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.
This fifteen-day trekking tour reflects the life of the people on the Highlands, East and South. Through this view, we sink into the heart of the Malagasy tradition, the respect for fady (taboos), customs and traditions that are still applied today. We will trek to discover the Tanala people by Ranomafana, to the Zafimaniry in Antoetra and Ifasina, and then to the Betsileo, Ambalavao and on the way to the second summit of the island, Pic Bôby (2658m). At the end of our trip, we go to Ranohira, at the Bara tribe in Isalo, and the Vezo people in Ifaty.
After a morning departure of the capital Antananarivo to head to Ambositra (275 Km/6h), we have the possibility to stop on the way at Antsirabe for a short visit of this town. Once in Ambositra, the capital of wood carving, we visit the workshop/sale of handicrafts (marquetry, cabinetmaking ...). Accommodation at L'Artisan hotel.
We start with an hour and a half drive to Antoetra (25km), starting point of this first day of hiking in the country of the ZAFIMANIRY tribe, which will last three days. The country of the Zafimaniry, nestled in a beautiful landscape of hills and rice terraces, is classified UNESCO World Heritage. The Zafimaniry people are known for the particular architecture of their ancestral houses and the art of wood carving. In the country of Zafimaniry, there are no roads, only pedestrian paths. As a result, we find some remote villages in the depths of the mountains, intact old traditions, and authentic hospitality. Today we will have a four hour walk from Antoetra to Sakaivo. We stay for the night in camp next to this beautiful village.
Eight hours walk through Zafimaniry country. A nice view and another aspect of Zafimaniry villages will be the highlights of this journey. Here and there we can even see people designing carved objects. We stay overnight in camp near the village of Ankidodo.
Five hours walk through the Zafimaniry villages, from Faliarivo to Antoetra via Ifasina. We will reach Antoetra at the beginning of the afternoon to resume our route and continue towards Fianarantsoa (150 Km/4h). Accommodation at the hotel La Rizière.
We will drive to Ambalavao and visit the Antemoro paper factory and silk workshop (56km/1h20mn)). We follow the road on the south and take a bumpy road to reach Tsara Camp, on the edge of the Andringitra National Park (56km/2h). Overnight stay at Tsara Camp.
Here we begin the three days of hiking for the ascent of Pic Boby, the second highest peak of Madagascar with 2.658m. A hike for altitude and nature lovers: discover the impressive mountain landscapes and endemic flora. Nine hours walk from Tsara Camp to Andriampotsy. Camping in the Park.
Three hours walk to the summit of Pic Boby, from where we have a breathtaking view of the mountains of Andringitra and the Tsaranoro valley, and five hours to come down to Antaranaomby, our last camp in this area.
Four hours walk to the Tsaranoro Valley. We leave the massif of Andringitra to reach the valley of Tsaranoro with its granite cliffs, crossing villages and grasslands. Night in hotel at Tsara Camp.
Stunning landscapes, out-of-time living villages, the beautiful and strange massif of Andringitra will enchant nature lovers. As you want (optional), you will visit a sacred forest inhabited by Ring-tailed Lemurs, a waterfall, a natural pool, and nearby Barabory villages (mixture of Bara and Betsileo): a unique opportunity to discover the traditional life of this isolated population. For sport fans, you can also go rock climbing and paragliding (On request). Accommodation at Tsara Camp.
Five hours drive on good road to Isalo (230km). We leave the mountains of the highlands for the plateau of Horombe, the landscape becomes more and more desert. As soon as we arrive, we start our trek through the Isalo National Park, a rocky formation of Jurassic eroded sandstone with canyons, cliffs and grasslands. Today we will walk to the "Rats Canyon" (2h30). Camping with a fantastic view of Isalo.
Among the highlights of this day we find "Maki Canyon", the breathtaking view of the plateau, the amazing Isalo landscape, and at least, the "Cascade des Nymphes", where we can observe Ring-tailed Lemurs, Red-fronted Brown Lemurs, and chameleons. At the end of the day, we can refresh ourselves at the edge of the “Piscine Bleue et Noire” (Blue and Black Pool). Camping in Namaza site.
Last three hours walk to the go out of Isalo National Park passing by the Piscine Naturelle, and then we reach our car to drive to Ifaty (240km/4h). Mahafaly tombs and amazing baobabs are the highlights on the program. Overnight at the hotel in Ifaty (hotel Solidaire or Nautilus or similar).
Full day of leisure in Ifaty. Several types of activities are offered to us: cruise with Vezo dugout, ride with a zebu cart and visit of the spiny forest, or snorkeling, diving, or simply idle around... Overnight stay at the same hotel.
According to the program of the plane, transfer to the airport of Tuléar and flight to Antananarivo. Accommodation at the hotel Relais des Plateaux.
Full free day at leisure to go shopping or visit the city of Antananarivo and flight 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.
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).
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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