17 days Madagascar Expedition group tour departure 2023 (especially for senior traveler)

2023 Group Departure
From$4,846
2023 Group Departure
From$4,846
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SUMMARY

This tour is ideal especially for senior travelers

DEPARTURE DATE
1ST Group: JULY 8th,2023
2nd Group: SEPTEMBER 2nd,2023
3rd Group: SEPTEMBER 16th,2023

DURATION : 17 days
AREA          :
Southern, Western and Eastern of Madagascar
TRIP            : Group size per departure ( minimum 4 pax – maximum 12 )
PLACES TO VISIT : Antananarivo – Tulear – Isalo – Ranomafana – Antsirabe – Miandrivazo – Kirindy – Andasibe – Ankanin’ny Nofy – Tamatave – Sainte Marie (Nosy Borra)
ACCOMODATION TYPE :
Comfort (Full Board)
TRANSPORT TYPE: BUS/ Regular Flight                     BACK TO ANTANANARIVO: Regular Flight
ASSISTANCE: Guide / Local Guide (With English speaking)
TOUR AVAILABILITY: ALL OVER THE YEAR

(this tour is also available as a private tour departure, please feel free to reach out for more information)

17 days Madagascar Expedition group tour departure 2023 (especially for senior traveler)

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DAY 1: ARRIVAL TIME

Arrival in Ivato International Airport. Reception by HT Agency Tours, Meet and greet. Once you have passed customs formalities, it is to the Guide to smooth through the rest of the arrivals process – changing money, setting up your phone with the new SIM card, and anything else you need. it will be easier for us to contact each other. Transfer directly to the hotel in town.

Location : Antananarivo
Accommodation : Relais des Plateaux
Option : Full Board

DAY 2: ANTANANARIVO – TULEAR - ISALO

In the morning, after breakfast, transfer directly to the Airport for flight to the south to reach Toliara TR712 TNR TLE 0615 0805. A private bus with Driver will be waiting for you at the Toliara Airport.  Drive directly to the Reserve of Reniala, a dry forest typical of the dry south, meeting the diversity of fauna and flora of the region, including the varieties of Baobab (Baobab Forest). Then, continue to the fisherman village called Ifaty. Ifaty brings together the small Malagasy seaside villages along the bay of Ranobe in the South-west region. The village of Ifaty is also a fishing village composed mainly of Vezo and Masikoro, the visit consists on a village immersion. After lunch, back to the road for the North to reach the city of Ranohira, to meet Isalo National Park with one stop for a little detour at the arboretum of Antsokay for discovering the endemic and threatened plants of the South Area. After the visit, Continue up to Isalo. During the journey, you could often stop to enjoy the various changes of the mountain and landscape, for picture or for some breaks if necessary. Toward in the afternoon, arrive in Isalo.

Location : Isalo
Accommmodation : Relais de la Reine
Option : Full Board

DAY 3: ISALO

We’ll have the full day to enjoy the delights of Isalo on foot. We’ll start with a short trek to a beautiful natural swimming pool and then continue deeper into the canyon. Isalo is known for its strange geological formations, eroded by the rain and the wind, which offer some of the most spectacular scenery of the country. This is also a place where the Bara tribes used to bury their dead. If we are lucky, we may see lemurs during our walk today. A picnic lunch is organized in the park. In the middle of the afternoon, back to the hotel for preparing a short visit to the famous Window of Isalo to appreciate a breathtaking and spectacular scene of the color of the sun (Sunset). Drive back to the hotel after.

Location : Isalo
Accommodation : Relais de la Reine
Option : Full Board

 

DAY 4: ISALO - AMBALAVAO

Plateau before coming to Anja, a community run park started by local villagers, where part of the income pays the teachers of the local school. Here we’ll walk for a couple of hours into the nearby forest to see almost guaranteed up-close sightings of large families of ring-tailed lemurs. From here we’ll continue to Ambalavao, which houses the fascinating Anteimoro paper factory and the Silk factory. Tonight we’ll stay in the middle of the Betsileo highlands.

