Category Archives: Uncategorized

Untouched rainforest adventure in Masoala – 8 Days

Day 01

You are met on arrival at Maroantsetra airport and transfer to the boat for the voyage across Antongil Bay to the Masoala Forest Lodge. The journey takes around two hours, with the possibility of dolphin and whale sightings in season and the forested mountains of the Masoala Peninsula as a dramatic backdrop to the destination.

On arrival at the lodge beach, you are welcomed ashore and settle into camp.

After freshening up in the accommodation, lunch is served in the beach house.

The afternoon activities include exploring the beaches and coastal forest in the lodge area and maybe enjoying a swim in the sea, before taking a guided walk along the coast past Tampolo Point, with the possibility of spotting white-fronted brown lemurs in the coastal forest.

Return to camp for sundowners around the fire on the beach and dinner in the lodge.

20171224_153701

Day 02

Awaken early for coffee and breakfast on the sea deck before setting off on the day’s adventure.

Today this is a walk down the coast and up into the primary rainforest in search of the Red-ruffed lemurs, Dwarf chameleons and other wildlife endemic to this forest.

After some hours in the dense forest with the giant hardwoods and majestic tree ferns return to camp by boat for a well-earned lunch and rest.

The afternoon activity could be a snorkel on the nearby coral reefs, rich in diversity, or a guided sea kayak to the look-out rock at the “Secret Cove” for the sun set, with the chance of a close encounter with Bottlenose Dolphin or Green Turtle.

Dinner in the lodge.

Day 03

A relaxed start to the day and breakfast on the sea deck.

Depart on a guided walk through the coastal forest, in search of more birds and mammals.After a couple of hours walk, take a welcome swim in the crystal clear water of the cascades of the Tampolo River at the foot of the forested mountains.

Return to camp on a traditional dugout canoe paddled down the shady river.

After lunch, enjoy a relaxed afternoon swimming on the private beaches or snorkelling on the coral reefs.

A guided nocturnal walk with the intriguing possibility of seeing some of the secretive nocturnal wildlife such as Leaf-tailed Gecko, Dwarf and Mouse lemurs and maybe even the elusive Aye-Aye.

Dinner in the lodge.

Day 04

Breakfast on the sea deck.

An exploration by sea kayak or boat of the calm water and fantastic rock formations of Tampolo point. Stop for a swim on the beach at the “Sacred Island” and then kayak into a pristine mangrove and forested river, with the chance of spotting Blue-spotted stingrays in the shallow water or perhaps the Lesser bamboo lemurs crossing the river.

After a picnic lunch on the beach, return to camp by kayak or boat, for an evening of entertainment and high spirits with the visit of the traditional Malagasy music and dance group from the local village.

Sundowners around the fire on the beach and dinner in the lodge.

Day 05

Board the boat for the voyage through the Tampolo Marine Reserve to the mouth of the Antalavia River. The forested coastline viewed from the boat is stunningly beautiful, with countless deserted beaches and calm blue sea.

On arrival on the beach at Antalavia, board the dingy for the short paddle in the estuary to the cascades of the Antalavia River. Here refreshingly cool, clear water forms perfect swimming pools, over-hung by the lush forest with a chance of seeing White-fronted brown lemurs leaping through the canopy.

After a picnic lunch on the beach and a short rest under the trees, you have the choice of returning to camp by boat or on foot.

Sundowners around the fire on the beach and dinner in the lodge.

20171226_163451

Day 06

A short guided walk through the coastal forest trails to the rice fields and farm land of the nearby village of Ambodiforaha. This is an opportunity to experience the local Betsimisaraka culture and sustainable way of life in the rainforest. You can visit their traditional houses and kitchens and perhaps see baskets, mats or hats being woven, vanilla, cloves, coffee or rice being prepared and pop in for a quick visit to the village school, co-funded by the lodge.

After lunch at the lodge, you have the option of a stroll down the beach to the Tampolo River and a peaceful pirogue trip on the cool shady river to observe the birdlife.

Sun downers around the fire on the beach and dinner in the lodge.

