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.


Arrival in Antananarivo

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: four to five hours)

Today there’s a short morning city tour of the capital before driving to Andasibe.  Along the way we stop at a reptile reserve with a good collection of Madagascar’s many chameleon species. On arrival at Andasibe we visit to a private sanctuary for some close-up encounters with lemurs. On arrival there’s a night walk in the forest looking out for nocturnal wildlife. Overnight Andasibe Hotel or similar. (BD)

(Approximate driving time: four to five hours)

Andasibe is probably the best national park in Madagascar and a great place to watch Indri, the island’s largest lemur species. Accompanied by an expert guide, we take a morning walk through the forest in search of this enigmatic creature, and other indigenous wildlife. In the afternoon we visit a lemur sanctuary. Do not be alarmed if lemurs jump onto you during the visit – they are simply curious by nature. We return to Antananarivo in the afternoon. Overnight Gassy Country House or similar. (BD)

(One-hour domestic flight. Approximate driving time: two hours)

Fly west across the island to Morondava, a coastal town with a laid-back atmosphere and home to many of Madagascar’s diverse ethnic groups. On the ground, our route to the remote village of Kirindy takes in stands of majestic baobabs and the remarkable limestone tower karst of Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. On arrival, a night walk in Kirindy Reserve provides the best opportunity to observe the elusive cat-like Fossa as well as nocturnal lemur species. Overnight at the Relais du Kirindy or similar. (BD)

(Approximate driving time: six to eight hours)

Today an early start precedes a full day on the road and on the water.  The ferry crossing of the Tsiribihina River offers insights on the practicalities of life in rural Madagascar few visitors experience. Continuing, it’s not long before we board another ferry for a short crossing of the Manambolo River. Arriving in Bekopaka mid-afternoon, the Petit Tsingy Circuit, a two hour walk through a labyrinth of tower karst, offers a good overview of Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. Overnight at Hotel Olympe du Bemaraha or similar. (BL*) – * Picnic lunch

Tsingy de Bemaraha

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. The park’s deep canyons and gorges are home to striking wildlife, including Von der Decken’s sifaka and such avian highlights as Madagascar fish eagle. Overnight Soleil du Tsingy Lodge or similar (BD)

(Approximate driving time: ten to twelve hours)

There’s no avoiding it, this is a long day of road travel.  However, after an early start we stop at the excellent, if unfortunately named, restaurant of Le Mad Zebu, where Chef Onja is renowned across Madagascar for superlative cuisine. We take our time to enjoy lunch. Continuing south, around sunset our next stop is the ‘Avenue of the Baobabs’ where imposing 800-year-old trees, vestiges of extensive forests, line the road to provide photographers with an iconic image of Madagascar. Overnight Baobab Café hotel or similar. (BL)

(Approximate driving time: six hours)

Today we pass through varied landscapes, from the very dry west to the red soil and rice fields around Miandrivazo. Situated on the Tsiribihina River, Miandrivazo’s fertile soils are cultivated in earnest to grow rice, corn, manioc, and beans, as well as cotton and tobacco. On arrival the rest of the day is free to relax or explore independently. Overnight at Princesse Tsiribihina or similar. (BD)

(Approximate driving time: five to six hours)

During today’s journey changes in ethnicity become apparent in the features of local people as Asian heritage becomes more prominent. Founded by Norwegians in 1856, Antsirabe is home to Madagascar’s brewing industry.  Arriving at our hotel, there may be time for a cold beer at the bar… Overnight Royal Palace or similar. (BD)

(Approximate driving time: eight to nine hours)

Journeying south, after around four hours, we stop in Ambositra, a centre for Madagascar’s wood carving industry and home to the Zafimaniry tribe whose heritage as wood workers is ages old.  A further four hours’ drive brings us to Ranomafana National Park.  An optional night walk on the park’s outskirts will search out nocturnal wildlife. Overnight Centrest Sejour or similar. (BD)

We spend the morning exploring the rainforests of Ranomafana, observing its many species of lemurs, reptiles and birds. The afternoon is free to relax or enjoy a walk in the village and surroundings. Overnight Centrest Sejour or similar. (BD)

(Approximate driving time: nine to ten hours)

Our first stop today, after three to four hours of variable traffic and road conditions, is the community run reserve of Anja Park.  Here, among stunning scenery are some of the best opportunities to see Ring-tailed lemurs. We Arrive in Isalo late afternoon, again depending upon traffic and conditions. Overnight at Satrana Lodge or similar. (BL*) – * Picnic lunch

The moonscape of Isalo National Park is an otherworldly landscape for walking.  It’s even more memorable as a place to take a dip in a perfectly formed natural swimming pool, fringed with lush vegetation. Having dried off, as light fades we hike to a dramatic rock arch to witness the setting sun over a remarkable landscape. Overnight at Satrana Lodge or similar. (BL*) – * Picnic lunch

(Approximate driving time: seven to eight hours)

Travelling through the land of the Mahafaly, we stop near Tulear to examine some of this nomadic people’s characteristically elaborate tombs. Continuing towards the coast, the landscape is extremely dry and dominated by forests of cacti and other hardy vegetation. However, in just over an hour we arrive at our 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 golden water of the Indian Ocean.  This is a truly beautiful part of Madagascar and a great place to relax. Overnight Hotel La Mira or similar. (BD)

A day to 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 to the Mozambique Channel.  Ashore, 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. Overnight Hotel La Mira or similar. (BD)


(Overall driving time: 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)

There’s free time prior to airport transfers though optional excursions exist for those with late flights. Day use of rooms at Gassy Country House until 6pm is available for those booked on Air France’s later departure. (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.

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.

Airport transfers are included 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 center for an extra £42 per way per vehicle.

Anjozorobe Forest Corridor 4 day 3 night extension pre tour priced from £475 per person based on 2 people sharing a twin/double room.

Pangalanes Wildlife 4 days 3 night extension post tour priced from £795 per person based on 2 people sharing a twin/double room.

Mikea Forest Beach Extension 5 days 3 night post tour 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.

If you do not wish to be part of a group tour then you can do the same tour on a private basis. Please contact us for prices.

Kindly note that we can also tailor a similar or totally different itinerary to meet your requirements. Please get in touch with Mark or Estelle so we can tailor your perfect Madagascar 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