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This exciting trek takes us to remote Madagascar, where spectacular scenery and amazing wildlife awaits. You will also see the difference your fundraising can make when we visit a WaterAid project.

4 Nov 2017 | Madagascar

Trek Madagascar

When: 4 - 13 November 2017

Where: Madagascar

Registration fee: £399

Sponsorship target: £4300

Sign up here or contact the events team for more details.

Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and is situated off the southeast coast of Africa. Having developed in isolation, the island nation is famed for its unique wildlife.

From canyons and gorges to bush-covered plains and dense forests, rocky ridges and the summit of the islands highest accessible mountain peak, this is a unique and highly varied trek steeped in natural beauty.

All the money raised for this trip will be restricted to funding projects in Madagascar. After the stunning trek, you’ll then get the unique opportunity to visit a WaterAid project. This will give you a real insight in to WaterAid’s work and show you first-hand how the money you raise can make a difference.


The WaterAid trek has taken me on the most amazing journey, a fantastic adventure and a life-changing experience.
Kim Peartree, Trek Nepal, 2013

Day 1: Depart London, Arrive Antananarivo (Tana)

We arrive at the island’s capital and transfer to our hotel.

Day 2: Tana – Ranomafana National Park

We drive south through the highlands of Madagascar, a beautiful introduction to the island. It’s a long drive, but there’s plenty to see as we pass small towns and villages, cultivated fields and beautiful hills and forests. We arrive at Ranomafana, an area of tropical rainforest which is home to many species of lemurs and other endemic wildlife. Once we’ve checked in and freshened up, we embark on a fascinating night walk. Look out for tree-frogs, nocturnal lemurs and, if we’re very lucky, fossas – the only endemic carnivorous species on Madagascar.

Day 3: Ranomafana – Fianarantsoa

Early morning is the best time to see wildlife, so we set off on another rainforest walk and keep our eyes peeled; it’s also a great warm-up for the days to come. The vegetation itself is wonderful and a great contrast to the rocky mountain landscapes we’ll head into over the next few days. After lunch we drive to Fianarantsoa, a university town and centre of wine industry, set in picturesque rolling green hills.

After an early breakfast we will meet our porters and make our final preparations for the challenge ahead. The first section is a steady climb through Miombo woodland then opening out to grassland and more open country. We will have great views of the imposing Lichenya face off to the east as we climb. Eventually we reach a saddle where the path flattens out and then there is a slow and gentle downhill walk to the hut. There is a great place for swimming about 15 mins from the hut.

Day 4: Fianarantsoa – Namoly – Imaitso

A morning drive takes us to Ambalavao, where we load into 4WD vehicles for the beautiful but bumpy ride over red-earth track to Andringitra National Park, with its remarkable domed granite peaks and sheer cliffs, many eroded into fluted towers by wind and water. We start our trek at Namoly, the northern gateway to the Park, with great views of the mountains ahead. We walk past Betsileo villages and photogenic rice-terraces carved into the mountain slopes, heading up into the forests of Imaitso. Many of the plants have medicinal qualities. We camp on the edge of the forest.

Initially we retrace our steps to the saddle. From here there is some challenging walking – it is seldom flat with a couple of steep ascents and descents before the imposing Chambe Peak comes into view and we descend slowly to the hut.

Day 5: Imaitso – Andriampotsy

Our trek continues through the forests of Imaitso, the beginning of a vast forest corridor that connects to Ranomafana National Park. The diversity of flora and fauna is impressive at these lower elevations, and this area of lush primary rainforest is a wonderful place to trek. Several different types of lemur live here – Andringitra provides a habitat for 15 species in total – so keep your eyes and ears open! The forest is also home to many colourful birds and plants. After a fairly easy start, we climb up onto a high mountain plateau, an open prairie where many wildflowers and orchids grow; the views over the mountains and back down over Namoly Valley are wonderful. Our trail criss-crosses over the plateau, still ascending; we gain over 1000m in elevation today. Our camp lies at the foot of Pic Boby; we can relax and enjoy a well-earned river swim at the end of the day.

Day 6: Andriampotsy – Pic Boby – Iataranomby

Today is a long day and the focus of our challenge! Pic Boby, or Imarivolanitra as it is known in Malagasy (meaning ‘close to the sky’), is the second-highest peak on the island; its French name originated in the 1920s, when an explorer apparently discovered the path to the summit when looking for his dog (Boby). We set off very early, planning to reach the summit before cloud and mist cover it, as often happens during the day. Our trail to the summit is steep and rocky, much of it made up of large flat slabs of granite, with some boulders to clamber over. After 2-3 hours we reach the summit of Pic Boby (2658m). From the top there are far-reaching and impressive views over the Andringitra Mountains, and for miles around if it’s clear. After some time to soak up the vistas, we start our descent to the foot of the mountain, and continue down through a rocky, barren landscape strewn with boulders. This is the so-called ‘alien track’, a surreal moon-scape surrounded by mountain panoramas. As we drop lower we come into a forest of endemic palms, passing granite outcrops on a well-made path of steps that takes us steeply downhill. We camp by a river, another great spot for a refreshing dip.

