Tailored from £5,650 per person excl. flights
15 days Antananarivo, Andasibe, Isalo National Park, Toliara, Mandrare, Manafiafy
15 days Antananarivo, Andasibe, Isalo National Park, Toliara, Mandrare, Manafiafy
This Highlights of Madagascar Tour covers the best of Madagascar in two incredible weeks, taking you from spotting indri lemurs in the Perinet Reserve, to finding chameleons in the Coastal Rainforest.
Your holiday will begin in the capital city of Antananarivo. known for its vibrant architecture and colourful streets. Next, you’ll head to Andasibe, where you’ll find a protected rainforest park filled with stunning hiking trails, waterfalls and scores of various lemur species, including the indri, the largest lemur species in the world.
You’ll then venture to Isalo National Park, one of the most diverse and spectacular parks in Madagascar, famed for its fascinating rock formations, magical natural pools, and vast canyons used as sacred burial sites by the Bara tribe.
You’ll also get to explore Zombitse National Park, home to the Appert’s greenbul, one of Madagascar’s rarest endemic bird species, before moving on to Mandrare. Here you’ll stay in a luxury camp overlooking the gorgeous Mandrare River, surrounded by an enchanting rainforest that’s brimming with wildlife and rich cultural traditions.
Finally, you’ll head to Manafiafy, where you’ll find white sandy beaches, forested mountains and sprawling mangroves filled with diverse wildlife. You’ll explore the last untouched section of coastal rainforest in southern Madagascar, visit local villages and markets, explore the mangroves by boat, and see the Flying Fox, Madagascar’s largest bat.
This suggested itinerary is perfect for intrepid adventurers looking to see Madagascar’s most incredible destinations, and immerse themselves in the island’s spectacular nature, wildlife and culture.
On arrival in Ivato International Airport in Antananarivo, you’ll be greeted by an English-speaking guide who will accompany you to Maison Gallieni, your hotel in the upper town of Antananarivo.
Maison Gallieni is a restored colonial mansion with an elegant mix of modern and traditional décor. Take a dip in the pool and enjoy the lovely views over the city, or head out to explore the traditional architecture and distinct Indonesian influence of Antananarivo, locally known as ‘Tana’.
After breakfast, you’ll meet your guide and begin the four-hour drive east to Transfer to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, a beautiful rainforest park with two protected areas including the Perinet Special Reserve and Mantadia National Park. The Perinet Reserve is famous for its population of indri lemurs, the largest living lemur species on earth.
The drive to Andasibe offers a great introduction to rural life in Madagascar, with rice fields, redbrick houses and roadside stalls selling seasonal fruits and vegetables along the route. You’ll arrive at Mantadia Lodge in time for lunch (you’ll stay at the lodge on a full-board basis).
This afternoon you’ll visit Lemur Island on a private reserve that houses a population of habituated lemurs. There are four species to see including the black and white ruffed lemur, bamboo lemur, brown lemur and one diademed sifaka. This evening, you can go on an exciting night walk with your local guide, to see the region’s nocturnal creatures come alive.
After breakfast, you’ll meet your guide and make the 1.5 hour drive to Mantadia National Park for a day of adventure and a picnic lunch. This stunning park is filled with lemur species including the indri lemur, grey bamboo lemur, red-bellied lemur, white ruffed lemur and diademed sifaka.
While the trails are slightly more challenging, they’re well worth it as the forest is taller, thicker and less crowded than Perinet. It’s a naturalist's paradise with many rare species of mammals, reptiles and a variety of birds including the breasted coua, the scaly ground roller, the pitta-like ground roller.
Enjoy your picnic lunch by the Rianasoa Waterfall before hiking back to the vehicle and returning to the lodge. Head out on a night walk with a local guide this evening to explore the forest surrounding the lodge. You’ll see a variety of nocturnal lemurs including the woolly lemur, mouse lemur, white footed sportive lemur and fat-tailed dwarf lemur.
After an early breakfast, you’ll meet your guide and head out to the Perinet Reserve, a 180-hectare expanse of wilderness, famous for its population of indri lemurs, known for their distinct black and white markings, a barely visible tail, and a surprised teddy bear face. They're also one of the few animals in the world that cannot survive in captivity.
