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Whale Festival – July 2019 – Sainte Marie Island

Key attractions

Overview

These noble creatures choose each year to visit the calm waters of the island Sainte-Marie where we meet them at the beginning of July. We are proud to welcome you in lush vegetation and magnificent beaches with preserved coral reefs. With the passionate eco-guides of Cétamada, experience the fantastic thrill of acrobatics offered by humpback whales, true winged giants of the oceans.

Key infomration

Price 2713 € per pax (209€/day)
Duration 12 nights/13 days
Transport aircraft
Distance --
Camp No
Difficulity Easy peasy
Regions East - Sainte Marie Island

Day by day

07 July, Arrival at Antananarivo

Welcome! Our safari will begin in Antananarivo, where we will go by car, but before catching a hotel we will visit the Ivato crocodile farm, also called “Croc Farm”. Spanning three hectares, this lush green oasis is ideal for you to relax.

From the “Croc Farm” we will transfer you to your hotel, where you will stay overnight. Do you want a piece of advice? Choose a light meal for dinner. You will feel more comfortable during your overnight stay at your hotel. In the evening after dinner, over cocktails we discuss our program. From the first day to the last day our experienced and professional guide will be next to you, so don’t worry about it, he is near to make sure you have everything you need. We are leaving tomorrow.

The activities of the day:

Arrival at Antananarivo;

Visit in the Ivato crocodile farm, also called “Croc Farm”, lunch and cocktails;

Accommodation at the hotel, Bed & Breakfast;

Dinner and discussion our program.

08 July, Antananarivo – Sainte Marie Island

Today, we will proceed to your transfer to the airport and flight to Sainte Marie Island. Departure at 12-50. After one hour flight, you will arrive at the lodge.

Let’s enjoy it. Discover this amazing place where you’ll stay for few days! Start gathering highlights from today on: enjoy exploring the beaches, swimming in the sea before going for a walk along the coast. Relax. Delight and don’t worry, we took great care of everything. You will enjoy your lunch and dinner at your hotel, where you’ll stay overnight.

The activities of the day:

Flight to Nosy Boraha, Air Madagascar (MD532);

Flight time: about 1 hour;

Accommodation at the lodge, Bed & Breakfast;

Beach Holidays - Enjoy these experiences:

*The pedestrian walks;

*Scuba diving and Snorkeling;

*Cycling is the most popular means of transport of getting around;

*Another way to move further is on board of a traditional pirogue.

09 July, Sainte Marie, Excursion - 1 - Ile aux Nattes

Nut Island is located south of St Marie, an easy trip on a boat in the turquoise waters of the lagoon will be enough to get us there. We offer you a tour of the island in 3 hours of walking; in stages we will discover this tropical Eden and its beaches with white sands. Swimming and lunch on site and then back to your hotel. L’île aux Nattes is a must for any visit to Sainte Marie. With a ride in the traditional dugout canoe, the wind in your hair, aromas of tropical flora promise you a unique moment of escape in nature.

After about 4 km of quiet canoeing you will discover L’île aux Nattes, with its paradisiacal beaches, lemurs, traditional villages. One of the characteristics of the island is the Blévec lighthouse, where you will have a magnificent view that extends to the reefs and East Coast. The guide will explain to you about their daily life, customs and habits (Fady and flipping of the dead), the discovery of flora. After visiting with a guide for 3 hours, you will have a free walk.

L’île aux Nattes or “Nosy Nanto” is separated from the island of Saint Marie by a magnificent lagoon of clear blue water. It completely surrounds the island and separates it from the Indian Ocean by the important and magnificent barrier reef.

Nattes has an endemic orchid. This is Eulophiella Roempleriana, which blooms in September and October and grows in swampy areas especially on pandanus. Its characteristic pole can be up to 1.50 m. Very rare species are protected, and their collection is strictly prohibited.

The activities of the day:

Departure from the hotel at 9-00;

A picnic on a beautiful beach in the shade of coconut trees;

After lunch, you will discover and swim in the turquoise waters of the lagoon;

Return to the hotel at 17-00

10 July, Sainte Marie, Excursion - 2 - The Grand Nord Circle

Let yourself be seduced by the charm of this wonderful Sainte Marie Island. After breakfast, we head to Forêt d’Ikalalao. This is a tropical forest. The way will be a little hilly pleasing us with gorgeous panoramic views: in height, there is a breathtaking view to the west on the tip to Larrey, and the beautiful lagoons of the East. The landscape is dominated by lush green vegetation common to the eastern rain forests of Madagascar. A true sanctuary of reptiles is home to both the smallest and largest chameleons in the world: the Brookesia minima and the giant chameleon Parsoni. The chameleon is the king of the forest, there are different chameleons Pardalis furcifer, Parsoni Calumma, le phelsuma madagascariensis.

