MALAGASY WITH THE LEMURS
Guided by Klaus Heimer (56), who has been living in the country for more than 15 years as photographer and journalist.
This tour of around 2500 km leads first to the volcanic area around Ampefy and Analavory, then to the east of the country, along the Pangalanes canal, through Tamatave and Foulpointe to the beautiful island of Sainte Marie. Then back to Tana and drive through the highlands to Fianarantsoa, and from there by train ride with the “train of life” or Jungle Express to Manakara at the south east coast. As the last highlight, visit to the Ranomafana NP.
It includes the visit of two National parks and several small reserves. Meet the local population, enjoy the knowledge of your English and German-speaking guide, and many opportunities to take great pictures. You’ll also experience some culinary highlights.
1st day Sunday: ANTANANARIVO
Meet and greet at the international airport of Antananarivo Ivato (the short form for Antananarivo is “Tana”) and transfer to the hotel Belvedere in the city center, overnight there.
2nd day Monday: ANTANANARIVO – SOAVINANDRIANA (about 150 km, max. 3,5 hours driving time)
In the morning, we’ll visit a social project in the outskirts of Tana, either “Liters of light” of the german-malagasy project with streetkids “ Zaza faly”, or a local small company, that produces from recycled metals pieces of art. Then slow drive on the National Road No. 1 towards the “wild west” with many opportunities for taking nice pictures. Stop at the lemur's park where 9 species of lemurs can jump around freely on 5 hectares. In a small village, you can see how many families manufacture from used beer cans and other recycled materials miniature vehicles that will be exported worldwide. Continuation via Miarinarivo and Ampefy to the coffee plantation of Christos Spiliopoulo in Soavinandriana (if it’s open, Cristos has had a long illness in 2014) and overnight there.
3rd day Tuesday: SOAVINANDRIANA (max. 100 km driving)
Visit the surroundings, waterfall of the Lily river, geysers of Analavory, and the viewpoint on the Ilot de la Vierge. Second night at Christos.
4th day Wednesday: SOAVINANDRIANA - ANTANANARIVO – ANDASIBE (300 km, about. 6 hours driving time)
Early drive back to Antananarivo on the National road (RN) No. 1 and continuation on the RN 2 (around 140 km) to Andasibe. On the way, stop at the reptiles park in Marozevo where we can see chameleons and other animals close up. Check-in at the hotel Andasibe Forest Lodge. Possibility to do a nocturnal visit with a local nature guide where with the help of flashlights you can see nocturnal lemurs (mouse lemurs), sleeping chameleons, tree frogs, etc.. Overnight at the Andasibe Forest lodge, surrounded by nature.
5th day Thursday: ANDASIBE (40 km)
The morning walk leads with a local park guide through the evergreen secondary forest of the Park Analamazaotra, on the trail Indri 2. Here we can see with some luck two families of the biggest lemur, the Indri, with its distinctive call. You can also see many birds, some reptiles and other species of lemurs. In the afternoon explore the lemur's island of the Vakona Lodge, where you can see several species of lemurs up close, some may even jump on your shoulder. Overnight at the Andasibe Forest lodge again.
6th day Friday: ANDASIBE – AKANIN’NY NOFY (Akanin’ny Nofy means „Nest of dreams“, 125 km on good road, then 7 km on dirt track, then some 2 hours on the boat on the canal)
Early drive on the RN2 to Brickaville, we’ll then shortly after the big railway bridge turn right and drive on a dirt track to Manambato which is situated on the shore of lake Rasoabe. Then drive by boat along the Pangalanes canal to Akanin’ny Nofy, where we’ll stay in the Palmarium hotel with an attached lemurs park. Walk in the surroundings of the hotel. Overnight at the Palmarium hotel.
7th day Saturday: AKANIN’NY NOFY
In the morning, walk in the Palmarium park to spot several species of lemurs, who’ll watch us attentively, we’ll see some from very close up. When night falls, boat excursion to a place where you can spot the very rare and nocturnal Aye-Aye lemur (Daubentonia madagascariensis) with the long middle finger. Overnight again at the Palmarium hotel.
8th day Sunday: AKANIN’NY NOFY - TAMATAVE - FOULPOINTE (around 2,5 hours by boat, then some 60 km on the road to Foulpointe)
Motorboat transfer to Tamatave, the biggest harbour town of Madagascar, then continues to Foulpointe. We’ll discover the old Fort, enjoy the sea and its food, walk along the beach or relax. Overnight at the Manda Beach Hotel.
9th day Monday: FOULPOINTE – SOANIERANA-IVONGO - SAINTE MARIE ( 75 km on the road, then some 2 hours on the ferry boat to the former pirate island)
Drive to Soanierana-Ivongo and cross the sea with the ferry to the beautiful island of Sainte Marie. Overnight at the bungalow hotel Lakana on the beach between the airport and the city of Ambodifotatra.
10th day Tuesday: SAINTE MARIE
Free day on Sainte Marie. We can explore the south of the island with the Ile aux Nattes or explore the North or east by walking or bicycle, or do water sports or relax on the beach. The pirates cemetery is also interesting to see at low tide. Between July and September, a whale-watching excursion can be booked through the hotel. Enjoy the nice sunset. Overnight again at the Hotel Lakana.
