Magic of Madagascar Trip Notes
Trip code: PFMM
Trip valid from: 01/10/2010
Trip valid until: 31/12/2013
Trip length: 12 days
Trip starts in: Antananarivo, Madagascar
Trip ends in: Antananarivo, Madagascar
Maximum group size: 10
- Fort Dauphin's Bay
- The 'dancing' White Verreaux's Sifakas Of Berenty Reserve
- Isalo National Park
- The Traditional Malagasy Communities Of Tsaranoro Valley
- Colonial Spa Resort Of Antsirabe
- Anjozorobe Forest's Biodiversity
Madagascar – a far-off land of exotic landscapes, stunning coastline and dancing lemurs
Madagascar is one of those destinations that seem to conjure up a thousand images just upon hearing the name alone. It is exotic and little-known – an island filled with strange and exciting flora and fauna. It is truly a land of exotic landscapes with diverse features and astounding natural beauty. From the craggy eroded sandstone sculptures of Isalo National Park and the stunning coastline of the west to the rolling hills of the south and the seemingly pre-historic forests of the dramatic Tsaranoro Valley, Madagascar's beauty is certainly inspiring. Being cut off from the African mainland for millions of years has resulted in a diverse number of endemic species found nowhere else on earth. Of these, the lemurs have attracted special interest and we get to meet many different types, from the indri (the largest species) of Anjozorobe Forest to the dancing Verreaux's sifaka of Berenty Reserve. Encountering these amazing primates is a real highlight, as their inquisitive personalities, sheer cunningness and striking markings are sure to provide many endearing memories. Madagascar is also rich in birdlife with many endemic species and there are also several unique reptile species, including the amazing chameleon.
We also visit villages and remote communities, with a kaleidoscope of 18 million people and 18 distinct tribal groups ensuring many rich and varied cultural experiences. Although Madagascar is a relatively new tourism destination, the Malagasy people are warm and friendly and live harmoniously in their island paradise. One of the most memorable aspects of travelling to Madagascar is the relaxed pace and the real lack of haste that seems to be part of day-to-day life of the Malagasy people. This is one holiday experience that is sure to be etched in your memory!
AntananarivoToday is an arrival day, so you are free to arrive at any time. Upon arrival in Antananarivo's Ivato Airport, you are met by a representative and transferred to your hotel. If arriving before 2 pm we will enjoy a morning city tour of Antananarivo which orientates us around the nooks and crannies of Madagascar's hilly capital. At the Andafivaratra Museum we pay homage to the Merina kings and queens, whilst the former royal palace, the Rova, sits like an imposing sentinel on top of a hill, having been destroyed by fire in 1995. (D)
Antananarivo - Berenty ReserveThis morning we catch a flight to Fort Dauphin (also known as Taolagnaro), which is beautifully situated along a curved sandy bay on the south-eastern tip of Madagascar. On arrival, we drive to Berenty (4 Hour Drive). The road to Berenty will allow you to dicover the characteristics of the Anosy Country, an impressive desertic Scenery with its beautiful landcapes, lush vegetation and stopping in Anosy villages which seem to be coming from another century. At Dusk there is a possibilty of a night walk inside the reserve. On night kikes in the Spiny forest you’ll hear and likley see grey mouse Lemurs and White-footed sportive lemurs along with assorted insects and sleeping birds and reptiles. (B, L, D)
Berenty Reserve - Fort DauphinThis morning is dedicated to discover Berenty private reserve, the country’s most popular nature lemur reserve. As we leave the town, we discover impressive desert scenery that includes a surreal spiny forest, vast sisal plantations, mountains with rare palms, cactus and very strange plants. Berenty is a private 260 hectare reserve that offers the chance to experience the magic of the forest. On the property, a sisal factory and an interesting anthropological museum are worth a visit but the main attraction is the lemurs! The opportunities here to photograph close-up lemurs are second to none, as many of them are habituated to humans. We are sure to see brown lemurs and ring- tailed lemurs. One of the highlights of our trip is sure to be witnessing graceful white Verreaux's sifakas 'dancing' their way across clearings in wild and comical leaps on their two hind legs. Our time at Berenty Reserve is sure to leave us with some magnificent memories. We return to Fort Dauphin this afternoon. (B, L, D)
