Helinirina Raharomanana – Madagascar Tours Guide

Vanilla Coast Tour

Vanilla Coast Tour - Itinerary

Circuit : Diego Suarez – Ankarana – Sambava – Antalaha – East Cape– Masoala – Maroantsetra – Soanierana ivongo – Sainte Marie – Tamatave – Akanin’ny Nofy – Andasibe – Antananarivo.

  • Day 1 – Diego Suarez
  • Day 2 – Diego Suarez – 3 Bays – Diego Suarez
  • Day 3 – Diego Suarez – Ramena – Diego Suarez ( The Emerald Sea)
  • Day 4 – Diego Suarez – Amber Mountain – Joffre Ville
  • Day 5 – Joffre Ville – The red Tsingy – Ankarana
  • Day 6 – Ankarana National Park
  • Day 7 and Day 8 – Ankarana – Sambava – Antalaha
  • Day 9 – Antalaha – East Cape
  • Day 10 to Day 16 – Trek on the Masoala Peninsula
  • Day 17 et Day 18 – Maroantsetra – Soanierana Ivongo
  • Day 19 – Soanierana Ivongo – Sainte Marie – Ile aux Nattes
  • Day 20 to Day 23 – Ile aux Nattes
  • Day 24 – Ile aux Nattes – Sainte Marie
  • Day 25 – Sainte Marie – Tamatave
  • Day 26 – Tamatave – Akanin’ny Nofy
  • Day 27 – Akanin’ny Nofy
  • Day 28 – Akanin’ny Nofy – Andasibe
  • Day 29 – Andasibe – Antananarivo
  • Day 30 – Antananarivo – Country of origin

Vanilla Coast Tour - Details of the itinerary

Day 1 – Diego Suarez

Welcome, Tongasoa in Diego Suarez. Once arrived at Diego Suarez, you will feel the air of vacations and discovery that blows on you. From the moment our team welcomes you and takes care of you, its motto is to make your trip on the vanilla coast, a real dream of discoveries whose images, emotions, sensations and colors will enrich your experience.

 

You have chosen this Vanilla Coast tour, but we can always offer you a customized tour, adapted to your wishes.

 

After your transfer and your installation at the hotel, according to the available time, you will begin your journey by a small tour in the city of Diego Suarez. You will have the opportunity to discover the port, the basin of Radoub, the old French military quarters, the market…as many curiosities, as many colors, as many scents which will familiarize you a little better with the ground and the men.

 

Diego Suarez, nowadays Antseranana (or Antsiranana), takes its name from two admirals: from Diego Diaz, the first European to discover Madagascar in 1500 and from Fernan Soarez who led a Portuguese invasion wave in 1506.

 

The population of Diego Suarez, which includes Arabs, Creoles, Indians and where interbreeding is frequent, is very cosmopolitan. The street presents a kaleidoscope of different faces with a certain family air.

Antseranana Lighthouse
Nosy Lonjo Diego Suarez

Day 2 – Diego Suarez – 3 Bays – Diego Suarez

Direction: the Three Bays. The transfer is done by 4X4 vehicle to the bay of Sakalava through the famous “Pain de Sucre” or Nosy Lonjo.

Your tourist guide will tell you the history of this famous “Pain de Sucre” or “Nosy Lonjo”, symbol of the city of Diégo Suarez, as soon as you see it. This islet has surely many stories to tell, if only those of the sailors who would have stranded there… It remains the theater of several traditional ceremonies although its access is simply difficult.

The walk continues along the Three Bays: the Bay of Sakalava, the Bay of Pigeons and the Bay of Dunes. Lined with heavenly beaches, the Three Bays are a real beauty spot in this part of the Indian Ocean. Everything here is of such beauty that it is difficult to look away from the limpid waters ranging from blue to mirror-like.

The visit of the lighthouse and the old French military installations Orangea will allow you to make a brief incursion into the history of this northern region of Madagascar, question to improve your knowledge or to have more concrete images on what you will have learned.

