7 days from £1845pp plus international flights.
This holiday takes you to the heart of Madagascar's western dry forest, an area with spectacular, other-worldly scenery and wildlife species that are found nowhere else on earth. Be sure to keep your camera to hand to capture these unique scenes.
From the capital, Tana, you are flown to Morondava on the west coast, for the start of your exploration. Kirindy Forest is a private reserve that is the renowned as one of the best places in the country to see the fossa, Madagascar's largest carnivore and top predator, a slender, cat-like mammal. It's also a great place to spot lemurs.
Travelling north you enter Tsingy country. The landscape is striking: tall limetone needles, forming their own forest. Explore by climbing metal ladders to cross handing bridges, high above the karsts. It's unlike anything you've seen before. The nature reserve includes lakes, forests and rivers, and, travelling by dugout canoe is one of the best ways to view the gorges and caves.
The adventure isn't over yet. As you head back to Morondava you stop off at the well-known Avenue of Baobabs. Sometimes called 'upside-down trees', these huge baobabs look as though their roots are sticking into the air. Seeing so many of these trees in one place is rare privlege, and a great photo opportunity.
With so much seen in just 7 days this is a great introduction to the mysterious, bewitching land that is Madagascar, which will doubtless lure you back again and again.
Today you fly from Tana to Morondava. A guide is waiting to meet you at Morondava airport and take you to Pailssandre Cote Ouest. The hotel is set on gorgeous Kely Beach, aand you can enjoy the views as you relax on your private terrace. The rest of the day has been left free to allow you to settle in and unwind after your journey. There's a swimming pool and spa as well as a restaurant and bar.
After breakfast your driver collects you for the 4x4 drive to Kirindy Forest Reserve, about 60kms north of Morondava. This is a privately owned reserve protecting one of the country's rarest and most theatened habitats: dry deciduous forest. This is one of the best places in Madagascar to observe the fossa, the country's largest carnivore, and is also home to 7 species of lemur and a variety of reptiles and birds. You visit the reserve by day and then again after dark, when it has a completely different feel and many of the creatures are at their most active. Your accommodation is a lodge, the only property within the reserve. It's basic yet adequate. Breakfast
Having had breakfast you continue northwards, passing villages and reaching Belo sur Tsiribihina where you have time for lunch. Later you are driven to Bekopaka, known as the gateway to the Tsingy, and your hotel, Soleil des Tsingy. The total travelling time is about 8 hours, with plenty of stops en-route to stretch your legs. Maybe pop into the bar for a drink before enjoying dinner, which is included here, so you can have a relaxing evening after the long drive. Breakfast, dinner
The day's activities commence early as you board a pirogue, a traditional dugout canoe, for a ride on the Manambolo River. Sit back and admire the scenery which includes dramatic gorges and impressive caves. During the tour your guide recounts details of the history and culture of Vazimba people, the original inhabitants of Madagascar. Later you embark on a walking trail to discover Small Tsingy. From walkways and bridges you get superb views of this strange landscape composed of limestone pinnacles, and may also catch sight of lemurs. Following this excursion you return to the hotel to freshen up before dinner. Breakfast, dinner
This morning you set off with your driver on the 17kms ride to the start of the exciting trail in the great Tsingy of Bemaraha. Safety is paramount and you are equipped with a harness and steel cable to allow you to use the ladders and hanging bridges of the Via Ferrata without any concerns. From this high vantage point you have great views over the limestone forest, with its soaring peeks and cathedral-like edifices. It's an exhilarating experience and offers some wonderful photographic opportunies. On conclusion of the tour you return to Soleil des Tsingy. Breakfast, dinner
After an early breakfast you begin the journey south, starting with a crossing of the Manambolo River then heading to Belo sur Tsiribihana and on to the famous Avenue of Baobabs, between Belo and Morondava. Here, along a stretch of 260m of road you can see around 25 of these huge trees, with a similar number visible in the adjoining rice paddies and fields. You can 't help but be impressed by the sight and it's easy to understand why they are known as 'remala' (mother of the forest) by the local populace. having had time to enjoy this natural spectacle and take some photos you are driven the rest of the way back to Palissandre Cote Ouest where you dine and spend the night. Breakfast, dinner
You have breakfast by the coast, then it's time go back to your room and pack your bags before the transfer to the airport and your flight back to Antananarivo, where this holiday ends. Breakfast
Guide price from (pp sharing): £1845 (ex. international flights)
Price notes: 2017 guide price pp sharing: £1845
Return flights Antananarivo to Morondava; airprt transfers; accommodation on a twin-share basis; transport in a 4x4 SUV or minivan depending on the number of people, including fuel and insurance; private driver; all excursions described in the itinerary; meals as listed
International and domestic flights and taxes; visas; travel insurance; meals not specified; drinks, laundry; tips; optional excursions; items of a personal nature
Getting there: This holiday starts and ends in Antananarivo. Return flights from the UK to Antananarivo (Tana) cost from around £800 per person, depending on availability and season. We are happy to arrange international flight for you.
Departure dates: This is a tailor-made holiday and can depart on the day of your from April till mid-November, subject to availability.
A small beach resort with 30 thatched bungalows, a pool, spa, restaurant and choice of activities.
Rustic accommodation in the heart of the forest reserve.
A atylish, modent hotel with lovely bungalows and an infinity pool close to Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park.
Find the best time to visit Madagascar
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.
The Old Dairy, Wood Farm, Ipswich Road,
Otley, Suffolk, IP6 9JW.
Office hours: Monday - Friday: 9am to 5.30pm
Telephone: 01473 890499