A new program for a group tour, guided by Klaus Heimer (60), who has been living in the country for more than 20 years as photographer and journalist and also works for the Madagascar guidebook of the Reise-Knowhow serie in german language (it came out in 2009, 2012, May 2015 and 2019).
This tour of around 3000 km in an internationally mixed group leads first the east of the country, along the Pangalanes canal, through Tamatave and Foulpointe and then from Soanierana-Ivongo by boat to the beautiful island of Sainte Marie (if the sea is not too rough). Then back to Tana by airplane, and to the volcanic area around Ampefy and Analavory. After that via Faratsiho and Sambaina to the National road No. 7 until Antsirabe. From there, drive through the highlands to Fianarantsoa, and from there by train ride with the “train of life” or Jungle Express or the Draisine (if its in working condition) the 163 km to Manakara at the southern east coast. As the last highlights, visit of the Ranomafana NP. This tour includes the visit of two Nationalparks and several small reserves. Meet the local population, enjoy the knowledge of your English and German speaking guide, and many opportunities to take great pictures. You’ll also experience some culinary highlights. As a bonus, you can bring a USB stick with you and you’ll get a copy of all pictures which the guide Klaus Heimer will take, he’ll also take pictures of the participants.
- April 25. to May 12. (Arrival the latest on April 26th 05AM, departure the earliest May 11th at 8PM)
- May 16. to June 02. (Arrival the latest on May 17th 05AM, departure the earliest June 1st at 8PM)
- June 06. to 23. (Arrival the latest on June 07th 05AM, departure the earliest June 22nd at 8PM)
- September 05. to 22. (Arrival the latest on Sept. 06th 05AM, departure the earliest Sept 21st at 8PM)
- October 24. to Nov. 10. (Arrival the latest on Oct. 25th 05AM, departure the earliest Nov. 9th at 8PM)
- November 21. to Dec. 08. (Arrival the latest on Nov. 22nd 05AM, departure the earliest Dec. 07th at 8PM)
Other dates upon request, but then with another guide than Klaus Heimer
Subject to modifications of the flights
Depending on the chosen airline, some additional nights in Tana will be necessary, you’ll find the tariff per supplementary night here below.
1st day Thursday: ANTANANARIVO
Depending on flight arrival, meet and greet at the international airport of Antananarivo Ivato (short form for Antananarivo is “Tana”) and transfer to the hotel Belvedere in the city center or similar, overnight there.
Due to the events on some airports in the world, the safety regulations have been tightened, and only people wih a valid flight ticket have access to the airport now. Don’t let your luggage out of hand. The driver will wait for you with a sign just outside of the arrival hall.
2nd day Friday: ANTANANARIVO – ANDASIBE (142 km, about 3,5 hours driving time, on a good tared road)
Drive on the National Road No. 2 (RN 2) around 142 km to the well-known National Park Andasibe (Analamazaotra – Mantadia). On the way, stop at the reptiles park in Marozevo where we can see chameleons and other animals close up. Check-in at the hotel Andasibe Forest Lodge. Possibility to do a nocturnal visit along the road outside of the park with a local nature guide, where with the help of flashlights you can see nocturnal lemurs (mostly Goodman mouse lemurs with around 50 grams, wooly lemurs and fat tail lemurs), sleeping chameleons, tree frogs, etc.. We’ll walk maximum one hour along the flat road. Dinner possible at Mary’s guesthouse. Overnight at the Andasibe Forest lodge, surrounded by nature.
