All posts by ASISTEN Travel DMC

MIAVANA, bringing ultra-luxury to Madagascar

Miavana-Villa

Having followed this project intimately, ASISTEN Travel is the local DMC with the most extensive knowledge of MIAVANA , the first five star eco-luxury lodge in Madagascar.

From arranging your arrival in Madagascar, your private charters to MIAVANA and booking the villa which will be the most suited to your needs,  you can trust our knowledge and expertise.

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The Nosy Ankao archipelago is found on the north eastern coast of Madagascar. The islands are generously served with the fresh and warm Indian Ocean currents and protected by the reefs which surround them.

The largest of the four islands, Nosy Ankao, is 3.5kms from the mainland with gorgeous views of the ocean as well as the picturesque foothills and mountains of the north eastern Madagascan mainland.

Miavana lies on the island of Nosy Ankao (Nosy means Island in Malagasy), the largest of the five islands making up a reef-protected archipelago to the north east of teh mainland. Architects Silvio Rech & Lesley Carstens (designers of Miavana’s sister camp, Normal Carr Safaris’award-winning Chinzombo, in Zambia) have created Miavana, meaning to reconcile, which blends barefoots beach luxury and historic European renaissance style.

An extensive range of activities are within reach: lemur trekking in several national parks, diving ( PADI courses are included in your package), world-class fishing and sealife viewing to name a few.

Book now with ASISTEN Travel, the Madagascar luxury travel specialist.

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Anjajavy Le Lodge : Unique art de vivre, unique environment

Anjajavy le lodge is the only Relais & Châteaux  property in Madagascar and ranks as a four stars plus establishment. It is ideal for the most demanding eco-tourist.

Anjajavy Relais et Chateaux

Anjajavy is the best place to sample all that Madagascar has to offer: you’ll be able to experience many of the highlights and attractions of this beautiful country in one place.

Cédric de Foucault, Maître de Maison, presents the property:

” Home to lemurs, chameleons, tortoises, humming birds, cocoa, vanilla, ylang-ylang, papyrus and carnivorous plants; Madagascar is one of the last remaining unspoilt oases on the planet. There are virgin forests, savannas and tiny islands to explore. The nature is so rich that the famous Parisian landscape architect Camille Muller was inspired to gather the rarest species in the hotel’s landscaped garden. Located in a nature reserve, Anjajavy l’Hôtel consists of a beautiful ensemble of rosewood villas scattered over a long sandy beach on the Mozambique Channel. Explore deserted creeks, little fishing villages and the Tsingy, coral remains sculpted by erosion and overlapping baobab roots. “

 The 550-hectare reserve surrounding Anjajavy Le Lodge offers you 4 different environments:

  • A dry deciduous forest made of palissandre trees, ebony trees, baobabs and other plants endemic to Madagascar
  • A mangrove forest which is a protective coat for the reserve.
  • The tsingy: unique limestone rock formations
  • Beautiful beaches

Anjajavy Relais et Chateaux

 

Barefoot luxury on private island

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Discover the luxurious castaway experience of the newly refurbished Constance Tsarabanjina. Enjoy the laid back, barefoot elegance of this intimate eco-friendly resort set on its own secluded island off the coast of Madagascar.

Situated in the north-western part of Madagascar, at about 40 miles from the island of Nosy Be, Tsarabanjina is one of the islets of the Mitsio Archipelago. Fringed by white sandy beaches with extraordinary birds, lush vegetation and encircled around by coral reefs, the region is bathed in sunshine all year round. Tsarabanjina is a sacred islet.

Tsarabanjina Villa Madagascar

Every villa is unique and look out on to the sea. They are built with a thatched roof and have a private terrace. Twelve villas have their bed area air-conditioned and thirteen villas are completely air-conditioned.

Constance Tsarabanjina Luxury Hotel Madagascar Room

 “Tsarabanjina” is the kind of private island to be discovered in complete tranquillity, enhanced by the soft pace of the sea and its natural surroundings. An amazingly calm sea filled with a variety of fish and crayfish. A place renowned for its diving and ideal for navigation. You can stroll around, climb up the hills and lose your way in its luxuriant vegetation. At the end of a path, you will for sure discover many birds, including the famous flycatcher of Madagascar (the emblem of Tsarabanjina) as well as a couple of fish eagles. A biologist has even come across the tiniest chameleon in the world; it barely exceeds one centimetre in length when fully grown.

