Madagascar,

Treasures of Northern Madagascar with Daniel Austin

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Group Tour
17 Days
From £5533
GEOIP Not Available
Primate Watching
Snorkelling and Diving
Off The Beaten Track
Photographic
Rainforest

Tour Introduction

17 Days from £5533
GEOIP Not Available
per adult. Prices based on rates applicable at the time of costing which may vary. Please ask for a definitive quote

Led by two of Madagascar’s most experienced tour leaders, this exciting small group tour takes in the less visited but highly rewarding National Parks and marine life of Northern Madagascar.

Accompanied by Madagascar travel guide author, lecturer, photographer and naturalist Daniel Austin and expert local expert guide Daniel Razafimandimby, this unique holiday will take you to rainforests, dramatic limestone pinnacles, dry tropical forests and warm tropical island waters surrounded by spectacular marine life.

Starting with the lush rainforests of Andasibe-Mantadia, we will be introduced to our first lemurs, chameleons, and a plethora of other unique Malagasy creatures. One of the highlights will be unforgettable close encounters with inquisitive wild indri, the largest of all living lemurs.

Next, we take a domestic flight to the northern tip of the country to discover the fascinating fauna and flora of Madagascar’s first National Park, Montagne d’ Ambre. Wildlife here is particularly special with many species found nowhere else. Chameleon enthusiasts will be particularly excited by the miniature Brookesia family we can see here.

We then continue south to the wild landscapes of the remote Andrafiamena Protected Area, where our charming lodge provides the ideal base to spot the charismatic Perrier’s sifaka. These beautiful lemurs are among the 25 most endangered primates on Earth and our visit here helps support their conservation.

We then explore nearby Ankarana National Park. Here we can admire the tsingy: a dramatic karst limestone geological feature peculiar to Madagascar. Ankarana’s tsingy is characterised by thousands of sharp, pointy pinnacles protecting deep ravines filled with specially adapted foliage and rare wildlife including crowned lemurs.

We then move to the beautiful tropical island of Nosy Be offshore from the mainland. We have timed our visit here to coincide with the opportunity to snorkel with juvenile whale sharks that pass through the warm and clear waters of the bay of Nosy Be at this time. We will hope to encounter several of these gentle giants as well as huge green turtles, mobula or manta rays and dolphins and perhaps even a rare Omura’s whale. We will also visit the island’s Lokobe Reserve to enjoy the striking black lemurs, colourful panther chameleons and other fauna found on the island.

Accommodation is of an overall good standard and the nature of many of the trails in the National Parks and snorkelling at Nosy Be make this a more active but highly rewarding and memorable itinerary.

The group has been kept deliberately small to maximise wildlife viewing and access to your tour leaders, plus the knowledgeable local guides, who really know how and where to find the unique wildlife in their localities.

Click here for full tour details

Full Itinerary

Price from £5533
GEOIP Not Available
per adult. Based on sharing double / twin rooms
Day 1
Antananarivo

Arrive Antananarivo (Tana). Met on arrival and transfer to your hotel.

Staying at Relais des Plateaux. Includes No Meals.

Day 2
VOIMMA Reserve

Today our holiday begins in earnest and we will make the journey (5 hours in total but with stops) from Tana to Andasibe.

In the evening, we will explore the community managed VOIMMA Reserve, part of Analamazaotra that receives fewer visitors than surrounding forest areas and is particularly good for night walks. This walk may reveal the nocturnal Goodman’s mouse lemur, the Eastern woolly lemur, and the furry-eared (Crossley’s) dwarf lemur, plus sleeping chameleons and frogs.

Staying at Mantadia Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 3
Perinet and Mitsinjo Reserves

Today we will take a morning walk in the Analamazaotra (Perinet) Reserve to enjoy some close sightings of the magnificent tail less indri. This section of forest is also the best location to see the stunningly beautiful diademed sifaka as well as the common brown and eastern grey bamboo lemurs.