3rd day Saturday: ANDASIBE – MANAMBATO – AKANIN’NY NOFY (Akanin’ny Nofy means „Nest of dreams“, 125 km on good road, then 7 km on dirt track, then some 1 to 1,5 hours on the boat on the canal)
The around three hour long early morning walk (first a little ascent, then mostly flat) leads with a local park guide through the evergreen secondary forest of the Park Analamazaotra, on the trail Indri 2. Here we can see with some luck two of the 63 families living in this area of the biggest lemur, the Indri, with its distinctive call. You can also see many birds, some reptiles (if its not too cold) and other species of lemurs (Diadem Sifakas, Brown lemurs, Bamboo lemurs etc.). Then drive on the RN2 to Brickaville, we’ll then shortly after the big railway bridge turn right and drive on a dirt track to Manambato which is situated on the shore of lake Rasoabe. Then drive by boat along the Pangalanes canal to Akanin’ny Nofy at lake Ampitabe, where we’ll stay in the Palmarium hotel with an attached lemurs park or at the annex “Palmarium beach”. Overnight with breakfast at the Palmarium hotel or annex , electricity is produced by a generator and switched off at night. We’ll only take light luggage with us if possible for this two days.
4th day Sunday: AKANIN’NY NOFY
In the morning, walk of several hours in the Palmarium park to spot several species of lemurs, who’ll watch us attentively, we’ll see some from very close up. When night falls, boat excursion to a place where you can spot the very rare and nocturnal Aye Aye lemur (Daubentonia madagascariensis) with the long middle finger, seven of them live on this well guarded island in the canal. Overnight with breakfast again at the Palmarium hotel or at the annex.
5th day Monday: AKANIN’NY NOFY – TAMATAVE – FOULPOINTE (around 2,5 hours by boat, then some 60 km on the road with some potholes to Foulpointe)
60 km long Motorboat transfer to Tamatave, the biggest harbour town of Madagascar, then continue after lunch by bus to Foulpointe, a seaside resort, which is also popular among the Malagasy on weekends. We’ll discover the old Fort with its guide Fidel, enjoy the sea and its food, walk along the beach or relax. Dinner possible at the “Friendly Fisherman” restaurant. Overnight at the Manda Beach Hotel or similar.
6th day Tuesday: FOULPOINTE – SOANIERANA-IVONGO – SAINTE MARIE (around 100 km on the road with potholes, then some 1,5 to 2 hours on the ferry boat to the former pirate island)
Early breakfast at 05h30 AM, then at 6 AM departure to Soanierana-Ivongo, then do the registration formalities there and then cross the sea with the “Gasikara Be” ferry to the beautiful island of Sainte Marie. Overnight at the bungalow hotel Lakana or similar on the beach between the airport and the city of Ambodifotatra, on half board base.
If the sea should be too rough and the boat transfer forbidden, we’ll change the program spontaneously, and stay another night in Foulpointe.
7th day Wednesday: SAINTE MARIE
Free day on Sainte Marie. We can explore the south of the island with the Ile aux Nattes or explore the North or east by walking or bicycle, or do water sports or relax on the beach. The pirates cemetery is also interesting to see at low tide (communal tax 2’000 Ar/person), it can now be reached easily and without guide. Between July and September, a whalewatching excursion can be booked through the hotel. Enjoy the nice sunset. Overnight again at the Hotel Lakana or similar.
If due to the rough sea, the ferry transfer to Sainte Marie wasn’t possible, we’ll start the drive back, and will drive until Andasibe or Moramanga (depending on hotel availability), overnight there and continue to Tana next day.
8th day Thursday: SAINTE MARIE – ANTANANARIVO (domestic flight)
Depending on flight schedule, transfer to the airport and flight to Tana, if there’s no last minute change with Air Madagascar. Rest of the day free. Overnight at the Belvedere Hotel or similar.
If the Sainte Marie island visit wasn’t possible due to weather conditions, we’ll continue the drive back to Tana
9th day Friday: ANTANANARIVO – AMPEFY (about 120 km, max. 3,5 hours driving time, with a lot of stopps)
Breakfast at around 07.30, then slow drive on the National Road No. 1 towards the “wild west” with many opportunities for taking nice pictures. Stop after around 21 km at the lemurs park where 9 species of lemurs can jump around freely on 5 hectares. A short stop later in the small village Ambohikely, you can see how many families manufacture from used beer cans and other recycled materials miniature vehicles which will be exported worldwide. Continuation via Miarinarivo, where we’ll visit residential home for pupils (only possible during school season), run by a German/Malagasy association, and have lunch there. Continue and arrive then to Ampefy at the lake Itasy (rich in fish). In the region are grown tomato, pineapple, papaya and avocado. Overnight with breakfast at the Hotel Kintana Fleuron or similar.