Fort Dauphin - TuléarThis morning, after breakfast, we catch a flight direct to Tuléar (Toliara). Tuléar is the starting of finishing point of National Road N° 7, which goes all the way to Antananarivo. It is situated in the driest area in Madagascar, with landscape dominated by spiny forest like cactus and various euphorbia plants. Spend time with NGO Bel Avenir community develpoment. Participate in activites with groups of disadvantaged children during their educational and enviroment stay and see their efforts in a fight against malnutrition. (B, L, D)
Tuléar - Ranohira(Driving time: approx 6 hours) Here we experience new kind of scenery which comprises of dry forests to the west and spiny deserts to the south and spectacular baobabs in between. We travel to the Arboretum Reserve which contains a collection of the extraordinary flora of the spiny forest. In the area you will also find an ethnological interesting museum, which depicts the life of the local tribe. After lunch we continue on to Ranohira, gateway to Isalo National Park for the evening. (B, L, D)
Isalo National ParkIsalo National Park is known locally is the ‘Malagasy Colorado’. A unique combination of sandstone rocks cut by deep canyons, bush plains and rare endemic plants make this Park particularly rewarding. Covering an area of 81,540 hectares, Isalo National Park comprises the entire stretch of the Isalo Massif, a very spectacular mountain chain made up of eroded sandstone. This strikingly beautiful reserve is filled with golden plains punctuated by craggy pinnacles of terracotta rock, valleys, canyons and waterfalls. We have the option to enjoy two half-day hikes or you can relax in this surreal environment. We may spot ring-tailed lemurs and Verreaux's sifakas in the lush forested entrance to the canyon. The park is also home to approximately 55 species of birds, including the endemic Benson’s rock thrush, as well as various lizards and snakes. In the afternoon a six kilometre hike amidst stunning rock formations takes us to Piscine Naturelle, a natural swimming pool in an oasis-like setting. As Madagascar is home to more than half the world’s chameleon population, there is also a very good chance of seeing these unusual, highly adaptable creatures. (B, L, D)
Tsaranoro Valley(Driving time: approx 4 hours) After breakfast we depart for the Tsaranoro Valley and arrive in time for lunch and check-in at our tented camp. Over the one-and-a-half days spent here there is a large range of excursions to choose from, ranging from gentle walks to more challenging expeditions like a climb up Mount Chameleon. The easy walks will take us into a sacred forest where we will probably see ring-tailed lemurs, before continuing to a waterfall and on to some the nearby villages. Here there is a unique opportunity to discover the Malagasy traditional life of this isolated population; people live only with the season, the sun and the rice harvest as a clock. There is also the possibility of visiting schools and the only medical station of the valley. Our tented camp features ten permanent tents, each with outdoor en suites which are privately enclosed. The camp has a large, communal dining and lounge tent where we enjoy hearty meals and experience the Malagasy food culture. Adding to the atmosphere, the camp is lit by storm lanterns and candles. (2B, 2L, 2D)
Tsaranoro Valley - Fianarantsoa(Driving time: approx 4 hours) After breakfast we depart for Anja Community Reserve, a small park and a community-based project that features a wild and semi-tamed colony of ring-tailed lemurs and some Betsileo traditional tombs. About 1½ hours up the road is Ambalavao, a town that provides us with some fabulous photo opportunities as it seems as though it has been transported from a western movie set. Set amid golden mountain scenery, Ambalavao holds the biggest zebu market in the country on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Our final stop is Fianarantsoa, where time permitting we go on a tour of the old city and visit the guesthouse which provides magnificent views of the old city from the terrace. Spend the night on the outskirts of town on the banks of Lake Sahambavy offering breathtaking views. (B, L, D)
Fianarantsoa - Antsirabe(Driving time: approx 6 hours) We travel on the winding roads of the terraced highlands as we make our way north. En route we stop for the opportunity to do some shopping at Ambositra, a small town known for its Zafimaniry woodcarvings and handicraft. The Zafimaniry people live in the Malagasy highlands, near Ambositra. They are known for the typical wooden architecture of their houses and fine ancestral woodcarving art. Their culture and lands are classified UNESCO World Heritage. After lunch we continue to Antsirabe, which used to be a 'chic' thermal city and has preserved its superb colonial architecture. Today it is mainly known for its gemstones, its ‘pousse-pousse’ (rickshaws) and handicraft. On arrival we visit a couple of workshops and learning how the locals transform natural materials into everyday utensils and clothing. Zebu horns are made into cutlery and wheat straw into hats. Around town we see some fine examples of the faded colonial architecture from days gone by. (B, L, D)