The amazing staff at Constance Tsarabanjina will take care of you.

From your favourite cocktail to your end-of-trip laundry, we have thought about everything.

Enjoy the Crystal all-inclusive stay from USD 325 / night per person.

The Crystal all-inclusive package  includes:

  • Large Variety of Super Premium branded spirits and International Beers.
  • Large selection of fresh drinks, soft drinks, mineral water including (10h00 to 01h00).
  • Unlimited access to cocktails & Constance signature drinks menu.
  • International Wine list inclusive of wines & sparkling wine from around the world (France, Italy and the New World). Many wines directly imported from small wineries.
  • Mini-bar with beers, soft drinks, water, snack & confectionary. Mini bar refilled on a daily basis.
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) in our restaurant.
  • Afternoon tea served by the Bar.
  • Excursion sunset cruise (subject to 7 nights minimum stay)
  • Free water in all bungalows.
  • Free Laundry

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Bays, Mountains and archipelagos – The North in 10 days

Start your tour by exploring the area around the second largest bay in the world. Hike in the Amber Mountain, Sail with fishermen to the Emerald Sea, visit the Tsingy of Ankarana & end your tour by relaxing on the island of Nosy Be. 

Day 1: Arrival in Antananarivo, Madagascar

You will be greeted at the airport by our team. We will transfer you to your hotel downtown Antananarivo.

Bay of Diego

Day 2: Antsiranana and the Three bays of Diego

We fly from the capital to Diego, home of the second largest bay in the world. Known for their rugged beauty, the walk will lead you in the succession of three bays: Sakalava, Pigeon and finally the Dunes. Each bay has a unique landscape but all have in common the turquoise waters. We will break in Cape Miné with its guns and fortifications that authenticate the role of the former colonial army in the Bay of Antsiranana.

We will finish our loop leaving the camp to reach the village Orangea Ramena. We will see the beautiful sunset on the way to Diego Suarez.

 Cap Miné Madagascar

Day 3: Emerald Sea

Accompanied by experienced sailors and fishermen, you will take a boat to a small island off the Bay of Diego to reach the Emerald Sea. You will spend the day relaxing and snorkeling in clear water while your fishermen prepare food with their daily catch.

After your excursion, you will be transferred to Joffreville, the gateway city to the Amber Mountain.

Day 4: Amber Mountain

Located twenty kilometers from the port, the green Amber Mountain Park ( a.k.a Montagne d’Ambre ) is home to lemurs, sacred waterfalls and a lush vegetation. The Montagne d’Ambre is the first national park to be created in Madagascar. We will do a trek in the national park to see the different species of lemurs , the smallest and rarest chameleon in the world.

Day 5: Joffreville to Ankarana & Red Tsingy Visit

On our way to Ankarana, we will discover in the mountains, southeast of Diego, The Red Tsingy. Located right at the feet of eroded canyons, within the single sedimentary basin of Madagascar and a heterogeneous vegetation , They are made of sandstone, marl and limestone. We will arrive in Ankarana towards the middle of the afternoon.

 Red Tsingy

Day 6: Tsingy of Ankarana

The Ankarana is the second place in Madagascar where you can see the famous Tsingy. Here, we will walk through the forest where many endemic specimens live and appreciate the scenery offered by these impressive limestone formations. In the afternoon, we will visit the red Tsingy.

 Tsingy of Ankarana

Day 7: Ankarana – Ankify – Nosy Be

We drive through plantations of coffee, cocoa and ylang ylang. This trip will take us through a volcanic zone and the most fertile region of Madagascar. We spend the mountain Tsaratanana which houses the highest peak of the island. After a passage of Ambilobe we arrive at the port of Ankify where we take the boat to Nosy Be. From the port , you will be transferred to your hotel.

