Let’s visit the 4th largest island in the world - Madagascar

Madagascar

Changi airport

This adventure is: #adrenaline pumping, #far far away, #scenic

Madagascar: Let’s visit the 4th largest island in the wor...

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“got a question about a trip? WhatsApp message me - https://wa.me/6591840209 | +65 9184 0209 - heyitsnicole.sg, from ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS WILDLIFE TOURS | AnimalEncounterWT.com - I love uncovering hidden Travel gems & going the distance to experience them all around South East Asia over Singapore's various public holidays / long weekends! I'm particularly a fan of Animals, Wildlife & Nature - believe in taking the time to research about Ethical Animal Experiences, enjoy the most natural Wildlife Safaris, meaningful experiences, spend less time at touristy / but must see spots + dedicate most time in my itineraries to Nature. ”

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Highlights

Enter a land of strange plants and creatures - slowly creeping chameleons, curious lemurs, fierce mongooses and baobab trees that are older than ancient Rome all call Madagascar home. We will glide along rivers as lemurs peak at us from between the leaves, and explore the curious labyrinth of rocks that comprise Tsingay stone forest. Join me as we explore Madagascar's diverse landscapes - this is the only place on earth where you can travel from the seaside, through jungles, deserts and across mountain plateaus - all within a single day. 

Let’s visit the 4th largest island in the world - Madagascar starting at Madagascar
Big Tsingy in Madagascar by Rod Waddington licensed under CC by-SA 2.0 via Flickr

At a glance, this is what we will be experiencing:

  • The stone forest of Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, a UNESCO site and one of only a handful of stone forests on earth
  • A land full of unbelievable creatures that are found nowhere else (the tiny satanic gecko is only as big as your fingernail and the tomato frog is as red as a crab)
  • Baobab trees, a rare and threatened species that can live for thousands of years - there are only 9 species left and 6 of these grow in Madagascar
  • The only place in the world where you can visit deserts, wetlands, forests, jungles, savannas, mangroves and coral reefs all within one day's drive
  • Lemurs, chameleons, fossas and other local animals in their native habitat 
  • The city of Antsirabe was once the center of Madagascar's gemstone trade - with 50% of the world's sapphires having once been produced in the region
  • A 2-day boating expedition along the river and through the forest 
  • Visit the picturesque crater lakes where two young lovers took their own lives when they were forbidden to marry
  • Travel in the traditional way - in carts pulled by zebu cows

Let’s visit the 4th largest island in the world - Madagascar starting at MadagascarRice paddies in Madagascar by Jean-Louis Vandevivère licensed under CC by-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Common

We will take a bus trip south from the city of Antsirabe along the road known locally as Route Nationale. This road is and is dotted with small local villages, where we will see people who still live in the traditional way. This route is special since it will take us through a variety of climates and ecosystems where we will see an array of the biodiversity that Madagascar is known for.

Let’s visit the 4th largest island in the world - Madagascar starting at MadagascarSuspension Bridge we will be crossing in Big Tsingy, Madagascar by Rod Waddington licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr

Tsingy means “the place where one cannot walk barefoot” and when you see the sharp limestone cliffs, you will understand how Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park got its name! These narrow cliffs point straight upwards and look as if they could slice a person in half.  Tsingy is a UNESCO heritage site and is home to a number of different species of lemur as well as other unique animals. We will spend an afternoon with a guide walking through this maze of mountains and cliffs and experience its truly one-of-a-kind natural beauty.

Let’s visit the 4th largest island in the world - Madagascar starting at MadagascarThe City of Antsirabe by oledoe, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr

The city of Antananarivo is the largest centre and the capital of Madagascar. This is a city where the local culture mixes with 18-century French colonial influences to create a unique style. Antsirabe is known as the city of salt and is also famous for its rickshaws and refreshing local beer. The city of Antsirabe was once the center of Madagascar's gemstone trade - with 50% of the world's sapphires having once been produced in the region. This makes it an excellent place to learn about this industry and we can visit a factory that cuts and polishes the gems. We will also have the chance to visit the nearby thermal spas known for their rejuvenating properties.