We will then have some time at leisure during the middle of the day before we take another walk in the late afternoon in the community managed Mitsinjo Forest Reserve. Here we will hope to spot the giant Parson's chameleon, the bizarre giraffe-necked weevil and maybe a snuffling tenrec. We will again search for nocturnal creatures once dark.

Staying at Mantadia Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 4
Mantadia National Park

Today we rise early to drive 1 hour 30 minutes north on a bumpy track to Mantadia National Park. Here we can enjoy spending the morning exploring the wonderful primary rainforest of this vast protected area with its special wildlife.

The majestic old growth rainforest of Mantadia is a good location to spot the agile black-and-white ruffed lemur. Colourful Baron’s mantella frogs may be seen as well as interesting array of insects and special birdlife. Avian highlights could include the beautiful pitta-like ground roller, nuthatch vanga and red-fronted and blue couas.

This afternoon we will return to Andasibe. For those interested a visit to the Lemur Island can be arranged this afternoon. In the evening we will take another night walk in the nearby Orchidee Park.

Staying at Mantadia Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 5
Mitsinjo Reserve

Today we have a final morning to explore the community managed Mitsinjo Reserve where we have an excellent opportunity to see the indri up close. The local guides at Mitsinjo have habituated several groups of indris which often come lower in the trees to take a closer look and sometimes receive a handout of their favourite leaves. This intimacy makes for an unforgettable sighting and also photographic opportunity.

In the afternoon we will transfer (5 hours) back to Tana with a couple stops at points of interest en route.

Staying at Relais des Plateaux. Includes Breakfast.

Day 6
Montagne d' Ambre

After breakfast we transfer just 15 minutes to Tana’s domestic airport to catch our domestic Tsaradia flight to Diego Suarez in the north.

On arrival in Diego we then transfer 45 minutes south to our lodge on the edge of a wonderful private rainforest reserve to settle in and have lunch. In the afternoon we then explore the Montagne d' Ambre National Park just up the road. This is the oldest National Park in Madagascar and protects an isolated mount of rainforest in an otherwise semi-arid landscape.

We will return to our lodge for dinner and once dark, take a night walk in the lodge’s private forest reserve. Night walks here can be very productive with the locally endemic nocturnal lemurs and three species of spectacular leaf-tailed gecko.

Staying at Domaine de Fontenay. Includes All Meals.

Day 7
Montagne d' Ambre

Today we will explore both the national park and private reserve on morning and afternoon guided walks. The park is home to the beautiful crowned lemur and Sanford’s brown lemur as well as rare birds such as the Madagascar crested ibis, Madagascar pygmy kingfisher and the local Amber Mountain rock thrush.

The park is home to at least 11 species of chameleon many of them unique to the park. One of our highlights will hopefully be finding one of the tiniest of all reptiles in the world, the Montagne d'Ambre leaf chameleon: (Brookesia tuberculate). We will again explore the lodge's private reserve at night for more nocturnal creatures.

Staying at Domaine de Fontenay. Includes All Meals.

Day 8
Andrafiamena Forest

This morning we set off for the approximately 1-hour drive north of Diego Suarez where we make a short stop at the Montagne des Français Reserve just outside of the town. After perhaps a short walk we will continue by road to our next destination, the charming Black Lemur Camp.

On our way we will pass through dry forest, typical of northern Madagascar as well as many small villages, giving us an insight to the tribes, cultures, history and landscapes of this region. The drive will take approximately 6 hours, depending on the local conditions.

Staying at Black Lemur Camp. Includes All Meals.

Day 9
Andrafiamena Forest

Today we will explore the Andrafiamena Protected Area. This little-known wilderness protects a large area of hilly, semi-humid and dry deciduous forest. It’s home to a good range of wildlife and a friendly and engaging rural community.

The reserve is of most importance for its population of the critically endangered Perrier’s sifaka, of which there are only around 250 individuals left in the wild.

