MADAGASCAR
Madagascascan Wildlife with a Twist

Madagascan Wildlife with a Twist – a 20 day tailormade tour starting from £2885 per person.


The island of Madagascar occupies a unique place, both culturally and geographically, within Africa. Separated from the mainland millions of years ago, its fauna has developed very differently from the rest of the continent’s wildlife, and it is home to countless species found nowhere else on earth.

Its people are an intriguing mix of Malay and African ancestry, with complex patterns of beliefs and an unusual history. On this private Madagascascan Wildlife holiday you will discover this unique island and many of its secrets!

 

 

On this Madagascascan wildlife holiday we take in the very best of this enigmatic and alluring land. Our journey takes us to superb national parks, including the bizarre moonscape of Isalo and the lush rainforests of Ranomafana, home to countless species of lemurs including the rare golden bamboo lemur, only discovered by scientists in 1986. We spend time in Andasibe, one of the best places in Madagascar to see the curious indri, the largest species of lemur, and spend time taking walks through the forest in search of endemic wildlife. Finally, we spend time in the very south of the island, nearby Berenty, an unspoilt area, very little visited by tourists yet and utterly amazing for birdwatching and wildlife encounters.

This is guaranteed to be a unique experience and a nice and relaxing end to the trip – join us to experience its diverse charms on a trip that will challenge what you thought you knew about Africa.

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture 
  • History
  • Wildlife

Tour pace

Busy

Tour style

Traveller

Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.

Itinerary.

We start your Madagascascan wildlife holiday when you arrive in ‘Tana’. On arrival, you will be met and our representative will transfer you to the hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, you may have time to explore the city. No meals or guided activities are included today.  Overnight Gassy Country House.

(Overall driving time today: approx. 4 hours)

Depart after breakfast and drive eastward towards Andasibe National Park, descending from the ‘hauts plateaux’ through a landscape of verdant rice terraces and scattered villages, a route which effortlessly blends dramatic views, snapshots of bustling local life, glassy lakes and as we approach Andasibe, stunning primary forest. During the drive, pause at a local waterfall, a place for “collective laundry” and indeed, highland tribal tradition dictates that, after funerals, whole families do their washing here, so the river purges away all bad luck. Also briefly stop in Manjakandriana, an important agricultural city, supplying dairy and vegetables to the whole region. En route, we visit Pyereras Reptile reserve to get up close to its rare chameleons, snakes and frogs. On arrival at Andasibe, check-in your hotel before to take a guided dusk walk on the edge of the forest, in the V.O.I.M.M.A. community reserve, in search of nocturnal creatures. Overnight Vakona Lodge. (B)

Andasibe is probably the best national park in Madagascar and a good place to watch the spectacular Indri, the largest species of lemur on the island. You will probably hear its haunting cry before you see it!  Take a morning walk through the forest in search of this enigmatic creature as well as other wildlife, accompanied by an expert local guide. Expect to see a huge range of flora and fauna, strolling beneath the extensive canopy of trees to the backdrop of the forest chorus. This afternoon, visit a private island sanctuary where you can get up close to lemurs – the lemurs may get very close and even jump on you but please note that this is perfectly safe. Overnight Vakona Lodge. (B)

This morning we will take a walk inside Mantadia National Park, neighbour to Andasibe National Park forming part of an important regional wildlife corridor. Several walks are possible here, ranging from 2 to 4 hours, on which you can observe endemic fauna and flora, waterfalls, and gain an insight into the local culture by passing through several holy places. This afternoon you can either relax or visit a Betsimisaraka village, experiencing first-hand their tribal crafts, skills, customs and dances. Alternatively, you can choose to visit a Mitsinjo reforestation project and contribute to enhancing this vital ecosystem. Overnight Vakona Lodge. (B)

(Overall driving time today: approx. 7 hours)

After breakfast, the Madagascascan Wildlife tour departs southwards to Antsirabe, crossing the highlands through rural scenery, valleys, rice paddies and vegetable plantations.  Our journey takes us to Antsirabe, founded by Norwegians in 1856 and home to Madagascar’s brewing industry. If time permits, we can take a short city tour to get a sense of this important highland city. Overnight Chambres du Voyageur. (B)

(Overall driving time today: approx. 6- 7 hours)

This morning explore points of interest in Antsirabe and the surrounding villages. You may choose to visit some nearby craft shops, such as a Zebu horn workshop, where you will marvel at the transformation of Zebu horn into artisanal decoration. Thereafter continue along the RN7 south to Ranomafana. Overnight Centrest Sejour Hotel. (B)

