Count how many species of lemur you can spot in Isalo, Anadsibe and Ranomafana national parks – so many of the 33 different types will be out and about for you to spot.. Stay in a cottage deep within the Ranomafana National Park with your small group, surrounded by lush rainforest and countless species of flora and fauna.. Explore the important Malagasy process of silk production with a visit to local village industries in Ambositra – home to a community of Betsileo people.. Explore the sandstone formations, deep canyons, palm-lined oases and vast grasslands of Isalo National Park – just some of Madagascar’s varied range of stunning landscapes.
Create your own wildlife-filled jungle jaunt through Madagascar on a 14-day adventure to the island’s hotspots. You’ll be lazing on white-sand beaches, exploring tropical rainforests and spending time with a huge variety of local wildlife, including the lemur – the island’s most popular animal inhabitants. Dig a little deeper throughout your journey and interact with local communities, getting an insight into the day-to-day life of Malagasy and Betsileo peoples. Discover the French colonial influences in Antananarivo and Antsirabe, and get the chance to chill out in your own time. An eco escapade in Madagascar awaits, with flamingos, beaches and relaxed vibes at every turn.
Breakfast Included: 11 Lunches Included: 2 Dinner Included: 1
Welcome to Madagascar. This country's capital is the charmingly crowded Antananarivo – a fun, hilly place to explore. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, but if you do happen to arrive early, why not head to Analakey to visit the street markets or perhaps seek out a cafe to soak up the atmosphere. After your important briefing, where you’ll meet up with your group leader and fellow travellers, why not keep the introductions going with an optional dinner with your group at a local restaurant.
Andasibe National Park
Leave Antananarivo in your dust after breakfast, heading for Andasibe National Park (approximately 4 hours). Stop en route at Pereyras Nature Farm – a private reserve that's home to chameleons, frogs, snakes and so much more wildlife. This evening, you'll have an opportunity to take night walk through the forest at Mitsinjo – a privately-owned reserve, where you'll encounter nocturnal species including endemic butterflies and lemurs.
Andasibe National Park
Andasibe is the most visited park in Madagascar and famous for the 11 species of lemur that call it home. Aside from lemurs, you'll find endemic birds including the long-eared owl and the rufous-headed ground roller, as well as the smallest living chameleon – brookesia minima – and many times types of reptiles, insects and frogs. This region is popular thanks to an abundance of unique wildlife, and you'll have an opportunity to discover them during a guided walk through the national park.
Drive to Antisrabe (approximately 6-7 hours). Antsirabe maintains a Malagasy touch with all the tranquillity of a small European town, thanks to the contrast of its bustling street markets and Colonial-style facades. Located in the highlands, it's a popular spa town thanks to the hot springs and thermal baths, and the colourful rickshaws known as 'pousse-pousse' are a popular form of transport.
On arrival check into your hotel and enjoy a group dinner in the Gazebo within the grounds of the Guest House.
Make the short journey to Ambositra this morning, home to the third-largest ethnic group in Madagascar – the Betsileo people. Take a visit to the nearby Sandrandahy villages and explore the process of silk production, which is an important part of Malagasy culture. The use of silk was once reserved exclusively for royalty, but now everyone is free to wear it though its use is more often used for the dead. When a Malagasy is buried, their body is wrapped in a large, silk sheet known as a 'lambamena' and, after a few years, the family traditionally return to the tomb to exchange the sheet for a new one. This custom is known as famadihana, and each village specialises in one step of the production. Enjoy a local lunch before spending a free evening in Ambositra.
Travel this morning to Ranomafa National Park, a journey of about 5 hours. Located in the southeastern part of Madagascar, this park is home to a number of rare species. Ranomafana means 'hot water' in the Malagasy language and the area is haven for small mammals, birds, reptiles and insects, as well as palms, bamboo, orchids and carnivorous plants. It's home to 13 species of lemur, including the famous golden bamboo lemur, which was first reported in the area in 1985 and is one of the reasons why the government decided to protect this forest. Enjoy some free time on arrival, and you may want to consider taking an optional night walk once the sun goes down. Your accommodation tonight is a small cottage located within the park's boundaries.
Perhaps consider visiting the thermal springs after which the town is named. Located across the Namorona River. The outdoor swimming pool fed by the springs is popular spot to take a dip.
Continue exploring Ranomafana, this time on a guided walk. Keep your eyes peeled for lemurs, striped civets, mongooses, goshawks, geckos, frogs and butterflies. You may even spot an incredible net-casting spider or the world's smallest chameleon. Relax into the day, and once again spend the night within the park.
Travel this morning to Fianarantsoa – a colourful town known for its markets and handicrafts. This heritage site is a must-see, with its long, paved roads, labyrinths of small paths and old houses with flower-studded balconies and tiled roofs. Take a day visit to a typical Malagasy village for an insight into how the majority of the island's population live, then take a local walk to explore the surrounding countryside,which is dotted with rice paddies and vineyards that produce Fianarantsoa's famous wine. You'll get a chance to sample local cuisine with a lunch stop in the villages then, in the afternoon, visit the historical old city of Fianarantsoa on foot.
Isalo National Park
Drive approximately 8 hours west toward Isalo National Park. You’ll stop at the Anja Community Reserve on your way – a great spot to observe lemurs and learn a little more about the local culture. The local villagers will be your guide on this excursion, and your leader will be able to translate all the knowledge they can pass on to you. Isalo is known for its variety of landscapes, from rainforests and rolling plains teeming with life to strange geological formations and deep-cut canyons. And of course, there are a variety of lemur species roaming around the place because – well, this is Madagascar. Spend a couple of days exploring the park, which is home to over 80 species of birds, 30 species of reptiles and 14 species of mammals including three lemur species – ring-tailed, red-fronted and Verreaux's sifakas lemur.
You'll be up early today (approximately 5.30 am) to travel to Toliara Harbour, from where the group will take a boat to Anakao. Imagine perfect white sandy beaches beside turquoise waters, and that’s Anakao – a small, laid-back town in which fishing is the main occupation. Enjoy a free day taking it easy on the beach, soaking up some sun and swimming in the clear waters of the Mozambique Channel. You’re on island time now – so chill out and bask in the golden glow of Anakao.
Today is another free day of leisure in this paradise. Consider taking a full-day tour of Tsimanampetsotse National Park – a birder’s paradise named for its spectacular lake. More than 100 species of bird can be found here, including pink, greater and dwarf flamingos, as well as the gray-brown mouse and white-footed sportive lemurs. Maybe paddle a canoe out to the mirage of Nosy Ve instead and check out the beaches and reef, or just hang out in Anakao town and make the most of its convenient beaches.
This morning, transfer to Toliara by boat for the flight back to Antananarivo. Flights in Madagascar can be delayed and often experience late schedule changes. You need to be prepared that there may be some waiting time in Tulear today depending on the scheduled flight time for the day and your scheduled boat transfers, but this is all part of the fun. Back in Antananarivo this evening, enjoy a celebratory night with your new travel companions – perhaps toast Madagascar with a local beer or two.