After checking in at Auckland Airport this afternoon we board our Singapore Airlines flight to Singapore.
We’ll arrive this evening and transfer to our hotel.
We have a day at leisure in Singapore and this evening we transfer to the airport for our flight to Johannesburg.
We have a late check out of 6.00pm at our hotel.
We arrive at Johannesburg airport early this morning and transit through to our flight to Antananarivo, Madagascar.
On arrival we are met and transfer to our hotel.
This evening we have dinner at the hotel.
We leave our hotel and drive to Andasibe Perinet, the lemur’s kingdom.
We arrive at the Lodge at lunchtime and the afternoon is at leisure.
In the evening we will have our first activity with a visit of the Lodge’s private reserve for a 1.5 to 2 hour stroll in search of nocturnal wildlife.
Breakfast at the Lodge and we drive to Andasibe village, then continue 17km on the Northern route to reach the Mantadia National Park; the territory of the Diademed Sifaka, the most beautiful lemur species.
This is also the right place to spot birds and particularly some species of ground roller. This is one of Madagascar’s top sites for bird watching: rainforest-dwelling ground-rollers, Madagascar rail, Madagascar snipe, grey emutail, helmet Vanga (rare), yellow-bellied sunbird asity, short-legged ground-roller, rufous-headed ground-roller, red-fronted coua, common sunbird-asity, and nuthatch Vanga.
We have a picnic lunch today.
On the way back to the Lodge we stop at Vakona’s Lemur Island, to play and be closer to the lemurs.
This morning we travel to the Perinet Special Reserve. Here is the best place to observe mainly the “Indri Indri”; the largest lemur species.
We also see other lemur species like the Common Brown Lemur and the Black and White Ruffed; reptiles, orchids and the rich lush vegetation that covers this middle altitude rainforest.
We have lunch at a local restaurant close to the reserve and then drive back to Antananarivo.
After breakfast we leave Antananarivo again and hit the road as we travel south towards the highlands. Along the way we will see rice paddies and red clay houses. We stop at the tiny city of Ambatolampy at the foot of the Ankaratra massif (the 3rd highest place on the island). Whilst we are here we will visit a local family who run an aluminum factory.
We have lunch at a local restaurant and then we are back on the way to Antsirabe, the thermal city.
When we arrive we visit the Tritriva Crater Lake.
This morning we will take time to get to know Antsirabe and its story. Famous for its thermal springs, the city strived economically when the Norwegian missionaries began to develop the fine agricultural land here. The French developed the thermal complex along the lake and those buildings remain today. If time allows we will visit local workshops: embroidery and sweet factory.
Then it’s off and away to Ambositra, a place noted for its master woodcarvers and furniture manufacturing. The Zafimaniry capital is a work of art with its shutters and walls carved in geometric designs.
We have lunch at a local restaurant and then drive to Ranomafana.
Today we visit the National Park of Ranomafana, located in the rainforest, at an altitude of 800 to 1200 metres.
Ranomafana National Park was created in 1990, thanks to the discovery in 1986 of the “golden bamboo lemur” (scientific name is Hapalemur Aureus). This particular and amazing species of lemur has strange eating habits and can’t be seen anywhere else.
We have a boxed lunch today.
This morning we have another visit of the National Park of Ranomafana. We are looking for acquatic birds, lemurs and reptiles.
Lunch is at our hotel and then we leave Ranomafana to drive to the tea plantations of Sahambavy.
In the morning, we visit a tea planation on the way to Fianarantsoa. We will visit the old city of Fianarantsoa (classified by UNESCO), founded in 1830 under the same model as the city of Antananarivo to be an intermediate capital between Antananarivo and the remote southern provinces.
Further on from Fianarantsoa lies the wine country of Ambalavao. They also produce “Papier Antamoro”, a type of hand-made papyrus, and we will visit a local factory. This paper was invented by the Antemoro tribe and made from rainforest trees and used by astrologers to script and record their predictions. Today the paper is used primarily for decoration.
Lunch will be in Ambalavao, and then we will move on to visit Anja village reserve, famous for its Maki Catta (ring-tailed lemur).
Back on the road we will finish the day at Andringitra.
Mon 14 Andringitra – Ranohira (Isalo) (B,L,D)
208km – 5.5 to 6 hour drive
The Tsaranoro Valley awaits for us to explore it this morning. We will take in the forest, the natural pool and the village. Then we will start on our journey down to Isalo. On our way we will enjoy a picnic lunch.
We pass over the ‘South Gate”, crossing the Plateau of Horombe.
All going well, we are due to arrive in Ranohira in the late afternoon.
For the next two days we are going to explore the Isalo National Park. Here we will find rocks wildly carved by the wind and the rain. The canyon, natural swimming pool and waterfalls are all easy on the eye and a delight to photograph.
The afternoons will be at leisure.
Each evening we will enjoy a beautiful sunset whilst taking in a beverage or two.
We leave Ranohira and drive to Toliary.
On the way we pass by the new village of Ilakaka which has experienced a big increase in population because of Safire mines exploration. Also on route we’ll see baobabs and the funerary art of the south ethnics represented by typical tombs “fasambezo”, encircled by erotic funerary carvings to express life and fertility of the deceased.
We have lunch in Toliary and later we transfer to the airport to fly to Antananarivo.
On arrival we are met and drive to our hotel.
After breakfast we enjoy a city tour. Pass by the Independence Avenue and Railway Station; the Independence Place and the Indo-Pakistan jewelers and finish in the upper and old city with its old buildings (temple and cathedrals).
Enjoy the wonderful views of the east and western part of the city and visit the remains of the Queen’s Palace. Continue for a visit of the Photography Museum and enjoy lunch on site.
Transfer back to the hotel where the remainder of the day is free for some exploring or shopping.
Late this morning we transfer to the airport for our flight to Johannesburg.
On arrival we walk to our hotel at the airport.
This morning we go back to the airport and early this afternoon we depart for Singapore.
We arrive at Changi airport early this morning and transfer to our hotel.
Today is at leisure and this evening we transfer back to the airport for our flight home.
We’ll be back home today, our hearts and minds full of memories and experiences of the fascinating 8th continent of the world.