The expedition with an ethnographer to the kingdom of endemic, to the ceremony of the "resurrection of the dead" and in Tsingy-de-Bemarah


July 27 to August 8, 2023
Tour Madagascar

Madagascar tour, island tour, whale watching, Cingis, lemurs, St. Mary's Island, baobab alley

Dance with the dead man and his family at Famadikhan's shocking exhumation ceremony. Cross the bridge that "floats" over the ancient "stone forest" of Tsingy de Bemaraha. Meet the island's many endemics and explore its bizarre flora and fauna. Listen pirate stories in the land of former Libertalia. And together with scientists, contribute to the protection of humpback whales.
Expedition to the wonderful world of Madagascar will be held in the company of
traveling journalist and keen ethnographer.
Dates: July 27 - August 8, 2023

Duration: 13 days / 12 nights

Number of participants: 6– 11


Day 1. July 27, 2023 (Thursday). ARRIVAL TO MORONDAVA

Tonga soa! Bienvenue! Welcome to Morondava, a resort town located in the delta of the river of the same name in the west of Madagascar and adorning the coast of the Mozambique Channel.
Fly to Antananarivo and then flight to Morondava with local Tsaradia flight TZ702 from Antananarivo arriving to Morondava at 13:10.
Meeting at Morondava airport and transfer to the hotel. Rest, free time.

Accommodation included: Chez Maggie Hotel (or similar)
Meals Included: No

* Recommended flight from Moscow to Antananarivo:
- Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 761, departing from Moscow on July 25 at 22:00 and arriving in Addis Ababa at 6:00 on July 26, and then Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 853, departing from Addis Ababa on July 26 at 8:50 and arriving to Antananarivo at 13:40 (an extra night at the hotel in Antananarivo is required, to be paid separately);
- or any other international flight convenient for you, arriving in Antananarivo no later than 8:00 am on July 27, allowing you to catch the Tsaradia flight TZ702, departing from Antananarivo to Morondava at 12:00 noon on July 27.
* Recommended flight from Antananarivo to Morondava:
- Flight TZ702 of the local Tsaradia from Antananarivo to Morondava, departing on July 27 at 12:00 pm, arriving in Morondava on July 27 at 13:10.

Day 2. July 28, 2023 (Friday). BAOBAB ALLEY - KIRINDY (60 km, about 2 hours)

Breakfast and departure to Kirindi. We pass the famous Baobab Alley, as well as embracing baobabs in love, on the way to the Kirindi Nature Reserve, a dry forest that is endangered and is home to a huge number of endemic animals.
Kirindi has the highest concentration of primates in the world, eight species of lemurs, among them the crested sifaka and the world's smallest primate, the pygmy mouse lemur. The forest is home to 23 species of other mammals, including Madagascar's top predator, the fossa (a cross between a cat and a mongoose the size of a small puma) and the voalavo (a giant hamster with large ears and a tail). You can also see several endangered bird species, a variety of reptiles and amphibians, including a strange sharp-nosed snake, and about 90 species of butterflies.
We are waiting for a night walk through the forest in search of rare nocturnal wild animals. Overnight at the hotel.

Accommodation included: Relais du Kirindy (or similar)
Meals included: breakfast

Day 3. July 29, 2023 (Saturday). KIRINDI - BEKOPAKA (160 km, 7 hours)

Early in the morning we will take a walk through the Kirindi forest to get acquainted with the local inhabitants.
Then we will have a bumpy and winding road to Belo-sur-Tsiribikhin, an adventure designed for advanced travelers. Upon reaching the commune, we will stop to take a breath and taste the local cuisine, after which we will continue to the village of Bacopaca, the gateway to the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tsingy (translated from Malagasy - "where you can't walk barefoot") is a plateau that rises above the valley of the Manambulu River, an ancient "stone forest" in the form of sharp limestone needles sticking out of the ground for several hundred meters. It is also home to a huge number of wild animals and plants. The park is divided into two parts: Small Tsingy and Big Tsingy.

Accommodation included: Olympe de Bemaraha (or similar)
Meals included: breakfast

Day 4. July 30, 2023 (Sunday). TSYNGY-DE-BEMARAKHA

Breakfast. We go for a walk through the Small Tsingy, a labyrinth of limestone formations, canyons and caves. From the observation decks we will have beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.
On pirogues through the mangroves, we will climb the Manambolo River to the gorge, where we will visit stalactite and stalagmite caves and see from afar the burial places of the Vazimba tribe - the ancestors of modern Malagasy. The members of the tribe were undersized people or even, as the researchers do not exclude, pygmies. In deep caves located among sharp peaks, they performed religious rituals.

