ANTHROPOLOGICAL TRIP TO RED ISLAND OF AFRICA
Why Madagascar? The truth is that there are plenty of reasons to want to travel to Madagascar, the fourth largest island on the planet. Many people were unaware of this country, until it was located on the map after the famous cartoon movie. The red island is a mysterious destination for many and arouses great curiosity. An island that broke away from Africa some 165 million years ago.
It is an ethnological heritage, and in which, thanks to the isolation of the island, the 18 ethnic groups that have lived for a long time, having developed their own unique customs, traditions and laws. And if this country stands out for something, it is for the great variety and ethnic wealth. Friendly and respectful people, who always offer you a smile, without asking for anything in return. Madagascar, the country of the taxi-brousse, the tilapia, the zebu, the romazava, the misao, the white sand beaches, the ports full of local people fishing, the shy smiles, the sunsets that light up the sky, colonial trains, baobab, vanilla, sailing boats, lemurs …
Madagascar’s wildlife is among the best in the world in terms of diversity, abundance, and uniqueness, and is one of the most important natural treasures on Earth. In fact, many define it as Noah’s Ark between Africa and Asia. The island is home to 5% of all species of fauna and flora in the world, of which 70% are endemic, that is, we can only and exclusively find them in the wild in this corner of the planet.
In addition, this anthropological expedition is framed within a sustainable tourism package, which is committed to promoting the local economy by visiting indigenous communities.
If you are a lover of nature, the contrasts of landscapes, and an authentic and unique culture, Madagascar is undoubtedly your destination: the red island of emerald waters.
DAY 1. FLIGHT TO ANTANANARIVO.
Early departure from Spain with connection to the intercontinental flight at Paris airport (CDG). Arrival at Ivato International Airport (TNR) and customs procedures. Reception of travelers and transfer to accommodation. Sakamanga Hotel.
DAY 2. ANTANANARIVO – AMBATOLAMPY – COLONIAL CITY OF ANTSIRABE (170 km ± 5 h) / (B / L).
After breakfast, we will leave for the colonial city of Antsirabe. On the way through the RN-7 we will be able to observe the rice fields cultivated by the Merina (inhabitants of the Highlands, originating in Polynesia, Melanesia and Indonesia). This cereal, coming from Asia, was introduced by the first Malay-Polynesians who came to inhabit these lands.
We will stop for lunch at a local restaurant in the small town of Behenjy, known for its delicious Malagasy duck foie-gras. After the resumption of our trip we will stop at Ambatolampy. Ambatolampy is the capital of aluminum, whose silhouette is outlined on the bluish horizon of the Ankaratra massif. Thanks to a relatively high latitude, the city enjoys a cool and temperate climate all year round. Here we will visit a small aluminum casting workshop where artisans make aluminum butts, kitchen utensils and figures, cast using traditional methods, which are then sold throughout Madagascar. Arrival in Antsirabe. Antsirabe, with about 260,000 inhabitants, is located in the Malagasy plateau at a height of more than 1,500 m, so, although the temperature on the coast is hot throughout the year, between April and September the temperature, as in other highland cities, as is the case of Antananarivo, can drop considerably at night, reaching temperatures as low as 5ºC. Accommodation at the Royal Palace Hotel.
DAY 3. COLONIAL CITY OF ANTSIRABE – TRITRIVA VOLCANIC LAKE – AMBOSITRA (110 km ± 2 h) / (B / L).
In the morning, and after breakfast, we will visit the beautiful Tritriva Lake, located in the crater of a small volcano at an altitude of 1,870 meters, and whose depth is greater than 160 m. Back in Antsirabe we will visit the zebu horns workshop and the tin figures workshop. After lunch at a local restaurant, and before leaving for Ambositra, we can visit the center of this small colonial town on foot, in pousse-pousse or in our vehicle, whose name means “place where salt abounds” and also known as “the Malagasy Vichy “due to its thermal waters, which were the reason why the Norwegian missionary GT Rosaas founded this city in 1872. Arrival at Ambositra at dusk. This city of 30,000 inhabitants is the center of the wood carving industry in the country due to the presence of the Zafimaniry tribe, a subgroup of the Betsileo tribe. It is also a quiet and pleasant town located in the Highlands, with its rice terraces, its eucalyptus forests and its famous thatched red houses that impress the traveler with its traditional atmosphere. Accommodation at the L’Artisan hotel.
