Manambolo river tour

Helinirina Raharomanana – Madagascar Tours Guide

Manambolo river tour

Manambolo river tour - Itinerary

Circuit : Antananarivo – Ampefy – Belobaka – Ankavandra – Manambolo – Tsingy de Bemaraha – Bekopaka – Kirindy – Morondava

  • Day 1 – Antananarivo
  • Day 2 – Antananarivo – Ampefy
  • Day 3 – Ampefy – Belobaka
  • Day 4 to Day 6 – Belobaka – Ankavandra
  • Day 7 to Day 10 – Descent of the Manambolo River
  • Day 11 – Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park
  • Day 12 – Bekopaka – Kirindy
  • Day 13 – Kirindy – Morondava
  • Day 14 – Morondava – Antananarivo
  • Day 15 – Return to the country of origin

Manambolo river tour - Detail

Day 1 – Antananarivo

Know that your dream trip begins as soon as you arrive at Ivato International Airport. Welcome to Antananarivo the capital of Madagascar. The tourist guide of Madagascar tours guide will welcome you and take care of your luggage, your transportation to your hotel.


In addition to the Manambolo river tour as well as several others that are already proposed to you, we can also prepare you personalized tours according to the ideas of tours that you want to realize in Madagascar.

Before starting the tour of your choice the next day, we take you to visit the remarkable sites of the city of Antananarivo during the time we have left on the day of your arrival. Among the places that you absolutely must see in Antananarivo are :

    • The Analakely district where the independence avenue is located. It is a characteristic place of the city center marked by the promiscuity of the old architecture and the modern buildings. The Avenue of Independence was used as a market place until the 90’s where the famous market of Zoma (a big market every Friday);
    • The old royal palace of Manjakamiadana is a vestige of the time of the kingdom of Madagascar. This Rova (palace) was built in 1839 by the French architect Jean Laborde at the time of Queen Ranavalona I. This former residence of the rulers of Madagascar has recently been renovated after being ravaged by fire in 1995.
    • The district of Anosy, seat of the Palace of Justice of Antananarivo as well as many ministerial buildings. You will then pass over the Anosy lake with its famous angel statue standing in the middle. This lake is also dominated in the north by the Presidential Palace of Ambohitsorohitra and the largest stadium of Madagascar, a little further east in Mahamasina.
at the entrance of the Rova of Manjakamiadana
Lake Anosy in downtown Antananarivo

Day 2 – Antananarivo – Ampefy

On the way to Ampefy, a village in the western region of Madagascar, located near Lake Itasy. Very fishy lake, famous for its barahoa, Itasy, former crater of volcano, is the 3rd biggest lake of Madagascar. Landscapes of rice fields and brick factories, follow one another on the RN1 which discovers little by little volcanic landscapes on its course of 135 km, 3 hours from Antananarivo. Between the steep slopes of the volcanoes, the road continues.


Then, after a bend, Ampefy appears.


Ampefy, in its green framework, for its hot climate, is a place of peaceful and pleasant vacation that still heighten the various sites around: its geysers with curative virtues, the famous fall of Lily to approximately 5 km, the island of the Virgin… It is besides this site that your tourist guide will make you discover after your installation at the hotel.


After a visit of the surroundings of the Itasy Lake where you will notice the richness of the region due to its volcanic grounds and during which you will perhaps have tasted the flavours of the fruits which abound there: papayas, bananas, avocados… you will reach the Islet of the Virgin, considered as the center of Madagascar, by a track located after Ampefy crossing landscapes of greenery.

From the Islet of the Virgin, which escapes from the waters and that overhangs a statue of almost 5 meters height of the Virgin, you can contemplate the Lake Itasy in all its splendor.


Return then towards Ampefy to spend the night at the hotel.

Itasy Lake Ampefy
National Road 1 Madagascar

Day 3 – Ampefy – Belobaka

Who has not seen the Lily waterfall, has not visited Ampefy and does not know the most beautiful sites of Madagascar… This destination is of course, included in the Manambolo river tour that we propose. At 5 km from Ampefy, the Lily waterfall, breaks at a height of about twenty meters, offering an extraordinary show orchestrated by Mother Nature.

