Antananarivo – Miandrivazo – Tsiribihina River Cruise – Bekopaka – Morondava – Antsirabe – Antananarivo
10 Days – From £1,510 per person
This trip is for the adventure seekers and travelers who like being close to nature. This is definitely a road trip with some portions covered by boat. The itinerary offers a slow-paced journey into the western region of Madagascar, the land of Sakalava and Menabe. Since flying within the country can sometimes be unreliable, a road trip comes handy. During the river cruising overnight is done in tents with a romantic dinner by the campfire. You will get to see Tsingy and the majestic baobabs too. The trip can be done both on a private and shared basis. Get in touch for more info about scheduled departures. Off we go!
International flights are not included in the package price. We give you the freedom to use miles and choose your preferred airline, and if you are stuck we can help you find the right connections. Return flights to Madagascar start from £700 per person, depending on the connections and time of the year. There are direct services to Nosy Be from JNB, ADD, from several airports in Italy and also seasonal flights from Eastern Europe. If you have to fly via Antananarivo, the capital city, we can tailor this trip according to your arrival and departure times.
This is a sample itinerary and prices are correct at the time of writing. We can tailor the itinerary to suit your plans by changing the length of the trip or the order of activities. More days can be added and different hotels can be chosen according to your preferences and needs.
Give us a call or email us at email@example.com to discuss your requirements, check availability and get a confirmed price.
Day 1 – Tongasoa! Welcome to Antananarivo
Today you will arrive in Antananarivo Ivato International airport (TNR) where you will be met and transferred to the hotel. Antananarivo means “City of thousands”, the place which unified the tribes of Madagascar about 500 years ago. The city is built on 3 levels: the high city where the queen’s palace is situated, the mid-city with nice boutique shops and all the administrative buildings, and the bustling low city with the markets. Time permitting, visit the markets in the low city, then catch a splendid sunset from one of the cafes from the upper part of town. Overnight at Le Belvédère Hotel.
Day 2 – Drive to Miandrivazo through the Malagasy countryside
Today prepare for a full day on the road through the Malagasy countryside till you reach Miandrivazo, starting with the highlands with beautiful rice fields and continuing through an area of barren hills. There are several interesting places on the way to break your journey for some rest. The first one is Ambatolampy, a village known for its aluminium workshops. Further on, the provincial town of Antsirabe is a good place to stop for lunch. As you continue to the west passing by barren hills, there are a few local markets worth to stop for. You will arrive at your destination towards the evening. Overnight at Princesse Tsiribihina.
Day 3 – Tsiribihina river descend by boat
After an early breakfast, depart to Masiakampy (2h). Board a barge for the river cruise. As you drift along the river, you might catch the flash of a kingfisher from the reeds, hear a zebu being driven down to drink or lemurs staring out from the branches of the forest. During the cruising you will see luxury forests. The boat is equipped with a rooftop, tables, benches and a small kitchen where the crew will prepare food for the guests. Start descending following the current of the river on the plain Betsiriry. Later on the boat will begin to enter a small limestone gorge of Bemaraha. Full board on the boat in provided. Camping overnight.
Day 4 – Continue along Tsiribihina river by boat
In the morning, after a delicious breakfast, you will visit a waterfall and a natural swimming pool where you can refresh in the clear waters. Continue navigation through basalt cliffs richly decorated with aloe and other succulent plants. The walls of these buttresses are sometimes inhabited by bats. Down the river, you will see plantations of sugar canes, tobacco, dense forest, gorges, cliffs, immense sandbanks and the first baobabs. You can also visit traditional villages, such as Begidro. Watch the picturesque countryside and the slow pace of life here. Full board on the boat is provided. Camping overnight.
Day 5 – Belo de Tsiribihina to Bekopaka
After breakfast, head to Masiakampy. The boat will start entering the plains of Menabe, the land of huge baobabs and the territory of the fishing eagle, humpback ducks and the ash-colored herons. Stop in a charming baobabs village. After that you will arrival in Tsimafana around noon. Cross to Belo on Tsiribihina, where a 4wd vehicle will be awaiting for you. Drive to Bekopaka. There will be a small river to cross on a ferry in Manambolo, just before Bekopaka. Arrive in late afternoon. At night you may well hear people singing in the distance – a really lovely atmosphere. Overnight at Le Grand Hotel du Tsingy de Bemaraha.
Day 6 – Discover the natural wonder of Tsingy de Bemaraha
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the National Park of Tsingy de Bemaraha is a huge massif, spectacularly eroded into a chaos of karsts pinnacles. The high rocky plateau is made of deep cracks, labyrinths, canyons, covered with a dry forest. The park is a shelter for many species of lemurs and reptiles which can only be found here. Spend the day trekking in the park with an experienced guide who will tell you about the rocks and its inhabitants, guiding you across beautiful trails. You can stop for a picnic lunch whenever you feel it is time for some rest. Overnight at Le Grand Hotel du Tsingy de Bemaraha.
Day 7 – Manambolo caves and majestic baobabs
After breakfast, embark in a handmade traditional pirogue and sail to the Gorge of Manambolo. High sandstone cliffs are guarding the river banks. This is a great start of the day with an early morning sail, when the river is calm, birds are singing and lemurs watch you from the trees. After a refreshing morning trip, take the dirt road to Morondava via Belo de Tsiribihina. The view of the majestic baobabs at the end of the trip will be a great reward for the long drive. Enjoy a splendid sunset at the Avenue of the Baobabs. Don’t miss the ‘baobabs in love’ which grows a bit aside of the avenue. Arrive early evening in Morondava. Overnigth at Chez Maggie.
Day 8 – A day on the road back to Antsirabe
Today prepare for a full day on the road through the rural countryside. After breakfast, leave the baobabs behind and start driving back to Antsirabe. Zebu passing along the way, children in dark blue uniforms walking to school, women doing the laundry in the river – the life goes on in Madagascar. Stop at local markets to buy fresh fruits and for lunch at a local restaurant. You will notice that the road will start to climb, since you are driving towards the highlands. Antsirabe is located in one of the most elevated areas of the island, so the air is more refreshing and cool here. You will arrive towards the evening. Overnight at Chambre du Voyageur.
Day 9 – Artsy Antsirabe and return to Antananarivo
Today spend the morning discovering the creative works of Antsirabe craftsmen. This elegant provincial spa-town with a European feel, is the perfect place to be discovered by rickshaw. Visit the local craft-shops, such as the shop of miniatures made from recycled tins, the semi-precious stones factory, the embroidery workshop and Zebu horn shops. Later on continue driving to the capital. The picturesque highlands with beautiful terraced rice-fields and Merina villages will accompany your journey. Upon arrival, spend the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at Le Belvédère Hotel.
Day 10 – Departure
According to your flight’s schedule, you will be transferred to the airport to take your onward flight. This trip will make you realize how big Madagascar is. A quick look at the map will show that you have only explored a tiny portion of the island and yet it took you 10 days to complete the journey. Come back for more, there are a ton of amazing places to explore in the north, east and south. Veloma!