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Madagascar Southern Route, 13 day tour

Let 13 be  your lucky number! This Madagascar tour spans 13 days of exploring various regions of Madagascar, as you travel from the northern part of the island to the southern part of the island, in search of various species of flora and fauna. The southern part of the island is known for its populations of ring-tailed lemurs.

Day 1: Welcome to Madagascar!

Accommodations: Les Flots Bleus

Meals: Dinner

Most flights to Antananarivo arrive late at night. You will be picked up at the airport and taken to your hotel where you can eat a light dinner and then rest before embarking on the tour the second day.

Day 2: Antsirabe

Accommodations: Hotel Hasina

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Leave Antananarivo after breakfast and travel by vehicle south along RN 7 (National Road 7). Pass through small villages and see the typical two-story brick houses of the highland region of the country.

 

We will stop in the town of Ambatolampy to visit a foundry where much of the country’s aluminum cookware is made. By lunchtime, arrive at our destination, the larger town of Antsirabe. This town is known for its thermal springs and artisans. In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to visit some of the workshops of these artisans where the zebu cattle horn is transformed into jewelry and decorations. 

Day 3: Ambositra

Accommodations: Chez Gaspart

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

In the morning, take a walk by Lake Andraikiba in the outskirts of Antsirabe. We will then continue our journey south along RN 7.

 

By midday, arrive in the town of Ambositra, known for its woodcarving crafts. After lunch, you will have the opportunity to visit workshops and stores selling carved wooden sculptures and decorations.

 

In the afternoon, continue by road to the village of Ranomafana, where we will have dinner and rest for the evening.

Day 4: Ranomafana National Park

Accommodations: Chez Gaspart

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Take the entire day to discover the rainforest plants and animals of Ranomafana National Park. The park is home to 12 species of lemur including Verreaux's Sifaka, several species of Bamboo Lemur, and the smallest of the lemurs (Microcebus rufus). Ranomafana also has an estimated 114 species of birds, chameleons, and unique plants many of which are used locally for medicinal purposes.

 

You will be able to take a guided hike within the park including a picnic lunch (4-5 hours), and also learn more about this region at the renowned scientific research center, Centre ValBio.

Day 5: Ranomafana to Manakara

Accommodations: Antemoro Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We will leave in the morning and head East by vehicle towards the coast. The drive overland allows us to see the changing scenery as we descend from the mountainous highlands to the coastal rainforest. We will arrive in the town of Manakara by afternoon.

 

The rest of the afternoon is free time: Spend time relaxing by the beach, or take a tour of the town.

Day 6: Manakara

Accommodations: Antemoro Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Spend the day exploring the region around Manakara. You will have the opportunity to take a canoe ride along the Pangalanes Canal, an inland waterway of natural lagoons and manmade channels created during Madagascar’s colonial era. You will be able to visit a traditional village along the canal, where you can see traditional fishing and agricultural activities as well as the production of essential oils.

 

Depending on the season, you will be able to see how vanilla, cloves, or coffee are grown and processed.

 

End the day with a seafood barbeque on the beach at the Indian Ocean.

Day 7: Train Ride to Fianarantsoa

Accommodations: Tsara Guest House

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, continue the journey on the legendary train FCE (Fianarantsoa Cote Est). The train ride will bring us West from the coast back towards the highlands, allowing us a glimpse into the landscapes and daily life of this region.

 

By late afternoon, we will arrive at our destination, the large town of Fianarantsoa. The name of this town translates literally as “The Place of Good Learning,” and is well known for the preservation of many historic buildings. We will dine and stay at a hotel based in one of these historic buildings.

Day 8: Ambalavao and Anja Community Park

Accommodations: Chez Alice

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast in the morning, we continue our journey south be vehicle. Our first stop is Ambalavao, a charming small town known as the hub of zebu (cattle) trade in the region. You will have the opportunity to visit artisan workshops where Antemoro paper is made and wild silk is spun and woven into scarves and fabric.

 

After lunch, we will continue our journey overland. The scenery become more open as we descend from the highlands to the southern grassy savannah. In the afternoon, we will stop for a short hike in Anja, a park run by the local community. Here you will have the opportunity to see the famous Ring-Tailed Lemur. In the evening, we will arrive in the town of Ranohira for dinner and rest.

Day 9: Isalo National Park

Accommodations: Chez Alice

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The day is dedicated to the discovery of the fauna and flora of Isalo National Park, one of Madagascar’s most popular sites. Isalo contains grassy savannah landscapes and eroded sandstone outcroppings and cliffs, as well as a large network of streams that feed into the Mangoky River. This park is also considered sacred to the local ethnic group, the Bara, whose ancestral graves can be found high up in the canyons.

 

While hiking through the park, keep your eyes open for the many animals found here: 82 species of birds, 33 species of reptiles, 15 species of frogs, and 14 species of mammals including 3 different species of lemurs (Ring-Tailed Lemurs, Red-fronted Lemurs, and Verreaux's Sifakas).

Day 10: Toliara and Ifaty

Accommodations: Princesse du Lagon

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,

We will continue our journey southwest along RN 7. You have the opportunity to enjoy the scenery of southern Madagascar, home to ethnic groups such as the Antandroy, Antanosy and Mahafaly. By midday, we will arrive in the coastal city of Toliara, where we will have lunch before continuing our journey along the coast.

 

In the afternoon, we will arrive at our destination: Ifaty, a seaside village located 20 kilometers north.

Day 11: Ifaty

Accommodations: Princesse du Lagon

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,

After breakfast, take a short hike through the Baobab forest in the outskirts of the village to see the trees typical of this arid region.  The rest of the day is spent at your leisure on the beach. You can swim, snorkel, or even take a boat ride with local fishermen in the traditional outrigger sailing canoe. Cap off the day with a beachside dinner where you can view an ocean sunset, for the perfect ending of a beautiful day.

Day 12: Flight to Antananarivo

Accommodations: Les Flots Bleus

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, we will return to Toliara by vehicle. You will have some free time to look for souvenirs in the market before our flight to Antananarivo. Depending on flight schedules, you may also have some free time in Antananarivo in the afternoon.

Day 13: Antananarivo

Accommodations: Freshen up before  your flight at Les Flots Bleus

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

On your last day in Madagascar, you will be able to explore the hilly capital city Antananarivo. You may wish to take advantage of the numerous markets and boutiques selling handcrafted souvenirs. If you wish, you can also explore some of the city’s tourist attractions, such as the famous Queen’s Palace at the city’s highest point. You may also opt to explore some of the royal palaces in the outskirts of the city, from the Merina monarchy that ruled in the late 1800s. 

 

In the evening, you can return to your hotel room to freshen up, repack bags, and have dinner. You will then proceed to the airport for your return flight, which generally departs very late at night.

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Tour price includes:

  • Accommodations (double hotel room or bungalow)

  • Meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner, usually at hotels or restaurants, but some picnics during hikes, snacks, and bottled water)

  • Vehicle transportation (includes gas and mileage)

  • Airfare (one way from Toliara to Antananarivo)

  • Transfer to Toliara Airport

  • Transfer to and from the Ivato International Airport

  • Nature reserve visit fees (entry and obligatory local guides) for all parks visited

  • Guide/Driver who will accompany you for the duration of the trip

 

Not included in the tour price:

  • International airfare to/from Madagascar
  • Personal expenses

  • Souvenirs

  • Beverages to accompany meals

  • Tips for service

  • Single supplement

 

Be sure to bring:

Good walking shoes, mosquito repellent, sunblock, and a sense of adventure!

 

Call (678) 243-0080 or fill out the form below to customize your tour!