations consultant for details if you would like additional nights in Antananarivo (extra cost applies) or airport transfers on any other day (extra cost applies).
What You Carry
In your daypack you will need to carry extra warm clothing (depending on the location and weather), a rainjacket, water bottle, camera gear, valuables and personal items such as sunscreen, lip balm, etc.
6 nights hotel
In selecting hotels our foremost criteria are cleanliness and comfort, but outside of the capital the accommodation is very rustic. Hotel accommodation is twinshare, unless a single supplement has been paid in advance. Most properties have ensuite bathrooms. Accommodation is based on 2 star hotels (3 star upgrade for Antananarivo and Andasibe on request).
These adventure tours sometimes may visit remote areas where facilities are often basic. Many of these trips involve some camping or basic lodging at times and will often involve long journeys on rough roads. To enjoy these adventures we suggest reasonable fitness and health, a moderately active lifestyle and a positive attitude. Although there is no commitment to extended walking on this journey we nonetheless want to keep the ‘accent on the active’. We therefore advise that any physical training you complete before undertaking the trip will be to good effect. We recommend walking on undulating terrain for an hour or more, two or three times a week for at least 3 months prior to departure. The fitter you are the more this will enhance your experience.