Madagascar FAQ Page

All of our tours are managed by Fidele Ramananandro, a licensed tour guide, registered since 1986 (30+ years) and a member of Association of National Tour Guides. Fidele has a Master’s degree in ‘British and Malagasy Civilisation’ and been running tour companies for the last 24 years. He has a wife who helps run the business and three daughters and is a musician in his spare time. He speaks English, French, Spanish and little Italian in addition to many of the Malagasy languages.

Fidele personally selects the most experienced and qualified tour guides to give you the most enjoyable and memorable experiences while with us. If Fidele is personally available when you want to come to Madagascar then he will be your personal tour guide. However, if he is unavailable because he has another tour party organised then he will personally select the most experienced and qualified tour guides to give you the most enjoyable and memorable experiences while with us. All our tour guides are licensed and have worked with many clients with good feedback.

After you have contacted us and explained your core interests (lemurs, birds, activities, orchids, culture, trekking, beaches, etc), then Fidele will match you to the most suitable tour guide, customised the programme to your needs and arrange specialised local guides.

We can’t guarantee that you’ll see all 50 species without a few months spare but here’s some of the many lemurs that you are likely to see on the three recommended tours, and it is common to see between 15-25 different lemurs of them. And don’t forget, Madagascar is the only place in the world you’ll see lemurs in the wild as they’ve only ever lived in Madagascar:

External links:

Lemurs of Madagascar  on Wikipedia
‘Lemurs of Madagascar’ book on Amazon
Photos of Lemurs

Other:

Click here to see the range of likely birds,
Click here to see the range of likely plants,
Click here to see the range of likely other animals.

Lemurs Madagascar Tours

While we publicise our most popular and recommended 7, 14 and 21 day tours we are actually very flexible in arranging tours to suit you. If you want to do a particular activity, see a particular place or meet particular people then we’re happy to re-organise the itinerary to suit you. If you want to get up late, get up early, do lots, do little or something in between then we’ll attempt to make it happen wherever possible.

Maybe you want to stay in bed for the morning instead of visiting a park, or maybe you want to spend longer with the lemurs instead of seeing some rare orchids, maybe you want to go and sit by the pool instead of doing a trek – we’ll make it happen as best we can, even if you decide on the day how you want it to be like.

There’s lots and lots activities for you to do and we can customise or tweak our existing tours to do more of whatever you want – just contact us for a quote or explore the options

We already include a lot of activities within the standard programmes but if there are some specific ones you want including then please let us know and we will find out if they are available.

Possible extra activities

  • Extended trekking
  • Rickshaw driving
  • Canoeing
  • Wine tasting
  • Shopping
  • Visiting charities
  • Visit to village elder
  • Face mask painting
  • Fishing
  • Diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Windsurfing
  • Whale watching (Aug and start of Sept)
  • Trekking up Pic Boby
  • Zebo cow milking
  • Cultural visits
  • Museums
  • Cycling /Mountain Biking

There are many benefits of a guided tour compared to travelling independently, including

  • Unlike many other countries, Madagascar is a very difficult country to travel independently in. Local transport is sporadic, overcrowded and very unreliable (sometimes there is no official timetable and you may wait a day for the next bus).
  • It is almost impossible to spot most of the animals without the trained eye of a local guide who knows where to look and what to look for.
  • You can focus on making the most of your new experiences instead of spending a lot of your holiday time organising transport, accommodation and park visits.
  • You don’t have to spend hours preparing your schedule and tickets from home or from within Madagascar.
  • You can travel to places that are difficult to reach without local knowledge.
  • Travelling with someone who knows all the local histories and customs makes for a much more enlightening and entertaining journey.
  • To have a true cultural experience, you need to travel with the local, a guidebook just isn’t the same.
  • Small groups of travellers have increased security and less stress by travelling with someone who knows the local language and customs.
  • Tour operators can create an itinerary based on the real amount of time you need to visit places instead of over or under estimating without years of experience.
  • It’s nice to have someone on your side when negotiating in local markets or if you get hassled by locals.
  • Our tour guides can help you avoid the local scam artists and ticket touts.
  • If you get sick or injured, we know which hospitals to go to and which not to go to.

With just you on your privately guided tour, then you won’t have to accommodate random strangers who may want to focus on different things or want to travel at a different pace to you.

We always try to modify the tour to suit your group’s requirements and tailor it to your specific interests. This makes for a much more enjoyable experience to be in your own small group than if you have to sacrifice your time to cater for other people.

We provide a dedicated personal tour guide for each tour group. You will always have this person looking after your comfort and welfare and they will focus on personalising your holiday to suit your interests.

They will always be there to ensure your safety, to sort out all accommodation and arrange the park visits.

Our tour guides are very experiences and have a wealth of knowledge and stories to educate, entertain and excite you everywhere we go.

Our tour guides adjust themselves to your needs, socialising with you in the evening when you want, or giving you much privacy and alone time that any honeymooners want.

They arrange local guides, buy the tickets, organise the meals and generally make the programme happen on a day-to-day basis.

The guides are very happy to receive feedback and requests to improve your enjoyment of your vacation.

We provide a dedicated driver for each of the vehicles which we use. This means that you will always have someone to only focus on driving, to look after the vehicle and your belongings, and to pick you up at a different location from where you started so you can see more without having to retrace your steps.