We will explore the forest with the assistance of local guides from the village that are experts in locating habituated groups of the sifakas, so we have an excellence opportunity to see these rare lemurs. Our visit here makes a real difference to their survival by supporting the community-based conservation work of the lodge.

Staying at Black Lemur Camp. Includes All Meals.

Day 10
Ankarana National Park

This morning we could perhaps make a second early morning walk to see the sifakas. Alternatively, we could wander around the local village to learn about the way of life in this remote region. Later in the morning we set off for the scenic but bumpy drive of approximately 3 hours to Ankarana National Park.

In the afternoon we will begin exploring the park, famous for its spectacular areas of ancient limestone pinnacles and karst known as tsingy as well as sunken dry forest.

Staying at Relais du Ankarana. Includes All Meals.

Day 11
Ankarana National Park

Today we can enjoy both morning and afternoon walks in Ankarana to discover its fascinating natural history and geology.

There are also huge caves and underground canyons and we can perhaps include a visit the bat caves. Ankarana supports one of Madagascar’s highest densities of lemurs with crowned, Sanford’s brown and Ankarana sportive lemurs particularly abundant in the dry forests.

Staying at Relais du Ankarana. Includes All Meals.

Day 12
Nosy Be

This morning we set off for a drive of approximately 4 hours to Ankify stopping at a vanilla plantation on the way.

From Ankify we will continue by boat (45 minutes) to the beautiful tropical island of Nosy Be. The rest of the day will then be at leisure to enjoy the seaside hotel.

Staying at Vanilla Hotel. Includes All Meals.

Day 13
Bay of Nosy Be

Today we will take a thrilling boat excursion into the Bay of Nosy Be to experience the rich marine life of this region. Our principle aim will be to snorkel with the many juvenile whale sharks that pass through these warm, clear waters at this time of year. We will hopefully also encounter mobula or manta rays, dolphins or even a rare Omura's whale as well as some huge green turtles.

We will return to the hotel in the late afternoon.

Staying at Vanilla Hotel. Includes All Meals.

Day 14
Lokobe Reserve

Today we will have an excursion to the forested Lokobe Reserve in the southeast corner of the island. Lokobe is an excellent example of lowland rainforest covering 740 hectares with numerous trails amongst ancient hardwood trees and towering palms.

The reserve is most noteworthy for its population of curious black lemurs, the very rare Nosy Be (Hawk’s) sportive lemur and for its reptile (50 species) and frog (35 species) diversity. These include the beautifully marked multi-coloured panther chameleon and some different species of Brookesia chameleons plus mantella frogs and boas.

Staying at Vanilla Hotel. Includes All Meals.

Day 15
Bay of Nosy Be

Today we can enjoy a second excursion into the Bay of Nosy Be for hopefully more snorkelling with whale sharks, rays and turtles.

Staying at Vanilla Hotel. Includes All Meals.

Day 16
Nosy Be

This morning we can enjoy some time at leisure by the beach. Later in the day we will transfer (45 minutes) to the Nosy Be (NOS) airport for our domestic flight back to Tana. (Please note that the flight time is subject to change)

Staying at Relais des Plateaux. Includes Breakfast.

Day 17
Antananarivo

Today we will have an excursion to the Lemurs Park, a rescue and rehabilitation centre for lemurs rescued from the illegal pet trade. After enjoying some close encounters with the lemurs here we will take a short city tour of the historic highlights of Tana.

We will include a visit to the
children’s orphanage Akany Avoko which provides a home for abandoned and vulnerable babies, children, and teenagers. Alternatively enjoy the afternoon at leisure if preferred.

In the evening we will have a final farewell dinner (not included in the tour price) and a presentation on some of the highlights of our journey through Madagascar. This afternoon and evening we will have use of a room at the hotel and then a transfer to the airport for international flights. Alternatively, an overnight at the hotel can be arranged to suit your flight schedule.

Includes Breakfast.

Download the full details of this itinerary and start planning your trip today.

