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Classic Madagascar

Group Tour

15 Days From £2,645

Overview

While the lemurs of Madagascar may understandably be the country’s major draw there is so much more to discover on what is the world’s fourth largest island. On this trip we will explore Madagascar’s incredible diversity of flora, fauna, landscapes, people and culture.

We start by heading south, following the main N7 route on a journey to a variety of national parks, including the tropical rainforests of Ranomafana, the rugged terrain of Andringitra and the sandstone ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

14 x Breakfasts
13 x Lunches
14 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will use minibuses, an open backed truck to cover the final few kms to/from Andringitra and a domestic flight.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

1 night x Premium
12 nights x Superior
1 night x Simple

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. 

On this particular trip we will stay in comfortable hotels, lodges and walk-in tented safari style accommodation with en suite facilities, except the camp at Andringitra. We will also stay for two nights in some more basic and rustic huts at Ambalandingana. 

Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.
 

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Moderate

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-5hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

MODERATE/HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-6 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

VERY HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 4-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Classic Madagascar
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN ANTANANARIVO (TANA)

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN ANTANANARIVO (TANA)

The tour starts this evening in Madagascar’s highland capital, Antananarivo which is better known by its shortened name of Tana. Our joining hotel is located very near to the airport so there is no need to worry about any lengthy transfers after what is likely to have been a long flight.

Gassy Country House or similar
Dinner

DAY 2: TANA - ANTSIRABE

DAY 2: TANA - ANTSIRABE

After breakfast and an introductory briefing we’ll start our journey in earnest as we head south from the capital towards Antsirabe, some 3-4 hours away. This journey through the highlands provides us with a taster of the stunning scenery that Madagascar has to offer with its terraced rice-fields and spectacular eroded hills called lavaka. En route we plan to stop in the town of Ambatolampy which is renowned for its traditional metalwork. Approx 4 hours driving on asphalted roads

Plumeria Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: ANTSIRABE - AMBOSITRA AMBALANDINGANA

DAY 3: ANTSIRABE - AMBOSITRA AMBALANDINGANA

Antsirabe is considered Madagascar’s most elegant city as well as being home to more pousse-pousses (local-style rickshaws) than anywhere else in the country. We’ll have the morning to discover some of the craft skills for which this temperate city is well known, before continuing to Ambositra. This town is home to a traditional wood carving industry and you will be able to spend a little time here visiting some of the workshops to see how the extraordinary pieces are crafted by skilled local artisans. From here we’ll continue to Ambaladingana for the night. Approx 3.5 hours driving on asphalted roads

Sous Le Soleil de Mada or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: AMBALANDINGANA – RANOMAFANA

DAY 4: AMBALANDINGANA – RANOMAFANA

This morning we’ll head south to the villages around Antoetra to visit the Zafimaniry. This group are masters of wood carving and their art has been recognised by UNESCO, with their wooden huts elaborately decorated with carved windows frames and door. Practically all wooden surfaces – walls, posts, beams, stools, chests and tools – display detailed crafted ornamentation and it is a privilege to witness this art form which was once widespread on the island and not only now found in isolated pockets such as this one. From here we’ll continue south to Ranomafana National Park for the rest of the day, which lies in tropical rainforest typical of Madagascar’s east coast. Here, rather than rice fields or zebu herdsmen, we’re more likely to see small villages selling bananas or charcoal. There may be time this evening to take a night walk, hoping to encounter some of the endemic chameleons, tree frogs and mouse lemurs. Approx 3hrs driving on asphalted roads + 1hr driving on dirt roads

Centrest Sejour or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: RANOMAFANA – ANDRINGITRA NP

DAY 5: RANOMAFANA – ANDRINGITRA NP

We’ll have most of the morning to explore some of the best trails inside the National Park. With our guide we’ll enter the rainforest in the hope of seeing, amongst others, the golden bamboo lemur which was only ‘discovered’ in 1986. In addition to lemurs, the park is also rich in birdlife, reptiles, butterflies, lichens, and orchids. The tracks are steep and can be slippery but we do not plan to cover a huge distance on foot as the emphasis is very much on experiencing the diversity of the rainforest. From here we’ll head towards Ambalavao, which houses the fascinating Anteimoro paper factory. Ambalavao has its market day on Wednesdays and also hosts the second largest Zebu market in Madagascar. This afternoon we hope to visit these sights before continuing south to the entrance to Andringitra NP, where we’ll transfer into 4WD’s and head off-road towards the impressive granite scenery and our remote walking base.

