Home to over thirty species of lemur, dramatic landscapes of highland hills, rice terraces and mountain ranges, and skylines that are dominated by avenues of baobab trees, this trip to Madagascar is an adventure you do not want to miss out on. Start your journey in the countries capital, Antananarivo, where beautiful colonial buildings have been built on steep streets and great restaurants abound. Continue to Andasibe for stunning highland landscapes and a chance to see the Indri Indri; the world’s largest living lemur. Explore the crater lakes of Antsirabe before visiting the tropical rainforests of Ranomafana to spot exotic birds and three species of bamboo lemur! Your next stop is Ranohira, home to the Isalo National Park, where sandstone rock has been cut into deep canyons and eroded into unusual shapes. Travel to the coastal fishing village of Ifaty, where you can spend your last days relaxing on the beach. And of course, no trip to Madagascar would be complete without walking amongst the beautiful baobabs.
Spot different species of Lemur as well as other weird and wonderful wildlife
Explore the stunning gorges and desert canyons of the Isalo National Park
Enjoy dinner at the foot of the beautiful baobab trees
Relax on the beaches of Ifaty before you go back to reality
Day 1 – Arrive Antananarivo
When you arrive in Antananarivo, make your way to the hotel for check-in, which will be from 2pm onwards. Today is an arrival day so there are no planned activities. If you arrive in time, you can join your guide and the rest of the group for dinner to get to know your fellow travellers! Overnight in Antananarivo.
Day 2 – Antananarivo / Andasibe
After breakfast, you will begin the journey to Andasibe, through the typical highlands landscape of rice fields and rainforests, stopping on the way at Peyrieras Nature Farm, a private reptiles and insects reserve. You will also stop for lunch in Moramanga, an important place in Madagascar’s history. Continue on to your hotel near the Andasibe National Park. Before dinner, you can go out and enjoy a night walk to spot some nocturnal species, such as the chameleon and mouse lemurs. Overnight in Andasibe. (Driving time: 145km – 4 hours).
Day 3 – Andasibe / Analamzaotra & Vakona Park
After breakfast at the hotel, we will begin a 3.5-hour hike through the Analamzaotra Special Reserve, which is part of the Andasibe National Park. The reserve is home to the Indri Indri, the largest living lemur. Their inquisitive black and white faces can be seen from a short distance, but only in the wild. The Indri are not the only reason to venture into the forest however, there are also other lemur species here, such as the brown lemur, grey bamboo lemur, and the eastern woolly lemur. After lunch, you can take a canoe to discover the lemur’s island. Overnight in Andasibe.
Day 4 – Andasibe / Antsirabe
After breakfast, you will drive back to Antananarivo, and then continue south towards Antsirabe through the mountains and the rice fields. Along the journey, you will learn about daily highland life and its typical scenery, as well as meeting people in typical villages or local markets. We will make a stop in Ambatolampy to visit a local craftsmen’s workshop, where all cookery pots are made for the Malagasy people. You will arrive in Antsirabe in the late-afternoon. The city was founded in 1872 by the Norwegians who were attracted by the area’s cool climate and healing properties of the thermal springs. It is an elegant city with modern houses and colonial villas made from brick. Overnight in Antsirabe. (Driving time: 170km – 8 hours).
Day 5 – Antsirabe
Today you will be given a full day tour of the thermal city and crater lakes of Antsirabe. After breakfast, we’ll drive to Tritriva Lake and take a walk around this stunning crater lake, under the shadow of the trees. Afterwards we’ll pass by Andraikiba Lake, stopping to take some beautiful photos. In the afternoon, we’ll head back to Antsirabe and visit the city by rickshaw. Overnight in Antsirabe. (Driving time: 2.5 hours).
Day 6 – Antsirabe / Ambositra / Ranomafana
After breakfast at the hotel, you will visit Antsirabe’s Gem Shop to learn about the precious and semi-precious stones of Madagascar. Afterwards, you will drive to Ambositra, an area known for its handicrafts and woodcarving industry, and stop for lunch. Continue to Ranomafana via Ambohimahasoa, leaving the highlands now and heading for the tropical rainforests. You will arrive at your hotel in the evening. Overnight in Ranomafana. (Driving time: 240km – 8 hours).
Day 7 – Ranomafana / Fianarantsoa
After breakfast at the hotel, you will begin a 3.5-hour hike in the National Park of Ranomafana to spot various bird species and lemurs. Three species of bamboo lemurs are found in this forest; grey bamboo lemur, golden bamboo lemur, and the greater bamboo lemur. This place is also known to have some of the biggest chameleons on the island; the Parson’s chameleon. In the afternoon, continue your journey to Fianarantsoa, where you will spend the night. (Driving time: 60km – 2 hours).