Accommodation included: Olympe de Bemaraha (or similar)
Meals included: breakfast

Day 5. July 31, 2023 (Monday). TSYNGY NATIONAL PARK

Getting up early in the morning, we will prepare for a busy trip to Tsingy. The path to them from the entrance to the reserve is only 17 km, but it can take up to three hours. Before heading through the stone forest, we will fasten safety belts with carabiners for safe movement along steep mountain paths. The limestone battlements are located so close to each other that the area becomes practically impassable for humans, which cannot be said about lemurs, of which there are a great many.
Grabbing the sharp teeth with our hands, we will climb up the limestone to the observation deck. The trail isn't technically difficult, but looking down from the suspension bridge is something to avoid for people who faint easily. From the peaks of the reserve, we will have a fantastic view: a space covered with sharp tops of the stone jungle, resembling the needles of a giant sea urchin.

An alternative route is possible.

Accommodation included: Olympe de Bemaraha (or similar)
Meals included: breakfast and lunch (picnic)

Day 6. August 1, 2023 (Tuesday). BEKOPAKA - MORONDAVA (200 km, 8 hours)

After breakfast, we set off on our way back to Morondava - about 200 km of off-road and two ferry crossings are waiting for us again. Lunch in Belo-sur-Tsiribihina. Toward evening, we will see a picture that promises stunning photographs: an alley of baobabs in the rays of the setting sun.

Accommodation included: Chez Maggie Hotel (or similar)
Meals included: breakfast

Day 7. August 2, 2023 (Wednesday). MORONDAVA

A leisurely day in Morondava that will allow us to rest and recover from an intense journey. In the morning we will sit in a traditional pirogue or wade across the lagoon (depending on the tide) to visit the neighboring authentic village of Vezo (a semi-nomadic people living on fishing), get acquainted with their way of life and way of life. For lunch we will taste the freshest seafood in one of the eateries of Morondava. Then - free time, during which you can walk around the picturesque town or relax on one of the best beaches on the island.
Those who want to arrange a photo session again on the alley of baobabs can go to this iconic place for photographers.

Accommodation included: Chez Maggie Hotel (or similar)
Meals included: breakfast


After breakfast, transfer to Morondava airport. At 13:45, departure by flight TZ703 of the local air carrier Tsaradia to the capital. At 14:55 arrival in Antananarivo (or Tana, as the locals affectionately call the Madagascar capital).
Through rice fields, forests and waterfalls, our path lies to Andazib (about 4.5 hours on the road). Late arrival and check-in at the lodge.

Accommodation included: Vakona Forest Lodge (or similar)
Meals included: breakfast

* Recommended flight from Morondava to Antananarivo:
- Flight TZ703 of the local carrier Tsaradia from Morondava to Antananarivo, departing Morondava on August 3 at 13:45, arriving in Antananarivo on August 3 at 14:55.


After breakfast, we set off for a walk around the enclave of small islands, where several species of lemurs reign. These primates are afraid of water, so they cannot run far. Today we are guaranteed a close acquaintance and an impressive photo shoot with these amazing creatures.
Then, in the Analamazoatra reserve, we will try to find the largest lemur in Madagascar - indri, endemic to this area, capable of jumping 10 meters in length. We will be able to see other inhabitants of this park and endemic flora, including various types of orchids and medicinal plants.
On the way to Antananarivo, we will visit the Maruzevu Reserve, where numerous chameleons, geckos, bats, endemic frogs, tenrecs (local hedgehogs) and other exotic animals live. Here, among other things, you can see the Madagascar centipede. "When the lemurs bite her head lightly, she releases a poison in defense, which has an intoxicating effect on primates. In the evening check-in at the hotel.

Accommodation included: Hotel Citizen (or similar)
Meals included: breakfast

Day 10. August 5, 2023 (Saturday). ANTANANARIVO - FAMADIKHANA CEREMONY (170 km, 4 hours)

Today we have an early check out. We go to the ritual ceremony of "turning the bones" - Famadihanu, practiced by the highland tribes of the Merina and Betsileo.
In every family, this joyful event is held every 5-10 years from the moment of burial of a relative in order to communicate and remember a loved one. In a festive atmosphere, with music and dancing, the remains of a family member are removed from the tomb, wrapped in a new burial shroud and carried in a circle (sometimes even through the whole village), telling him about the latest news until sunset. Locals believe that while the body has not decomposed, the deceased does not leave the world of the living completely, remains able to maintain contact with them.
Overnight in Antsirabe.

Accommodation included: Hotel Plumeria (or similar)
Meals included: breakfast (in boxes) and lunch

Day 11. August 6, 2023 (Sunday). ANTSIRABE - ANTANANARIVO (170 km, 4 hours)

We'll get up early again to make it to the airport. Moving to Antananarivo. At 13:40, Tsaradia flight TZ530 will take you to Saint Mary's Island, or Nosy Baja in Malagasy. Now the island bears this name, although back in the 18th century, when Libertalia presumably flourished on it, the island was not on any map. In 1731, according to its coordinates, an alarming label "Pirate Island" appeared on shipping charts. On this piece of land, which lay not far from the sea trade route to the West Indies, numerous sea robbers rested after robberies: they divided the booty, arranged feasts and buried their comrades. Among them were such notorious historical figures as William Kidd, Edward Teach and Olivier Levasseur. To this day, the bays of the island store their broken ships.
Arrival on the island at 14:45. Transfer and check-in at the hotel. Free time. The rest of the day can be devoted to snorkeling, fishing, jet skiing around the island, walking or cycling (on request).