Tsara Camp or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: IN ANDINGITRA NP

DAY 6: IN ANDINGITRA NP

Today we have a full day on foot to take in the diverse scenery of Andringitra and the Tsaranoro valley, which is home to many ring-tailed and catta lemurs. This whole area is considered a paradise for walkers with its spectacular views of huge granite peaks towering above the valley. On our full-day walk today we plan to take in some of the area’s most diverse sights as well as meeting some of the Betsileo people, who mainly live as rice cultivators. Today's walk does involve climbing up and down over approximately 600 meters. If you prefer there are other walks available.

Tsara Camp or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: ANDRINGITRA NP - ISALO NP

DAY 7: ANDRINGITRA NP - ISALO NP

After breakfast we head south west, passing through the immense savannah lands of the Horombe Plateau before arriving at our next destination, Isalo National Park. This is considered to be one of Madagascar’s highlights with its striking sandstone rocks formations. This stunning place will be or base for the next 2 nights, and we’ll take the chance to unwind and relax on arrival before dinner. Approx 3hrs driving on asphalted roads + 1hr driving on dirt roads.

Satrana Lodge or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: IN ISALO NP

DAY 8: IN ISALO NP

We’ll have afull day to enjoy the delights of Isalo on foot. We’ll start with a short trek to a beautiful natural swimming pool and then continue deeper into the canyon. Isalo is known for its strange geological formations, eroded by the rain and the wind, which offer some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. This is also a place where the Bara tribes used to bury their dead. If we are lucky, we may see some ring-tail lemurs during our walk today.

Satrana Lodge or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: ISALO NP – IFATY

DAY 9: ISALO NP – IFATY

The scenery changes today as we descend towards the coast via the lands of the Antandroy, a people of Bantu origins, and whose tombs we’ll see along the way. Our destination today is Madiorano where we stay for the next couple of nights at our coastal resort which is renowned for its excellent food. 1.5hrs driving on dirt tracks + 4hrs driving on asphalted roads.

La Mira de Madiorano or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: IN IFATY

DAY 10: IN IFATY

Today we have the opportunity to relax and unwind in this idyllic setting. This morning we take a boat trip out to the nearby coral reef for a chance to snorkel in the crystal clear water and appreciate the sea life. We will then head back to our hotel for lunch where we will enjoy a BBQ by the pool. The rest of the day will be free for you to take a walk along the beach or have a snooze and chill out with a cocktail.

La Mira de Madiorano or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: IFATY – TULEAR - TANA

DAY 11: IFATY – TULEAR - TANA

Depending on the flight schedule for today we’ll make our way to Tulear airport to catch our flight back to the capital, Tana. Tulear was renamed as Toliara in the 1970’s to reflect the Malagasy name as opposed to the French colonial title. The city is located on a broad coastal plain, surrounded by dunes and mangroves, near the Tropic of Capricorn in the Mozambique Channel. The Vezo are nomadic fishermen and the indigenous ethnic group here, but the city has spread and grown in population specialising in the import and export of various products including sisal, cotton, rice, peanuts and soap. En route we may well make a stop at the Reniala Forest or ‘spiny forest’ to view the wonderful baobabs and euphorbia along with many other species of plants. Once back in the capital we will head to our hotel for the rest of the day. Approx 1.5hrs driving on dirt tracks

Gassy Country House or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: TANA – ANDASIBE NP

DAY 12: TANA – ANDASIBE NP

This morning we take the National Road N2 to Andasibe, a journey of approximately 5-6 hours. This drive brings us to a humid part of the country through the green landscape of the east, with many primary forest and lakes. En route we will stop in Mandraka to visit the private reserve of ‘Peyrieras’ where we can see all different kinds of chameleons, snakes, lemurs and butterflies. We will then continue to Andasibe, arriving late in the afternoon where we’ll check-in to our hotel.