11th day Wednesday: SAINTE MARIE - ANTANANARIVO
Transfer to the airport and flight to Tana. Rest of the day is free. Overnight at the Belvedere hotel or similar.
12th day Thursday: ANTANANARIVO - ANTSIRABE ( around 170 km (some 3,5 hours driving time) on the RN7 (national road No. 7))
Drive to Ambatolampy, where we can see how they use recycled aluminum to manufacture pots etc. They also produce tabletop soccer games etc nearby. Continuation to Antsirabe, which is also known for its Rickshaws and gemstones. Check in at the Flower Palace hotel or similar, then some free time. Overnight at the hotel.
13th day Friday: ANTSIRABE – AMBOSITRA – FIANARANTSOA ( around 220 km (some 4 hours driving time) on the RN7 (national road No. 7))
Drive through beautiful landscape to Fianarantsoa, the " place where one learns the good ". From the highest point there, we’ll have a nice view towards Ambalavao. We’ll get the tickets for the next day’s train ride. Overnight at the Villa Sylvestre.
14th day Saturday: FIANARANTSOA – MANAKARA (163 km, 8 – 13 hours of driving time with the jungle -Express)
About 7 A.M. trip with the "jungle express train" to Manakara, over 67 bridges and through 48 tunnels, and the tropical forest to Manakara on the east coast. In every station, the villagers offer fresh fruits (bananas, tangerines, manioc), fish, and pastries for sale. The train trip lasts normally 8 to 13 hours. Shortly before arriving in Manakara, we’ll cross the airport landing strip, this exists only in three cities in the world. In Manakara, a city with many rikshaws, transfer to the hotel Partenay Club at the sea.
If the train should be out of order, we’ll visit the historical upper city of Fianarantsoa. We’ll then drive to Ambalavao and spend the night there at the Bougainvillées Hotel or similar.
15th day Sunday: MANAKARA – RANOMAFANA (ca. 200 km)
Morning free in Manakara. We can go to see the fishermen who come back from the catch, or do a little dugout tour on the Pangalanes canal. In the afternoon, we’ll drive to Ranomafana, along ravinala palm trees, spice plantations etc. Night walk along the road to spot the mousemaki, chameleons etc. Overnight at the Lodge Chez Gaspard.
If the train should be out of order, we’ll visit the Anja reserve 12 km south of Ambalavao, where we’ll have good chances to see some families of Katta lemurs. After that drive to Ranomafana and overnight.
16th day Monday: RANOMAFANA – SAHAMBAVY (some 85 km)
Visit the approximately 40.000 hectares large National Park, Ranomafana. which is situated at the Namorona river, with its fauna and flora, such as the golden bamboo lemurs discovered only in 1986 by the german researcher Bernhard Meier, the brown lemurs, and the Sifaka. In the afternoon, we’ll drive to Fianarantsoa, from where we’ll take a ride on the historical Micheline train car to the lake of Sahambavy (only if minimum 4 Pax will be on the tour we’ll do this train car ride, if less Pax, we’ll drive from Ranomafana directly by minibus to Sahambavy). If we get there early enough, we can visit the tea plantation if they’re working. Overnight at the Lac hotel on the shore of the lake.
17th day Tuesday: SAHAMBAVY – AMBOSITRA (some 150 km)
The people from the Betsileo tribe are good landscape architects. They use the ground even in relatively high altitudes for rice crop growing. Drive the short distance back to the National road no. 7 (RN7), and then north until Ambositra. Visit of a Zafimaniry woodcarving workshop. Overnight at the hotel Mania or similar.
18th day Wednesday: AMBOSITRA – ANTSIRABE (130 km)
Continue the drive on the winding RN7 to Antsirabe. Visit the Andraikiba lake, then a short city tour, and perhaps visit a workshop where they make miniatures out of recycled materials. Overnight at the Flower palace hotel or similar.
19th Day Thursday: ANTSIRABE – ANTANANARIVO (180 km)
Drive on the RN7 via Ambatolampy to Tana. Depending on the arrival time in Tana, the possibility of a visit to the handcrafts market with many handmade items made from leather, stone, natural fibres, etc. Transfer to the hotel near the airport and overnight (night not included) or to the airport for the flight back to Europe with AF, check-in around 10 PM.
20th Day Friday: ANTANANARIVO - PARIS
Take off at about 01.00 AM to Paris
Transfers airport – hotel - airport
Accommodation based on bed and breakfast in the above-mentioned or similar midrange hotels, in Soavinandriana and on Sainte Marie on half board
Parks and reserve fees (Andasibe, Ranomafana)
Service of local guides in parks and reserves
Visits that are mentioned in the program
Sedan car, Minibus, or bus rental with a driver and fuel for the road trip
Train trip Fianarantsoa to Manakara (if there should be changes of the timetable, tour must be adjusted accordingly), if minimum 4 participants, a drive with the rare Micheline train car is included
Transfers by the hotel-owned boat (there may be other passengers on board) Manambato – Akanin’ny Nofy - Tamatave
English and german speaking guide escort from the agency
A bottle of drinking water per person per day
Tourist levy and VAT
Domestic flight or Sainte Marie – Tana
International flights and their taxes
Visa fees (if applicable)
Other meals and drinks
Water sports, bicycle rental etc. on Sainte Marie
Whale whatching excursion on Sainte Marie
Individual travel insurance, also for luggage, accident, theft and cancellation