Day 1 : Antananarivo
Upon arrival into Ivato Airport you will be greeted by an English speaking guide who will accompany you to your hotel in the upper town of Antananarivo. ‘Tana’ – as the locals call it has fascinating traditional architecture and a more Indonesian influence than the rest of Madagascar. Maison Gallieni is a restored colonial mansion with an elegant mix of modern and traditional décor. Take a dip in the pool and enjoy the lovely views over the city before dinner.
- Meet and greet at Ivato airport
- Transfer from Ivato airport to Maison Gallieni
- 1 night at Maison Gallieni a standard room on a half board basis
Day 2 : Ifotaka
This morning, board your scheduled charter flight to Ifatoka (2 - 3 hours). Upon arrival you will be met by your guide and vehicle and transfer to the camp. Settle into your tent and enjoy the majestic views over the Mandrare River.
Around 5pm you will depart for a night walk in the Forest of Zenavo. This is a fantastic way to see diurnal lemurs bedding down, and the nocturnal lemurs begin to wake in the eerie and prehistoric Spiny Forest. You will spot sifakas and sleeping white-foot sportive lemurs, then once the sun has set, two mouse lemur species, sleeping birds, chameleons, owls and now active sportive lemurs.
Activities and Services
- Transfer to the airstrip
- 4 nights at Mandrare River Camp in a Luxury Tent on an all inclusive basis
Day 3 : Ifotaka
After breakfast you will head out to the stunning Sacred Gallery Forest to the south of the camp. Depending on the river depth, you will walk or take a boat across the Mandrare River to reach this largely deciduous forest. Inquisitive groups of ring-tailed lemurs and the always entertaining Verreaux sifaka are the highlight of this excursion. Return to camp for lunch and a relaxed afternoon by the pool.
In late afternoon, head for a walk through the Sacred Spiny Forest filled with the ancestral tombs of the local Antandroy tribe, as well as an extraordinary array of flora and fauna, unique to the spiny forest. Your English-speaking guide and a tracker from the local community will give you an introduction to Antandroy culture and customs. Your visit is followed by sundowners on the Mandrare River banks.
Day 4 : Ifotaka
After a cup of tea or coffee head to the Spiny Forest for an early morning walk. Witness the sunlight break through the octopus trees while looking out for the many endemic birds such as crested coua, a variety of vangas and the running coua. Head back to camp for a sumptuous breakfast followed by a visit to the local market (on Thursdays and Saturdays) or the local village to meet the fascinating Antandroy tribe. Lunch will be served at the camp followed by a relaxed afternoon watching life along the river from your tent terrace.
At 5pm, depart for a sundowner amidst the baobabs. Watching the sun set and moon rise with a view across the Baobabs to the mountains beyond is a magical experience. In the evening the local village may come to perform beautiful traditional dances, accompanied by singing and music. Song and dance is at the heart of Antandroy culture and is used to accompany the major rituals and events of everyday life.
Day 5 : Ifotaka
After breakfast depart for a day trip to the stunning Lac Anony. This salt water lake is separated from the Indian Ocean by a series of large sand dunes and is home to Greater Flamingos and a variety of salt water birds. The lake is a two hour drive from the camp. On arrival, walk along the lake shore to a beautiful picnic spot. Then scale the 70 foot high sand dunes for an incredible view of the surrounding area and go for a swim the lake. Return to the camp in time for dinner.
Activities and Services
- Activities as stated in the itinerary
Day 6 : Manafiafy
At 8:30 am take a short flight to Fort Dauphin (25 minutes) where you will be met by a vehicle and guide from Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge and continue by vehicle to the lodge (2 ½hrs).
Manafiafy, also known as Sainte Luce, is a beautiful sandy bay, fringed with forest covered mountains and wildlife rich mangroves. Upon arrival check into your bungalow and at 4:30 pm head for a night walk in the Coastal Rainforest. Explore the last untouched block of coastal rainforest in southern Madagascar to spot some of the 5 species and 3 sub-species of lemur, over 80 bird species, over half of which are endemic, and an abundance of geckos, chameleons and other reptiles present in the forest. You’ll see nocturnal lemurs leaping through the trees, Madagascar Scops Owl, satanic leaf-tailed geckos and other masters of camouflage. Return to the Lodge for dinner at 8pm.
Activities and Services
- Light aircraft flight to Fort Dauphin
- 4 nights at Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge in a Luxury Bungalow on an all inclusive basis
Day 7 : Manafiafy
After a continental breakfast with fresh fruit, pain au chocolat, breads, cereals and eggs, head to the Stitch project and local woodworking shop to interact with the local Antanosy community. Stitch was created by the NGO SEED to provide local women with sustainable livelihoods by training them in embroidery, English and business skills. Embroidery is a traditional Malagasy skill which the women have used to make beautiful purses, belts, and more.
After a sumptuous 3-course lunch and a bit of a rest, head to the nearby mangrove network at 4pm for birdwatching and photography. Ideal for botanists, landscape photographers and adventure seekers, this 40 km network stretches from Manafiafy to Fort Dauphin with the magnificent Anosy mountain range in the backdrop. Motorboat or kayak excursions last anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days. Today you will be exploring the mangroves by motorboat. Endemic birds include the Madagascar Malachite Kingfisher, Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher, Madagascar Harrier Hawk, Madagascar Crested Ibis and Blue Coua.
Day 8 : Manafiafy
Before breakfast, head for a sunrise walk in the coastal rainforest. On this walk you will see groups of red-collared lemur foraging for food as they leap through the rainforest canopy. The red-collared lemur is endemic to south-eastern Madagascar, lives in groups of up to 20 individuals and is actives largely at dawn and dusk.
This is a great time for birding, some species to see are Crested Coua, Giant Coua, Hook-billed Vanga, Lesser and Greater Vassa Parrots. Return to the Lodge for a well-deserved breakfast. Relax until your late afternoon excursion to see Madagascar’s largest bat, the Flying Fox, roosting in a nearby community forest, then filling the sky at dusk as they fly off on search of food. Return to the Lodge for dinner.
Day 9 : Manafiafy
Morning at your leisure. Whale watching (15th June – 15th Nov) and deep sea fishing are available at an extra cost. Manafiafy is one of the best places to see hump-back whales in Madagascar with regular sightings of mothers and their calves.
After lunch, head to Manafiafy village. Manafiafy is a lovely Antanosy village with traditional wooden houses and pirogues lining the beachfront. Learn about the local customs and interact with the fishermen and their families. End your day with a sundowner overlooking Manafiafy bay from a rocky outcrop offering stunning views of the area.
Day 10 : End of Itinerary
After an early breakfast, drive back to Fort Dauphin (2.5-3 hours), transfer to the airport for your flight back to Tana (3 hours) to connect with your international flight.
- Transfer to Fort Dauphin
- Light aircraft flight to Antananarivo Ivato airport