Let’s visit the 4th largest island in the world - Madagascar starting at MadagascarBaobab Avenue by Gloumouth1 licensed under CC by-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

We will also visit the famous Baobab Avenue that appears in all of the tourist brochures for Madagascar. This is a road surrounded by more than 200 distinctive Baobab trees. These trees can reach 30m high - that's taller than a 6 story building! These trees are more than 2800 years old and are among the oldest living organisms on earth! Unfortunately, these amazing trees are not sufficiently protected and are threatened by local development and many have already been lost. Of the 8 remaining species, 6 are found in Madagascar so we will really have a chance to see the different kinds. 

Let’s visit the 4th largest island in the world - Madagascar starting at MadagascarSatanic Leaf Tailed Gecko photo by Frank Vassen licensed under CC BY 2.0


Madagascar position as an island means that it is home to an entirely unique set of plants and animals. Over 90% of the species that live on Madagascar are found nowhere else. We can expect to see all sorts of unique creatures such as the tiny satanic Gekko (pictured above) that looks like a leaf - or the tomato frog which is bright red as its name suggests. There are also many unique plants - 80% of these are found nowhere else.

Let’s visit the 4th largest island in the world - Madagascar starting at MadagascarLemur and its young in the Anjajavy Forest, Madagascar by Charles J Sharp licensed under CC by-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Madagascar is classified as a biodiversity hotspot. Though perhaps lemurs are the most famous - there are 200 species of lemurs and 100 of these are lemurs. Stars of the movie "Madagascar" - these animals have distinctive markings and big bright eyes that make them look cuddly and friendly. We will be sure to spot them peaking out at us during from the rocks and trees. Many species of chameleon also live here and we should get a chance to see them scurryingaccrossthe rocks.

Let’s visit the 4th largest island in the world - Madagascar starting at MadagascarTraditional boats on Tsiribihina river, Madagascar by Bernard Gagnon licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Flickr

The next day we will make our way to the town of Miandrivazo. It is from here that we will begin our awesome 2-day camping adventure. We will travel along the river and camp out at night, giving us an excellent opportunity to see the local wildlife in it's native habitat. We will see everything from exotic birds to the chameleons that make these forests and waterways their home. We will also get a chance to relax with some swimming in the freshwater pools and freshen up under cool waterfalls. We will also meet fishermen who will sell us fresh fish for dinner see smiling children from the surrounding villages as they follow our boat along the riverbank.

Let’s visit the 4th largest island in the world - Madagascar starting at MadagascarLake Tritriva by Zodago licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Visit the picturesque crater lakes where two young lovers took their own lives when they were forbidden to marry. We will visit the two crater lakes of Andraikiba and Tritriva.  Local legend has it that two young lovers drowned here when they threw themselves in after being forbidden to marry.


Let’s visit the 4th largest island in the world - Madagascar starting at MadagascarZebu Car

Travel in the traditional way, in carts pulled by zebu - a local type of cattle. this will give a picture into the way people live and work. The Island is populated by indigenous people who are descendants of the original settlers from Borneo and their language is in fact distantly related to Bhasa

Let’s visit the 4th largest island in the world - Madagascar starting at MadagascarSunset at Baobab Avenue by Gavinevans licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Itinerary

(schedule may subject to change due to the local arrangement)


Day 1 Meet at Changi Airport and head to Antananarivo


Day 2 Antananarivo to Miandrivazo


Day 3 Tsiribihina River, camping by the river


Day 4 Tsiribihina River, camping by the river


Day 5 Tsiribihina River to Bekopaka


Day 6 Explore Tsingy


Day 7 Bekopaka to Morondava


Day 8 Morondava to Antananarivo to Andasibe


Day 9 Andasibe to Antananarivo


Day 10 Antananarivo to Singapore

Day 11 Reach Singapore