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Babakoto Hiking. Indri-indri Calling in the Unknown East
It is a five-day inviting jungle-trek from Toamasina, located in the East of Madagascar. Babakoto is the Malagasy name for the Indri Indri, an appropriate name for this trek as you will spend nights in the jungle to be woken up by the Indri-indri’s early morning song. But that is for later. The Babakoto trek is a trek through the jungle where few tourists have ever set foot, with 3 nights spent in different villages and one night in a tent in the forest. Fetraomby is the name both a village and a rural community. It is situated in the eastern province of Toamasina, in the Brickaville district of the Atsinanana region. It is adjacent to the virgin rainforests Belambo and Andriantantely. The latter is part of what is known as the ‘corridor’, a strip of land connecting two large nature reserves, Ankeniheny and Zahamena. This is the home of the Indri-indri, Madagascar’s largest lemur, which can only be seen in the wild, as it does not survive in captivity. Fetraomby is primarily a trekking destination, due to the large distance between the villages and the lack of other means of transportation.
If you have sufficient time to really experience the primary rainforest and the culture of Madagascar, and you do not mind living in a basic and remote setting for a few days, you will visit places where few others have ever travelled and where you are likely to see lemurs, chameleons and other animals endemic to Madagascar, especially as you will be spending a night in a tent in the natural habitat of the Indri-indri. They will surely wake you up with their songs in the early morning.
About activities and sights: Walking in the jungle, Fauna and flora, Visiting different villages, Music and dance, Explanations of the use of trees and plants, Visiting a sacred place, including traditional ceremony, Picnic near the waterfall and swimming in the lake, Return from the jungle on a bamboo raft.
You have to keep up a stiff pace but you will see a lot. You will get acquainted with the local customs and the local history in particular. So if you are in good shape and have some trekking experience this trek is a good option to venture in Fetraomby and surroundings, deep in the Malagasy rainforest, where the villagers will be proud to show you their culture, their forest and its animals. A unique experience! But beware, it is also the most challenging of our four treks in this region.
Last but not least, а portion of the proceeds from this tour will be transferred to the Centre Lambahoany which implements a development project for poverty reduction and nature conservation in the rural area Fetraomby.
ENJOY THIS... hike:
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Day 1-2: This hike begins from your hotel in Toamasina city. We take you from your hotel for 5 days. Meeting is early in the morning, to enjoy as much as possible the day light. A 4×4 car will pick you up at 7.00am to take you to the Brickaville, which is located about 2 hours of drive from Toamasina. After the relaxing boat trip to Gismay your trek starts with a hike to Sahamamy. This village owes its existence to a graphite mine, which you will visit the next day. You’ll find out graphite is really peculiar stuff - you can play with and marvel at this peculiar stuff. A subsequent swim in a lake near is cascade is optional. Then it gets serious: the uphill walk to Marovato, the Beraty cave and the Monttour Hill. The cave was used as a refuge during times of trouble, most recently during the 1947 uprising against the French colonial power. After the seclusion of the cave, you’ll enjoy the wideness of the summit of the Monttour hill, once the residence of a local king. The grandson of a local king who lived at the summit about a hundred years ago chose this name. It is short for ‘Montagne Tourist’ – Tourist Mountain. On a clear day you may see as far as Brickaville. The Indri-indri family that lives on the hill may show themselves. Of course there is also nature. In Belambo forest you’ll have a reasonable chance to spot the Indri-indri and other animals.
Day 3: After a good night sleep you’ll head for Fetraomby, which means a lot of downhill and uphill walking. The highlight of this trek is to see the sun rise on the Monttour hill. You will pass by several villages where you will experience the friendliness of the population and the region’s culture. For example, they will show you a place - the ‘pierre bizarre’ (weird stone) - where women go to pray when they have problems becoming pregnant. To visit this sacred place a short ceremony to honour the ancestors is. Furthermore, there is fauna and flora to enjoy. You will probably spot chameleons, lemurs, geckos and other animals endemic to Madagascar. And the guide will point out different plants and trees and their healing or other purposes. And there are even more possibilities to enjoy yourself! After a three hour hike to the 120 meters high waterfall, you might want to freshen up and swim in one of the waterfall’s small lakes. A little ceremony for the ancestors is required before you may enter the water. If you feel very energetic you can also choose to climb to the top of the waterfall. And after these dips into nature there will be sufficient time to get to know Fetraomby village and its inhabitants a little better (Fetraomby is the main village of the Fetraomby rural community).
Day 4: After a goodnight’s rest in Fetraomby you will head for the Andriantantely forest. That will take you through mainly man-made landscape – rice fields, plantations, villages, crossing small streams. At the right time of the year you will witness the villagers making raffia strings from the leaves of the raffia palm. Somewhere on the way a picnic will be served. But at the end of the day... you will be submerged in the unspoiled rainforest where the Indri indri reigns. In addition, you will see the bees after which the forest of Andriantantely was named (tantely meaning both ‘bee’ and ‘honey’) and other species of lemurs, chameleons and much more.
Day 5: The last day will bring a four-hour hike through stunning primary forest, to enjoy the breath taking vegetation and wildlife one last time. The journey will take you to the banks of the river Ivohitra, where a bamboo raft will carry you back to the asphalt jungle. Arrival is scheduled in the middle of the evening and a 4×4 car transfer to your hotel in Toamasina before the night.
NOTE: the guide is the only one to decide to change the program in case of bad weather. As for all river tours, unusual weather conditions can constraint us to change the itinerary to ensure safety for all.
About meals: Full Board (except breakfast at D1 and dinner on the last day) with wine and aperitif. Meal plan: generous and well-balanced meals with fresh food mixing savors and spices to support your physical efforts. Biscuits, sugars, and dried fruits or fresh fruits while walk. Fruits and salad for lunch. Aperitif and snacks at the end of the afternoon. Generous dinner for a deserved rest.
Beverages: bottled water, juice, tea, coffee, wine and aperitif, rums, beer. Our team takes in charge the dinner preparation.
About accommodation: in the houses that belong to the villagers and in the bivouacs. It is recommended to bring with you a personal flask. Our team takes in charge almost everything.
This package includes: Full Board (except breakfast at D1 and dinner on the last day) with beverages: bottled water, juice, tea, coffee, wine and aperitif, rums, beer; Accommodation in bivouacs/camps; The team: 2 guides, cook, porters to carry your luggage and the food for the picnic; All the camping equipment; All transport (including boats and rafts); Performances by local dance and music groups; Traditional ceremonies and entrance fees.
About safety: We always brief our customers before we go on a trek. We strongly advise you 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. One-week notice is desirable for the organization and preparation of any hikes.