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Adventure Tours

Madagascar: Baobabs & Beyond

From €2615pp including flights
Depart From
Fly from Dublin
Departure Date
05 Jun 2019 - 15 Jun 2019
Alternative dates available on request
Duration
11 Days
Destination
Madagascar
Price
From €2615pp including flights
Enquire Now

Discover the varied landscape of Madagascar, from volcanic crater lakes to towering karst forests.

Fly from Dublin and discover the varied landscape of Madagascar in this 11-day adventure, exploring lakes, cruising rivers, and scrambling through karst forests. Watch ancient baobab trees turn golden in the light of the sunset, see the legendary tombs of the Vazimba people while caving and experience life along the Tsiribihina River during a two-day cruise.

Why you'll love this trip:

  • Watch a sunset behind towering, 800-year-old trees along the Avenue of the Baobabs
  • Travel along the Tsiribihina River in a traditional  Barge, stopping to walk to hidden waterfalls, explore villages and camp on the banks
  • Trek through a forest of limestone karsts and cross a sheer drop on a suspended bridge at the Big Tsingy
  • Float down the meandering Manambolo River dugout canoe, through a deep gorge and past rocky cliffs
  • Hike through pine forests and past volcanic crater lakes in the Antsirabe district

Is this trip right for you?

The visible vertical drop at the Great Tsingy can be quite intimidating especially for those with vertigo. If you have concerns, please discuss with an Intrepid representative, your travel agent prior to departure, or your leader once the trip commences.

A basic level of fitness is required for the treks on days 3 and 4 of this itinerary.

This trip includes river cruising on the Tsiribihina River, and camping conditions are basic along the way. There will be no access to bathroom facilities.

As this is a remote part of Madagascar there will be some long travel days, but we think the unique and rewarding experiences are worth the distances travelled. Due to the conditions of the roads travel can be slow.

This itinerary includes a canoe ride along the Manombolo River.

Day 1: Antananarivo

Tonga soa! Bienvenue! Welcome to Antananarivo, Madagascar's crowded but charming capital. Your adventure officially begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception or your travel agent. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you decide to arrive early, take some time to get acquainted with the city. Perhaps head to Analakey to visit the permanent street markets.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Day 2: Miandrivazo

Begin the long journey west. Maybe kick back with a book or get to know your fellow travellers during the seven-hour drive to Miandrivazo, a small city that will act as the starting point for your adventure down the Tsiribihina River.

On arrival, check in to the hotel and listen to a briefing on essential information for your 2-day cruise. Head out to pick any extra supplies you may need or desire for the next few days, then get some rest in preparation for tomorrow.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Special Information:

There will be no access to banks or cash points from Miandrivazo to Morondava. Meals on your river excursion are included, however drinks and gratuities for your river crew are not. Meals in Bekopaka are at your own expense. We would suggest 100 -120 Euro for meals and services not included in your tour price for this section of the trip.  Please ask your Tour Leader for further advice.

We would suggest carrying a sleeping bag (basic blanket is provided) or sleep sheet for your river camping experience, a towel and a waterproof jacket.  Sunscreen, insect repellent and hat are high recommended. Please refer to our recommended packing list which will be provided.

Day 3: Tsirbihina River Excursion

Rise and shine for the 15-kilometre drive to Masiakampy, where you will find a traditional barge waiting to escort you along the Tsiribihina River. These flat bottom boats were once used to transport tobacco, but without that precious cargo they make a comfortable way to cruise along the water and access the remote reaches of western Madagascar.

For the next few days, you’ll have the chance to spot wildlife on the banks and in the water, enjoy easy walks to hidden waterfalls and stop off in rural villages. Climb aboard and meet the crew. Then settle in and enjoy some lunch as you travel through flat farming plains and enter the dramatic gorges of the Tsiribihina, stopping in the afternoon to trek to a waterfall before returning to a large sandbank to set up camp. 

Accommodation: Camping (1 night)

Included Activities:

  • Miandrivazo - Tsiribihina River Trip

Meals Included: Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Special Information:

River camping for the next two nights is a simple wild camping experience. Sleeping mats are provided and one single blanket. As recommended in our packing list, travellers may wish to carry a sleeping bag and or sleeping sheet. These items are not available for hire. There are no bathroom facilities, a bush toilet is the only option for the next three days, there will be limited fresh water on the boat for washing.

This is a fragile ecosystem which we are privileged to visit.  Please act responsibly in relation to personal hygiene and bury any human waste at least 30cm from the river and 15cm deep.

Day 4: Tsiribihina River Excursion

Enjoy a full day gliding along the water today, travelling into the heart of the river. Wave to the locals on the banks and barges as you pass. In the absence of roads, daily life happens along the river in this part of Madagascar. Watch out for herds of zebus crossing the river, and flashes of colour as you look for bee-eaters, herons, and egrets in this bird lovers’ paradise. Stop occasionally for a village walk or a short trek for some lemur spotting before setting up camp at a village along the shore. This evening, light a campfire and enjoy some traditional Malagasy music and dancing with some local folk.