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Tour Accommodation

Madagascar Northern Madagascar

Relais de l’Ankarana

Overview

Situated just 200m from the entrance of Ankarana National park, this hotel is simple but very convenient for access to the park. The spacious but basic bungalows have twin or double beds with mosquito nets and three have ensuite bathrooms. Hot water is usually available, but it can be variable due to the remoteness making showers sometimes a (likely welcome) refreshing experience! The open-air restaurant serves simple meals but with friendly service.

Please note that there is no Wi-Fi or phone reception here and the staff do not have perfect English but are always very friendly.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
6
Facilities

Simple bungalows with private bathrooms. Restaurant and friendly service. There is no phone reception or Wi-Fi here and the lodge is simple.

Local Wildlife

Ankarana National Park's sunken tropical dry forest is home to one of Madagascar's highest lemur densities. Crowned lemurs are particularly abundant, and Sanford's brown and nocturnal Ankarana sportive lemurs are also regularly spotted. The colourful panther chameleon, ground boa, giant hog-nosed snake and some camouflaged leaf-tailed geckos are among the commonly encountered reptiles. Birdlife is also diverse and includes Madagascar crested ibis, cuckoo rollers, Chabert's, blue and rufous vangas and the white-breasted mesite. The Grotte de Chauve Souris bat cave is another highlight where hundreds of Madagascar straw coloured and rousette bats can be seen. The inquisitive ring-tailed vontsira (mongoose) is also common in the park.

Optional Activities

Exploring Ankarana National Park on its wide range of trails.

Madagascar Northern Madagascar

Domaine de Fontenay

Overview

A small, friendly and comfortable lodge with its own 300-hectare private rainforest park ideal for night walks. The main building is a restored colonial villa with a large garden. Rooms are spacious and individually decorated with colonial era furniture and decor. The lodge is situated on the edge of JoffreVille village just 15 minutes’ drive from Montagne d’Ambre National Park.

In the main building is the small but intimate restaurant furnished with rosewood and other local Malagasy woods. It offers authentic and refined cooking, including both French and local Malagasy inspired cuisine, plus a bar and terrace for relaxing. The garden has a path leading straight into the rainforest reserve where an incredible variety of wildlife can be found. There are plans to install Wi-Fi in 2020 and the there is also a very old pet Galapagos giant tortoise in the garden.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
10
Facilities

Spacious en suite bathrooms, restaurant and bar inside the grand main colonial building. Wi-Fi being installed in 2020.

Local Wildlife

The lodge sits next to a private forest reserve which acts as a wildlife corridor to the larger nearby Montagne d'Ambre National Park, the oldest National Park in Madagascar. Both the private reserve and main National Park protect a wonderful isolated mount of rainforest in an otherwise semi-arid landscape. This isolation has resulted in many locally endemic species found nowhere else. Lemurs include the crowned and Sanford’s brown, plus several localised nocturnal species such as the Montagne d'Ambre fork-marked lemur, dwarf lemur and mouse lemur.

Reptiles are a highlight here as the National Park is home to 11 species of chameleon including one of the world’s tiniest, the minute Amber Mountain leaf chameleon: (Brookesia tuberculate). This tiny species is usually only 25 to 35 mm in length when fully grown and confined to the leaf litter of the forest floor but is surprisingly easily found by the eagle-eyed local guides. The private park of Domaine de Fontenay is also the best location for spotting perfectly camouflaged leaf-tailed geckos, various snakes, stick insects and many species of nocturnal lemur.

Birdlife includes the Madagascar blue pigeon, Madagascar crested ibis and Madagascar pygmy kingfisher as well as the highly localised Amber Mountain rock thrush and the ring-tailed mongoose is a common visitor to the park’s picnic site.

Optional Activities

Walking in the National Park and private forest reserve which are perfect for night walks.

