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Yacht Experiences

Family Adventure in West Madagascar

West Madagascar is home to some of the island’s most compelling and beautiful landscapes. Explore, oasis-like canyons, sandstone plateaus, and towering rainforests on an epic adventure for the whole family.

When to go:
November – April

NOSY VE

Land in Toliara, a stunning coastal town in Southern Madagascar. Blessed with pristine beaches, clear tidal pools, and shallow reefs it is the perfect place to begin your Madagascan adventure. You and your children will be met by your expert local guide who will be with you as you set off to explore the city and its surroundings in buggies or quads. Immerse yourself in the adventurous spirit that seems to ooze from the landscapes of southern Madagascar.

As you traverse the landscape, stop in with some Vezo fishermen for a traditional seafood lunch. Head from here to meet your vessel and cruise towards the islet of Nosy Ve. Spend your first night settling in or set out on an epic night diving adventure in a submarine. Witnessing the underwater world as the sun sets is a truly extraordinary experience and you will see a number of nocturnal marine species arising for their nighttime activities including the critically endangered Coelacanths.

ISALO NATIONAL PARK

Arise early and you will be picked up in a helicopter for a dive in the hidden caves surrounding Madagascar. Experienced guides will take you deep into the caves where you will get the chance to discover extremely rare fossils from animals that have long been extinct. After this exciting experience, you and your family will once again be picked up by a helicopter and flown to Isalo National Park.

The Isalo Massif has been eroded by wind and water for centuries and it has resulted in deep canyons, sandstone domes, and flat-topped mountains. Enjoy a wild and authentic Malagasy lunch in the heart of the Massif. Surrounded by stretching views of the park in every direction this is a lunch you are unlikely to forget. In the afternoon embark on a hike through the park stopping at some of the park’s many natural pools for a refreshing swim. Your hike will take you across the Jurassic landscape where you will traverse forests populated by lemurs and follow trickling streams that turn into crashing waterfalls. Helicopter back to your yacht which will have cruised from Nosy Ve to the Bay of Assassins.

Alternatively, make your way to Lake Tsimanampetsotsa. At this stunning lake witness vast numbers of flamingos and spoonbills that nest there. After lunch and bird watching on the shores of the lake make your way to the Bay of Assassins where you can climb aboard Vezo canoes alongside fishermen as they set out in a sunset procession.

MIKEA FOREST

After breakfast on board, helicopter inland to the thorny forest. Here you will have the chance to meet with the last nomadic ethnic group of Madagascar. The Mikea people are also known as guardians of the forest and they are shrouded in an air of mystery. These hunter gatherers live their lives at the whims of the forest as they forage and practice limited farming techniques. Getting to know these people and the harsh realities of their life is an extraordinary way to give your children a new perspective of the world and the societies within it.

Return to the shore where you can enjoy a wild lunch on a remote and deserted beach. Afterwards meet a real pirate. A former member of the Hubert Commandos a unit of the French Navy that included combat swimmers and divers. He now roams Madagascar in search of wrecks and treasures. Head below the surface with him, either scuba diving or in a submarine to explore one of the region’s secret wrecks. Return to your vessel in the evening for a well-earned dinner on deck.

MAKAY MASSIF

Wake up and helicopter over to the Makay Massif and Mangoky river. The Makay Massif is one of the last remaining Eden’s on earth. It houses a maze of canyons that are some of the most unexplored on the planet. The Makay Massif has narrow gorges and steep slopes that have bred some unique biodiversity. Only a privileged few have had the chance to venture into this isolated region, and you and your family can be among their number. Witness the spectacular colours of this region from the red sandstone to the azure rivers and pools.

As you journey through these rugged ravines and forests, stop in some of these crystal-clear pools for a cooling dip. After a day of exploration including a wild lunch in the heart of the Massif, hop back into your helicopter and return to your vessel. Your helicopter trip will take you through the famous alley of baobabs as the sky is set on fire by the setting sun. If you would like to experience something truly exceptional, spend the night camping in the heart of this stunning site. In the evening you will be treated to a night around the fire. Here listen to the rhythms of traditional Malagasy songs and dances in an authentic experience that is sure to enrich your children’s understanding and appreciation of other cultures.

BARREN ISLANDS

In the morning be picked up by your helicopter and make your way to the Tsingy de Bemaraha. This forest of limestone needles is one of the most extraordinary landscapes in Madagascar. Accompanied by a specialist guide, uncover the hidden depths of this labyrinthine National Park. This unique part of Madagascar is home to a variety of wildlife including 15 species of bat, 650 plant species, and eight species of lemur to name but a few.