Day 8 – Fianarantsoa / Ambalavao / Ranohira
After breakfast, you will be given a short city tour by car up to the ‘old city’, as the town is built on a hill, where you will have great views of the lower part of the city. Afterwards, drive to Ambalavao, where there is an interesting factory hand-making paper. Your next stop will be at the Anja Community Reserve, where you will easily be able to spot the ring-tailed lemur. After lunch, continue over the wide Horombe grassland plains towards Ranohira. The scenery begins to change as you travel through the ‘Gateway to the South’ and enter the attractive countryside of the Betsileo People, where granite outcrops dominate the skyline. Here, the village architecture also begins to change to the single-storey ‘African-style’ house. Overnight in Ranohira. (Driving time: 270km – 5 hours).
Day 9 – Ranohira / Isalo National Park
An early start is required to make the journey to Isalo National Park in Ranohira. The combination of sandstone rocks, rare endemic plants, and dry weather make this park particularly beautiful. When you arrive, you will walk up to the natural swimming pool (90-minutes each way) through the Tapia Forest. You will have the opportunity to swim in the pool and either continue your adventure to the Namaza site of dry forest and waterfalls, or head back to your hotel. The afternoon will be spent at your leisure. Overnight in Ranohira.
Day 10 – Ranohira / Toliara / Ifaty
After breakfast at the hotel, you will drive to Toliara through villages of sapphire mines and the southern savannah. Along the way, baobab trees, well painted tombs and typical villages of southern tribes can be seen. This is the last stage of the tour, and you will now be in the ‘dry and white city’. Stopping in Toliara for lunch, you will continue the short journey to Ifaty’s Fisherman Village and then check-in to your hotel. Overnight in Ifaty. (Driving time: 265km – 5 hours).
Day 11 – Ifaty / Baobab Forest
After breakfast, enjoy a 1-hour walk along a sandy path as you admire the different sizes and models of the Baobab Forest. Birds and reptiles are also seen in this area. The afternoon will be spent at your leisure. In the early evening, when the sun is setting, we will have dinner to remember at the foot of the giant baobab in the Reniala Forest. Overnight in Ifaty.
Day 12 – Ifaty
Today will be spent at your leisure in Ifaty. You can relax on the beach with a good book, explore the area or visit the nearby coral reef for a spot of snorkelling. Overnight in Ifaty.
Day 13 – Ifaty / Toliara / Antananarivo
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Toliara Airport for flights to Antananarivo. You will have the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Antananarivo.
Day 14 – Depart Antananarivo
After breakfast, and if you have time before your scheduled flight departure, we can visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ambohimanga King Palace. Later, you’ll need to make your way to the airport for international flights home, leaving with your mind full of incredible memories of your time in Madagascar.
WHAT'S INCLUDED IN THE MADAGASCAR TOUR
- Sharing a twin room at 3-star hotels with breakfast
- Domestic flight between Toliara & Antananarivo
- Entrance fees as mentioned in itinerary
- Local guide at parks according to itinerary
- Private vehicle and driver
- English-speaking local guide throughout
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED IN THE MADAGASCAR TOUR
- International flights & airport taxes
- Lunches & Dinners
- Drinks, tips & personal expenses
- Up to eight weeks before departure, a place can be reserved on the Discover Madagascar tour on payment of a deposit of £250.00, after this date it would be the full amount of the trip.
- Click the book now button and fill in the details and tick the box confirming you accept booking conditions.
- The outstanding balance is due 8 weeks before travel.
- Please ensure you have checked visa requirements. Get in touch if you are unsure.
- Ensure you have purchased travel insurance, as this is mandatory for all trips.
- International flights are not included and will need to be organised separately. Please do not book flights until we give the go-ahead. If you would like flight suggestions or help with booking, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
ESSENTIAL TRIP NOTES
An obvious one! Make sure you have your passport with you and that it is valid for at least 6 months from date of entry and that you have a couple of blank pages.
Visas are required for Madagascar and can be obtained on arrival at Antananarivo International Airport. You will need to take cash with you to pay for this, either Euros (€35) or US Dollars ($37). Depending on how busy your flight is, there can be long queues to obtain visas.
You may want to take a copy of your passport and flight confirmations with you – if you lose the originals it is easier to get replacements if you have copies.
FLIGHT TICKETS AND ACCOMMODATION
Please ensure you have proof of return travel tickets and hotel accommodation to hand for arrival as you may need to present details of this. You will need the name and address of your hotel in Antananarivo in order to fill in your landing card upon arrival.
