Madagascar, Wildlife Tours

Madagascar Wildlife Highlights

Scroll
Tailor-Made Tour
16 Days
From 3397
Whale Watching
Beach
Snorkelling and Diving
Culture and Archaeology
Photographic
Rainforest
Primate Watching
Birding

Tour Introduction

16 Days from  3397 per adult. All trip details below can be tailored just for you

This outstanding and ever popular Madagascar wildlife holiday features some of the country’s most stand out and exceptional wildlife and remarkable scenery whilst staying in comfortable accommodations throughout. The itinerary takes you on a memorable journey to experience some of Madagascar’s most unique and contrasting habitats; the eastern rainforests, the other- worldly spiny desert scrub, the rocky canyon lands and central highlands, wildlife rich cloud forests, orchid and baobab filled transitional forests and a beautiful stretch of coastline with exciting marine life.

It enables you to enjoy seeing Madagascar’s most iconic and also surprising wildlife with the impressive indri, the rare greater bamboo lemur, the agile black-and-white ruffed lemur, the endearing ring-tailed lemur, the beautiful diademed sifaka and many unbelievably tiny mouse lemurs. There is also the option to look for the mysterious aye aye on a strenuous night walk for those interested.

Madagascar’s special reptiles, frogs, endemic birdlife and unusual insects are also well represented with plenty of impressive chameleons to enjoy in addition to the staggering diversity of different plants and trees.

There is also a stunning stretch of coastline where there are opportunities for snorkelling and whale watching (July – September) plus great opportunities to experience and learn about Madagascar’s rich culture and history. This is a very well paced journey that travels a good road through stunning scenery and has very good accommodation. There are also many visits to community managed reserves and conservation and reforestation projects which all help contribute to preserving Madagascar’s threatened ecosystems.

Take a look at our short film here for an overview: Wild Madagascar Film

Full Itinerary

Price from  3397 per adult. Based on sharing double / twin rooms
Day 1
Travel

Depart LHR. Changeover in Addis.

Includes In-flight Meals.

Day 2
Antananarivo

Arrive Antananarivo (Tana). Met on arrival and transfer to your hotel. Afternoon at leisure, enjoy the beautiful grounds and swimming pool at Relais des Plateaux.

Staying at Relais des Plateaux. Includes Breakfast.

Day 3
Arboretum D'Antsokay

Today the morning is free to relax and acclimatise. Catch a 1600 flight to Tulear, arriving at 1750. Met on arrival by transfer to Arboretum D'Antsokay, a botanical garden home to over 900 plant species, 90% of which are endemic to Madagascar.

Fauna includes birdlife such as the Madagascar buttonquail, green-capped coua, banded kestrel and sickle-billed vanga. Night walks with the resident guide are a great way to spot the locally endemic grey-brown mouse lemur and a variety of reptiles such as the large warty chameleon; (Furcifer verrucosus), the ocelot gecko (Paroedura picta), the tiny Lygodactylus tuberosus and the impressive Dumeril’s boa. During the day the huge Madagascar giant swallowtail butterfly sometimes appears near flowering bushes.

There is also an educational interpretation centre on site, focused on information and threats to the spiny forest.

Staying at Auberge de la Table. Includes Breakfast and Dinner.

Day 4
Honko Mangroves

Relax for the morning at the Arboretum. Take an afternoon road transfer to Ifaty, stopping en route at the Honko Mangrove Project for a guided tour of the sustainably managed and restored mangrove ecosystem of the Bay of Ranobe. On your leisurely and interpretative walk on boardwalks through the mangroves look out for mudskippers, mangrove crabs, dragonflies and Madagascar swamp warblers.

Continue 10 minutes to your beachside hotel in Ifaty. Wetlands along the journey can offer sightings of Madagascar plover, painted snipe, greater flamingos and other waders. Evening at leisure.

Staying at Les Dunes D'Ifaty. Includes Breakfast and Dinner.