Have lunch in the heart of the Tsingys surrounded by extraordinary jutting limestone peaks. After lunch, make your way to Barren Islands where your vessel will be waiting for you. The Barren Islands are a sanctuary of biodiversity, home to exceptional marine wildlife and terrestrial fauna. Discover this phenomenal underwater world in a submarine. With an expert marine biologist on hand, this is the perfect way to teach your children about the amazing complexities of the underwater world. Return to your vessel in the evening for dinner on deck.

BALY BAY

Wake up in Baly Bay an area that plays home to some phenomenal ecosystems both in the water and on land. Explore dense dry forests, mangroves, rivers, lakes, and white sand beaches that lead to turquoise waters teeming with colourful coral reefs. Kayak through the mangroves and get closer to the natural world. Spend time with a local conservation NGO and help them in their efforts to save one of the rarest turtles in the world, the Angonoka tortoise. Getting your children involved in hands-on conservation work is a great way to teach your children about the necessity of protecting the natural world as well as teaching them about the local ecology.

After lunch on deck hop into a helicopter and fly over the Betsiboka river whose famous photos seen from space have earned Madagascar its name as the bleeding island. This stunning braided river carries sediment from the island’s high central plateau and mountains towards the western coast. The sandy and rich clay minerals that it picks up turns the entire river a rusty orange colour giving it the appearance of blood.

Bemanevika Tree Climbing in Madagascar Turtle Underwater on the Sea Floor in Madagascar
Aerial View Forest and River in Madagascar Traditional Boat on the Water Madagascar

ANJAJAVY

Discover the lost paradise of Anjajavy, an eco-region of deciduous dry forest that shelters a host of rare and endemic flora and fauna. The total isolation of this region means that the wildlife here is not very shy and is incredibly easy to approach. Join teams of researchers at the Anjajavy International Research Centre. Take part in their battle against the continuous degradation of Madagascar’s unique wildlife.

After a world-class lunch at a Relais et Chateaux restaurant, discover the stunning Bay of Moramba and its mushroom islands by sea kayak. Observe sea-eagles in one of their rare nesting areas before you try your hand at spearfishing with the chief of the village of Marovasa. Canoe through the dense and lush mangroves with your children before hopping on a mountain bike to explore inland.

RADAMA ISLANDS

Dive in one of the most beautiful spots in the whole of Madagascar, Greg Wall. With diving specialists and a submarine explore the extraordinary drop-off that is covered with gorgonians. Discovering this underwater world in a submarine is a phenomenal chance for you and your children to encounter phenomenal marine species including a variety of sharks and large pelagics.

Or if you would rather stay on the surface, head out in a local boat to spot nearby humpback whales, whale sharks, and manta rays. You and your family will get the opportunity to slip into the water to swim alongside these amazing gentle giants. Swimming with these magnificent creatures is something you are unlikely to forget and it is sure to give your children a new perspective on the marine world.

In the afternoon hop into a helicopter and make your way to the Sahamalaza Peninsula. Here you will meet one of the best biologists and primatologists in Madagascar. He will guide you through the jungle pointing out elusive lemurs that dance through the trees high above you. Learn about the habits and lives of these extraordinary creatures and the threats that they face. If you are lucky you may even spot some of the rare blue-eyed lemurs that are endemic to the region.

TSARATANANA

Arise before dawn and helicopter to the highest peak in Madagascar the Maromokotro peak. Land at the last base camp where you can enjoy a delicious breakfast at an altitude of 2,500 metres with spectacular views in every direction. You will then climb the final stretch to the top of the summit. Few people have ever been able to venture to Maromokotro, a sacred and feared mountain in the region. Pelorus can grant you access to this mystical mountain and at the top, you can admire 360-degree views of Northern Madagascar.

Alternatively, head to Bemanvika, a remote region with unique landscapes and extraordinary biodiversity. Between verdant green lakes and tropical jungle, several shy and endemic species make their homes. Some of the species that live in this region were thought to have gone extinct before they were rediscovered here in the depths of the jungle.

In the afternoon, make your way to a Ylang-Ylang, cocoa, and vanilla plantation where you can enjoy a traditional lunch before heading deep into the plantation. Learn about the methods used to grow, harvest, and produce these tasty local delicacies. Take part in tastings on the plantation trying some of the finest flavours of the region. Enjoy your final night on board before you prepare to leave Madagascar. You will return home with memories that will last a lifetime for you and your family.