Helinirina Raharomanana – Madagascar Tours Guide
Baobab Coast Tour
Baobab Coast Tour - Itinerary
Baobab Coast Tour Circuit : Antananarivo – Antsirabe – Miandrivazo – Tsiribihina River – Tsingy Bemaraha – Morondava – Belo sur mer – Manja – Andavadoaka – Salary – Toliara
- Day 1 – Antananarivo
- Day 2 – Antananarivo – Antsirabe
- Day 3 – Antsirabe – Miandrivazo
- Day 4 to Day 6 – Descent on Tsiribihina (137km long)
- Day 7 – Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park
- Day 8 – Bekopaka – Morondava
- Day 9 – Morondava – Belo sur mer
- Day 10 – Belo sur mer – Manja
- Day 11 – Manja – Andavadoaka
- Day 12 – Andavadoaka – Salary
- Day 13 to Day 14 – Salary
- Day 15 – Salary – Toliara – Antananarivo
- Day 16 – Antananarivo – Country of origin
Baobab Coast Tour - Details of the itinerary
Day 1 - Antananarivo
Welcome, Tongasoa to Madagascar. Once your plane has landed at Ivato international airport, relax. From the moment our driver accompanies you, our motto is to make your trip to the Big Island, a real dream of discoveries whose images, emotions, sensations and colors will enrich your experience.
You have chosen this baobab coast tour but we can always offer you a customized tour, adapted to your desiderata. After your transfer and your installation at the hotel, according to the time available, you will begin your journey by a visit of Antananarivo, a small tour in the city of the thousand, question to take the pulse of the Malagasy capital.
It is thus possible to see :
- The hill of Analamanga where is the Rova of Manjakamiadana, palace of the various Malagasy sovereigns, currently under renovation, following a fire in 1995;
- The Anosy lake guarded by its famous “Golden Angel” and surrounded by its sumptuous jacarandas;
- Independence Avenue, Antananarivo’s city center, where modernity cohabits with a past architecture and a traditional atmosphere, specific to Malagasy neighborhoods and markets.
Day 2 – Antananarivo – Antsirabe
Day 2. We take you to the heart of the Big Island. Our first destination: the city of Antsirabe. Your accompanying driver will drive you to your destination via the RN7. A 170 km drive (3 to 4 hours by car) awaits you, during which you will be able to contemplate the diversity of the landscapes of the Highlands: from rice fields to zebus, passing by roadside markets, traditional villages and spectacular rocky masses.
Your tour guide will first stop you in Behenjy, famous for its green or golden colored rice fields depending on the season, but especially for its traditional foie gras. During this break, you will taste the “Malagasy” style foie gras, a fresh foie gras, of superior quality, with a velvety taste and an incomparable sweetness. What happiness for your taste buds …
Next stop : Ambatolampy, a small town located near the Ankaratra massif, the third highest peak of the island culminating at over 2500 meters. Ambatolampy is characterized by its atypical landscapes, its developed agriculture, its numerous water points and also by the specialization of its population in the foundry trades. It is precisely towards a small workshop of manufacture of aluminium pots that we are going to direct us to better know the inhabitants of this welcoming city.
Then, we will continue our journey by car towards the thermal city of Antsirabe, to spend the night and part of the third day there.
Day 3 – Antsirabe – Miandrivazo
Day 3. Antsirabe, the third largest city of the country located at more than 1400 meters of altitude and where the mornings of southern winter are undoubtedly the coldest of the country but also the warmest. City of rickshaws with bright colors, decorations and names full of humor, city of well-preserved colonial architecture, city of tranquility, city of walks and city of traditions, Antsirabe can only seduce you.
Your tour guide will first take you to the big market of Sabotsy. You will be able to discover the atmosphere of a Malagasy market where voices mingle, where people meet, where the colors of the different products of the earth are bright and where the recovery gives a new life to the objects, in the hands of craftsmen with an overflowing imagination. The purchase of lunch, a picnic to make it simple, will be done at this time.
