> Discovering the Pangalanes Canal
DISCOVERING THE PANGALANES CANAL 1st day: ANTANANARIVO On your getting off the plane at the air terminal, Holidays Madagascar’s representatives will come to meet you then you’ll be presented your stay programme and given your travel documents. Transfer to your hotel where you’ll deposit your luggage, then city sightseeing by car. Independent lunch by midday. In the afternoon continuation of the tour of Antananarivo “the city with one thousand warriors” Settling down at the hotel. 2nd day: ANTANANARIVO – ANTSIRABE You'll be taken along the National 7 across undulating hills, plains, and ricefields forming a variously coloured mosaïc like a giant's patchwork. At Ambatolampy, a stop to visit a workshop salvaging and transforming aluminium into diverse cookery utensils and pots... Arrival at Antsirabe, the spa, by midday. Independent lunch. In the afternoon, this tour will take you to visit a lapidary's, a workshop where horn is wrought, and a workshop making sweets in the traditional method. You'll see how the unprocessed stone in transformed into jewels or how zebu's horn is wrought in order to give decorative objets d'art. After a tour of the town, visit to the crater lakes marked by the legends of Andraikiba and Tritriva. Return to town in the early evening, dinner and settling down at the hotel. 3rd day:ANTSIRABE-FIANARANTSOA You'll continue southward. You'll cross a very mountainous area, and occasionally, you will see villages with terraced ricefields below. The architecture of the houses always with the typical Highlands pillars. Here we are in the Zafimaniry's area, the Zafimaniry or « descendants of those who wish something » (They are masters in wood carving) Ambositra the handicrafts capital. A halt to visit a wood-carving and marquetry workshop. With restricted means and a lot of art and ingenuity, the craftsman can make objets d'arts for us. Arrival in Fianarantsoa, « The place where good is taught », the Betsileo tribe's capital city, the most religious town of Madagascar. Fianarantsoa has the same configuration as Antananarivo as it also has its upper part, its stairs, its side-streets, and its houses with wooden veranda.Dinner and overnight stay at your hotel. 4th day:FIANARANTSOA-MIZILO-MANANJARY Departure on the cliff little train, linking the central Highlands to the eastern coastal plain. The railway was built from rails confiscated from the Germans in Alsace when they were defeated in the First World War. The railway line, in a hilly area in the middle of luxuriant vegetation, crosses lively villages. The passing train in each station is always a weird event with fruit sellers, bun-sellers and fried food sellers who are swarming around the train on its entering the station. We get off at Mizilo station where our car is waiting for us. Along the road, coffee-trees, clove-trees and jack fruit trees, a mixture of spice smells and fragrances up to the town of Mananjary on the border of the Indian Ocean. Arrival in the late afternoon. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel. 5th day :MANANJARY – AMBOHITSARA by the Pangalanes Canal Boarding and embarking for Ambohitsara 60 Km from North Mananjary. The Canal offers scenery about daily life in symbiosis with a natural environment that is marked by legends and beliefs. A little halt to visit Mahela and see « Jean LABORDE'S ANCHOR »: Jean Laborde was Queen Ranavalona I's architect and a man she trusted particularly (She reigned from 1828 to 1861). Arrival at Ambohitsara at noon. Discovering of the « white elephant », an enigmatic statue that represents an elephant rather than a boar. Its trunk is clearly seen, and so are its broken tusks. According to the legend, Raminia brought it back from La Mecque. Drifting along the cruise, meeting with the « bush-boats » and the pirogues. Overnight stay, half board at the inn. 6th day:AMBOHITSARA – MASOMELOKA by the Pangalanes Canal Go on to Masomeloka village. Luxuriant vegetation : forests of bamboo trees, palm-trees, ferns, pandanus, raffia, elephant's ears, allamanda, aquatic plants and the comet, a rare orchid species of Madagascar on the banks of the Pangalanes Canal. It also gives the opportunity to discover varieties of typical species of avian wildlife of Madagascar owing to the existence of dendrocynes, kingfishers, budgerigars, greenbacked heron, ... A little stop in Nosy Varika's village, a really lively space with unusual scenes would be planned. Picnic lunche on board. Wandering along the Canal we reach Masomeloka late in the afternoon. Overnight stay, half board at the gîte. 7th day:MASOMELOKA - MAHANORO by the Pangalanes Canal Boarding and continuation of the navigation. A little halt at Ampangalana, a small village nestling against the bank of the Canal. Picnic luncheon on board. The fishermen's pirogues pass by us in this verdant network of lakes and lagoons forming the famous Canal. The passing of the mouth of the Mangoro River with its strong currents contrasting with the peaceful Canal constitutes one of the strong points of this last day. Going forward to Mahanoro by the small canal leading to the mouth of the river. We'll reach Mahanoro town in the early afternoon. Landing at the river port. Setting at the hotel in « falafa » bungalows Free time in the afternoon. Possibility of a walking tour around the town. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel. 8th day: MAHANORO - ANDASIBE The tour begins with a drive to Andasibe; along the road bordered by forests of eucalyptus and grevilia up to Vatomandry, you have the opportunity to see the Pangalanes Canal, from time to time. Independent lunch during the tour. The traveller's tree is omnipresent until your arrive at Andasibe National Park which shelters the Indri, the biggest lemur of Madagascar. Apart from the Indri Indri and its famous vocal song one can count ten other varieties of lemurs in the park. Orchids, fern trees, lichens, numerous birds and other species of the vegetal and animal world make Nature Kingly here. Visit to the park in the afternoon. Overnight stay and dinner at the hotel. 9th day: ANDASIBE-ANTANANARIVO Go back on the road. After Moramanga, a historical site where the National Insurrection for the Independence of the country in 1947 began, here we are at the foot of the big cliff of Imerina. Before tackling the ascent, a stop to visit Peyrieras reserve. Chameleons, butterflies and insects, batrachians, bats, crocodiles, and bird will be waiting there and you'll take a great pleasure watching them. Independent lunch. Arrival in Antananarivo in the middle of the afternoon. Free time at the end of the day. Dinner and overnight stay at your hotel 10th day: ANTANANARIVO Day in your charge. A car will be at your disposal. Possibility of buying souvenirs. Independent lunch In the early evening transfer to the airport for the return flight.
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