Highlights of Madagascar (2023 Departures)

14 days
from
$4,479 USD
incl. taxes
Loading...
Wildlife
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
WZIA3
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Wildlife Holidays
Group size:
4–16
Ages:
16+

Discover Madagascar's unique wildlife and stunning beaches

Madagascar is a paradise for wildlife lovers, and much of its animal life cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The chief attraction is the lemurs. Undeniably one of the most delightful and cute creatures, there are over 70 species spread throughout the country. In Andasibe, we hope to see the rare Indri, the largest lemur, while in the cloud forest of Ranomafana National Park, we hope to see the rare Golden bamboo and Greater bamboo lemurs. Go in search of Ring-tailed lemurs in Anja Reserve and have a final day in search of wildlife in Tsimanampetsotsa National Park.

Highlights

  • The chance to see lemurs in their natural habitat
  • Incredible wildlife in the Andasibe Nature Reserve and in Ranamofana National Park
  • Isalo National Park, with its amazing rock formations, spectacular canyons and natural swimming holes
  • Striking spiny forest in Tsimanampetsotsa National Park
  • Relax on the beach in the coastal town of Anakao

Key information

  • 10 nights standard and 3 simple hotels, all en suite
  • Travel by private bus and internal flight
  • Some long drives on poor roads
  • Countries visited: Madagascar

What's included

  • All breakfasts
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Flights
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive Antananarivo.

    The group flights usually arrive in the early afternoon.  You will be transferred to your hotel and the rest of the day is free to relax. This evening's welcome briefing is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers.

    Accommodation: Hotel Belvedere or similar
    Standard Hotel

     

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 2

    Antananarivo city tour; drive to Andasibe.

    This morning we embark on a city tour of Tana, the picturesque capital of Madagascar. With its bustling markets, friendly people and ancient town on a hill with freestone churches and ancient royal places, it is unique among the world’s other capitals. We then drive to Andasibe through the green and luxuriant vegetation of the east. This first step brings us to the humid part of the country with many primary forests and lakes. Along the way we will see Merina villages in the rocky mountains. We will arrive in Andasibe at around 4pm and the rest of the afternoon is free to relax. In the early evening we take a twilight/nocturnal walk along the road, close to the Andasibe Nature Reserve, looking out for the nocturnal species of lemur as the torchlights pass their eyes.

    Accommodation: Hotel Feon’ny Ala or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Morning trek in Andasibe National Park and afternoon visit to Vondron’olona Miaro Mitia Ala Reserve.

    Discover Andasibe National Park (also known as Perinet) and its wildlife on a 4 hour walk. The park is home to the teddy bear-like Indri, the largest of Madagascar's lemur species, as well as other forms of flora and fauna and a wide array of bird life. Listening to the piercing yet melancholy cry of the Indri in the morning is an evocative sound and for those who are prepared to follow them through the thick rainforest, the reward is often a close-up view of these beautiful creatures. A group of five Diademed sifaka have recently been re-introduced to Andasibe from Mantadia, and if we are lucky, we may spot one of these unusual creatures.

    In the afternoon we visit the Vondron’olona Miaro Mitia Ala Reserve. This is a community run reserve where you are able to see several species of lemurs and birds. The reserve is an untouched paradise for endemic animals and plants. There are groups of Indris which we hope to see here in their natural habitat, and their white-headed relatives, the Diademed sifakas, jump between the tree tops.  For reptiles and amphibian lovers, the reserve offers countless frogs along its crystal clear river and several amazing chameleons can be found in the forest.

    Accommodation: Hotel Feon’ny Ala or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Return to Antananarivo; continue to Antsirabe.

    We drive back to Tana, and head south to Antsirabe, across the highland landscape with its beautiful rice fields on stage. The spectacular eroded hills called ‘lavaka’ remind us of the Far East with its rice fields and green landscape with vegetables and fruit trees. 
    Antsirabe, or ‘the place of salt’, is an elegant city well known as the centre of the beer industry and we can smell the Star Brewery as we enter the town. Founded by the Norwegians in 1856, it is the only place which really feels and looks like a European city. It has a temperate climate and all fruits and vegetable, which grow in cold climates, are found in Antsirabe.
    Accommodation: Les Chambers du Voyageur or similar

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    To Ranomafana.

    After breakfast we drive to Ambositra, the centre of Madagascar's wood carving industry. We are still in the highlands, which are characterized by their architecture: the houses are made with ornately carved wooden balconies and shutters with bright colours. Further on we pass the ‘le col de tapia’, a type of tree, which is resistant to the bush fires of the area. The landscape is still dominated by rice fields on stage, pine forests and eucalyptus trees and rocky mountains. Our destination for the day: Ranomafana National Park.