Many other tour operators combine the tour guide and driver as one person which has several disadvantages. The advantages of having a dedicated tour guide plus a separate dedicated driver are:

  • Your vehicle and luggage are always supervised by the driver.
  • While driving, your tour guide can be explaining the history and cultures of the surrounding villages without being distracted from road safety.
  • The tour guide will stay energised throughout the day so that you can continuously learn from their wealth of experience and be entertained by their stories of local traditions.
  • Your tour guide will accompany to potentially remote places and the driver will drive round to the other end of your walk to pick you up without you having to walk back the same way. It’s nice even for short walks from one side of the village to another to not have to retrace your steps so that you can see more in the time you have available.

We only employ local guides, both as the main tour manager and also within the national parks. This means that you will spot more animals and plants than you would normally without expert local knowledge while being given information about the species.

Without your guide speaking the local language it is almost impossible to have an authentic cultural experience and many interactions in Madagascar are only permitted using local guides.

The day is usually split into two blocks of activities with lunch in between. These blocks of activities are normally one of trips into the forests (animal and plant spotting), cultural visits, relaxation, sports and road trips.

For animal and bird spotting it’s best to get up quite early (about 6:30 for breakfast) before heading to the national parks but since it’s your holiday, we can start whenever you want. We then spend as much of the day as you want looking for them. For beach activities, plant spotters and cultural experiences you can get up later.

We normally meet at the hotel restaurant for the included breakfast and discuss the final details of the daily programme over food. We will then normally drive to the start of the day.

You can choose to either buy or take a packed lunch or we can find a nearby restaurant of your choice for lunch before continuing our afternoon activities.

There are planned activities to do all day but people who prefer a more leisurely pace may choose to retire to the hotel at any point.

The evening meal usually begins from 6pm onwards and we leave the rest of your evening to you. Some of the evenings include a night visit to a nearby park and so we adjust the time of the evening meal to accommodate this.

Yes. The pace and difficulty level of our tours can easily be adjusted to suit the energy level that you have. However, many of the animals are found deep in the forest so people with limited mobility will see fewer of them. Please be mindful that some of the days can include driving for three to five hours between parks.

Please see our itinerary and contact us with any adjustments you may require.

Yes, many of our clients come by themselves and want to hire a guide to show them around as well as provide companionship on their travels.

Whenever we quote for a single traveller, or a group with an odd number of people, then our prices already include any supplements. We do not charge anything extra during the holiday.

Unfortunately most hotels charge us extra for rooms being used by one person and we need to pass on the cost to you. Some of the hotels do have single rooms where discounts will apply.

Whenever we have to charge a supplement, then you can be reassured that you will not be sharing a room with anyone else.

While we are prepared to accommodate for children of any age, we do not particular recommend it for children under five. Please see our itinerary and contact us with any adjustments you may require since our current Madagascar tours include trekking through the forest, staying in remote areas with limited facilities and some long road trips.

Yes but note that Madagascar is not set up to accommodate for people with severe physical impairment. Wheelchair access is almost non-existent.

The pace and difficulty level of our tours can easily be adjusted to suit the energy level that you have. However, many of the animals are found deep in the forest so people with limited mobility will see fewer of them. Please be mindful that some of the days can include driving for three to five hours between parks.

Please see our itinerary and contact us with any adjustments you may require.

Yes very much so, Madagascar is a fantastic place for an exotic, cultural once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon. Walk hand-in-hand along the deserted beaches, snuggle up in your private bungalow and have a great shared experience that you will talk about to your grandchildren :-).

We will allow you as much privacy as you want while organising everything to provide you with a relaxing, stress free but memorable trip.

 

We already include a lot of activities but if there are some specific ones you want including then please let us know and we will find out if they are available.

Possible extra activities

  • Extended trekking
  • Rickshaw driving
  • Canoeing
  • Wine tasting
  • Shopping
  • Visiting charities
  • Visit to village elder
  • Face mask painting
  • Fishing
  • Diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Windsurfing
  • Whale watching (Aug and start of Sept)
  • Trekking up Pic Boby
  • Zebo cow milking
  • Cultural visits
  • Museums
  • Cycling /Mountain Biking

Our normal programme already involves trekking through forests to find animals and plants but for keen walkers we can both trek for longer into the forests each day and also organise specific treks.

For keen walkers we recommend the trek up Pic Boby (2658 m), the second highest in Madagascar, which includes one day trek up to a campsite which will stay at with tents, and another day trekking back down. For this it is a compulsory part of the park permit to have porters who will carry your equipment, carry your provided tent and cook your meals. Only light sleeping bags can be provided so we recommend people bring their own. Warm and waterproof clothing is necessary, as are good walking boots.

For Pic Boby (2658 m), the second highest in Madagascar, it is a compulsory part of the park permit to have porters who will carry your equipment, carry your provided tent and cook your meals.

For any other treks you would like us to organise then we should able to organise it as well.

With Madagascar being the world’s fourth biggest island and with the third largest coral reef in the world and nearly 5,000 km of beaches then you can guess the answer to this one.

Yes. While not included in the price, all the beach resorts we stay at include the opportunity for water sports – mainly diving, snorkelling, windsurfing and sea kayaking. There are many world class dive sites near Toulear and Ifaty which are on our itinerary.

Whale watching (Aug and start of Sept), fishing and travelling in a glass bottomed boat are also available in some places.

While it’s not in our displayed itinerary, we can normally organise an additional activity of cycling or mountain biking. Please contact us if you want to organise a dedicated cycling tour.

The pace and difficulty level of our tours can easily be adjusted to suit the energy level that you have. However, many of the animals are found deep in the forest so people with limited mobility will see fewer of them.

Please see our itinerary and contact us with any adjustments you may require.

Madagascar has many religions including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and traditional religions based on ancestor worship. Tourists of any religion should have no problem as long as they are respectful to the religions they encounter.

