Highlights of Madagascar

14 days
from
$3,349 USD
incl. taxes
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Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
WZIA
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Wildlife Holidays
Group size:
4–16
Min age:
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
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailor made trips:
1 800 267 3347
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.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Antananarivo.

    There are no included activities today so you are free to arrive at any time. The group flights usually arrive in the early afternoon. This evening's welcome briefing is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers.

    Accommodation: Belvedere Hotel or similar
    Standard Hotel

  • Day 2

    Drive to Andasibe.

    This morning we 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. Arrive in Andasibe around 3pm 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

    City tour; visit to Ambohimanga and end.

    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 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 this afternoon after a city tour. Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport in the evening for the very early flight the next morning.

    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.
Please note that if you eat neither fish nor meat, your food options will be rather limited (i.e. omelette, cheese, pasta, vegetables and rice) on this trip. Breakfasts are usually simple, offering a baguette, Jam and coffee or tea. You may wish to bring something to supplement your morning meal (e.g spread, peanut butter etc).

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 tailor made trips:
1 800 267 3347
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 tailor made trips:
1 800 267 3347
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

  • Reviewed September 2019
    Mark Coates

    Madagascar in June

    This was our first holiday with Exodus and our first group holiday and looking back was probably one of the best holidays we have had. It was great to see such a wide variety of landscape and we were very lucky with the amount of wildlife we saw. We were in a group of 10 people and it was nice to share the experience with others. Our group leader, Rija made the trip so interesting. The final few days on the beach was very relaxing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I really enjoyed the trip to the Chameleon research center which wasn't on the itinery but was great for getting up close to such a wide variety of chameleons.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Rija was excellent and what really made the holiday great. She was very knowledgeable, full or tales about the different tribes and passionate about her country. She made the trip special, organising birthday cakes, local dancing and when someone mentioned the beach would be a great place to have a camp fire, the next evening it appeared with more dancing. Thanks Rija.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The days were very full with lots of early starts, but it gets dark around 5:30-6:00 so plenty of time in the evening to recover. Make sure you have a good torch for the night trips. There are plenty around but it's better if you can direct it where you're looking. I had an old camera but still managed to get some great photos. I could have done with a better zoom for the lemurs but a lot of people had phone cameras which worked fine.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We're now looking at other Exodus trips.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    T C

    Wildlife Adventure of a Lifetime

    I have been dreaming of seeing lemurs in the wild since I was young and this trip did not disappoint. I had never done a group tour before and was admittedly very hesitant to sign-up for one, but the itinerary allowed me to see most of what I wanted to, so I thought I'd give it a try. In the two weeks, we were able to see thirteen species of lemurs, which was thrilling and more than I had expected. The itinerary is thoughtfully laid out and even the long days travelling were made better by the many stops and stories from our group leader. I can't describe the feeling of first arriving to our cabins in Andasibe to the sounds of Indri calls in the forest. It was really out of this world. The diversity of landscapes and parks that we visited was excellent and I couldn't have planned it better myself. Having a local guide and engaging (mostly) with local tour operators and businesses was an important aspect of the trip for me as well. Overall, excellent adventure that I wish I could go back in time and do again.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Definitely the first night we arrived in Andasibe to the call of Indris in the distance. That will be a memory that stays with me forever. The dry forests and desert landscapes were so incredible to see as well. The beach in Anakao at the end, spectacular! Getting to know our group leader as well and spending time with her on the trip was also very special, as well as the lovely people in our group. Perhaps not inspirational, more sobering, was getting to see first-hand the devastating effects of slash-and-burn agriculture. It was disheartening to witness this and other environmental destruction. The biodiversity in Madagascar is particularly precious and I fear it will be gone within the next couple decades. I'm more committed than ever in continuing to support local organizations to protect what still remains. Please do not purchase any souvenir animal products, wood products, gemstones or other trinkets that can't be sourced ethically. Foreigners continue to have a role in driving some (if not much) of the ruin you will witness.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She was excellent. I can't say enough good things about her. She is intelligent, kind and had a great sense of humour. She took her job very seriously and had so much integrity, I didn't question for a moment that we were in great hands the whole trip. We had quite a large group, 16 people (which I was not aware of before arriving in Madagascar) and initially worried about how one person was going to be able to manage so many people, but she did so with great expertise and care. It was a tough job for her, but I always felt she had all of our best interests at heart and was flexible with the schedule, depending on how people were feeling and what their needs were. I was quite sad at the end to say goodbye!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take it as it comes, be flexible and don't arrive with too many expectations. I've done a lot of traveling and don't take this privilege for granted, but this was one of the top adventures I've ever had. The opportunity to see the most endangered mammals on the planet and the exquisite biodiversity this island has to offer, really can't be matched. Try and stay in the moment and really appreciate every minute of this adventure. If you're not comfortable being in an intensive group situation or going without creature comforts, this may not however be the trip for you. Expect and plan for digestive illness, it comes with the territory. I suffered quite a bad case of food poisoning, but the group leader managed it well and allowed for me to convalesce for a couple days before rejoining the tour. Educate yourselves before coming, about the island, peoples and appropriate conduct when visiting delicate ecosystems. Do not feed the animals, ever, we had some people who did this and it was incredibly upsetting.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would love to do this trip all over again :)
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Deborah Terry