Next visit: a small workshop of miniatures and horns, where you can admire the work of the craftsmen. Their watchwords: originality and meticulousness. Their source of inspiration: the Big Island, the island of dreams, its fauna, its flora, its daily life. Then, an artisan confectioner will welcome us to make us taste the traditional Malagasy confectionery.
We cannot pass by the city of Antsirabe, without going to the Lake Tritriva, ten kilometers away. Located in a crater of a little less than 200 meters deep, this sacred lake is known for the variations of its colors, sometimes emerald green and sometimes turquoise blue depending on the luminosity. At the edge of the lake, two intertwined trees…according to the legend, two lovers with an impossible union would have thrown themselves into the lake to make their link immortal, then were metamorphosed into branches. The mysteries of Lake Tritriva have fascinated many. A visit not to be missed and which appears on our baobab coast tour.
Beginning of the afternoon: heading for Miandrivazo. You will spend the night in a hotel of the city, before starting the descent on Tsiribihina from day 4 to day 6.
Day 4 to Day 6 – Descent on Tsiribihina (137km long)
Day 4 to day 6 for this baobab coast tour: descent on Tsiribihina, river of 137 kilometers long and of a width which can reach 1 kilometer by place.
You will be transferred by 4×4 to the pier of Makiasampy. During the descent, it will be possible for you to discover the luxuriant fauna and flora of the Big Island. The banks of the Tsiribihina will bring you different types of shows, from scenes of the daily local life, to the magic offered by nature. Villages animated by the games of carefree children, impressive cliffs at the edge of the river, vegetation and many lemurs whose habitat is on the banks of the Tsiribihina.
After the presentation of the crew, we will start the descent in traditional dugout. During the descent, you will observe the cliffs which are projected towards the sky, the villages which skirt the river of which transpire ways of life, practices, histories, behaviors… With the advance of the dugout, we will find ourselves in a landscape where the forest will be more and more present.
The region is rich in food crops. It also cultivates cash crops such as tobacco. Some barges transport dried tobacco leaves. Some have changed vocation and prefer tourists. It will be possible to discover the fauna: lemurs, chameleons, bats. It is more difficult to see crocodiles. If they populated the river before, constantly disturbed by the noise of the engines, they preferred to decamp further. The luxuriant flora is always interesting. The kapok tree can be for you a curiosity.
Stop at the waterfall of Anosiampela: on the program, swimming in this waterfall of a dream color, in the heart of the impressive nature of the Big Island. The villagers come to meet you, sometimes lighting big campfires. You will bivouac on fine sand banks where the pirogues will animate your evening by their songs and their good mood.
Third day at the beginning of the afternoon: heading to the village of Bekopaka by 4×4 on 110 kilometers, that is to say approximately 4 hours of track. This west village is located at the foot of the Tsingy of Bemaraha, impressive limestone massifs born from the tectonic shift caused by the separation of Madagascar from the African continent more than 160 million years ago, and classified as World Heritage by UNESCO.
A lodge will welcome us for the night.
Day 7 – Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park
Day 7 for this baobab coast tour: discovery of the Tsingy and their rich biodiversity. With your guide, you will bathe in the unique atmosphere created by these imposing limestone blocks. You will carry out the “Andamozavaky circuit” or “Great Tsingy”, during 4 hours of walking. If being surrounded by the tsingy seems, at first sight, very impressive, their discovery remains however accessible. The place is very well arranged for the visitors and secured to make easier the crossing.
Let’s go for the most unforgettable visit! The Tsingy are full of mystery…because in the middle of these limestone monuments, live an impressive fauna and a very particular flora. The lemurs found their shelter in this special universe: it is in the Tsingy that we can count the most species of lemurs in the world (sifaka, fulvus …). You will meet some on your way. Rare birds are also nesting in the Tsingy, some of which are endemic to the west zone of Madagascar. The vegetation as for her, has adapted to its environment. Among others, we find a share of spinescent plant formations – that is the case where the leaves take a thorny state to conserve water -, or other forms of vegetation that remain in a dwarf state. More than three quarters of the listed species are endemic.
