General

TRAVEL MADAGASCAR

DAY 1: ANTANANARIVO – SAMBAVA

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Flight to Sambava. Pick up by your guide. Then we will go directly to one of the largest vanilla plantations in the area. Visit led by a specialist. Discovery of the various processes that vanilla undergoes, from fertilization, harvesting, various stages of packaging to export. We will then continue our discovery at the coconut plantation: one of the largest in the world, 4,800 hectares. For 40 years, this plantation has been shaping the landscapes of northeastern Madagascar. It extends along the coast, for a distance of 60 km. Free lunch.

Half-board accommodation at Hotel Carrefour.

DAY 2: SAMBAVA – MAROJEJY NATIONAL PARK

Marojejy_mountain_north_east_encounter_madagascar66 km / paved road / 2 hours to 3 hours, depending on stops

After breakfast, we will go to the market to shop for our two bivouac nights. Then, we will reach the village of Manantenina, where we will meet our guide. This is the city where various formalities to access to the park are taken care of. Then, 45 mn of rough track to the small village of Mandena. We will leave the car to continue to the park on foot. 4 h to 5 h of walk to join our bivouac. The first part of the journey crosses rice fields and fertile valleys with a majestic view of the forest and the mountain of Marojejy. Swimming in a natural pool en route and picnic lunch prepared by us.

About 5h to 6h walk, 300 to 500 m of ascending elevation, average level of difficulty, hiking trail. Necessary equipment: rain clothes, walking shoes, light and warm clothing, sun protection items, mosquito repellent, flashlight, water bottle

Settlement in the camp at the end of the afternoon.

Bivouac – half board.

DAY 3: MAROJEJY NATIONAL PARK

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We have a day to discover the Marojejy National Park. One or two-hour hike to Camp Marojejia, 775 m above sea level. From there, we will try to spot the Silky Prophithèque, one of the most beautiful lemurs of Madagascar. Covered with a white fur, it is endemic to the forest of Marojejy. The landscape is also magnificent: a beautiful panorama over the granitic cliffs and the mountains covered with a lush forest. All along the tour, we will observe some fauna species that characterize the park: lemurs and birds. Picnic lunch prepared by us. Then return to the camp in the afternoon. Short stroll to the Humbert waterfalls by mid-afternoon.

About 4h to 5h walk, 300 to 500 m of ascending elevation, average level of difficulty, hiking trail.

Bivouac – half board.

DAY 4: MAROJEJY NATIONAL PARK – ANDAPA

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40 km / Paved road / about 1-hour drive

Early in the morning, we will start the day with the Mantella Circuit: watching several species of reptiles and amphibians, some species of lemurs and many species of birds, including the Blue Coua and Eurycère de Prévost. Then, we will head back to the village of Mandena where we take the car back to Andapa. Picnic lunch prepared by us.

About 4h to 5h walk, 300 to 500 m of ascending elevation, average level of difficulty, hiking trail.

Half board accommodation at Beanana Hotel.

DAY 5: CYCLING IN THE ANDAPA BASIN

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Considered as the rice granary of the northeastern region of the island, the region of Andapa is worth visiting. We will go hiking in the Andapa basin with a Chinese mountain bike. Large landscapes of rice fields, small traditional villages and friendly encounters. Free lunch in a local restaurant. We will then take the road to Sambava in the afternoon.

Half-board accommodation at Hotel Carrefour.

DAY 6: KAYAKING ON THE BEMARIVO RIVER

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243 km / Paved road / 5 hours to 6 hours, depending on the frequency/duration of stops

Transfer to Jean Michel’s plantation, a pretty tropical orchard with several feet of cocoa. One-hour walk led by a local guide. Then we will take our kayaks for a quiet descent of the Bemarivo River. Picnic lunch prepared by us. In the afternoon, we will hit the road again towards Vohemar. A small stopover tin an own located in a very beautiful bay.

Half-board accommodation at Hotel Galaxy.

DAY 7: VOHEMAR – DARAINA

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57 km / asphalt road / 2 to 3 hours depending on the frequency/duration of stops

Departure early in the morning to join the reserve of Daraina. We will go directly into the forest to observe the golden-crowned lemur or Tattersall’s Propitheca. Endemic lemur of the region. Picnic lunch prepared by us.

In the early evening, we will have a night out to meet the Aye Aye.

Half-board camp at Tatersalli camp.

DAY 8: DARAINA – AMBILOBE – ANKARANA

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134 km / Asphalt road / 7-8-hour journey depending on the frequency/duration of stops

A day of rough track to reach Ambilobe. Depending on the timing, lunch at Ambilobe or en route. Arrival at Iharana Bush Camp in the late afternoon. Settling in a charming and comfortable ecolodge. Picnic lunch prepared by us.

Half board accommodation at Iharana Bush Camp.

DAY 9: HIKING ON THE TSINGY ROOF AND CAVE EXPLORATION

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In the morning, you will explore the Tsingy de l’Ankarana through a magnificent “aerial” walk on the Tsingy roof. The panorama is just stunning. On the way, a few belvederes have been set up to allow you to appreciate the best viewpoints. If you are lucky, you will come across some groups of crowned lemurs, an endemic species from northern Madagascar. 3-hour to 3-and-a-half-hour walk depending on the number/duration of stops, 150m of ascending elevation, average difficulty, hiking trail, arranged and secured trails. Renovated and secured routes. People suffering from dizziness should not do this.