We will complete a walk in this forest in the cascades of Antanandava. The combination of water and nature, this beautiful waterfall is a good place to freshen up. Quiet little place, a bit wild and preserved. A short path will take us to the foot of the waterfall.

Immediately after that we will go to the extreme north of the island to the Natural pools. In the far north of the island you will find the hostile coast of Saint-Marie and its majestic waves, underlined by natural pools for a refreshing swim. A magical place, live by the feeling of "being in the end of the world." This is not one, but several "natural pools". These basins of sea water are a hundred meters long and are created by a rock barrier, into which the waves crash with foam splashes and then turn into a peaceful space. The Antsarikelitry Pool is a sacred place where offerings are made by throwing coins into the hollow of a rock on the occasion of a vow. The “pool” of Antsarirabe has calm and clear waters. Then we will find a small protected lagoon in a place called Satsikôza.

Nearby, on a hill, a sacred pole or "Fanasina" is erected. It is here that the “Lojoharo” or sorcerer performs the ritual of re-sacrifice in the event of desecration of a sacred place. Therefore, it is important that locals accompany us at these sites in order to be informed about the nature of Fady (taboo).

The final visit of this day will be Cocobay Coconut Grove, where black granite rocks gently rest in crystalline waters, surrounded by thousands of coconut palms. This combination creates an exciting atmosphere. Your Cocobay program is snorkeling, barbecue fish under trees, idleness, walks and, of course, breathtaking and spectacular views.

The activities of the day:

Departure from the hotel at 9-00;

A tour of Le Nord de L’île and its magnificent creeks, as well as the natural pool, the d’Antanandava waterfall and the Cocobay coconut grove;

Picnic "feet in the water" on the edge of the waterfalls and swimming in the rapids;

Picnic and snokeling in a coconut grove;

Return to the hotel at 17-00

11-14 July, WHALE FESTIVAL

Enjoy the whale festival at Nosy Boraha, île de Sainte-Marie. You will be able to participate in all festival events:

*2 Spectacular whale-watching safari

*Carnival

*Concerts

*The Beach Soccer Tournament

*Race on pirogue

*A crafts fair

*Mountain Bike Raid

*Petanque Tournament

*CineMada

15 July, Sainte Marie, Excursion - 3 - Grand East Circle

Discover Sainte-Marie by quad, 4×4 or motorbike. Explore the most beautiful landscapes of Sainte-Marie during a day of adventure. With our guide, you will come across small villages, forests, wild beaches, mangroves, rice fields and so much more. You will learn everything about vanilla, cinnamon, clove and orchids, and the Malagasy way of life… Between breathtaking scenery and turquoise lagoons, you will find beautiful places in a lush nature.

Immediately after breakfast we set off to the beautiful and unique forest d’Ambohidena and to its black lake. In addition to eucalyptus, lemurs and chameleons, this forest is famous for paradise orchids, some of which are endangered, like Reine de Madagascar and orchidée noire (black orchid). It will be an easy hike with a local guide from 1 to 2 hours, after that we will go to Paradise Ampanihy-mangroves and make another easy hike to get to Ampanihy Bay for a picnic, swimming and relaxing in this magical place - a long beach with white sand, a lagoon with emerald bursts.

Baie d'Ampanihy is a wild and untouched place where country life goes on, as it had been for centuries. In this vegetation temple, herons catch crabs and fish. Not a sound, except for a dull roar of waves that break a coral reef in the distance. It is one of the most popular tours in Saint-Marie.

The activities of the day:

Departure from the hotel at 9-00;

Excursion La Grande Boucle de l’Est and its beaches, lagoon and gulf of Ampanihy, eucalypt forest d’Ambohidena and black lake;

Lunch on a picnic of the freshest seafood. The food is fresh here from the sea, and fabulous. It means that you will have wicker baskets of live fish and crabs from the mangrove forest in a nearby creek, while the morning shrimp catch is still wiggling. Ask about coconut milk and the cook will go to the next palm to get it for you.

Return to the hotel at 17-00

16 July, Sainte Marie, Excursion – 4 – Pirate Day

You will leave your hotel in the morning to visit the oldest church of Madagascar (1837). Located at the dominant height, the church offers panoramic views of Madame islet and of the Forbans islet, the former refuge of pirates, and of the breakwater. There we will take a canoe and cross the Forbans to visit the Pirates' Cemetery.

It is the perfect destination for those fascinated by history. In the 17th and 18th Centuries, it’s said that up to 1000 pirates called the Island their home – including the infamous and widely-feared William Kidd and Thomas Tew. The island was the ideal dock for sea-weary bandits who wanted to build a home base and still dabble in the shipping trade in the 1600 and 1700s. All the Malagasy women liked the pirates - they went with all this money, silks and wonderful things. As a result of this colourful past, Sainte Marie is proud to lay claim to one of the world’s only legitimate pirate cemeteries, which, set atop a hill, features crumbling headstones with worn-away engravings that hint at the Island’s existence as a paradise for shifty sailors. There remain 30 graves belonging to pirates who once lived there.