Andasibe Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13: IN ANDASIBE NP

DAY 13: IN ANDASIBE NP

After breakfast we will enter Andasibe National Park and hike for around 3 – 4 hours. The National Park comprises a huge tropical rain forest in the east boasting a variety of nine species of lemurs. The highlight is the ‘Indri Indri’ which are the largest lemurs of the Madagascar. This 810 hectare reserve is home to other unique flora and fauna and contains a wide variety of orchids, a verdant canopy, endemic animals such chameleons, tenrecs, and many varieties of birds. After the hike we will take a stroll through Andasibe village, a typical Betsimisaraka (The-Many-inseparable) village, the second largest ethnic group who cultivate rice and vegetables. This will give us an opportunity to experience their lifestyle and culture. In the late afternoon we’ll visit the private park of Vakona including the ‘lemurs’ island’ to hopefully see three species of lemur. It provides a perfect opportunity and great location to take photo of lemurs close up.

Andasibe Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14: ANDASIBE NP – TANA

DAY 14: ANDASIBE NP – TANA

This morning we will visit a tree plantation project close to Andasibe. Unfortunately widespread habitat degradation and deforestation has recently led to Madagascar’s unique wildlife being confined to small fragments of their former habitats. This project at Mitsinjo promotes reforestation and rainforest restoration and small rainforest fragments are being linked up by the planting of corridors, allowing the movement and growth of the endemic animal populations. Maintaining up to five tree nurseries at a time, Mitsinjo produces an annual average of 30,000 seedlings of up to 100 endemic species of rainforest trees per nursery. After our visit we head back to Tana. This afternoon we have the opportunity to visit a local orphanage close to our hotel, where WF will make some donations to assist supporting the children who live here. Personal gifts will be entirely at your own discretion. Depending on how we do for time we may visit the tree plantation on day 13 instead

Gassy Country House or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 15: TOUR ENDS IN TANA

DAY 15: TOUR ENDS IN TANA

The tour ends this morning after breakfast. Those on the suggested group flights will be transferred to the airport in time for the afternoon departure.

Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION USED ON THIS TOUR

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Simple

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Accommodation displayed here should be taken as a guide only. *Please refer to the Detailed Itinerary of your individual departure for more information.

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

REVIEWS OF THIS TRIP

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that Wild Frontiers has been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to itineraries and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For more information, please see our responsible travel page.

Mitsinjo Tree Plantation Project

On day 14 of this trip we will visit a tree plantation project close to the Andasibe National Park. Unfortunately, widespread habitat degradation and deforestation has recently led to Madagascar’s unique wildlife being confined to small fragments of their former habitats. The project at Mitsinjo promotes reforestation and rainforest restoration by linking up small rainforest fragments by newly planted corridors. These corridors allow the movement and growth of the endemic animal populations. Here you will have the opportunity to dig a hole and plant your own tree in support of the project. With a selection of slow, medium and fast growing trees, Mitsinjo maintains up to five tree nurseries at at time. They produce an annual average of 30,000 seedlings of up to 100 endemic species of rainforest trees per nursery. 

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.

Please note for this tour we can provide complimentary arrival and departure transfers for all passengers travelling on this tour. 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
ET 701 London Heathrow (LHR) 21:00 Addis Ababa Airport (ADD) 06:45
ET 853 Addis Ababa Airport (ADD) 08:50 Ivato Airport (TNR) 13:40
ET 852 Ivato Airport (TNR) 14:30 Addis Ababa Airport (ADD) 19:10
ET 700 Addis Ababa Airport (ADD) 00:45 London Heathrow (LHR) 07:00

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour UK passport holders currently require a visa for Madagascar.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements. 

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.
 
 

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

Sainte Marie

Spend a few days relaxing on Ile Sainte Marie.

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

The Madagascar climate is hot and sub-tropical, it is colder in the mountains, while the south and west regions are particularly dry. While the climate of Madagascar can vary quite significantly as you travel from east to west and from north to south. Average temperatures in April vary between 15-25C, though it may well feel colder in the late evenings and early mornings.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, as many of the activities are optional.

All walks are considered easy to moderate although some of the National Parks have some rugged and at times challenging terrain. If desired you can opt out of these walks if you prefer.  

You should come prepared for some for some long driving days. Conditions in Madagascar can be unpredictable and a flexible attitude is essential during this trip.
 

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. If you choose to purchase the Wild Frontiers bespoke policy through Travel & General (currently available to UK residents only) then please note for this trip the minimum required level of cover will be the Standard policy. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £200 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 11274 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Airport Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION