Madagascar - Baobab & Tsingy Explorer
Love gorgeous landscapes, unusual creatures, and exploring the outdoors? Then why haven’t you been to Madagascar yet? This eight-day adventure introduces you to Africa’s remote island paradise by way of Bekopaka’s famed Baobab Alley, the nocturnal creatures of Kirindy Reserve, the stunning weathered rock formations of the Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve, a canoe ride to caves along the Manambolo River, and maybe even encounters with the odd lemur. Madagascar is one of the most otherworldly places on Earth, and you may not even believe it when you see it.
Sunrise and sunset at Baobab Alley. 4×4 journey between Morondava, Kirindy and Bekopaka. Guided night walk in Kirindy Reserve. Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve guided visit. Canoe excursion on the Manambolo River. All transport between destinations and to/from activities.
Search for lemurs and unique wildlife, experience an unforgettable sunrise and sunset at Baobab Alley, discover nocturnal creatures on a night walk in Kirindy Reserve, explore the peculiar rock formations of the UNESCO classified Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve, explore the Manambolo River on a canoe
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
1. HIKING IN GREAT TSINGY
Hiking the Great Tsingy is more adventurous than the Little Tsingy and involves sections of scrambling on exposed rocks, crossing hanging bridges and large vertical drops. It is not technically difficult, but should not be attempted by the faint hearted or those suffering from vertigo. (The panoramic views are worth the effort though.)
2. DOMESTIC FLIGHTS
Please note that there are limited domestic flight options for internal flights in Madagascar – we are all at mercy of the national carriers schedule, which is often only released 5 months at a time. Though there is normally one flight a day to and from each centre, we have designed the itinerary to work with past and current flight departure times. However, these schedules may change at any time. If you need any assistance in booking your flights to or from Morondava, please contact your agent or our Sales GCO’s.
Drones are NOT allowed in Madagascar at all, and the use of one can result in fines, or even imprisonment. Please do not bring your drone with you.
It may be required to show a Yellow Fever certificate upon entering the country visited. Please check in with your local health expert for advice on Yellow Fever and other inoculations required for this area.
Group Leader Description
Throughout the entire journey around Madagascar, you will be accompanied on your trip by a Chief Experience Officer (CEO). To round out the team, you will be joined by an expert driver. The Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will be the group manager and leader. He/she organizes the trip, and will be there to assist you when needed. He/she will be local to Madagascar, as G Adventures supports local employment, and will have a general knowledge base of the region, history, culture, and wildlife. He/she will take care of the small things so you can concentrate on enjoying your adventure. Your driver is a skilled and experienced driver, and is an integral part of the team. In addition, within the national parks, we engage in expert local guides to lead the hikes and he/she will be able to teach your specifics about the flora and fauna.
Group Size Notes
Max 16, avg 12
4 breakfasts, 4 dinners
When meals are not included, your hotel will have a restaurant or your will be advised of a good local establishment. Part of the excitement of a G Adventures trip is the ability to try local dishes when possible.. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is not expensive. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though, and you may choose to explore some local restaurants on your own or with you travel companion(s).
Private minibus, walking, 4×4, canoe.
We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Simple hotels (3 nts), huts (4 nts).
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned for that day other then your welcome meeting in the evening, so you can arrive at any time.
A G Adventures Representative will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. A welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Representative (Madagascar)
During Office hours (Weekdays, 8am-5pm Local Time): +261 202 202 012
After hours emergency number : +261 32 07 11511
G Adventures Local Office (Nairobi, Kenya)
From outside Kenya: +254 727 208 832
From within Kenya: 0727 208 832
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. Your baggage should be clearly labelled and restricted to one soft compact suitcase, backpack, or sports bag, maximum 20kg, plus a daypack. Luggage limits on airlines are strictly enforced and space on vehicles is limited. Porters are not available, so be prepared to carry your own bags. It is important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings, though the climate in most centres is pleasant. A set of smart casual clothes is also advisable.
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
Note: Please ensure you bring a breathable rain jacket if you are travelling to Madagascar between November and April where the climate is usally hot and rainy.
Some of the hotels will have a laundry service for a fee, and hand washing of clothes can be done in several locations as well. We recommend you bring a non polluting/biodegradable soap, as well as a roll of simple string to act as a drying line for your clothes. If you arrive in the late afternoon, or if there is poor weather, it may not be possible for your clothes to completely dry.
Visas and Entry Requirements
All countries require travellers to have a valid passport (with a minimum of 6 months validity). Please note that upon arrival by air or by land to Madagascar, all non-Malagasy nationals must pay a fee of 120,000 Ariary (about 35 EUR/ 37 USD/ 27 GBP at time of writing) for a tourist visa of 30 days or less (adults and children). Payment for this can be made directly at the border or airport and all major currencies are accepted. We advise our travellers to ensure they have close to the exact amount needed in bills (plus a little extra to account for any fluctuations). Cash is preferred. Any change will be given in Malagasy Ariary.
If you arrive into Ivato Airport (Antananarivo), you should make your way to the border control desk closest to the Direction Generale des Impots (DGI) Office where there is an electronic sign indicating the cost of the visa.
