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Baobabs, Beaches and Lemurs

16 days from £1925pp plus international flights.

Baobabs, lemurs and beaches are the three main things which visitors to the island of Madagascar want to see.  This trip is made especially to combine these highlights. 

Madagascar is about as large as France so you certainly can't fit everything in one visit. However this trip is a very good way to experience the diversity of the island, and covers some real highlights. 

We ensure you get to some of the best parks to see the landscape and wildlife. These include Andasibe (a major wildlife highlight), Ranomafana (famed for the golden bamboo lemur), Zombitse (great for birds in particular), and Isalo (wonderful rock formations, plus lemurs, amphibians and birds), and Reniala (for spiny forest including baobabs). 

You'll also see some of Malagasy culture as you travel through the highlands stopping at small towns and villages.

Lastly you can relax for a few days on the beaches of the dry southwest region. 

We highly recommend this diverse itinerary.

Itinerary
Queens Palace in Antananarivo

DAY 1: ARRIVE IN TANA

You'll be met on arrival at Antananarivo airport and transferred to your hotel. Having had time to relax, you'll be offered a guided tour of the city sites and an introduction to its history. You'll be driven back to your hotel for dinner followed by a good night's sleep. Dinner.
Local traffic en-route

DAY 2: TANA TO ANTSIRABE

Your driver will collect you from the hotel after breakfast for the 3 hour journey southwards to Antsirabe. You'll pass verdant rice paddies and rolling hills, and will witness scenes of daily life along the drive. There'll be a chance to visit a small family-run factory making aluminium cooking pots, and to see impressive Merina tombs, testament to the high respect due to ancestors in this highland region. You'll arrive in Antsirabe in the afternoon, to settle in to your hotel where you'll spend the next two nights. Breakfast
Visit a gemstone workshop

DAY 3: ANTSIRABE

Enjoy a more leisurely breakfast this morning, followed by a tour of Antsirabe. The town is noted for its small workshops with items as diverse as gemstones and pousse-pousses (rickshaws). The city, a long established spa resort, has a distinctly European feel, with its many colonial villas, wide boulevards and imposing cathedral. The climate is pleasantly cool due to the high altitude. Breakfast.  
Intricately carved balcony in Ambositra

DAY 4: ANTSIRABE TO AMBOSITRA

Today you continue the journey south, heading to Amobositra, a drive of about 2 hours. You'll pass through fertile landscapes and fragrant pine and eucalyptus forests, typical of the highland region. Ambositra is known for its wood carving industry, and most of the houses have ornately carved balconies and shutters. You'll have time to visit a number of workshops to witness fine craftsmanship first hand. Breakfast.
See waterfalls and rainforest

DAY 5: AMBOSTIRA TO RANOMAFANA

This morning you set out for Ranomafana, about a 3 hour drive with some stops en-route to visit some places of interest. In Ambohimahasoa you can tour a rum distillery, and later you'll be able to watch a village blacksmith at work. The scenery gradually changes, with lush tropical rainforest, rivers and tumbling waterfalls. You arrive at your hotel with plenty of time to unwind after the drive. Breakfast. 
You should see many lemurs in Ranomafana

DAY 6: RANOMAFANA

Today you'll get your first real experience of Madagascar's rich and varied wildlife on a morning hike. Ranomafana National Park is home to no fewer than 12 species of lemur including the golden bamboo (for which the park is famed), greater bamboo and the elusive aye-aye. Abundant birdlife, dozens of reptiles and gorgeous orchids are also found in this impressive forest landscape. In the afternoon you'll stop off at Ranomafana village, maybe enjoying a soak in one of the natural hot springs. Breakfast.
Paper making workshop

DAY 7: RANOMAFANA TO AMBALAVAO

After breakfast you'll have a 1 hour drive to Fianarantsoa, the country's second city, and capital of the Betsileo tribe. You'll have a short city tour, before continuing the journey on to Ambalavao. This town is the centre of the wine industry and wine tasting is on the agenda today, followed by a tour of a factory where beautifully decorated paper is created by hand. Breakfast.   
Ring-tailed lemur in Anja Park

DAY 8: AMBALAVAO TO ISALO

This morning you'll visit Anja Park, where you should spot ring-tailed lemurs and chameleons. The drive continues to Ihosy where the terrain begins to change as you enter the dry south of the country, with wide open plains dotted with granite outcrops. This is homeland of the Bara tribe and you may catch sight of herdsmen with the zebu. Today's drive ends at Isalo. Breakfast.  
Enjoy a swim in a natural pool