A picnic will embellish the lunch break before the next step: the magnificent bay where the picturesque fishermen village of Ramena is located, 20km from Diego Suarez.

The afternoon is an afternoon of freedom under the sign of relaxation. Bathing and idleness will be at the appointment. At the end of the afternoon, it will be time to join Diego Suarez where you will spend the night at the hotel.

Sugar Loaf Diego Suarez

Day 3 – Diego Suarez – Ramena – Diego Suarez ( The Emerald Sea)

The next day, your guide will lead you to the village of Ramena, the landing place for a walk on the Emerald Sea.

This day will be dedicated to a real relaxation, no activity is planned. It will be rather a kind of contact with the pirogues before the excursion on the Emerald Sea. This one is characterized by its immense lagoon of emerald green color and sometimes turquoise blue. This color contrast makes these beaches places of paradise on earth.

During this pirogue ride, you will have the choice between two types of menus: tasting fresh fish caught by yourself or opt for the picnic lunch concocted by the pirogue owners. After the meal, resume the relaxing activities with the possibility of kitesurfing on the Emerald Sea.

At the end of the afternoon, you will return to Ramena, accompanied by your guide who will drive you to your hotel.

Emerald Sea Diego Suarez
Emerald Sea canoe

Day 4 – Diego Suarez – Amber Mountain – Joffre Ville

For this fourth day of the vanilla coast tour, you will go to the national park of the Amber Mountain at about forty kilometers from Diégo Suarez. The site is accessible with an all terrain vehicle.

It is through the way of the Thousand Trees that your guide will lead you to criss-cross a primary rainforest well watered by waterfalls and streams around the park. This magnificent tropical garden is also home to wildlife typical of tropical forests. The Amber Mountain alone has 7 species out of the 70 existing in Madagascar including 5 diurnal species and 2 nocturnal. While walking through the heart of the forest, you will meet many species of birds and reptiles including the smallest chameleon in the world known as Brookesia tuberculated. In terms of flora, tropical varieties are predominant with the abundant presence of orchids, ficus or palm trees … The beauty of this natural and wild garden will not leave you indifferent.

After the national park of the Amber Mountain, you will visit the city of Joffreville, a name taken from that of a French soldier in charge of administering the city during the colonial period. The city is distinguished by the architectural style of its houses dating from 1903. Being a former holiday resort, Joffreville has an access to the Amber Mountain.

To finish this rather sportive day, you will have the right to a great rest in your hotel.

The Mountain of Amber national park
the smallest chameleon in the world the Brookesia tuber

Day 5 – Joffre Ville – The red Tsingy – Ankarana

After the Amber Mountain and Joffreville, heading to the village of Mahamasina on the gateway to Ankarana Park. As the road is in poor condition, your transfer will be done by all terrain vehicle. During the 5 hours of travel, you will discover an exceptional landscape typical of the Malagasy north before arriving on the Red Tsingy of Irondro.

 

Unlike the Tsingy of Bemaraha, the red tsingy have a rather round shape. Their formation was made following the erosion of a compact rock of the sandstone-marl massif by the action of the rain.

 

The mixture between the sandstone-marl and the red sand accumulated on the surface gave to the tsingy their red tint, hence the name red tsingy. The red tsingy are fragile rocks, the visitors have only to admire them in their sizes which form the canyon.

 

Thanks to their red ochre colors, the tsingy rise majestically to form an exceptional landscape, from another universe.

 

After the red Tsingy, head for Anivorano where you will visit the sacred lake populated by crocodiles. According to the legend, a thirsty traveler passed by this place and asked the inhabitants for water. They refused to give him any. The traveler then cursed the village and it turned into a lake while the inhabitants into crocodiles.

The visit of the sacred Lake of Anivorano will close the 5th day of your Vanilla Coast tour in the north of Madagascar. Your driver will drive you to your hotel.