Spend the morning exploring the rainforests of Ranomafana in search of its many species of lemurs, reptiles and birds. The afternoon is at leisure for you to relax or enjoy a walk in the village and the local surroundings. Overnight Centrest Sejour Hotel. (B)

(Overall driving time today: approx. 6 hours)

After breakfast, continue the journey south, stopping briefly in Fianarantsoa, the second city of Madagascar. Visit the attractive workshop of Pierrot Men, one of the most well-known photographers in the country.  Continue to Anja Park, a community run private reserve situated in stunning scenery with great opportunities to see playful ring-tailed lemurs. From there, we fork onto a track towards the imposing mountains of the Andringitra Massif, where we will spend the next two nights of this adventure. Overnight Tsara Camp. (BD)

Access to Andringitra and the Tsaranoro Valley will involve touring round the tracks in a 4×4 and taking in some of the abundant highlights of these exceptional environs. You may choose to enter Andringitra National Park, or rather explore the delights of the Tsaranoro Valley.  The Valley boasts a hotter, drier climate and is accessible all year round. Trekking opportunities abound, from low-level to ambitious mountainous routes. At every turn, photographic opportunities present themselves in the guise of glorious vistas.  If you wish, there are walks to a local waterfall where views of the sunset across the plain make for a stunning end to a day of exploring the area on your Madagascascan wildlife holiday. Overnight Tsara Camp (BD)

(Overall driving time today: approx. 4 hours)

Depart after breakfast flanking the Andringitra massif, which serves as a transition between the green highlands and the arid south. Pass through Ihosy the capital of the Bara tribe and from there the landscape transforms with huge granite blocks dotting the spacious and empty plains marking the gateway to the far south. Drive through the “plateau de Horombe”, a vast empty savannah where we shall likely observe herds of zebu, accompanied by armed Bara men, cattle raisers who are intrinsically linked with the zebu. By late afternoon, arrive at the village of Ranohira, gateway to Isalo National Park, where you check into the bungalows at Satrana Lodge which nestle against the rocky slopes and look across this beautiful landscape. The Lodge has an excellent restaurant and fabulous swimming pool from which you may wish to enjoy one of nature’s stunning sunsets.  Overnight Satrana Lodge. (B)

After breakfast, take a guided half day or if you prefer, a full day excursion within Isalo National Park. There are various options including a trail to the top of the mountain, where a fantastic panoramic view of the eroded environment is to be admired, with its kaleidoscope of rock shades, shifting from ochre to russet to blue-grey. From here you might choose to visit the natural swimming pool, and then perhaps head on to reach “the Canyon des Singes”.  A most profitable area if you enjoy bird watching is the oasis and forested area around Relais de la Reine: here we may spot Benson’s rock-thrush, lesser vasa parrot, Madagascar coucal, Madagascar bee-eater and even Giant coua. The walk can be tailored to how you feel on the day. At the end of the afternoon you may wish to visit the Fenetre d’Isalo, a natural rock formation in the shape of an exquisitely airy window, where one can experience an atmospheric sunset framed magnificently between the rocks. Overnight Satrana Lodge. (B)

(Overall driving time today: approx. 6-7 hours)

Leaving Isalo behind we travel for 1 hour to a village at the centre of the burgeoning sapphire industry where you will have a stop. From here continue to the protected forest-island of Zombitse National Park, which hosts many birding wonders, perhaps the highlight of which is the terrestrial Appert’s Greenbul, one of Madagascar’s rarest endemics. You will notice the landscape change with spiny forest becoming more prominent. Also stop to admire the colourful tombs of the Mahafaly people and take a short-guided tour in the Reniala Reserve, a typical dry and thorny bush only seen in the southern part of the country, where we will find some Baobab samples and other special native trees. Continue along the coast to reach your beachfront hotel in Ifaty. There’s time to soak in the idyllic scenery and watch fishermen head to sea as the sun dips low into the glowing waters of the Mozambique Channel. This is a truly beautiful part of Madagascar and a great place to relax. Overnight Le Paradisier Hotel. (B)

Today the Madagascascan wildlife holiday is at leisure to either relax or explore. Ifaty has a great coral reef and offers good diving and easy snorkelling. If you’re visiting between July and August, a highlight is the migration of Humpback whales heading north through the Mozambique Channel.  The nearby village of Mangily is an easy walk, and provides an insight into the daily life of the Vezo fishing community. All excursions can be booked through the hotel and are paid locally. Alternatively relax on the beach or by the pool. Overnight Le Paradisier Hotel. (B)

(Overall driving time today: approx. 1.5 hours)

This morning is at leisure for you to relax or to take a local excursion from the hotel. Depart after lunch back to Tulear, where we visit the interesting Arboretum d’Antsokay. Overnight Moringa Hotel. (B)