Day 07

A day to spend as you choose – perhaps sun bathing on one of the private beaches, or birding and mammal spotting on the private forest trails at the lodge, or relaxing with a good book and a cold drink in a hammock on your private veranda or the view deck overhanging the sea.

Alternatively, take the opportunity to return to the primary forest in search of more endemic wildlife.

Sundowners around the fire on the beach and dinner in the lodge.

Day 08

Board the boat for the voyage to the island of Nosy Mangabe.

Once ashore on the densely forested island, explore the network of trails with your guide with a chance of spotting Black and white-ruffed and White-fronted brown lemurs, leaf-tailed geckos and perhaps a Madagascar tree boa. You can view the traditional Malagasy tombs in a cave and the engraved rocks on the “Plaige des Hollandaise”.

After a picnic lunch on the beach, you board the boat once more for the voyage to Maroantsetra and transfer to the airport in time for the flight out to Antananarivo.

 

Mandrare River Camp

The seclusion of the camp affords intimate access and insight to the spiny forest; home to an abundance of unique wildlife and the fascinating Antandroy tribe that inhabit this arid and otherworldly landscape.

As the sun rises over rugged mountains, the distant singing of the local tribe as they fetch water from the river and the morning calls of the Coucal and Crested Coua welcome you to another glorious day on the banks of the Mandrare River.

Enjoy luxury en-suite tents, generously spread out in the shade of Tamarind trees, all with breathtaking views across the tranquil water to the sacred mountains beyond.

Day 1: Tana – Mandrare River Camp

After breakfast, drive to Ivato airport for a morning flight to Mandrare River Camp (3hrs) with our scheduled charter. Upon arrival at the Camp settle into your tent and enjoy the majestic views over the Mandrare River.

A 3 course lunch is served on our river terrace.

In late afternoon, head for a walk through the Sacred Spiny forest filled with the ancestral tombs of the local Antandroy tribe, as well as an extraordinary array of flora and fauna, unique to the spiny forest. Your English speaking guide and a tracker from the local community will give you an introduction to Antandroy culture and customs. Your visit is followed by sundowners on the Mandrare River banks.

Overnight Mandrare River Camp (All inclusive)

Day 2: Mandrare River Camp

After breakfast of freshly baked croissant and pain au chocolat, fresh fruits, cereals and breads, continue to the stunning Sacred Gallery forest to the south of the Camp. Depending on the river depth, you will walk or take a boat across the Mandrare River to reach this largely deciduous forest. Inquisitive groups of ring tailed lemurs and the always entertaining Verreaux sifaka are the highlight of this excursion.

Return to the Camp for lunch and a relaxed afternoon.

Around 5pm depart for a night walk in the Forest of Zenavo. This is a fantastic way to see diurnal lemurs bedding down, and the nocturnal lemurs begin to wake in the eerie and prehistoric Spiny Forest. You will spot Sifakas and sleeping White-foot Sportive lemurs, then once the sun has set, two mouse lemur species, sleeping birds, chameleons, owls and now active Sportive lemurs.

Overnight Mandrare River Camp (All Inclusive)

Day 3: Mandrare River Camp

After a cup of tea or coffee head to the Spiny Forest for an early morning walk. Witness the sunlight break through the octopus trees while looking out for the many endemic birds such as Crested Coua, a variety of Vangas and the Running Coua.

Head back to the Camp for a sumptuous breakfast followed by a visit to the local market (on Thursdays and Saturdays) or the local village to meet the fascinating Antandroy tribe.

Lunch will be served at the Camp followed by a relaxed afternoon watching life along the river from your tent terrace. At 5pm, depart for a sundowner amidst the baobabs. Watching the sun set and moon rise with a view across the Baobabs to the mountains beyond is a magical experience. In the evening the local village may come to perform beautiful traditional dances, accompanied by singing and music. Song and dance is at the heart of Antandroy culture and is used to accompany the major rituals and events of everyday life.

Overnight Mandrare River Camp (All Inclusive)

Day 4: Mandrare River Camp

Choose from any of your favourite activities in the Spiny Forest & Gallery Forest, visit the village, have a sundowner on the river banks or visit the local shaman (on request).

