Highlights of Madagascar for the Active and Adventurous

# Tailor-Made Tour

Highlights of Madagascar for the Active and Adventurous

21 Days from £5862 per adult. All trip details below can be tailored just for you
21 Days
Tailor-Made Tour
Primate Watching
Birding
Off The Beaten Track
Photographic

These locations are some of the most impressive and exciting in all Madagascar, resulting in a varied and adventurous circuit; mostly well off the beaten track. This very special itinerary takes in each of Madagascar’s major ecosystems; the rainforests of the east, dry deciduous forests of the west, bizarre spiny desert of the south, mountainous interior and jagged limestone karst of the tsingy on the west coast.

The adventure begins with Kirindy (with the world’s highest primate diversity), where you will have a good chance to glimpse Madagascar’s apex predator the fossa, unique giant jumping rat and the smallest primate in the world, the Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur, before moving to the Tsingy of Bemaraha (one of only two natural World Heritage Sites in Madagascar). Walks in the Grand Tsingy here are adventurous but provide spectacular scenery and acrobatic Decken’s sifakas. Heading east you will cross a part of the central highland plateau that few others get to see whilst taking in some local culture, before arriving at Ranomafana National Park. Here you will experience a completely different ecosystem with many special rainforest wildlife encounters hopefully including the wonderful aye aye, golden bamboo lemur and Milne Edwards’s sifaka plus a plethora of endemic birds and frogs. Next you will pass granite massifs and ring tailed lemurs before entering the eroded canyon lands of Isalo. Further south still is the arid spiny bush around Tulear where the flora and fauna has had to adapt to extreme periods of draught. Finally, quality time is enjoyed in the Andasibe area for primary rainforest exploration and a whole cast of different lemurs. With such a range of remote and breath-taking locations, this adventure will reveal the hidden charms of a Madagascar that few are lucky enough to see.

Itinerary

Price from £5862 per adult. Based on sharing double / twin rooms

Day 1 - Antananarivo

Depart London. Arrive Tana, met on arrival and transfer to your hotel.

Staying at Au Bois Vert. Includes Breakfast.

Day 2 - Antananarivo

After a morning at lesuire to recover from your flight, enjoy a city tour of Tana. Perhaps the visit old Royal Palace at Ambohimanga Hill, the market of la Digue, the central square or Tsarasoatra Lake for some urban birdwatching.

Staying at Au Bois Vert. Includes Breakfast.

Day 3 - Kirindy Reserve

Transfer to the airport to take flight to Morondava. Met on arrival and transfer to the Kirindy Reserve past the Avenue of Baobabs. Morning and afternoon guided walks in the Kirindy Reserve in search of its special wildlife including eight species of lemur.

Highlights may include the acrobatic Verreaux’s sifaka, red-fronted brown lemur, the impressive predatory fossa, narrow-striped mongoose and birds such as the white-breasted mesite and crested coua. In the evening take another night walk to see more nocturnal wildlife. The 10,000-hectare Kirindy reserve is a rare remnant of Madagascar’s threatened dry tropical deciduous forest. Take an evening night walk in search of nocturnal species.

Staying at Kirindy Gite. Includes All Meals.

Day 4 - Kirindy Reserve

A full day of morning and afternoon guided walks in the Kirindy Reserve in search of its special wildlife. In the late afternoon look for fossa and narrow striped mongoose around the Kirindy Gite.

Later in the evening take a night walk in search of more nocurtnal species. Species to look for include the bizarre giant jumping rat, big-headed gecko, scops owl and six species of nocturnal lemur including the tiny Madame Berthe's mouse lemur (smallest primate in the world).

Staying at Kirindy Gite. Includes All Meals.

Day 5 - Tsingy of Bemaraha National Park

Transfer around 8 hours through chaning landscapes to Bekopaka, gateway to Tsingy of Bemaraha National Park.

The National Park is a World Heritage Site, protecting a diverse range of flora and fauna and some otherworldly geology. There are tall limestone pinnacles (some 45 metres high) that support fascinating botanical communities, as well as sunken forests, lakes, marshes and some interesting wildlife. In the evening perhaps take a walk around the hotel grounds where the Peter's mouse lemur has been seen.

Staying at Hotel Le Soleil du Tsingy. Includes All Meals.

