Southern Madagascar Revealed
11 Days - Tana - Tulear - Isalo - Andringitra - Ranomafana - Antsirabe - Andasibe - Tana
This 11 day tour takes in all the delights of Southern Madagascar; starting and ending in Antananarivo, this tour covers the magnificent flora and fauna of the Isalo National Park, Andringitra National Park, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Zombitse - Vohibasia National Park and the famous Ranomafana National Park, as well as visiting Ambositra and Antsirabe.
You will arrive at Ivato International Airport and be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel.
You have the remainder of the day at leisure to recover from your flight and to explore the hustle and bustle of Antananarivo. The capital city of Madagascar is the largest city in the country, commonly known as Tana and has a number of different attractions to keep you busy!
Day 1 – Antananarivo
Situated on a hillside in the heart of the ‘City of a Thousand’, Royal Pallisandre is an elegantly decorated hotel with 46 air conditioned rooms. All have their own electronic safe, direct phone line, television with local and international channels, wifi, minibar, bathroom and hair dryer.
The Relais de la Reine is a boutique hotel, perfectly integrated into an oasis of over 40 hectares. It is a family run lodge, which has been specially designed to allow visitors to immerse themselves in this unique place through its geology, flora, fauna and history.
The Relais de la Reine was the first human settlement on lands that had been deemed wild and hostile. The designers of the project were considered a little crazy when it was launched in 1992, as their main aim was to ensure that the hotel blended into the wilderness and that it was invisible to anyone but those staying in it.
Day 2 - Antananarivo – Tulear – Isalo National Park
Day 3 – Isalo National Park
You have the morning free to explore some of the sights and sounds of Tana, before heading to the airport for your flight to Tulear.
Upon arrival, you will be met by your driver and taken towards Isalo. You will stop enroute for a visit to the Zombitse - Vohibasia National Park.
The park is home to a number of lemur species, including the sifaka, red-fronted brown lemur, ring-tailed lemur and Hubbards sportive lemur. Birds are also prolific here, including a number of endemic species such as the Appert’s greenbul. The flora is especially diverse here, with baobabs and orchids especially prevalent.
You will continue onwards and arrive into Isalo in the late afternoon.
Dating back to the Jurassic era, Isalo National Park is a massive plateau of continental sandstone. There are fabulous natural pools and canyons which are truly breathtaking. Covering an area of over 81,540 hectares, the park with its interesting geological make up is home to a number of endemic species and some fantastic flora.
You have the full day to explore the park and take in its natural beauty.
Relais de la Reine
Relais de la Reine (as Day 2)
Day 4 - Isalo National Park - Andringitra National Park
Today you will make your way through the huge plain of Ihorombe to Camp Catta where you have the remainder of the day at leisure.
Day 5 - Andringitra National Park
Situated at the foot of Tsaranoro's cliff, not far from the sacred forest with the same name, Camp Catta is the perfect place from which to explore Andringitra.
The camp also offers additional activities for its guests including paragliding and mountain biking.
Today you have a full day to explore the flora and fauna of Andringitra National Park.
There are a number of different hiking trails within the park, so it is possible to find one to suit every ability. Waterfalls, orchids, granite peaks, huge escarpments and stunning viewpoints can be found as you make your way along the trails with the wonderful sounds of the wildlife that inhabit the park as your background noise!
Camp Catta (as Day 4)
Today you leave Andringitra and journey towards Ranomafana National Park. Enroute you will have a chance to visit the Anja Reserve which is home to ring-tailed lemurs. Depending on time – you also have the opportunity to break up the journey with a visit to the hand made paper and silk factory or winery.
You will arrive at Ranomafana in the afternoon. Meaning ‘hot water’ in Malagasy, Ranomafana is a spectacular national park. The park protects twelve species of lemur (including the woolly lemur, red bellied lemur, eastern grey bamboo lemur, brown mouse lemur and the aye-aye), chameleons, birds, frogs, tenrecs and carnivores.
Ranomafana is also an ornithologists paradise – over 100 species have been identified here, around 30 of which are endemic to this area of Madagascar, including Hensts goshawk, Rufous-headed ground-roller, velvet asity and the crested ibis.
Botanists will also enjoy Ranomafana, with its orchids, carnivorous plants and towering trees.