Madagascar

Vanilla Hotel

Overview

Situated on the west coast of Nosy Be, the stunning Vanilla Hotel combines the charm and authenticity of the Malagasy culture and patrimony. Its wide range of high quality services ensures an unsurpassed comfort and security to its guests. Every room at the Vanilla Hotel is exceptionally well appointed with private terraces, balconies and gorgeous views of the ocean and gardens.

Guests can unwind and relax in the spa or even go for a swim in the sea. An array of activities can also be enjoyed including horse riding, diving, snorkelling and golf at a charge.

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
Yes
Rooms
56
Facilities

Facilities include a lovely tiered swimming pool and infinity pool overlooking the ocean, a spa with Jacuzzi, hammam and massage rooms, four bars and a library. There are two restaurants where morning breakfast and dinner are served both a la carte and buffet.

Optional Activities

Scuba Diving

Sailing and island hopping

Fishing

Snorkelling

Horseriding

Golf

Madagascar Northern Madagascar

Black Lemur Camp

Overview

Surrounded by a beautiful landscape of mountains and mixed evergreen and deciduous forests, Black Lemur Camp based in the small village of Anjahankely is nested next to the Analamerana Special Reserve in the far north of Madagascar.

The Black Lemur Camp was set up and is run by the Lemur Conservation charity FANABY as a way to encourage sensitive community-based ecotourism to the little visited region. The Analamerana Special Reserve is the last refuge of the critically endangered Perrier’s sifaka, of which there are only around 250 individuals left in the wild and none in captivity. The all black Perrier’s sifaka is restricted to Northern Madagascar where its population and distribution has been greatly decreased and fragmented by habitat loss for livestock, agriculture and also hunting. Visitors have a great opportunity to see this beautiful primate on a 45-minute walk from the lodge and visits in turn help provide funding and employment to the local community who protect the forest.

Accommodation is in 10 rustic chalets with private bathrooms (simple showers only), mosquito netting and is clean and comfortable. There is a main building with wonderful sweeping views down the valley which also houses a restaurant and bar and lounge area. The local women serve the delicious perfumed white rice grown in the nearby Anjahankely village. Solar power is used to provide electricity and Wi-Fi 24 hours a day and the staff are particularly friendly.

The whole area offers many natural attractions: sandstone covered rainforests, some limestone karst within dry forest and also transitional forests with highlights including the abundant lemurs and a natural swimming pool to enjoy. Visits to the local village to see the making of the special perfumed white rice are also fascinating.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
10
Facilities

Black Lemur Camp has 10 spacious but simple bungalows with private bathrooms, all built using local materials. Eight rooms are tented lodge style and 2 are larger family bungalows in semi-hard buildings.

Local Wildlife

The all black Perrier’s sifaka is the highlight species, for which the lodge was named after. This acrobatic species is severely threatened with extinction and is listed as one of the world’s top 25 most endangered primates by the IUCN. They are easily seen on a walk just 45 minutes from the lodge.

Other species include the beautiful crowned lemur, Sandford's brown lemur and Ankarana sportive lemur and northern rufous mouse lemurs could be spotted after dark. Ring-tailed mongoose and a variety of birds and reptiles can also be found in the dry forest.

Optional Activities

There are many trails you can choose to walk, caves to explore and also a small area of tsingy and natural swimming pool in the forest, all nearby.

You can also experience the special perfumed white rice of the local village, produced the Association of women during a visit to the local village.

Madagascar

Mantadia Lodge

Overview

The newly opened Mantadia Lodge is located along a ridge above the the village of Andasibe and is surrounded by eucalyptus forest, but with views towards the rainforest of Analamazotra in the distance. The lodge is only a 10 minute drive from the entrance to Perinet Reserve and an hour a half drive from Mantadia National Park and the song of the indri can often be heard at dawn.

