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Arrive Antananarivo. Your group leader will get your group together for a briefing, so that you can all meet each other and discuss any optional excursions and what will happen over the next few days. The rest of the day is free to relax and recover from your journey and to explore Antananarivo.
Hotel Bois Vert (AAA) - 1 night - Swimming Pool
We hit the road this morning and drive for 1h to Visit Ambohimanga Palace and walk on the steps of the kings and queens of Madagascar - lunch on site with the colourful and traditional Hira Gasy show. In the afternoon we head to the famous Andasibe National Park, (drive +/- 3h), and check in. In the evening you’ll go to a night walk through the reserve, accompanied by a local guide, in search for the huge variety of nocturnal species for which Madagascar is famous. Dwarf lemurs, woolly lemurs and mouse lemurs are commonly spotted as well as different species of frogs, chameleons and lots of insects. Make sure you don't forget your head torch!
Vakona Forest Lodge (AAA) - 2 nights - Swimming Pool (BLD)
In the morning you'll visit Andasibe Reserve with a great variety of lemurs including the famous Indri. You'll explore the park via 2 walks with a total of 4.5km and 4h walk. Easy slow pace to search and observe lemur. In the afternoon you'll visit the Lemur Island, at only a walking distance from your hotel. (BD)
Today you will drive to Antsirabe Ambatolampy (+/- 5h) stop on the way at Ambatolampy alluminium pot factory. You'll do an adventurous city tour of Antsirabe from the back of a rickshaw where you even get to see the sweets factory. Watch your teeth!
Hotel des Thermes (AA) - 1 night (B)
Today is an early morning start to drive to Ranomafana (+/- 4h). You'll visit villages on the way and stop for a typical lunch with local entertainment at Ambohimahasoa. In the afternoon you 'll visit Ranomafana town and see the old hot springs (no swimming there) and enjoy a talk from a scientist of the Valbio Centre.
Setam Lodge (AAA) - 2 nights - Swimming Pool (BL)
Today is a full day immersion and education about lemurs and rainforest conservation. Morning walk through Ranomafana, you and your family will be guided through the forest by knowledgeable staff from the ValBio Research Campus. The adventure starts early in the morning when you can hear the forest waking up, and the noises of the jungle are an enchanting sound as you awake. Bring binoculars to get a close view of the lemurs and diversity of birds encountered. Centre ValBio will provide you with a printed guide to some of the forest animals so that you can check them off as you see them, it will be a keepsake of your visit that will certainly be treasured years later. You’ll be taught how the rainforest's unique and rare animals are tracked and studied by researchers. You will return to CVB for a lunch of local cuisine then enjoy a presentation from CVB staff on some of the fascinating discoveries from Ranomafana National Park. In the afternoon, you may even get the opportunity to interact with local children while being involved in planting saplings with one of the schools - this would tie into the lesson about trees and how lemurs help plan the forest, but how outside we need humans to help restore degraded lands and then all the kids (along with the Malagasy students) will do their part with a few saplings. ( depending on weather conditions), and you expeirnece the recycling process with food and plastic.
Species we hope to spot are: Greater Bamboo Lemur, Golden Bamboo Lemur, the Ranomafana Rainbowfish, the net-casting spider, the world's smallest chameleon, a total of 13 lemur species including the Aye-aye and much more. (BLD)
Today you'll drive to Isalo (+/- 4.5h), on the way you'll stop at Fianarantsoa and visit the old town, then go down to Ambalavao to visit the Antemoro paper factory and then visit Anja Community Reserve. There, you'll be looking for semi-tame and ring-tailed lemurs, and chameleons, as well as exotic plants.
Isalo Ranch (AAA) - 2 nights - Swimming Pool (BD)
Full day to explore the stunning Isalo National park. You'll walk through the 'Grand Canyon' 2km walk + 17km driving, the excursion will take about 3.30h and is graded as easy. You'll then head to the natural swimming pool for a picnic lunch (3km walking-3h). The park is famous for its dramatic scenery and natural pools where you can have a dip. (BLD)
Today your journey will take you to Ilakaka local village with sapphire mine and see how this precious gem stone is extracted. Then off to Tulear (+/-3h30) and visit of the Antsokay arboretum (for about 1h). This botanical park is entirely devoted to conservation of the plants from the southwestern part of Madagascar and is working in close collaboration with many institutions aiming in environment preservation, such as the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, WWF. Within its 4 hectares, the Arboretum offers to the visitors a real condensed vegetation, presenting a typical spiny thicket at a sub-arid stage. More than 900 species are being preserved there, of which 90% are endemic to the region and 80% have medicinal virtues. Among them, many succulent species are being recognized to be threatened. You'll enjoy having lunch on this beautiful site.
In the afternoon you'll transfer for 1h drive to Itafy and the rest of the day will be at your leisure to relax on the beach.
Hotel Le Paradisier (AAA) - 2 nights - Swimming Pool (BL)
You'll have the full day on the beach to relax or do some activities such as snorkeling from the coast or going out fishing (additional charge). The Reniala Nature Reserve, on the east of the beach, is a worldly spiny forest with good bird-watching and a must for wandering through ancient baobabs. In July and August, you may see migrating whales passing nearby the coast through the Mozambique Channel. (BL)
After transfering back to Tulear, you'll catch a scenic flight back to Antananarivo for your farewell night in Madagascar. This will be your last chance to shop til your drop and take home some great souvenirs from your trip, or just to relax by the pool at the hotel.
Hotel Bois Vert (AAA) - 1 night - Swimming Pool (B)
The trip ends for Land Only clients in Antananarivo. Or transfer to the airport to start the Nosy Be Island extension. (B)
Key: (B) = Breakfast, (L) = Lunch, (D) = Dinner
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