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Highlights of Madagascar

10 days from £1375pp plus international flights.

Ending on the beach, this is a classic journey along Madagascar's Route 7 which passes through diverse landscapes and includes some real highlights of the island.  

You head off from Madagascar's capital, Tana, with your own private vehicle and driver.  You're travelling south west to Tulear on the coast, but you will see some wonderful and diverse aspects of this big island on the way. 

The landscape varies from the highlands with its terraced rice paddies and terracotta brick villages in valleys, to the savannah-like plateau of Horombe with huge granite boulders dotted here and there, and then on to the sandstone cliffs of Isalo before dropping down to the arid area of the south west coast including the unique spiny forest habitat with baobabs and euphorbias. 

But you will also see a slice of Madagascan life on this trip, as you stop in tiny villages and bigger towns to visit craftsmen and meet some of the ordinary people who make Madagascar so special. 

And of course you will visit reserves and parks to see the flora and fauna.  Ranomafana, Isalo, Anja and Zombitse are all included, and so you should see a good variety of lemurs (including black and white ruffed, ring-tailed, brown, verraux's sifaka) as well as chameleons and other smaller species. 

After about a week's travelling and sightseeing, it's then time to flop.  Ifaty is on a lagoon on the southwest coast just north of Tulear.  Enjoy the beach and perhaps take time to go snorkelling or on boat trips, there is even humpback whale watching, which is best from about July to mid-September. 

You fly back to Tana from Tulear, where you can continue home, or perhaps add on a couple of days in the excellent park of Andasibe if you'd like to see the indri (Madagascar's largest lemur). 

For a compact but fascinating look at Madagascar's diversity, this trip is perfect.

Itinerary
Tana

DAY 1; ARRIVE IN TANA

A representative will be waiting to meet you at the international airport in Antananarivo (Tana for short), to welcome you and drive you to your city hotel. You'll have the rest of the day free, to recover from the journey and look forward to your Madagascan holiday. 
Rice paddies

DAY 2: TANA, THEN DRIVE TO ANTSIRABE

You'll have breakfast at the hotel, after which your guide will lead you on a tour of the city. It was founded in the 17th century and has many churches, squares, markets and colonial buildings. Later you'll set out by private car to Antsirabe, travelling past rice paddies. The drive will take about 3 hours. With its elegant buildings, thermal springs and cool climate Antsirabe has a European feel. You'll have a short city tour before checking in to your hotel. Breakfast.
Wood carving

DAY 3; DRIVE TO RANOMAFANA

After breakfast you'll continue the journey south, heading to Ambositra, the centre of the island's wood carving industry, as demonstrated by the ornate balconies and shutters of many of its houses. You'll have the chance to watch craftsmen at work creating beautifully carved items. Your drive takes you through forested scenery and you may pass villagers selling snacks by the roadside. Your final destination today is Ranomafana, which you should reach by the late afternoon, giving you time to unwind at the hotel. Breakfast.   
Kingfisher

DAY 4: RANOMAFANA NATIONAL PARK

You'll have a day to explore the 40,000 hectares of Ranomafana National Park, with its dense vegetation, fast flowing rivers and cascading waterfalls. There are no fewer than 12 species of lemur here and your guide will help you spot at least some of these. Birds, butterflies and reptiles all thrive here and your four hour tour should be filled with sightings. Later you can check out some of the city's thermal springs, enjoying the benefits of their therapeutic properties. Breakfast. 
Bara Herdsman and Zebu

DAY 5; DRIVE TO ISALO

Today you'll be on the move again. Your first stop is at Fianarantsoa, a predominantly Catholic city with many churches, schools and a university. Next you'll break the journey at Ambalavao for a visit to a winery including a free wine tasting. Ihosy, a little further south, marks the transition between the verdant highlands and the dry south. Continuing you'll drive through wide plains including the plateaux de Horombe with its distinctive red soil. You may see Bara herdsmen tending their precious zebu cattle as you drive by. It's been a long day, 6-7 hours driving, so you'll be pleased to check in to your hotel. Breakfast. 
Isalo national park

DAY 6: ISALO NATIONAL PARK

Today you'll have the opportunity to stretch your legs with a 4 to 6 hour hike in Isalo National Park. The terrain here is hilly, so you'll get a good workout if you want one! You'll have excellent views of the Isalo massif, huge sandstone mountains, and strange rock formations that resemble animals if viewed from the correct angle. You may also see Bara tombs in the rock. Wildlife includes sifakas and ring-tailed lemurs. The hike will be rounded off with panoramic views from the Window of Isalo, after which you'll be driven back to your hotel for a chance to put your feet up. Breakfast.  
Lemur

DAY 7: ZOMBITSE NATIONAL PARK TO COAST

Your southerly odyssey continues, perhaps with a short stop in the sapphire centre of Ilakaka, followed by a 1 hour hike in Zombitse National Park. This semi-dry tropical forest is a great place for bird watching with several rare species found here. It's also home to 6 species of lemur. Your final destination today is Tulear, at the end of highway 7. On the way you'll be gazing out at baobabs and thorny bush, typical of the south. You'll end the day on the western coast of Madagascar in an area just north of Tulear called Ifaty. Your hotel is one of the best in the area, and you can look forward to a few days relaxing by the sea. Breakfast.  
Beach

DAY 8: ON THE COAST

It's been a busy few days and you'll welcome the chance to relax, perfecting your tan or catching up with some reading. Breakfast.  
beach

DAY 9: ON THE COAST

Another day to relax, or if you fancy doing something more active today, perhaps consider booking a whale watching expedition, or lagoon trip, or perhaps some diving or snorkelling, horse riding... There's plenty to do in this area. Breakfast.
Long road home

DAY 10: FLY BACK TO TANA

Having had breakfast by the beach you'll be collected for the drive to the airport and your flight back to Tana, where your Malagasy holiday ends. Breakfast
Price & Dates

Guide price from (pp sharing): £1375 (ex. international flights)

Includes: 

Accommodation on twin share basis
Meals and transfers as shown
Private 4WD vehicle and driver
Local guides and entrance fees to parks mentioned.

Excludes: 

International flights and taxes (we can arrange these)
Visa
Vaccinations
Insurance
Drinks, and meals not shown
Personal expenses
Any optional excursions not shown
English-speaking guide (can be arranged)

Getting there: This holiday starts and ends in Tana (Antananarivo). Return flights from the UK cost from around £800 per person, depending on season, airline and availability.

places you will see

places you will see

Anatananarivo
Antananarivo
Tana is the busy capital and site of the international airport. There are some fine churches, cobbled streets and busy markets to be explored.

Ranomafana National Park sign
Ranomafana National Park

This superb area of indigenous forest is where the critically endangered golden bamboo lemur was discovered in 1986.

Isalo landscape
Isalo National Park

The impressive canyons, strange rock formations, dramatic gorges, waterfalls and wildlife including lemurs attract visitors year round, making this one of the most popular parks in Madagascar.

customer rating

5/5 from 42 reviews

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facts and information

Time: GMT +3 hours

Flight time: Flights from Europe to Madagascar take about 10/11 hours.

Language: Malagasy and French are Madagascar's official languages. English or German is spoken by a municipal workers and guides.A basic working knowledge of French will make communication easier.

Visas: Most nationalities require a Madagascar visa, obtainable from the High Commission in London (or on arrival into International Airport.

Health: Malaria is present in most of the country. No vaccinations are compulsory.

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Otley, Suffolk, IP6 9JW.
Office hours: Monday - Friday: 9am to 5.30pm
Telephone: 01473 890499

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