With 20 ethnic groups spread across Madagascar, tourist of any race should have no problem.

While homosexuality is legal, it is not openly practised. Overt displays of affection by any couple, same or opposite sex, is culturally inappropriate and should be avoided by all. The age of consent for same-sex sexual activity is 21.

 

External links:

Religion in Madagascar

Madagascar: Land and People

LGBT rights in Madagascar

No. If you do not want to do a particular activity either you don’t like it or don’t feel like it, just let us know and we will either leave you to your own devices or attempt to arrange an alternative. It is your holiday so you can do as little or as much as you want.

If you know in advance that you won’t want to do a particular activity, then please let us know on the booking enquiry form when you fill it in. Or if you don’t feel like it on the day, that’s OK too.

Yes. There are planned activities to do all day but people who prefer a more leisurely pace may choose to retire to the hotel or anywhere else nearby at any point.

If you do not want to do a particular activity either you don’t like it or don’t feel like it, just let us know and we will either leave you to your own devices or attempt to arrange an alternative. It is your holiday so you can do as little or as much as you want.

If you know in advance that you won’t want to do a particular activity, then please let us know on the booking enquiry form when you fill it in. Or if you don’t feel like it on the day, that’s OK too.

As resident tour guides we aim to provide a fantastic holiday for you but, maybe unlike some less responsible operators, we have some basic expectations of how tourists should act while on holiday to ensure your safety while respecting local people.

We ask that you:

  • Show respect to local traditions and customs, even if you disagree with them you can try to discover why they came about.
  • Wear respectful clothing, particularly in religious places.
  • Follow the instructions given by the tour guide to ensure your safety and security.
  • Treat the tour guides, drivers and local guides with respect and kindness – if something doesn’t go to plan it in’t necessarily their fault or within their control, particularly in an impoverished country like Madagascar.
  • Pay any monies owed to hotels, activity companies and our company when due.
  • Be patient if/when things do not go exactly to plan.
  • Do not take photos of people without their permission in advance (the tour guides can help you with this).
  • Be polite. Politeness is very important to the Malagasy people and this always allows for more enjoyable vacation with whoever you meet.

We try to encourage people not to bring too much because it is the experience that you should be taking away. However here is a long list of things that you might consider bringing.

The Madagascar specific items compared to other destinations are:

  • Good waterproof walking boots
  • Insect repellent
  • Mosquito net recommended
  • Antimalarial tablets recommended
  • Camera(s), large memory sticks and spare batteries
  • Torch or head torch for night walks
  • Laser pointer recommended (to point out difficult to spot animals)
  • Sun cream
  • Binoculars
  • Leech trousers (or thick socks) for the rainy season
  • Waist bag/fanny pack / money belt

A full list of things to consider bringing is:

Essentials

  • Valid Passport
  • Flight Tickets
  • Other Tickets
  • Cash
  • Credit/debit cards/Travellers Cheques
  • Travel Insurance
  • Photocopies of Passport/Insurance
  • Airport parking ticket
  • Itinerary and our contact detail
  • Contact Numbers

Clothes

  • Shorts
  • T-Shirts
  • Shirts/Tops
  • Trousers/Pants
  • Skirts/Dresses
  • Jumpers
  • Pants/Underwear/Bras
  • Tights
  • Socks
  • Walking socks
  • Swimwear
  • Nightwear
  • Slippers
  • Shoes/Trainers/Sandals
  • Walking boots
  • Coats/Jacket/Waterproofs
  • Specialist Sports Equipment
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Hat & Gloves
  • Belt

Chemist

  • Personal Medication
  • Travel sickness pills
  • Headache pills
  • Indigestion pills
  • Anti-histamine tablets
  • Diarrhoea medicine
  • Insect repellent
  • Mosquito net
  • First Aid Kit
  • Malaria Tablets
  • Glasses / Contact Lenses & fluids
  • Hearing Aid and batteries
  • Personal dietary requirements

Electrical & Accessories

  • Camera(s), memory sticks
  • Camera chargers or batteries
  • Tripod//Monopod
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Plug/socket adaptors if needed
  • MP3 player
  • Lap-top and charger

Flight & Travel

  • Backpack/wheeled luggage
  • Padlock and keys for luggage
  • Travel Alarm Clock
  • Playing Cards
  • Travel money belt
  • Travel support socks
  • Travel pillow
  • Ear plugs
  • Eye mask
  • Travel sweets
  • Reading material
  • Travel games

Toiletries

  • Suntan lotion
  • After sun lotion
  • Lip protector/balm
  • Hair products
  • Bath/shower products
  • Razor/Shaver
  • Shaving cream
  • Aftershave/Perfume
  • Antiperspirant
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Electric toothbrush/ charger
  • Beauty products
  • Make-up/Wash bag
  • Female hygiene products/tampons
  • Hairbrush
  • Hairdryer
  • Nail File/Emery board
  • Nail scissors/clippers

Miscellaneous

  • Torch & Headtorch
  • Binoculars
  • Water bottle
  • Leech trousers (or thick socks) for the rainy season
  • Laser pointer

 

Most of the flora and fauna you see in Madagascar you won’t have seen before so you’ll find a lot more photos and videos than you might expect. We also provide you with lots of unique photo opportunities. Your tour guide and driver will be happy to help you take photos of anything that you see of interest – we are happy to stop the car or ask locals if they are willing to be photographed.

We recommend bringing one or more cameras, large memory sticks and spare camera batteries. Many of the animals are up trees and so telephoto lenses make a big difference in getting good shots.