We will pass through the unavoidable passages of this circuit: the caves with walls decorated with constellations, where we can still distinguish the traces of marine elements and where the sun rays penetrate in the morning, the roof of the Tsingy, summit accessible after some efforts but where the impregnable view on the forest of stones overcomes any feeling of fatigue, the belvedere, the suspension bridge at 70 meters high and 20 meters long which crossing gives a contradictory feeling of domination of this intense landscape but with at the same time this feeling of being very small, tiny, of being nothing in the middle of the immensity of the limestone cathedrals.
In the afternoon, we approach the circuit of Andadoany or the “small Tsingy”. It is a relatively easy route, if we compare it to that of the “Great Tsingy”. Unlike the latter, we do not dive here in the heart of the Tsingy but prefer to go to the viewpoints that allow us to appreciate the splendor of the heights of Tsingy.
By crossing corridors and natural caves, we find ourselves in the heart of a humid forest. Our journey will be punctuated by various discoveries of the fauna of Tsingy: chameleons, rare lemurs, birds.
We then discover an old Vazimba pottery, first inhabitants of the heart of the Big Island.
The evening fell, we return to the lodge that welcomed us the day before, for a well-deserved night of rest, but the head undoubtedly filled with unforgettable images because the beauty of the Tsingy is such, that we can not tell it …
Day 8 – Bekopaka – Morondava
Day 8 for this baobab coast tour: Wake up at dawn. We continue the discovery of the Menabe region. Heading to Morondava, for eight hours of road, that is to say some 240 kilometers, on a road of type “track” and with two passages of ferry on the Manambolo and the Tsiribihina!
On the way, the diversity of landscapes does not fail to surprise. Madagascar is an island of contrasts. What will be the next landscape, what will be the next colors? At each turn, new impressions, new sensations, other emotions…
The human encounters are also surprising. The local population is always delighted that foreigners come to discover the beauty of their land, a beauty they may not always be aware of.
Here we are in the region of the baobab trees, imposing trees that rise to a height of about forty meters and seem to take root in the sky. With a bottle-shaped trunk, or a thin and grey trunk, each variety of baobab has its share of magic. No words can describe the feeling when crossing this area, especially when you are in the middle of the famous ” Avenue of the Baobabs “. Here, we have the privilege of daydreaming… For a moment, we are part of the landscape just like the carts pulled by zebus, the herds of sheep and the children running in the avenue of the baobabs.
Baobabs symbolic of these places: the sacred baobab which for the local population is a place of offerings to the Ancestors, and the baobabs in love, a series of two intertwined trees which, according to legend, would bring good luck to couples of lovers who come there.
The sunset on the avenue of the baobabs is a unique, grandiose spectacle: the meeting between the star of fire and these majestic trees, simply… magical.
At nightfall, your guide will install you at the hotel.
Day 9 – Morondava – Belo sur mer
After a night in Morondava, your guide will take you to Belo sur Mer, a fishing village surrounded by mangroves located 80 km south. Apart from the main concrete road, the road is mostly made up of dirt tracks, not very comfortable but which adds to the adventure. You cross a region whose landscape is characterized by the presence of a dry and arid vegetation.
When you arrive on the peninsula of Belo sur Mer, you will love the picturesque landscape of the coast marked by the succession of beaches and rocks. The contrast in color of the sea, from translucent green to deep blue, makes it a real tropical aquarium favorable to diving and kitesurfing.
The comings and goings of the fishermen on the beach as well as the presence of some hotels on the spot constitute the irresistible charm of the village.
Belo sur Mer is also a famous shipyard where schooner-rigged dhows used to transport goods in the Mozambique Channel are built.
Accompanied by your tour guide, you will be able to visit the islets off the coast such as Nosy Tania, Nosy Motsadiniky and Nosy Andravoho with the possibility to spend the night in bivouac. These places will give you the impression to be in a terrestrial paradise.