DAY 4. AMBOSITRA – TREKKING IN THE ZAFIMANIRY WORLD – AMBOSITRA (90 km ± 8 ½ h) / (B / L).
After breakfast, we will move to Antoetra, capital of the Zafimaniry ethnic group and with just 1,000 inhabitants. From there we will go on foot to the town of Ifasina.
The trekking in the Zafimaniry World is easy-medium level, with a total route of about 10 km (between round trips) and its duration is 3/6 hours depending on our march. This is done through mountainous and truly spectacular landscapes. The objective is to reach the traditional village of Ifasina, the closest of all the towns. This animist ethnic group lives isolated from the rest of the world in the middle of an unusual landscape, only accessible on foot. Here you really have the feeling that time has stopped and we will have the opportunity to interact with the local population, to see their traditional wooden houses and maybe we can visit their school. Picnic lunch on the way, which we will order at the accommodation the night before. Return in the afternoon to Ambositra. Night in the village. Accommodation in a local house.
DAY 5. SURROUNDINGS OF AMBOSITRA (B / L).
After breakfast we will try to attend a very peculiar and traditional ceremony. During this time of year some ethnic groups, such as the Betsileo, celebrate Famadiana (unearthing of the dead). This ritual, where the next of kin and friends of the deceased are reunited with him after a period of 5 to 7 years, is a joyous celebration where finally the relatives end up wrapping the deceased loved one with new cloths (lambamena), before proceeding . to his burial ending. During the celebrations, which can last for several days, the Ambositra region is animated with a very peculiar agitation, which brings together the entire community. After this traditional ceremony in which laughter and crying, joy and sadness mix, the party continues with a collective dance, to the sound of the Vako-Drazana orchestras, and which will continue until dawn. It is a very intimate family celebration in which access to it is usually difficult. We will try that, if we coincide with any Famadiana, they invite us to share this unique and unforgettable experience. In the event that we can be part of this ritual we must have some offerings. Accommodation at the L’Artisan hotel.
NOTE : This activity will be subject to the will of the family of the deceased, not being possible to guarantee it. In the event that we are not able to attend, we will visit the local market in Ambositra where all kinds of local products are usually sold, and very interesting from an anthropological point of view.
DAY 6. AMBOSITRA – RANOMAFANA (130 km ± 4 h) / (B / L).
Once we have had breakfast, we will leave for the town of Ranomafana of just 23,000 inhabitants. Arrival at lunch time. We will take advantage of the afternoon to rest and recharge. At dusk, before dinner, we will make a night visit in the vicinity of the national park. During the visit we will be able to observe, with a little luck, different species of chameleons and amphibians; as well as the Mouse Lemur, also known as micro Zebu. Overnight at the Centrest Lodge hotel
DAY 7. VISIT TO THE RANOMAFANA NATIONAL PARK – FIANARANTSOA (95 km ± 2 h) / (B / L).
After breakfast, we will go to the gates of Ranomafana National Park, located about 8 km from the town, to visit it on foot for a period of between 2h30 min and 3h. After our visit we will leave for the current Betsileo capital, Fianarantsoa (“The city where you learn well” in Malagasy) with almost 150,000 inhabitants. It is an important religious and university training center. Also here is one of the last four micheline (train with tires) in the world.
After lunch at a local restaurant we will visit the colorful and picturesque “Zoma” autochthonous market, the Ambozontany Cathedral, also called the “Vatican of Fianarantsoa” and go up to the top of the city to have a beautiful panoramic view of the town of Fianarantsoa. Accommodation at the Zomatel hotel.
DAY 8. FIANARANTSOA – AMBALAVAO – RESERVE ANJA – VALLEY OF TSARANORO IN THE PN ANDRINGITRA (105 km ± 5 h) / (B / L).
We are heading to the small town of Ambalavao, located in the Highlands and with a population of about 30,000 inhabitants. In this town you can still see some colonial buildings and its people, belonging to the Betsileo ethnic group, are pleasant and hospitable. It is one of those places that is really worth strolling through its streets and soaking up the local culture. We will visit the Antemoro paper craft workshop. This type of paper is made from the bark of avoha, a tree that grows in southern Madagascar. The bark is turned into a paste with water, spread out, decorated with local plants or flowers, and then dried in the sun and moonlight. In the end, this cream colored decorative paper is used to make tulips, envelopes, letter paper and even bags. Then we will go to Soalandy where we will see the production process of silk garments.