Location : Ambalavao
Accommodation : Betsileo Country Lodge
Option : Full Board

DAY 5: AMBALAVAO – FIANARANTSOA - RANOMAFANA

Ambalavao has its market day on Wednesdays and hosts the second largest Zebu market in Madagascar where cattle sellers have been known to walk from Tulear (400km’s away) to attend, we will get to experience the spectacle of market day before we leave for Fianarantsoa for a city tour. Then, we head to Ranomafana, which lies in tropical rain forest typical of Madagascar’s east coast. Here, rather than rice fields or zebu herdsmen, we’re more likely to see small villages selling bananas or charcoal. There may be time this evening to wander the friendly streets of the small village which sits near the entrance. Here we’ll take a short night walk outside the park, hoping to encounter some of the endemic chameleons, tree frogs mouse lemurs that make Ranomafana their home.

Location : Ranomafana
Accommodation : Thermal
Option : Full Board

DAY 6: RANOMAFANA – AMBOSITRA – ANTSIRABE

We’ll have the morning to explore some of the best trails inside the National Park. With our specialist guide we’ll enter the rainforest in the hope of seeing, amongst others, the golden bamboo lemur which was only discovered in 1986. However in addition to lemurs, the park is also rich in birdlife, reptiles, butterflies, lichens, and orchids. The tracks are steep and can be very slippery, but we do not plan to cover a huge distance on foot as the emphasis is very much on experiencing the diversity of the rainforest. Then, we’ll head north towards Ambositra for a city tour to discover the typical Malagasy craft of the region : the marquetry, weaving, and especially wood carving. Then, continue to the city in the highlands of Madagascar, capital of the Vakinankaratra region. Arrive in Antsirabe late the afternoon.

Location : Antsirabe
Accommodation : Royal Palace
Option : Full Board

DAY 7: ANTSIRABE - MIANDRIVAZO

Antsirabe is considered Madagascar’s most elegant city as well as being home to more pousse-pousses (local-style rickshaws) than anywhere else in the country. We will start the day by city tour on a Rickshaw, we will pass by the Independence Avenue, then to the Hotel des termes. Then we’ll have the morning to discover some of the craft skills mainly to the Horn Factory for which this temperate city is well known before heading west towards Miandrivazo, some 4-5 hours away and located in the savannah of the lowlands as opposed to the green of the highlands.

Location : Miandrivazo
Accommodation : Princesse Tsiribihina
Option : Full Board

DAY 8: MIANDRIVAZO - KIRINDY

We wake up and drive to Morondava and have lunch. Afterwards, we head to the famous ‘Avenue of the Baobabs’ in time for one of Madagascar’s most iconic sunsets and then we drive to Kirindy Forest Reserve. After checking in to our accommodation we’ll head out for a night time nature walk in the hope of seeing the fossa and the giant jumping rat! 

Location : Kirindy
Accommodation : Relais du Kirindy
Option : Full Board

 

DAY 9: KIRINDY – MORONDAVA - ANTANANARIVO

We start with a short hiking in Kirindy Forest Reserve  before we get to the airport of Morondava to take our flight to Tana. After breakfast, around 7:30 AM, beginning of the Guided day visits at Kirindy reserve. Kirindy Reserve is home to seven species of lemur. The most common are the common brown lemurs and the Verreaux’s sifakas. These long-legged, seven-pound lemurs, white with dark patches, leap among tree trunks high in the canopy, propelled by their powerful hind legs but continually maintaining an upright posture. 40 bird, 50 reptile and 15 amphibian species are also found in this magnificent forest. After the visit, drive back to Morondava to reach the your flight departure TR703 MOQ TNR 1300 1405 for Antananarivo.

Location : Antananarivo
Accommodation : Relais du Plateaux
Option : Full Board

DAY 10: ANTANANARIVO - ANDASIBE

This morning we take the National Road N2 to Andasibe, a journey of approximately 5-6 hours (dependent upon Tana traffic!). This drive brings us to the humid part of the country through the green landscapes of the east, with primary forest and lakes. En route we’ll stop in Mandraka to visit the private reserve of ‘Peyrieras’ where we can see all different kinds of chameleons, snakes, lemurs and butterflies. We will then continue on to Andasibe National Park, arriving late in the afternoon where we’ll check-in to our hotel for the night. Around 6:30PM, you end this day with a guided night visits which will take 1 hour and half, and then drive back to the hotel.

