Experience the highlights of Madagascar on this 17 day itinerary into the country's top national parks and luxury lodges

For those looking to get a sense of the immense variety of landscapes, wildlife, and culture of Madagascar, this itinerary is for you. Spot indri lemurs in the Perinet Reserve, find chameleons in the Coastal Rainforest and admire tsingy rock formations and baobabs unique to Madagascar.

In more detail:

Your holiday will begin in the capital city of Antananarivo, called Tana, known for its vibrant architecture and colorful streets. You return to Tana throughout this itinerary due to travel logistics of the island, allowing a chance to really understand the variety of landscapes.

Your first national park is East of Tana: Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. 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. Secondly, you'll 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.

Be driven further south to Mandrare River Camp, 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 fly all the way North to Nosy Be, before taking a boat to the exclusive Nosy Komba island, to stay at Tsara Komba Lodge with its rare and authentic charm, caring for the outstanding local biodiversity. The former volcanic island is now covered in abundant forest, surrounded by sapphire blue sea. Enjoy diving, snorkeling, inland tours, quad biking and fishing in this eco-paradise.

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.

What's Included:

  • Airport transfers and assistance
  • Domestic flights
  • All accommodations and meals as mentioned in full itinerary
  • Private transport in 4x4 vehicles
  • Local English-speaking guides
  • All excursions mentioned in the full itinerary
  • All park fees and community and environmental levies

Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Antananarivo

Day 1 - Welcome to Antananarivo

Welcome to Madagascar's capital city, Antananarivo, known locally as 'Tana'. 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.


Days 2 - 3: Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

Day 2 - Transfer to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

After breakfast, you’ll meet your guide and begin the four-hour drive east to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. It is 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 for two nights).

This afternoon, visit a private reserve operated by local NGO Mitsinjo. The NGO funds reforestation, community education and sensitization to conservation issues as well as running Madagascar’s first amphibian captive-breeding facility. Here you will see a stunning array of wildlife and can also plant an indigenous species along the reforestation trail.


Day 3 - Exploring Mantadia National Park

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.


Day 4: Antananarivo

Day 4 - Exploring Perinet Reserve and transfer to Antananarivo

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 be driven back to Tana, where you’ll check in to Maison Gallieni for the night.


Days 5 - 6: Isalo National Park

Day 5 - Fly to Isalo National Park

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.

The combination of sandstone rocks cut by deep canyons and eroded into spectacular shapes and rare endemic plants, makes Isalo one of Madagascar’s most appreciated parks. For botanists there are Pachypodium plants and locally endemic Aloe; and for lemur lovers there are sifakas, brown lemurs and ring tails.


Day 6 – Exploring Isalo National Park

After breakfast, you’ll head out on a full day of guided walking, exploring the vast plains and spectacular rock formations. Isalo National Park is one of Madagascar’s most diverse and fascinating parks.

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’.

Very different to the lush tropical vegetation in the east, Isalo's attraction is its vast rolling plains interspersed with stunning rock formations. Wildlife is not as dense as in other parks but Isalo 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.


Day 7: Toliara

Day 7 – Exploring Zombitse National Park and transfer to Toliara

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 for one night 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.


Day 8: Antananarivo

Day 8 – Return to Tana

Today, fly back to Antananarivo, in order to continue your journey to the South of Madagascar.

Upon arrival, a Wayfairer representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your nearby hotel, called Relais des Plateaux Hotel & Spa.


Day 9 - 11: Mandrare

Day 9 – Fly to Mandrare River Camp

After breakfast you will be transferred to the 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. You stay here for three nights, on an all inclusive basis.

In the evening, around 5pm, 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.


Day 10 – Exploring Mandrare River Camp

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.


Day 11 – Sacred Spiny Forest & Cultural Dancing

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.

Day 12: Antananarivo

Day 12 – Return to Tana

After your last breakfast at Mandrare River Camp, you will be driven to Fort Dauphin, approximately four hours, in time for your Tsaradia flight back to Tana. Upon arrival you'll be greeted by a Wayfairer representative and transferred to Relais des Plateaux Hotel & Spa for one night.

Days 13 - 15: Nosy Komba

Day 13 – Fly to Nosy Komba Island in Northern Madagascar

This morning you will be driven back to Ivato Airport in time for your 1.5 hour flight north to Nosy Be.

Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by a Tsara Komba staff member and transferred to the lodge on Nosy Komba, a neighboring island, just south of Nosy Be. The transfer is by road and boat, taking approximately one hour.

You'll stay at Tsara Komba Lodge for three nights on a full board basis. It is a 4-star luxury hotel with a rare and authentic charm, in perfect keeping with nature and with the area’s outstanding biodiversity. It combines a stylish and exclusive atmosphere, an excellent slow food cuisine and tailored-made excursions, in an atmosphere dominated by a commitment to comfortable luxury and ecology.

Experience the gentle caress of the wind, the bird songs and the sound of the waves lapping around this former volcano today covered by an abundant forest, bordered by a sapphire blue sea with excellent golden sandy beaches. The preservation of this sublime environment and the community-minded activities being pursued here to encourage harmonious sustainable development for the benefit of the local population are just two of the ethical aspects of this marvelous eco-paradise.


Days 14 & 15 – Explore Nosy Komba Island

Fill your days with your own selection of activities. The hotel can arrange customized excursions to neighboring islands, nature reserves, for fishing, quad biking, tours around the island, scuba-diving or snorkeling. All these activities are just few minutes away from the hotel for you to admire and explore the sheer beauty of the ocean depths.


Days 16 - 17: Antananarivo

Day 16 - Fly back to Tana

This morning you will say goodbye to island living and be transferred by boat back to Nosy Be, in time for your 1.5 hour flight back to Tana.

Upon arrival into Tana your guide will meet you and transfer you to Relais des Plataeux Hotel & Spa for your last night in Madagascar. The afternoon or evening can be spent at your leisure, perhaps doing some final souvenir shopping.

Day 17 - Fly home

Enjoy a final breakfast at Relais des Plateux before transferring to the Ivato International Airport for your international return flight home.

Although your incredible Highlights of Madagascar vacation 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.


Interested in this trip?

Call us on +44 117 313 3300 to start planning your perfect vacation

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Why Wayfairer

Wayfairer is committed to responsible travel values and aims to incorporate these into every aspect of our holidays and tours, by working with accommodation providers and local suppliers which share these values and have their own initiatives in place.

On this Madagascar Holiday, you’ll stay at Mandrare River Camp, part of the Madagascar Classic Collection, where 90% of employees are Madagascan. They provide training and development to Madagascan employees to give them the opportunity of management positions, rather than hiring foreign employees.

Mandrare River Camp also works to reduce their carbon footprint and is fully solar powered. They make contributions to community projects to help local school rebuild roads and protect local forests through community levies. They work closely with the local population to promote environmental protection and pride in local traditions, and you’ll have the chance to learn about these local cultures on your holiday.


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