The silk produced is mainly of wild origin since the larvae feed on tapia leaves. Then we will visit the spectacular Anja Reserve, located a few kilometers south of Ambalavao, and we will travel for 1 – 1 1/2 h (circuit: Ankaramahafanina). This trekking is simple and takes place in the middle of an impressive landscape. After lunch we will continue the trip to our next destination, the Tsaranoro Valley. Accommodation at the Camp Catta hotel.
DAY 9. VALLEY OF TSARANORO IN THE PN ANDRINGITRA (B / L / D).
After breakfast we will start a great day in which we will visit on foot the impressive Tsaranoro Valley that borders the Andringitra National Park, which in Malagasy means “Place where spirits dominate”. This park stands out for its spectacular landscapes with vertical granite walls, its deep valleys and where there is even a sacred forest. Depending on our motivation and our strengths, we will do one of the following two options and then we will go to our accommodation in the middle of the afternoon to rest. Accommodation at the Camp Catta hotel.
NOTE : On this day there is the option of being able to sleep in a local house to live with the Betsileo indigenous people but it is a possibility that is still being studied ..
OPC.1-We will first climb the 1,540 m Mount Camaleón, located in the Tsaranoro Valley in front of the imposing Tsaranoro massif. On the way up the mountain we will cross a small dry tropical forest, under the Tsaranoro, where it is possible to find families of Catta lemurs, as well as pairs of Agapornis Cana, the only species of bird of the Psittaculidae family, originally from Madagascar. We will crown Monte Camaleón after about 2 to 3 hours of ascent depending on our pace to have a spectacular panoramic view of the Tsaranoro valley. Later we will descend on the other side of it (approximately 1 h) until we reach the valley again where a small village is located, which has a basic health center to serve the locals of this region. We will visit this small town and its surroundings.
OPC.2 – Mini-trekking (2 hours) through the Tsaranoro Valley. We will cross a small dry tropical forest under the Tsaranoro where it is possible to find families of Catta lemurs, as well as pairs of Agapornis Cana, the only Agapornis species endemic to Madagascar. Then we will go through the valley to a small village, which has a basic health center to serve the locals in this region. We will visit this small town and its surroundings. During our trek we will have a picnic lunch.
DAY 10. VALLEY OF TSARANORO – RANOHIRA (220 km ± 5 h) / (B / L).
Departure on the main RN-7 road heading south towards Ranohira, at the gates of Isalo National Park, one of the most visited in Madagascar. Depending on our schedule we will stop for lunch on the way or, on arrival, in Ranohira. Sunset at Ranohira, a population of about 6,000 inhabitants and the land of the Bara ethnic group. Accommodation at the Le Relais de la Reine & SPA hotel.
DAY 11. VISIT TO THE BARA D’IAKANDEREZO TOWN (B / L).
The Bara ethnic group lives in the surroundings of the Isalo National Park. During this day we will learn their customs and their way of life. After breakfast we will make an interesting and very instructive visit to the Bara d’Iakanderezo town located 5 km west of Ranohira where 450 people live and that thanks to the Lovasoa Association (“Good Heritage”) different projects are being carried out, such as :
– Schooling of children. Madagascar is the 5th most underschooled country in the world (70%) due largely to the lack of means for parents to bear the cost of this (approx. € 15 / child and year), and for school supplies (approx. € 15 / child and year).
– Agriculture courses given to the parents of these children to supply the school canteen with varied and nutritious foods; as well as for them to introduce these methods and foods into their habits in order to have a healthy and rich diet.
– Construction of showers and toilets near the school in order to improve the hygiene conditions of the inhabitants of this town.
After this interesting visit to the Bara d’Iakanderezo village we will return to Ranhoira. Accommodation at the Le Relais de la Reine & SPA hotel.
NOTE : On this day there is the option of being able to sleep in a local house to live with the Bara indigenous people but it is a possibility that is still being studied ..
DAY 12. TREKKING NATIONAL PARK ISALO (14 km ± 8 h) (B / L / D).
