Join World Youth Adventures for this breathtaking and intrepid Biology-Geography expedition deep into the natural paradise of Madagascar. Crossing from one side of the island by way of canoe, jeep and foot, this itinerary takes in numerous national parks and fascinating local communities. Two of the particular highlights of the trip are a three day expedition down the winding Manambolo River, sleeping on the banks each night and enjoying camp food under the stars. The trip finishes with a dedicated research project which your students can engage with, deep in the forest of Madagascar's eastern Ranomafana National Park. This is sure to be an unforgettable experience for those who come, and a genuine opportunity to see one of the planet's most unique countries and cultures.
THIS IS A SAMPLE BIOLOGY ITINERARY AND CAN BE ADAPTED TO THE EXACT GOALS, BUDGET AND DATES OF YOUR OWN SCHOOL GROUP!
Welcome to Madagascar! Upon arrival in Antananarivo you will be collected by your friendly local guides and transferred directly to the centrally located Hotel. here you will have a group meeting over a delicious welcome dinner to discuss the trip and all things Madagascar!
After a group breakfast at the hotel you will drive to the village of Ampefy, across the volcanic and hilly terrain of central Madagascar to the Itasy region. Here we will enjoy a long walk around the beautiful lake to take in the sweeping views followed by a group dinner to sample some more tasty local food.
This morning we will drive to Belobaka, most likely passing convoys of zebu cattle, pulling their loads of vegetables and fruit to market for their owners to sell. Off the main highway and onto winding dirt roads through valleys we will reach the village of Belobaka. This is the last settlement before we travel into the western arid zones of Madagascar. We will set up camp this evening and spend our first night under the stars and enjoy some camp cooking with our local team.
Early this morning we will be accompanied by luggage porters and guides as we trek across the varied and unique landscapes of bush, forest, hills and the interesting Lavaka (small canyon) formations. Continuing along local paths used only by farmers and rural settlers, we will reach our chosen campsite and set up our tents again, after a fantastic day enjoying the nature and wildlife that this special region has to offer.
After breakfast you will follow a clear, bubbling stream that follows an escarpment covered with trees and bushes, looking out for birds and insects along the way, until we eventually reach the village of Ankavandra, which is the end of the hike, and the start of our canoe journey. After some lunch in the village, we will begin the river section of our expedition, and will be joined by guides and cooks from Ankvandra who know this river like the back of their hands. After a group ‘fomba’ ritual to bless your journey with the locals, you will embark into the canoes and head down the river with the current. Passing wildlife, settlements and interesting scenery you will camp on a wide sandbank, set up your gear, have some dinner, and drift off to sleep to the sound of the river.
(5 hours trekking + 2 hours canoeing)
Today we will spend all day paddling down this wonderful river, stopping for breaks to eat and to view the wildlife and appreciate Madagascar’s nature. This evening we will find a flat sandbank to set up our tents, and using the overturned canoes as tables with a tablecloth we will enjoy dinner in this very unique location, far from the interference of the outside world.
Waking up to nature’s orchestra of insects and birds, we will continue in convoy down the current, hopefully interacting with some local fisherman along the way and learning about the communities that live along the riverbanks and who use the water for their livelihoods and survival. Overnight camp on another sandy beach.
We will end the canoe journey this morning and say goodbye to our boatmen and crew, before exploring more of this astonishing region by foot. We will head down into a canyon embedded in lush vegetation, which has been shaped by flowing water over millennia, creating beautiful and refreshing rock pools where you can swim and enjoy the cool water. After continuing along the river on foot we will sleep in a spot under some mango trees close to the canyons.
(2 hours canoeing – 2 hours trekking)
We will enjoy a trip by 4 wheel drive vehicles through some of the most beautiful parts of Tsingy Bemaraha, a stnning UNESCO World Heritage site of jagged limestone figures sculpted through history by the forces of wind and water. After a walking tour with a chance to see the famous lemurs and to learn about the flora and fauna of the park, we will camp near the village of Bekopaka.
After breakfast we will drive towards Belo Tsiribihina and continue along a dry track, surrounded by grassland and dotted with small local settlements. This is a wild part of the country and we should really feel like we are deep into the natural world. At Belo we will take lunch in a local restaurant before crossing the river Tsiribihina by a small ferry. We will arrive in Kirindi in the early afternoon, home to the island’s most abundant and beautiful wildlife including the giant jumping rat, seven types of lemur (including the pygmy mouse lemur – the world’s smallest primate), numerous bird species and plenty of colourful reptiles such as chameleons (2 hours walking).
This morning we will carry on viewing the varied and colourful wildlife with our guides, learning about the ecosystem here and taking photographs. After lunch you will drive to Morondava via the world famous Alle des Baobabs to see this unique African tree in all its glory. We will arrive later in the evening for dinner and bed.
We will drive to Miandrivazo, a small town on the edge of the Tsirbihina river, continuing southwest across more wild landscapes. After a picnic lunch we will continue to the home of ‘pousse-pousee’ or rickshaws. Green rice paddies surround the town where we will stay the night after a visit to its energetic market, in this very different region of the country. With a higher rainfall, the territory is much greener with more vegetation which has affected the way people live their lives and develop their culture.
On your way to the research base at Ranomafana we will stop at Ambositra, the Zafimaniry capital that has been recognised by UNESCO for it stunning wood art sculptures and crafts. You can visit some of the shops that specialise in the skill before continuing on the road to the tropical village of Ranomafana to stay the night in your hotel.
Today we will begin our four days of research and activity projects based around some biological issues specific to the group’s curriculum and learning aims. With a wide variety of endemic species and unique ecosystems, many of which are under threat, this is a terrific opportunity to widen your understanding of Madagascar’s flora and fauna. Centre ValBio, associated with Stony Brook University New York, is the backbone and driving force behind a 26 year long conservation project of nearly unparalleled importance in tropical rainforest ecosystems. The combination of conservation and cutting-edge research and community outreach make it a model for integrated research in remote settings. We will stay each night at the hotel in Ranomafana village.
This morning, after a week of exciting and unique fieldwork in the National Park we will drive back to the capital, stopping for lunch in a local restaurant along the way. Arriving into the town in the late afternoon to freshen up and enjoy another group dinner. We can depart later this evening, or early tomorrow morning depending on your group's flight schedule.
Per Person, Twin Share