Secrets of Madagascar Tour – an 18 day Small Group Tour.

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 off the beaten track adventure we explore this enigmatic and alluring land. Our journey takes us West on an exciting navigation along the Tsiribihina River followed by a visit to Kirindy Reserve with its semi-dry western tropical forest, home to the “fossa”.

We then travel the coastal track from Morondava to Tulear with its stunning scenery of baobabs, thorny bushes, and magically pristine white sandy beaches, home to the Mikea, a primitive bee-hunting tribe that have very little contact with Westerners – without a doubt one of the cultural highlights of the tour. Heading inland, another truly memorable high spot greets us: the little frequented Andringitra National Park where we hike along the spectacular Tsaranoro Valley before the tour ends in the capital Antananarivo.

The Secrets of Madagascar tour can be extended with a visit to the Anjozorobe Forest corridor; explore its delicate tropical rainforest, rich in unique wildlife, including the beautiful Indri, chameleons and a multitude of reptiles.

Tour ratings.

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

Tour pace


Tour style


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.


Arrive in Antananarivo and transfer to the hotel conveniently situated in the vicinity of the airport. Depending on your time of arrival, you may have time to explore the city. Overnight Gassy Country House Hotel or similar. No meals are included today.

(Approximate driving time: 5-6 hours)

This morning enjoy a short city tour of the capital before we drive to Andasibe through lush vegetation, stopping en route at a private reptile reserve to get up close to some of Madagascar’s many species of chameleon. On arrival at Andasibe we visit a private sanctuary where you can get up close to Lemurs – the lemurs may jump on you but please note that this is perfectly safe. This evening there will be an opportunity to take a walk in the forest looking for nocturnal creatures. Overnight Vakona Lodge or similar. (BD)

(Overall driving time: approx. 5-6 hours)

Andasibe is probably the best national park in Madagascar and a good place to watch the indri, the largest species of lemur on the island. We take a morning walk through the forest in search of this enigmatic creature as well as other wildlife, accompanied by an expert guide. After the walk, time permitting we highly recommend you to take part in our reforestation project with the Mitsinjo local association (optional) where you are guarantee to learn a lot about the Malagasy unique biodiversity; an excellent complement to your tour. Return to Antananarivo in the late afternoon. Overnight Gassy Country House Hotel or similar. (BD)

(1-hour domestic flight; overall driving time: approx. 2 hours)

Fly west across the island to Morondava, a coastal town with a laid-back atmosphere and home to many of Madagascar’s different ethnic groups. On arrival, we start our journey to the Tsingy de Bemaraha passing majestic Baobabs en route to the remote village of Kirindy for the night. This evening we enjoy a night walk in Kirindy Reserve which has the best opportunity for viewing the elusive Fossa as well as nocturnal lemurs. Overnight Relais du Kirindy or similar (BD)

Note: In Kirindy, electricity is available only between 05:00-07:00hrs and 19:00-22:00hrs.

(Overall driving time: approx. 6-8 hours)

An early start and a full day of travelling by car and boat to cross the Tsiribihina River with great opportunities to see a side of rural Madagascar that few other visitors experience. Continue the journey to Bekopaka and again take to the water to cross the Manambolo. For safety reasons, a convoy may be organised locally departing from Kirindy. Arrive in Bekopaka in the afternoon, time depending on the time departure (this will be decided locally and your guide will keep you informed). Overnight Olympe du Bemaraha or similar (BL*) – * Picnic lunch

Note: In Bekopaka, electricity is available only between 05:00-07:00hrs and 19:00-22:00hrs.

Spend today and tomorrow exploring the remarkable World Heritage Site of Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, a bizarre landscape of eroded limestone pinnacles and one of the most scenic areas in all of Madagascar. On the first day, embark a local canoe and explore part of the Manambolo Gorge and its caves and then continue with a gentle walk along take the Petit Tsingy circuit which gives you a first very good overview of the Tsingy du Bemaraha. The following day we take the Grand Tsingy circuit where boardwalks and ladders between the pinnacles allow us to explore the area, replete with deep canyons and gorges and home to several species of lemurs and birds. Overnight Olympe du Bemeraha or similar. (BD)

(Overall driving time: approx. 10–12 hours)

An early start and a full day of driving back to Morondava. We stop for lunch at the restaurant Le Mad Zebu, where the Chef Onja is renowned in the whole country for its excellent cuisine. Continuing our drive south, we then stop en route around sunset at the ‘Avenue of the Baobabs’ where these imposing trees up to 800 years old line the road and provide an iconic snapshot of Madagascar, giving hints of the extensive forest that once covered this part of the island. Overnight Laguna Beach Hotel or similar (BL)

(Overall driving time: approx. 6 hours)

After breakfast, drive towards Miandrivazo. En route experience varied landscapes and the transition from the very dry west to the red soil and rice fields around Miandrivazo. Situated on the Tsiribihina River, Miandrivazo is a very fertile region for cotton, corn, manioc, beans, tobacco and rice. The rest of the day is at leisure either to enjoy the countryside or relax at the hotel. Overnight Princesse Tsiribihina or similar (BD)

Note: At Princesse Tsiribihina, electricity is available between 06:00-10:00hrs and 18:00-22:00hrs. There is no Internet access in Miandrivazo.

