Land of the Lemurs - Family Holiday Trip Notes
Trip code: FFMG
Trip length: 12 days
- Comfortable lodges
- Discover Madagascar's rainforest & baobab trees
- Fall asleep to the sounds of nature from your comfortable lodge
- Share the thrill of lemur spotting
Experience the ultimate African family adventure in Madagascar! After uncovering all the secrets of the fascinating Antananarivo city and its royal palace, you will spot your first lemur in Andasibe National Park. Then be ready for an interesting rickshaw ride through Antsirabe and learn how they make aluminium pots, and sweets! Time to relax in Ranomafana hot springs before a walk through the national park, home of chameleons and various species of lemurs. The ValBio centre will show you what is done to preserve the rainforest and how important is the lemur in this goal, and you will even plant your own seeds with local children and make new friends for life! Isalo National park is spectacular with its canyon, and natural pools, and the ladies will surely enjoy visiting the blue sapphire gem production, and maybe indulge themself in some shopping. The next step will then be Tulear on the west coat with its arboretum to see all the unusual baobab trees and exotic plants before to relax on Itafy beach.
Arrive Antananarivo. Your group leader will get your group together for a briefing, so that you can all meet each other and discuss any optional excursions and what will happen over the next few days. The rest of the day is free to relax and recover from your journey and to explore Antananarivo.
Hotel Bois Vert (AAA) - 1 night - Swimming Pool
We hit the road this morning and drive for 1h to Visit Ambohimanga Palace and walk on the steps of the kings and queens of Madagascar - lunch on site with the colourful and traditional Hira Gasy show. In the afternoon we head to the famous Andasibe National Park, (drive +/- 3h), and check in. In the evening you’ll go to a night walk through the reserve, accompanied by a local guide, in search for the huge variety of nocturnal species for which Madagascar is famous. Dwarf lemurs, woolly lemurs and mouse lemurs are commonly spotted as well as different species of frogs, chameleons and lots of insects. Make sure you don't forget your head torch!
Vakona Forest Lodge (AAA) - 2 nights - Swimming Pool (BLD)
In the morning you'll visit Andasibe Reserve with a great variety of lemurs including the famous Indri. You'll explore the park via 2 walks with a total of 4.5km and 4h walk. Easy slow pace to search and observe lemur. In the afternoon you'll visit the Lemur Island, at only a walking distance from your hotel. (BD)
Antsirabe workshops & rickshaw tour
Today you will drive to Antsirabe Ambatolampy (+/- 5h) stop on the way at Ambatolampy alluminium pot factory. You'll do an adventurous city tour of Antsirabe from the back of a rickshaw where you even get to see the sweets factory. Watch your teeth!
Hotel des Thermes (AA) - 1 night (B)
Today is an early morning start to drive to Ranomafana (+/- 4h). You'll visit villages on the way and stop for a typical lunch with local entertainment at Ambohimahasoa. In the afternoon you 'll visit Ranomafana town and see the old hot springs (no swimming there) and enjoy a talk from a scientist of the Valbio Centre.
Setam Lodge (AAA) - 2 nights - Swimming Pool (BL)
Today is a full day immersion and education about lemurs and rainforest conservation. Morning walk through Ranomafana, you and your family will be guided through the forest by knowledgeable staff from the ValBio Research Campus. The adventure starts early in the morning when you can hear the forest waking up, and the noises of the jungle are an enchanting sound as you awake. Bring binoculars to get a close view of the lemurs and diversity of birds encountered. Centre ValBio will provide you with a printed guide to some of the forest animals so that you can check them off as you see them, it will be a keepsake of your visit that will certainly be treasured years later. You’ll be taught how the rainforest's unique and rare animals are tracked and studied by researchers. You will return to CVB for a lunch of local cuisine then enjoy a presentation from CVB staff on some of the fascinating discoveries from Ranomafana National Park. In the afternoon, you may even get the opportunity to interact with local children while being involved in planting saplings with one of the schools - this would tie into the lesson about trees and how lemurs help plan the forest, but how outside we need humans to help restore degraded lands and then all the kids (along with the Malagasy students) will do their part with a few saplings. ( depending on weather conditions), and you expeirnece the recycling process with food and plastic.