Travel insurance is mandatory for all trips and you need to carry a copy of your certificate with you.
MONEY & COSTS
The currency in Madagascar is the Malagasy Ariary. You can take Euros, Pounds or Dollars with you and exchange when you get there. Alternatively, you can take cash out of ATM’s which we found to have a better exchange rate. ATM’s are only available in Antananarivo, Antsirabe, and Fianarantsoa. Please be aware that if you are taking US dollars, many banks will not accept notes older than 2006, this also goes for old or damaged notes. Credit cards will be accepted in some hotels, with Mastercard and Visa preferred to American Express, but we don’t recommend relying on using your credit card. Some hotels will also accept Euros and US dollars as payment. You will find it difficult to change your Ariary back to €’s or $’s after your trip so make sure you don’t take out or change too much!
We recommend budgeting £25 – £30 a day for meals, drinks and tipping of local guides and porters. Any souvenir shopping you wish to do would be on top of this. You will have a better idea of how much you usually spend when on holiday, so please plan accordingly.
If you feel as though you have received a good service, please reward your guide and driver with a tip. We recommend $3 – $5 US dollars per person, per day for your guide, and $1 – $3 US dollars per person, per day for your driver (you can tip your guides/drivers in local currency). You will have local guides in all the national parks and on excursions and the recommended amount for tipping of these guides is between Ar2,500 and Ar5,000. Tipping is of course voluntary but gratefully accepted in recognition of good service.
If you would prefer to have your own room on this trip, the additional cost would be £399. Please let us know at the time of booking as it cannot be guaranteed closer to the time.
We will be taking one internal flight from Toliara to Antananarivo (approx. 1.5 hours) on our penultimate day, the checked-baggage allowance for this flight is 20kg, plus hand luggage not exceeding 5kg. Flights in Madagascar can be unreliable, with departure times often delayed and, on rare occasions, cancelled. Your guide will let you know confirmed departure times the evening before you are due to travel.
We will be covering a lot of ground on this trip and there will be a number of long drives involved, so if you ever feel like you need to take a break or want to get out and stretch your legs, let your guide or driver know so that we can stop. The quality of the roads in Madagascar varies, but it’s safe to say you’ll be familiar with potholes after your trip!
WHAT TO PACK
- Comfortable walking shoes or trainers as there will be several hikes on this trip
- Lightweight, long-sleeved clothing to help keep you cool and protect you from mosquito bites
- Adequate sun protection – hats, sunglasses, sunscreen
- Waterproof jacket and trousers for hikes in the rainforest
- Long socks as there can be leeches in the rainforest if it has been raining
- Paracetamols, rehydration sachets, plasters
- Anti-malarial tablets (malaria is present in the country so you should be taking these)
- Insect repellent
- Camera with spare batteries and memory cards – you’re going to want to take some photos!
- Binoculars (if you have them) to spot wildlife
- Torch or headlamp
- A good book or music to entertain you during the long journeys
We never recommend taking more luggage than you can personally carry as there might not always be someone on hand to help you. One suitcase and a small day pack will be more than enough. You can always get washing done whilst you’re out there if you run out of clean clothes! You will also be limited to 20kg on the internal flight, so please don’t exceed this.
Whilst travelling around Madagascar is generally pretty safe, we recommend you don’t bring anything you won’t really need – expensive jewelry and watches are not necessary, you can leave them at home. Be vigilant at all times and avoid carrying large amounts of money around with you. You could invest in a money belt to go under your clothes to keep cards, money or air tickets in for extra safety. It’s not recommended to walk around the cities on your own after dark – take a taxi instead.
HEALTH & MEDICAL
By now you should have all been to see your doctor or travel nurse and made sure that your vaccinations are all up to date. Malaria is present in the country so it’s advisable to take anti-malarial tablets for the duration of your trip. These are readily available online and in pharmacies.
It is not recommended to drink tap water in Madagascar. Although it is clean and safe for locals to drink, what you are used to at home will differ and you could end up with an upset stomach. You should keep hydrated whilst you’re out there, so make sure you always have a bottle of water with you.
If you take medication for anything or think you may need something whilst you are away, it’s better to take it with you from the UK as items may not be as readily available as they are here. You may also be required to provide a doctor’s prescription when trying to buy medication over the counter.
If you are travelling from a country with a risk of Yellow Fever, you will need to take a valid certificate with you to prove you have had the vaccine.
We recommend you read the travel advice for any country you are visiting ahead of your visit. This can be accessed on the FCO website https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/madagascar