If Ampefy counts many geysers, it is the famous geyser of Analavory that we propose you to discover in the morning. In this geyser with curative virtues, you will appreciate not only the spectacle, but also the pleasant bath that you can make there.

Your tour guide will then take care of your transfer to Belobaka, a small stopover town before the big two and a half day trek. To get there, you will pass through Tsiroanomandidy, the first largest zebu market in Madagascar. You will be able to evaluate the importance of the zebu in the life of the Malagasy. The zebu is not only used to pull carts, to plow rice fields, to be consumed, it also occupies an important place in all the rituals of the social life, in festivals, during funeral ceremonies and others. It is a cultural and social wealth. Often, in the Malagasy countryside, the wealth of a family is measured by the number of zebus it owns. Some make a contemplative breeding. On the road to Tsiroanomandidy, you will surely meet herds of them.

Belobaka is a village which precedes immense desert spaces. Being the stage of this day, it is here that you will spend the night at the hotel.

Fall of the Lily Ampefy

Day 4 to Day 6 – Belobaka – Ankavandra

Day 4 of this Manambolo river tour: let’s go for the 2 and a half day trek on the Bongolava Plateau to Ankavandra, the starting point of the Manambolo river tour after you have met the local tour guide and his team of porters early in the morning.


For two and a half days, this team of guide and porters will lead our hike on foot, weaving through winding and steep paths to reach the Bongolava plateau which offers a perspective of hills littered with holes and crevasses, the lavaka due to landslides on their slopes, cleared by bush fires. Because of the bushfires, the vegetation is made up of savannahs with dry grasses and grasses.


Just like an important part of the main rivers of Madagascar, the Manambolo river crosses the Bongolava region. On the western slope of the Plateau, which overlooks vast stretches of savannah where it flows, the Manambolo river sometimes holds green spaces.


Soon, we reach the village of Ankavandra from where the descent of the Manambolo river will start. We can make a small tour there before installing our tents on the edges of the river for the night.

Landscape in the descent circuit on Manambolo

Day 7 to Day 10 – Descent of the Manambolo River

A new team takes over from the previous team of guides and porters. This time, it is a team of pirogues that will take you for 3 nights and 4 days to Bemaraha, the village at the foot of the Tsingy. After meeting them, you will embark with them in a traditional dugout canoe to sail with the current on the Manambolo.


Along the water, enveloped by the atmosphere of relaxation, under the blue sky of the Big Island, you will know the enchantment of living unique landscapes in a unique and authentic universe. While walking along the walls of some cliff, you will see small geysers gushing. You will have joyful encounters with the villagers whose houses are nearby, and perhaps with other canoes who will want to ask the pirogue drivers about the channel they should use. You will discover a dream waterfall, a natural swimming pool out of an Eden and you will arrive in the gorges of the river where you will bivouac the night on a sand bank.


The meal on the wood fire prepared by the pirogue men, the evening animated by their songs, will make you live precious moments of the adventure which led you to Madagascar, island of dreams.

The gorges of Manambolo

Day 11 – Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park

Day 11 of this Manambolo river tour: your guide leads you to an unusual landscape dominated by Tsingy, huge limestone blocks erected in the heart of a biodiversity so generous. Through the circuit of Andamozavaky or the circuit of Grands Tsingy, you will go through, during a few hours, places specially arranged to facilitate the discovery of these Jurassic rock cathedrals.


What is the Tsingy exactly?


The Tsingy forms a mysterious landscape thanks to this vast space where many limestone monuments are erected. These rocks hide inside a rich ecosystem with exceptional fauna and flora. It is one of the most popular places for many species of lemurs (about ten species listed), a hundred species of birds, chameleons, bats, amphibians … The rate of endemism of plant and animal species of this site is one of the highest on the island. Three out of four listed species are endemic.


The Tsingy of Bemaraha is also the home of plant species characteristic of the semi-arid environment essentially spinescents with thorny leaves or dwarf shrubs. The thorns allow the plants of the arid regions to conserve water, it is a natural strategy of survival during the long dry periods.