DAY 9: ISALO

Today is dedicated to exploring Isalo National Park, a land of weird and wonderful rock formations, plunging gorges, pools and waterfalls. You have a guided hike tailored to your ability. You could head for the natural swimming pool for a well-earned cooling dip. The walk back is equally enthralling and you may spot 'dancing' sifakas and ring-tailed lemurs as well as many birds. Having relaxed at the hotel you'll set out in the later afternoon to watch the sunset at the Window of Isalo. Breakfast.  
Mighty baobabs

DAY 10: RANOHIRA TO IFATY

It's time for a change of scene and today's drive heads southwest to the coast. You'll break the journey at Ilakaka, a village transformed by the discovery of sapphires. Travelling on, vegetation becomes more sparse, with trees giving way to thorny bush and grassland. Stopping at Zombitse Forest you'll see gorgeous orchids and, later, admire the huge baobabs at Andranomaintso. Reaching the coast you'll head for your beach hotel in Ifaty. Breakfast. 
Reptiles abound in Reniala Reserve

DAY 11: IFATY

This morning you'll enjoy a visit to the private reserve at Reniala. There are 2 types of baobab here, and this is a good place to see the spiny forest unique to the region, plus a variety of birds and reptiles. You have the afternoon free to relax by the pool or on the beach. Breakfast.
Take a walk along the beach at Ifaty

DAY 12: ON THE BEACH AT IFATY

The whole day has been left free today, so you can be as busy or lazy as you wish! You might want to take the morning easy, enjoying a late breakfast and taking a stroll along the beach. Later you can, if you wish, walk to the neighbouring village of Magily, to witness coastal life and possibly visit a school. Breakfast.
Watch a dancing sifaka

DAY 13: IFATY TO ANDASIBE

This morning you'll fly from Tulear to Tana, where a driver will take you the 3 hours to Andasibe. You'll break the journey at Pyreiras Reptile Park for close up views of chameleons and more, while a walk in the forest will offer sightings of sifakas and brown lemurs. You should reach your hotel by the late afternoon. Breakfast.    
Hiking in Andasibe National Park

DAY 14: ANDASIBE

You'll be led on a 2-3 hour hike in Andasibe National Park this morning. The forest here is lush and home to several species of lemurs including the largest, the vocal indri whose cry can be heard over a kilometre away. Reptiles and birds are found here in large numbers and there are many types of exotic orchids. After the hike you could visit Andasibe village for an insight into the daily lives of the Betsimisaraka tribe. Later you'll have the chance to photograph 'rescued' lemurs at Lemur Island. Breakfast.
Listen and look for the indri

DAY 15: ANDASIBE TO TANA

In the morning you'll take a walk in Analamazaotra Reserve (part of Andasibe), known for its population of indri, so this is another great chance to spot these unique creatures with their mesmerising song. Afterwards you set out for the capital, arriving in the late afternoon, with the option to stop at a handicraft market for some souvenir shopping. Breakfast. 
Bid farewell to Tana and Madagascar

DAY 16: DEPART TANA

The adventure has come to an end and it's time to head for home. You'll have breakfast at the hotel before being collected and transferred to the airport in time to check in for your onward flight. Breakfast. 
Price & Dates

Guide price from (pp sharing): £1925 (ex. international flights)

Includes: 

Accommodation as shown
Meals and transfers as shown
Private 4WD vehicle and driver from days 2-10 and 13-15
Entrance fees and local guides in all parks and reserves mentioned
Flight Tulear-Tana

Excludes: 

International flights and taxes
​Visa
Vaccinations
Insurance
Drinks, and meals not shown
English-speaking guide throughout (extra cost of £450 pp)
Any optional excursions not included in itinerary shown

Getting there: 

Departure dates: This is a tailor made holiday which we can arrange for you at any time of the year you like, though we'd recommend avoiding Jan-March. 

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.
Andasibe Mantadia National Park - Indri
Andasibe Mantadia National Park

This is a popular tourist destination, easily accessible from Tana all year round, and a good place to spot a variety of lemurs including Indri, the world’s largest lemur.

Ifaty, Madagascar
Tuléar (Toliara), Ifaty and surrounds

Ifaty is a resort on the southwest coast just north of the town of Tulear. Come to this area to see spiny forest (with baobabs) and migrating whales, and for time on the beach.

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.

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.

map

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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