10th day Saturday: AMPEFY(max. 100 km driving, some on dusty tracks)
Visit of the surroundings, waterfall of the Lily river, geysirs of Analavory, and the view point on the Ilot de la Vierge. With a little bit of luck, we’ll find near the hotel a friendly extended family, who’s producing in a rustic way popcorn with a transformed gas bottle. Lunch and dinner possible at Chez Jacky. Second night at the Kintana Fleuron or similar.
11th day Sunday: AMPEFY – FARATSIHO – ANTSIRABE (155 km, around 5 hours drive)
Drive through one of the coldest areas of Madagascar on a newly tared road via Soavinandriana to Faratsiho, then continue on a dirt track (the works to make it a good tared road have started in June 2018) to Sambaina. Here, you’ll join the National road no. 7 and continue to Antsirabe, which is also known for its Rickshaws and gemstones. Visit the crater lake Andraikiba and if time permitting, also a workshop where they make miniature bycicles out of used beer cans or similar. Possible visit of another workshop where they make nice items out of the horn of the Zebu cattle. Check in at the Flower Palace hotel or similar.. Overnight at the hotel with breakfast.
12th day Monday: ANTSIRABE – AMBOSITRA – FIANARANTSOA (around 240 km (some 6 hours driving time) on the RN7 (national road No. 7))
Drive through beautiful landscape via the woodcarving town of Ambositra to Fianarantsoa, the ” place where one learns the good “. From the highest point of this “city of a 1001 churches”, we’ll have a nice view towards Ambalavao. In the shop of the most known Malagasy photographer Perrot Men, we’ll get a nice view into his works. We’ll then get the tickets for next day’s train ride. Overnight at the Villa Sylvestre or La Rizière (which is a tourism school training hotel and restaurant) or similar.
13th day Tuesday: FIANARANTSOA – MANAKARA (163 km, 8 – 17 hours of driving time with the jungle –Express, in rare cases, it even takes longer)
About 7 A.M. trip with the “jungle express train” to Manakara, over 67 bridges and through 48 tunnels, and the tropical forest to Manakara on the east coast. In every station the villagers offer fresh fruits (bananas, tangerines, manioc), fish and pastries for sale. The train trip lasts in the best case 8 hours, but it mostly takes longer, arrival sometimes is only after midnight. Shortly before arriving in Manakara, we’ll cross the airport landing strip, this exists only in three cities in the world. In Manakara, a city with many rikshaws, transfer to the hotel Partenay Club at the sea, or similar. Since the train often has massive delays, we’ll take from 4 to 8 participants the draisine (if available and working), a track motor car, instead of the train, and this way, we can also have photo stops along the way .
If the train should be out of order or departing with a big delay, we’ll visit the historical upper city of Fianarantsoa instead. We’ll then drive to Ambalavao and spend the night there at the Bougainvillées Hotel or similar.
14th day Wednesday: MANAKARA – RANOMAFANA (ca. 200 km)
Morning free in Manakara. We can go to see the fishermen who come back from the catch, or do a little dugout tour on the Pangalanes canal. Before lunchtime, we’ll drive to Ranomafana, along ravinala palm trees, spice plantations etc. Ranomafana has thanks to the thermal sources even a swimming pool. Night walk along the road to spot the mousemaki, chameleons, frogs etc. Overnight at the Lodge Chez Gaspard with breakfast.
If the train should be out of order or departing with a big delay, we’ll visit the Anja reserve 12 km south of Ambalavao, where we’ll have good chances to see some families of Katta lemurs. After that drive to Ranomafana and overnight.
