The ideal trip for lovers of landscapes and off-road enthusiasts, this two week adventure will lead you through the heart of Western Madagascar and on to pristine coastline of the South West. Discover remote tribal villages, untouched beaches and walk amongst the sacred ancient rocks known as the 'Tsingy'. For this trip, a sense of adventure is essential as is a good deal of patience, since the drives may be long and roads are often non-existent, but believe us when we say that you will reap the rewards.
This is just a suggested Itinerary. Please speak to our experienced consultants who can tailor make this trip to your needs.
To secure your place on any Tailor Made trip we require a deposit of 30% of the total trip price, per person.Book or Enquire
• Watch the sun set behind the iconic Allée des Baobabs
• Hike amongst the otherworldly Tsingy de Bemaraha
• Get off-road in the remote landscapes of the West
• Meet with the hunter-gatherers of the Mikea Tribe
These are just suggested inclusions. Please speak to our experienced consultants who can tailor make this trip to your needs.
14 x Breakfast, 1 x Dinner
4* Hotel x 14 nights
Welcome to Madagascar, a land ripe for adventure and the ideal destination for any intrepid traveller. Touchdown in the capital of Antananarivo, commonly referred to as ‘Tana’, collect your visa and stock up on some ariary before meeting with your guide in the arrivals hall. After a warm welcome, there will be just a five minute drive to your hotel nearby. Take some time to relax and refresh yourself after a long flight, before your African adventure gets underway early tomorrow morning. Promising much more than just traffic jams and pollution, the historic capital of Tana is well worth a visit and you will return to explore the city at the end of your tour.
Gassy Country House or similar
Approximate Drive Times: 385km / 7 Hours
Over an early breakfast at your hotel, meet with your tour leader for a full briefing of the trip. After a tantalising overview of what is to come, it’s time to hit the road.
Your first drive, although long, is a smooth journey along one of the precious few tarmac roads, the National 7. Heading southward out of the chaos of the capital, after roughly 3 hours you will reach the colonial city of Antsirabe. The drive will cut through the breathtaking highlands, home to verdant swathes of rice fields and a beautifully clement climate that allows the growth of the entire island’s temperate fruit and vegetable supply.
Antsirabe was founded as a spa town in the late 1800s by the Norwegians who originally flocked here to bathe in the thermal waters. The original health retreat is still in use to this day. The whole city is imbued with an antiquated colonial feel, from the wide tree-lined avenues to the crumbling façade of the impressive Hotel des Thermes, where the Moroccan King Mohammed V stayed during his exile to Madagascar. You will explore the city in the most traditional way which is still used by locals in abundance; on the back of a ‘pousse-pousse’, or ‘push push’. These brightly painted rickshaws were originally used to transport the upper classes around the city.
After a brief tour of Antsirabe, leave the cool highlands behind you as you journey west along the National 4 to the hottest town in Madagascar, Miandrivazo. Watch the scenery change to the red earth of open savannahs and vast deserted valleys coated in grasslands as far as the eye can see. On arrival in Miandrivazo this evening, check in to your hotel for the night.
Princesse Tsiribihina or similar
Approximate Drive Times: 290km / 6 Hours
After breakfast, stop in Miandrivazo for a quick look around this buzzing little town, focusing particularly on the thriving local market where many people will be stocking up on food for the day. Here you will find a great selection of produce on offer, from long plaited strands of tobacco to piles of black-eyed peas and hessian sacks containing the sticky pulp of tamarind.
The next four hours will be spent en route to the coastal town of Morondava, the gateway to many of the West’s more remote attractions. Here, the road ends and you will continue along 60km of dirt track to the Kirindy Reserve. You are now entering the typical landscapes of the West, passing through vast areas of dry, deciduous forest, interspersed with the occasional baobab tree. Your route will take you along the iconic stretch of the RN8 that is home to the Allée des Baobabs. Driving along the red earth, you are flanked on either side by towering species of the Adansonia grandidieri baobabs, many of which are approximately 900 years old. Stop for some pictures and enjoy seeing the avenue without the crowd that gathers to watch the sunset. You will return here to enjoy this breathtaking spectacle in a few days time.
