Welcome to the country of endemism! Madagascar is home to a unique flora and fauna found nowhere else: 85% of the 12,000 island plant varieties live on its soil. The Malagasy territory has distinct natural environments that correspond to as many types of vegetation. The east coast, resolutely tropical, is characterized by vast rain forests and a wide range of palms, bamboos, ferns and orchids. The drier west is the country of baobabs. Seven of the eight different species of baobabs in the world are found in Madagascar. One specie (Adansonia digitata) exists in Africa, another species (Adansonia gregorii or gibbosa) is found in Australia and the other 6 endemic species (Adansonia grandidieri, Adansonia madagascariensis, Adansonia perrieri, Adansonia rubrostipa, Adansonia suarezensis, Adansonia za) in Madagascar with one who is present in Africa (Adansonia digitata).
The word "baobab" comes from the Arabic "bu hibab" which means "fruit with many seeds". In Madagascar, it is called "reniala" or "mother of the forest" because it is the largest and most majestic tree. During this tour, we invite you to discover these seven species of baobabs from the South to the West and finally to the North, but obviously also other plants and animals, endemic to Madagascar, namely: succulents, xerophytes' plants, thorny forests, lemurs, chameleons, birds, etc. as well as different regions with beaches, landscapes, populations and other interesting discoveries.
- The Reniala Reserve at Ifaty and its baobab forest;
- The largest baobab of Madagascar in Andombiry;
- Salary and its bay;
- Andavadoaka and its turquoise water;
- The baobabs of Kirindy Mitea;
- The famous Baobab Alley and the Loving Baobabs of Morondava;
- The Montagne des Français and Baobab, endemic to the site;
- Ankarana National Park, Tsingy and its baobab species;
- Nosy Be and the beaches.
After your check out at the airport of Antananarivo, you will be transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day remains at your disposal. (D)
According to the flight schedule you take the flight to Tuléar and drive to Ifaty (25km). A short drive to the sunset at the baobab trees reveals the nice beauty of the thorny region.
Full day at Ifaty to visit the thorny forest of the private Park Reniala and to do other activities. The specie Andasonia rubrostipa is the main sort of baobab you will see during this walk. Discover the amazing different species of Alluaudia, Pachypodium, and Euphorbia! The rest of the day is free.
Take the 4WD vehicle and drive to Salary (3h), one of the most beautiful bay of Madagascar, excellent white sand coasts and coral reefs. It is a calm, peaceful and relaxing place, impeccable deserted white coast, transparent emerald sea. Three successive and protected coral reefs. The rest of the day is at your disposal to visit other site: the remote ethnic group of the Mikea.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
After breakfast, continue to Morombe. You can walk along beautiful coastlines that literally stretch far to the horizon of Vezo fishing villages. Not far inside the village, a fascinating thorny forest where you will see a lot of Baobabs. Than visit the largest baobab Adansonia grandidieri of Andombiry with its 29m circumference. Than cross the river at Bevoay. You arrive in Manja.
Almost a day's drive on a moderately broken track. The semi-arid vegetation is marked by the presence of jujube trees and Sakalava tombs surmounted by Aloalo (sacred wooden statues). Than you come in Belo-sur-Mer: it is a beautiful little village with a sandy breakwater. The canoes at the sea seem to float on the sand. Belo sur Mer is a future marine park in front of different islands of corals.
After breakfast, drive to Morondava about three hours away. In the afternoon, you will go through the territory of Baobab "Adansonia grandidieri" Before the arrival in Morondava, discovery of exceptional "Baobab lovers" and the famous "Alley of baobabs" at sunset.
Upon flight schedule you take the plane to fly to Antananarivo. The rest of the day is at your disposal to relax.
Breakfast and transfer to the airport to catch the flight to the North, Diégo Suarez. Then, transfer to the hotel. City tour to see the colonial architecture, the market, ... Possibility of excursions (optional) to the Mountain of the French, the 3 bays, the red Tsingy or Emerald Sea, ... (Depends on the flight schedule).