    An Extraordinary Trip

    Madagascar is an extraordinary country facing numerous challenges. Its national parks are excellent and much of the scenery is spectacular. It is, however, very poor and facing many environmental challenges. This makes it all the more creditable that the hotels and food on this trip were both so good.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many, but obviously the lemurs - we saw at least 15 different varieties, plus all the other wildlife, and the baobabs, plus the Highlands scenery. And the wonderful jacarandas in flower in Tana.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vula was one of the best leaders I've ever had on an Exodus trip. She has huge warmth and charm and was never off duty. One couple had to be airlifted to Jo'burg and many of the rest of us were ill, and she was brilliant at checking we were OK. She's passionate about showing her country to visitors and was determined that we'd get the best from the trip. She went the extra mile all day every day and can't be praised too much.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trip takes stamina but amply rewards it. It packs a huge amount in in a short time and the contrasts of experiences etc is excellent. Pack light (the Isola hotel does washing), be prepared for a 24-hour bug, and take plenty of Jungle Formula. Wifi was generally available, but mostly in reception rather than in the rooms. Contrary to some of the advice given we had no difficulty in finding ATMs in most of the towns we went through, so taking all cash seems a bit unnecessary. And anyway you won't spend much. I had 36 hours on my own in Tana at the start of the trip and while I was careful, I enjoyed going out, exploring and finding good lunch spots. As a 60-something female I felt perfectly safe.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Deforestation is happening apace, so go soon. A unique destination.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Nik Kowal

    One of the best trips ever!

    Madagascar is amazing with so much unique wildlife, plants and trees. A well organised trip, with good accommodation. Comfortable bus with lots of breaks on the long journeys. A mixture of leisurely time on the bus and in the towns, with some very strenuous treks in the reserves. Be prepared for heavy rain and blistering heat as you pass through the varied landscapes.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The ancient baobabs in the spiny forest.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very organised and efficient, but some of her commentary got lost in translation.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As above. Pack everything especially a head torch and walking poles.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Laura Davey