Day 5
Ifaty Spiny Forest

Morning to explore the local spiny forest habitat, dominated by the thorny Didiereacae, or octopus, trees and the local baobab, Andansonia rubrostipa (fony).

As well as learning about the flora, this is a superb birdwatching area with a number of special endemic bird species to see including the sub-desert mesite and the brilliant long-tailed ground roller. There are also many reptiles ranging from the three-eyed lizard and warty chameleon to the blonde hog-nosed snake.

Relax for the rest of the day. In the early evening return to the unique spiny forest to watch the sunset over the baobabs and stay till dark to spot the fascinating nocturnal wildlife of this forest.

Staying at Les Dunes D'Ifaty. Includes Breakfast and Dinner.

Day 6
Ifaty Spiny Forest

Begin with another morning guided birdwatching walk in the spiny forest.

Afternoon at leisure, with the option of a boat trip to hopefully spot humpback whales offshore or enjoy snorkelling.

Staying at Les Dunes D'Ifaty. Includes Breakfast and Dinner.

Day 7
Zombitse National Park

In the morning, drive to Tulear and continue onto Zombitse National Park, which acts as a transition zone between the dry and the humid forests of Madagascar. The flora is especially rich with bottle baobab trees and many orchids and the Appert's tetraka and Zombitse (Hubbard's) sportive lemur are both specialities of the park.

Other wildlife to look for includes the strikingly colourful standing's day gecko several species of vanga, the giant coua and the agile Verreaux's sifaka.

Continue by road to Isalo.

Staying at Relais de la Reine. Includes All Meals.

Day 8
Isalo National Park

Today explore the spectacular Isalo National Park. The park is a runiforme limestone massif, with impressive scenery, unusual plants like the endemic ‘elephant’s foot’ Pachypodium rosalatum and is a sacred burial ground for the local Bara tribe.

Perhaps take the gentle walk through the Namahaza canyon home to ring-tailed and red-fronted brown lemurs. Or take a refreshing dip in the natural pools.

Staying at Relais de la Reine. Includes All Meals.

Day 9
Anja Park

This morning drive north through stunning mountain scenery and past small highland villages to the lovely Anja park. Here you can enjoy unforgettably close encounters with habituated groups of ring-tailed lemurs as they go about their day. With your guide's help you may also spot the giant Oustalet’s and a tiny brookesia chameleon here.

After lunch nearby continue the drive to Ranomafana National Park stopping at points of interest. Enjoy a walk in the park if time permits.

Staying at SETAM Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 10
Ranomafana National Park

Today explore Ranomafana National Park on morning and afternoon guided walks to discover the rich biodiversity of this rainforest. Ranomafana is an exceptionally rich high-altitude cloud forest with an extraordinary range of lemurs, birds, frogs, and reptiles.

With the expertise of your local spotter search for the famous golden bamboo lemurs for which the park was created along with many other exciting species. The rare Milne Edwards sifaka and superbly camouflaged satanic leaf-tailed gecko could be other highlights of your walks.

In the evening take a night walk to spot tiny mouse lemurs, frogs and sleeping chameleons.

Staying at SETAM Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 11
Antsirabe

Enjoy a morning nature walk before embarking on the longest drive north (7-8 hours depending on local conditions) to Antsirabe, but with stops at points of interest along the way. These could include the woodcarving centre of Ambositra or highland villages or birdwatching spots.

Arrive at the handicraft market of Antsirabe; an attractive Hauts Plateaux spa town.

Staying at Couleur Cafe. Includes Breakfast.

Day 12
VOIMMA Reserve

Today, a drive to the east (5 hours in total but with stops) to Tana and on to Andasibe.

In the evening, you can explore the community managed VOIMMA Reserve, part of Analamazaotra that receives fewer visitors than surrounding forest areas and is particularly good for night walks. This walk may reveal the nocturnal Goodman’s mouse lemur, the Eastern woolly lemur, and the furry-eared (Crossley’s) dwarf lemur, plus sleeping chameleons and frogs.

