Red Itinerary, around Mahajanga the Cosmopolite

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Western Madagascar is highly influenced by the Menabe Kingdom (literally meaning ‘very red’). The Betsiboka river drains laterite and the red earth is everywhere. Many stories between myth and reality relate the blood shed during the slaughter of crocodiles…

From Antananarivo to Majunga

12 days / 10 nights, 966 € per person*

 

Contact us to request a quotation online  Flights search

 

(*) based on 2 passengers / not including flights, contact us for more information.

From Menabe to the Boina region, the long journey of the sakalava kingdoms

« Ny andriana no manjaka ny vahoaka. If the King reigns it’s through his people. »

Malagasy proverb

In Mahajunga they say you need to walk seven times around the big baobab tree at the seafront to truly benefit from your expedition – chance would then follow you if you’d follow the circular path around the sacred tree. And if you ask the noada – the ancient ones – they would tell you a strange story : this baobab tree comes from the Morondava region where it was planted at the end of the 18th century by some Sakalava princes of the Menabe region. The tree supposedly takes roots in the gold of the kingdom financier’s buried treasures.

Today, when we travel across the Ambato Boeni, the Morombe, the Belo-Tsiribihina and the Maintirano regions, we see that the earth bears the mark of these ancient kingdoms. The doany (sanctuaries) rise above hills, the heirs of dynasties meet and underneath their red and gold lambaoany (equivalent of a sarong) the eyes of the sakalava countrywomen shine as bright as those of the forgotten princesses. Then it’s time to sit back and listen to the history of the five-century tale. In the 16th century, population groups from the East, settled near Toliara before beginning a journey along the Mozambique canal up North.

 

Your journey day by day…

DAY 1

PARIS – ANTANANARIVO

Recommendations: arriving at least 3 hours before the time of the check-in at the CDG or Orly airport according to the airline. Meal and breakfast will be served on board.

In Antananarivo – once the formalities are completed (visa, authorities, health) – a Jacaranda representative will welcome you… and say hello to Madagascar!

DAY 2

ANTANANARIVO – ANKARAFANTSIKA

Departure from ANTANANARIVO on bush taxi and your immediately in character.

ANKARAFANTSIKA is located 70 miles away from MAJUNGA. It’s a permanent den to birds like the African fish eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) and lemurs like the Microcebus lemur (the smallest of them all). You’ll also meet other permanent residents like chameleons, iguanas, snakes and fresh water turtles. ANKARAFANTSIKA flora is also very diverse.

DAY 3

ANKARAFANTSIKA – MAJUNGA

On the road, achar (pickle) shops…

The Top of the Lake circuit

Dedicated to the Ravelobe lake, the circuit will allow you to gaze at this beautiful lake from an impressive vantage. During the crossing, you’ll discover birds : the flycatcher, the Malagasy magpie-robin and bulbul, the blue coua and the drongo. It’ will also be the perfect occasion to get to know some medicinal plants like the Adenia, the Vanilla madagascariensis and the Tamarind.

DAY 4

MAJUNGA – ANJOHIBE

Anjohibe

Easily accessible by a path across the savanna and the cashew plantations, ANJOHIBE presents various touristic appeal that deserve at least a night of the tour.

The caves are a network of communicating halls running for miles: numerous limestone concretion making impressive stalactites and stalagmites rising over 10 meters. It’s the most significant speleological site in Madagascar.

DAY 5

ANJOHIBE

The caves of ANJOHIBE

Scenes from the daily life, the visit of the Antanamarina school, the caves and de natural pool, the Mahafanina falls and the Sifara lemurs are part of the tour…

DAY 6

ANJOHIBE – MAJUNGA

MAJUNGA and the Red Circus

Different « circus » due to the intense erosion of the ground made out of several layers of colorful sandstone (green and pastel pink, ochre, bright yellow and hematite) are part of the places of interest to see, especially in the late afternoon.