By about 4pm you should arrive at your hotel in Kirindy to check in to your private bungalow, just minutes away from the heart of the reserve. This protected area hosts a wide range of some of Madagascar’s rarest wildlife. Wildlife enthusiasts come to Kirindy to search for the elusive fossa, the largest carnivore on Madagascar and the only known predator of the island’s lemurs. Dozens of amphibians and reptile species call the forest home, along with several varieties of lemur that are either nocturnal or diurnal. At around 6pm, meet with a local guide who has intimate knowledge of the forest and can navigate through the thicket with ease. We recommend packing a headtorch for the nightwalk, just be sure not to shine it too high to avoid scaring off those lemurs hiding high in the treetops, safe from the claws of the lurking fossa.
Relais du Kirindy or similar
Approximate Drive Times: 140km / 5 Hours
Return to the heart of the Kirindy Reserve this morning to continue your search for wildlife. In the early morning light you are likely to see many of the 60 different species of birds that reside here, along with the diurnal lemur species such as the distinctive white Verraux’s sifaka.
Leaving the reserve behind you, continue by dirt tracks to Tsimafana. Along the roadsides, you will see the colourful tombs of the Sakalava tribe. In Tsimafana, you will experience your first river crossing of the day. There may be some wait here since the ferry can only take a certain number of vehicles and it may be on the other side of the river. Crossing the murky waters of the Tsiribihina on the local ferry is an adventurous experience that you are unlikely to forget.
Safely on the other side, you will reach the tourist hub of Belo-sur-Tsiribihina, gateway to the Parc National des Tsingy de Bemaraha. From here there will be a bumpy drive of approximately four hours through rough terrain, stopping for lunch on the way. The scenery is bound to keep you entertained, as will watching the local children waving at you as you drive through many remote tribal villages.
Eventually you will arrive in Bekopaka after a second and much shorter crossing over the crocodile-infested waters of the Manambolo. Check in to your luxury hotel, wipe the dust from your clothes and watch the sunset as you recover from a long drive day by the pool.
Soleil des Tsingy or similar
Lace up your hiking boots this morning and head into Bekopaka village with your local hiking guide to begin the short journey to the ‘Small Tsingy’ in the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. ‘Tsingy’ is the Malagasy word for ‘walking on tiptoes’ and it is used to describe the otherworldly limestone rock formations that can be found in this region. Over millions of years, the limestone has been eroded by rainfall to form the dramatic pinnacles that you see today.
As its name suggests, the Small, or ‘Petit Tsingy’ is the smaller of the two sites and offers much easier hiking, although it can still be rough and uneven underfoot. Visitors must also be aware that your route through the park does require squeezing through some tight passageways of rock and harnesses must be worn to ascend to the summit of the Tsingy. Hidden away within the forest, you can expect to see a rich array of flora and fauna in the Tsingy, along with a few remains from long ago when these sacred rocks were used as the burial ground for the ancient Vazimba tribe.
After a few hours spent hiking amongst the Small Tsingy, return to your hotel.
Soleil des Tsingy or similar
Rejoin your guide today to combat the ‘Big Tsingy’, arguably one of the most rewarding experiences in Western Madagascar. This is a long and challenging hike that will take around 5 hours. You will wear harnesses throughout and sturdy footwear is essential. For those who are less physically fit, there is the option of a gentle walk to an observation platform from which you can survey the Tsingy in its impressive entirety.
This limestone massif is a World Heritage Site. After navigating a labyrinth of sharp rock forest, you will gradually ascend using a via ferrata composed of ladders and steel cables to a height of approximately 800 metres to the roof of the Tsingy. Here you will be met with an unparalleled view. A secure but slightly dizzying rope-bridge awaits, promising the ultimate photo opportunity before you begin your descent back down to the ground level of the forest. Here, keep your eyes peeled for sifakas lazing in the tree tops and numerous exotic species of birds.
Soleil des Tsingy or similar
Approximate Drive Times: 210km / 6 Hours
This morning there will be a long and bumpy drive as you retrace your route from two days previously back to Morondava. Break up the journey with a stop for lunch at the ‘Mad Zebu’ in Belo sur Tsiribihina (at your own expense). Arguably one of the best eateries in Madagascar, this unexpected little world-class restaurant offers a range of delicious dishes that will keep any weary traveller going.
After crossing the ferry once again, you should arrive back in the Allée des Baobabs in time for sunset. Time permitting, stop by the visitors centre and purchase an infant baobab which you can plant just off the avenue and leave your mark on this iconic site for generations to come (at extra expense, payable locally). Watch the ripe African sun sink behind the baobabs then proceed to your hotel nearby for check-in and an overnight stay.
