ANTSIRABE – FIANARANTSOA – MIZILO – MANAKARA – MANANJARY – NOSY VARIKA – MAHANORO – ANDASIBE – ANTANANARIVO
This tour “the magic of the Pangalanes Canal” enables you to discover the beauty of the Highlands, the South East and the Eastern coast of the big Island. You will have the opportunity to visit national parks (with lush forest, fascinating and endemic fauna and flora, the “Indri” the largest lemur in Madagascar…) The train journey will bring you into another universe and will be an exceptional day. The crossing of the Pangalanes Canal with its mini cruise enables you to meet the local people and discover their lifestyle and culture. It is also the signature of the Eastern Coast.
Departure from Antananarivo to reach Antsirabe. On the road, through rolling hills the plains and ricefields form a mosaic of colours like a giant patchwork. Stop at Ambatolampy for a visit to an aluminium salvaging and transforming workshop where kitchen utensils and pans are made. Arrival at Antsirabe, lunch in your harge. In the afternoon, a visit to the spa passing by various workshops (miniature, embroidery, cutting of semi-precious stones and horn), the Independence Avenue, the railway station… Installation in a hotel for bed and breakfast.
Departure to Fianarantsoa, the Betsileo capital city or the old city. Passage to Ambositra, the capital of crafts. A visit to a sculpture and marquetry workshop. With a small income but a lot of skill and ingenuity the craftsman can make up artistic works. Lunch at your expense. After the visit, continuation to Fianarantsoa. Arrival and installation in a hotel.
Depending on train availability, departing every Tuesday and Saturday
Early departure by the “small train of the cliffs” connecting the eastern coastal plain and the central Highlands. The railway line was built from the rails that were confiscated from the Germans in Alsace at the time of their defeat in the First World War. The route, in an area with very rugged terrain, in the middle of lush vegetation, crosses lively villages. The passage of the train in each station is always a folk event with the fruit, doughnut and frying sellers who clump around the train as it enters the station. Descent from the train and car transfer to Manakara. Arrival in the late evening. Bed and breakfast in a hotel.
Drive to Mananjary, the twins’town. Arrival and installation for a night in a bed and breakfast hotel.
Boarding the boat at about 07:00. The Canal offers sceneries of daily life in symbiosis with a natural environment populated by legends and beliefs. After the passage of Andragnazavaka Bay and the visit to the village of Ampandomana, lunch aboard the boat. Continuation up to Mahela to see the “anchor of Jean LABORDE” a trusted man and architect of Queen Ranavalona 1st (reign from 1828 to 1861). Arrival at Ambohitsara. Discovery of the “white elephant”, an enigmatic statue that depicts an elephant rather than a wild boar. The trunk is clearly marked as well as the broken tusks. Legend has it that Raminia brought it back from Mecca. Continuation up to Nosy Varika, meeting with the “bush boats” and the fishermen’s canoes. Arrival in the early evening, installation on full board in BIVOUAC.
The journey continues. Lush vegetation: the Pangalanes Canal is bordered with bamboo forest, palm trees, ferns, pandanus, raffia, elephant ears, allamanda, aquatic plants and the comet, a rare orchid species from Madagascar. Passage to Lagnampotsy Bay, picnic break around noon in a place overlooking the Bay. Continuation of navigation. A short stop at Ampangalana, a little village nestled on the banks of the Canal. The fishermen’s canoes pass by us in this green network of lakes and lagoons that form the famous Canal. One of the highlights of that last day of navigation is the passage of the mouth of the Mangoro River with its strong currents that contrast with the calm of the Canal. Progress to Mahanoro via the small feeder canal. We will reach the town of Mahanoro in the early evening. Disembark at the river port around 5:30 p.m. Night with bed and breakfast in a hotel.
Departure for Andasibe. On the road, you can enjoy seeing the typical vegetation of the East (“Ravinala” or “the traveller’s tree”, fern…) and the Betsimisaraka tombs. Passing at Vatomandry then arrival at Andasibe. Installation for a night in a bed and breakfast hotel.
Morning devoted to a guided tour in the National park of Andasibe.There you can see the Indri, the biggest lemur of Madagascar. Apart from the Indri and its famous vocal song, ten other varieties of lemurs, orchids, tree ferns, lichens, many birds and other species of fauna and flora make up a Royal nature here. After the visit, lunch in your charge. Drive back to Antananarivo along the national road 2. Crossing Moramanga, a historical town where the national uprising for the Independence of the country began in 1947. Arrival in Antananarivo. Installation for bed and breakfast in a hotel.
Possibility of buying souvenir items at the local handicraft market. Day Use at the hotel then transfer to the airport for the flight to your country.