Day 6 - Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park

A day to explore the National Park including a morning pirogue boat trip on the Manambolo River and a visit to the Petit Tsingy, a small canyon of impressive sharp limestone karst limestone rock formations. Here you may see the rare Madagascar fish eagle hunting over the river and nearby lakes and endemic giant coua and greater and lesser vasa parrots in the dry forests.

Staying at Hotel Le Soleil Des Tsingy. Includes All Meals.

Day 7 - Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park

Spend another day exploring the National Park and perhaps visit the spectacular Grand Tsingy. Here the tsyiny pinnacles are at their most jagged and impressive. A walk through this trail is adventerous with ladders, narrow pathways and requires some agilty. The sunken forests here are a good spot to see the agile Decken's sifaka, roufous brown lemurs and the highly localised Randrianasolo's (Bemaraha) sportive lemur.

Staying at Hotel Le Soleil Des Tsingy. Includes All Meals.

Day 8 - Morondava

Today spend most of the day, transfering back to Morondava via the famous Avenue des Baobabs at sunset. A sunset view of these iconic and endemic trees will provide a beautiful photographic opportunity and a long lasting memory.

Staying at Palissandre Cote Ouest. Includes All Meals.

Day 9 - Antsirabe

Morning transfer 7-8 hours across rural Madagascan countryside to Antsirabe stopping to take photographs along the journey.

You will also be able to see the different ethnic groups and see how the red soil changes to fertile farming lands around the townof Miandrivazo where cotton, rice and tobacco are grown.

Staying at Coulear Cafe. Includes All Meals.

Day 10 - Ranomafana National Park

After perhaps seeing some of the handicraft stalls in Antsirabe, continue the drive through Bestileo country to Ranomafana, stopping en route at the woodcarving centre of Ambositra. Arrive in Ranomafana in the afternoon and transfer to the hotel. After dark there will be a guided walk to look for nocturnal species such as the rufous mouse lemur and numerous reptiles and endemic frogs and insects.

Staying at SETAM Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 11 - Ranomafana National Park

Morning and afternoon excursions in Ranomafana National Park. Ranomafana is an exceptionally rich high-altitude rainforest reserve where the very rare and locally endemic golden bamboo lemur and eleven other lemur species exist including the beautiful red-bellied lemur and large Milne Edwards sifaka. Birdlife is fantastic with numerous forest specialities to see such as the pitta like ground roller. Over 120 species of endemic frog have also been identified in the area.

The trails can be steep and tough but generally the going is moderate.

Staying at SETAM Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 12 - Kianjavato Forest Reserve

Today transfer 1 hour 30 mins to the Kianjavato Forest Reserve. The Kianjavato Reserve and project is managed by the Madagascar Biodiversity Project and Lemur Conservation Network and was set up to research lemur ecology and threats in fragmented forests.

Spend the day exploring the rainforest, tree nursey and education centre at Kianjavato with a biologist studying two critically endangered species of lemur in the local area; the greater bamboo lemur and the southern black-and-white ruffed lemur. You can enjoy tracking both of these species with the help of local guides and GPS trackers. In the evening search for the elusive aye aye with the assistance of the research team.

Staying at SETAM Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 13 - Ranomafana National Park

Today enjoy another day of morning and afternoon guided walks in the biodiverse Ranomafana National Park. Perhaps explore the higher altitude Vohipara Circuit in the morning where secretive forest dwelling birds such as the yellow-browed oxylabes and beauiful yellow-bellied sunbird asity can be found. In the afternoon perhaps explore the trails near the lookout and focus on the many lemurs found in the reserve.

Staying at SETAM Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 14 - Anja Park and Isalo

Transfer to Isalo, stopping at the community-run Anja Park en route to see a habituated population of ring-tailed lemurs and search for the impressive Oustalets's chameleon. Arrive in Isalo in the late afternoon and visit the interpretation centre or Window of Isalo if time allows.

Staying at Jardin du Roy. Includes All Meals.

Day 15 - Isalo National Park

Enjoy a day to hike in Isalo National Park. The park, an eroded limestone massif, contains wonderful scenery and unusual plants like the endemic ‘elephant’s foot’ Pachypodium rosalatum and is a sacred burial ground for the Bara tribe. There are many interesting geological sites and places to swim in the park alongside its curious natural history. Wildlife is less diverse here but includes red-fronted brown lemurs, jewel chameleons and the localised Benson's rock thrush.

