This itinerary combines the Rainforest – “green”- East with the very dry rocky and red sandy West. Two completely contrasted areas. Besides the National Rainforest with the biggest lemur – Indri- and the Unesco Classified Tsingy the Bemaraha National Park, this itinerary includes a couple of stops on the beach which makes this trip also incredibly interesting for families.
This incredible journey highlights the beauty of Madagascar from all angles. Looking for a shorter tour? Check out our 12-day Madagascar in a Nutshell tour or feel free to contact us so we can recommend the best itinerary based on your interests and preferences.
Price per person in EURO:
2 people sharing a double: 2,032 EUR
Supplement for a single is 387.30 EUR
4 people in x2 double rooms: 1,508.10 EUR
Supplement for a single: 387.30 EUR
Arrival at Ivato international airport in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. Welcome or Tonga Soa! A driver will take you to a hotel located near the airport overlooking the characteristic rice paddies of the high plateau to relax and have dinner. Flights often arrive very late in the evening in Madagascar, so you will be taken to your hotel directly.
Visa and money exchange upon arrival in the airport
Shuttle from airport to hotel
Overnight at Chez Jeanne or similar
After breakfast at the hotel, you will be driven eastward to Andasibe, a journey of about 138 km, taking around three and a half hours. If you wish, lunch can be taken near the village of Andasibe and you may visit the VOI community-based reserve.
VOI (Vondron’olona Ifotony) is a small local reserve managed by local people who also care for different species of animal and flowers: Some group of Indris, diademed sifakas, wooly lemurs, reptiles, amphibians and different insects like the famous giraffe necked weevil, are at home here.
The word means in English “Local people love the forest “. The private park does not only serve for recreational purposes, but also informs local people about conservation and ecotourism. Half of the generated money is used for several projects in Andasibe, e.g. building water taps or supporting a small local hospital.
After this visit, you will continue along the RN2 for about 30 minutes, a local guide will join you there and will lead you the Ecolodge of the Vohimana reserve, a walk for an about 30 minutes.
This reserve is a jewel biodiversity with 22 lemurs’ species, more than 70 frog species and 79 orchid species. Established as a private reserve in 2001, this reserve is administered by the NGO “Man and the Environment”, which is developing it as an ecotourism site in conjunction with their conservation work. In the Vohimana Reserve, men and women work every day to improve the living conditions of the villagers while protecting their forest. Local guides have been trained in some interesting specialized circuits highlighting subjects as medicinal plants. They also have a distillery for making essential oils for which they have some famous customers, including the perfume house Chanel. The Indri (indri indri), the largest of the lemurs and one of the few primates that emit a song that can be heard far away can be seen in this private reserve. Note also the presence of Calumma gallus, a very rare chameleon that has a very limited distribution or the endangered birds.
Transport Antananarivo – Andasibe – Vohimana (4.5 hours by car and 30 minutes by foot)
Overnight at Le relais du naturaliste ecolodge
Today is dedicated to visit this Vohimana reserve. Enjoy spotting the Indri! Sightseeing tour in the heart of the forest corridor of eastern Madagascar, where the charm of the biodiversity of fauna and flora of the Vohimana reserve is evident.
Overnight at Le relais du naturaliste ecolodge
After spending a day in the tropical rainforest, the driver will drive you further East to the city with the biggest harbor of the Island Toamasina (also known as Tamatave), a five-hour drive from Andasibe. On the way, you will have the opportunity to appreciate the typical greenery of the National Road No. 2, bordered on both sides by one of Madagascar’s emblems: the Ravinala (“Ravenala madagascariensis”). Also known as the “Traveler’s Tree”, the Ravinala stores rainwater, thus made potable, at the base of its trunk. Its leaves and sturdy trunk are used by locals in building their traditional habitats along the way… We won’t stay in town, unless you would like to enjoy your lunch here. We suggest you to proceed to Ivoloina and stay there, even if it’s a simple Reasearch “home” to stay, but it’s a very interesting place – about half an hour drive, but if it could take a little longer to come out of the town, due to traffic jams
If you arrive early in Ivoloina, you can go on an afternoon excursion with a guide.
Ivoloina Park is a regional conservation and education center located near the city of Toamasina consisting of a 4-hectare zoological park and a 282-hectare-forestry station and offers and Environmental Education Center as well as the Ivoloina Conservation Training Center. The extensive operations on the site are one of the initiatives of the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group – a non-governmental conservation organization supported by a consortium of zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, universities, and other related organizations.
Today, continue (start) your sightseeing tour in the heart of the forest corridor of eastern Madagascar, where the charms of the biodiversity of fauna and flora of the Ivoloina reserve are numerous. You can also ask to make a dugout canoe excursion on the river lining the road to the Ivoloina park. Please discuss your preferred program of the day the night before with one of the local guides of the center.
Overnight at Ivoloina research center ecolodge
After breakfast, you can still go for a walk in the Ivoloina Park if you wish. Later on, you will be taken to the little village of Mahambo, a well-known spot for surfers. The road is in a bad condition up North from Tamatave so the 60 km could take about 3h30 drive. On the way, you will pass by a village which can be considered as a little city: Foulpointe or Mahavelona in Malagasy. The latter is known for being the main holidays’ destination of people coming from the Highlands because of its calm sea and beaches. Then, about one hour from there, you will reach Mahambo.
Today, you’ll sail to Sainte Marie for about 3 hours on the Indian Ocean. Sainte Marie is a small island east of Madagascar, a tropical paradise with palm trees, cinnamon trees, clove trees, anthuriums, orchids, bougainvillea, flamboyants … In short, it is a natural botanical garden. In the main town of the island, Ambodifotratra, remains the oldest Catholic church in Madagascar, a place that really worth a visit. And Sainte Marie is very famous for whales appearing here between july-september to produce their offsprings.
Upon arrival, you will be transferred to Ravohara Ecolodge. This ecolodge finances every year the school fees of all the children of the primary school of the village of Ravoraha, since its opening. So, much of their efforts are centered on involvement ofthe ecolodge in the life of the Ravoraha village.
Overnight at Ravoraha Ecolodge
At the Ravohara ecolodge, you will be able to book leisure activities on your own and as you like. It is interesting to discover the Island by foot or bicycle. The very small Island Ile aux Nattes also worth a day visit if you are looking relaxation at the beach. Apart from being an ecolodge, Ravohara also offers you many interesting activities such as SPA, tours, diving, fishing and kite surfing.
Today, you will be transferred back to the airport of Sainte-Marie for the return flight to Antananarivo. Upon your arrival in the capital, you will be taken to the Chez Jeanne Guesthouse.
Transfer to Airport of Sainte-Marie and inland flight back to the capital
Shuttle from airport to hotel
Overnight at Chez Jeanne or similar
Today, after an early breakfast, you will drive about 8 hours to the city of Miandrivazo. After 3,5
hours’ drive you’ll first cross the ricefields and hills of the highland with the typical sand stone
“bakeries” and arrive in Antsirabe , a town known for its thermal baths and for all the rickshaw’s – a
typical highland town. From Antsirabe you go West to Miandrivazo. The name of the latter derives
from a royal story which relates the history of the Highlands king Radama I (1810-1828). He wanted
to annex the Sakalava western kingdom and used and followed his fathher’s example by asking the
Sakalava’ kingdom princess to marry him and waited for her in the village of Miandrivazo, which
means “Waiting for wife”, in the western dialect. The bride came and the wedding was celebrated.
There, you will stay in a hotel which name will remind you of this story: Princesse Tsiribihina hotel.
– Transport Antananarivo – Miandrivazo ( ± 8 hours)
– Overnight at Princesse Tsiribihina hotel.
To start the day, you will enjoy an excursion by ship on the Mahajilo River. Miandrivazo is situated along the Tsiribihina river with its many branches. On arrival, you will start an excursion by local pirogue boat on the Mahajilo branch of this river to get to know the hinterland and the fisher’s villages near the river. An early picnic lunch will be included. A nice local experience this morning.
Afterwards, you will be transferred to a small local village called Tsaravahiny which is situated near Morondava, about 30 minutes’ drive from the famous Baobab Allee. You can organise the day in such a way that you will pass the Alley by sundowner* and then after 30 minutes more you will be at this village. Please note that the accommodation here is according to local conditions, without electricity and in “huts”, another nice experience for 1 night.
*On day 17 you’ll also have the opportunity to see the Baobab Alley at sunset, so you may decide today to continue and arrive earlier in Tsaravahiny.
Today you will enjoy the life in a local village till about 13h30. Tsaravahiny Centre offers the opportunity to participate in the village’s activities (traditional crab fishing, baskets, and pirogues crafting). You can also visit the mangrove and the dunes without forgetting the famous avenue of the baobabs, mythical place of Madagascar, especially at sunset. You will finally be able to immerse yourself in the Sakalava culture by visiting their Tombs.
The Centre was created in 1996 by a non-governmental organization (Abm Belgian Association Belgium-Madagascar), builders of the school and health center in this poor village. Since 2012, the association had transferred the management of the accommodation to a couple young Malagasy who works closely with the village’s committee. The income of the accommodation and activities are shared with the committee.