Location : Andasibe
Accommodation :  Mantadia Logde
Option : Full Board

DAY 11: ANDASIBE – MANAMBATO - PANGALANE

After breakfast we will enter Andasibe National Park and hike for around 3 – 4 hours. The National Park comprises a huge tropical rain forest in the east boasting of nine species of lemurs. The highlight is the ‘Indri Indri’ which are the largest lemurs of Madagascar. This 810 ha reserve is home to other unique flora and fauna and contains a wide variety of orchids, a verdant canopy, endemic animals such as chameleons, tenrecs, and many varieties of birds. After the hike we will take a stroll through Andasibe village, a typical Betsimisaraka (The-Many-inseparable) village, home to Madagascar’s second largest ethnic group, who cultivate rice and vegetables. This will give us an opportunity to experience their lifestyle and culture. Then we drive to Manambato and from there we will take our boat to our lodge.

Location : Pangalane
Accommodation : Palmarium Beach
Option : Full Board

DAY 12: PANGALANES

This day will be devoted to Panagalanes, which we will explore by boat to enjoy the lush vegetation, the local villages and find out how local people live here. In the afternoon a guided night walk is organized to discover the most famous nocturnal lemur of Madagascar called aye aye.  

Location : Pangalanes
Accommodation : Palmarium Beach
Option : Full Board

DAY 13: PANGALANES - TOAMASINA

This day is dedicated to transfer you to Tamatave by following the Pangalane Chanel and to Mahambo by Car. So after breakfast, embarkation on a motor boat. On this boulevard, we will cross barges, “bush-boats” (taxis-bush fluvial), canoes …, local transport … Spontaneous greetings between sailors … The shouts of joy of the children on the banks accompany us all along our navigation. We are spectators of unusual and unforgettable scenes of life.

Location : Toamasina
Accommodation : Calypso
Option : Full Board

DAY 14: TOAMASINA – SAINT MARIE

After early breakfast at 6am you will travel to Mahambo to take El Condor ferry to Sainte Marie Island, travel time 2:30 hours. It’s possible to see whales around these waters. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel and relax.

Location : Sainte Marie
Accommodation : Libertalia
Option : Full Board

DAY 15: SAINT MARIE

Ile Ste Marie, or Nosy Boraha, is a narrow granitic island 57 km long 8 km off the east coast of Madagascar. This tropical paradise with endless palm fringed beaches and bays surrounded by coral reefs. The island boasts lush vegetation which many species are endemic to the island. The landscapes are diverse: on the South the small Ile aux Nattes with a magnificent lagoon, on the East the mangroves, on the North the natural swimming pools, the forests on the centre and most of the activity to the West. The island lush vegetation with orchids, clove trees, cinnamon, vanilla, and many others. This is a full day excursion to discover the most beautiful landscapes of Saint Marie during the day. You’ll across small villages, forest, wild beaches, mangroves, rice fields and so much more. You’ll learn everything about vanilla, cinnamon, clove and orchids and the Malagasy way of life in the island.

Location : Sainte Maria
Accommodation : Libertalia
Option : Full Board

DAY 16: SAINT MARIE - TANA

Free time at leisure and transfer to airport

TR531 SMS TNR 1635 1735

Location : Antananarivo
Accommodation : Relais des Plateaux
Option : Full Board

DAY 17: ANTANANARIVO

After breakfast, we explore Madagascar’s capital, known simply as “Tana“. We drive to the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, consisting of a royal city and an ensemble of sacred places. The Queen’s Palace here is a symbol of the Merina Kingdom, the dynasty that made Madagascar a modern state. This is a place of pilgrimage and  the burial ground for its sovereigns since 1817. Sitting atop the highest hill in Antananarivo, it offers spectacular views of the surroundings. We then drive down to Independence Avenue and Anosy Lake. Here we get a good picture of the diverse communities that come together from all over the island in the capital. Next to the queen’s palace, you will have a panoramic view of Antananarivo, followed by a shopping and purchase of some souvenirs in the artisanal market of the Digue. And then, transfer to the airport for the external flight.