Red Tsingy of Diego-Suarez
Crocodiles of the sacred lake of Anivorano

Day 6 – Ankarana National Park

On the 6th day of your Vanilla Coast tour, our guide will accompany you throughout a rather sportive hike in the Ankarana National Park. It is necessary to count 8 hours of walk to be able to admire the majestic panorama of the site. The Ankarana National Park shelters an exceptional floristic and faunistic wealth, a reason for which it appears in the list of the protected areas of the Big Island.

 

The Ankarana National Park offers a large possibility of tours. Among others, the discovery of an immense surface of limestone rocks shaped by erosion or the red tsingy to the caves of bats whose nests are strewn on the immense walls while passing by the visit of the sumptuous Green Lake.

 

In order to enjoy the panoramic view of the plain of tsingy decorated with pachypodiums (a species of succulent plants), your guide will lead you from the top of the suspended and secure wooden walkways of the circuit Tsingy Rary. This circuit includes a passage on an enormous karstic cavity in the shape of a semicircle, the “loss of the rivers” as well as the visit of the “tsingy of the turrets”. This circuit reserves you spectacular discoveries as well as strong emotions. Your passage in the national park of Ankarana will allow you to understand why the promoters of voyage qualifies Madagascar as an island of dream.

 

To discover the Ankarana National Park, you must have a minimum of physical endurance. The driver guide of Madagascar tours guide will install you in the evening in your hotel.

Tsingy of Ankarana
Tsingy Rary Ankarana tour from the top of the suspended wooden walkways

Day 7 and Day 8 – Ankarana – Sambava – Antalaha

7th day of travel on the vanilla coast. Departure very early in the morning for the city of Antalaha, city of stage for the hike in the Masoala National Park until Maroantsetra. This time, the descent on the East coast of Madagascar is well and truly underway. A stopover is planned for the night in a small local lodge in Vohémar. But before this stage, it is necessary to borrow 168 km of very bad track and to make 10h of car. Situated in the middle of imposing and magnificent landscapes, this track has undoubtedly attractions. The journey on this track dug by the frequent passages of the trucks, comprising potholes or rather of ostrich, does not have only disadvantages. It can even be funny if you are one of those who see that a glass half empty is rather half full … It allows in any case to be in direct contact with the Malagasy realities and gives you the impression to be really at the end of the world.

 

After a night at the lodge, we head for Antalaha on the second day of this trek through Sambava, famous for its vanilla plantations. The rainy climate of Sambava, its green vegetation will inform you at once on the climatic conditions necessary to the culture of this orchid which is the vanilla tree.

 

Your installation at the hotel will be done as soon as you arrive in Antalaha before you undertake the small tour of the city. Antalaha is especially known for its port through which more than half of the world vanilla production transits. Its houses reflect the economic power of the city generated by vanilla because Antalaha, let’s not forget, is the world capital of vanilla. Dugouts and dhows are also made there according to traditional processes.

After this walk in Antalaha, you will return to your hotel.

Masoala Forest Madagascar

Day 9 – Antalaha – East Cape

The morning begins with the presentation of the trek crew, which includes local guides and porters, followed by an extensive briefing in preparation for the trek. The transfer is by motorcycle cab to the village of East Cape. The landscapes are splendid and Cape East is known for the magnificence of its corals.

 

Taking the coastal trail to the East, you will cross the clove and vanilla plantations and breathe in the scent of escape that only this region provides to visitors. Once the ferry crossing is over, you will be introduced to a bush hotel where you will stay for the night.

Madagascar Vanilla

Day 10 to Day 16 – Trek on the Masoala Peninsula

This is where your hidden adventurous skills will come in handy. The primary forest is waiting for you for a 7 days trek. A few transfers by dugout canoe will intersperse the 6 hours of walking that you will do from the first to the fourth day sometimes in the company of a blazing sun. But to experience nature in all its aspects and for all its aspects, is the adventure you want to know. And no other place in the world than Madagascar can offer you this.

 

Man lives in this area in total symbiosis with nature. The green dominates the landscape as far as the eye can see. You will sometimes be surprised by villages with ravinala roofs, the traveler’s tree, which appear from nowhere. You will meet villagers, living at the rhythm of the country, the moramora, nonchalance and for whom stress is perfectly unknown.

 

During the walk, you will appreciate the refreshing shade of some trees, you will admire forests of ravinala, the traveler’s tree. At the bend of a track, you will meet lemurs. Vanilla plantations sometimes take the place of forests… The paradisiacal beaches of fine sand lined with coconut trees invite you to relax.

 

The nights in bivouac will allow you to breathe the pure air of the forest at full lung.

 

The 5th day, you will arrive at the village of Masoala. You will be installed in an ecolodge for the night.

 

The 6th day is dedicated to the discovery of Cape Masoala and its surroundings. The day is placed under the sign of relaxation. On the program, the stroll of the happy people: excursion, walk, bathing… The night will be spent in an ecolodge.

 

On the 7th day, it is by motorboat that your transfer to the city of Maroantsetra will be done. Once in Maroantsetra, direction the hotel where you will spend the night.

Ravinala Madagascar
Masoala forest in the vanilla coast tour

Day 17 et Day 18 – Maroantsetra – Soanierana Ivongo

Departure for Soanierana Ivongo. The departure is made according to the schedule of the taxi-brousse 4X4 which will lead you on this track. Another adventure of 2 days begins on an unforgettable track, punctuated by passages on several ferries.

 

This adventure takes place under splendid landscapes and luxuriant vegetation. But the trip can also be done by fast boat, if there is a transfer on the day of departure. In this case, the trip is often done at night and lasts 9 hours.

The canal of Soanierana Ivongo
Canoe on the canal of Soanierana Ivongo

Day 19 – Soanierana Ivongo – Sainte Marie – Ile aux Nattes

Day 19 of this Vanilla Coast tour: stop at the police station for passport control before embarking for a 1 hour and 40 minute crossing to Sainte Marie. The transfer of an average duration of 20 minutes to the southern tip of the island, where is located the Ile aux nattes, is done either by cab, or by tuctuc new means of locomotion in vogue in many localities of Madagascar. Then, to be in the tone of the local colors, by dugout during 25 minutes, until the hotel where you will settle down to spend the night.

El Condor Company

Day 20 to Day 23 – Ile aux Nattes

Days of freedom at Ile aux nattes, where you can choose the activity or leisure that enchants you: sea outing, whale safari, depending on the season, however, because the whales’ ballet generally takes place from July to September, a small tour of Ile aux nattes by pirogue or on foot, scuba diving, tour of Ile Sainte Marie by motorcycle…

 

The setting of this day – the sea and the paradisiacal beaches – will fulfill your dreams of escape and your quest for beauty. The limpidity of the sea that sometimes comes to streak waves, the beaches lined with coconut trees, the fine sand, the unexpected meeting with some lemurs perched on the trees, the abundant vegetation that refreshes the atmosphere … remind you that here again you are in Madagascar, an island of dreams.

Ile aux Nattes

Day 24 – Ile aux Nattes – Sainte Marie

At the end of the day, you will leave the Ile aux nattes, your head full of enchanting but very real images to reach Sainte Marie. These images will perhaps still inhabit your dreams, once you are well installed at the hotel for the night.

Coconut tree on the beach of Sainte Marie
The beautiful beach of Sainte Marie

Day 25 – Sainte Marie – Tamatave

Depending on the tide, in the early morning, you will return to Tamatave or Toamasina by boat. Your crossing from the dream island of Sainte Marie to the Big Island will be done with the company El Condor. Once settled at the hotel, you can make a small jump to the market “Bazary Be” of Tamatave.