Palisandre Cote Ouest or similar
Approximate Drive Times: 90km / 4 Hours
Leaving the dry interior of the African bush behind you, today’s journey will deliver you to a pristine coastal paradise.
This adventurous drive will lead you across salt flats, deep sandbanks and two river crossings, travelling along a dirt and sand track for the majority of the drive. At times you may be requested to vacate the vehicle to lessen the load and prevent the car from getting stuck!
Providing that the journey goes smoothly, you should arrive in Belo sur Mer by noon. This tiny seaside village has a wonderfully remote and ramshackle feel. The village offers some great snorkelling and quiet beaches. On the shores of the Mozambique Channel, traditional boat builders run a roaring business, building and selling traditional dhow boats. The town, although cut off for several months of the year during the rainy season, is inhabited by the nomadic Vezo fishermen who live and work along this stretch of coastline. After checking in to your hotel, take a wonder down the beach and see the dhow construction in action. As the evening draws to a close, watch the sun set from your private bungalow just metres away from the sea and enjoy a fresh seafood dinner. (At own expense unless on half-board basis)
Ecolodge du Menabe or similar
Enjoy a full day purely at your leisure, with no driving and the crystal clear waters of the Mozambique Channel right in front of you.
Ecolodge du Menabe or similar
Approximate Drive Times: 267km / 8 Hours
This morning, say goodbye to beautiful Belo sur Mer and continue by 4x4 to the Kirindy Mitea National Park. Depending on the tide, an optional local pirogue transfer to the park is available on request. If not, the transfer will be by track back the way you came.
On arrival in the park, join a specialist local guide for a nature walk through the reserve. Here, amidst the typical vegetation of the west, you can spot an astonishing number of bird species amongst the spiny forest. Keep your eyes peeled for bright butterflies, harmless snakes and lizards.
After a stop in Kirindy Mitea, continue for roughly 4/5 hours to Manja. Stretch your legs with a walk around this vibrant market town before continuing on to Morombe. Morombe is mainly used as a pit stop to break up the long but scenic journey between Morondava and Tuléar. Check in to your beachside accommodation in time to watch the sunset then settle in for the night.
Le Baobab or similar
Approximate Drive Times: 6 hrs
After breakfast, continue your drive along Madagascar’s breathtaking southwestern coast as you cross sand dunes with incredible sea views. Stop at the baobab forest in Andavadoaka to admire this remarkable collection of trees.
From here, there will be a rough and extremely bumpy drive through miles of deep sand as you continue to Andravona, just north of Tuléar and home to the Mikea Lodge. Check in to your breathtaking beachside accommodation and stretch your legs after a long drive along the white sand beach.
Mikea Lodge or similar
The next two days are entirely at your leisure at the Mikea Lodge. Feast on seafood fresh from the Mozambique Channel and immerse yourself in an environment of total calm and serenity. Stroll along white sand beaches, observing the Vezo fishermen sailing past as they transport their catch of the day.
We thoroughly recommend taking advantage of the optional activities on offer here. For extra cost, you can arrange whale watching excursions (between June – August) and a range of watersports. There are some fantastic snorkelling opportunities here, since the lodge is located on the marine reserve of Mamirano Bay, the third largest reef in the world. Scuba divers will benefit from some fantastic dives across multiple shipwreck sites dating back to the Golden Age of the East India Company.
Alternatively, venture by 4x4 into the nearby spiny forests in the hope of an encounter with the fascinating Mikea tribe. This remote and very private tribe fled here after the arrival of the French, who sought to employ and tax the inhabitants of Madagascar in the colonial era. They have stayed here ever since and preserve their traditional ways of life. If you are lucky enough to find them, an encounter with these fascinating people is likely to be an enlightening experience.
Mikea Lodge or similar
Approximate Drive Times: 5-6 Hours
Say goodbye to your coastal retreat and drive on to the main southwest town of Tuléar. The very last leg of this long drive will be along a short stretch of tarmac road, since Tuléar is where the RN7 finishes. Check in to your exclusive design hotel and settle in for your final night in magical Madagascar.
Bakuba or similar
At an appropriate time this morning, you will be transferred to Tuléar domestic airport to connect with your internal flight back to the capital. We strongly recommend booking your international departure for the following day, since internal flights in Madagascar are often subject to unexpected delays and cancellations, so it is wise to avoid connecting with an internal and international flight on the same day.
On arrival back in Antananarivo, depending on the schedule of your internal flight, there may be time for a quick city tour of this historic capital. A night’s stay at your starting point hotel has been included so that you have use of a room before your late night or early morning departure the following day.
