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Madagascar Culture & Nature Discovery

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Africa
Madagascar,  15 Days From $1,899 per person Themes
Eco Wildlife & Nature
Eco Cultural
Styles
Couples
Little Greenies
Group Expeditions

Highlights

You will learn and share in the everyday lives of the Malagasy people through the discovery of the protected area of Menabe Antimena, the Kirindy forest, baobab avenue, silk weaving in the Manandriana area, the old city of Fianarantsoa, Isalo National Park (the Colorado of Madagascar), and other green conservation activities.

Availability

Flexible date(s). Please Contact Us.

Activity (Activities)

History & Culture
Wildlife
Conservation
Eco Lodge

Green Approach

Eco-Ventional

Certification

Fair Trade Tourism (FTT)

Why Authentic Ecotourism?

The tour company holds two certifications, Fair Trade Tourism and Travelife, due to the care it takes to provide alternative tourism that positively impacts local communities. The company operates various eco lodges throughout Madagascar as well as supports the CALA N.G.O. CALA aims for social and professional reintegration of former leprosy patients.

The villages are in constant need of support, and this tour company specifically helps:

  • The Old City of Fianarantsoa, which is a heritage site unique in Madagascar and the world. It is the only place in Madagascar where nineteenth-century buildings form a coherent architectural ensemble.  The pride of the inhabitants is evident in the pocket gardens, flower bedecked balconies.  The site today is in serious danger of disappearing...forever...if urgent steps are not taken to save it.  Actually, the aging charm of the site belies the significant threats to its future.  Victim of age and neglect, many of roofs no longer protect the vulnerable adobe walled houses.  Each year several houses simply melt during the heavy rains as a pillar collapses, the roof caves in, and the structure crumbles...leaving a hole in the landscape and usually several families homeless. The World Monument Watch listed Fianarantsoa's Old City as One of the 100 Most Threatened Historic Sites in the World on its list for 2008-9, asking us all to lend a hand to saving the site before it is too late.  The Program to Save the Old City is a community based association that with meager resources and much energy is working to save the threatened site.  Together with the association, the company works alongside the local community to implement activities that will have the greatest impact on saving the cultural heritage and improving the lives of the residents.
  • The NGO Bel Avenir is a Malagasy NGO working in southern Madagascar through social projects by focusing on "Education as an engine of development." Bel Avenir is a member of the international solidarity network Coconut water, present in 7 countries, a network which is mobilized around the rights of children.  Thus, the NGO Bel Avenir operates in different fields of education, for young disadvantaged people of Madagascar. The various programs aim to fight against child labor, the fight against school dropout and strengthen formal and informal education and access.  Thus, through their tours, the company invites tourists to visit and participate in all the projects on site, in Tulear and in Ifaty.

Day 1: Arrival in Tana ( D )

According to your international schedule flight, welcome and transfer at RESIDENCE LAPASOA. The rest of the day will be free.

Day 2: Tana – Morondava [Domestic Flight] – Marofandilia ( B,L,D )

Transfer to Tana airport and fly to Morondava with Air Madagascar regular flight. Upon your arrival, drive to Marofandilia forest (2h of bad track requiring 4WD) and visit the protected area Menabe Antimena, characterized by a dense and dry forest, alternated with landscapes of mangroves and some wetlands.

Covering an area of 195,000 ha among which the three-quarter is made up of natural resources, the site contains a particularly rich fauna: 8 lemur species, 5 species of rodents, 3 species of carnivores, 7 species of insectivorous and 11 species of bats. Night walk inside the protected area Menabe Antimena. Lodging at CAMP AMOUREUX.

Day 3: Marofandilia – Kirindy – Morondava ( B,L,D )

Early morning, drive to Kirindy forest just nearby for a short visit. Kirindy is a privately managed forest and comprises one of the most outstanding and threatened wildlife habitats in Madagascar: its dry deciduous forests. It is famous for the giant jumping rat, but is also home to seven species of lemur and a number of endemic reptiles. The flora is equally unusual. After the visit, go back to reach Morondava. Stop at "Baobab avenue" to observe the baobabs at sunset. Upon your arrival, you will check in to CHEZ MAGGIE.

Day 4: Morondava – Antsirabe ( B,L,D )

After an earlier breakfast, we are heading to Antsirabe ( 540 Km/9h ) where you will discover the hectic Bongolava terrain and extensive bare patches. Arrival in Antsirabe later in the afternoon, transfer at your hotel SOA GUESTHOUSE.

