Highlights Of Madagascar Trip NotesAt Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure.
Trip code: EAZI
Trip length: 15
Trip starts in: Antananarivo
Trip ends in: Antananarivo
Maximum group size: 18
Minimum group size: 6
OverviewMadagascar is a paradise for wildlife lovers, often being described as 'a living museum' - much of its animal and plant life cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The chief attraction is the lemurs. Undeniably one of the most delightful and cute creatures, there are over 70 species spread throughout the country. This full and exciting itinerary offers the amazing opportunity to see these beautiful, yet endangered, primates. Our journey begins with a full day spent trekking in the primary forest at Perinet, where we hope to see the rare Indri, the largest lemur, as well as some of Madagascar's unusual nocturnal wildlife. We continue south, spending a full day in the cloud forest of Ranomafana National Park, where we hope to see the rare Golden bamboo and Greater bamboo lemurs. We will go in search of Ring-tailed lemurs in Anja Reserve before continuing to Isalo National Park, where we walk amongst amazing rock formations, visiting Monkey Canyon and the stunning natural swimming pool. Our adventure finishes with some time on the coast, with a final day in search of wildlife in Tsimanampetsotsa National Park, and with time to snorkel, swim or just enjoy some well-earned rest.
There are no included activities today so you are free to arrive at any time.
Following the arrival of the group flights, we drive directly to Andasibe through the green and luxuriant vegetation of the east. This first step brings us to the humid part of the country with many primary forests and lakes. Along the way we will see Merina villages in the rocky mountains.
Today we spend a full day in the park. Perinet is home to the teddy bear-like Indri, the largest of Madagascar's lemur species, as well as other forms of flora and fauna and a wide array of bird life. Listening to the piercing yet melancholy cry of the Indri in the morning is an evocative experience and for those who are prepared to follow them through the thick rainforest, the reward is often a close-up view of these beautiful creatures. A group of five Diademed sifaka have recently been re-introduced to Perinet from Mantadia, and if we are lucky, we may spot one of these beautiful creatures. In the evening we take a twilight/nocturnal walk, looking out for the nocturnal species of lemur as the torchlights pass by their eyes.
We drive back to Tana, and head south to Antsirabe, across the highland landscape with its beautiful rice fields on stage. The spectacular eroded hills called 'lavaka' remind us of the Far East with its rice fields and green landscape with vegetables and fruit trees. On the way we visit the Peyeiras centre in Mandraka which houses an outstanding collection of butterflies, chameleons and frogs. Arrival in Antsirabe, or 'the place of salt', an elegant city well known as the centre of the beer industry and we can smell the Star Brewery as we enter the town. Founded by the Norwegians in 1856, it is the only place which really feels and looks like a European city. It has a temperate climate and all fruits and vegetable, which grow in cold climates, are found in Antsirabe.
After breakfast we drive to Ambositra, the centre of Madagascar's wood carving industry. We are still in the highland, which is characterized by its architecture: The houses are made with ornately carved wooden balconies and shutters with bright colours. Further on we pass the 'le col de tapia', a type of tree, which resists to the bush fires of the area. The landscape is still dominated by rice fields on stage, pine forests and eucalyptus trees and rocky mountains. Our destination for the day: Ranomafana National Park.
Parc National de Ranomafana (approximately 40,000ha), with its rain forested hills and abundant wildlife, has long been considered one of Madagascar's highlights, and is one of the most heavily visited of the country's national parks. Its entrance lies about 7km from Ranomafana village. Altitudes in the park range from 800m to 1200m. In addition to its densely forested hills, Ranomafana's terrain is characterised by numerous small streams, which plummet down to the beautiful Namorona River. Although much of the region has been logged, the easternmost part of the park retains relatively large areas of primary forest. We will go for walks in the National Park for several hours in the hopes of spotting some of the lemurs, chameleons and other animals found here.
An early start as we leave Ranomafana Nationa park behind us and begin our drive to Ranohira. The scenery changes dramatically as we head to the small town of Ranohira (a journey of approximately 9 hours, inclusive of our visit to Anja Park, lunch and photo opportunities). We stop in Ambalavao to visit Anja Park - a small reserve where several families of Ring-tailed lemurs may be seen in the wild. Finally we continue onto Ranohira - our base for exploring Isalo National Park.
After an early start, we spend our day exploring Isalo National Park. Isalo is a vast region of wind-polished and water-scoured rock towers, deep canyons, gorges and oases often described as Eden. During our time we will go walking in the magnificent Canyon des Makis in search of cheeky Ring-tailed lemurs and the Verreaux Sifaka. We also visit the 'Piscine Naturelle' (natural swimming pool), a beautifully lush spot in such an arid landscape where we can swim and relax. Perhaps the magic is just to soak up the sheer beauty of the park, the combination of coloured eroded rock formations, strange plants and enveloping silence make this one of the most captivating places in Madagascar.
After breakfast, we continue to Tulear. This step brings us new scenery, among the dry forests of the west and the spiny desert of the south. On the way, we can admire the different 'Mahafaly tombs' and the 'Antandroy tombs' and visit Zombitse National Park for a few hours. The Zombitse National park forest is of particular interest to birdwatchers, as it is home to one of Madagascar's rarest endemics, Appert's greenbul, as well as other species such as Giant coua, Crested ibis and Cuckoo roller. Verreaux's Sifakas, Red-fronted Brown lemurs and Sportive lemurs are also seen here.
This morning we take a boat transfer to Anakao and then a 4x4 transfer to Tsimanampetsotsa for a full day visit of Tsimanampetsotsa National Park. The large, shallow soda lake is the focus for this terrific 43,200ha national park. The large limestone plateau here has some of the most striking spiny forest vegetation in Madagascar with countless endemic species. The park sits on a large underground aquifer that runs north, evidenced by the numerous sinkholes and caves. The lake is renowned for its waterfowl, notably flamingoes and other rare endemic birds including the Madagascar plover. We may even be lucky and spot the emblem of the park, the very rare Grandidier's mongoose! Then we return to Anakao.
Today we will take a boat excursion to Nosy Ve to see the world's most southernmost all-year breeding colony of Red-tailed tropic birds, nesting in this small island. Stunning all-white seabirds with red bills and long, thin, red tails. If you are lucky you may see the females roosting under small shrubs, well hidden from any airborne predators such as hawks or eagles. A stroll around Nosy Ve's shoreline including a long white sand beach takes about one hour. After our exploration we will return to Anakao.
Beach day in Anakao. Possibility of snorkelling, diving, pirogue excursions, swimming and more.
An early start for the 4x4 and boat transfers back to Tulear. Upon arrival we are then transfered to Tulear airport for our flight to Tana. Upon arrival we are transferred to our hotel for the night.
This morning we will embark on a city tour of Tana, the picturesque capital of Madagascar. With its bustling markets, friendly people and ancient town on a hill with freestone churches and ancient royal places, it is unique among the world's other capitals. We visit Ambohimanga, the fortified village and its Royal palace. Ambohimanga, otherwise known as Blue Hills, was for a long time forbidden to Europeans. The kings and queens returned here for rest and relaxation on top the forested slopes of this hill-top village. From here began the line of Kings and Queens who united Madagascar into one country. Ambohimanga still remains of spiritual significance for the Malagasy people with ceremonies and rituals still taking place.
Meals & Accommodation13 breakfasts included.
13 nights standard hotels with en suite facilities.
Single room supplementA single room supplement is available. This does not guarantee a single room for all accommodation. Please contact us to discuss this as accommodation varies from trip date to trip date. Single supplement prices from:
Adult Group Holidays
TransportTravel by private bus and internal flight. Some long drives on poor roads.
FitnessMadagascar is a rewarding destination with its wealth of flora and fauna, however, before you decide to travel, we would highlight the following issues for you to consider: Travelling by vehicle in Madagascar can be uncomfortable as some of the road quality varies. Please read our travelling conditions in the Trip Notes for more information. We do have some longer drives but the diverse scenery more than makes up for time spent on the bus. We break up our road journeys with stops to visit villages, to take photos and to stretch our legs. Parts of Madagascar are mountainous. There are some great walks but you do need to be prepared to walk in hilly surroundings for periods of up to four hours. The trails are fairly gentle in Perinet but steeper in all of the other national parks. Madagascar is one of the world's poorest countries and a degree of flexibility and improvisation is required at times. The tourist infrastructure in Madagascar is still new and some services are limited. It is not unusual for there to be changes to accommodation or internal flights and for this reason, the order of the itinerary (but not the content) may sometimes have to be changed. However, what tourism does exist is of a pleasantly good standard and you may be impressed by the level of services in some of the places we stay. Grade moderate: Some of the areas we visit are quite remote and will have basic facilities. Some of the walks in the national parks are uneven and may be slippery underfoot so you need to be comfortable with this.
About The Imaginative Traveller
Our aim has always been to provide exceptional travel experiences. We believe that adventure travel should be stimulating, and that it should give you an authentic experience of a place. We want our travellers to relish the amazing diversity of countries and cultures the world has to offer. Our focus is on innovation, not imitation.
Obsessed with quality
One of our strengths has been our obsession with quality. We've always believed that our commitment to you doesn't end as soon as you've paid for your holiday. On the contrary, it is just beginning. Whilst most operators simply get a local company to handle the day to day operation of their tours, we do it all ourselves. We have managers for each of our key destinations around the world and all our small groups are escorted by our own leaders. Our local teams include guides, drivers, administration staff and contacts in the local community who help us ensure that our adventures are active and involving.
Responsible Travel - Travellers' Guidelines
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
- It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
- We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
- Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school. It is of course your own personal choice but you could consider giving to registered charities or contributing to our Responsible Travel fund instead. Money donated through our fund to our worldwide projects is matched pound for pound by Imaginative Traveller and used to help local grassroots projects.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavor to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
If you would like to contribute to our Worldwide projects, helping communities all over the World, you can also do this on our website or with a sales consultant. Please refer to our responsible travel page on the website for details of our current projects. Any donation you make will be matched £ for £ by Imaginative Traveller (up to a maximum of £1000).
Have a great trip!
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at firstname.lastname@example.org