You’ll fly from the UK to Antananarivo via Paris. This unique city, known to the locals as Tana, has a distinctive French flavour. On arrival, you’ll be met by one of our team, who’ll drive you to the Pavillon de l'Emyrne for a night of pampered relaxation before your adventure begins.
Just three hours from Tana is the mountainous ecosystem of the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. Andasibe is home to eight different species of lemur and many of Madagascar's chameleons. These range from the 60cm-long Parson's chameleon to the tiny nose-horned chameleon. You’ll stay at the Vakona Forest Lodge, set amid lush forest on the edge of the park. Those strange sounds will be the haunting cry of the indri, a lemur you hope to meet tomorrow.
Expert rangers will guide you through a network of trails as you seek out truly unique species. Andasibe is the island's best location for spotting indri, Madagascar's largest lemur. Two of the resident indri groups here are habituated to humans, making them wonderfully easy to get close to. The birdlife, from coral-billed nuthatch to the long-eared owl, is equally spectacular.
The morning is all yours to laze at Vakona, dipping into the pool and listening to the calls of the birdlife. Once you’re feeling refreshed and rejuvenated it’s time to head back to Antananarivo to find your next lodging at Le Relais de Plateaux.
From the capital you’ll fly south to the coastal city of Fort Dauphin and be driven through rural Madagascar for a stay in Mandrare River Camp. Built within an old sisal plantation on the banks of the Mandrare River, the camp offers four-poster beds and delectable cuisine. As sun sets beneath the tamarind trees you can enjoy a cocktail and drink in the views of the mountain jungles beyond. This wildlife-rich terrain is sacred to the Antandroy tribe.
You’ll find a different world entirely as you explore Mandrare. The calls of the crested drongo will wake you and the songs of the Antandroy tribe will punctuate your days. This is your chance to immerse yourself in the cultures of a traditional Madagascan tribe and find out about their lives. Meanwhile day and night walks reveal the Antandroy's pristine ancestral forests and the creatures, including four adorable species of lemur, that also live cheek by jowl with the Antandroy.
The sleepy village of Manafiafy lies in a calm, island-dotted bay. Portuguese traders first sought safe anchorage here way back in 1613. The Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge is walking distance from the sea. You’ll find this handful of forest-backed bungalows makes a comfortable traveller’s rest and a dream base for snorkeling from.
Although peaceful, there’s lots to do in Manafiafy. You can visit the wetland birdlife on a motorboat trip and canoe amid the mangroves. You can whale watch from an observation tower, take a sail boat to an offshore island for an idyllic picnic lunch, and snorkel with the abundant tropical fishes whenever the fancy takes you. For the chance to see dwarf mouse and the lesser-spotted aye aye lemur, we particularly recommend a rainforest trek.
Enjoy the journey back to Antananarivo and one last night at Le Relais des Plateaux. There will be time to visit the markets and shops to pick up arts and handicrafts.
At the end of your traditional Madagascar adventure, we’ll drive you to the airport in plenty of time for your return flight to the UK (via Paris).