Staying at Andasibe Lemurs Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 13
Mantadia National Park

Today we rise early to drive 1 hour 30 minutes north on a bumpy track to Mantadia National Park. Here we can enjoy spending the morning exploring the wonderful primary rainforest of this vast protected area with its special wildlife.

The majestic old growth rainforest of Mantadia is the best location to spot the acrobatic black-and-white ruffed lemur. Colourful Baron’s mantella frogs may be seen as well as interesting array of insects and special birdlife. Avian highlights could include the beautiful pitta-like ground roller, nuthatch vanga and red-fronted and blue couas.

This afternoon you can return to the lodge to rest. In the evening take another night walk in the nearby Orchidee Park for nocturnal sightings.

Staying at Andasibe Lemurs Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 14
Mitsinjo Reserve

Today explore the community managed Mitsinjo Reserve on morning and afternoon guided walks where there is an excellent opportunity to see the indri up close.

The local guides at Mitsinjo have habituated several groups of indris which often come lower in the trees to take a closer look and sometimes receive a handout of their favourite leaves. This intimacy makes for an unforgettable sighting and also photographic opportunity. Take a final night walk in the forest here once dark.

Staying at Andasibe Lemurs Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 15
Andasibe Reserve

This morning visit the Analamazaotra (Perinet) Reserve to enjoy more lemur encounters. This section of forest is the best location to see the stunningly beautiful diademed sifaka as well as the common brown and eastern grey bamboo lemurs. Chameleons and endemic birdlife and fascinating insects will be other highlights.

In the afternoon return by road through rice growing country back to your hotel in Tana for the night.

Staying at Relais Des Plateaux. Includes Breakfast and Lunch.

Day 16
Depart Antananarivo

This morning, transfer back to Antananarivo airport in time to take flights back to LHR, via a change in Addis.

Includes Breakfast.

Tour Accommodation

Madagascar Western Madagascar

Couleur Cafe

Overview

A relatively new hotel and one of the best in Antsirabe, Couleur Café has sixteen comfortable rooms with large private bathrooms surrounded by beautiful gardens. Each room has comfortable beds and a fireplace, and been attractively decorated. The friendly and helpful staff are always on hand and free Wi-Fi is provided in the restaurant, though it can be patchy.

There is a small restaurant serving traditional Malagasy and French cuisine. The food is very well presented and special diets can be catered for. There is also a small communal lounge area and a small selection of souvenirs available to buy.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
16
Facilities

Wi-Fi (only in restaurant), private bathrooms, restaurant, lounge, souvenir shop and gardens.

Optional Activities

The hotel offers easy access to Antsirabe for independent exploration.

Madagascar Eastern Madagascar

Setam Lodge

Overview

Setam is a comfortable small lodge situated in a pre-montane river valley close to the primary rainforest of Ranomafana National Park. In our opinion it is the best accommodation option in the area and a good base from which to explore the park. The rooms have comfortable beds, a wardrobe and bedside table and have excellent views towards the mountains.

Facilities include 24-hour electricity and pleasant gardens. Generous platters of good food using fresh ingredients are served in the main restaurant with its picture windows offering excellent views. Breakfast can be served on a large veranda, also with good views.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
20
Facilities

Restaurant, bar, private facilities, 24-hr electricity, private veranda

Local Wildlife

The park was created to provide protection for the very rare Golden bamboo lemur, which can be easily seen with the help of local guides. The park is also the best location to see the critically endagered greater bamboo lemur and the stunning Milne Edwards sifaka as well as red-bellied lemur, black and white ruffed lemur and red-fronted brown lemur. Over 100 bird species have been recorded in the park with specialities including the attractive pitta-like, short-legged and rufous-headed ground rollers, yellow-browed oxylabels, velvet and yellow-bellied sunbird asitys and brown mesite. Reptile and frog diversity is also very high with o'shaughnessy chameleon, Madagascar tree boa, three species of leaf-tailed gecko and numerous frogs.

Optional Activities

Guided wildlife walks into the Ranomafana National Park. The trails can be steep and tough but generally the going is moderate.

Madagascar Eastern Madagascar

Andasibe Lemurs Lodge

Overview

Situated just outside the village of Andasibe and next to the Sahatandra River, this friendly lodge is bordered by the Andasibe rainforest where the indri can be heard singing at dawn.

The Lodge was built in 2017 and offers a good standard of accommodation with 10 bungalows and 10 standard rooms.

All the rooms are clean and comfortable with modern private bathrooms and small terraces. The 10 bungalows offer more comfort with satellite TV, mini fridges, mosquito nets above the beds and are more spacious. All the rooms though feature mosquito screening, a safe, telephone and Wi-Fi.

Electricity is supplied by solar power and is available 24 hours a day. There is a welcoming restaurant with a menu that changes daily and includes plenty of fresh local produce. Meals are mostly of a European style and special diets can be catered for.

In front of the bungalows is a swimming pool available to all the guests of the lodge, which is very welcome after a morning walking in the rainforest. The lodge accepts Euros, US dollars and local Ariary as well as Visa and MasterCard’s with a 5% surcharge.

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
20
Facilities

All rooms feature modern private bathrooms, fans and Wi-Fi in the rooms. The bungalows also feature a satellite TV, kettle, telephone, mosquito netting above the bed and a mini fridge. There is a restaurant and swimming pool and 24-hour hot water and electricity supplied by solar power and generators.

Local Wildlife

The Andasibe area is one of the best examples of Madagascar’s Eastern rainforests and is home to a fantastic selection of wildlife. In the Andasibe (Perinet) Reserve and its adjoining Mitsinjo and VOIMMA Reserves, the indri is one of the highlights, being the largest species of lemur. Other diurnal lemurs include the diademed sifaka, common brown lemur, Eastern grey bamboo lemur and the black-and-white ruffed lemur only in the nearby Mantadia National Park. Nocturnal species include the Goodman’s mouse lemur, furry-eared dwarf lemur and Eastern woolly lemur. In the community managed VOIMMA Reserve, the Parson’s chameleon can often be found along with the blue-legged chameleon and tiny brown leaf chameleon: Brookesia superciliaris. The smaller creatures of the rainforest are spectacular here with mossy leaf tailed geckos, colourful frogs and insects such as the giraffe-necked weevil. Birdlife is another highlight especially in the Mantadia National Park with scaly, pitta-like and short-legged ground rollers, velvet asity, red-fronted and blue couas, nuthatch vanga, Madagascar blue pigeon and pygmy kingfisher. The wonderful helmet vanga can also be found in the more remote Antavalobe Reserve.

Optional Activities

Walking in the wildlife rich rainforest reserves of Andasibe, VOIMMA, Mitsinjo, Mantadia and Antavalobe. Interpretive village visits are also available.

Madagascar Southern Madagascar

Les Dunes d’Ifaty

Overview

One of the best hotels in Ifaty, this comfortable and well positioned accommodation is both near the spiny forest and good beaches. The hotel overlooks the Mozambique Channel and is ideally located for watching sunsets over the sea. Accommodation is 19 villas or the 22 standard rooms, all built using local materials with traditional Malagasy interior designs they all offer comfortable beds with mosquito nets, TVs and private bathrooms with 24 hour electricity. The rooms and villas are scattered throughout the gardens which feature many beautiful flowering plants.

There is a large swimming pool with deck chairs for relaxing when the tide is out and it is not suitable for swimming from the beach. The main building has a nice restaurant serving plenty of fresh seafood and tropical fruit and a variety of international dishes. Meals can be enjoyed in both the restaurant and outside on the patio area for al fresco dining with a sea breeze. There is also a friendly bar, small library and free Wi-Fi throughout the main building.

Ifaty has a number of diving operations where both diving and snorkelling trips can be arranged. For example there is an excellent shark dive at 31 metres on the Grand Recife and excursions to the Rose Garden and south pass are excellent for snorkelers.

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
Yes
Rooms
41
Facilities

Rooms are all ensuite with TV and air-conditioning. Other facilities include a restaurant, bar and Wi-Fi and swimming pool on site too.

Local Wildlife

The local spiny forest supports many endemic bird species such as sub-desert mesite, Lafresnaye’s, red-shouldered and sickle-billed vangas, Archbold’s newtonia, Madagascar nightjar, banded kestrel and the spectacular long-tailed ground roller are all possible to see. While mammals include the localised black-shouldered sportive lemur, gray and gray-brown mouse lemurs and lesser hedgehog tenrecs. While reptiles include the impressive Dumeril's ground boa, three-eyed lizard and warty chameleon. ,

Optional Activities

Excursions on offer include visits to the local spiny forest both during the mornings for birdlife and in the evening for nocturnal wildlife. There are also many dive operators that can arrange snorkelling and scuba diving and also whale watching between July and September when humpback whales are present. Watersports can also be arranged.

Madagascar Southern Madagascar

Relais de la Reine

Overview

This luxurious and peaceful hotel on the edge of Isalo National Park, blends in wonderfully with its surroundings. This is a very comfortable property with excellent facilities including a swimming pool, solar power and large rooms with stylish French inspired decor. Just behind the hotel, across the small stream lined with pandanus, is a pocket of small hills and canyons where Pachypodium and Aloe plants may be found.

Each of the spacious rooms have French doors that open out on to the gardens and feature air-conditioning, fans, safety deposit box, clothes hanger, luggage rack, bedside table and a modern attached private bathroom with 24 hour hot water. The hotel has a lovely restaurant with both outside and indoor dining areas and features superb French and Malagasy cuisine. There is also a lounge area with television and an inviting swimming pool which is a welcome sight after a hot day of walking in the National Park.

 

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
Yes
Rooms
30
Facilities

Room amenities include air-conditioning, fan, safety deposit box and attached private bathroom with 24 hour hot water. Other hotel facilities include a swimming pool, restaurant and bar, small gift shop, free Wi-Fi and massage palor.

Local Wildlife

The locally endemic Benson’s rock thrush is one of the top birds to see here alongside more common endemics such as Madagascar lark, Madagascar cisticola and the lesser vasa parrot. Lemurs here include ring-tailed, verreaux’s sifaka and red-fronted brown lemur and reptiles include the stunning jewel chameleon, huge Oustalet’s chameleon and spiny-tailed iguanids are particulary common. There is also a spectacular locally endemic frog species; the Malagasy rainbow frog which can be spotted during the wet season. There is some exceptional botany too, including pachypodium, pandanus, endemic feather palm and various aloes, one of which is endemic.

Optional Activities

Wildlife watching and hikes in Isalo National Park.

Madagascar Eastern Madagascar

Relais des Plateaux

Overview

Situated about 10 minutes’ drive from the airport, this comfortable three-star hotel set in exotic gardens offers well equipped, en suite rooms including air conditioning, satellite TV, mini-bar, tea and coffee facilities and hair dryer. Each room is decorated in a Malagasy design using local materials and the rooms are arranged in a village layout with good access.

Other facilities in the hotel include a local handicraft shop, restaurant serving delicious French cuisine and local delicacies, bar and swimming pool (heated in the cooler months).

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
Yes
Rooms
42
Facilities

Restaurant, air-conditioning, Wi-Fi, mini bar, safety deposit box, satellite TV, direct-dial telephone,

Optional Activities

City tour of Antananarivo, excursion to Ambohimanga Hill, visit to Tsarasaotra Lake (aka. Lac Alarobia) in a district of Tana for some unusual Hauts Plateaux birdwatching.