Species we hope to spot are: Greater Bamboo Lemur, Golden Bamboo Lemur, the Ranomafana Rainbowfish, the net-casting spider, the world's smallest chameleon, a total of 13 lemur species including the Aye-aye and much more. (BLD)
Today you'll drive to Isalo (+/- 4.5h), on the way you'll stop at Fianarantsoa and visit the old town, then go down to Ambalavao to visit the Antemoro paper factory and then visit Anja Community Reserve. There, you'll be looking for semi-tame and ring-tailed lemurs, and chameleons, as well as exotic plants.
Isalo Ranch (AAA) - 2 nights - Swimming Pool (BD)
Full day to explore the stunning Isalo National park. You'll walk through the 'Grand Canyon' 2km walk + 17km driving, the excursion will take about 3.30h and is graded as easy. You'll then head to the natural swimming pool for a picnic lunch (3km walking-3h). The park is famous for its dramatic scenery and natural pools where you can have a dip. (BLD)
Anksokay & Itafy beach
Today your journey will take you to Ilakaka local village with sapphire mine and see how this precious gem stone is extracted. Then off to Tulear (+/-3h30) and visit of the Antsokay arboretum (for about 1h). This botanical park is entirely devoted to conservation of the plants from the southwestern part of Madagascar and is working in close collaboration with many institutions aiming in environment preservation, such as the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, WWF. Within its 4 hectares, the Arboretum offers to the visitors a real condensed vegetation, presenting a typical spiny thicket at a sub-arid stage. More than 900 species are being preserved there, of which 90% are endemic to the region and 80% have medicinal virtues. Among them, many succulent species are being recognized to be threatened. You'll enjoy having lunch on this beautiful site.
In the afternoon you'll transfer for 1h drive to Itafy and the rest of the day will be at your leisure to relax on the beach.
Hotel Le Paradisier (AAA) - 2 nights - Swimming Pool (BL)
You'll have the full day on the beach to relax or do some activities such as snorkeling from the coast or going out fishing (additional charge). The Reniala Nature Reserve, on the east of the beach, is a worldly spiny forest with good bird-watching and a must for wandering through ancient baobabs. In July and August, you may see migrating whales passing nearby the coast through the Mozambique Channel. (BL)
Fly to Antananarivo
After transfering back to Tulear, you'll catch a scenic flight back to Antananarivo for your farewell night in Madagascar. This will be your last chance to shop til your drop and take home some great souvenirs from your trip, or just to relax by the pool at the hotel.
Hotel Bois Vert (AAA) - 1 night - Swimming Pool (B)
The trip ends for Land Only clients in Antananarivo. Or transfer to the airport to start the Nosy Be Island extension. (B)
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.
For comparability, all prices in this dossier are quoted in one currency. We use the US Dollar since that is familiar to most. However, once on tour you will need to pay for all goods and services in the local currency. See your Country Dossier for details of exchange rates.
Trip gradesBeach / coastal
Helping with local projects
Lodge based safaris
Travelling in Madagascar is a real adventure and things don't always happen as planned so an open mind and good sense of humour are welcome. The drive can be rough due to the condition of the roads. Some longer drives from 3-5h in bumpy roads. Comfortable accommodation. Moderate walking (3-4h), although heat and humidity can make conditions uncomfortable. Paths in the rainforest are often ill-defined and some scrambling on steep, uneven terrain can be expected. Minimum age: 7 years bearing in mind long bumpy drives, and 3hrs walk, ideally a good level of fitness or well travelled child.
Transport - Minibus, on foot.
Accommodation - Hotel (5nt), lodges (4nts), thatched roof bungalow (2nts).
Meals - 11 breakfasts, 5 lunches & 7 dinners.
FREE Lemurs of Madagascar Pocket identification Guide per family upon arrival;
Single room supplementA single supplement is available for this trip priced from 381 GBP. This does not guarantee a single room for all accommodation. please contact us to discuss this.
For your comfort we recommend you travel as light as possible; many airlines impose a maximum weight limit of 20kg – we advise you to take 10kg as you will be on the move a good deal! For domestic flights using light aircraft the usual weight limit is 15 kg.
One main piece (a soft bag or rucksack, not a hard suitcase).
A daypack (25-30 litres), large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, etc.
Don’t buy batteries for your camera in Madagascar. If you manage to find any for sale at all, you will find that they have very little power in them. New AA batteries may only have enough juice to take one digital photo! Bring all you need from home.
