Excursion to the surroundings of Antananarivo

Beside the relatively long circuits going from a few days to a few weeks to explore the Big Island, other shorter formulas such as the excursion to the surroundings of Antananarivo allow the travelers to discover the capital differently. Some of the destinations can be done in one day and others in a weekend depending on the number of places to explore and the choice of the traveler. Much more economical compared to the tours usually proposed by Madagascar Tours guide, the discovery of the beautiful sites around Antananarivo can perfectly be done in a Madagascar tour with a small group.

For this tour around Antananarivo, Madagascar Tours Guide proposes you some excursions that can be done in one day or during the weekend:

  • Antananarivo – Reserve of Ankafobe and Ambohitantely
  • Antananarivo – Andasibe
  • Antananarivo – Ampefy
  • Antananarivo – Antsirabe

Reserve of Ankafobe and Ambohitantely

For a two-day excursion to the surroundings of Antananarivo, the team of Madagascar Tours Guide will take you to two interesting reserves on the side of the National Road 4: the reserve of Ankazobe, 132 km north of Antananarivo and that of Ambohitantely at 140 km on the same axis.

In the morning, the discovery of Ankafobe will begin with a hike through the landscape rich in plant species, a forest cover and a vast grassy meadow punctuated by a few trees spared from bush fires. The name of Ankafobe means “where the great fire passes”. After a tour of the forest and the landscape around the site, you will refresh yourself at the waterfall before leaving to discover the Sohisika (Schizolaena tampoketsana), an endemic tree belonging to the rarest plant species in the world. High of its 163 m, the Sohisika of Tampoketsa is recognized by its trunk as well as its white or pinkish flowers. You will also meet other species of trees like the famous Vakoana as you penetrate in the forest. After a light meal consisting of hamburger, pizza and fruit juice taken in the morning, your guide will direct you to the reserve of Ambohitantely further south.

Reserve of Ambohitantely

Leaving Ankafobe, you will take again the National Road 4 to make course in the special reserve of Ambohitantely located at approximately 8 km more in the south towards Ankazobe. On the program, visit the biodiversity of the protected area, essentially its forest and its vast secondary prairie. You will meet different plant species such as Raventsara sp., Ddiospyros, Gymnosporia sp, Uapaca densifolia, Pandanus sp., rare Orchidaceae and Polypodiaceae as well as medicinal plants in the periphery of the site.

During this excursion to the surroundings of Antananarivo, you will notice the presence of amphibian species (about 40 species) including 3 endemic (Boophis Andrangoloaka, Anilany helenae and Anodonttyla valiani), some lemurs, a few dozen reptiles, about fifteen species of tenrecidae and more than 80 species of birds.

In the evening after a dinner consisting of chicken skewers, bread and sautéed vegetables prepared in the kitchen area of the campsite. You will spend the night in a tent in a quiet and secure environment. Those who choose the north of Madagascar tour will be able to make a small stopover in this reserve before continuing towards Ankarafantsika.

The next morning, the tourist guide of Madagascar Tours Guide will lead you through a beautiful landscape to the bat cave, the places of rite near the waterfall, on the summits of Vatobe and Ampasandoaka.

Around noon, before returning to the capital, you will have lunch together in one of the hotels in Ankazobe. The menu is mainly based on rice with a choice of accompaniment: chicken with tomato sauce or romazava, a dish very popular in the Malagasy highlands.

Excursion to the surroundings of Antananarivo : Andasibe

This time, you will love the beauty of the fauna and flora of Andasibe National Park, a site located 140 km east of the capital, on the National Road 2. It is one of the sites that the tourist guide of Madagascar Tours Guide will make you visit during the wonders of Madagascar tour. You will venture into the heart of a dense and humid forest which shelters an interesting fauna community. The park is divided into two large parts: the Mantadia park and the Analamazaotra park. Plan at least two or three days to visit the highlights of the site.

The national park Andasibe Mantadia, a site created to protect the largest species of lemurs: the indri indri which cohabit with other species such as the black and white ruffed lemur. Before lunch in the restaurant around the park whose menu is composed of local products such as the famous rice with eels sauces, you will enjoy the waterfalls, admire the orchids, refresh yourself in the natural pool. After 2 hours of walking on steep slopes, you will find yourself again on the sacred waterfall. Then leave for Tsakoka for a birdwatching session, frogs and several other animal and plant species.

The next day, you will go to the discovery of the Analamazaotra National Park, a popular site for its lemurs called Indri Indri. This species of lemurs lives in several families each composed of two to 5 individuals. Other species are also present: diademed sifakas, bamboo lemurs, red-fronted lemurs, woolly lemurs … After lunch in a hotel of the park with a menu composed of Malagasy specialty as Romazava, your guide will make you discover a dozen species of tenrec, varieties of chameleons, a hundred birds and about twenty species of amphibians. As for endemism, the park of Analamazaotra is the only one, through all Madagascar where we find the Ravenea louvelii, an endemic palm tree.