Necessary equipment: good walking shoes or good sneakers, items to protect from the sun, insect repellent, headlamps and water bottle

Lunch at the bush camp

In the afternoon, we will leave for the Mandresy cave: We will reach the entrance of the Mandresy cave after a short stroll through some typical Sakalava houses (15 to 20 min walk from the Bush Camp). With our headlamps, we will walk slowly in the galleries of the Tsingy. The Mandresy cave has magnificent cavities with large rooms and impressive concretions. It is also home to abundant and very special fauna: bat species and some reptiles (harmless). Underground rivers hide crayfish and some endemic freshwater fish in the area. Containing places of worship and burials, the caves have a sacred character for the Antankarana. By the middle of the 17th century, they served as a refuge for the local population during the invasion wars.

1h to 1h30 walk, no vertical drop, easy walk, marked and secured path.

Necessary equipment: good walking shoes or good sneakers, sun protection items, insect repellent, headlamps and water bottle.

Half board accommodation at Iharana Bush Camp

DAY 10: ANKARANA – RED TSINGY – DIEGO

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165 km / paved road + rough track / 5 hours to 6 hours depending on the frequency/duration of stops

Continue the journey towards the north. On our way, we will visit the canyons of the Red Tsingy. After a-few-hour drive, you will leave the national road for about 45-minute rough track to the Red Tsingy. We will go down to the Grand Canyon to discover these impressive ephemeral formations of clay and limestone. The runoff of rainwater and the whims of the wind have shaped these colorful and phantasmagoric peaks that are unique in Madagascar.

Lunch in a local restaurant. Continue to Diego-Suarez in the afternoon.

Accommodation and breakfast at Suarez Hotel.

DAY 11: HIKING ON THE MONTAGNE DES FRANÇAIS AND SWIMMING ALONG A WILD BEACH

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We start the day with a hike towards the Montagne des Français. 3-hour walk to discover a dry forest, the ruins of old barracks and magnificent panoramas along the bay of Diego, the Cap d ‘Ambre and the Indian Ocean. Formed 150 million years ago, the Montagne des Français is a limestone massif whose altitude varies between 350 and 450 meters. It extends over 16 km long and 4 to 5 km wide. Today, this small massif receives, at the same time, the climatic conditions of the East and those of the West. Its vegetation consists essentially of xerophytic plants, adapted to a well-marked dry season, such as the Adansonia Madagascariensis baobab, the Euphorbia, the Pachypodium …

02h30 to 03h march, 400m to 500m+ height difference, average difficulty, hiking trail. Necessary equipment: walking shoes or good sneakers, sun protection items, mosquito repellent, bottle of water.

After the hike, we head towards Ampondrafeta, little known but beautiful and wild beach. Possibility to swim. Picnic lunch prepared by us.

Accommodation and breakfast at Suarez Hotel.

DAY 12: SAILING, SNORKELING AND FARNIENTE AT THE EMERALD SEA

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24 Km/45mn transfer by car. 1h-boat trip for the outward journey and 1h for the return trip

Departure from Diego-Suarez early in the morning, depending on the tide. We will take a waterfront road, towards the village of Ramena. Board a traditional wooden hull, equipped with a motor, for “the Emerald Sea”. We can also sail with the wind. We will dock on the islet of “Nosy Suarez” to enjoy the beach. Possibility to gather for snorkeling or to follow the fishing boat, a few minutes from the islet. This immense emerald lagoon makes it possible to dive in a natural aquarium with clear waters, where fish of all shapes, all sizes and all colors seem to have made an appointment.

(Motor and sail beam equipped with life jackets, capacity 8 persons)

Lunch on the beach, in straw huts specially made for this purpose. On the menu: yummy fresh fish, accompanied by coconut rice and salads. The crew will tell you the story of the bay.

After lunch, return to Ramena and then to the hotel.

1 hour of boat trip depending on the current and the weather, back and forth

Dinner on us.

Accommodation and breakfast at Suarez Hotel.

Departure for the Emerald Sea excursion depending on the tide, sometimes return trip is a bit windy (especially from June to September).

DAY 13: DIEGO SUAREZ – TANA

End of the journey. Flight back to Tana. Then, international flight.

 

NOTES:

The program depends on domestic flights and might be modified accordingly.

The road between Vohemar and Ambilobe is in a very bad condition. This part will take 2 days with at least 7-8hr rough track per day

Accomodations during the first part of the trip are simple but very clean. Camping is a mandatory part of the trip

Good physical condition is required for this trip

Available departures

Unfortunately, no places are available on this tour at the moment

Highlights

Discovery of Marojejy's national park, a biodiversity hotspot

Visits of vanilla plantations and discovery of vanilla process: from cultivation to packaging

Aye Aye watching in Daraina, a very rare lemur

Cave exploring and tours in the Ankarana Tsingy

Snorkeling and swimming in the emerald sea

Various activities: hiking, cycling, kayaking, cave exploring, snorkeling ...

Overview

An adventure trip in the country of vanilla. A complete exploration of the whole North and North East regions of Madagascar. Discovery of the Sambava vanilla plantations, hiking and bivouac in the Marojejy National Park, cycling in the plain of Andapa, kayaking of the Bemarivo river, watching the Tattersali and the Aye Aye lemurs at Daraina, discovery of the Ankarana Tsingy after a long day of rough track. The journey will end in Diégo-Suarez where we will discover the secret beaches of Ampondrafeta and the turquoise lagoons of the Emerald Sea.