INCLUSIONS
EXCLUSIONS
NOTES
HIGHLIGHTS
TRIP INFORMATONS
SAFETY COVID19

Tourists Taxe
All domestic tickets flight (TNR TLE , MOQ TNR, SMS TNR)
All accommodations mentioned above
Transfer from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the airport
Bus with Air Conditional
Driver
Guide (with English speaking)
Visits and excursions (following the itinerary)
Guides + entrance fees included for all national parks/reserves
Administrative management package
Bottles of water (1 per day/per person)
Breakfasts, Lunches and Dinners (Full Board)
All Motor boat transportations (In the Pangalane Chanel and El Condor)
Picnic lunch in Isalo NP

  • International tickets flight
  • Insurance
  • Drinks
  • Your guide will manage all programs’ timing
  • Domestic flights: TNR – TLE , MOQ – TNR and SMS – TNR
  • During the trip, the following dietary requirement(s) are served: Regular (typically includes meat, fish, milk, sea food, …). If you have special dietary requirements it’s a good idea to communicate it to us
  • Please note that the feasibility of the tour will depend on the availability of the proposed or similar accommodations
  • During the trip we will pass through difficult and bumpy road, we would like to set your expectations, so if you have any motion sickness, please let us know.
  • We do not take responsibility for any airline schedule changes that may occur after quoting or booking. We will do everything we can to alleviate any disruption of your itinerary or holiday but cannot be held responsible for any loss of funds, bookings, missed connections or other prebooked/paid services.

This tour will take you from Antananarivo to Isalo, Ranomafana, Kirindy, Andasibe:

  • Isalo National Park

Isalo is located in the south of Madagascar in Ranohira. The park extends over an area of 81,54 hectares. Isalo is home to a population dominated by the Bara ethnic group mixed with communities of various origins who settled there because of the exploitation of sapphire in the surrounding area of Ilakaka. The territory is also a historically rich archaeological site, as it retains the continental plate connecting Madagascar with Africa, two million years ago. A true tourist attraction for its geomorphological singularities, at the same time varied and unique in the world, it is the most visited site on the island. The park is of rock structure that is globally shaped by the erosion of reddish mountainous sandstones dating back to the Jurassic era of 200 million years ago, extending for nearly 100 kilometers in the north-south direction. Its varied sculptural form is a chain of deep canyons, peaks up to 200 meters high, masses of granite and rock blocks of unstable appearance. There are currently 82 species of birds, 33 reptiles, 15 amphibians, and 14 mammals including seven primates. Among these, there are the maki, sifaka, and varika. As far as tourists are concerned, the main attractions are the pedestrian routes which, from the outset, are reminiscent of a decorative façade of the Far West.

  • Ranomafana National Park

The Ranomafana National Park is located in the southeast of Madagascar straddling the regions of Upper Matsiatra and Vatovavy Fitovinany. It is 412 km south-east of Antananarivo, 65 km north-east of Fianarantsoa and 139 km west of the town of Mananjary. Terrestrial National Park classified World Heritage Site with its dense low-lying humid forest (600-800m), its dense humid forest of medium altitude (800-1400m), its bamboo forest, its marshland where plant and animal species such as Pandanus, Varecia variegata variegate, Crayfish, Limnogale Mergulus choose as habitat. 6 species of fish, 74 species of insects, 90 species of butterfly including 4 rare species, 350 species of spiders, 6 endemic species of crustaceans and a subspecies of crayfish of the group of Astacoides. 58 species of reptiles, 98 species of amphibians, 115 of the 257 species of birds of Madagascar the majority of which is endemic. 12 species of lemurs, 7 species of carnivorous mammals and 20 species of insectivores, 07 species of bats including Myzopoda aurita, a monogenous that exists only in Madagascar. There are also 13 species of rodents. The Ranomafana forest is of the rainforest type whose hard core considered as primary forest is distant from the road axis. There are Apocynaceae, Euphorbiaceae and Rubiaceae, Dypsis sp and Phloga sp of the family Palmae, Asplenium nidus, orchids of the genera Bulbophyllum and Eulophiella. Large areas of secondary forest are occupied by Psydium cattleyanum of the family Myrtaceae. Tropical hardwoods such as rosewood or Dalbergia sp, maka or Weinmania sp and varongy or Mespilodaphne tapack are also visible. A profusion of rare plants is also identified: ferns, bamboos and hundreds of orchids. Chinese guava occupies more and more spaces and is dispersed by lemurs and frugivorous birds.