Overnight Mandrare River Camp (All Inclusive)

Day 5: Mandrare River Camp to Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge

After breakfast take an 8:30 am back to Tana with a short stopover in Fort Dauphin.

Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge

Day 1: Tana to Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge

At 9:30 am fly to Fort Dauphin (with a short stop at Mandrare River Camp) where you will be met by a driver and guide from Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge and escorted to a lovely restaurant in town for lunch.

In the early afternoon continue by vehicle to Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge (2 ½hrs).

Manafiafy, also known as Sainte Luce, is a beautiful sandy bay, fringed with forest covered mountains and wildlife rich mangroves. Upon arrival check into your luxury bungalow and at 4:30 pm head for a night walk in the Coastal Rainforest. Explore the last untouched block of coastal rainforest in southern Madagascar to spot some of the 5 species and 3 sub-species of lemur, over 80 bird species, over half of which are endemic, and an abundance of geckos, chameleons and other reptiles present in the forest. You’ll see nocturnal lemurs leaping through the trees, Madagascar Scops Owl, satanic leaf-tailed geckos and other masters of camouflage. Return to the Lodge for dinner at 8pm.

Overnight at Manafiafy Lodge (All inclusive)

Day 2: Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge

After a continental breakfast with fresh fruit, pain au chocolat, breads, cereals and eggs, head to the Stitch project and local woodworking shop to interact with the local Antanosy community. Stitch was created by the NGO Azafady to provide local women with sustainable livelihoods by training them in embroidery, English and business skills. Embroidery is a traditional Malagasy skill which the women have used to make beautiful purses, belts, and more.

After a sumptuous 3-course lunch and a bit of a rest, head to the nearby mangrove network at 4pm for birdwatching and photography. Ideal for botanists, landscape photographers and adventure seekers, this 40 km network stretches from Manafiafy to Fort Dauphin with the magnificent Anosy mountain range in the backdrop. Motorboat or kayak excursions last anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days. Today you will be exploring the mangroves by motorboat. Endemic birds include the Madagascar Malachite Kingfisher, Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher, Madagascar Harrier Hawk, Madagascar Crested Ibis and Blue Coua.

Overnight at Manafiafy Lodge (All Inclusive)

 

Day 3: Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge

Before breakfast, head for a sunrise walk in the coastal rainforest. On this walk you will see groups of red-collared lemur foraging for food as they leap through the rainforest canopy. The red-collared lemur is endemic to south-eastern Madagascar, lives in groups of up to 20 individuals and is actives largely at dawn and dusk. This is a great time for birding, some species to see are Crested Coua, Giant Coua, Hook-billed Vanga, Lesser and Greater Vassa Parrots.

Return to the Lodge for a well-deserved breakfast. Relax until your late afternoon excursion to see Madagascar’s largest bat, the Flying Fox, roosting in a nearby community forest, then filling the sky at dusk as they fly off on search of food.

Return to the Lodge for storytelling on the beach. Immerse yourself in Malagasy oral history and culture as the stars form a canopy overhead.

Overnight at Manafiafy Lodge (All inclusive)

Day 4: Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge

This morning, choose from any of the activities available at the Lodge. Activities with extra charge include deep sea fishing, massage and whale watching. Every year, large groups of humpback whales (Megaptera) make their annual migration from the Antarctic to the sheltered waters around the Sainte Luce peninsula where they calve, nurse their young and engage in their spectacular courtship ritual. From June through mid-November, Manafiafy is one of the best places to spot humpback whales in Madagascar.

After lunch, head to Manafiafy village. Manafiafy is a lovely Antanosy village with traditional wooden houses and pirogues lining the beachfront. Learn about the local customs and interact with the fishermen and their families.

End your day with a sundowner overlooking Manafiafy bay from a rocky outcrop offering stunning views of the area.

Overnight at Manafiafy Lodge (All inclusive)

Day 5: Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge – Fort Dauphin – Tana

After an early breakfast, drive back to Fort Dauphin (2 ½hrs), transfer to the airport for your flight back to Tana (3hrs).

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.

DSC_0771

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.

DSC_0797