For professional and semi-professional photographers we recommend a light tripod or monopod and a range of lenses including long telephoto and wide angle.

You can easily contact home at any point using one of the hotel telephones. Internet access is not guaranteed everywhere but it is regularly available for emailing and skyping. If the hotel has internet access/wi-fi then it is provided free of charge. Mobile phone coverage is available in all the main towns and in most of the hotels. We can help you arrange for stamps and postcards.

 

You can easily contact home at any point using one of the hotel telephones. Internet access is not guaranteed everywhere but it is regularly available for emailing and skyping. If the hotel has internet access/wi-fi then it is provided free of charge. Mobile phone coverage is available in all the main towns and in most of the hotels.

All the hotels have power sockets where you can charge your cameras, phones, laptops and other electrical appliances.

The power sockets are the standard European two pin sockets. We recommend you bring your own convertor if required but many of the hotels can lend you convertors when they are available. The voltage is 220V / 50Hz (which also works for 240V / 50Hz with no modifications needed).

Of course, this is an almost impossible question because it depends on how much you want to buy, how expensive you want your meals to be, what extra activities you want to do, how much you want to drink and what your tastes are. But we’ll try to give you some indication here (though inflation changes these figures regularly).

Since our tours are half board (breakfast and dinner included) with flights also included then you’ll only need money for:

  • Lunches (10,000-15,000 Ariary for restaurant meals, 1,000 – 2,000 Ariary for sandwich ingredients)
  • Breakfast additions above the basics (eg 5,000 Ariary for omelettes)
  • Drinks (non-alcoholic and alcoholic – varies on the hotel or bar)
  • Bottled water (10,000 Ariary for a big pack of 6 bottles)
  • Internet access (very little and most of our hotels include free internet)
  • Tips (see the Tips and Tipping FAQ)
  • Souvenirs (unlimited spend).
  • Please also remember to bring the remaining amount of cash for the tour (50% will already have been paid as a deposit).

While we recommend bringing foreign money in cash and changing it at the airport, Madagascar’s main cities all have ATMs/cash machines where you can top up your money supplies. However don’t bring 100 US or 100 Euro notes as they won’t be accepted. VISA cards can normally be used at major shops and hotels.

If you change too much money then you can change it back to USD or Euro again at the airport with a minimum of 50 USD/Euro. Or we can recommend a good charity to donate your money to if you prefer.

All banks accept traveller’s cheques though it’s also best to use small denominations.

Local handicraft shops are abundant so if you are looking for traditional clothes, gemstones, carvings, spices, handbags, leather goods, toys and souvenirs then you are in luck everywhere we go.

All the towns and cities have a busy food market where you can buy a range of fruit, vegetables and groceries. Bakeries are limited to big towns and some tourist locations.

Necessities such as tooth paste, shampoo, shaving products, female hygiene products, sun cream and batteries are available.

In Europe, tipping is normally seen as a token of appreciation for good service, whereas for workers within the tourist trade in the USA and Madagascar tips are a core source of income. However, we pay a good rate for our national guides, drivers and forest guides so we encourage you to tip only according to the extra quality of service that you think you receive compared to average.

Tipping often makes tourists anxious about how much to give so here’s some rough guidance of how much you might consider normal for excellent service:

  • Restaurants and bars: 5-10% except if service is already included.
  • Taxi drivers: not required.
  • Baggage handlers at airports and hotels: 500-1000 Ariary (however much they look disappointed by it).
  • Forest guides: 2,000 to 20,000 according to their service and abilities in spotting animials/plants and passing on knowledge about them in interesting ways.
  • Main tour driver: if your driver is very good, ie drives safely, protects your luggage and courteous then you might consider a tip of 5,000-10,000 Ariary per day.
  • Main tour guide: if your guide is very good, ie they keep you entertained and educated, help you discover the real Madagascar, keeps you safe and you greatly enjoy your holiday then you might consider a tip of 10,000-20,000 Ariary per day.
  • Tips should ideally be in local currency as only the national tour guide and driver are likely to have easy access to foreign exchange.
  • If you run out of small notes then the national tour guide can often help you exchange large notes for small notes for tips and small purchases.

If you are uncomfortable giving tips to forest guides, the driver or anyone else because you’re not sure how much to give or how to give it then your tour guide will be happy to discuss this. Some tourists ask the national tour guide to arrange it which they will be happy to do so.

ATMs are in all major towns and cities in Madagascar. Please tell your tour guide whenever you want to stop for money at the next town. ATMs will only allow you to take a maximum of Ar 300,000. They all accept VISA and some also accept MasterCard.

Antananarivo airport has many ATMs as well as money exchange bureaux.

External links:

Visa ATM locator
MaestroCard ATM locator

List of MaestroCard ATMs in Madagascar (May 2015)

A
AMBATOLAMPY – 1 ATMs
ANTALAHA – 1 ATMs
ANTANANARIVO – 22 ATMs
ANTSIRABE – 1 ATMs
ANTSIRANANA – 2 ATMs
F
FARAFANGANA – 1 ATMs
FIANARANTSOA – 2 ATMs
M
MAHAJANGA – 3 ATMs
MANAKARA – 1 ATMs
MANANJARY – 1 ATMs
MORAMANGA – 1 ATMs
MORONDAVA – 1 ATMs
N
NOSY-BE – 1 ATMs
S
SAINTE-MARIE – 1 ATMs
SAMBAVA – 1 ATMs
T
TOAMASINA – 3 ATMs
TOLANARO – 1 ATMs
TOLIARA – 1 ATMs
V
VOHEMARY – 1 ATMs

All main banks in the major towns and cities will change foreign currency and exchange Travellers Cheques, as will some of the hotels. They should all accept Euros and US dollars and some will accept British pounds.