DAY 7

MAJUNGA

Marovoay

Crocodile hunting was a significant activity in this area at the beginning of the 20th century and the city-state adopted the saurian on its coat of arms.

Formal capital of the Sakalava kingdom in Boina (Boeny), MAROVOAY was chosen for its ideal location: build on the shores of the Betsiboka estuary, 40 miles away from the inland. The city has exceptional communication towards the Mozambique canal.

Even today, MAROVOAY plays an important part in agriculture thanks to the large rice cultivation plain. By visiting MAJUNGA, you’ll see those vast squared-patterned expanses – flooded during rain season – from the nearby hills.

DAYS 8 and 9

MAJUNGA

Two day of rest and leisure on the bank of the Mozambique canal.

DAY 10

MAJUNGA – ANTANANARIVO

Trip back to ANTANANARIVO in (first class!) bush taxi all day, and just like on Day 2, there will be a lunch break and some other « technical breaks » like some of the locals say.

DAY 11

ANTANANARIVO

Mass of the Chiffonniers

Over 5000 people attend this nonstandard mass and you will be able to visit some villages founded by Father Pedro Opeka, the founder of the non-governmental organization Akamasoa.

Markets and the capital, ANTANANARIVO, before setting out again.

ANTANANARIVO has several hundreds staircases – from the most basic to the most imposing, according to the differences in altitude and the neighborhoods.

The Ranavalona staircases has 168 steps. It goes past the Regional Tourism Office of Analamanga and is the fastest shortcut from the lower city to the Independence Square. The longest staircase is the Razafindrazay with 480 steps; it connects the Mahamasina basin to the upper city.

ANTANANARIVO is the focal point of the island’s craftsmanship and the craft markets display these assets. The Malagasy artisans know how to make the best out every material: from wood to ore, from fabric to Zebu horn. Many districts shelter specialized shops and many of them highlight the work on zafimaniry wood and the raw silk that can only be found in Madagascar.

The « Pavilions » of Analakely are the last remnants of the Zoma, the former biggest open market in the world. Quaint with the maze-like paths where the bargains are whispered, everything can be found from cooked meats to wedding accessories, medicinal plants and trinkets.

DAY 12

ANTANANARIVO – PARIS

Flight to PARIS. It is time to go home because all good things must come to an end!

Your pictures, videos and stories have always been the material for our website and our brochures…if you agree? To be continued for another travel tale!

 

Map of your trip

 

Recap of this itinerary

Etapes : Antananarivo, Ankarafantsika, Majunga, Anjohibe, Marovoay.

 

panoramicview Reserves and national parks: Ankarafantsika, les grottes d’Anjohibe.

 

lodging_0star Accommodation: charming little hotels and guest rooms.

 

 

Price for this 12 days/10 nights trip

Number of participants 2 pers. minimum Extra single room
Price per person
(flight notincluded)
966 € 239 €

 

Contact us to request a quotation online  Flights search

 

The services include:

  • Accommodation in local standard hotel
  • Touristic thumbnails
  • Half board with breakfast, except on DAY 1
  • Transportation airport / hotel / airport
  • Every visit and trip mentioned in the program
  • Entrance to National Parks and nature reserve, with local guides

 

Are not included:

  • International flights and taxes Paris / Antananarivo / Paris beginning at 895 €
  • Domestic flights and taxes if applicable
  • Visa fees (in 2016 ~ 30 euros for a stay shorter than 30 days)
  • Meals not mentioned in the program
  • Soft drinks
  • Recommended repatriation insurance (30 €)
  • Complementary insurance (cancellation, luggage, interruption of stay …)
  • Excursions not mentioned in the program
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses

 

Police formalities and health recommendations:

  • Valid passport 6 months after the end of the trip
  • No vaccination required
  • Vaccines recommended by the WHO for tropical countries (tetanus, polio, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, diphtheria)
  • Treatment against malaria (savarine or other) highly recommended