Day 5: Antsirabe - Ambositra ( B,L,D )

After breakfast, you will visit the city of Antsirabe which reflects the warmth of its people and the authenticity of its traditions still alive in the surrounding countryside. Famed for its "pousse pousse", gemstones and handicrafts, the wide tree-lined avenues invite you to discover its workshops where people work on transforming natural materials like zebu horn (for cutlery) or wheat straw (for hats).

After the city tour, you will continue to Ambositra ( 90 Km/1h30 ) for overnight lodging at ARTISAN HOTEL.

Day 6: Ambositra – Manandriana – Ambositra ( B,L,D )

Today we will reach Manandriana area to learn about silk. From the silk worm to a woven scarf, discover the art of transforming a cocoon of wire and different stages of silk weaving. We will see the different stages of silk weaving, cooking the cocoons, spinning, dyeing and weaving. You might even try to manipulate the loom. Women's association of weavers in the
village will be pleased to prepare malagasy lunch with some coffee and "mofogasy" (rice cake).

After lunch, having seen all the transformation work, we will see the exhibition of "Lamba landy" representing the work of these women, and perhaps buy some as souvenirs. Go back at your hotel in the end of the afternoon.

Day 7: Ambositra – Fianarantsoa ( B,L,D )

After your breakfast, you will visit the handicrafts workshops. Ambositra is a small town known for its Zafimaniry woodcarvings and handicraft. The Zafimaniry people live in the Malagasy highlands, near Ambositra. They are known for the typical wooden architecture of their houses and fine ancestral woodcarving art. Their culture and lands are classified UNESCO World Heritage. You will continue till Ambohimahasoa for a lunch made of malagasy dishes, accompagnied by local folk group of dancers. Arrival in Fianarantsoa, lodging at a homestay : VALA or PENIELA GUEST HOUSE.

Day 8: Fianarantsoa – Tsaranoro valley ( B,L,D )

Today is dedicated to visit the old city of Fianarantsoa. The Fianarantsoa Old City occupies a dramatic hilltop setting once topped with a palace used by the Merina royal family during state visits.  While the palace is no longer there, some 500 homes built between 1870 and 1900 by those affiliated with the royal retinue still line the city's picturesque cobblestone streets. The Old City is the only place in Madagascar where nineteenth-century buildings form a coherent architectural ensemble.The pride of the inhabitants is evident in the pocket gardens, flower bedecked balconies. However, the aging charm of the site belies the significant threats to its future. Victim of age and neglect, many of roofs no longer protect the vulnerable adobe walled houses. Each year several houses simply melt during the heavy rains as a pillar collapses, the roof caves in, and the structure crumbles...leaving a hole in the landscape and usually several families homeless.

In the afternoon, you will drive till Tsaranoro ( 112 Km/4h ). Late arrival at Tsaranoro valley, lodging at TSARA CAMP.

Day 9: Tsaranoro valley ( B,L,D )

The day is dedicated to explore Tsaranoro and surrounding. A unique opportunity to discover the malagasy traditional life of this isolated population: people live only with the weather, the sun and the rice harvest as a clock.

During your exploration, you will also have the opportunity to know more about the association "Wood en stock", acting for a greener planet. Accommodation at Tsara Camp.

Day 10: Tsaranoro valley – Ranohira ( B,L,D )

Drive to Ranohira (366 Km/7h). We leave the mountains for the awesome scenery of the Horombe Plateau. Here we are in the Bara lands and should encounter an increasing number of « Zebu » (the ubiquitous humped cattle). Late arrival in Ranohira, lodging at ISALO RANCH 

Day 11: Ranohira: discovery of NP Isalo ( B,L,D )

Today is dedicated to discover the NP of Isalo, our malagasy Colorado. A unique combination of sandstone rocks cut by deep canyons, bush plains and rare endemic plants make this Park particularly rewarding.  Covering an area of 81,540 hectares, Isalo National Park comprises the entire stretch of the Isalo Massif, a very spectacular mountain chain made up of eroded sandstone. This strikingly beautiful reserve is filled with golden plains punctuated by craggy pinnacles of terracotta rock, valleys, canyons and waterfalls and we enjoy two half-day hikes in this surreal environment. In the morning we will walk to the Canyon of Lemurs and in the afternoon to a natural swimming pool in an oasis-like setting.  Possibility to organize horseback riding on spot.  Lodging at your hotel.