Antananarivo airport has many money exchange bureaux that will exchange Madagascan currency to and from Euros and US dollars.

Many people will include a mix of foreign currency and the use of ATMs (see the FAQ on ATMs).

All of your hotels will have a restaurant. This is where you will eat your breakfast and evening meal which is included in our quote (ie. half-board).

Breakfast is a minimum of “continental” style with some hotels offering an extended range of included food. Basic drinks are usually included. It is often possible to pay an additional charge direct to the hotel to buy other food on the menu.

The evening meal consists of three courses, normally of a range of options for each course. As an ex-French colony the Madagascan chefs provide a French style menu with local Madagascan dishes to choose from. It is normally possible to pay little extra to add further options. Most of our clients are very happy with the quality, quantity and safe preparation of the standard menu offered.

You will need to pay for your drinks with the evening meal. A range of soft and alcoholic drinks should be available including some local ones.

Lunch is not included to allow for flexibility in what you want to eat and in the timing of the programme. Your tour guide will be ready to make recommendations based on your choices. Our previous clients vary from wanting to make their own pack lunches to visiting local restaurants. Your tour guide will help you negotiate in the food markets and translate any conversations or menus.

Lunch is not included to allow for flexibility in what you want to eat and in the timing of the programme. Your tour guide will be ready to make recommendations based on your choices. Our previous clients vary from wanting to make their own pack lunches to visiting local restaurants. Your tour guide will help you negotiate in the food markets and translate any conversations or menus.

External link: 

 Malagasy cuisine on Wikipedia

Madagascar is limited in special food requirements. Allergies are not always understood by the local population. However, your tour guide will be happy to explain the nature of any allergies and highlight what needs to be avoided in the prepared food.

Menus do not specify all their ingredients.

Vegetarian food is normally available but the options available for each meal may be limited.

Life threatening allergies require the client to carry their own antidote, and to check with us in advance that there allergy can be catered for.

Vegetarian food is normally available but the options available for each meal may be limited.

Madagascar is limited in special food requirements. Allergies are not always understood by the local population. However, your tour guide will be happy to explain the nature of any allergies to the hotel and restaurant staff, and will highlight what needs to be avoided in the prepared food.

Menus do not specify all their ingredients.

Life threatening allergies require the client to carry their own antidote, and to check with us in advance that there allergy can be catered for. It remains your responsibility to check that the food is suitable for you.

Madagascar is known to be a much safer country to travel in than most of mainland Africa. Because you will be with your dedicated tour guide and dedicated driver then we will minimise the risks associated with independent travel.

The general recommendations are that tourists should not go out in the cities at night nor drive on the main roads during the night and so we always follow these recommendations.

As anywhere in the world you should be careful of pickpocket in crowded places.

We have had no major incidents regarding safety because of our risk prevention strategies.

We do not recommend drinking water from the taps but bottled water can be found everywhere we go at a reasonable price.

The food in the hotels is to a high local standard but Madagascar does not generally have the same high food standards as will be found in the most developed countries. While most tourists do not suffer from food hygiene problems, we recommend that you be prepared to have minor upsets.

People with sensitive stomachs should not eat meals from local markets.

Most towns will have pharmacies for treating minor problems but for more serious conditions you would need to be driven quickly to private facilities in Antananarivo or Nosy Be. Very serious conditions will require evacuation to Reunion Island (a French territory) or South Africa.

There are many dentists across Madagascar for emergency treatment required before getting long-term treatment back at home.

Medical and evacuation insurance is a prior condition to making a booking with us.

Medical and evacuation insurance is a prior condition to making a booking with us.

Most towns will have pharmacies for treating minor problems but for more serious conditions you would need to be driven quickly to private facilities in Antananarivo or Nosy Be. Very serious conditions will require evacuation to Reunion Island (a French territory) or South Africa.

There are many dentists across Madagascar for emergency treatment required before getting long-term treatment back at home.

Most clients have no problems when they visit Madagascar but the main, yet minor, risks to be guarded against are:

  • Mosquitos
  • Malaria
  • Diarrhoea
  • Sunburn and heatstroke
  • Leeches in the wet season

Note that you don’t need to guard against many of the dangerous animals that you find in other countries because there are no large carnivores, aggressive animals or poisonous snakes. You are very unlikely to see any of the rare poisonous spiders and the shallow reefs on the West coast deter dangerous sharks.

Up to at least April 2015, there have been no cases of ebola in Madagascar. See the WHO website for up-to-date information.

It is important that you get the required vaccinations before you arrive in Madagascar so please see your local doctor or hospital to arrange this prior to arriving. It is recommended that you take malaria tablets for the duration of your stay. See the FAQ section on vaccinations.

For a definitive and up-to-date list see www.who.int or your local doctor or hospital.

The main recommended vaccinations for Madagascar that we know of are:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Typhoid
  • Yellow Fever (a certificate is needed only if you are coming from a yellow-fever infected country)

These are in addition to the standard vaccinations that children have but adults may need a booster for:

  • Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DTP)
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Haemophilus influenza B (HIB)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Pneumococcal disease
  • Polio
  • Rotavirus
  • Varicella

You will need an entry visa to enter Madagascar, these are available for free for tourists on arrival at the airport for visits of 30 days or less. If you want to stay for over than 30 days you will need to pay for it.

Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the last day you will be in Madagascar and you may need to show a ticket to confirm when you are leaving. You should have at least two blank pages in your passport.

Airport security taxes are usually included in your ticket.

