For years, adventurous travellers have driving Madagascar’s rugged southwest 4WD tracks in search of dancing lemurs, eye-spinning chameleons and that strange mix between cat and mongoose – the predatory fossa.
When the vast island continent of Madagascar wrenched itself free from the mighty Gondwanaland tens of millions of years ago, it took with it a veritable Noah’s Ark of plant and animal species, and established itself as a unique ecosystem that developed independently to this day.
The planet’s so-called eighth continent remained largely undisturbed for the majority of its existence and has only felt the influence of man in the last two thousand years. In this short time, hungry humans have deforested 85% of the landmass, felled huge baobab, tamarind and ebony stands, remodelled vast tracts for agriculture and placed most of the endemic flora and fauna on the endangered and threatened list. Yet despite the myriad perils, new species of lemur are being discovered even today!
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Tana (Antananarivo) – Madagascar|
11 October 2020 – 25 October 2020 (4 places still available)
|DURATION||16 days/15 nights|
|PRICES per person|
AU$7,990 twin share rate
AU$9,290 single rate
|GROUP SIZE||4 to 12 Guests|
Arrive Tana (Antananarivo) Madagascar’s capital. On arrival you will be met and transferred to our group hotel. D
We fly south to the coastal city of Tulear the southern capital, known as “The White City” or “Sun City”. The city offers bright colours and a rhythmic ambience made by the Tsapiky music. Then drive 25km north to the quaint fishing village of Ifaty. B,L,D
We spend the morning visiting the Honko’s mangrove conservation site and learn about the regions ecology and culture before heading back to the outskirts of Tulear were we visit a private Arboretum – a botanical garden specialising in the flora and fauna of SW Madagascar. The Arboretum was created around 1980, on the initiative of a Swiss amateur botanist, Hermann Pétignat who died in 2000. There are almost 900 species of plants, 90% endemic to the region. After lunch, we pass through Sakaraha in the Atsimo-Adrefana region, were we should start to see baobabs, cotton growing and roadside painted tombs. We continue driving towards Isalo National Park passing through wild-west style towns, which in recent years have become the makeshift homes of sapphire hunters. B,L,D
These days will be dedicated to exploring the NP of Isalo, the Malagasy Colorado and sacred burial grounds for the Bara people. The park has a unique combination of deep sandstone canyons, bush plains and rare endemic plants such as – the endemic Aloe. The park comprises of the entire stretch of the Isalo Massif – a spectacular mountain chain of eroded sandstone. This strikingly beautiful reserve consists of golden plains, punctuated by craggy pinnacles of terracotta rock, valleys, canyons and waterfalls. We plan to enjoy some wonderful walking in this surreal environment and cool off in natural oasis-like swimming hole along the way. We may also make a visit to one of the Sapphire mining areas. In the afternoons you might like to take a horse ride around the nearby pagodas, enjoying the evening light before dinner. B,L,D
We say goodbye to the palm-laced savannah scenery of the Horombe Plateau and the Bara lands where we should encounter huge numbers of Zebu (the ubiquitous humped cattle). These animals hold an almost sacred position in Madagascan life and are certainly symbolic of the prosperity of their owners. We will have a stop at the private reserve of Anjah, sacred to the Betsileo people because their ancestors are buried in the high cliff tombs here. We might also be graced by close encounters with the cheeky ring tailed lemurs. If time allows we would like to visit some of the charming, highlands town of Ambalavao and visit the Antaimoro hand-made paper factory. This papyrus like paper is impregnated with dried flowers. B,L,D
We have a full day dedicated to the nature reserve of Ranomafana. We certainly recommend waking up early for a morning walk in the park, as it is the best time for animal observation. The Park came to the world’s attention in 1986 with the discovery of the golden bamboo lemur. Ranomafana NP is also renowned for the originality and variety of both flora and fauna. There are 12 species of lemurs, 100 species of birds, 36 of which are endemic and many reptiles and butterflies. In the afternoon, we can visit the village with its hot spring & local market, followed by a night walk inside the national park on a search for nocturnal lemurs, chameleons and frogs. B,L,D