Along with the indri, there are 11 other species of lemur to spot as you walk through the rainforest including the common brown lemur, black and white ruffed lemur, grey bamboo lemur and the diademed sifaka.
Perinet Reserve is home to many reptiles, invertebrates, and some of Madagascar’s orchid species, and there’s an abundance of birds including the blue coua, velvet asity, Nuthatch vanga and many other endemic species. After lunch in Andasibe, you’ll drive back to Antananarivo, where you’ll check in to Maison Gallieni for the night.
After breakfast, your guide will drive you to Ivato Airport where you’ll board a domestic flight to Toliara. On arrival in Toliara airport, you’ll be greeted by your driver and English speaking guide, and begin your four-hour drive to Isalo National Park.
You’ll check in to Jardin Du Roy, your hotel for the next two nights. Settle into your room or take a dip in the pool, where you can soak up the breathtaking views of Isalo National Park. Jardin Du Roy is set on the edge of the national park, known for its spectacular sandstone rocks, natural pools with stunning clear water, and deep canyons used as sacred burial sites by the Bara tribe for hundreds of years.
Isalo National Park is one of Madagascar’s most diverse and fascinating parks. After breakfast, you’ll head out on a full day of guided walking, exploring the vast plains and spectacular rock formations. Your guide will recommend a variety of trails depending on your interests and physical abilities. One of the best trails is the ‘Canyon des Singes’, which curves through the thick forest and brightly coloured rock formations to reach a magical rock pool called the ‘Piscine Naturelle’.
The park is known for its rare endemic plants including the local Aloe, while lemur lovers should keep watch for the brown lemur, ring-tailed lemur, sifakas, and 14 nocturnal lemur species that come alive in the forest each night. There are also 35 reptile species, several endemic frogs and 80 bird species including the rare Benson’s rock-thrush and the crested ibis.
After breakfast, you’ll meet your guide and make the one-hour drive to Zombitse National Park, a richly biodiverse transition forest, spanning 36,300 hectares between the western and southern habitat types.
It’s an excellent spot for birdwatchers, with the chance to spot the Appert’s greenbul, one of Madagascar’s rarest endemic species, found only in this forest. You can spot a number of other bird species including the crested coua and giant coua. After enjoying a two-hour walk in the forest, you’ll make the four-hour drive to Bakuba Lodge with a stop for lunch.
You’ll check in to Bakuba Lodge and spend the afternoon relaxing in your bungalow, strolling along the beach or taking a deep in the dazzling waters of the Mozambique Channel. Snorkelling and scuba diving activities are also available at an extra cost.
After breakfast you’ll transfer to Toliara airport for your morning flight to Fort Dauphin. The flight takes around three hours and you’ll be met on arrival by a guide from Mandrare River Camp, who’ll drive you to a local restaurant for lunch in Fort Dauphin. After lunch, you’ll make the four-hour drive to Mandrare River Camp, where you can settle into your luxury tent and enjoy the stunning views over the Mandrare River.
In the evening, you’ll head out on a thrilling night walk in the Forest of Zenavo. You’ll get to see diurnal lemurs bedding down and nocturnal lemurs waking up as you walk through the ancient Sacred Spiny Forest. Keep your eyes peeled for sifakas, mouse lemurs and white-footed sportive lemurs - once the sun has set they'll become active, along with a variety of chameleons and birds.
Enjoy breakfast before venturing out to the beautiful Sacred Gallery Forest, located to the south of the camp. Depending on the river’s water levels, you’ll walk or take a boat across the Mandrare River to reach this spectacular forest, known for its inquisitive groups of ring-tailed lemurs and the entertaining Verreaux sifaka.
You’ll return to the camp for lunch and a relaxing dip in the pool. In the evening, you’ll head out for a walk through the Sacred Spiny Forest, where you'll find the ancestral tombs of the local Antandroy tribe, and an incredible number of flora and fauna that can only be found in this forest. Your English speaking guide and tracker from the local community will teach you about Antandroy culture and customs, and you’ll finish the excursion with refreshing sundowners on the Mandrare River banks.