Our guide will tell you the incredible stories of pirates. They are still present here because their shipwrecks haunt the bays: L’Adventure Galley of the famous captain Kidd, Le Flying Dragon, Le Great Mohamet, Le Mocha, while not forgetting the famous wreck of Serapis.

Sainte Marie and L'Ile aux Forbans have also the love story between La Bigorne and the future queen Betty who predestined the island of St. Mary to France, is it a legend or reality?

The winding mangrove paths will lead you to a Malagasy-style restaurant for lunch in an exceptional place overlooking the lagoon. After lunch, you will return to your lodge with a new stop to get the vanilla, cloves, wild pepper and honey that the farmers collected this morning.

After that, enjoy a beach holiday.

The activities of the day:

Visit to the oldest church in Madagascar;

Visit to ancient rogues in the pirate cemetery;

Lunch in an exceptional location on a pirate island;

Relax;

Swimming;

Sunbathing.

17 July, Sainte Marie Island

Enjoy the splendour of the beautiful island of Sainte Marie. It is also nicknamed the "Garden Island", an obvious reference to the Garden of Eden. Nosy Boraha also offers a stunning landscape: majestic waterfalls, clear natural pools, preserved tropical forests and - of course - fine sand beaches that face the turquoise sea. Its seascape is equally impressive thanks to its coral reef and its waters filled with fish. An atmosphere of peace, tranquility and pure natural beauty prevails on the island, a feeling definitely emphasized by the joie de vivre of the Malagasy.

In several places, you can dive and snorkel. The coral reef around the island is untouched and home to a variety of corals, fish and other sea creatures. If you prefer to relax, get a cocktail in a bar and take your place on the beach between palm trees.

The activities of the day:

Relax;

Swimming;

Sunbathing;

Snorkeling or diving.

18 July, Sainte Marie - Antananarivo

Make the most of your last hours on the extraordinary island of Sainte Marie. Maybe you want to pay your respects to the Whales and say goodbye to them?

After lunch we will go to the airport for coming back to the capital of Madagascar. Departure at 16-35. After one hour flight, you will arrive at the hotel.

The activities of the day:

Relax;

Swimming;

Sunbathing;

Flight to Tana, Air Madagascar (MD531);

Flight time: about 1 hour;

Accommodation at the hotel, Bed & Breakfast.

19 July, Flight Home

Today your tour ends. A transfer back to the airport Ivato. We wish you a comfortable journey home and are sure you will take with you some wonderful memories of Madagascar. Experienced travelers are used to goodbyes, but that doesn't mean they get any easier. When the time comes to depart the wonderful Madagascar, we wouldn't be surprised if you were already planning a return trip!

Transfer to the airport Ivato.

Extend this tour:

First time visitors to Madagascar should spend at least two nights in Andasibe, and go to the Mantadia National Park. The Park is home to the loudest and most famous animal the Indri (Indri indri) jumping through the treetops, whose calls reach far away through the forest and awake many guests in the morning.

After spending the time at Mantadia National Park and Analamazaotra chasing lemurs through the gorgeous rainforest you are thought that you had already seen too many lemurs for one day… You are wrong… There is no such thing as too many lemurs for one day. Andasibe has enough to do that you can fill a day or two before, after, or in between visiting Andasibe-Mantadia National Park.

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Included in price

PLEASE NOTE: The price indicated is per person sharing room (DBL or TWIN), it is based on 2 Persons. If the group is of 4, 6, 8, 10 Persons, the price decreases.

*2 Domestic flights;

*11 days' outdoor activities including trekking in the forest and exciting game drives;

*2 whale safaris;

*The whole program of the festival;

*Excursion -1 - Ile Aux Nattes;

*Excursion - 2 - The North;

*Excursion - 3 - Grand East Circle;

*Excursion - 4 - Pirate Day;

*Tana city mini tour;

*13 Breakfasts;

*3 Picnic-Lunches;

*Entrance fees to parks and reserves and the services of local guides;

*A 4x4 vehicle with a driver;

*Fuel;

*Rent of boat;

*Services of a professional, experienced, English-speaking personal guide-escort (French or Russian language)

*All transfers, including water transport;

*Airport pick up and drop off;

*12 nights' accommodation;

*Government taxes and fees, including TVA and tourist tax at hotels

Not included in price

*International air travel;

*Visa fee (single entry 1 month visa currently 30 Euros, issued on arrival);

*Your medical insurance;

*Personal items and expenses;

*Soft and alcoholic drinks in hotels;

*Lunches en-route, lunches and dinners (except in places mentioned half or full board), Lunch in the crocodile farm;

*Additional activities and excursions (for diving, cruising, fishing etc, pre-booking is required);

*Special Requirements: to be specified during your order.

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