  • Kirindy National Park

The Kirindy National Park is located in the Menabe region, Kingdom of Sakalava located about 70 km south of Morondava on the edge of the Mozambique Channel. Kirindy amongs the 20 new UNESCO Biosphere Reserves! A total of 669 representing 120 countries. Terrestrial National Park and RAMSAR Site and BIOSPHERE RESERVE. It is the transition between the biodiversity of the West and the South: dense dry forest that occupies 70% of the park, thorny thicket Didiereaceae and Euphorbiaceae, brackish coastline lake, habitat of many species, birds, reptiles, lemurs. Endemicity of biodiversity: 97%.

  • Andasibe National Park

Andasibe National Park is a part of Toamasina. It is 1.5 kilometers from Andasibe, 140 kilometers from Antananarivo, and 200 kilometers from Tamatave. The surface of the area is 16,310 hectares (Analamazaotra Special Reserve is 810 hectares while Mantandia National Park is 15,500 hectares). The climate is very humid, the average annual temperature is 18 degrees Celsius, and the average annual rainfall is 1,700 millimeters spread over 210 hectares. The park consists of 80% primary forests and 13% secondary forests, subject to the impact of human activity. The special reserve is dedicated to the protection of the largest Malagasy lemur, the indri. An orchid park is also open to the public. There are three campsites and a hotel in the park. When you travel in Madagascar and if you are fans of nature, do not miss to visit this park.

  • Ankanin’ny Nofy

The Palmarium reserve place called Ankanin’ny Nofy (The dream nest) located on the east coast of Madagascar, located on 50 ha at the edge of Lake Ampitabe and the Indian Ocean on the Pangalanes Canal. Accessible only by boat at 2h30 from Tamatave at the Kilometric point 60PK. About 12 species of lemurs evolving in full freedom in the reserve, Indri, Sifaka, Coronatus, Varécia, variegata, Sifaka. A rare and endemic terrestrial and arboreal fauna as well as a magnificent flora (orchids, carnivorous plants, ebony, mahogany, traveller’s trees) … the most beautiful palm trees specific to Madagascar, including the rarest varieties (Dypsis, Ravenea, Orania, but also Voanioala and Lemurophoenix).

  • Climate

The climate is tropical, but cooler in the highlands (dropping as low as 5°C at night in July/August in Antananarivo and Andasibe). The dry season is March to October continuing into November in most areas. The east coast is best March-May and September-November, January-March is cyclone season. The south west area is hot, dry and semi-arid. March-April is the best time for flowers and reptiles. November (spring) is generally the best time for wildlife and birds, but lemurs can be viewed all year round. Seasonal weather patterns can be unpredictable.

  • Altutude
    – Antananarivo : 1300m
    – Andasibe : 964m
    – Morondava : 22m maximum and an average altitude above sea level of 6m
    – Kirindy : 100m
    – Bekopaka : 334m
    – Antsirabe : 1500m
    – Ranomafana : 876m
    – Isalo : Varies from 800m to 1200m
    – Tulear : 8m
    – Ankanin’ny Nofy : 9m
    – Toamasina : 11m
    – Sainte Marie : 5m
  • Equipment

HT Agency Tours offers torches for nocturnal wildlife walks, a water bottle. Please bring camera film (and spare batteries), binoculars and a beach towel and swimwear. Rain proof pants are very handy for walks in the rainforest. Walking poles maybe useful in Ranomafana NP and Andasibe NP. Lightweight walking bootshoes and trainers is recommended. Clothing should be lightweight, but a warm sweater or jacket is advisable as nights at altitude and under desert conditions can be very cold, even in summer and especially in July to September. Rainwear is highly recommended on all tours for the occasional shower. Warmer layers will be required during the winter months.