Nosy Tanikely Madagascar

Day 8 : Nosy Komba & Nosy Tanikely

This day is devoted to an excursion to the islands of Nosy Komba and Tanikely. We will visit the Nosy Komba reserve to have some close up experience with the Eulemur macaco macaco or Black Lemur. During that visit, several species of endemic reptiles including the colorful chameleons and turtles will be seen. For the more adventurous ones, you may have a chance to meet the Madagascar Boa madagascariensis , a species of the Boidae (boa) family that is endemic to the island of Madagascar. The small walk will also take you through a small village and a great handcraft market.
We will continue to Nosy Tanikely, another small island which is part the of Nosy Be archipelago. This inhabited island is part of a marine reserve and offers one of the most impressive snorkeling experiences. Surrounded by some coral reefs, the undersea biodiversity is very wealthy and you may even have the chance to spot some sea turtles while you will be snorkeling. A seafood lunch cooked onsite will be served during this full day excursion.

Nosy Komba

Day 9 : Nosy be island tour

We will do a tour of the Market of the colonial town of Hell-Ville to see various spice and vegetables merchants, the fishermen selling what they caught in the waters surrounding the islands. You quad bikes will wait for you to begin a tour of the island. You will be led through different Ylang Ylang plantations, sugar cane fields. You will also follow the track to the Mont Passot, the highest peak of Nosy Be for an incredible view, drive around the surrounding volcanic lakes and the rum distillery while passing by small villages, you will really enjoy pleasant and unforgettable chats with the villagers of the island.

Day 10: Nosy be-Antananarivo & International departure

We transfer you to the airport to fly back to Antananarivo to catch your international flight.. We will provision a hotel for you to stay in Antananarivo if you intend to stay another night in the country.

Madagascar flying safari

Breathtaking scenery , no waiting, no missed connections, no gruelling drives. We will take you directly to your destination.

This is the ultimate tour:  experience the luxury to discover Madagascar at your own pace by offering yourself the flexibility.

Send us your wish-list of sights and activities you would like to enjoy and we will put together the itinerary of your choice using our fleet of private planes and helicopters.

Private Charter Madagascar

From the exploration of your favourite National park to a flight over a baobab forest and finishing with a beach stay in one remote private island, all you need to do is to ask our team.

Madagascar private charter

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Madagascar Essentials road trip – 8 days

This is a great classic , a tour you can enjoy all year long. In less than 10 days, you will discover the essentials of this big island. Along a mythic national road heading to the Southern part of the island you will experience the different micro climates, the unique and diverse fauna and flora before ending the tour on the white sand beaches of Ifaty.

Day : 1  Arrive in Antananarivo, and discover the City of the Thousand

Discover Antananarivo, its history and its busy colourful streets. A visit to the Old City, the palace of the Queen, will introduce you to the architecture and urbanism of this particular city. An introduction to the delectable cuisine of Madagascar and the islands of the Indian Ocean is also on the menu.

Antananarivo City Tour

Day : 2  Crossing the highlands; Antananarivo- Antsirabe – Ambositra

Our highland crossing into the region of Betsileo brings you to the first stop in the town of Ambositra, famous for its workshops and Zafimaniry Wood Carvings. We spend the night here.

Day 3: Ambositra – Ranomafana

We are heading to Ranomafana rainforest. Once you get there, we will do a night visit of the rainforest to find nocturnal animals such as chameleons, frogs and species of lemurs.

Day 4: Ranomafana National Park – Fianarantsoa.

An early morning wake up will take you in the trails of the rainforest with some park rangers to discover lemurs and different wildlife in their natural habitat. Finishing the visit around before lunch time, we move to the old town of Fianarantsoa perched onto the hills with its beautiful traditional architecture reflecting the different stages of colonization.

Lemur Catta

Day 5: Fianarantsoa – Ambalavao – Ranohira

We leave the highlands to continue your journey towards the South with its semi-dry landscape. The first stop of the day is in the small town of Ambalavao, one of the cultural treasures with its architectural houses with verandas. There, we will visit the entirely natural Paper Factory Antemoro, an inlaid paper made from plants and flowers which is exported nowadays everywhere to make beautiful greeting cards. We will arrive in Ranohira later in the afternoon to enjoy a very unique landscape.

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Day 6: Isalo National Park

A tour through a lunar landscape in this National Park. Your guide will lead you through the deep canyons, waterfalls and natural pools where you can take a swim. The day ends on a magnificent sunset to the famous window of the Isalo.