Gassy Country House or similar
We want you to enjoy your trip to the fullest extent possible, so we ask you to take a moment to read through the following information and make sure you’re fully aware of the kind of trip you will be joining.
Imaginative Traveller trips and adventure travel in general can be quite demanding and there are risks and hazards that are inherent in such trips. Long driving days can sometimes be uncomfortable and tiring. Many of the places we visit are off the beaten track and so do not have the infrastructure that we are accustomed to in western society. Accommodation can vary greatly in standards and when wild camping on an Overland trip we rely entirely on our own provisions.
You will have the opportunity to take part in many exciting activities and excursions, some of which are included whilst others are optional (i.e. hiking the Inca Trail, trekking to see Mountain Gorillas) these require a certain level of fitness, so it’s important that you read through the trip notes thoroughly and make your own conclusions as to whether you feel that you are fit and healthy enough to enjoy this trip to its fullest. Some activities may have higher risks than you are used to and you must judge whether or not you wish to, or have the physical ability to take part. All travellers are also required to carry their own bag and lift it into storage areas, get on and off public transport or if on an Overland trip - be able to manage the 2-foot step on and off the Overland truck.
Weather conditions in certain areas can also make physical activity more challenging. This also applies to our trips that travel at altitude.
It is extremely rare for us to have to refuse anyone a space on our trips for medical reasons. If at the time of booking you have any concern at all about a medical condition that may prevent you from participating fully in the trip, please let your travel agent or Imaginative Traveller know as soon as possible. If upon disclosure, our operator is of the opinion that the trip is not suitable for you, then we reserve the right to cancel your booking or alternatively to limit your participation in certain activities.
Whilst we don’t want to put anyone off experiencing one of our trips, we ask that you read through the trip notes for the trip you have selected carefully and realistically self assess your ability to complete the trip as described. Please consult with your Dr and/or us if you have any doubts.
A positive attitude and an open mind are just as important as your ability to get involved and fully participate on your group trip.
In accordance with EU Directive (EC) No 2111/2005 Article 9, we are required to bring to your attention the existence of a “Community list” which contains details of air carriers who are subject to an operating ban within the EU. The Community list is available for inspection at http://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/air/safety/air-ban/index_en.htm .In accordance with EU Regulations we are required to advise you of the actual carrier(s) (or, if the actual carrier(s) is not known, the likely carrier(s)) that will operate your flight(s) at the time of confirmation. Where we are only able to inform you of the likely carrier(s) at the time of confirmation, we shall inform you of the identity of the actual carrier(s) as soon as we become aware of this. Any change to the operating carrier(s) after your booking has been confirmed will be notified to you as soon as possible.
BOOKING CONDITIONS - Dragoman Overseas
Travel Ltd. Valid from 1st May 2019
(Updated on 10/06/19)
3.1 Payments for Small Group Tours operated by Imaginative Traveller and excluding Polar trips to the Arctic or Antarctic
Songlines Music Tours: deposit amount £600
Family Overland: deposit amount £400
Trips with Gorilla permit: deposit amount £600
Trips with Inca Trail permit: deposit amount £400
The balance of the tour cost must be paid no later than 56 days before the departure date of the first tour booked, otherwise we are entitled to treat the booking as cancelled by you in which case the cancellation charges shown in clause 4 will be payable.
3.2 Payments for Small Group Polar trips to the Arctic or Antarctic
3.3 Payments for Tailor Made Tours and Charter Trips
4.1 If you wish to cancel your tour
Small Group Tours excluding Polar trips to the Arctic or Antarctic
Days % charge
56 or more Loss of deposit
31 to 55 50%
30 or less 100%
Small Group Polar trips to the Arctic or Antarctic
Days % charge
181 or more Loss of deposit
180 or less 100%
Tailor Made Tours and Charter Trips
Days % charge
56 or more Loss of deposit
55 or less 100%
Depending on your reason for cancellation and your travel insurance terms these charges may be recoverable under your insurance policy.
4.2 Amendments and Transfers for Small Group Tours
On some trips it is not possible for us to accept late bookings as they are subject to availability.
4.3 Amendments and Transfers for Tailor Made Tours and Charter Trips
The information about trips given in this brochure is subject to change. Where practical, any changes will be reflected in the Trip Notes that are sent to you with your Final Documentation. It is your responsibility to review the up-to-date Trip Notes sent to you with Final Documentation. If you make a booking less than 56 days before departure (181 days for Polar trips to the Arctic or Antarctic) you must ensure you are fully aware of the contents of the Trip Notes. The information and conditions in the Trip Notes will be deemed to be part of the contract.