The information above is accurate as of February 22nd, 2018, however we always advise our travellers to check with their Embassy/Consulate for the most up-to-date information as fees and policies frequently change. It is the travellers responsibility to have the correct travel documentation.
It may be required to show a Yellow Fever certificate upon entering the country. Please check in with your local consulate and health expert for advice on Yellow Fever and other inoculations required for this area.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
The currency of Madagascar is the Malagasy Ariary (MGA). We recommend that purchases locally be made in MGA.
Credit cards are useful for cash advances in Antananarivo, but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs.). International debit cards may work as well, especially is they are linked to major credit card networks. Credit cards may sometimes be used for purchases in Antananarivo, but please do not rely on them as a method of payment because they are generally not widely accepted. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies.
ATM’s also have limits on how much money can be taken out at a time, Visa and Mastercard were both accepted.
While ATMs are available in the capital, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Africa. Some travellers have two or more cards which they find will not work in the ATMs. Best to bring large denominations EUR or USD in 50 or 100 notes and change into local currency. You cannot pay in USD dollars.
We do not recommend bringing traveller’s cheques to Madagascar. Additionally, outside of Tana you will find that it is difficult to foreign currency.
Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of Euro and US dollar cash is best, with accessing money via cards second best, and travellers cheques a final back-up choice. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com.
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
USD20, usually included in most international air tickets.
Tipping is an expected, though not compulsory, component of your tour program. The gesture serves as an expression of appreciation for exceptional service, and amounts given are up to your discretion.
Tipping is one of the most direct ways that you can have a positive economic impact within the African community. Although it may not be customary for you, it is an important source of income for those in the tourism industry. Giving a tip should be a seen as a formal ‘thank you’, and the action should in no way be awkward.
The best method of tipping someone that has served the whole group is to plan in advance, and not rush when it comes to saying goodbye. A suggestion would be for each group member to contribute anonymously by putting their tip into an envelope. This often works the best and the group should gather to present the gift to the recipient(s), offering their thanks and showing their appreciation. This method brings the action out into the open, allowing for a friendly and appreciative interaction between the group and the recipient(s).
You may use the following as a guideline, all given in a per person format:
CEO: $5 USD (per day)
Driver: $5 USD (per day)
Supply Crew: $2-5 (per day)
Local guides: $1-3 USD (per couple of hours)
Restaurant/café servers: 10% of the total bill
Hotel porters: $1
Please note that tipping should always be in Ariary if possible, locals find it difficult and time-consuming to have to change EUR/USD tips and therefore always prefer Ariary.
Banks do not accept $100 USD bills.
Please see the itinerary for information on optional activities, descriptions and estimated pricing.
We recommend you contact your family physician, or your local travel clinic for the most up-to-date health information at least one month before departure. Travellers should also carry a basic first-aid kit and hand sanitizers/antibacterial wipes on their travels. Medical facilities are basic throughout these countries. For your own safety, we strongly recommend that you advise your tour leader of any medical condition that may affect you while travelling with the group. Your tour leader will be able to inform you of local health advisories (e.g. drinking water quality). Please ensure you have all the inoculations recommended by your doctor.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our leaders work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
Please note that all passengers traveling to Antarctica are required to fill out this questionnaire.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at www.gadventures.com/medical-form.
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
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You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
PRODUCT_LINE: DMMM, ID: 24931
Day 1 Morondava
There are no planned activities until an evening welcome meeting.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Morondava/Kirindy Forest (1D)
An early start to the day to see the sunrise at the Baobab Alley. Continue to Kirindy Forest Reserve, where you may be lucky enough to spot the giant jumping rat, or Fossa, the largest carnivore on the island. This evening, enjoy a night walk, the highlight of a visit to Kirindy.
Baobab Alley at Sunrise
Kirindy Forest Night Walk
4×4 (3.00-4.00 hours, 60km)
Day 3 Kirindy Forest/Bekopaka (1B, 1D)
Load into 4×4′s and head out on sandy roads heading north to Bekopaka, before arriving cross the Tsiribihina and Manambolo rivers by local ferry.
4×4 (5.00-6.00 hours, 150km)
Day 4 Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park (1B, 1D)
Morning canoe adventure on the Manambolo River, with an afternoon exploring the Little Tsingy’s.
Canoe the Manambola River
Little Tsingy Visit
Day 5 Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park (1B, 1D)
Enjoy a full day exploring the peculiar rock formations of the ‘Great Tsingy’.
Hiking the Great Tsingy is more adventurous than the Little Tsingy and involves sections of scrambling on exposed rocks, crossing hanging bridges and large vertical drops. It is not technically difficult, but should not be attempted by the faint hearted or those suffering from vertigo. (The panoramic views are worth the effort though.) If you do not want to visit Great Tsingy on this day, there are alternatives to spend an additional day in Little Tsingy.
Great Tsingy Visit
Day 6 Bekopaka/Morondava (1B)
The sandy track leads back to Morondava passing through Baobab Alley in time for sunset.
Sunset at Baobab Alley
4×4 (9.00 hour(s), 220km)
Day 7 Morondava
Opt for a group farewell dinner as the trip draws to an end.
Day 8 Morondava
Depart at any time.
Please contact your booking agent if you would like to book post-tour accommodation, or a flight to Antananarivo.
Departure Day (Activities)