    Life changing and unforgettable experience

    This was a truly life-changing trip. By that I mean, it was an experience of many extreme highs, such as seeing the unique and beautiful wildlife, coupled with being witness to some very difficult scenes, such as the slash and burn practice and huge areas of deforestation. The trip has left me wanting to learn more about this incredible country, its people and its wildlife. Would very much like to visit again and investigate further into the issues this country is clearly facing. This is a very special country and any visitor will be rewarded in many ways.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The wildlife was what I booked the trip for and it did not disappoint. I had no idea we would see so many species of lemurs, reptiles, birds, plants and trees insects and frogs and at such close range, we really were so very lucky. I cannot underestimate just how special it felt to witness these incredible endemic species in their (rapidly disappearing) habitat. The call of the indri is a sound that I will never, ever forget. I feel inspired to learn more and find out if there is any way in which I can help contribute to the future of this country, as the people and the native plants and animals are facing some very severe challenges, such as a hugely increasing population, rapid loss of habitat moved over to farming, shaky political leadership, the introduction of non-native species of animals, trees and plants that cannot support native wildlife, and the slash and burn agricultural practice.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader, Vola was really lovely. She kept us safe, listened to feedback, was flexible with timings and programmes and informed us on any queries and questions we had as best she could. At times, she went above and beyond for her clients, giving massages to one guest who was suffering from back and shoulder pain, and taking another client to the dentist for emergency treatment. She was also fun to be around and made us laugh every day.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go with an open mind, and be prepared to see the mass destruction of the environment which you will definitely witness. Bear in mind, this is a very poor country and life here is hard. Saying that, the people were all very warm and welcoming to the small number of tourists that we saw. We never ever felt threatened or anything other than welcome. This is what makes the environment/humanity inbalance so very difficult to bear witness to, as the people are just as amazing as the flora and fauna that most visitors come to see. We found the physical rating of 1 to be misleading, I would say there are some moderate to strenuous hikes on this tour. Bring camera, binoculars, insect repellent and some detergent to wash clothes. Accommodation and food were excellent, much better than we expected.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go now, before it's too late! and do anything you can to help this amazing place. It has so much to offer from gorgeous deserted beaches, lovely people, wildlife, birds and trees you won't find anywhere else in the world - not even in zoos! It's got rainforest, culture, spiny forest, desert, incredible rock formations and valleys, natural swimming areas, mountains - everything you could ever want to see, all in one very unique country.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Charlotte Grant

    Madagascar is great, unique & marvelous but one needs to be very fit to enjoy this amazing adventure

    The trip is rated as leisurely & I would rate it challenging. We had extremely long travel days in the vehicles on winding bumpy roads (5 hr, 6 hr, 11 hr, etc.) The trip notes advise some long days, but we weren’t expecting such challenges just traveling in the van; our muscles were all tensed up by the end of each drive. The hiking to get to the Lemurs requires a person to be very fit in order to scramble up steep banks, cross streams, climbing steps up & down, & bushwhacking for 4 hrs at a time. It would be helpful to put this information in the ‘Is this trip for you’ section

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational moment was getting so close to the lemurs, we could practically touch them. We had the joy of watching a number of different groups for long periods times. I have tracked the mountain gorillas & traveled all over the world, but have never been in such a unique country. Ever day was filled with adventure & excitement & new destinations. It took a lot of effort & challenge to do this trip, but at the end of the day it was totally worth it. Go now before it gets to filled with Tourists.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was Vola & she was excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes carefully & be in very good physical condition so you can enjoy every moment of this amazing country.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Tipping can cause consternation as we all view tipping differently. I agree that we should tip for great service & we want to put money into the Madagascar economy plus we want to get money to the Madagascar working people. However I do not agree with the suggested leader tip.The suggested tipping for our leader was $5 U.S. per day; $5.00/day x 14 days = $70/person tip x 14 people is $980. $980 is a fortune in Madagascar. If our leader is paid well (as it says in the trip notes), I don’t believe the leader should receive an additional $980. I believe we should tip according to the country we are in. The leader should get a fair tip, but $980 is far too much. The trip kitty of $50 is fair, however the group should be told what amount of tip is being given as the tip is given; we should not have to wait until the trip ends to know the numbers. On all other trips we were told what tip was given as it was given to the person. Our leader did not share the tips given until the trip end. I am not confident the tip kitty went to the appropriate people.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Karen Butler

    Great trip to see Lemurs

    Loved the trip, great country, great people, great guide and great wildlife

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lemur island, loved the fact that the country was supporting the re-introduction of "pet" lemurs back into the wild, great experience

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mel was fantastic, I couldnt find fault if I tried !!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Many early starts and long road trips but well worth it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was saddened to see the extent of plastic on the beaches, and the use of plastic straws everywhere
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Steve Gilbert