En-route we will make a stop in Ambositra to visit the handicrafts markets. Ambositra is a small town renowned for its Zafimaniry woodcarvings and other handicrafts. The Zafimaniry people are known for the curious wooden architecture of their houses and fine ancestral woodcarvings. They inhabit about 100 villages in the forested highlands of the southeast; their language originated from Borneo and their culture and lands are classified as UNESCO World Heritage. Antsirabe is a beautiful city in the highlands of Madagascar, a mixture of cultures has formed the city over two centuries and is a key part of the Betsileo people, famed for their rice cultivation skills. Founded in 1872 by Norwegian missionaries, the city reflects the warmth of its people and the authenticity of its traditions is still alive. It will be an early start as we have a long 10-hour-drive crossing the heartland from Ansirabe to Morondava on the west coast. B,L,D
After lunch we drive through the remarkable Avenue des Baobabs on the way to Kirindy. This cluster of towering Grandidier’s baobabs is one of Madagascar’s most famous views. Kirindy is simply superlative and comprises dry deciduous forests – one of the most outstanding and threatened wildlife habitats in Madagascar. It is renowned for the giant jumping rat and is home to 7 species of lemur and numerous endemic reptiles. After dinner we plan a night walk through the forest. If we are lucky we may see the weird and wonderful fossa (cat-like) – the only endemic carnivorous species of Madagascar. B,L,D
Up early for bird and wildlife viewing in Kirindy’s dry forest and wetlands, keeping an eye out for the paradise flycatcher, giant coa and Berther’s lemur, considered to be the smallest primate. A seven-hour drive on rough tracks, including ferrying across the languid Tsiribihina and Manambolo rivers takes us to our comfortable lodge in the heart of Tsingy de Bermaraha National Park. B,L,D
We spend two days exploring the Tsingy’s (limestone plateaus dramatically eroded into pinnacles, caves and gorges) by canoe and on foot. UNESCO World Heritage-listed, Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park is home to bats, lemurs, birds and plants adapted to these spectacular 300m-high ‘stone forests’ – which offer fantastic views. B,L,D
Drive back to Morondava, stopping for sunset at the beautiful Avenue des Baobabs. The next day will be at leisure to relax and enjoy the beach or visit the town centre. For those who wish to visit the Baobab Avenue at sunrise this can be arranged, or you can visit the towns colourful bustling main market and browse through the huge range of products & produce. Fly back to Tana. B,L,D
Your final morning in Tana before transferring to the airport for your flight home. B
Guy Rerard Ratsarazaka
Believe it or not, our top Madagascar guide, Guy Gerard, was educated in both his native country and Belarus! Fluent in Malagasy, English, French, and Russian, Guy received his Master of Oil Chemistry Engineering and Russian Language and Literacy from the Vladimir Ilych Lenin University in Minsk, Belarus. After a career change from the corporate world to something a bit more noble, Guy worked for the Red Cross in Antananarivo and is well trained in first aid and emergency response. He is a specialised guide leading classic tours throughout Madagascar as well as hiking, history, culture, nature, and wildlife tours. Now residing in the coastal city of Mahajanga with his family, you can find Guy reading his Bible and various books on the flora and fauna of Madagascar.
Sue graduated as a veterinary nurse before embarking on a more adventurous life as a professional outdoor guide. Over the past 25 years she has worked as an expedition leader, photographer and tour guide. Throughout that time she has been at the cutting edge of developments in adventure travel, mainly specialising in Antarctica and the High Arctic. Her enthusiasm has taken her to many remote corners of the world, including Madagascar, the Amazon, Africa and the Himalaya. Spending three months living in Grytviken, working for the South Georgia Heritage Trust and was a highlight of Sue’s career. In January, 2015, Sue purchased Adventure Associates and continues to plan even more exciting journeys to remote destinations.
How to Book
To ensure your place on this exciting adventure, please contact us to reserve a place 02 6355 2022 or , then complete the Adventure Associates Booking Form and return to us with your AUD 1000 per person deposit.
|Deposit required per person:||AU$1000 per person|
|Balance due:||75 days prior to departure|
|If booking within 74 days of departure:||Full payment must be made.|
Reservations are established when you receive written