After breakfast, and first thing in the morning, we will approach the gates of the Isalo National Park for a wonderful trek (easy-medium level) that will take us much of the day. During the visit we will see the sacred tombs of the Baras ethnic group and we will stop at different corners of the park that are truly spectacular such as: the Natural pool, the Blue pool, the Black pool and the nymphs waterfall. These last three places are immersed in the Namaza canyon, a place of great beauty where we will stop for lunch (picnic). At sunset we will go to the Isalo window to see the spectacular sunset in this palm savanna. After this unforgettable day we will return to our accommodation at the Le Relais de la Reine & SPA hotel.
DAY 13. RANOHIRA (ISALO) / NATIONAL PARK ZOMBITSE VOHIBASIA – TULÉAR- IFATY-MANGILY (290 km ± 7 ½ h) / (B / L).
After breakfast, we will go to the Ifaty-Mangily beaches populated by local fishermen of the Vezo ethnic group, who enter the waters of the Mozambique Canal in their lakanas (traditional boats) in search of their main source of food. On the way we will stop to visit, for approximately 1h30 min, the Zombitse Vohibasia National Park, located 90 km west of
Ranohira (an easy walk). After this visit we will continue our journey on the main RN-7 road, where we can see the Baobabs Savannah typical of the Malagasy west and which attracts so much attention. There are 9 species of baobabs in the world, 7 of them are in Madagascar and 6 are endemic to the island. Adansonia Grandidieri, is the most abundant species of baobabs in the west of the country. Arrival at Tuléar at lunchtime. Later we will move to the beaches of Ifaty-Mangily, whose coral reef has been declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Rest of the free day. Accommodation at the Nautilus hotel.
DAY 14. IFATY-MANGILY BEACHES (B / L).
After almost two weeks of travel today we will have a well-deserved rest, dedicating the whole day to enjoy the Malagasy beach and in which we will also approach a fishing village of the Vezo ethnic group to contemplate their daily life. Accommodation at the Nautilus hotel.
DAY 15. IFATY-MANGILY – ARBORETUM D´ANTSOKAY – TULÉAR or TOLIARA (B / L).
After breakfast, we will head to the outskirts of Tuléar in the morning to visit the wonderful Arboretum d’Antsokay botanical garden. After the visit, we will go back to Tuléar, the capital of the Atsimo-Andrefana region and the province of Toliara with about 165,000 inhabitants. After lunch at a local restaurant, we will take a walking tour of the city and visit the shell market located in a small park in front of the Mozambique Canal. Night in Tuléar. Accommodation at the Moringa hotel.
DAY 16. TULÉAR – FLIGHT TO ANTANANARIVO (B / L).
After breakfast, transfer to the Tuléar airport to catch the flight that will take us back to Antananarivo. Transfer to accommodation at the Sakamanga hotel.
DAY 17. VISIT TO THE MALGACHE HISTORICAL CAPITAL / TRANSFER TO THE AIRPORT (B / L).
After breakfast we will visit the interesting and spectacular Royal Citadel of Ambohimanga or the Royal Palace of Rova. The hilltop area is located about 24 km east of the capital Antananarivo, and is the most important and best preserved pre-colonial monument in the former Kingdom of Madagascar. It is a place of historical and religious significance for the culture of the Malagasy people. Cerro Real de Ambohimanga was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. After the visit we will return to Antananarivo for lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon we will visit the center of the capital and we will go to the magnificent and colorful local market of Analakely, where you can find all kinds of products from the country, especially food, spices and also some souvenirs.
DAY 18. INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT
At dawn we will take an international flight. Overnight on board.
End of our services.
- 16 nights hotel accommodation
- 1 night accommodation in a local house
- Diet according to program
- Local English-speaking X-plore guide & drivers
- Private transportation with mini bus vehicle with A / C
- Rangers or local guides (mandatory) in nature reserves
- Entrance fees to National Parks, Nature Reserves and other places to visit during the guided tour
- Domestic flight Tuléar – Antananarivo
- Local tourist taxes
- Travel insurance with cancellation, medical coverage and outdoor activities
- International flights
- Visa: http://www.evisamada.gov.mg
- Lunch and dinner (except those specified in the “Includes” section)
- Single room supplement (consult)
- Tips to local guides and personal expenses
- Anything not specified in the “INCLUDED” section.
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