Madagascar: Land of Wonders
Madagascar has no parallel. With an abundance of natural and cultural riches, it makes experienced travellers question what it means to say a country is unique. Lemurs, baobabs, rainforest, desert, trekking and diving: Madagascar is a dream destination. While here, you’ll uncovers many of the countries facets from it’s capital city to the beautiful coast.
Diverse Wildlife and Epic Landscapes
Madagascar is a treasure trove for lovers of wildlife. 5% of all known animal and plant species can only be found here. There’s a whole host of intriguing creatures to encounter from vibrantly coloured frogs to chameleons – if you can see them! Furthermore, this tour offers several opportunities to see the nation’s iconic animal, the lemur. With a range of lemur species living in these places, you can try to spot different types.
The remarkable wildlife is paralleled by incredibly diverse landscapes ranging from rainforest to desert. There are sandstone canyons, limestone karsts, mountains, fertile hills cascading with terraced rice paddies, forests of every kind – rain, dry, spiny – and a laterite-rich soil that gave the country its nickname of ‘Red Island’. During this tour, you’ll experience several environments including the dramatic sandstone formations of the Isalo National Park. It also boasts impressive canyons and provides a habitat for over 300 species of fauna. As Madagascar is an island, the turquoise sea is never far too far away. Another wonderful aspect of this trip is the chance to spend some time relaxing at the idyllic beach in Ifaty.
Madagascar is a one-of-a-kind destination. The lemur-filled rainforests and distinctive boababs have huge appeal. Culture overflows from towns and villages. Despite the undeniable lure, However, for those looking to go somewhere less explored, it is perfect. There are national parks that only see a few hundred visitors each year, but plenty of natural pools, beaches and hammocks on which to recover, too.
Dates on request
Suggested Itinerary by Air
Depart the UK and arrive in Antananarivo
Leave the UK for your connecting flight to Madagascar. Upon arrival you will be met and greeted before being transferred to your hotel.
Antananarivo – Andasibe
After breakfast, you will head east of Antananarivo towards Andasibe through the typical landscape of the highlands characterised by the rice fields and typical houses made from red earth. Along the way, you will stop at Pereyeras Reserve where you will have the opportunity to discover the country’s fauna such as different chameleon species, a large variety of geckos and the island’s largest butterfly; the comet butterfly. You have the option to enjoy lunch in the historical city of Moramanga, an important place in the Madagascar’s history due to its involvement in the Malagasy Uprising of 1947. This is also the capital of the Bezanozano people, one of Madagascar’s ethnic groups. Then, continue to Andasibe in French Perinet, which is also known as the lemur region. It’s one of the most visited and most protected areas of Madagascar. This area shelters many species of lemurs, reptiles, birds and very rich, diverse flora. This evening will also include a night time visit of the region.
Today embark on a full day visit of the region including the Reserve of Analamazaotra to see the famous Indri Lemur, one of the largest living lemurs. The Indris are not the only reason to venture into the forest because there are other lemur species living here such as the common brown lemur, grey bamboo lemur and the eastern woolly lemur. Lovers of birds, reptiles, amphibians and plants – especially orchids – will all be delighted with he species they have the chance to see here. Perhaps enjoy an optional lunch at Feon’ny Ala Hotel restaurant, located on the bottom of Andasibe National Park, for a taste of excellent local food. In the afternoon, visit Vakona Park which is a privately owned reserve with lodges set on a hillside that slopes into a lake. There’s a crocodile park amidst lush greenery and an island with a lemur sanctuary. If you are lucky, you can spot an endemic cat-like fossa, a relative of the mongoose that resembles a small cougar.
Andasibe – Antsirabe
Following breakfast you will drive back to Antananarivo then transfer to Antsirabe which is a popular place to visit amongst both tourists and Malagasy people. The city is famous for its abundance of attractive sites and its spa. Along the way you will visit a factory in Ambatolampy which specialises in making aluminium pots and pans, as the aluminium foundries constitute an important economic activity in the region (closed at the weekend and public holidays).
Antsirabe – Ranomafana
After breakfast, explore Antsirabe on a city tour by rickshaws, locally called “pousse pousse”. You will then transfer to Ranomafana, stopping along the way to see the handicrafts of the Zafimaniry in Ambosita. The Zafimaniry is a ethnic group of Madagascar, known for their woodcarving knowledge and art which is on the UNESCO’s list of the world’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. If time permits, visit the little village in Ranomanafana before checking into your hotel.
With more than 41,600 hectares (161 square miles) of tropical rainforest, Ranomafana National Park is home to several rare and endangered species of flora and fauna. The park was established in 1991 to conserve the unique biodiversity of the local ecosystem and to reduce human pressure on the protected area. The park is now one of the different parks that form the Rainforests of the Atsinanana, which is a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.
On your full day visit, you can explore the forest and try to spot different bird and lemur species. Three species of bamboo lemurs are found in this forest (grey bamboo lemur, golden bamboo lemur and the greater bamboo lemur) as well as other lemur species including the Milen’s edwards sifaka, the common brown lemur, the red bellied lemur. With chance you might spot as well some of the biggest chameleons in the island: the Parson’s chameleon.
Ranomafana – Ambalavao – Isalo National Park
After breakfast, you will leave Ranomafana you journey towards Isalo National Park. Along the way you will stop in Ambalavao which is a picturesque and traditional small town. In the afternoon you will visit the Anja Community Reserve which was created to help preserve the local environment and wildlife and to provide additional employment and income to the local community. You will then continue your journey towards Isalo National Park. Upon arrival in Ranohira you will check in at your hotel.
Isalo National Park
Today you will enjoy a full day excursion in Isalo National Park. The park is known for its wide variety of terrain, including sandstone formations, deep canyons, palm-lined oases and grassland. You will also have the opportunity to discover a wider variety of fauna and flora as a total of 340 animal species are known to inhabit this area.
Isalo National Park – Ifaty
After breakfast you will head south towards Toliara also called “Sun City”. Located on a vast coastal plain, it is surrounded by dunes and mangroves, near the Tropic of Capricorn in the Mozambique Channel. During the journey, stop at Antsokay botanical garden to discover the various endemic plants of the south. Then continue to Ifaty, a fishing village in the north of Toliary. Spend the afternoon at leisure in Ifaty.
Today you will have the whole day at leisure to relax and enjoy the beach and the resort. A the end of the day you will be driven to Reniala reserve to enjoy an evening walk followed by dinner under the baobab trees.
Ifaty – Antananarivo
This morning following breakfast you will transfer from Ifaty to Toliara airport for your domestic flight to Antananarivo. Upon arrival you will check in at your hotel and have the remainder of the day at leisure.
Antananarivo – Flight back to the UK
Today you will enjoy a city tour of the Malagasy capital as well as a visit of the Queen’s palace Manjakamiadana also called the Rova of Antananarivo. This royal complex served as the home of the sovereigns of the Kingdom of Imerina as well as of the Kingdom of Madagascar.
Depending on your flights, you will transfer to the airport after dinner for your connecting flight back to the UK or you will stay overnight in Antananarivo and fly back the following day
Whilst Madagascar holidays can be enjoyed year-round, the principal wet season is from late December through to the month of March; often involving cyclones, it is probably best avoided! The best time to go to Madagascar is therefore between the months of April through to mid-December.