A four-day water hike in the heart of the most unknown canyons of Massif Isalo… You will be amazed! The largest part of the canyons is in the south of National Road 7, from Ranohira to Benenitra and at the edge of Onilahy river. We will be focused on this part of Massif Isalo which offers more spectacular landscapes than the northern part (Isalo National Park): deeper canyons and well kept secrets! A unique experience and great geology lesson, which will give you unforgettable memories Madagascar Holidays. Welcome to the Sapphire Canyons! With a bit of luck, you will find a treasure of Ilakaka in Benahy river.
The hike is not difficult and requires an average physical condition. However, the hike is in the sand, therefore you should be prepared for hiking. For your comfort, we will provide you with neoprene boots preserving your feet from sand irritation.
The hike is 80 to 90% of the journey, feet in the water. The level of the river is too low to float and we will walk in the river’s bed, pulling our boats and equipment through the largest part of the canyon. Only narrow passages remain able to float all along the year. Daily stages are from 4 to 6 hours walk, depending on the water level. The water level is variable along rain season but generally it is more about aquatic hiking than real navigation. We have inflatable boats for 2 people, kayaks for 1 person and also inner tubes for the dried season. Their use remains the same whatever your boat is.
Day 1: We will meet at your hotel Isalo Rock Lodge for a departure at 7.30am. We need first to drive to the south, cross Ilakaka and continue to Manombo Be, a new village built during Sapphire rush. We will then drive on a pretty good track for 12kms. At the end we will arrive on the river edges, at the entry of the canyons.
Plan of days in canyons - Morning: Breakfast, collecting the camp, departure when you feel ready. Beaches are numerous to set up our camps: you can choose accordingly to your preferences! Afternoon: We will make stops on the descent during the day, and the early evening to allow you to dig and look for hidden treasures of Benahy river, while we are organizing a camp. Each participant is equipped with a shovel and a sieve. Every day, you will have between one and two hours to try your luck: water sapphires, semiprecious stones, crystal… You will be accompanied by a proficient miner who will give you his best techniques!
Last Day: In the morning of the 5th day, we will be back to the bush. Within few meters we will go from the shadow of the canyons to the heat of the plains. Surprising contrast that will make you regret the freshness of the river very quickly. We will be only at 2 hours walking on the trek which goes along high cliffs of Isalo massive, up to the road leading to the Ilakaka. Arrival at Isalo Rock Lodge at the end of the morning.
NOTE: In case of bad weather conditions, only the guide can decide what is appropriate to do. In case of driving rain, we may be forced to abandon partly or entirely the route. The route will be moved to the massive crests in order to avoid any risk if river level rises.
About meals: Full Board with wine and aperitif during bivouacs. Meal plan: Breakfasts: cheese, bread, butter and jam, fruits plate, juice, tea, coffee. Biscuits, sugars, and dried fruits while hiking. Lunches or picnics: Chicken and rice, vegetables and salads, fruits…; Dinner: Barbecues, ginger chicken, typical Malagasy dishes… Our team take in charge the dinner preparation. However, if we are late, you could be asked to help (Fire, water…). Drinkable water is in bottles.
About accommodation: In double or single tents; Foam mattress, blankets; You should help to put up the camp. Bivouacs are on sand banks.
This package includes: Full board from Day 1 to Day 5 – breakfast; Accommodation in bivouacs/camps; Porters during the trek in Isalo Canyons. The crew: 2 guides, cook, skipper during the navigation, miner. All the camping equipment; a 4×4 car.
About safety: We always brief our customers before we go on a trek. We have our own insurance policy but 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.