Madagascar Southern Madagascar

Auberge De La Table

Overview

The main attraction of a stay at Auberge De La Table is the onsite Arboretum D’Antsokay which contains a wonderful selection of plants from the arid spiny forest ecosystem of Southern Madagascar. Wide flat paths make exploring the Arboretum easy and a very enjoyable experience for those interested in botany and learning about the medicinal uses of the plants.

Fauna includes birdlife such as the Madagascar buttonquail, green-capped coua, banded kestrel and sickle-billed vanga. Night walks with the resident guide are a great way to spot the locally endemic grey-brown mouse lemur and a variety of reptiles such as the large warty chameleon; (Furcifer verrucosus), the ocelot gecko (Paroedura picta), the tiny Lygodactylus tuberosus and the impressive Dumeril’s boa. During the day the huge Madagascar giant swallowtail butterfly sometimes appears near flowering bushes.

There is also an educational interpretation centre on site, focused on information and threats to the spiny forest.

The hotels accept Euros, US Dollars and Visa and MasterCard’s with a 3.7% surcharge.

 

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
9
Facilities

The Auberge de la Table has 9 comfortable bungalows designed for one to three people, all with a large double bed and a single bed available on request, a small but modern bathroom, mosquito nets, free standing fans, and tea and coffee making facilities upon request. Electricity is available 24 hours a day with solar panels. The water comes from a natural well. Hot water is obtained through solar water heaters.

The Dry Forest restaurant, named in honour of the dry spiny forest of southwestern Madagascar, serves meals on the terrace of the restaurant. The lounge bar offers a great place to have a drink before or after a meal. There is a library located next to the bar with a wide selection of books and games as well as free Wi-Fi being available in the public areas. Bikes are also available to rent and there is a swimming pool.

Local Wildlife

The Antsokay Arboretum is the main attraction, where nearly 1,000 species of plants are found on a labelled botanical trail. Grey-brown mouse lemurs are easily spotted here on night walks and a there is a good range of spiny forest specialty reptiles and birds found in the Arboretum including the Dumeril’s ground boa, warty chameleon, thick-tailed gecko, sickle-billed vanga, crested and running couas and banded kestrel. The rare red-shouldered vanga and Verreaux's coua can found in the spiny bush habitat at Tsinjoriake. Humpback whale watching, more spiny forest birdwatching and coral reefs can be found at Ifaty and Anakao.

Optional Activities

Explore the Antsokay Arboretum onsite or venture further afield to walk the Table Mountain Trail, part of the New Protected Area of Tsinjoriake. There is a fantastic view from the top showcasing the wild spiny forest habitat of the region. Visits to the local fishing villages, Honko Mangrove Project or birdwatching or whale watching in Ifaty or Anakao are also available.

Route Map

Departure Dates

This tour has no set departure date and can be tailored to suit your travel requirements. Contact us for more details.

Travel Information

Are International Flights Included?

No. Please contact us for a quote if required.

Flight Info:

Fly to Tana on Air France via Paris, or with Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa or Kenya Airways via Nairobi. South African Airways/Airlink also have daily flights between Johannesburg and Antananarivo.

Best Visited:

April to December

Are you ATOL Registered?

Yes. This means we are legally able to book your international flights in conjunction with your ground arrangements so you can book with us with complete confidence. Read more about our ATOL license here.

Alan Godwin

Area Specialist

If you have any questions regarding this Tour, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965

I feel the tour was immensely enjoyable, well-constructed and gave a good overview of eastern and southern Madagascar. [Our guide and driver] are to be commended for their attention to our needs at all times. [Our guide] was outstanding – he couldn’t have done more to make our holiday better. I would have no hesitation in recommending Reef & Rainforest.

Mrs B J - Eastbourne