 

The “Bazary Be” of Tamatave is a picturesque market that spreads out under a compartmentalized hangar where fruits and vegetables, handicrafts, and gargotes adjoin each other. By visiting this market, you will dive into the atmosphere of the noisy and crowded popular markets.

Landing boat Tamatave
Avenue of Independence Tamatave

Day 26 – Tamatave – Akanin’ny Nofy

After Tamatave, direction Akanin’ny Nofy by boat. You could admire the Pangalanes canal and soak up during the 4 hours of the trip the images of this unforgettable circuit which will have led you to the country of the lemurs.

 

Once installed at the lodge, to allow you to meet again during this circuit, adapted to your rhythm, we will give you free time in the afternoon. You will appreciate to spend the night in this lodge in the heart of the nature.

The Pangalanes Canal Madagascar
Ankanin'ny Nofy Madagascar

Day 27 – Akanin’ny Nofy

The private reserve Palmarium is a must to know better the lemurs of Madagascar. During 2 hours, you could observe more closely, 7 species of lemurs of which the indri, the propithèque, the macaco…You could not only approach you but also touch them in this nature populated moreover of several varieties of plants like the pachypodium, the orchids of which the vanilla, the carnivorous plants…You will seize then fully the true significance of Madagascar, island of dream…

 

You can enjoy your afternoon quietly because you will spend a second night in the same lodge.

Day 28 – Akanin’ny Nofy – Andasibe

Until the village of Manambato, small stop in the program of our trip, the transfer is done by boat. The crossing lasts 1H30 . We will then continue by car to Andasibe, our next stop, which will give you plenty of time to admire the nature for about 3 hours. Once you are settled at the hotel, you will be introduced to a key person of this stage: the guide who will lead you in all the night visits and in particular the community reserve village park.

 

A night visit of the Andasibe park is planned for this 28th day of your Vanilla Coast tour.

 

You will then spend the night at the hotel.

Day 29 – Andasibe – Antananarivo

On the program of this 29th day of travel, the visit of the VOI village park, a few miles from the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. In this forest, perched in a tree, lives the Indri-indri, the largest of the lemurs. Monogamous, the Indri-indri has a very strong sense of family. We can also meet the brookesia, the smallest chameleon of Madagascar. This chameleon is not arboreal, that is to say that it does not live in trees, but terrestrial and presents a strong mimicry with its environment. Another particularity of this forest: it shelters the giraffe beetle, a species that is only found in Madagascar. Your tour guide will surely explain that its name, not surprisingly, comes from its long neck.

 

The small tour to the village of Andasibe that you will make afterwards will allow you to have an idea of the way of life of the local population.

 

During more than an hour, you will discover the Vakôna reserve, the islet with lemurs where you will meet other species: the fulvus, the bamboo lemur, the vari. They will treat you with a lot of friendship and even familiarity by jumping on your shoulders for example. This reserve also contains a crocodile park, the “fosa” which is a predator of lemurs, the boa of Madagascar and wild ducks.

 

Then we will head to the final destination of this stay: Antananarivo.

 

This Vanilla Coast tour continues quietly on the RN2. If the journey lasts 3 hours, you will not see the time pass so much the diversity of the landscapes and the vegetation will captivate you. Here, nature has regained all its rights. Already, the vast expanses of greenery and forests mark a break with the city. The ravinala trees, the traveler’s trees, stand in the heart of the vegetation and gently wave their leaves arranged in a fan, as if to greet you.

Andasibe giraffe scarabs
Rice field on the national road 2

Day 30 – Antananarivo - Country of origin

Our driver guide will take care of your transfer to the airport according to your flight schedule back to your home country. If you have enough time before your flight, you can stop at the artisanal market located on the way to the airport to buy some handicrafts that best represent the images of Madagascar and your emotions during your stay in the Great Island of dreams.

Malagasy handicraft products
Lake Anosy in downtown Antananarivo
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Vanilla Coast Tour - Map

Vanilla Coast Tour - Video