Located in southwestern Madagascar, the Makay massif is an exceptional natural site of 4,000 km²! A rocky massif featuring extraterrestrial geomorphology, a labyrinth of deep canyons lined with primary forests, new species of fauna and flora… Exploring this site is a privilege! Difficult access and taboos (fady) preventing locals from entering the site have made the Makay massif a nature sanctuary!
Before arriving at the Makay massif, we suggest an urban ramble in the Malagasy capital: Antananarivo or the “city of a thousand”. A long trip of 620 km separates us from our main destination. During 5 days, we will discover areas of exceptional richness and beauty, including the Tsiribihina River, small dry forests, atypical villages, a succession of rivers (including the great Sakeny River), a savannah landscape…
On the 6th day, we start our itinerant excursion in the north of the Makay massif, passing through the Andranomita cave. Mosses, ferns and palm trees line the gorges. It is a sanctuary for the Fulvus rufus and Prophitecus verraux lemurs. The rivers run along the bottom of the massif and we will camp on the edge of one of them between the large dark cliffs.
The second week of your stay in Madagascar takes us to the deep gorge of the Samakaly River. Any trekking and outdoor sports enthusiast will be delighted to explore the varied and exceptional landscapes: savannahs, breaches, canyons, peneplains… You will live a complete change of scenery on the way back to the capital through the highlands’ terraced rice fields!
Day 2Antananarivo > Antsirabe > Miandrivazo
Day 3From Miandrivazo to the Northern Makay border, Beginning of the trek
We get on the road again until Malaimbandy. The road is beautiful, it follows the river Mahajilo, which throws itself into the river Tsiribihina.
From the small town of Malaimbandy, we ride on a track until reaching the northern border of the Makay. This is the starting point of our incredible trek.
After lunch, we begin our hike. The river Manampada is nos behind us, we leave the crops and villages behind as well.
Going West, across the plateau, we reach the first sandstone reliefs of the Makay.
A shallow lake, a cave as a shelter and a pretty white sandy river shore welcome our campsite for the night.
Day 4Canyons and savannah to reach Ankaromokotry
The slow and unstoppable work of time, a few tectonic movements helped by flowing waters have patiently eroded these rocks.
We start our discovery of this unique mountain range.
By a river network and a great savannah, we make our way into the Ankaromokotry Gorge, from the name of the fruit we can find of the plateau.
We settle our bivouac on a beautiful sandy beach on the side of the river.
Day 5Between faults and plateaux, the Makay sakasaka
In this unique environment, our hike allows us to enjoy a surprising nature. From time to time, we climb on eroded summits, where the views are incredible.
We also hike deep down the canyons, our feet bathing in the crystal clear water of the rivers flowing on beds of white sand.
Today we reach the Ampasimaiky Gorge, covered with dry sands at the bottom. The important thing is now to settle down our campsite close to a small spring.
Day 6Endless canyons, and the Sakapaly river
In here, parrots are everywhere and their cries echo in the long canyons. A few birds of prey such as buzzards, kites and the Madagascar Harrier Hawk hover over the mountains.
Bats, wardens of this place, go out at nightfall for their silent night shift.
This spectacular and inextricable geomorphology allowed to original groups of animals and plants to develop away from the rest of the world, into these unexplored canyons. They even developed into new species.
Lemurs are very present in these isolated forests, but we also see them from afar, as they are not used to human presence.
Day 7Like in the rainforest, the Pandanus Gorge
Our caravan walks in the cliffs, itinerary without difficulty, we set foot on the plateau. The objective is now to reach a narrow fault, covered with pandanus, palms and ferns that open the way to the great catchment area of Manampanda.
Our progression takes place completely feet inside the water, in a lush green environment. The very present lemurs, fade in the canopy. At our feet, in the blocks of the river bed, petrified wood show the remains of a fossil forest. These silicified controls are very useful for the study of geology, paleobotany and paleo environment. It goes without saying that this unique heritage is to be protected.
Our tributary reaches the Manampanda river, the flow of water suddenly becomes much more important. Our bivouac settles on a beautiful sandy beach by the river.
Day 8Last half-day of trekking, road to Miandrivazo
The Manampandana river traces our progress for an hour and then we leave it to reach the plateau. After reaching the crest line, we head towards the Bara villages on the northern outskirts of the Makay massif.
We reach the village of Tsiazorambo in the afternoon. Our cars are here!
This is the end of our unique and unusual journey in this sumptuous Makay massif.
The evening is dedicated to the conviviality and the joy of having lived a beautiful adventure all together, you, the porters, the rider, the guide and the logistics team Détours Madagascar.
After lunch, folding tents and taking leave with carriers and trackers. We take again our 4x4 to take the track of the north exit, in order to join the town of Malaimbandy before crossing the national 34 which leads us to Miandrivazo.
Day 9From the Bongolava to the Imerina
In the afternoon we continue to Antsirabe, the capital of the Vakinankaratra region.
Small tour of the city and visit to the local craftsmen (making miniatures of bicycles and cars, work of the zebu horn ...) then road for Ambatolampy. The rice fields and characteristic villages of the Highlands draw the landscape.
Continuation in the afternoon towards Antananarivo. If our timing allows, visit of the crafts market.
Evening transfer to the airport, boarding assistance on the flight to Paris.