After lunch you’ll continue to the North to Kirindy and will visit the Kirindy forest, home to a fascinating fauna and flora in a dry forest. The latter is composed of drought-adapted plants and animal species such as baobabs, endemic lemur species (like the Sifaka or “Propithecus verreauxi”), birds, bats and so on. We recommend you tomake a night visit of this reserve as it offers an incredible nocturnal wildlife, unequalled in the world including but not limited to the endemic Mouse Lemur. With a bit of luck, you can see a ” Fosa “, the biggest predator of the island. The “Fosa” is at home in this dry reserve.
Before heading to the famous Tsingy of the Bemaraha aera today, we suggest you to visit the Kirindy Forest early in the morning by day light. Then, you will start your adventures in the deep western part of Madagascar in order to reach the site that makes us proud: the UNESCO classified Tsingy of Bemaraha National Park. The journey will take about eight hours crossing two rivers in the process and continue on dirt roads. Firstly, you will pass by the Spiny Forest and will reach the Tsiribihina River which you will have to cross with a wooden boat afterwards. Depending on the available time, you may have lunch at Belo sur Tsiribihina or somewhere on the road and arrive by the end of the afternoon or beginning of the evening in Bekopaka. This is a little village located close to the Bemaraha National Park. There, you will be transferred to the nice Soleil des Tsingy hotel. The hotel observes sustainable tourism.
Today, you will make a visit by foot the so called little Tsingy. You will be able to navigate the Gorge of Manambolo, a river known for its canyons, caves and wonderful landscapes, which flows along the park as well. Discover this part of the national park and let you be captivated by its wilderness. Afterwards, you will be taken back to your Hotel. Please notice that the park entrance fee is included today, but you will have to pay the obligatory park guide on the spot.
After visiting the little Tsingy yesterday, you will spend the entire day visiting the other part of the Park this day: The Big Tsingy. To arrive at the entrance of this side of the park , the driver will take you first for about 45 minutes by car. This part is mainly made of unique rocky structures, the famous “Tsingy”. Incredibly, plenty of plants and endemic animals have their natural habitat in this harsh environment. Please note that to walk through this part of the park, we recommend you to wear “climbing material”.
Today, you will leave this rocky paradise and will travel by 4×4 car in the direction of Morondava. It is the same road you travelled on day 8. Shortly before arrival in Morondava, you will pass by the famous Baobab Alley by sunset. In Morondava, we have booked the simple Trecigogne hotel for you, please note that this is engaged in a sustainable way of managing.
Early in the morning (the exact hour will be given the previous evening by the boatman, depending on wind and water level), you will ferry across the see to Belo Sur Mer, a voyage of about 3 hours. Overnight on HB at the simple but wonderful “Entremer Ecolodge” , please visit their website if this is a suitable accommodation for you, it is fabulous, but in a remote area.
The hotel is situated near fishermen’s villages on the beach, with possibility for snorkeling, relaxing and fishing but also for a day excursion to Kirindy Mitea Forest, please ask the hotel which options are available
A free day in and around Belo sur Mer, before your return home.
Early in the morning (the exact hour will be given the previous evening by the boatman,again it will depend on wind and water level) the boat will take you back to Morondava where you can catch an inland flight back to the capital. Here, we will book a day use room by Jeanne for you until your departure. Today’s activities depend on the internal flight times, so we can make you suggestions once we have the exact traveling dates.
End of our services
Mora Travel dedicates itself to organizing ‘sustainable’ trips to Madagascar every day. Sustainability is very important to us! By organizing these trips, we believe our travelers can experience Madagascar and enjoy everything that the country has to offer. And because you are traveling with us, we can contribute to preserving biodiversity and endemicity and giving local people in Madagascar a real chance.
Madagascar is not an easy destination to promote sustainable tourism as the logistics in remote areas are often very basic, the options are limited, and many resources are hard to get by. There aren’t always sustainable options, but wherever possible we opt for the most sustainable choice. Nevertheless, we do promote responsible travel to lessen our negative impact on our destination as much as possible.
This means we work together with partners that are environmentally conscious (renewable energy, sustainable waste management) while also looking after the social and economic wellbeing of the local people. We give preference to local Malagasy accommodations, businesses or for example parks that employ local staff under good conditions, that use mainly local products and/or are engaged in community initiatives. This means that the hotels during the trip are a real mix of very simple and luxury hotels depending on the criteria mentioned above.
We also contribute to reforestation. To compensate for the carbon dioxide emissions of all tourists who travel with us, we plant trees. The purpose of planting trees is to house animals, because they have less and less place to live because of deforestation. We still have a long way to go, but we feel that making this a choice and communicating this to our partners will help create a larger sustainable tourism community in the long run.