You will have chance to check in to your accommodation before heading out into the park on a guided night walk.
Day 6 - Andringitra National Park – Ranomafana National Park
Setam Lodge is the closest lodge to the national park, located just five minutes away from the gate.
Just ten chalets, set into the hillside make up this lodge. Each chalet is simply decorated in a traditional style and contains two bedrooms and ensuite bathroom.
The lodge restaurant is a highlight with its huge windows giving diners a panoramic view over the surroundings.
Day 7 – Ranomafana National Park
You will spend the morning back in Ranomafana and have chance to see some of the diurnal species.
During the afternoon, you can either return to the lodge for an afternoon of relaxation or you might choose to spend longer in Ranomafana.
Setam Lodge (as Day 6)
Day 8 – Ranomafana National Park – Antsirabe
This morning you leave Ranomfana and head towards Antsirabe.
You will stop along the way at Ambositra. Ambositra is home to Madagascar’s wood carving industry. It is a fascinating town and a great place to while away a few hours. Artisans can be seen in their workshops or sometimes just around the streets of the town.
You will arrive in Antsirabe in the afternoon. The third largest city in Madagascar, Antsirabe is famous for its thermal baths.
The city is relatively compact and is easy to explore on foot; the eclectic mix of architectural styles makes wandering around incredibly enjoyable. Antsirabe is also known for its rickshaws, and even today, they provide a novel means of exploring the city.
City tours can be arranged including visits to the handicraft workshops and precious gemstone shops, or you may decide to indulge in a massage at your hotel, or just relax by the pool.
© ecoTravel Africa 2011
The Royal Palace Hotel is located in a quiet area of the city, it has a beautiful garden and pool and is ideally placed to enable its guests to get out and explore Antisirabe.
Day 9 - Antsirabe – Andasibe
You have a long journey ahead today, but the trip will be broken up by various stops along the way! You will have chance to visit the aluminum pottery in Ambatolampy, have lunch in a traditional restaurant and have many scenic photo opportunities throughout the journey!
You will arrive into Andasibe in the afternoon and will have chance to settle into your accommodation before heading out into the park for a night walk.
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is situated right next to the town of Andasibe. The flora here is quite exceptional with some stunning orchids, tremendous trees and towering bamboos.
Andasibe is famous for the Indri, the largest of the lemur species as well as thirteen other lemur species (including the aye-aye, black and white ruffed lemur and diafemed sifaka).
As well as the lemurs and other mammals, more than 100 species of birds (many of them endemic, like the Madagascar yellowbrow, Madagascar baza, Madagascar wagtail or the Madagascar serpent-eagle), around 50 different reptiles, among them the biggest chameleon of the island, the boa manditra and many leaf-tailed geckos and more than 80 amphibians. There are also a few local endemic fishes swimming in the small rivers and hundreds of insects, among them some extraordinary colourful and big butterflies.
Vakona Forest Lodge
28 bungalows dotted amongst the hillside in the lush gardens make up this lodge. Each bungalow has its own terrace and ensuite bathroom. The swimming pool is a great place to relax with the sound of wildlife surrounding you. There are also a number of walking trails leading from the lodge into the forest which are all clearly marked and there are numerous activities on offer including horse riding and canoeing.
Day 10 – Andasibe
You will have the opportunity to further explore the park today and seek out the creatures that are more active during the daytime.
You will return to the lodge for lunch, before heading into the Vakona Private Reserve in the afternoon. The Reserve is owned by the Vakona Forest Lodge and also contains Lemur Island which is a great opportunity to get up close to Lemurs in a natural setting.
Vakona Forest Lodge (as Day 9)
Day 11 - Andasibe – Tana
After breakfast you begin you begin to head back towards Tana. You will stop enroute to visit the Peyrieras Exotic Reserve. This privately owned reserve is named after the entomologist and naturalist Andre Peyrieras. It offers a good introduction to the fauna of Madagascar, with numerous varieties of chameleon and butterfly, as well as geckos, frogs, crocodiles and some enormous bats.
You will continue to Tana and depending on the time of your flight, will either head straight for the airport, or otherwise, have the use of facilities at Royal Palissandre (as Day 1), before heading to the airport later in the day.