Day 12: Ranohira – Tuléar – Ifaty ( B,L,D )

After breakfast, drive till Tulear (243 Km / 4h). Southern capital of Madagascar, known as "the white city" or "sun city", Tulear is a mosaic of ethnicities and cultures under the banner of the smile and the sun. The city offers thousand bright colors, a concert of rhythmic ambience made by the Tsapiky music which, surging through the streets, make the sensuality and the gentleness of its inhabitants.

You will visit the NGO "Belavenir" and the bloco Malagasy. The Bloco Malagasy is a group of Batucada (Brazilian percussion), consisting of girls from underprivileged neighborhoods of Toliara (Madagascar). In the afternoon, continuation to Ifaty. Installation at your hotel: LE PARADISIER

Day 13: Ifaty ( B,L,D )

Day at leisure with participation in the activities of NGO "Belavenir". The NGO Bel Avenir is a Malagasy NGO working in southern Madagascar through social projects by focusing on "Education as an engine of development." Bel Avenir is a member of the international solidarity network Coconut water, present in 7 countries, a network which is mobilized around the rights of children.

Day 14: Ifaty – Tuléar – Tana ( B,L,D )

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport of Tuléar for the flight back to Tana. Upon your arrival, go for a city tour and visit of the Lemurs Park. Lemurs' Park is 25 km from the center of Antananarivo. You will discover nine species of lemurs in freedom in a 5-hectare botanical park planted with 6,000 trees. The lemur, a symbol of endemic fauna of the island of Madagascar, is undoubtedly one of the most endearing animals of our planet.

Observing these wonderful mammals in the wild is becoming increasingly scarce because of deforestation. Overnight at your hotel : RESIDENCE LAPASOA.

Day 15: Tana – Lazaina – International Flight ( B,L )

After your breakfast, drive to Lazaina, about 20Km from the capital Tana. This village is very representative of the Merina villages with its old houses of majestic architecture and its old Walls.  Once there, we will walk through fields, visit the rolling hills and discover the local flora and fauna, often surprising. We will spend time watching the women, bent double, currently working in the rice transplanting, feet in water, or later to collect them. We will discover villages and hamlets where we will be greeted warmly by inhabitants and children. We will visit colorful markets with various perfumes. Everywhere smiles, songs, colors and beautiful nature.

We will continue with the visit of a "valiha" workshop, considered as the "national musical instrument" of Madagascar.  Then, according to your scheduled flight, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back home.

 

Departure City

Tana

Finishing City

Tana

Group Size

Minimum of 4 family members

Optional Activities

Pricing is with an English speaking driver/guide. If the group would prefer a separate English speaking tour guide throughout the duration of the tour, add $550 per person (pricing to be confirmed)

Exclusions

The domestic flight Tana/Morondava + Tulear/Tana. According to Air Madagascar rates valid at the moment :

  • Low season (Jan 11 to July 9 and Sept 12 to Dec 17) : 416 Euros
  • High season (July 10 to Sept 11) : 453 Euros
  • Meals not suggested/included in the program
  • Excursions proposed by the hotel and visits mentioned at your charge in the program
  • Beverages
  • Tips, extras and personal expenses to be paid locally

Inclusions

  • Accommodation at hotels as mentioned
  • Meals as mentioned (B : breakfast / L : Lunch / D : Diner)
  • The 4WD car rental with driver, indemnities and gasoil included
  • English speaker guide during the whole tour ( according to the chosen option )
  • Entrance at parks and reserves to visit, as mentioned inside the program
  • Guidance fees
  • All transfers airport/hotel/airport and port/hotel

Best for:

Little Greenies

Not as good for:

Solo

Other Necessary Information

VISA

A tourist visa is necessary for any foreigner of any nationality to enter and stay in Madagascar. You can obtain it either at the Malagasy Embassy / consulate in your country, or directly at the airport when you arrive. In both cases, you will need to present:

  • Your return or continuing plane ticket
  • A valid passport for six months at least, after the departure date from Madagascar.
  • For 2015, a tourist visa is FREE for less than one month stay.

 

VACCINATIONS

No vaccinations are requested by law to enter Madagascar. However we highly recommend people to come in with up to date vaccinations against:

  • B hepatitis
  • Typhoid fever
  • Diphtheria / Tetanus / Polio
  • * Anti-malaria treatment

*In spite of stronger risks on the coast than in the highlands, and during the rainy season more than during the dry season, Malaria is present all over the island all year round. As a consequence, an anti-malaria treatment must be taken before, during and after your stay in Madagascar.

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