    Accommodation: Centrest Hotel or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Full day in Ranomafana N.P.

    Parc National de Ranomafana (approximately 40,000ha), with its rain forested hills and abundant wildlife, has long been considered one of Madagascar’s highlights, and is one of the most heavily visited of the country’s national parks. Its entrance lies about 7km from Ranomafana village. Altitudes in the park range from 800m to 1200m. In addition to its densely forested hills, Ranomafana’s terrain is characterised by numerous small streams, which plummet down to the beautiful Namorona River. Although much of the region has been logged, the easternmost part of the park retains relatively large areas of primary forest.

    We go for a walk in the national park for approximately five hours in the hopes of spotting some of the lemurs, chameleons and other animals found here. We hope to see Golden bamboo lemurs who are unique to this park, as well as other lemurs such as the Eastern woolly lemur, the Red bellied lemur, the Grey bamboo lemur, and the Red-fronted brown lemur. This park is also home to other mammals including tenrecs, bats and some of the carnivores such as mongoose and the Malagasy striped civet.


    Accommodation: Centrest Hotel or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Drive to Ranohira, visiting Anja N.P. en route.

    An early start as we leave Ranomafana National Park behind us. The scenery changes dramatically as we head to the small town of Ranohira, a journey of approximately 9 hours. We stop near Ambalavao to visit Anja National Park along the way - a small reserve where several families of Ring-tailed lemurs can be seen amongst the vegetation.


    Accommodation: Orchidee de l’Isalo or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Full-day trek in Isalo N.P. visiting Monkey Canyon and the natural swimming pools.

    After an early start, we spend our day exploring Isalo National Park. Isalo is a vast region of wind-polished and water-scoured rock towers, deep canyons, gorges and oases often described as Eden. We go walking in the magnificent Canyon des Makis in search of cheeky Ring-tailed lemurs and the Verreaux Sifaka. We also visit the 'Piscine Naturelle' (natural swimming pool), a beautifully lush spot in such an arid landscape where we can swim and relax. Perhaps the magic is just to soak up the sheer beauty of the park, the combination of coloured eroded rock formations, strange plants and enveloping silence make this one of the most captivating places in Madagascar.

    Accommodation: Orchidee de l’Isalo or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    To Tulear, visiting Zombitse N.P. en route.

    After breakfast, we continue to Tulear. This brings us new scenery, among the dry forests of the west and the spiny desert of the south. On the way admire the different ‘Mahafaly tombs and the ‘Antandroy tombs’ from the road and visit Zombitse National Park for a few hours. The Zombitse National Park forest is of particular interest to birdwatchers, as it is home to one of Madagascar's rarest endemics, Appert's greenbul, as well as other species such as Giant coua, Crested ibis and Cuckoo roller. Verreaux's Sifakas, Red-fronted Brown lemurs and Sportive lemurs are also seen here.

    Accommodation: Hotel Victory or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Boat transfer to Anakao; free day for optional activities.

    This morning we take a boat transfer to Anakao arriving at around 9.00 am. This Vezo (meaning 'the people who fish') fishing village lies on the south west coast of Madagascar and boasts white sandy beaches.The rest of the day is free for optional activities, including snorkelling, diving, pirogue (small boat similar to a canoe) excursions, swimming and more.


    Accommodation: Hotel Lalandaka or similar
    Simple Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Full day in Tsimanampetsotsa N.P.

    An early 4x4 transfer of approximately two hours takes us to Tsimanampetsotse for a full day visit of the national park. The large, shallow soda lake is the focus for this terrific 43,200ha national park. The large limestone plateau here has some of the most striking spiny forest vegetation in Madagascar with countless endemic species. The park sits on a large underground aquifer that runs north, evidenced by the numerous sinkholes and caves. The lake is renowned for its waterfowl, notably flamingoes and other rare endemic birds including the Madagascar plover. We may even be lucky and spot the emblem of the park, the very rare Grandidier’s mongoose! In the afternoon we return to Anakao.

    Accommodation: Hotel Lalandaka or similar
    Simple Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Excursion to Nosy Ve to see Red-tailed tropic birds nesting on this small island.

    Today we take a boat excursion to Nosy Ve to see the world's most southernmost all-year breeding colony of Red-tailed tropic birds, stunning all-white seabirds with red bills and long, thin, red tails, nesting in this small island. If we are lucky we may see the females roosting under small shrubs, well hidden from any airborne predators such as hawks or eagles. A stroll around Nosy Ve’s shoreline including a long white sand beach takes about one hour. After our exploration we will return to Anakao, usually around lunchtime. The rest of the afternoon is free for optional activities.