Antsirabe - Anjozorobe(Driving time: approx 3 hours) We travel to Anjozorobe, one of the last vestiges of dense rainforest on the high plateauz, is a source of life for the population and harbours an enormous biodiversity. With its 11 species of lemurs (Indri, Propitecus Diadema and Microcedus), 82 bird species (among which 43 are endemic) and 423 plants, this forest is a dreamland for nature lovers. A Night walk through the forest may also be possible. (B, L, D)
Anjozorobe - Antananarivo(Driving time: approx 3 hours) After an early breakfast, we are deicated to seeing the Anjozorobe Forest, where you can choose from a large variety of short walks. After Lunch we travel back to Antananarivo. Our tour finishes on arrival in Antananarivo where you will be transferred to airport (B, L)
Itinerary VariationWhile the information presented here details our planned itinerary, including routes taken, activities included, accommodation and meeting times, please accept that unforseen changes may occur. We are constantly on the lookout to improve our program and further enhance your experience. Naturally, we will keep you up to date with any last minute amendments to your tour.
About The Imaginative Traveller
Our aim has always been to provide exceptional travel experiences. We believe that adventure travel should be stimulating, and that it should give you an authentic experience of a place. We want our travellers to relish the amazing diversity of countries and cultures the world has to offer. Our focus is on innovation, not imitation.
Obsessed with quality
One of our strengths has been our obsession with quality. We've always believed that our commitment to you doesn't end as soon as you've paid for your holiday. On the contrary, it is just beginning. Whilst most operators simply get a local company to handle the day to day operation of their tours, we do it all ourselves. We have managers for each of our key destinations around the world and all our small groups are escorted by our own leaders. Our local teams include guides, drivers, administration staff and contacts in the local community who help us ensure that our adventures are active and involving.
For comparability, all prices in this dossier are quoted in one currency. We use the US Dollar since that is familiar to most. However, once on tour you will need to pay for all goods and services in the local currency. See your Country Dossier for details of exchange rates.
Big game enthusiasts, bird-twitchers and photographers will all find heaven in Africa’s parks and reserves. Kruger’s diversity, Ngorongoro Crater’s concentration, Okavango’s exoticism, South Luangwa’s walking safaris – whatever your passion may be, the great thing about safari is that there is no single ‘safari’ experience; each park has its own flavour, its own character and each creates its own memories. The same is true of the Galapagos – each island is different to the next and home to unique wildlife: Espanola’s albatrosses; Sombrero Chino’s penguins; the difference in marine iguanas on all the islands. Couple this diversity with the animals’ famed fearlessness (no zoom lenses needed!) and cruises here are endlessly thrilling adventures. Whether venturing upriver by canoe in Peru’s Amazon with the lush greenery surrounding you, or exploring hushed trails in Costa Rica’s dense undergrowth, a jungle wildlife adventure is a thrilling walk on the wild side. Catching sight of a monkey swinging through its natural habitat or a toucan taking flight is unforgettable, and when the jungle suddenly opens out onto a clay lick, welcome to one of nature’s great spectacles: a sudden a riot of noise and colour as hundreds of macaws and other birds gather.
The greatest cities in the world and the richest historic sights; the finest regional food and the must-see spectacles. Museums and markets, medinas and mosques – from Hobart to Hong Kong, Cairo to Caracas, get under the skin of local life and explore what your destination means to its own people. Dive headlong into exotic metropolitan buzz – the souks of Marrakech, La Paz’s markets – or adventure to remote African hills to explore ancient and mysterious rock art. Take in cutting edge art at Bilbao’s dazzling Guggenheim, or soak up timeless rhythms sitting under a balanzan tree in Mali listening to Tuareg musicians. Whatever it is, wherever you are, there’s no greater adventure than learning how another culture ticks.