Excursion to the surroundings of Antananarivo : Ampefy

The Madagascar Tours Guide will lead you to a particularly interesting site, located only 120 km from the capital, Ampefy. It is a very popular destination thanks to its proximity to the capital and its interesting tourist assets. On the program of this excursion to the surroundings of Antananarivo, you will visit the lake of volcanic origin of Itasy, the Geysers of Analavory, the waterfall of Lily… and practice activities such as the bicycle excursion around Ampefy, the paragliding

You will leave the capital early in the morning, it will be possible to visit the main tourist attractions of Ampefy and to be in Antananarivo in the early evening. Thanks to numerous facilities, starred hotels and restaurants, you will also be able to spend more than one day in Ampefy, which will allow you to fully enjoy the existing activities on the spot.

In addition to a pirogue ride on Lake Itasy, you can practice fishing, canoeing, cycling around the village, meet the population and know their daily life.

After lunch composed of rice and fresh fish from Lake Itasy, your excursion to the surroundings of Antananarivo continues to the famous Geysers of Andranomandroatra, accessible via an off-road track of 12km from Analavory. Take advantage of the passage on this natural clay spring to make massages with clay and to take a bath on the natural pool of hot water very appreciated by the children.

Back in Ampefy, go to the Lilly waterfall which becomes a kind of ritual once in Ampefy. It is an opportunity for you to take pictures in front of a 26 meters high waterfall to mark the passage in one of the most beautiful tourist sites of Madagascar. To end the day’s visit, your guide will direct you to the Islet of the Virgin, a small island nestled on the edge of Lake Itasy surrounded by green hills in the middle of which is erected an imposing statue of the Virgin Mary. The island of the Virgin is a place of pilgrimage for the Catholic faithful of the surrounding parishes. On the geological level, this place is considered as being the geodesic center of Madagascar.

But what makes the fame of this region is its fruits, its vegetables as well as the fresh fish to taste on the spot. The dinner will be essentially composed of fresh local products: grilled fish, Terrine of foie gras, Duck breast with shallot sauce, Vegetable soup…

Excursion to the surroundings of Antananarivo : Antsirabe

Located at about 170 km from Antananarivo, Antsirabe, the capital of the Vakinankaratra region has irresistible tourist assets that you will discover with the team of Madagascar Tours Guide. You will first go to discover the central highlands before joining the water city. To better visit the interesting tourist spots around Antsirabe such as the Andraikiba lake, the Tritriva lake, the hotel of the Thermal baths, the market of Sabotsy, the thermal station… plan to stay there for a few days.

The visit of the big market of Sabotsy helps you to understand the daily life, the economic situation and the culture of the region. In the market, farmers come to sell their agricultural and handicraft products. Do not miss the passage on the market of Asabotsy to supply you before continuing some circuits like the baobabs coast tour.

After lunch at the Sabotsy market with the Malagasy specialty: romazava or rice with chicken or beef sauce or pork with crushed cassava leaves, you will go to discover the famous Tritriva lake at 18 km from Antsirabe. This ancient volcano crater occupied by rainwater attracts the curiosity of visitors thanks to its history and the associated legend. For travelers who have opted for the Tsiribihina river descent tour, the visit of the Tritriva lake marks the beginning of a transition between the highlands and the adventure in the west.

You can access the site by hiking or mountain biking.

Before returning to Antsirabe, you can pass on Betafo, in the thermal center of Andranomafana. This center of treatment of numerous pathologies or fitness is frequented not only by local populations but also by foreign visitors interested by the history of the center or come to be cured in the hot swimming pool of the center.

Back in the city of Antsirabe, you will pass by the lace of Andraikiba, to practice some activities like hiking or cycling, walking in the lake with a pedal boat or canoeing.

When you arrive in the city of Antsirabe, one of the things you absolutely must visit in Antsirabe is the Hotel des Thermes, a relic of the colonial era in the region.

Excursion to the surroundings of Antananarivo : Mantasoa

Mantasoa is one of the most interesting places to visit around the capital. Being only 70 km southeast of the capital, you can go there in the middle of the morning, enjoy the landscape, stroll in the famous lake of Mantasoa, hike, bike, quad or horseback ride to explore the trails of the pine forest and the surrounding landscape.

Mantasoa is accessible by all means of transportation via the National Road 2 until the junction to Ambohimalaza. You will then pass by the rural commune of Anjeva and that of Ambatomanga before arriving in the commune of Mantasoa which means “good even when raw”.

Once there, some attractions will be inescapable to you namely the lake, the industrial city founded by Jean Laborde as well as his tomb.

For a day trip, choose between a few activities such as a pirogue or a boat ride. Three options will be proposed to you:

    • Rowing boat ride, compatible for 1 to 3 people only,
    • Ride on a motorboat without steering to navigate on the lake,
    • A trip on a barge, suitable for up to 15 people.

After the trip on the lake, you will have lunch in one of the restaurants of the lodge to taste the local recipe of rice with fresh fish from the lake or raclette. You can also enjoy Indian, Italian or French specialties.

In the early afternoon, other activities are waiting for you: quad bike ride 300 or 600 cc or Buggy 625 cc to discover the surrounding landscape through the dirt roads or gallop to cover a longer distance through the villages, rice fields or pine forest. However, this activity requires a fairly long time, half a day or a whole day.

If you are a water sport enthusiast or looking for adrenaline, you will find your account at Mantasoa in the towed buoy, the outboard jet of 140 to 270 HP, the Jet-Ski with arms… The supervision, the safety accessories will be offered for all these activities.