Accommodation included: Lakana Hotel (or similar)
Meals included: breakfast

*Recomended flight from Antananarivo to Sent-Mari:
Flight TZ530 with local aircompany Tsaradia departing on August 6 at 13:40 and arriving to Sent-Mari on August 6 at 14:45

Day 12. August 7, 2023 (Monday). SENT-MARI: WHALES AND PIRATES

Breakfast. As part of the research group, we go to observe humpback whales, which from June to September migrate to local waters from Antarctica to breed. Today humpbacks are endangered - before they dissapear, we will do our part to save this species. During the exploration, each of us will play our part, and we will also photograph and record whale calls underwater. The data we have collected will add to the global database for further study and conservation of whales. At noon we will return to the hotel for debriefing.
In the afternoon we will visit the only pirate cemetery in the world. It is located on a picturesque hill surrounded by the ocean. Windswept and sunlit, this place perfectly reflects the free spirit of the adventurers buried here. The cemetery can be reached by a narrow stone path or a pirogue (depending on the tide).

Accommodation included: Lakana Hotel (or similar)
Meals included: breakfast

Day 13. August 8, 2023 (Tuesday). SENT-MARI - ANTANANARIVO - RETURN FLIGHT

Breakfast at the hotel and final boat trip for humpback whale watching and data collection with the research team. After that, transfer to the airport. At 13:20 departure to Antananarivo with Tsaradia flight TZ531. Check-in for the flight and international flight home.

Accommodation included: no
Meals included: breakfast

* Recommended flight from Sainte Marie to Antananarivo:
- Tsaradia domestic carrier flight TZ531 from Sainte Marie to Antananarivo, departing on August 8 at 13:20, arriving in Antananarivo on August 8 at 14:25.
* Recommended flight from Antananarivo to Moscow:
- Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 852 departing from Antananarivo on August 9 at 14:40 and arriving in Addis Ababa at 19:20 on August 9, and onward Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 760 departing from Addis Ababa on August 9 at 23:30 and arriving to Moscow on August 10 at 7:40 am (requires an additional night in a hotel in Antananarivo, paid separately);
- or any other international flight convenient for you, departing from Antananarivo no earlier than 20:00 on August 8.

* The tour operator accepts no responsibility for any changes to local airline schedules that may occur after booking. We will do our best to mitigate any violation of the approved itinerary, but cannot be held responsible for any loss of funds, bookings, missed connections or other chargeable services. The itinerary is subject to change due to schedules and availability of domestic flights. Travel insurance is highly recommended.

Cost includes:

· double/twin accommodation in comfortable hotels and lodges as per the program
· meals: breakfasts everyday and picnic in Tsingy National Park (on day 5) and lunch in Antsirabe on day 10
· comfortable transportation with the driver and air conditioner: minibus on the part Antananarivo-Andasibe-Antananarivo and Antananarivo-Antsirabe-Antananarivo and 4*4 car on other part of itinerary (3 passengers in the car)
· boats with crew
· all transfers
· accompaniment of experienced local English-speaking guides and Russian and English speaking team leader throughout the trip
· certified english-speaking local guides
·all national park and reserves fees and admission tickets to the all sights and activities
· communities support

Cost excludes (to be additionally paid):

- international flight to Antananarivo and back,
- 4 local air flights: Antananarivo - Morondava - Antananarivo and Antananarivo - Sainte Marie - Antananarivo,
- international health insurance,
- Madagascar visa (on arrival for 35 euros),
- lunches (except days 5 and 10) and dinners;
- beverages;
- free time activities
- personal expenses;
- single occupancy;
- tips.

To bring along:

· Sets of clothing suitable for weather conditions, including sets of light clothing (shorts, T-shirts),
· long-sleeved shirts and long trousers for protection from insects
· just in case (including for the plane), one set of warm clothes (sweatshirt or light windbreaker),
· hats: baseball cap/hat/sun hat and hat
· bathing suits/swimming trunks
· raincoat
· trekking closed shoes and comfortable light shoes (sneakers)
· Mosquito net
· Personal hygiene products
· Personal medicines (including analgesics, antiseptics, · antibiotics, medicines necessary for you personally, antiviral, intestinal, multivitamins, rehydron, plaster)
· Sun and wind protection (cream)
· Sunglasses
· repellents: sprays, creams
· Large backpack for things (or trunk, or a small suitcase),
· a small backpack for radial exits (25 - 30 l)
· Head Torch
· favorite foods (chocolate, nuts)
· photo and video equipment, drone, spare batteries

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