The lodge offers some of the most comfortable accommodation, facilities and settings in the Andasibe area with 28 rooms including 2 suites. The accommodation features a garden and sun terrace, which can be enjoyed by guests if the weather permits. All rooms offer high speed Wi-Fi, flat screen TV, kettle and tea facilities, a safety deposit box in the bathroom and a wood stove for the cooler seasons. There is a superb onsite restaurant designed with an exceptional view and terrace. There is a well stocked bar and a welcoming lounge with both inside and outside reading areas and also a beautiful infinity pool in the grounds plus a spa.

 

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
28
Facilities

Restaurant, bar and infity swimming pool and spa in the landscaped garden. Rooms feature modern private bathrooms, Wi-Fi, flat-screen cable TV and a laundry service is available.

Local Wildlife

In the early mornings you may wake to the song of the indri, which echoes throughout the local area. Perinet Reserve and its nearby Mantadia National Park is the best location to see this impressive species in all of Madagascar. There are eight other species of Lemur in Andasibe and the most commonly seen include the diademed sifaka, black-and-white ruffed lemur, Eastern grey bamboo lemur, common brown lemur and eastern woolly lemurs and furry-eared dwarf and Goodman’s mouse lemurs at night. There are some wonderful chameleons in the reserve including the two-foot long Parson’s Chameleon and tiny nose-horned and brookesia chameleons. Endemic Frogs are plentiful and birding highlights include Madagascar blue pigeon, Madagascar long-eared owl, Madagascar starling and numerous species of vanga, coua and the shy ground rollers.

Optional Activities

All exploring is done on foot along trails that weave through the forest: expeditions can vary in length from one hour to five. Walks are particularly rewarding in the early morning when Indri calls, sounding rather like a unique forest whale song echo through the air.

Madagascar Eastern Madagascar

Relais des Plateaux

Overview

Situated about 10 minutes’ drive from the airport, this comfortable three-star hotel set in exotic gardens offers well equipped, en suite rooms including air conditioning, satellite TV, mini-bar, tea and coffee facilities and hair dryer. Each room is decorated in a Malagasy design using local materials and the rooms are arranged in a village layout with good access.

Other facilities in the hotel include a local handicraft shop, restaurant serving delicious French cuisine and local delicacies, bar and swimming pool (heated in the cooler months).

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
Yes
Rooms
42
Facilities

Restaurant, air-conditioning, Wi-Fi, mini bar, safety deposit box, satellite TV, direct-dial telephone,

Optional Activities

City tour of Antananarivo, excursion to Ambohimanga Hill, visit to Tsarasaotra Lake (aka. Lac Alarobia) in a district of Tana for some unusual Hauts Plateaux birdwatching.

Route Map

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Relais des Plateaux: -18.834180, 47.463010
Mantadia Lodge: -18.918703, 48.415681
Black Lemur Camp: -12.850791, 49.364888
Vanilla Hotel: -13.321067, 48.185237
Domaine de Fontenay: -12.494978, 49.202900
Relais de l\'Ankarana: -12.964002, 49.143440

Departure Dates

Tour Dates
Adult Price
Single Supp
30/09/2021
£5533
£1077

Travel Information

Are International Flights Included?

No. Please contact us for a quote if required.

Flight Info:

Fly to Antananarivo with Air France, Kenya Airways or Ethiopian Airlines.

Best Visited:

September to October

Are you ATOL Registered?

Yes. This means we are legally able to book your international flights in conjunction with your ground arrangements so you can book with us with complete confidence. Read more about our ATOL license here.

Ian Loyd

Area Specialist

If you have any questions regarding this Tour, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965

[Our escort guide] was excellent – he had amazing vocabulary and was always good natured, patient and attentive. He provided us with a great commentary to the country and proved to be a brilliant wildlife spotter. Wildlife highlights: seeing a streaked tenrec, snorkelling with green turtles, the pygmy chameleons, the biggest giant millipede I’ve ever seen, a group of indris without the crowds and hearing their calls, seeing new families of birds – vangas and couas…Everything was a complete treat – my binoculars got a complete workout.

Mr D N - Bristol