In no circumstances will we cancel your tour less than 4 weeks before the scheduled departure date except for reasons of consolidation, force majeure or failure on your part to pay the final balance. We strongly recommend that you make no travel arrangements to your point of departure, make any connecting travel that is non-refundable or non-changeable or incurs penalties or incur any costs in respect of visas or vaccinations until such time as your travel itinerary has been confirmed. If you make such arrangements which you are then unable to use due to a change in your itinerary we shall not be liable to you for the cost of those arrangements. If we are forced to cancel your holiday after departure we will, wherever possible, make suitable alternative arrangements. If we are unable to make such alternative arrangements, or you reject these for good reason then we will return you to your point of departure and refund you for any unused services, if appropriate.
56 or more Nil
Between 28 and 55 £15
Between 15 and 27 £25
Less than 15 £35
The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT) provides financial protection under ABTOT Combined and The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 for Dragoman Overseas Travel Ltd., ATOL number 4157, and in the event of their insolvency, protection is provided for the following:
ABTOT Combined cover provides for a refund in the event you have not yet travelled or repatriation if you are abroad. Please note that bookings made outside the EU are only protected by ABTOT when purchased directly with Dragoman Overseas Travel Ltd.
In the unlikely event that you require assistance whilst abroad due to our financial failure, please call our 24/7 helpline on 01702 811397 and advise you are a customer of an ABTOT protected travel company.
You can access the The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2018/9780111168479/contents
When you buy an ATOL protected flight or flight inclusive holiday from us, you will receive an ATOL Certificate. This lists what is financially protected, where you can get information on what this means for you and who to contact if things go wrong.
The price of our ATOL-protected flight inclusive Packages includes the amount of £2.50 per person as part of the ATOL Protection Contribution (APC) we pay to the CAA. This charge is included in our advertised prices.
We, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL Certificate or holiday itinerary, will provide you with the services listed on the ATOL Certificate or itinerary (or a suitable alternative). In some cases, where neither we nor the supplier are able to do so for reasons of insolvency, an alternative ATOL holder or supplier may provide you with the services you have bought or a suitable alternative (at no extra cost to you). You agree to accept that in those circumstances the alternative ATOL holder or supplier will perform those obligations and you agree to pay any money outstanding to be paid by you under your contract to that alternative ATOL holder or supplier. However, you also agree that in some cases it will not be possible to appoint an alternative ATOL holder or supplier, in which case you will be entitled to make a claim under the ABTOT Combined scheme.
If we, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL certificate or holiday itinerary, are unable to provide the services listed (or a suitable alternative, through an alternative ATOL holder, alternative supplier or otherwise) for reasons of insolvency, ABTOT Limited may make a payment to (or confer a benefit on) you under the ABTOT Combined scheme. You agree that in return for such a payment or benefit you assign absolutely to ABTOT Limited any claims which you have or may have arising out of or relating to the non-provision of the services, including any claim against us, the travel agent (or your credit card issuer where applicable). You also agree that any such claims may be re-assigned to another body, if that other body has paid sums you have claimed under the ABTOT Combined scheme.
The combination of travel services offered to you is a package within the meaning of the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018.
Therefore you will benefit from all EU rights applying to the packages. Dragoman Overseas Travel Ltd. ('Dragoman') will be fully responsible for the proper performance of the package as a whole.
Additionally, as required by law, Dragoman has protection in place to refund your payments and, where transport is included in the package, to ensure your repatriation in the event that it becomes insolvent.
Key rights under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018
A copy of The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 may be found on: www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/634
(i) the act(s) and/or omission(s) of the person(s) affected or any member(s) of their party;
(ii) the act(s) and/or omission(s) of a third party not connected with the provision of your tour and which were unforeseeable or unavoidable;
(iii) force majeure;
(iv) any services which do not form part of our contract. This includes, for example, any additional services or facilities which any supplier agrees to provide for you where the services or facilities are not advertised by us and we have not agreed to arrange them as part of our contract;
vii) any information and advice on visas, travel documents, climate, spending money and other costs, clothing, equipment, etc. All such information and advice has been compiled with reasonable care and is given in good faith but without responsibility on our part;
viii) loss or damage of your personal belongings while in the sight of yourself or other group members, or while under the care of airlines or airports;
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