This superb Madagascar itinerary will take you to some of the island's remotest corners, where rare wildlife and unique flora in two of Madagascar's most threatened habitat types - spiny bush ('spiny desert') and eastern rainforest - find sanctuary.
Top quality accommodation is included: in the depths of the compellingly unique southern sub-desert or 'Androy', you will find exceptionally attractive, comfortable accommodation at Mandrare River Camp with its lovely riverside setting: hot showers, delicious food and a warm welcome await.
Set at a beautiful beach in south-east Madagascar, the Manafiafy Rainforest & Beach lodge offers outstanding hospitality, service and a range of activities. Together these two properties, owned by Edd Tucker-Brown, make for a delightful overall experience. Both places provide top caliber, personal and excepionl service.
Round off the trip with a visit to Madagascar's number1 'must see' protected rainforest, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, an easy 3hrs,30 min drive to the east of the capital city. (In this sample itinerary, we start with a visit to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, aka 'Perinet' and then take you to the Southern region).
Day 1 Depart from London Heathrow or selected other UK airports on the Air France flight to Paris CDG***. Connect with the mid morning Air France flight on to Antananarivo. Upon arrival in the late evening you are met and transferred to Relais des Plateaux to stay overnight with breakfast included. *** This sample itinerary is based on Air France but if you prefer to use other international carriers, do let us know and we shall be happy to prepare another proposal for you.
Day 2 After breakfast your professional guide and your driver will collect you from the hotel. Travel east to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park aka 'Perinet', where you stay 2 nights in a double room at Vakona Forest Lodge or Andasibe Hotel with dinner and breakfast included. Afternoon introductory walk in the rainforest.
Day 3 Spend today exploring the wildlife-rich, mid altitude rainforest of Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. The most productive wildlife viewing - and best time to seek the iconic Indri, is in the early morning during the dawn chorus. During the middle part of the day, you might wish to visit Lemur Island. In the mid afternoon you could make another rainforest walk in Andasibe, and at night, a nocturnal stroll in Analamazaotra, a concession managed by proactive NGO Association Mitsinjo. Overnight at Vakona Forest Lodge or Andasibe Hotel.
Day 4 In the morning, either explore more of Andasibe, or visit the nearby Mantadia National Park where there is primary rainforest. Afternoon transfer back to Antananarivo where you overnight in Relais des Plateaux with breakfast included.
Day 5 This morning you'll be taken to the airport for the MCC Charter flight to Ifotaka, departing at 09h30. On arrival in Ifotaka at 12h30, you will be welcomed and transferred to Mandrare River Camp. Stay 4 nights in a semi-permanent luxury tent. All meals, canapés, picnic lunches, drinks (mineral water, soft drinks, beer, wine and spirits) and scheduled lodge excursions are included.
Day 6 Days here can be spent seeking out wildlife in extraordinary landscapes created by the spiny bush habitat, and learning about the complex culture of the people of southern Madagascar. There are a number of designated forest areas near the camp, where with permission from local village chiefs, it's possible to explore this unique ecosystem with your guide. Also look for the various species of lemur unique to sub-arid southern Madagascar (White foot sportive, Grey mouse, Grey-brown mouse, Ringtails and the entertaining Verreaux’s Sifaka) but there are also many other animals which make walks a memorable experience. The baobab forest is surreal experience - the baobab trees, held sacred by many Malagasy, have been left standing like sentinels presiding over the landscape where the surrounding bush has been cleared to make way for sisal plantations. A day’s excursion to Lac Anony with its white sand shores and dunes, contrasting with azure blue water, is seasonally home to flamingos and to local fishermen who for generations, have fished on the lake. Another interesting excursion is to one of the local village markets. This region is far from the tourist circuits, so often villagers are just as interested and fascinated in the visitors as the visitors are in the lives of the residents. Market day is quite an event in these parts, with people coming from miles around on foot or ox-cart to bring produce and to see friends and neighbours.
Day 7 Enjoy exploring the Ifotaka area with your guides.
Day 8 Spend more time exploring the most 'unique' region of Madagascar - the 'Androy' or arid south, where in some years there is no rainfall. See fascinating drought-resistant flora, rare and iconic wildlife and enjoy top-notch hospitality. (The baobabs in the area are of the large, endemic Southern Malagasy species Adansonia za).
Day 9 Light aircraft transfer to Fort Dauphin airport (12h30 - 13h30) where you are met and transferred north by road along the south-east coast to Manafiafy Beach and Rainforest Lodge. Stay 4 nights in a sea-view bungalow with all meals, local soft drinks and many activities included. Many activities are included here including, canoeing in the mangroves, early morning boat trips for wetland birding, day and night walks in the rainforest to see five species of lemur, snorkelling in the bay and nearby turquoise cove, whale watching from the 15ft observation tower (Jun to Nov), boat trips to the nearby islands for a secluded picnic lunch, walks along sweeping white sand beaches, trips to local village and to the school, supported by Manafiafy Lodge. Optional activities, payable locally at the lodge include: massage treatments, whale watching trips by boat to see the fascinating humpback whale migration (July to September, strictly subject to weather/sea conditions) and deep sea fishing trips.
Day 10 Relax at the pretty beaches, go snorkelling or in season, whale watching, or partake in sightseeing activities such as walks in the coastal bush or a mangrove cruise.
Day 11 Enjoy more of Manafiafy, either just relaxing, or getting to know local culture in this remote corner of Madagascar.
Day 12 Spend more time relaxing in Manafiafy or exploring the lush humid coastal bush for small wildlife.
Day 13 Transfer by road to Fort Dauphin for the MCC Charter flight back to Antananarivo. On arrival you will be met and transferred to Relais des Plateaux where you have the use of a day room (if departing next morning on Air France). If departing on Air France, you will be collected from the hotel late evening and transferred to the airport to check in for the Air France flight departing after midnight.
Day 14 Depart at approx. 01h50 on the Air France flight to Paris, arriving CDG mid morning (if choosing this airline). Connect at CDG on the lunch time flight back to London or selected other UK airports.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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