Day 7: Iataranomby – Tsaranoro Valley

The hardest part of our challenge is behind us, and we continue downhill through the foothills into the beautiful Tsaranoro Valley. We pass several Barabory villages, where the ethnic cultures of Betsileo rice-growers and Bara cattle-herders mix; these villages provide a great insight into the way of life here. There is more vegetation now we are lower, including the pachypodium, which is like a small baobab tree, and the views are incredible! Our wonderful camp lies between Tsaranoro Mountain and the giant mountain chains of Andringitra National Park on the other – the views are incredible, as is our sense of achievement! Night camp (900m).

Day 8: Tsaranoro Valley – Antsirabe

We load into 4WD vehicles for the first 10km over red dirt roads through forest, then drive north, bidding farewell to the mountains and returning to the beautiful central highlands. We break our journey in Ambositra, a small town known for its woodcarvings and fine wooden houses. We continue on to Antsirabe, a beautiful city with many buildings reflecting French colonial rule, as well as its wide tree-lined boulevards. It is known for its pulled rickshaws, known as ‘pousse pousse’, which are seen as a symbol of the city. Here we check into our hotel and have some time to explore the city until we meet again for an evening of celebrations to mark our achievements over the past week. (Dinner not included)

Day 9: Antsirabe – Tana; flight departs

We will visit a WaterAid project in the morning before continuing our journey back to Tana and the airport, where we take our international flight home. (Lunch not included)

Day 10: Arrive UK

Note: Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.

Who can take part? People of all ages and from all walks of life. Although you must be 18 and over. You can sign up as an individual or a group – by the time you’ve finished the trip you will have made friendships that will last a lifetime!

How fit do I need to be? Discover Adventure have graded this trip as 3/5. It is designed to be a challenge so it’s important that you train in advance. With the right preparation anyone can complete the trek and enjoy themselves while doing it.

What’s the terrain like? This exciting trek takes us to remote Madagascar, where spectacular scenery and amazing wildlife awaits! From canyons and gorges to bush-covered plains and dense forests, rocky ridges and the summit of the island’s highest accessible mountain peak, this is a unique and highly varied trek steeped in natural beauty.

What’s a typical day like? There are a few long drive days, trekking days range from 3 hours (on first day of trek) to 6-10 hours of trekking for the other days. Summit Pic Bobby, Madagascar’s second highest peak, stunning scenery, wildlife viewing (fingers crossed) and cultural experiences as you trek through tiny villages are all typical parts of this amazing trek.

What’s the accommodation like? During the trek, you camp for 5 nights in two- man tents. Some campsites are quite simple; others are permanent tented camps with wooden or thatched shelters and very good facilities. All have stunning views. The hotels are comfortable and clean with en-suite facilities; they are on a twin share basis.

How much support will I receive? Once you’ve signed up we’ll be in regular contact, providing you with lots of fundraising and training support. You will receive a comprehensive event manual that will include specific details and reminders about your exciting challenge.

On the trip you will be accompanied by an experienced crew, including a trek leader, local guides, porters, a Doctor (depending on final group size) and a WaterAid representative.

Do I need any specialist equipment? No, apart from some decent, well worn-in trekking boots and a three-season sleeping bag. You will be provided with a full packing checklist once you sign up.

Do I need travel insurance? Yes, everyone will need to take out their own comprehensive travel insurance.

What will the food be like?  All food is included when trekking. The food is great, will give you plenty of energy, and there is plenty of it. Meals will be generally local style. Two meals as specified in the itinerary are not included. Anyone with special dietary requirements can be catered for if advance notice is given.

Do I need a visa? UK passport holders will require a visa to enter Madagascar. Visas can be obtained upon arrival and are free of charge at time of writing. Other nationalities should check with their embassy.

Do I need any vaccinations? Discover Adventure insist that you have had a Tetanus injection in the last ten years, and highly recommended protection against Polio, Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Although you are unlikely to encounter any mosquitoes while you are above 1000m, there is a risk of Malaria at lower elevations. Please consult your doctor for up to date vaccination advice.

What’s included? All flights, transport, accommodation, camping equipment (other than sleeping bag and mat), all meals except two as specified in the itinerary; internal air tax; National Park entry fees and all other sites visited as part of the itinerary.

What isn’t included? Personal travel insurance, airline fuel supplement if charged by the airline, two meals as specified, tip for local crew, entry visa or international airport tax. It also does not include any entrance fees to any optional sites you may wish to visit.

How long have I got to fundraise? You must have raised at least 80% of the fundraising target 10 weeks before departure as this is when we get invoiced for the trip costs. The remaining 20% is due within 4 weeks of your return. 

Sponsorship details

How to send sponsorship in 

If you've set up a fundraising webpage, the monies donated on-line should be transferred to WaterAid automatically. However, if you've raised money off-line, here is how to get it sent to us: 

It is more efficient and cost effective for us to process sponsorship in batches, which saves funds that can instead be used to help some of the world's poorest people gain access to safe water and sanitation. We therefore ask that you collect as much sponsorship as possible before sending it to:

The Events team
WaterAid
47- 49 Durham Street
London SE11 5JD

Please remember to include the following information when sending in your sponsorship:
  • Your name 
  • What the sponsorship is for  
  • Sponsor form with names/addresses of the sponsors and whether they would like to apply Gift Aid 
We strongly recommend that you send your sponsorship via recorded delivery so that you can track and hopefully retrieve your envelope if it goes missing. Sponsorship does go missing in the post from time to time, and it's hugely disappointing for both walkers and the charity, so recorded delivery is always worth the extra effort.