    Wow, Wonderful Place and Excellent Holiday

    I travelled there with some expectations regarding wildlife especially. These were exceeded. I was amused, impressed and very pleased at the number of wildlife sightings and especially the great opportunities I had for some brilliant wildlife photography.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There was no single moment I can identify. It was each occasion we went for a walk and encountered the Lemurs and Reptiles. Through the choice alone of the Lemus and Chameleons we got very close on more than one occasion. I will emphasise this was the animals choice not mine. Brown & Ring Tailed Lemurs can approach up to an arms length away. I didn't get bitten but I was wary. But it was exciting!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rija was one of the most enthusiastic and happy tour leaders I have had the pleasure of travelling with. Not only was she informative and organised she was also an expert wildlife spotter. She had an ability to spot something, when all we could see was undergrowth. I distinctly remember the rare 4 inch chameleon in the dark that she spotted from 10 paces when actually it was under a large leaf? I've never travelled with a leader equipped with xray infrared vision before, but I have now.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The tour company was good and supplied bottled water every day. Don't throw away the bottles. They are a desired commodity to the people in the hills and they are very happy when you hand over the empties for them to put their local produce in, honey, oil or similar. You may like to hand over other stuff too but the children can get a bit boisterous so choose your moment carefully if its something for them. Dont forget the adults, they are poor too. In a couple of areas during September it got chilly in the evening, please remember a light fleece or jumper.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was surprised so many people used their mobile phone or tablet to take pictures. Be patient with them, as I noticed it took them much longer, and they stood so much closer to the subject than us with the SLR cameras.
  • Reviewed June 2017
    Eve Doyle

    A Great Experience

    This was an excellent trip. Very well organised. Madagascar is a huge island and there are some long travel days to get across the country. Very varied environments and we saw lots of different wildlife.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being close to , seeing and hearing the Indri Lemurs was a very special experience. My favourite day was the walk in Isalo National Park.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rija was one of the best guides I have ever had. Her local knowledge was amazing. She had done this trip many times and she knew how to make it run smoothly, sometimes in difficult circumstances. Despite her experience she was still really enthusiastic about everything and made the trip really enjoyable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take walking poles if you usually walk with them. It was torrential rain in the Rainforest and I could have done with my full set of waterproof clothing and back pack cover. I should have taken a warmer jumper as well as my fleece. The hotel at Isalo offered washing very cheaply and we got all our wet and muddy Rainforest clothing washed and dried there. Change all your money at the airport on arrival and when you go back through later. The ATMs [we had two opportunities] may only allow you to change around £50. Those who did try and change money at the bank had to queue around 2 hours to be served!! No where took cards. Be prepared for the unexpected...no electricity, no running water, hold ups, bumpy roads, changes of time, unexpected encounters with local people etc

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You need to have an Adventurous spirit. These sort of trips are more of an experience than a holiday!
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Sean Williams

    Highlights of Madagascar

    This was a really enjoyable trip. Although the group was the maximum (16 people) and the bus could be a bit cramped at times, it worked really well. The trip used a local driver and guide both of whom were excellent (Ritza and Andree) and in particular Ritza was able to inform us about the wildlife and different aspects of the culture of Madagascar. The other guides used in the national parks and at the accommodation were also very good. Madagascar is an amazing place and the range of landscapes and wildlife is extremely varied. I also found the local people to be very friendly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many highlights including the following: 1. Hearing the early morning cries of the Indri lemurs in Andasibe. 2. Seeing mouse lemurs and the rainforest in Ramofana. 3. Seeing ring tailed lemurs very close. 4. The amazing landscapes and the "black pool" at Isalo. 5. Travelling to and from Nosy Ve by a traditional dhow. 3. The welcome given to us by the villagers when our bus broke down and we had a 90 minute delay while Andree fixed the bus.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ritza was excellent. She was very friendly, enthusiastic and approachable throughout the trip and gave some very good talks on the bus on Madagascan life. The dealt with the bus breaking down crisis brilliantly and got the ladies on our trip dancing with the villagers.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some long drives on some poor roads (although most of the roads outside the Tana to Fianarantsoa section were fairly decent) but that is realistically the only way to see the number of attractions which are covered by this trip. The accommodation was very good throughout but I would try and although the food was generally fine I would try and eat outside the hotels whenever possible. The town close to Isalo has an amazing pizza restaurant about 200 yards from the hotel.

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