Breakfast at the hotel, departure to the reserve of Ankarana (about 129 km). The Tsingy formations, which are the sharp limestone pinnacle forests, are very spectacular. Euphorbia, Pachypodium and Baobabs make up the variety of vegetation. You could meet 04 species of Baobabs in Diego Suarez region: Adansonia Madagascarensis, Adansonia Digitata, Adansonia Perrieri (all 3 at Ankarana National Park) and Adansonia Suarezensis (at Montagne des Français). There are also some species of lemurs like the Bamboo Lemurs, the Crowned Lemur, the nocturnal Sportive Lemur, 83 species of birds, reptiles and bats.
This massif is considered sacred by the local population; however visitors can visit Bat Cave and Tsingy, Green Lake and Crocodile Cave.
Night stay at the hotel near Ankarana National Park.
You continue your route to Nosy Be. Upon arrival at Ankify, take the boat to ride to Nosy Be. The rest of the day is at your disposal to explore or to relax.
Full days to explore the islands around Nosy be and the island itself.
Nosy Komba & Nosy Tanikely
One day is devoted to an excursion to the islands of Nosy Komba and Tanikely. We will visit the Nosy Komba reserve to have some close up experience with the Black Lemur (Eulemur macaco macaco). During that visit, several species of endemic reptiles including the colorful chameleons and turtles will be seen. For the more adventurous ones, you may have a chance to meet the Madagascar Tree Boa (Senzinia madagascariensis), a species of the Boidae family that is endemic to the island of Madagascar. The small walk will also take you through a small village and a great handicrafts market.
We will continue to Nosy Tanikely, another small island which is part of the Nosy Be archipelago. This inhabited island is part of a marine reserve and offers one of the most impressive snorkeling experiences. Surrounded by some coral reefs, the undersea biodiversity is very wealthy and you may even have the chance to spot some sea turtles, while you will be snorkeling. A seafood lunch cooked onsite will be served during this full day excursion.
The other day is then for a very relaxing day to discover the island of Nosy Be.
Nosy Be Island Tour
You will do a tour of the Market of the colonial town of Hell-Ville to see various spice and vegetables merchants, the fishermen selling what they caught in the waters surrounding the islands. Your car or bus will wait for you to begin a tour of the island. You will be led through different Ylang Ylang plantations, sugar cane fields. You will also follow the track to the Mont Passot, the highest peak of Nosy Be for an incredible view, drive around the surrounding volcanic lakes and the rum distillery while passing by small villages; you will really enjoy pleasant and unforgettable meet with the villagers of the island. The sunset on the Mont Passot is an experience!
Day for your departure to Tana and fly to Europe.
Nowadays, Madagascar is home to more than 300 species of amphibians and 400 species of reptiles in which over 90% are endemic. This rate increases continually due to discover of new species in different places that have not been explored before.
Madagascar is the fourth biggest island of the world from its size and the origin of this unclassifiable land is in itself a travel. From Africa, from which it separated 165 million years ago, it kept the red earth. From Asia, where a large part of the population came from, it inherited the rice fields. However, Madagascar is neither truly Asian nor totally African; its original culture makes it the only "Afro-Asian" land on the planet. Eighteen populations share this territory of tropical forests, spiny deserts, and beaches with white sand, lateritic soil, lagoons and rock formations. This ethnic mosaic has forged over the centuries a system of authentically Malagasy values. Rites associated with the cult of ancestors such as famadihana, or the presence in the same country of African agrarian tools, and words of Asian origin, are found only in Madagascar.
Madagascar was separated from the rest of the African continent 160 million years ago. This results in the country's unparalleled biodiversity and endemism. Ninety-six percent of the fauna and flora is endemic in Madagascar and is found nowhere else. Covering an area of 587,000 km2, the country is the 4th largest island in the world (after Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo), so its environmental diversity rivals that of an entire continent (rainforests in the east, deciduous forests in the north and west, dense xerophytes' forests in the south, and forests of the high mountains inside the island). Madagascar is home to one of the most unusual collections of mammals in the world and has a remarkable diversity in terms of habitat and associated flora.
South-East exploration by train (12 days/11 nights)
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