Staying at Jardin du Roy. Includes All Meals.

Day 16 - Zombitse National Park

Depart early for a 2 hour transfer to Zombitse National Park and then spend the rest of the morning exploring the park. Zombitse-Vohibasia acts as a transition zone between the dry and the humid forests of Madagascar with baobabs and numerous orchids. It is home to eight lemur species including the locally endemic Zombitse (Hubbard's) sportive lemur and a dark morph of the Verreaux´s sifaka. Birds are also a highlight with 85 species including Zombitse’s special attraction the rare Appert´s tetraka.

Continue to lodge in Tulear in the afternoon and rest. In the late afternoon and evening take a guided walk in the unique spiny forest at the Antsokay Arboretum. Learn about the adaptions of the the spiny forest flora including the thorny Didiereacae, or octopus, trees to the arid conditions and spot some its special wildlife.

Staying at Auberge de La Table. Includes All Meals.

Day 17 - Antananarivo

Morning pick up from the hotel and transfer to Tulear airport. Take domestic flight back to Tana. Met on arrival in Tana and take a city tour of Tana if interested.

Staying at Lokanga Boutique Hotel. Includes Breakfast.

Day 18 - Andasibe

Morning transfer to Andasibe and Analamazaotra (Andasibe-Mantadia) National Park, also known as Perinet.

Afternoon excursion to Mitsinjo forest, a community-managed part of Analamazaotra rainforest. The forest here supports lowland streaked tenrecs, indris, the tiny Goodman’s mouse lemur, eastern woolly lemur and furry-eared dwarf lemur as well as Malagasy tree boa, many species of chameleons, leaf-tailed geckos and endemic frogs. Take a night walk once dark for the nocturnal species.

Staying at Vakona Forest Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 19 - Mantadia National Park

In the morning transfer further north and enjoy a guided walk in Mantadia National Park.

The lush primary rainforest of this park is an excellent location to see the beautiful diademed sifaka and the more elusive black and white ruffed lemur. Birds include the shy scaly-ground roller and velvet asity amongst many more. Enjoy another night walk in the evening near the hotel. At night it is possible to encounter many nocturnal lemurs as well as pygmy chameleons, giant millipedes and an assortment of colourful endemic frogs, camouflaged stick insects and much more.

Staying at Vakona Forest Lodge. Includes Breakfast.

Day 20 - Perinet Reserve

Morning excursions in the Perinet rainforest reserve. The reserve is the best place to see the largest lemur species, the indri, along with common brown and eastern grey bamboo lemurs, diademed sifakas, huge Parson's chameleons and the bizarre giraffe-necked weevil. Perhaps also take a cultural tour of Andasibe village if of interest.

In the afternoon transfer 4 hours back to Tana. On arrival back in Tana check in to the hotel for the evening.

Later transfer to the airport to check in for the flight home.

Staying at Au Bois Vert. Includes Breakfast.

Day 21 - London

Depart Tana on flight back to London via Paris. Arrive London in the early afternoon.

Includes Breakfast.

Travel Info

Are Flights Included?
Yes

Flight Info:
Fly from London to Tana on Air France via Paris.

Best visited:
January to January

Area Specialist

Ian Loyd

This itinerary involves some long overland transfers, some of which will be over rough bumpy and unsurfaced roads. This is because we have tried to make the itinerary as robust as possible by minimising Air Madagascar’s domestic flights which are unreliable and can change or cancel at the last minute causing disruption to your itinerary. The overland transfers however will add to your experience of Madagascar and enable you to see much more of the country and its different landscapes and culture.

If you have any queries about this tour please feel free to call me directly on +44 (0)1803 866965 or...

A wonderful trip which would have been very difficult to put together to a similar standard ourselves. Would definitely consider another R&R holiday! Un grand merci!

Mrs S L - Le Vesinet, France

Route Map

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Setam Lodge: -21.251798, 47.438965
Au Bois Vert: -18.824275, 47.490774
Couleur Café: -19.867319, 47.039745
Le Soleil Des Tsingy: -18.897670, 44.829810
Le Jardin du Roy: -22.649403, 45.329611
Palissandre Cote Ouest: -20.300007, 44.267781
Auberge de la Table: -23.413617, 43.755518
Kirindy Gite: -20.067050, 44.657240
Vakona Forest Lodge: -18.889904, 48.435202