Enjoy an early morning cup of tea or coffee before heading out for a sunrise walk through the Sacred Spiny Forest. It’s a magical experience to witness the sunlight cracking through the octopus trees, as the wildlife begin to wake up and become active.
Keep your eyes peeled for the many endemic birds including the running coua, crested coua and a variety of vangas. After your walk you’ll return to camp for a well-earned breakfast, followed by a visit to the local village to meet the Antandroy tribe, or to the local market (open on Thursdays and Saturdays) where you can browse beautiful handmade crafts.
You’ll enjoy lunch at the camp and a relaxing afternoon watching life along the Mandrare River from the private terrace of your tent. In the evening, you’ll head out for sundowners among the baobabs, and you’ll have the wonderful experience of watching the sunset and moonrise over these ancient trees.
In the evening, you may be treated to an incredible show of traditional dancing, singing and music, performed by the local village. Song and dance is at the heart of Antandroy culture and is used in all major rituals and life events.
After an early breakfast, you’ll take a short 25-minute flight to Fort Dauphin, where you’ll be met by your guide for the three-hour drive to Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge. Manafiafy, also known as Sainte Luce, is a gorgeous sandy bay lined with forested mountains and rich mangroves filled with wildlife.
On arrival at Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge, you’ll settle into your bungalow and head out in the evening for a night walk in the Coastal Rainforest. You’ll explore the last untouched section of coastal rainforest in southern Madagascar, where you can find some of the five species and three sub-species of lemur, over 80 bird species (over half of which are endemic), and an abundance of chameleons, geckos and other forest reptiles.
Keep your eyes peeled for nocturnal lemurs leaping through the trees, Madagascar Scops Owl, satanic leaf-tailed geckos, and other masters of camouflage. After your walk, you’ll return to the lodge for a delicious dinner.
You’ll stay at Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge on an all inclusive basis, including a continental breakfast of fresh fruit, pastries, bread, eggs and cereals served each day. After breakfast today, you’ll visit the Stitch project and local woodworking shop to meet the local Antanosy community.
Stitch was created by Azafady, a UK-based charity working with a Malagasy NGO in southern Madagascar. It provides local women with sustainable livelihoods by teaching English, business skills and embroidery, a traditional Malagasy skill used to make beautiful belts, purses and other items.
You’ll enjoy a three-course lunch before heading to the nearby mangrove network which stretches for 40km from Manafiafy to Fort Dauphin, with the towering Anosy mountain range in the background. You’ll explore the mangroves by motor boat, and it’s a stunning spot for photography. There are plenty of endemic birds to spot including Madagascar kingfisher species, the Blue Coua, the Madagascar Harrier Hawk and the Madagascar Crested Ibis.
You’ll rise early this morning for a sunrise walk in the coastal rainforest. It’s a magical time of the day to see wildlife in action, particularly the red-collared lemur which are largely active at dawn and dusk. The red-collared lemur is endemic to south-eastern Madagascar, and commonly lives in groups of up to 20 individuals, and you can spot these groups foraging for food as they swing through the canopy.
It’s also a great time for birdwatching, so keep watch for the Hook-billed Vanga, Crested Coua, Giant Coua and Vasa parrots. You’ll return to the lodge for a well-earned breakfast, then spend the afternoon relaxing in your luxury bungalow or exploring the lodge surroundings. In the evening, you’ll venture out to see the Flying Fox, Madagascar’s largest bat. The bats live in a nearby community forest and fill the sky at dusk as they fly off in search of food.
After an early breakfast, your guide will drive you back to Fort Dauphin. The drive takes around 2.5 hours, and you’ll arrive at the airport to take your three-hour flight back to Antananarivo.
On arrival at the airport, you’ll be greeted by an English speaking guide who will drive you to Maison Gallieni, your hotel for the night. You can spend the afternoon relaxing in the pool and soaking up the city views, or taking a stroll around Tana to enjoy the colourful streets.
Enjoy a final breakfast at Maison Gallieni before transferring to the Ivato International Airport for your international return flight home.
Although you’re incredible Highlights of Madagascar holiday has come to an end, we’re sure you’ll leave with many special memories to look back on, and plenty of photos and stories to share back home.