Throughout your trip to Belo sur Mer, you will meet the Vezo, one of the 18 tribes of Madagascar who are both carpenters and fishermen.
If you are an avid hunter, you will find what you need in Belo sur Mer. It is the ideal place to hunt humpback ducks, guinea fowl, quail, partridges, teal and wild boar.
Day 10 – Belo sur mer – Manja
Day 10. After a night spent at the hotel on Belo sur Mer, on the way to Manja, our next step! We make this crossing in 4×4, considering the impressive state of the road, a track of almost 110 kilometers.
This trip lasts all day. But the bad state of the road can be forgotten thanks to the vegetation, always different, from a corner to another of the Big Island. Here, the wooded savannah spreads its colors.
At the end of the day, we will reach Manja, our stopover town on the way to the city of Toliara, in the southwest. Manja, a place with typical Sakalava characteristics. A lodge will welcome us for the night.
Day 11 – Manja – Andavadoaka
Day 11 of this Circuit Coast of baobabs. Here we go again for 10 hours of 4×4! This time we make the route connecting Manja to Andavadoaka. Crossing of ferry of a duration of about ten minutes, before beginning the track. We are here in the presence of a dry vegetation, a savanna punctuated with trees by place.
As we advance, the trees are more numerous, just like the people we can meet. The colors also change, gradually giving way to a brighter green and typical villages.
On the approach to Morombe, the baobabs still constitute the essential of the landscape. Morombe is famous for its giant baobab, with a circumference of almost 20 meters. On the road to Andavadoaka, we will pass by a forest of baobabs… Like on the avenue of the baobabs, majestic trees which flirt with the sky. The waking dream for the visitors… The sensation of the tiny importance of the human being in front of the immensity of the nature…
In Andavadaoka, your guide will install you at the hotel for the night.
Day 12 – Andavadoaka – Salary
Day 12. With your accompanying driver, you continue your crossing in 4×4. Direction: Salary, small village of the Vezo fishermen. We take a sandy track for a two hours trip.
Leaving the village of Andavadoaka, the track that we have to cross is relatively in good condition, with around, a landscape essentially constituted of dry vegetation. In some places, we meet some houses, traditional huts, made essentially of wood.
We are still in the world of baobabs and can discover different types, including the tattooed baobab, on which nature has drawn curves, shapes and lines.
Upon arrival in Salary, a small village of white sand and wooden houses, your guide will install you at the hotel.
The afternoon will be free: you will be able to rest, after these several days of car…or visit the surroundings.
13 to Day 14 – Salary
We spend these two days in Salary, so that you can fully enjoy the tranquility, the sea, the fine sand, the beauty of the landscape.
Paradise beaches, emerald blue of the Mozambique Channel, fishermen’s boats sailing on a water of an unequalled purity, Vezo women busy with their various activities… Live the change of scenery and the quietness of the Big Island, a dream island!
Possible activities: sea trips, whale safari between the end of June and the end of September, discovery of the Mikéa tribes…and of course, relaxation on the beach!
You will spend the night at the same hotel.
15 – Salary – Toliara – Antananarivo
Day 15. Direction South West: heading to Toliara for 5 hours of track, following the coast.
The city of Toliara is known for its warm climate; it is the most important city of the South, bordered by a coral reef. In the architecture of the city persists the colonial heritage.
On the program of this day, your transfer to the airport of Toliara where you will take the plane for Antananarivo, the capital, main point of departure of the international flights.
Our driver will welcome you at the international airport of Ivato, and will accompany you to the hotel where you will be installed.
16 – Antananarivo – Country of origin
Depending on the time of your flight back to your destination country, our driver will accompany you to the airport. Depending on the time you may have, he will be happy to make a stop at the craft market located on the road to the airport, if you want to take with you, in addition to all these images and emotions that you have experienced in this dream island, Malagasy handicrafts as memories of Madagascar… to offer and to offer yourself …