    Accommodation: Hotel Lalandaka or similar
    Simple Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Fly to Antananarivo.

    Today we transfer to Tulear airport for our flight to Antananarivo. Depending on the flight schedule, you may have some time in the afternoon free to explore Antananarivo on your own.

    Accommodation: Belvedere Hotel or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Visit to Ambohimanga; end Antananarivo.

    This morning we visit Ambohimanga, the fortified village and its Royal palace. Ambohimanga, otherwise known as Blue Hills, was for a long time forbidden to Europeans. The kings and queens returned here for rest and relaxation on top the forested slopes of this hill-top village. From here began the line of kings and queens who united Madagascar into one country. Ambohimanga still remains of spiritual significance for the Malagasy people with ceremonies and rituals still taking place. Our adventure ends after Ambohimanga.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Madagascar

Visas are required for entry to Madagascar. 30-day tourist visas may be obtained at the airport on arrival. If obtaining a visa at the airport, you should ensure that an entry stamp is recorded in your passport. The visa fee is payable in US dollars or Euros (US$37/€35).

Vaccinations

Madagascar

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Eating and Drinking

Food standards in Madagascar can vary and are probably not of the same standard you are used to at home. The cuisine has been strongly influenced by the French and a three-course meal should cost €9-€15. A one-course lunch should cost €4-€7. Please allow approximately €300 for the meals not included, plus a little more if you enjoy a drink with dinner! Malagasy lager is reasonably priced and easily available. Malagasy wine is also reasonably priced but is not to everyone's taste. It is sometimes possible to get hold of French or South African wine. A delicacy in Madagascar is the various flavoured Rum’s which are widely sold and very reasonably priced.

Vegetarians and vegans can be well catered for on this holiday - please do inform us before departure of any special dietary requests so that our local team can be well prepared.

Weather

Madagascar has a tropical climate with two seasons - rainy and dry. The driest season extends from April to October. It can be cold on the central plateau (including Antananarivo) in the evenings, and in the rainforest areas, so you should bring warm clothes (fleece and waterproof). There is considerable regional variation but coastal areas will normally be very hot and dry. Expect daytime in the shade temperatures up to 38ºC from October-December and up to 30ºC during the trips running from April-June and September.

Antananarivo, Madagascar

Is this trip for you?

Madagascar is a rewarding destination with its wealth of flora and fauna, however, before you decide to travel, we would highlight the following issues for you to consider:

Travelling by vehicle in Madagascar can be uncomfortable as some of the road quality varies. The majority of the roads are well-surfaced, but it is worth noting that Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world and the infrastructure reflects this. Some roads will be better than others, and at times a little patience, humour and flexibility may be required! There will be a lot of very early starts and long days on this itinerary, but the diverse scenery more than makes up for time spent on the bus. We break up our road journeys with stops at villages, to take photos and to stretch our legs.

The tourist infrastructure in Madagascar is relatively new and some services are limited. It is not unusual for there to be changes to accommodation or internal flights and for this reason, the order of the itinerary (but not the content) may sometimes have to be changed.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

We use standard hotels throughout the trip except for three nights where we stay in a simple hotel in Anakao.

Please note that although all the hotels are said to have a reliable electricity and water supply there may be instances in which you experience some gaps in supply - this is more a reflection of life in Madagascar than the standard of the hotel. Please be aware that some hotels do not have 24 hr electicity, and in some, hot water is not always available. There is WiFi in most of the hotels but often this is only in the communal areas and not in the rooms.

Please note that while the hotel in Anakao has Wifi in the main reception/restaurant area there is no electricity to charge devices in the rooms - these can be left to charge at reception. The rooms do have electric lighting. Solar heated hot water for washing will be delivered to each bungalow every morning and evening as there is no running water in the bathrooms, just a large container of fresh water and a traditional ‘bucket shower’.  This container of fresh water is also used to manually flush the toilet.  

 

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Have you been on this adventure? Tell others what it’s like by writing a review.

Dates & Prices

Trips you might also like

Cycle Madagascar

20 reviews

An adventure rich in culture and discovery through unforgettable Madagascar

Cycling
Activity level:
Moderate / Challenging
Ages: 18+
14 Days from $4,799 USD
Guided (Incl. Taxes)
View More Details

Madagascan Discoverer

32 reviews

Explore Madagascar's unique flora and fauna, and spectacular and diverse scenery

Culture
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Ages: 16+
15 Days from $5,049 USD
Guided (Incl. Taxes)
View More Details

Trekking in Madagascar

Explore Madagascar's National Parks, mountains and incredible wildlife.

Walking & Trekking
Activity level:
Moderate / Challenging
Ages: 18+
15 Days from $4,479 USD
Guided (Incl. Taxes)
View More Details