(Overall driving time: approx. 5-6 hours)

Continue the journey to Antsirabe. You will also notice changes on the features of the local people as Asian heritage becomes more prominent. We finish the day in Antsirabe, founded by Norwegians in 1856 and home to Madagascar’s brewing industry. Overnight Royal Palace or similar (BD)

(Overall driving time: approx. 8–9 hours)

In the morning, short city tour and visit of several local workshops in Antsirabe before continuing south where we first stop in Ambositra, the centre of Madagascar’s wood carving industry and home to the Zafimaniry tribe. We then continue to Ranomafana National Park and, at on arrival, you will be able to take an optional night walk on the on the outskirts of the park to search for nocturnal creatures Overnight Centrest Sejour or similar (BD)

We 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 surroundings. Overnight Centrest Sejour or similar (BD)

(Overall driving time: approx. 9–10 hours)

Leaving Ranomafana behind we head to Isalo. We stop in Fianarantsoa, the second largest town of the country where we can enjoy the panoramic views. We continue to Anja Park, a community run reserve situated in stunning scenery with great opportunities to see ring-tailed lemurs. Arrive in Isalo in the late afternoon. Overnight Satrana Lodge or similar. (BL*) – * Picnic lunch

Note: At Satrana Lodge, electricity is only available between 06:00-10:00hrs and 18:00-22:00hrs.

We spend today walking through the moonscape of Isalo National Park, stopping at the perfectly formed ‘natural swimming pool’, fringed with lush vegetation and a great place for a dip. Later we head to a stunning rock arch to watch the sunset over this dramatic landscape. Overnight Satrana Lodge or similar. (BL*) – * Picnic lunch

(Overall driving time: approx. 7–8 hours)

Leaving Isalo behind we head to Tulear. Travelling through the land of the Mahafaly people, we can stop to see the traditional tombs used for burying their dead. From Tulear we transfer to Ifaty on the coast (approx. 1 hour). The region around Ifaty is extremely dry and dominated by ‘spiny forest’ of cacti and other plants that thrive in arid environments. Our accommodation is situated idyllically on a gorgeous beach overlooking the Indian Ocean, where we can watch the local fishermen take boats out as the sun sets. This is a truly beautiful part of Madagascar and a great place to relax or explore. Overnight Hotel La Mira or similar. (BD)

A day at leisure to relax or explore. Ifaty is also home to coral reef and offers good diving and snorkelling opportunities. It’s also possible to take a walk to the nearby village of Mangily where we can get a good insight into the life of the local Vezo fishing community. All excursions can be booked through the hotel and are payable locally. July and August are the best months to see the migration of the humpback whales. Overnight Hotel La Mira or similar. (BD)



(Overall driving time: approx. 1 hour; 1-hour domestic flight)

Time at leisure until the transfer to Tuléar on due time to catch a flight back to Antananarivo. Overnight Gassy Country House Hotel or similar (BD)

Time at leisure until your transfer to the airport and your onward flight. Please note optional excursions are possible for those with late flights. Day use available at Gassy Country House Hotel until late afternoon for clients travelling on the Air France or Kenya Airways overnight flight. (B)

Dates & Price.

Tour Notes

Return flights from London to Antananarivo start at £700. Please contact us for a quotation.

Main Tour single supplement from £515. Christmas tour single supplement is £490.

Single supplement on Anjozorobe extension is £110.
Single supplement on Pangalanes Wildlife extension is £100.
Single supplement on Mikea Forest Beach extension is £295.

Anjozorobe Forest Corridor (4D/3N) pre-tour extension priced from £475 per person based on 2 people sharing a twin/double room.

Pangalanes Wildlife (4D/3N) post-tour extension priced from £475 per person based on 2 people sharing a twin/double room.

Mikea Forest Beach (5D/4N) post-tour extension priced from £695 per person based on 2 people sharing a twin/double room.

Please contact us for alternative post tour beach options on a private basis.

Please contact us for further details of our Madagascar tour extensions. They are all subject to availability so please contact us to see if we can guarantee your place on the extension of your choice.

Please note that the Secrets of Madagascar tour departing early September runs back to back with our Madagascar – Northern Explorer tour.

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

Secrets of Madagascar Tour

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 (2) from Antananarivo to Morondava and Tuléar to Antananarivo
  • All accommodation as per the itinerary, or similar
  • Transport throughout the main tour with the services of a professional driver (not applicable to pre-post-tour extension)
  • Services of English-speaking guide / tour leader (not applicable to pre-post-tour extension)
  • Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
  • Two Litres of mineral water per person per day (not applicable to pre-post-tour extension)

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa (available on arrival at the airport – currently 35 EUR per person or the equivalent in USD – $38 to $40)
  • Drinks
  • Local tipping kitty collected on arrival between 55-85 EUR (or the equivalent in GBP or USD)
  • Tips for main tour guide, driver and pre-post tour arrangements (discretionary)
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Extra arrangements, excursions and activities not included/mentioned in the itinerary

I was very happy with the trip. I especially enjoyed the small activities (wood workers shop, embroidery workshop, etc.)that made it feel like we were doing something on driving days. The guide, Danhy, really made the trip excellent.

Virginia Agnelli, US