15th day Thursday: RANOMAFANA – SAHAMBAVY (some 65 km)
Morning visit of the approximately 41.000 hectares large Nationalpark Ranomafana which is situated at the Namorona river, with its fauna and flora, such as the golden bamboo lemurs discovered only in 1986 by the german researcher Bernhard Meier, the brown lemurs and the Sifaka. This walk is a bit tiresome, as it goes up and down and sometimes through the forest, it can also be a bit slippery at times. It requires a good fitness level and condition from the participants. Early in the afternoon, we’ll drive to Fianarantsoa, from where we’ll make a ride on the historical Micheline train car with the air filled rubber tires (if it’s working) to the lake of Sahambavy (only if minimum 6 Pax will be on the tour we’ll do this train car ride, if less Pax, we’ll drive from Ranomafana directly by minibus to Sahambavy). If we get there early enough, we can visit the tea plantation if they’re working. Overnight at the Lac hotel on BB base, with its magnificent flower garden, on the shore of the lake.
16th day Friday: SAHAMBAVY – AMBOSITRA (some 150 km)
The people from the Betsileo tribe are good landscape architects. They use the ground even in relatively high altitudes for rice crop growing. Drive the short distance back to the National road no. 7 (RN7), and then north until Ambositra. Visit of a Zafimaniry woodcarving workshop. Overnight at the Grand hotel, the oldest hotel on site, or similar.
17th day Saturday: AMBOSITRA – ANTSIRABE – ANTANANARIVO (260 km, around 5,5 hours)
After breakfast and a little walk through a part of the city, continue the drive on the winding RN7 to Antsirabe. Then continue the drive via Ambatolampy to Tana. Depending on the arrival time in Tana, possibility of a visit of the handicraft market with many handmade items made from leather, stone, natural fibres etc. Possibility to have dinner in a restaurant near the airport, then transfer to the airport for the flight back to Europe with AF, check in around 8 PM. Or to the hotel near the airport and overnight (night not included).
18th Day Sunday: ANTANANARIVO – PARIS
Take off at about 01.00 AM or later, depending on the airline, perhaps an additional night will be necessary
TARIFFS PER PERSON
From 2 People:
In DOUBLE ROOM: 2400 Euro
Single supplement: 425 Euro
Supplementary night in Antananarivo at Belvedere hotel, if necessary due to flight arrival:
Tariff per person incl. tourist levy and breakfast:
In DBL room: 25 €
In SGL room: 44 €
- Transfers airport – hotel – airport
- Accommodation based on bed and breakfast in the above mentioned or similar midrange Hotels, on Sainte Marie on half board
- Parks and reserve fees (Andasibe, Ranomafana)
- Service of local guides in parks and reserves
- Visits which are mentioned in the program
- Sedan car, Minibus or bus rental with a driver and fuel for the road trip
- • Train trip Fianarantsoa to Manakara (if there should be changes of the timetable, tour must be adjusted accordingly), if minimum 6 participants, a drive with the rare Micheline train car is included, if it’s working, and from 4 to 8 participants, we’ll use the draisine instead of the train, if it’s working and available
- Transfers by the hotel owned boat (there may be other passengers on board) Manambato – Akanin’ny Nofy – Tamatave
- Boat transfer with the local ferry Gasikara be from Soanierana-Ivongo to Sainte Marie, there can be other passengers on board, If the sea should be too rough, this will be cancelled and the program changed accordingly
- English and german speaking guide escort from the agency
- Aye Aye nocturnal visit
- A bottle of drinking water per person per day
- Tourist levy and VAT
- International flights and their taxes
- Domestic flight Sainte Marie – Tana, approx.. 250 € incl. taxes
- Visa fees (35 Euro for stay of max. 30 days)
- Other meals and drinks
- Water sports, bicycle rental on Sainte Marie
- Whale whatching excursion on Sainte Marie
- Individual travel insurance, also for luggage, accident, theft and cancellation
Changes in the program reserved, especially if train timetable changes ect
The above mentioned hotels are planned for the tour, but this is subject to modification
Tariffs are subject to changes, especially if heavy fluctuation in exchange rate and/or fuel prices. All tours and tariffs are subject to changes in case of cancellations or overbooking of flights or trains, changes in timetable, bad weather and road conditions, strike, political troubles, problems with fuel supply, tribal and other war, closing of sites, natural disasters such as earthquakes, cyclones, floods and other acts of God. Please also see our general conditions.