See the FAQ on vaccinations and yellow fever requirements.

International flights to Antananarivo arrive at Ivato airport 20km away, but don’t worry we’ll pick you up.

The most likely company you will fly with is Air France with four flights per week from Paris. Other companies fly from France, Italy, South Africa, Kenya, Thailand and China including Air Madagascar, Air Italy, Corsair, Kenyan Airways and South African Airways.

If you want to combine a tour to Madagascar with Mauritius or Reunion Island then Air Austral, Air Mauritius and Air Madagascar all provide flights to and from them.

International flights are not included in our pricing so that you can find best deal independently.

Note that our prices include the internal flights unlike many other companies who may initially seem much cheaper.

Unlike many other companies we insist on including internal flights as part of our package and price. This may give the false impression that our prices are higher but when you include the price of internal flights inside Madagascar then you’ll realise the total price is comparable.

The benefits for you of having these internal/domestic flights are included are:

  • No need to organise the purchase yourself
  • We can provide a seamless programme where we take care of you from start to finish
  • We handle any flight delays or booking changes
  • We can automatically organise the itinerary around the flight schedule without unnecessary gaps in your programme
  • Flights are often full a long time in advance and it is easier for local tour operators to purchase them according to your programme

Yes. We feel it makes a real difference to creating a stress free Madagascar holiday when you have someone holding your name on a board waiting to transfer you to your hotel.

Many people find it very stressful when they arrive at a strange airport with crowds of local people offering potentially unreliable and overpriced transport.

You will be met at the airport by one of our staff who will ensure that you and your group get to the waiting vehicle safely with all of your luggage. We will also help you arrange to change money into the local currency or get it from a secure ATM/cash machine should you need it.

Our staff will be able to handle any problems that you experience at the airport including any delayed luggage and answer any questions that you may have on arrival.

In the vehicle on the way from the airport to your hotel our staff will start introducing you to the new sights and sounds that you will see around you.

We will transfer you to your hotel and help you check-in before allowing you to relax and then give you a briefing on the next steps in your programme.

All of the hotels we place you in are good standard mid-range hotels that we have used many times before. To see the details of the normal hotels we use please use to the links on the detailed itinerary pages.

Because our focus is to take you to the most interesting in Madagascar then we can only use the hotels near to them and we use the best we can find at an affordable price. There is no official star rating in Madagascar but we estimate the hotels to be between two to four stars.

Many of the places we stay are private thatched roof bungalows designed to fit naturally into the surrounding environment.

All the hotels have showers and hot water, electricity, restaurant, security and friendly staff.

Some of the hotels have free swimming pools, wi-fi and bars.

Many extra activities can be organised through the hotels such as massages, beach sports or meals for special occasions (birthdays, honeymoons, wedding anniversaries). Your guide will be happy to assist in your negotiations with the hotel.

If you want to upgrade to a top range hotel for all of the tour or just for a special occasion then we are happy to look into this and book it where available for an extra charge.

As expected in a poor country like Madagascar the standard of the hotels may not be the same as ones in developed countries. Please be reassured that we books hotels that are commonly used by other tour operators and you will not be in the cheapest hotels or the ones that do not provide good quality food and accommodation.

All of the hotels we place you in are good standard mid-range hotels that we have used many times before. To see the details of the normal hotels we use please use to the links on the detailed itinerary pages.

All the hotels have showers and hot water, electricity, restaurant, security and friendly staff.

Some of the hotels have free swimming pools, wi-fi and bars.

Many extra activities can be organised through the hotels such as massages, beach sports or meals for special occasions (birthdays, honeymoons, wedding anniversaries). Your guide will be happy to assist in your negotiations with the hotel.

If you want any specific facility or activity then please contact us to help arrange it.

Whenever we quote for a single traveller, or a group with an odd number of people, then our prices already include any supplements. We do not charge anything extra during the holiday.

Unfortunately most hotels charge us extra for rooms being used by one person and we need to pass on the cost to you. Some of the hotels do have single rooms where discounts will apply.

We quote for the expectation that two people will be sharing a room unless specifically requested. If you require separate rooms for individual people, then a supplement is likely and you need to let us know in advance so that we can cater for it and adjust our quote. Similarly if you are happy for three or more people to share a room (eg. three children), then we may be able to offer a reduction in price.

The price that we quote you for your group will include the supplements and discounts where necessary.

Whenever we have to charge a supplement, then you can be reassured that you will not be sharing a room with anyone else.

If you want to upgrade to a top range hotel for all of the tour or just for a special occasion then we are happy to look into this and book it where available for an extra charge. Please let us know the upgrades you would like when making enquiry.

Not all locations in Madagascar have a suitable hotel that can be upgraded to. Sometimes the only upgrade available people may find unaffordable (eg. USD $200 per night).

All of your hotels will have a restaurant. This is where you will eat your breakfast and evening meal which is included in our quote (ie. half-board).

Breakfast is a minimum of “continental” style with some hotels offering an extended range of included food. Basic drinks are usually included. It is often possible to pay an additional charge direct to the hotel to buy other food on the menu.

The evening meal consists of three courses, normally of a range of options for each course. As an ex-French colony the Madagascan chefs provide a French style menu with local Madagascan dishes to choose from. It is normally possible to pay little extra to add further options. Most of our clients are very happy with the quality, quantity and safe preparation of the standard menu offered.

You will need to pay for your drinks with the evening meal. A range of soft and alcoholic drinks should be available including some local ones.