After the discovery of the Tsingy, your tour guide will make you visit the unavoidable caves or ancient burials of the Vazimba, considered as the first inhabitants of the region. These caves still carry on their walls elements testifying the occupation of the sea during the very ancient period. In some places, these caves benefit from the sun’s rays during the morning.


At the exit of the caves, you will pass by the suspension bridge to reach the rocks and the Tsingy. It is the ideal place to enjoy a panoramic view of the stone forest and the huge limestone cathedrals.


After lunch, the remaining circuit is of easier level like the one of the small Tsingy of Andadoany. Where you can see the beauty of the heights of Tsingy, you can also discover the small Tsingy without penetrating in the heart of the cathedrals of karst minerals.


Always guided by your guide, you will then cross corridors and natural caves before finding yourself in the middle of the rainforest. This itinerary will be marked by the presence of rare species of lemurs, reptiles or different species of birds … that live in the Tsingy. Those who have already walked through this ecosystem of Tsingy have noticed the passage on the Vazimba pottery, a vestige that testifies the presence of the first occupants of Madagascar.


At the end of the journey, we will settle you in the lodge that we have already reserved the day before. You will spend the night there before starting the next stage of this Circuit descent on Manambolo.

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park
On the roof of the Tsingy

Day 12 – Bekopaka – Kirindy

After an enriching visit of discovery in the Tsingy of Bemaraha, head for the national park of Kirindy Mitea. You will travel 209 km of track during 6 hours through a landscape of baobabs, dry forests and rice fields especially at the level of Sakalava villages. Plan two crossings down the Tsiribihina and Manambolo rivers before arriving in Kirindy in the afternoon. The reserve of Kirindy shelters an exceptionally rich biodiversity thanks to an important concentration of primates and exceptional flora (precious woods, medicinal plants…).


Stay there for the rest of the day to observe lemurs, sifaka (sifakas), microcebes, giant rats (Vositse: endemic species), snakes, fosa and nocturnal lemurs. After the night visit in the reserve of Kirindy, your guide will install you in your hotel of the village.

crossing on the river of Manambolo
Bac of Bekopaka in the descent circuit on Manambolo

Day 13 – Kirindy – Morondava

The day after your passage in the village of Kirindy, after breakfast, you will take the same road to go to Morondava at 73,9 km further north. The dry forests as well as the baobabs constitute the main scenery of the landscape in particular at the approach of the city of Morondava. Once in the capital of the baobabs, take the opportunity to visit the main attractions of the capital of the Menabe region, namely the Sakalava tombs, the forests of Manamby, Analabe and Andranomena.


As a coastal town, Morondava has still preserved some traditions such as the circumcision ceremony called “Asa lolo”, the Moraingy, a traditional fighting sport as well as the Tromba (a ceremony of invocation of the spirits of the royal ancestors). In the afternoon after lunch, your guide will take you for a walk in the famous baobab avenue while waiting for the unmissable natural spectacle of the sunset in this idyllic place of the Malagasy west. You will spend the night in Morondava before joining the capital the next day.

Rice fields in the Sakalava villages
Walk in the famous baobab avenue

Day 14 – Morondava – Antananarivo

Early in the morning of the 14th day of your Manambolo river tour, you will leave Morondava, the land of baobabs to reach the capital through Miandrivazo and Antsirabe. You will again cross this landscape of savanna and dry forests along the national road n° 34. The lavaka which form ruiniform landscapes, characterize most of the hills and semi-desert valleys before arriving in the Vakinankaratra region. The 660km drive from Morondava to Antananarivo will take about 8 to 12 hours depending on the quality of the road.


Arriving in the capital in the evening, your guide will take you to your hotel while waiting for the departure to your country of origin the next morning.

Day 15 – Return to the country of origin

At the end of your tour, your guide will pick you up at your hotel to accompany you to the airport where you will take your flight back to your country of origin.


On the way to the airport, the tour guide of Madagascar tours guide will not fail to make you visit the artisanal market next door to allow you to buy some souvenir items of your 15 days of adventure in the dream island, Madagascar.

Article for souvenir

Manambolo river tour - Map

Manambolo river tour - Video