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Plunge into the world of Horses, of Nature and Adventure!
A big hike on horseback in the Massif Isalo
Isalo National Park is an 820 km² area, extending from the north to the south. The park ranges from just over 500m up to 1268m above sea level and the canyons are in places as much as 200m deep. Isalo offers a fantastic, colourful landscape and incredible panoramas. It is not just about the colours and shapes of the land damaged by the erosion, but also the great scenery and the general silence that surrounds everything. The park became home to 14 species of lemur, about 80 varieties of birds of which 70% are endemic, 35 species of reptiles, 15 species of amphibians and small mammals, endemic frogs, and more than 500 species of plants. There’s a lot to find in Isalo! It is also a site that all "Bara" people consider as sacred. In short, the Jurassic Isalo Park!
About this hike: Horse riding hikes length 5 to 6 hours per day on average. Horses can gallop and trot several times a day (2 or 3 times a day). Riders must feel comfortable at all three speeds. The hike lasts 8 days, including 7 days on horseback and a day of rest. It is the 8 nights hike, including 4 in bivouac and 4 in the bungalows of the equestrian club or in Isalo Rock Lodge. Cavaliers arrive in Isalo the day before the first day of the big hike on horseback, accommodation in Isalo Rock Lodge 4*(your route to the Isalo and the further route will be organized by us). This hike is supervised by our guide, a local guide and a professional equestrian instructor.
The equestrian club is an oasis of water and greenery, nestled in the heart of the ruiniforme massif of Isalo. The Equestrian Center includes: A Club House, only for breakfasts and for drinks (non-alcoholic beverages). Seven charming and comfortable pavilions (bathroom, toilet, ventilation) intended. Restaurant (lunch, dinner), swimming pool, spa, bar (with an alcohol) are available in Isalo Rock Lodge or in other neighboring hotels.
A cook, a driver accompany you in this adventure. However, the participation of the horse-riders is required: You must prepare your horses and take care of them at the camp.
The package includes: hiking and excursions, horse riding. Horse riding hikes length 5 to 6 hours per day on average; In bivouacs – individual tent; Full Board: Breakfasts, Picnic Lunches, Dinners at the bivouacs; Beverages: Included during bivouac for wine and aperitif, excluded at the center and the hotel; Assistance vehicle for luggage and camp equipment.
Day 2: Briefing about the trek during breakfast. Transfer to the equestrian center (if you did not choose accommodation in the bungalow of the Center). Horses, gear, attribution and warming up for 2 hours around the equestrian center: wide view on the national park, river crossings and meeting with villagers. Lunch at Isalo Rock Lodge, followed by a trek in the Great Canyons (Bara’s tombs). The return by the lands where we will see zebus herds. Dinner at Isalo Rock Lodge. Night at the Lodge or the Center.
Day 3: After the breakfast at Isalo Rock Lodge, we will head for a 3-days trek in the Isalo National Park. In the morning, we will follow the Malaso trail (used by former zebu thieves). We will cross the botanical garden and then follow the “Isalo Boot” and the geological site. Picnic lunch close to the natural pool (with a waterfall where you can swim). In the afternoon, we will go along the crest trail, where you can enjoy the view above the Ambatosola area. You will see lemurs along the rocky walls. Dinner and bivouac at Korobe plateau, overlooking the park. You will watch a sumptuous sunset on the rocks of the Massif, overnight at camp.
Day 4: After breakfast departure towards the viewpoint of Angavo. We will cross a sand river, before landing at the Fararotsy Tapia Forest where we can spot different species of lemurs! Picnic lunch near the forest. In the afternoon, we will cross canyons are landscapes covered with the famous blue palm: the Satrana, endemic plants of the region. We will make an ascent to the crest, with a 360° view, after will arrive to the “Golden Lake” bivouac. Overnight at the camp.
Day 5: Breakfast at the “Golden Lake”. We will cross the lands with a view on wild ducks at the next lake. Then we will climb at Ampandra viewpoint where we will have lunch. In the afternoon, we will return by the “Isalo Wolf” track. Stopping at the “Isalo Window” with the famous sunset inside it. Back at the equestrian center, dinner at Isalo Rock Lodge. Night at the Lodge or the Center.
Day 6: Relax day: you can enjoy activities: Massage and SPA, swimming pool and bar, natural pool and a dizzying trek (about 2 hours). The lunch will be served at Isalo Rock Lodge or in a picnic for those who want to move outside of the Lodge. Dinner at Isalo Rock Lodge. Night at the Lodge or the Equestrian Center.
Day 7: Breakfast at Isalo Rock Lodge and departure for 3 days’ trek outside the park, to meet with villagers and see sapphire mines of Ilakaka. After saluting the Queen’s rock, we will stop in the Isalo Interpretation Center. Then we will follow small tracks in the middle of the humid vegetation before arriving at the natural pool where we will have picnic lunch. In the afternoon, we will cross Baras’ villages: Mariany and Tambohitra. The bivouac will be in the typical Bara village of Ambarynakoho. Villagers meeting and dinner around the camp fire. The dinner will be animated by authentic dances and songs. Overnight at camp at the edge of the village Ambarynakoho.
Day 8: Breakfast at Ambarynakoho village. We will cross several forest areas before reaching and following the Hazofotsy river, where we see bats and crocodiles if we are lucky! Picnic near the river. In the afternoon, we will continue crossing the lands to reach the villages of Andranavonytelo and Abenanga. The last bivouac in savannah, at “the end of the world”.
Day 9: Breakfast at the bivouac and departure to visit the largest sapphires mines of the world! Visit of the open-air mines with a specialist. Lunch at the restaurant, followed by the visit of a precious gems showroom. We will cross the plain of Ilakaka to get to the equestrian center. For your last evening among us, a sunset aperitif will be in the canyons! The return in the Isalo Rock Lodge. Night at the Lodge.
About accommodation: A 4x4 car ensure logistics for night bivouacs. We provide for: Individual Igloo Tent; Foam mattress, blanket; Toilet; Hot water shower; Table and chairs for dinners; Camp stove.
About Meals: Full Board with wine and aperitif during bivouacs. Meal plan: Breakfasts: cheese, bread, butter and jam, fruits plate, juice, tea, coffee. Lunches or picnics: Chicken and rice, vegetables and salads, fruits…; Dinner: Barbecues, ginger chicken, typical Malagasy dishes…
About safety: We always brief our customers before we go on a trek. We strongly recommend wearing a riding helmet (provided by us). We have link by phone and radio to the surrounding hotels. We have our own insurance policy but we strongly advise horse riders to subscribe to an individual insurance more efficient than our local insurance.
Not included: Personal expenses, tips, phone; Sanitary evacuation policy. In option: to be specified during your order.
This ride can only be done during the dry season, from May to October. One-week notice is desirable for the organization and preparation of any rides.