Lunch is not included to allow for flexibility in what you want to eat and in the timing of the programme. Your tour guide will be ready to make recommendations based on your choices. Our previous clients vary from wanting to make their own pack lunches to visiting local restaurants. Your tour guide will help you negotiate in the food markets and translate any conversations or menus.

For small tour groups we provide 4×4 vehicles which are required for the dirt roads that we use to get some of the remote places. All vehicles have seatbelts, a spare tyre, working lights and are well maintained. All our dedicated drivers are familiar with the road conditions and handy with repairs if needed. There will be space for your luggage inside the vehicle.

For larger groups we use mini buses that are also suitable for the road conditions and the same conditions above apply.

Like many developing countries, driving is best to left to the locals who understand the real rules of the road and know how to handle local road conditions, adjust to the weather and handle any incidents. Road signs are sporadic so you need someone to know where they are going, particularly for the hard-to-reach places.

Outside of Antananarivo there are remarkably few cars and it is avoiding rickshaws, cattle and water carts that becomes more important. Our dedicated drivers have become experts in spotting and avoiding frequent potholes in the roads.

With a good vehicle and dedicated professional driver road accidents are very rare and you will not need to worry about this.

We hope that having looked at the various tours mentioned on the website that you will choose to book your holiday in Madagascar with us. Rest assured we will strive to make your tour with us as enjoyable as possible.

Our most common tours

First decide if any of our three most common tours (7 day14 day21 day) provide you with everything that you want. If you want one of these, please fill in our booking enquiry form. We count this stage as an enquiry only.

You will receive an email confirming that your chosen dates are available and with the final price. There are no hidden extras and you should expect that all things mentioned on the itineraries are included.

You can then email us to place a final booking or ask any questions or request changes. If you would like to speak to us on the phone for more details or reassurance, then we will provide a number to call us on.

Once your final booking has been placed, you will be sent the details for making a 50% deposit in Euros that guarantees your holiday reservation. The deposit is best made by bank transfer or online money transfer service (eg. transferwise.com). The non-refundable deposit will allow us to finalise the booking of flights and hotels, which is required in advance in Madagascar.

We will confirm receipt of the deposit by email and send you final details of your itinerary and arrangements for being picked up at the airport (the name and phone number of the person who meet you).

After arrival in Madagascar, we will pick you and take you to the hotel at which point we will ask for the remaining 50% in cash. You will be given a receipt and your holiday begins.

Alternative/customised tours

The booking process is the same as above except that we would ask that you give more details of what you would like to see and do on the booking form and we will negotiate the best combination of your requests and price. The final booking only happens at the end of the process when we have both agreed an itinerary and the deposit has been made.

We are very experienced guides and have created three tours that we believe are the most suitable for people new to Madagascar. However, we also specialise in customising holidays where you can see or do anything that you want or that you have seen on other websites.

This might include modification of the three tours to include your personal choices or to focus on your key interests. Eg. tracking, bird watching, cycling, camping, cultural visits, beach activities, whale watching (Aug/Sept), diving etc.

Alternatively, we can arrange a completely different package – see our dedicated webpage for customised tours.

Once your final booking has been placed, you will be sent the details for making a 50% deposit in Euros that guarantees your holiday reservation. The deposit is best made by bank transfer or online money transfer service (eg. transferwise.com). The non-refundable deposit will allow us to finalise the booking of flights and hotels, which is required in advance in Madagascar.

We will confirm receipt of the deposit by email.

After arrival in Madagascar, we will pick you and take you to the hotel at which point we will ask for the remaining 50% in cash. You will be given a receipt and your holiday begins.

See the dedicated webpages for each of our three recommended tours (7 day, 14 day, 21 day) which include approximate prices for each tour based on two people. If you have no modifications then this is likely to be the final price but we need to allow for occasional wild variations in hotel and flight costs.

Booking for more people will usually lead to a reduction in price per person.

Once we have your chosen dates and itinerary then we will confirm the final price by email. There are no hidden extras and you should expect that all things mentioned on the itineraries are included.

If you have any modifications, the cost for these will be agreed in advance and confirmed by email before any deposits are requested.

We have catered from individuals to very large groups but due to the available tourist vehicles (4 wheel drive and minivans) then we normally cater for between 1 and 36 people in a group.

Please contact us with the number of people in your group and we will provide you with the best price we can.

Madagascar is a developing country where not everything goes to plan due to weather, road conditions and cultural processes. While we will always try to follow the details of the itinerary then we sometimes need to vary it.

More likely is that we will slightly vary the itinerary to meet your daily preferences and to spend more time on the things that you want to spend more time on. Any itinerary changes will be discussed and agreed with you in advance when possible.

Flights and hotels in Madagascar require payment in advance by tour companies and so once booked we will be unable to return your deposit as it will already have been spent. Cancellations after final booking will mean the loss of your non-refundable deposit.

Cancellations within the last two weeks before the start of the tour will incur an extra 25% charge.

Once the tour has started, no refunds of any money will be paid.

As well as amazing landscapes and animals, tourists find some of the local laws and customs fascinating too. As a land of settlers from Africa, Indonesia and the Middle East all of these customs have been fused into something very special. Every part of the island has its own distinct customs and taboos (called “Fady”) and your tour guide will tell you all about them as you travel across the country.

To show respect and avoid offence to the local people you should follow try to them, though locals will not cause trouble if tourists make an accidental mistake which the tour guide can explain to them.

“Fady” is not due to religious belief but development of cultural rules over centuries. Most are based on giving respect to the ancestors and people are very devout in following them.

Examples of Fady are:

  • Not eating particular foods, depending on where you live, eg turtle, pork, lemurs, etc.
  • Not pointing to people or things with an outstretched finger.
  • Not touching a particular Baobab tree.
  • Not smoking in a particular place.

