Day 1: Drive from Tana to Antsirabe. The guide will pick you up from your hotel in Antananarivo and you will start driving towards the South. As soon as you leave busy Tana, you can start enjoying the pretty views. The road lingers through the hilly terraced highland and after 70 km you will pass through the village of Ambatolampy, where you can visit an aluminium pot atelier. After lunch we will continue to Antsirabe. As soon as you enter the town the roads are buzzing with colorful pousse-pousse (rickshaw). This is the town to explore craft shops and it is also an important industrial center, mainly for its beer breweries and dairy factories. Hotel: Soa Guesthouse.
Day 2: Visit Antsirabe and surroundings. This day we will see the sights in and around Antsirabe. In the morning we will visit the volcanic lake Tritrivia. Tritrivia’s waters are surrounded by steep cliffs and fringed by pine trees. Very strange fact: the water level rises in the dry season. If you like some exercise you can cycle out there with a mountain bike. Bring a picnic lunch or enjoy lunch looking over the lower Andraikiba volcano lake. In the afternoon you can visit some craft shops of your choice and take a ride in a pousse-pousse. Hotel: Soa Guesthouse.
Day 3: Drive to Miandrivazo. Today we drive towards the West and leave the highland to meet the Tsiribihina River in Miandrivazo. We will eat lunch on the road and after checking in the hotel you can explore the town and take a stroll along the river that will accompany you the next three days. While you enjoy the scenery, your guide will prepare the departure for the next day. Hotel: Le Gite.
Days 4-6: Tsiribihina river trip. We leave early in the morning after loading the canoe with our luggage, food and water. We begin our calm water river journey on the majestic Tsiribihina River, using traditional boats made out of one trunk of wood (pirogue). Those trees are endemic to Madagascar or the region. Nowadays pirogue builders are rare as more and more motorboats are coming up. The trip is slow and you can relax, but if you like some exercise you can help the boatmen peddle. Sit back and enjoy nature passing you by. The peace and quiet of the meandering river is amazing, spot the birds and if lucky the lemurs, watch the herds of zebu drinking and villagers busy at everyday chores, wave back to the children running after the canoes along the banks. Before nightfall we make our camp on the riverbank and enjoy the campfire, a good meal and a sky full of stars.
During the three days you will pass through diverse landscapes, isolated natural wilderness, reminding you how far away you are from home. At the end we pass the Gorge of Bemaraha with its steep rocks before we stop at Anosin' Ampela, a wonderful waterfall where we can refresh ourselves. We will see dense vegetation along the riverbanks, towering cliffs and baobab forests. Water birds, fruit bats and lemurs will accompany our journey. We say goodbye to the boat men in Tsaraotana, where we will be transferred by ox car to the nearby village. Two nights in tent, meals are served on the shore; Campsites on the Tsiribihina River are usually large sandbars with smooth and clean tent sites. Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner. One night in Antsiraraka Hotel: Tanamasoandro.
Day 7: Drive to Bekopaka. A 4x4 car will come to pick you up in Antsiraraka to bring you to Bekopaka. You will meet the Tsiribihina River again and cross it with a ferry to continue the road going north to Tsingy de Bemaraha. Hotel: Tanankoay.
Day 8: Visit Tsingy de Bemaraha. This enormous UNESCO World Heritage Site protects the largest of Madagascar’s Tsingy limestone plateaux and its wildlife. It have built impressive walkways for the park’s circuit, because of the chaotic razor-sharp pinnacles. There are cable robes, rocky steps, steel ladders and even a suspension bridge over one of the canyons.
You can also visit an underground world with caves and rivers and the majestic canyon of the Manambolo River. Beside all these landscape features there are about 100 species of birds, most notable the critically endangered Madagascar fish eagle, 60 reptile species, 20 frog species and of course lemurs. The dry forests of Bemaraha contain the white sifaka, red-fronted brown lemur and the rare grey bamboo lemur as well as nocturnal woolly and mouse lemur. Hotel: Tanankoay.
Day 9: Drive to Morondava. After a rewarding visit of the Tsingy we descend towards the South. Crossing the Tsiribihina and continuing all the way to Morondava. You will arrive in Morondava in the evening. It is a long drive, but we will visit many things along the way. We will explore Kirindy national park, with a sheer abundance of baobabs and lemurs. This is the best site in which to look for the fosa, Madagascar’s largest carnivore.
Towards the evening we will visit the Baobab Amoreux, two entwined baobabs hugging each other, and the Baobab Avenue. We will enjoy the stunning sunset here, because the lowering sun casts beautiful shadows and colours on the baobab trees. After experiencing this fairytale sunset we drive the last 20 km to Morondava and check in at our beach hotel where you can enjoy some good seafood. Hotel: Trecicogne.
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