Accommodation:  Camping (1 night)

Included Activities:

  • Miandrivazo - Tsiribihina River Trip

Meals Included: Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 5: Bekopaka

Disembark the chaland and farewell the crew. Make a quick stop at Belo-sur-Tsiribihina, a small village, to check out the market and grab some lunch before beginning the 2.5-hour drive to Bekopaka.

Arrive, check in to your hotel and settle in for the afternoon. Perhaps enjoy a swim or a shower, and rest your weary limbs. Tomorrow you’ll be taking on the Small Tsingy.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6: Bekopaka / The Small Tsingy

Rise early, pick a comfortable outfit and pack some food. Today you’ll spend between four and five hours trekking through the Small Tsingy, located in Bemaraha National Park. Scramble and navigate through a labyrinth of limestone formations that resemble a forest made of rock. Stop at two lookout points along the way for photo opportunities and a chance to take in the impressive surrounds.

In the afternoon, unwind with a float down the Manambolo River on a pirogue (wooden dugout canoe) under the shadow of these towering rock cliffs. Take an easy afternoon cave stroll, taking the sight of stalactites, stalagmites and the eerie tombs of the Vazimba – said to be the earliest inhabitants of Madagascar.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Included Activities:

  • Small Tsingy walking circuit
  • Manombolo River canoe ride

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 7: Bekopaka / The Great Tsingy

Embrace another early start this morning and prepare a lunch to take with you during an action-packed trip to the Great Tsingy. Getting up early again might be a struggle, but it’s the best way to beat the heat and more intense crowds.

Largely unexplored until the 1990s (the name Tsingy is very roughly translated as ‘place where one cannot walk barefoot’ in Malagasy), the area is now easier to navigate due to a series of bridges, semi-permanent climbing plugs and other equipment. Feel your heart stop as you pass over a sheer drop via suspended bridge, a truly breathtaking experience that those with vertigo may wish to skip.

Animals lovers should keep an eye out for 11 species of lemurs, 100 species of birds and 45 endemic reptiles and amphibians, including the Madagascar iguana and Antsingy leaf chameleon.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Included Activities:

  • Big Tsingy Trek

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 8: Morondava

There is a long day of travel ahead, so get that book, podcast or stimulating conversation ready to stay occupied. Cross Manambolo River and Tsiribihina River by ferry, arriving in relaxed Morondava in time for a spectacular sunset in the Avenue of the Baobabs.

These cartoonish, towering trees are native to Madagascar, and the variety you’ll see lit from behind this evening are adansonia grandidieri, the tallest of them all. Watch the sky turn pink and yellow and finally cast these trees – many of which are up to 800 years old – in shadow. Spend the night in Morondava and take a well-deserved rest.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Included Activities:

  • Sunset at Baobab Alley

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 9: Antsirabe

Depart this morning for Antsirabe, the capital of the Vakinankaratra region. It’s another drive that will last around eight hours, and after an orientation stroll around the city and included dinner at the hotel, it’s up to you whether you’d like to crash out or explore further.

The town is fairly quiet after dark, but there are a few places to grab a nightcap if you so desire. If you’re so inclined, perhaps head to travellers favourite Le Pousse Pousse, where the booths are made from rickshaws, or ask your leader for recommendations.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Meals Included: Breakfast | Dinner

Day 10: Antananarivo

Enjoy breakfast and then hit the surrounding region on a soft trek, a good way to limber up after a few long days of driving. Discover the beauty of the local lakes, including the emerald-green waters of Tritiva, an extinct crater surrounded by verdant forest. Hike through the lakes district, sitting down for a picnic-style lunch along the way.

Later, continue to Antananarivo. Perhaps spend your last evening on this trip indulging in some fine Malagasy food with your fellow travellers. There’s plenty of international cuisine on offer in ‘Tana’, but why not toast to your Malagasy adventure with a Three Horses Beer and a bowl of Madagascar’s national dish, romazava (a one pot rice and meat sensation).

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Meals Included: Breakfast | Lunch

Day 11: Antananarivo

This adventure comes to an end today, and you’re free to depart after breakfast. If you have arranged a private transfer please confirm the time with your leader. Please refer to your trip notes for optional activities available in Antananarivo for today.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Price is per adult sharing and includes:

  • Flights and charges from Dublin
  • 11 day Madagascar: Baobabs & Beyond tour
  • Meals:
    • 10 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Transport:
    • Minibus, 4WD, Ferry, Boat
  • Accommodation:
    • Hotel (8 nights), Camping (2 nights)
  • Included activities:
    • Miandrivazo - Tsiribihina River Trip
    • Small Tsingy walking circuit
    • Manombolo River canoe ride
    • Big Tsingy Trek
    • Sunset at Baobab Alley

Please ask us about adding great value:

  • Travel insurance
Subject to availability. Terms & conditions apply. Price shown is based on travel June 2019. Please ask for pricing on other travel dates.

For more information please call us on 021 427 7094 or 01 696 5135, email info@shandontravel.ie, request a call back using the red button or submit an enquiry through the form below.

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