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No journey is complete without Antananarivo and the Central Highlands. The capital city, that goes without saying, is your gateway to this fantastic island continent. The vast majority of the highlands resemble valleys swept away from South East Asia, tightly sculpted with the inevitable rice terraces, draped between the higher peaks. The farming villages welcome you to times long past, traditional crafts and a slow pace. The famous rainforest of Ranomafana is easily accessible from the Route National 7, the main road across the highlands.
Antsiranana (or Diego Suarez) is the northern most city of Madagascar. This colorful and swinging melting pot has stolen our hearts. It is the ideal base camp and starting point for trips to the Three Bays, the Emerald Sea, the Red Tsingy, the razor-sharp Tsingy of Ankarana, the Amber Mountains and the Nosy Be archipelago. Further afield, we use our office in Antsiranana as a coordination center for expeditions to the hard-to-reach national parks of Sahamalaza and Marojejy.
Mahajanga is set along the Betsiboka River delta and the Mozambique Channel. Apart from it being a charming coastal town with a bustling center along the promenade by the sea, there's also lots to see outside of the town. Most visitors head north to explore the area's natural highlights like the Red Circus, the Anjohibe Caves, Lake Kinkony and its endemic birds and the Tsingy of Namoroka. Further afield, about a two hour drive from the city, we find the sprawling, dry forest of Ankarafantsika. There are a number of…
Travelers come to the eastern port of Manakara for 3 good reasons. Firstly, because this is the end station of the notorious jungle train that connects the highlands with the eastcoast. Secondly, because here the multi-day river cruises begin along the reed beds on the vast wetlands of the Pangalanes Canal. And last but not least, Manakara is the starting point of the highly adventurous national route 12, which takes explorers across the misty hills and the mysterious backwaters from the southwest all the way to Tôlanaro.
The very isolated coastal town of Maroantsetra is, next to it being the road's end of the infamous National Route 5, the springboard for the Masoala peninsula. This vast rainforest is the green lung of the southwest Indian Ocean and also one of the world's most biodiverse nature reserves. Her inaccessibility combined with her natural richness makes this area a gem waiting to be discovered.
Nothing appeals to the imagination as much as our fairytale-like Baobab Avenue. This set would not look out of place in a sequel from The Hobbit or any other fantasy movie. Watching a sunset here sends you straight to dreamland. The nearby coastal town of Morondava is the starting point for trips to the Kirindy forest and the Tsingy of Bemaraha, a UNESCO world heritage site. Here also starts the west-south loop following the pristine Mozambique Channel coast along Belo sur Mer, Andavadoaka and Salary, all the way to Toliara.
Toamasina, better know by its former name Tamatave, is the biggest seaport of the country. Apart from that, it is the gateaway to the East and the Island of Sainte Marie. The latter one famous for its pirates history and the annual humpback whale migration. Halfway Antananarivo and Toamasina, we find the rainforests of Andasibe and Mantadia, the natural habitat of the biggest of all living lemurs: the Indri indri. Due to its proximity to the capital, this national park is often chosen as opening destination for a roundtrip. Toamasina…
Tôlanaro is a city on the southeast coast. It has been a port of local importance since the early 1500s. Formerly Fort-Dauphin, it was the first French settlement in Madagascar. Today the region is well-known for its beautiful bays, beaches and surf as well as for being the start point for trips further afield towards the dry south with Cape Sainte Marie and the misty hills of the mysterious southeast.
For many years, the coastal towns of Mangily and Ifaty have proven themselves as the ideal place for a beach break after a trip along the national parks and other highlights along the National Route 7. The springboard for these beach towns is Toliara. The regional airport of this town is very useful for shuttling travelers back and forth after or before their tour. From Toliara you quickly reach the national parks of Isalo and Andringitra (Tsaranoro Valley) as well as the hard-to-reach areas around Anakao and Tsimanampetsotsa.