Isalo National Park

 Day 7: Ranohira – Ifaty

We make a passage through Ilakaka, the city of the rush to sapphire and we will end our road trip in Ifaty. Enjoy the beach for the afternoon.

Ifaty Beach

Day 8: Ifaty – Antananarivo

From here, we will fly back to the city of Antananarivo. Take advantage of the available time remaining to browse through the city.

2015 Photography Tours

Photography trip led by Simone Sbaraglia.

Led by renowned Italian photographer Simone Sbaraglia. This tour is sold out every year since its running.

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Voyage photo avec Pierre Villeneuve & Haja Rasambainarivo ( french speaking)

Un voyage photo avec des ateliers stimulants à travers le pays.

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Photography trip led by Catalin Marin

Travel with an award winning photographer and Nikon School instructor from Dubai.

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Photography trip led by Daniel Austin

Travel with the Madagascar expert, a Bradt guide author and photographer.

Picture Description , Prize

Rainforest, Limestone of Tsingy & Baobabs – 12 days

For the nature and outdoor lovers. Start from Antananarivo and discover the rainforest, embark on a 3 day river trip and camp on the sand banks, climb the Tsingy of Bemaraha and finish your trip with a beautiful sunset at the Alley of Baobabs.

Day 1: Arrival in Madagascar

You will be welcomed by our team at the international airport of Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. You will then be transferred to your hotel in the city center.

Day 2: City tour of Antananarivo

Discover Antananarivo, its colorful life, its history and architecture. We spend the morning in the Old City where will be introduced to the architecture and urbanism of the capital of Madagascar. We will drive through the busy and vibrant streets of the capital. We will also visit the royal citadel of Ambohimanga, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to learn about the history of the Madagascar kingdom and the rich culture of this island.

Day 3: Drive from the capital to the rainforest of Andasibe

We start our journey towards the Eastern part of the island. We reach the Andasibe National Park by the end of the day and we do our first visit of the park that same evening to discover some nocturnal animals.

Madagascar Green bright-eyed frog

Day 4: Explore the rainforest of Andasibe.

The forest of the Andasibe Mantadia Park is home to 108 species of birds ,14 species of lemurs in there , 51 species , and 84 species of amphibians. At 7:00am, we will reach the entrance of the Andasibe National park. We will hike in the rain forest to track lemurs and at the same time see various species of plants, trees, insects and reptiles. We will seek the largest lemur of Madagascar: the famous “Indri Indri” also known as “Babakoto” in Malagasy. This lemur is endemic to the site and is its icon. We will also explore the famous Vakona island for close up experiences and many photo opportunities with the animals.

Mantadia Andasibe

Day 5: Andasibe – Ambatolampy – Antsirabe

We leave the rainforest and come back to the highlands to drive the famous national road 7, which leads to the South of Madagascar. Our first lunch-stop will be in Ambatolampy where we will meet villagers who make handmade traditional pots from recycled aluminium. In the afternoon, we will reach the town of Antsirabe, known for its thermal waters and rickshaws.

Day 6: Scenic drive to Morondava 

You will begin your drive across the highlands before entering the region of Menabe and its magnificent landscapes. From above 1500 meters of altitude, you will slowly descent to sea level while admiring the evolution and change of scenary.  We arrive in Morondava, a laid back town on the shores of the Mozambique channel.

Day 7: Off-road drive to Bekopaka

The dust track leading to the Tsingy of Bemaraha is one of the most rewarding and surprising drive you will ever have. Passing through the dry deciduous forest, you will also embark your vehicle on barges to cross bridge-less rivers. We will reach Belo sur Tsiribihina for lunch and then continue to Bekopaka, the gateway to the Tsingy.

Day 8: Small Tsingy visit and Pirogue ride on the Manambolo river

In the afternoon you will have a pirogue ride to see the Manambolo river. You will navigate on a pirogue on one of Madagascar’s largest river between canyons and visit some caves hiding some stalagmites and stalactites.  You will learn the role of the canyons in the traditions of the locals. We visit the small tsingy in the afternoon to finish with a sunset over this unique rock formation.

