You can make this excursion on foot (camping trip), by quad, by a 4x4 car.
7 of the 10 bird species endemic to the south of Madagascar can be found here. 4 main circuits will show the flora and fauna specific to the area. In the program, visiting caves and a panoramic 360° view of the coast, meeting with local people, snorkeling and walking through the mangroves, swimming and lazing on the sand dunes, trekking through the lush vegetation.
Firstly, Table Mountain, you will have the opportunity to admire the magnificent scenery of the hinterland and the coastline in an overview 360. About 10km from Tulear we start to hike up Table Mountain, which is a very flat mountain that consists mainly of sandstone so the wind shears off flat layers, hence the name. There is a relatively easy trail to the top, which takes about 30 minutes to climb.
Within the circuit we are accompanied with the guide who is a traditional healer or Ombiasa. This circuit introduces us to a variety of medicinal plants in the heart of a thorny vegetation. Our guide tells us the medicinal uses of many plants on the hike up, most are aphrodisiacs. Behind it is a scrubby forest to look for Red-shouldered Vanga and other endemics. We can meet Verreaux’s Coua and enjoy excellent views of Lafresnaye's Vanga, Green-capped Coua, Sub-desert Messite. Apart from bird watching, we have a very beautiful landscape here overlooking the Mozambique Channel, Ifaty-Mangily lagoon and Anakao from far away.
Once we reach the top, the Ombiasa climbs down into a little hole in the mountain, while we sit on the North and West sides of the hole and he performs a traditional prayer for us. Halfway through we have to share offerings with the ancestors, so a bottle of coke or a bottle of rum are suitable for this. The items will be then left in the hole for the ancestors. The prayer is finished and we clamber over to the best vantage point to watch or photograph the setting of the sun over the Mozambique Channel, which is absolutely stunning.
Secondly, Sarodrano peninsula. This circuit will give you the opportunity to discover the area’s underground network. The circuit is divided in 3 courses during which you will learn more about the Sarodrano and Binabe’s caves as well as the animistic rites typical of the region. The route will conduct you through forests, beaches and underground caves, surely an interesting experience! You will discover the luxuriant vegetation where an endemic fauna took shelter. Ornithology enthusiasts will be delighted due to certain bird species being endemic of this region.
The Sarodrano cave is one basin filled with clear, blue fresh water, under a rocky overhang. The path there leads up through spiny forest where wild ring-tailed lemurs and southern endemic birds can be seen. There is a story about this cave which tells about a fisherman who once had the unexpected visit of a tromba (spirit). The spirit told him to join all villagers in the cave and celebrate the tromba rite there. When the feast was over, a white cow with a black head and her black calf with white head appeared at the bottom of the cave, that were the fisherman’s reward for having obeyed the instructions of the spirit. Since then villagers still come here to make wishes. Nearby are several springs and a natural swimming pool, where bathing is fady, so do not get tempted! The source of the water comes from a place called “seven lakes”, which is 70 kilometers away.
We will visit a plantation of enormous cactuses. The trip by canoe will allow us to discover a vast plantation of algae. On the route Moringa, we will discover beautiful species Moringaceae and admire a beautiful view of the peninsula Sarodrano. Sarodrano peninsula, with a shape of an arrowhead, offers an endless white sand beach. It is a relaxing moment alongside the local Vezo-fishermen. The scenery is guaranteed, you will enjoy visiting, the swim and picnic.
Bay Saint Augustin is the final circuit of the protected area. It is divided into 3 parts, one hour to discover the village and its mangrove, 1-30 to 2 hours for the circuit Bara Hill and about 2 hours and about 2 hours to visit the local rum factory. Saint Augustin is a small village, located in a bay inlaid between two huge rocky walls that plunge vertically into the waves. Here, in the perfect circle formed by the surrounding cliffs, the Onilahy River, one of the most majestic of Madagascar, flow into the sea. The wonderful bay was sought as shelter by pirates and slaves traders, and Daniel Defoe, the author of Robinson Crusoe, found inspiration in this fabulous setting for several of his writings. As soon as we arrive at Saint-Augustin, explore the river in a kayak and then swim in the natural pool. Then we cross the mangroves to discover its fauna and the lemur’s cave. Thereafter we trek up a small hill with a lot of baobabs in sight and other plants endemic to area. Then we again arrive at a natural pool and simply relax in the water. After the natural pool, we follow the river to Saint-Augustin village where a meal will be served (drinks are not inclusive). After a break: we visit a local rum factory, it is a two-hour tour. Starting from Saint-Augustin, the path leads you to sugarcane fields, and eventually we arrive at the village where they make the local brew. The production process will be explained and there will be also an opportunity to taste and buy the rum.