Madagascar

21 days in August 2011


Photo album
Birds

 


The tour is planned in coordination with a local tour orperater. The company Madagascar Tour Guide is run by Andry whos real name is Falimanantsoa Andriniaina, the short name is easier ! Find a detailed description of the tour further down this page.

About Madagascar (click on the map to enlarge):
Madagascar is located east of Afrika, in the Indian Ocean, and just about the latitude as Mozambique (click for map).

 

The strait between Madagascar and Mozambique is about 400 kilometers wide.

 

Flying time from Denmark: We fly Air France from Billund to Paris and Madagascar. Flying time is 1.5 + 9.5 hours. The trip home is via Mauritius Air from Madagascar to Mauritius and Air France to Paris and Billund. Flying time 1.5 + 10 + 1.5 timer. See route.

Time difference: Madagascar is 3 hours ahead of CET. In the sommer just 2 hours.

Capitol: Antananarivo, in daily just Tana, is located in the middle of the island of an altitude of 1200 meters above sea level.

Distances: Greates distance north-south is 1550 km and east-west 550 km.
Area: 587.000 km2.

Currency: Ariary (MGA).

Climate: Madagascar has very different climate zones.

The central high lands are covered by rain forrest which creates a humid but not overwelming hot climate.
The western lowlands and eastern parts are warmer and has a wet and a dry season. At the time of our visit it was like a middle European sommer but still cool in the evening.

Rainy season from December to Marts with average temperatures day/night at 27 and 15 °C.
Dry season from April to November  with average temperatures day/night at 27 and 15 °C.

 

 


Details of the tour was planned together with Andry about half a year in advance and for that reason he was able to hire the best local guides in the National Parks. Two of these guides were even mentioned in the book we bought for the trip, 'Birds of Madagascar' by Pete Morris and Frank Hawkins. Another book worth mentioning is 'Mammals of Madagascar' by Nick Garbutt

On the map showing our route, the red colour indicates flying and the blue one is driving.

The first coupple of days we stayed in Tana and Andry arranged a city tour. The history of Tana is very interesting and there are more places worth visiting. You can also find a really good crafts market were you can buy all kinds of souviniers of a good quality.

From here we fly down to Tuelar in the south-west were the actual tour begins. At the airport we meet our guide and our driver who will take care of all the details for the next almost two weeks. They are very nice compagny and they both do an exelent job.

This day we visit Zombitse NP (national park)  and continues to Isalo NP where we stay at a 5 star hotel.

Watch a short video of a reburial and the sometimes caotic trafic.

Day 2: All day in the Isalo NP.

Day 3: Short visit to Andringitra NP were have a short hike in the hills. If you are more fit than we are it is surely worth while going all the way to the top but the view is great on the short hike too. Later we drive to Ranomafana NP and in the evening we go for a night walk acompanied by a very experinced local guide. The animals look and behave differently at night. We also see a lot more frogs at night than at daytime.

Day 4: Getting up early. This is not a holyday for sleeping late. We go for a long hike in the NP. In the afternoon we drive on to Ambositra which is a bigger town south of Tana. Two guys play local musig at the hotel in the evening.

Day 5: Visiting a carpenters workshop to see how he makes pictures of inlayed wood. We also visit a stone workshop. Drive back to Tana.

Day 6: Relaxing in Tana where we reorganize our luggage, go for a walk in town and have a great dinner.

Day 7: Early start heading for Andasibe NP. On the way we visit Perieras Reptile Park and later on Island of Lemurs where we get really close to the lemurs. Or is it the lemurs that get close to us....
Another night walk with a really skilled local guide.

Day 8: All day hike in Andasibe NP. A description comes down the page.

Day 9: We drive to Manambato Lake where we sail by motor boat to the island Ankanin´ny Nofy which is one big national park. Our guide and driver go around the canal system to meet us later.

Day 10: Guidet tour round the park and at the end of the day we sail up to Tamatave that is the biggest port city of Madagascar. We meet up with our guide and driver again.

Day 11: In the morning we try different cash mashines before we succeed in withdrawing the necessary cash to spend days on the Saint Marie island. Both we and our guide are not shure there is a cash machine on Saint Marie but it shows up there are at least two VISA cash mashines in the main town of the island. After this we drive on a very pour road up to Soanierena-Ivongo from where we cross the 8 kilometer wide strait by motor boat.

We spend five great days at Hotel Libertalia. It is a small hotel with bamboo huts right on the beach. Each with their own private bathroom and hot water shower. At high tide you can watch the ocean less than 10 meters from your private porch. This is comparable to any of the great island holiday places in this area. Actually this is just a one hour flight from Mauritius in the east.
Here we join a whale watching tour that is described later.


Andasibe Nationalpark gives you an opportunity to see and mainly hear the biggest of all lemur species, the Indri Indri.
It clames its territory by making some very loud noices. We had the experience to be standing just below a group of Indri´s when they started up with this ceromonie and I had both my camera and my sound recorder ready.

The little cup at the end of the video below is not yelling. It is simply gaping because it is sleepe.

 

 

 

 

 


 

In the narrow strait beween Madagascar and Saint Marie there are great chances to watch the Humpback Whales as they come for breeding and maiting. The Humpback Whales can grow up to a length of 18 meters and weigh up to about 40 tons !
They have an impressing behaveour of slapping their very long for finnes against the water surface and even leap out of the water to impresse. Also they have a very complex set of sounds to communicate.

The owner of Hotel Libertalia were part of the team that started up the sientific work about observation of these whales and the whale watching tour itself was arranged by the organisation 'CetaMada' (cetamada.com).

I highly recommend to join this tour as they are serious about their job and they have a better boat. The safety onboard the boat is good too ! For the price of the trip we had a great lecture about the whales and a five hour tour on the boat.

 

This has been a fantastic journey. Go visit Madagascar !

Below video is from the whale tour. Remember to turn on the sound.