DAY 1 ARRIVAL IN ANTANANARIVO

Arrival in Antananarivo where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

This afternoon we will do an orientation tour of the city and surrounds, and visit the local market.

This evening, your tour leader will give a brief overview of Madagascar and its history.

Accommodation : Pallisandre Hotel or similar on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis.

DAY 2 TANA- ANDASIBE

After a hearty breakfast we depart Tana (short for Antananarivo) for Andasibe on the Eastern side of the country.

Along the route, we admire the rice fields, the Bezanozano ethnic group’s homeland and learn from our guide about this early Malagasy people way of life.

We stop en route for lunch at Moramanga, their capital city before continuing to Andasibe.

En route we stop at Peyreras Reserve. This small reserve is home to numerous species of chameleons, insects endemic to the region ,and several species of snakes and amphibians.

Arrival at our lodge in the late afternoon.

This evening we take a walk through the forest with our local guide to see if we can spot some of the lemurs of the area; the Indri, Diadema, the Sifaka

Accommodation: Mantadia Lodge and Spa or similar on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis

DAY 3 ANDASIBE – ANALAMAZAOTRA NATIONAL PARK

Today we spend the day exploring Analamazaotra National Park, always part of the Andasibe Mantadia National Park. It is a community managed protected area of rain forest and restored habitat. This park is exceptionally well known for its bird life, and lemurs. It is estimated that about 7 groups of Indri Indri lemurs live in this area, and have become use to the tourists visiting, although one cannot touch them.

There are also mouse lemurs, hairy eared dwarf lemurs, dwarf lemurs, the aye aye, common brown lemurs, the gray gentle lemu and the small toothed sportive lemurs.

The reserve is also known for its more than 100 species of frogs, its +- 6 species of tenrecs and its at least 5 species of chameleons.

Accommodation : Mantadia Lodge and Spa or similar on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis

DAY 4 ANDASIBE – ANTSIRABE

Today we have a long drive ahead of us to Antsirabe via Tana. Lunch will be en route and in the late afternoon we arrive at Antisirabe where we visit a local potter and various handcraft experts. It is well known for its thermal springs and its colourful rickshaws.

Accommodation: Plumeria Hotel or similar on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis.

DAY 5 ANTSIRABE – RANOMAFANA NATIONAL PARK

After a good breakfast we continue our journey south, stopping end route at a wood carving market and to view folklori traditional dancers.

In the evening we will partake of a nocturnal walk in Ranomafana National Park.

This National Park is found in a tropical rainforest, of over 41 600 hectares. It is home to the golden bamboo lemur, the black and white ruffled lemur and the Milne-Edwards Sifaka. Established in 1991 and part of the World Heritage Site “Rainforests of Atsinanana” its purpose is to conserve the unique biodiversity of this part of Madagascar, it hosts 130 species of frogs, and many of Madagascars beautiful bird species.

Accommodation: Hotel Thermal Ranomafana or similar on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis

DAY 6 RANOMAFANA NATIONAL PARK

We spend the full day exploring this magnificent park with our local guides.

Accommodation: Hotel Thermal Ranomafana or similar on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis

DAY 7 RANOMAFANA NATIONAL PARK – ISALO NATIONAL PARK

Another full day’s drive via some of Madagascars spectacular scenery to reach the Isalo National Park with its magnificent sandstone formations.

Accommodation: Hotel le Relais de la Reine on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis

DAY 8 ISALO NATIONAL PARK

This morning we will take a short drive and a long walk to view the sandstone formations of Isalo National Park, we always hope to see the Ring Tailed lemur, Verreaux’s sifaka, Red fronted lemurs, Red tailed sportive lemur or Coquerel’s giant mouse lemur.

The walk also takes us the natural pools at the bottom of the canyon where we can cool down with a swim in crystal clear water.

Accommodation: Hotel le Relais de la Reine on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis

DAY 9 ISALO NATIONAL PARK

The area of Isalo is home to the Bara people, a nomadic people living on zebu (cattle) farming. Their burial sites are also quite interesting to see, as we may, long the way.

This area of Madagascar is wellknown for its sapphire mines; we visit the Ilakaka Sapphire Mine directed by a Swiss gemologist.

In the late afternoon we are entertained by the local people with their colourful dances.

Accommodation: Hotel le Relais de al Reine on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis.

DAY 10 ISALO NATIONAL PARK – ZOMBITSE VOHIBASIA NATIONAL PARK – TULEUR – IFATY

We travel towards the coast of the Western side of Madagascar, with a stop at Zombitse Vohibasia National Park for a short walk to find a little bird, the Apperts Tetraka, found only in this part of the world, as well as the Long eared owl.

In the late afternoon we arrive at Tuleur, capital city of this area, and a short drive later we arrive in Ifaty.

Accommodation: Ifaty Beach Club or similar on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis

DAY 11 IFATY

An early morning start will take us to Reniala Nature Reserve, located just a short drive from the village of Ifaty, for a morning ecology walk in the company ofa local expert. This small, private reserve protects the native spiny forest, and is also a hot-spot for birding. Two species of endemic, threatened birds are found here: the long-tailed ground roller and subdesert mesite. Both species’ entire global range consists of a narrow band of coastline some 100 miles in length, and extending only 30 miles inland.

In addition to these two extremely rare birds, Reniala hosts numerous other bird species such as the sickle-billed vanga, Archbold’s newtonia, white-headed vanga and Madagascar harrier hawk. Amongst the various endemic spiny forest plants, we will find the largest baobab in the Ifaty area, which is believed to be 1200 years old with an impressive girth measuring more than 30 feet. Near Reniala is the Village des Tortues (Tortoise Village), where over 1000 radiated and spider tortoises are protected. Here, we will learn the story of these endangered animals and how they are being conserved.

In the afternoon we will have time to relax and enjoy the beach and maybe partake of a snorkel with the local guides from the hotel

Accommodation: Ifaty Beach Club or similar on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis

DAY 12 IFATY – TULEUR – FLIGHT TO TANA

This morning is either at leisure to enjoy the beach, or we drive back to Tuleur and visit the Oceanographic Museum run by the University of Tulear. The museum displays the variety of marine life present in the Mozambique Canal, including corals, sponges, fish, tortoises, mollusks and a collection of shells.

Of special interest is a specimen of coelacanth measuring nearly five feet in length, which was captured near the fishing village of Anakao in 1995. Coelacanths were once only known through fossil records, the oldest of which dates back approximately 360 million years, and they were thought to have gone extinct some 65 million years ago in the time of the dinosaurs; that theory changed when the first living specimen of coelacanth was found in 1938.

Now, there are two known species of coelacanth, one that lives in the Western Indian Ocean waters, and another species found near Indonesia.

We continue to the local airport where we take a flight back to Antananarivo, and a connecting flight back home.