Manambolo River

Day 9: Great Tsingy visit

Experience inspiring moments of a lifetime while hiking through caves, mazes, and the peaks of the breath-taking Tsingy of Bemaraha. This is a great hike which will start and end in the forest surrounding the Tsingy. You will then enter labyrinths and the so called cathedrals made of rocks before securely climbing to reach the top of the Tsingy. Before going down, you will cross the famous suspended bridge. A full day of hiking which will reward any traveller.

Tsingy of Bemaraha

Day 10: Bekopaka – Morondava

We leave the Tsingy of Bemaraha in the morning in order to reach Belo sur Tsiribihina at lunch time. We cross the Tsiribihina river again and drive through the Kirindy dry forest. During the course of the afternoon we enter the world famous alley of Baobabs at sunset, one of the most beautiful show the nature can offer. We will stop there until the sun disappears before continuing to Morondava.

Alley of Baobabs Madagascar HDR

Day 11: Morondava

Spend the day in Morondava to rest after these long days of driving on dust roads and hiking. Enjoy the beach of the Mozambique channel while watching the traditional sailing boats passing by.

Day 12: Flying back to Antananarivo. Handcraft market and international departure

You will be transferred by air to Antananarivo. We will drive you to the handcraft market. We will transfer you to the airport to catch your international flight. End of our services.

Highlights of Madagascar South & West – 14 days

The most complete tour of the Southern part of Madagascar. Starting from the capital and the rainforest, you will then fly to the Menabe region to contemplate the Alley of Baobabs before starting a roadtrip through the highlands and its diverse landscapes. The last part of your trip will begin in the unique rock formations of Isalo and end in the amazing white sand beaches of the remote village of Anakao.

Day 1: Arrival in Madagascar.

You will be welcomed by our team at the international airport of Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. You will then be transferred to your hotel in the city center.

Day 2 :Arrival in Madagascar. Drive from the capital to the rainforest of Andasibe 

We start our journey towards the Eastern part of the island. En route we will stop in Marozevo at the Peyreras reserve which is known for its lemurs and reptiles. In that reserve, we will see the famous Sifaka lemur and also various chameleons, snakes, lizards and frogs of different sizes and colors. We will spend a couple of hours in that reserve during which you may observe how the chameleons capture their prey with their long tongue. We reach the Andasibe National Park by the end of the day and we do our first visit of the park that same evening to discover some nocturnal animals.

Mantadia

Day 3: Explore the rainforest of Andasibe – Mantadia. 

The forest of the Andasibe Mantadia Park is home to 108 species of birds ,14 species of lemurs in there , 51 species , and 84 species of amphibians. At 7:00am, we will reach the entrance of the Andasibe-Mantadia National park. We will hike in the rain forest to track lemurs and at the same time see various species of plants, trees, insects and reptiles. We will also explore the famous Vakona island for close up experiences and many photo opportunities with the animals.

Day 4: Analamazaotra Special Reserve Visit. Drive from Andasibe to Antananarivo.

We will spend some time in the Analamazaotra special reserve where we will seek the largest lemur of Madagascar: the famous “Indri Indri” also known as “Babakoto” in Malagasy. This lemur is endemic to the site and is its icon. We leave the rainforest and come back to the highlands. We return to the capital of Madagascar.

Day 5: Flight to Morondava. Kirindy’s Dry Decideous Forest –Sunset at Alley of Baobabs  – Morondava

We take a flight to Morondava. We head to the Kirindy reserve, home of the Fosa, the largest mammal carnivore in Madagascar. Kirindy is one of Madagascar’s most threatened ecosystems: its dry deciduous forests. It is also famous for the giant jumping rat, but is also home to seven species of lemur and a number of endemic reptiles. We will spend a full day here to spot the wildlife and discover the flora. we will head back to the world famous Baobab Alley to photograph the dramatic sunset over these endemic trees. We drive back to our hotel in Morondava for dinner time.