  • Visa and Passport

Madagascar: An entry visa is required by USA citizens and can be obtained on arrival. The visa is chargeable at 40USD and issued for 30 days. The visa fee is payable in USD or Euro and we advise to take small denominations and a little extra as the USD amount is calculated daily by the applicable rate of exchange. Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate. For a single-entry tourist visa, you can apply via the e-visa website: https://evisamada.gov.mg/en/ You will need to print a copy of your evisa approval letter and present this with your passport at immigration upon your arrival. The approval letter will take a minimum of 3 days to be processed so we strongly advise for you to apply within plenty of time (maximum of 6 months prior to your arrival) before your departure. You will be permitted to stay within Madagascar for a maximum of up to 90 days and we strongly recommend for you to read the FAQ section on the e-visa website before applying.

  • Insurance

It is a condition of booking with HT Agency Tours that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude, please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip.

  • Vaccinations

Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A plus, Polio and diptheria. Please note that all travellers aged over 9 months old that have travelled from or have transit via a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission, will need to present a Yellow Fever certificate at immigration/borders in Madagascar for inspection. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria. Following the advice given by the Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, we strongly recommend the wearing long sleeved shirts and the liberal application of insect repellent as a precautionary measure to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. These precautions should be taken at all times as the mosquitoes are also active during daylight hours. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure.

  • Food and drink

The costs of meals may vary according to the location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given below are just an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the center of a major city may charge more:

  • Lunch price: 10 USD
  • Dinner price: 17 USD
  • Beer price: 2 USD
  • Watter price: 1 USD

 

  • For safe operation

 

  • Given the fluid nature of local COVID-19 protocols, our itineraries are regularly reviewed and will be modified based on local requirements to ensure a safe experience. If a major change is necessary, we will let you know before departure.
  • Our guide will use their judgment during the trip to modify the itinerary if physical distancing cannot be achieved
  • Our guide will receive in-depth training on COVID-19 protocols and how to conduct our journeys in the “new normal”.
  • Our guide will brief you upon arrival on the use of face masks and physical distancing during the trip, based on local government guidelines.
  • Only restaurants with strict protocols that comply with local food hygiene and physical distancing requirements will be used. We will encourage outdoor dining areas where possible.
  • All of our staff and third party suppliers will be continually informed of new health and safety protocols.

 

  • Transportation Protocols

 

  • Our drivers will follow local protocols on the use of face masks and physical distancing required.
  • Our drivers will provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer and tissues in the vehicle and encourage customers to wash their hands when getting into the vehicle.
  • All vehicles will be disinfected (seats, door handles, etc.) regularly throughout the day.

 

  • Protocols for Hotels

 

  • We will only offer hotels that have specific COVID-19 protocols in place and comply with local government guidelines.
  • We will ensure that these measures include; improved room cleaning, ventilation, physical distancing, regular cleaning and disinfection of high frequency touch points in public areas, food safety, staff retraining and minimization of contact within properties

 

  • If You Get Sick

 

  • All of our leaders are trained to help any guest who becomes ill while traveling.
  • We also have an “action plan” in case of suspected COVID-19 cases within the group and are ready to seek medical support at any time.
  • Our guides are supported by our 24/7 based operations team and local partners across the country

 

  • Our recommendations

 

  • We recommend you to bring your own face masks (at least 2 reusable) and an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • We recommend you to check with the airline for their individual COVID-19 requirements prior to departure.
  • We recommend you to check your own government travel advice and meet entry requirements including, but not limited to, COVID-19 testing, pre-arrival health questionnaires, and tracking and traceability in the country, etc