A good level of fitness will ensure that your enjoyment of this tour is enhanced. This tour incorporates several walks in search of lemurs, but these walks are not overly strenuous.
• The services of Peregrine’s expert English-speaking local tour leader.
• Visit to Ngo Bel Avenir, set up to help underprivileged Malagasy people.
• Visit to UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ambositra.
• Sightseeing (including entrance fees where applicable): Antananarivo, Ambavalao and Antsirabe.
• 1 day in Isalo National Park and 1 day in Berenty Nature Reserve.
• Lemur and other wildlife encounters including: Berenty Reserve; Isalo National Park; Tsaranoro Valley; Anja Community Reserve; and Anjozorobe Forest.
• Visits to the remote villages of eight distinct tribal groups.
• Local flights: Antananarivo to Fort Dauphin and Fort Dauphin to Tuléar via Antananarivo.
• Arrival transfer.
International flights, airport departure taxes, visas, meals unless specified in the itinerary, drinks, insurance, laundry, any optional tours or activities during free time, tips and items of a personal nature.
11 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 11 dinners
7 nights Lodge,3 nights Comfortable hotel,1 night Guesthouse
Single room supplementMost of our travellers like the thought of travelling with a few like-minded souls. There are NO compulsory single supplements on most tours as we simply arrange twin shared accommodation for you and another tour member of the same sex. But don't worry if that doesn't appeal. We do understand there are times when you just want a bit of privacy and 'me' time so we are more than happy to arrange a private room upon request when you book.
This tour spends 1 day in Isalo National Park and 1 day in Berenty Nature Reserve.
Well before travelling, please ensure that you have a current passport, with an accurate photo, that is valid for at least six months after your scheduled return home. Also check that your airline tickets are in exactly the same name as your passport. Some countries may require that you have a return air ticket, or have sufficient funds to purchase such a ticket.
On all our holidays you must have comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. Please take your insurance policy with you when you travel as your tour leader will need to see and record your policy details at the pre-tour briefing. If you arrive without travel insurance they will require you to purchase a policy before you continue your journey with us.
If you are covered by a policy arranged through your credit card company you will be asked to provide evidence of this cover as well as a 24-hour emergency contact number. Your leader will need to record your credit card type and number as this is required to activate your request for emergency assistance. It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet the requirements set out by your credit card company in order to be effectively covered and that the cover offered is of a suitable standard.
Madagascar - All foreign visitors to the Republic of Madagascar require entry visas. A tourist visa valid for a maximum 30 days is free and can be obtained on arrival. To obtain a visa at the airport, you must produce the following:
1. A return airline ticket (the length of the visa will be issued according to the dates of your airline ticket).
2. A passport with 6 months validity from your date of return.
3. A trip itinerary.
It is your responsibility to ensure you have all required visas for your trip. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.
It is your responsibility to ensure you have all required visas for your trip. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.The itinerary and supplementary information has been compiled with care and provided in good faith. However it may be subject to change, and does not form part of a contract between the client and The Imaginative Traveller.
Responsible Travel - Travellers' Guidelines
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
- It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
- We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
- Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school. It is of course your own personal choice but you could consider giving to registered charities or contributing to our Responsible Travel fund instead. Money donated through our fund to our worldwide projects is matched pound for pound by Imaginative Traveller and used to help local grassroots projects.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavor to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
If you would like to contribute to our Worldwide projects, helping communities all over the World, you can also do this on our website or with a sales consultant. Please refer to our responsible travel page on the website for details of our current projects. Any donation you make will be matched £ for £ by Imaginative Traveller (up to a maximum of £1000).
Have a great trip!
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at firstname.lastname@example.orgThe Imaginative Traveller & Peregrine Adventures This trip is operated by our partner company, Peregrine Adventures. Peregrine is an Australia based company with more than 30 years experience in adventure travel and they share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a codeshared departure you can expect there to be both Imaginative Traveller and Peregrine travellers on your trip.
Last updated: 09/03/2012