(Domestic flight from Tulear to Fort-Dauphin ; Overall driving time today: approx. 5 hours)

Transfer to the airport for a domestic flight to Fort-Dauphin. After landing, we continue to Berenty. Here we back into a more humid zone and the landscape is characterised with fields of rice, palms and mango plantations. Passing the Anosy Mountain chain we pass back into a drier zone arriving in Berenty by late afternoon. Overnight Berenty Lodge. (BD)

At dawn, enjoy a birding expedition with a local guide inside Berenty Private Reserve, where 83 bird species are listed. Birds of prey are particularly prominent and 9 species are recorded with Madagascar Buzzard probably the most common raptor visible. Other unique species to look out for are Hook-Billed Vanga and Crested and Giant Coua. The forest is divided into two distinct sections: the spiny forest and the semi-dry forest. Sisal plantations surround the reserve. After lunch, you can take another walk in the reserve and spot the endangered radiated tortoises. Berenty is also the only reserve where one can see almost all the fauna and flora of the south of Madagascar. It is also known as the kingdom of lemurs as you can easily spot Maki ring-tailed lemurs, and the dancing lemurs known as Sifaka, among other species. Overnight Berenty Lodge. (BD)

(Overall driving time today: approx. 6 hours)

This morning, back to Fort-Dauphin stopping at Andohahela National Park to stretch your legs.  Later, in Fort Dauphin be sure not to miss the sunset from the pristine beach at Libanona point. Overnight La Croix du Sud Hotel (BD)

(Overall driving time today: approx. 1.5 hours)

After breakfast, drive to Lanirano Lake where you take a boat excursion along a narrow channel of the Aroyos lagoon. Observe the lush aquatic vegetation and the many species of birds and navigate across Ambavarano Lake and the mangroves. Reaching the village of Evatra, admire the picturesque creeks and fishermen in their small pirogues. A short walk brings you to the Col, from where vistas over the village and the mouth of the lake flowing into the sea are simply exquisite. Return to Fort-Dauphin by late afternoon. Overnight La Croix du Sud Hotel. (BD)

(Domestic flight from Fort Dauphin to Antananarivo)

Time at leisure until your transfer to the local airport for a flight to Tana. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. Overnight Gassy Country House. (B)

Any remaining time today is at leisure prior to airport transfers though optional excursions can be arranged if you are booked on a late flight. A hotel room will be available for you to freshen up for those with late evening departures, or you may wish to extend you Madagascascan wildlife holiday further of course. (B)

Dates & Price.

We offer the Madagascascan Wildlife with a Twist holiday for private departures only.

Prices start from £2885 per person, based on two people travelling and sharing a room.

We can also tailor a similar or totally different itinerary to meet your requirements. Please contact us to discuss your travel plans.

Tour Notes

The Madagascascan wildlife holiday single supplement starts from £ 595

Airport transfers are included in the Madagascascan wildlife holiday if you are booking pre and/or post tour accommodation at the hotel mentioned in our tour dossier or in the vicinity of the airport.

Alternatively, if you have arranged  a pre or post tour stay in a different accommodation, we can arrange a transfer to the city centre for an extra £42 per way per vehicle.

Extra night accommodation pre and/or post tour at the airport costs from £30 per person, per night sharing a twin/double room and £54 per person in a solo occupancy room.

Extra night accommodation pre and/or post tour at in Antananarivo costs from £26 per person, per night sharing a twin/double room and £46 per person in a solo occupancy room.

Please note that the prices quoted above are for the category of accommodation and hotel used for this particular tour. Depending on the hotel eventually confirmed there may be some difference in the rate advertised by the hotel, and the prices available through Undiscovered Destinations. It should be noted we will not apply a surcharge should more expensive accommodation be used. At the same time in the event that a lower rate is available for the confirmed hotel we are unable to offer a refund.

Return flights from London to Antananarivo to join the Madagascascan wildlife holiday start at £650 per person. Note that flights in July and August can often be more than double this price. Please contact us for a quotation.

Kindly note that we can tailor a similar or totally different itinerary to meet your requirements. Please contact us so we can tailor your perfect tour to Madagascar.

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Tour inclusions.

  • Arrival and departure airport transfers
  • Domestic flights from Tulear to Fort Dauphin and from Fort Dauphin to Antananarivo
  • All accommodation as per the itinerary, or similar
  • Transport throughout the tour
  • Services of English-speaking driver
  • Services of English-speaking local guides in parks/reserves
  • Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa (available on arrival at the airport – currently 35 EUR per person)
  • Drinks
  • Tips (discretionary)
  • Items of a personal nature