At Tana airport, once you have gone through passport control, the local currency (ariary) is not accepted. Take some Euros or US dollars if you want to buy drinks or snacks.
Traveller’s cheques are not accepted at the bureau de change at Tana airport. Use cash to exchange for local currency (most major currencies accepted). Some tourist shops take payment in Euros so it may be useful to take some with you.
Brightly-coloured clothing is not appropriate as it is easily seen by animals and attracts insects; wear muted tones in natural colours (beige, khaki, olive but not army-style camouflage clothing)
You are only allowed to import up to 1kg of precious/semi-precious stones into the UK. You should keep your receipt as customs may want to see it. You can import up to 100g of vanilla.
The local language is Malagasy but apart from in the very remote villages, French is widely spoken. Very few people speak English. The Malagasy people are very impressed if you take the trouble to learn even a few words of their language so here are a few simple phrases to get you started:
Hello – salama
Goodbye – veloma
Thank you - misaotra
What’s news (traditional way of greeting people) – inona no vaovao?
I’ve no news – tsymmisy veovao
SOME INTERESTING READING:
In Search of Lemurs: My Days and Nights in a Madagascar Rain Forest - Joyce Ann Powzyk
Birds of Madagascar: A Photographic Guide - Peter Morris
Madagascar Wildlife – A Visitor’s Guide – Nick Garbutt, Hilary Bradt & Derek Schuurman
The Eighth Continent: Life, death and discovery in the lost world of Madagascar - Peter Tyson
Madagascar Travels – Christina Dodwell
Muddling through in Madagascar - Dervla Murphy
Last Chance To See by Douglas Adams
The Aye-Aye and I, A Rescue Expedition in Madagascar, Durrel Gerald
African Diary – Bill Bryson
I dreamed of Africa – Kuki Gallmann
Out of Africa – Karen Blixen
A Small Town in Africa – Daisy Waugh
The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood – Elspeth Huxley
Child of Happy Valley – Juanita Carberry
Your Child’s Health Abroad - Matthew Ellis and Jane Wilson-Howarth, (Bradt publications).
Travel with Children – Maureen Wheeler (Lonely Planet)
FOR YOUNGER READERS:
How it was with Dooms: A True Story from Africa by Xan Hopcraft
Local Costs - Madagascar
Approximate costs are given for guidance only, and may vary widely according to location and type of establishment.
Coffee/tea (per cup) 1.5 EUR
Soft drink 1.85 EUR
Beer (330ml) 3.00 EUR
Bottle of Wine local 10.00 EUR, imported 33-75 EUR
Local snack lunch 2.00EUR
3-course dinner* 11 EUR
*reasonable mid-range tourist class restaurant
Visas & Permits - Madagascar
Holders of UK & IRL passports do require a visa. This can be issued by a consulate or purchased on arrival at Antananarivo Ivato airport (cost €65). Nationals of all other countries should contact their local embassy or consulate. Passports must be valid for at least six months after the end date of the trip. Information can also be found at www.travcour.com. This information is given in good faith, but may be subject to change without warning. Please note that, where appropriate, obtaining a valid visa is ultimately your responsibility. Please consult a visa agency or the consular authorities 4-6 weeks before departure for the most up-to-date information.
Vaccinations - Madagascar
The following are recommended:
- Hepatitis A
- Malaria prophylaxis.
Malaria exists all year round throughout the country, especially in coastal areas.
NB: Yellow Fever vaccination is compulsory if arriving from an infected area. You must be able to produce an immunisation certificate.
For detailed information and advice concerning vaccinations go to:www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk. Vaccination requirements change periodically so we advise that you check with your nearest specialist travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure to get up-to-date information.
International rules for carrying medicines vary. Some countries do not allow certain medicines to be imported, or require official documents, such as a doctor’s letter, to prove drugs have been prescribed by a doctor and obtained legally. It is sensible to contact the relevant embassy or high commission of your destination to check what their drug transportation rules are before you travel.
The itinerary and supplementary information has been compiled with care and provided in good faith. However it may be subject to change, and does not form part of a contract between the client and The Imaginative Traveller.
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.orgThe Imaginative Traveller & The Adventure Company. This trip is operated by our partner company, The Adventure Company. They have more than 10 years experience in adventure travel and they share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a codeshared departure you can expect there to be both Imaginative Traveller and Adventure Company travellers on your trip.