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Day 6: Morondava – Miandrivazo – Antsirabe 

We will get to the Alley of Baobabs for the sunrise for another opportunity to take some dramatic pictures of this natural landmark. We leave the region of the Menabe to return in the highlands. En route, we will have the opportunity to make several stops to photograph the hilly landscapes of Madagascar’s Midwest. During the whole afternoon, we will make a few stops to enjoy the views over the rice fields, the mountains and the traditional villages of the highlands. This region is dedicated to the agriculture and very often, we will see villagers with their colorful stands stocked with products.

In the afternoon, we will reach the town of Antsirabe, known for its thermal waters and rickshaws.

Rice fields Madagascar

Day 7: Antsirabe – Ambositra – Ranomafana

We continue our journey heading south across the highlands to reach Ambositra, the Malagasy handicrafts’capital located 105 km from Antsirabe. In this city known for its woodcarving Zafimaniry Art, we will visit different handcrafter workshops. We will have lunch in this city during which some folkloric dancers and musicians will perform a show. We will drive to the rainforest of Ranomafana.

Day 8: Ranomafana national park. Visit of the tea plantations of Sahambavy – Fianarantsoa

From the early hours of the morning, we will hike in the rain forest to track lemurs and at the same time see various species of plants, trees, insects and reptiles. Photographing in the forest presents interesting challenges since natural light is not abundant and animals are moving unpredictably. We will also see various landscapes that include waterfalls and rivers deep in the forest. We will start our afternoon with a visit of the tea plantation with the tea pickers and the field’s landscape surrounded by mountains. We will overnight in the town of Fianarantsoa, which, thanks to the richness of the architecture of its old buildings, shows the different stages of colonization and evangelization of Madagascar.

Day 9: Fianarantsoa– Ambalavao – Ranohira ( Isalo )

After breakfast, we continue our road trip with the majestic Andringitra in the background. We leave the highlands of Madagascar and enter a new microclimate: the dry bush and semi desert of southern Madagascar. We will visit the Anja Reserve, managed by the local community of villagers. This reserve is home to many unique species of lemurs including the very famous ring tailed lemur. We will transfer you to your hotel in the rock formations of Isalo.

Isalo National Park

Day 10: Isalo – Visit of the Isalo National Park

We will hike through the canyons and oases of Isalo and its lunar landscape to reach some waterfalls. This environment was formed during the Jurassic age and where the unique flora has evolved adapting to the existing conditions. During that hike, we will see different species of lemurs, including the world famous ring tailed lemur. After the canyons, we will go to different places to see a panoramic view of the landscape. We will have several opportunities to take a dip or simply admire the natural swimming pools and waterfalls. We will contemplate the sunset over the famous window of Isalo.

Hotel: Isalo Rock Lodge.

Day 11: Ranohira – Toliara – Boat transfer to Anakao 

We have an early to drive to the coastal city of Toliara. On our way, we will cross one the numerous villages formed by the sapphire rush. We reach the port of Toliara in time for our speed boat transfer to Anakao. Anakao is a small fishermen village located 45km south and only easily accessible by boat. We will reach our hotel before lunch time. Forget crowded places and be seduced by the beautiful Andovoke bay, an over a kilometre and a half long white sand beach with turquoise waters. Clearly visible on the horizon are the breakers that smash against one of the stretches of the longest coral reefs in the world.

Birds Nosy Ve

Day 12: Close up with birds in Nosy Ve

Not far away, the beautiful island of Nosy Ve emerges from the reef. We will take a boat to get to this small inhabited island where we will be able to see many endemic birds to Madagascar. After a short stroll on the island, we will spend the remaining time on one of the beaches surrounding this island. For once in your life, you may feel like being Robinson Crusoe. We will then walk to and visit the nearby Vezo Fishermen village or simply enjoy this a magical place which by fortunate circumstances has remained an uncontaminated corner away from the more chaotic mass tourism routes.

Anakao

Day 13: Transfer to Toliara, Flying back to Antananarivo, Markets of Antananarivo

From Anakao, you will be transferred back to the port of Toliara. We will drive you to the airport to fly back to Antananarivo. Take advantage of the available time remaining to browse through the city and its handcraft market.

Day 14 : Royal Citadel of Ambohimanga, International departure

We will visit the royal citadel of Ambohimanga, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to learn about the history of the Madagascar kingdom and the rich culture of this island. You are transferred to the airport to catch your international flight . End of our services.