You’ll be fascinated to be (verbally) taken through the full burial process of respect for the dead and the “turning of the bones” ceremony.

Malagasy homes are organised according to astrological principles with the
northeast corner being the most important part of the house and you’ll see that doors always face west for the sunset.

Half of Madagascar’s population follows traditional beliefs with the other half following Catholicism and Protestantism with a small proportion being Muslim.

With 47 national parks and reserves you are spoilt for choice of some of the world’s most amazing places. Not only do the contain animals that only exist in the wild here and nowhere else in the world, but the lemurs, birds, plants and other species are in abundance. Nearly everything you see will be new to you which is a remarkable thing to experience. An estimated 80% of species are not found anywhere else on earth, due to its historical isolation.

The protected areas are managed by the Madagascar National Parks Association (http://www.parcs-madagascar.com/) which is set up to maintain the parks environmentally and sustainably and to try to keep the world’s rarest species alive. There nearly 5 million acres (20,000 km2) of protected areas to visit.

Our trips take you to the most important and interested parks (click below for more information about the flora and fauna):

We also provide the opportunities to visit the world’s third largest coral reef at the world as part of nearly 5,000 km of beaches at Ifaty/Toliara and Nosy Be.

“Malagasy” is the language of the 18 million people living in Madagascar, having its origins in Indonesia and southern Borneo. People who have studied languages are school are likely to speak French as the primary foreign language and English second.

English

Malagasy
Hello Manahòana
How are you? Manakòry
I’m fine thanks Tsàra fa misàotra
Goodbye Velòma
Yes èny
No tsìa
Please Azafàdy
Excuse me Azafàdy kèly e
Help me Vonjèo
Do you speak English? Mitèny anglìsy ve ianào?

I speak no Malagasy

Tsy mahày mitèny gàsy àho

I am sorry Miàla tsìny àho
What is your name? Ìza no anaranào?
A glass of water ràno irày vèra
A bottle of beer labièra irày tavoahàngy
A cup of tea ditè irày kàopy
A cup of coffee kafè irày kàopy
Bread mòfo
I do not feel very well Tsy metimèty àho
There has been an accident Mìsy aksidà àtsy
Does anyone here speak any English? Mìsy mitèny anglìsy ve?
Can you call the police please? Àfaka miàntso pôlisy ve ianào?
Can you call the doctor please? Àfaka miàntso dokotèra ve ianào?
What time is it at the moment? Àmin’ ny firy izào?

Madagascar lies in the Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of Africa and is the world’s fourth-largest island. The history of its animals, flora and peoples is dominated by its historical geography of being isolated from the rest of the world for 80 million years, leading to the evolution of unique species found nowhere else in the world. An estimated 80% of species are not found anywhere else on earth, due to its historical isolation.

MapLocationMadagascar

Between 200 million and 80 million years ago Madagascar was part of the joined world land mass of Gwondana and Pangea and as India split off from Africa it became it’s own island and developed its own special environment. You can see the movement and separation of Madagascar from its neighbours in the following video with Madagascar starting 1/3 of the way up the land mass, slightly on the right)

   Gwondana and Pangea Madagascar

People only arrived in Madagascar around 2000 years ago so the environment was allowed to adapt by itself without human influence over nearly all of history with the result being over 70% of the animals and 90% of the  plants being endemic and unique so you won’t have seen them all in your home country or visits to other countries. Indeed, Madagascar hosts around 5% of all known animal and plant species so if you want to see new things come and join us and we’ll help show you around for an amazing vacation.

Madagascar’s 50 species of lemurs are found nowhere else on earth so if you want to see them in their natural environment then there’s only one place to go. Madagascar’s has the highest proportion of endemic birds of any country in the world so if you’re a birdwatcher then you’ll be in paradise to see the unique mesites, ground-rollers, vangas and other species. While there are over 300 species of reptile here, including the most of the world’s chameleons you won’t find a single snake deadly to humans. Or how about seeing the 100,000 types of insect too. Botanists dream of coming to Madagascar for the 6000+ species of plant including orchids, baobabs and primary rain forests.

Madagascar’s was first settled by people from Southeast Asia then Africa and the Arabian Peninsula around 1500 to 2000 years ago and is a  mixture of Malayo-Indonesian and African-Arab ancestry with a mixed and unique culture formed by the mixing of them.

malagasymigrationroutes

Nearly all the population is Malagasy, which is divided into around 18 ethnic groups/tribes with the largest being the Merina tribe. After a long period of tribal conflict King Andrianampoinimerina (1787–1810) created a kingdom covering much of the island before his son, Radama I (1810–1828), unified much of the island to start the process that has formed modern Madagascar.

In 1946 Madagascar became an Overseas Territory of France after a brief period as a British and then French colony before gaining independence in 1960 and finally creating a new constitution in 1992 and 2010 to create the current political system of democratic government.

MapMadagascar

Time of year to go summary: Key: Best Ok Worst

 

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

 

While we have run tours throughout the year to match people’s own schedule, there are better times of year to go to Madagascar than other times. High season counts as July to October (with July and Augusts being the most popular alongside Christmas and New Year), mid season is April-May and November-December and low season is January to March.

“When to go to Madagascar” depends on what you want to see most and where you want to go as regions vary greatly- the desert areas hardly see any rain (as you’d expect), the mountains are cooler in summer  and some of the best bird watching is at the very start of the rainy season (ie December) when the flowers and plants blossom encouraging birds to migrate there. Humpback whales arrive to give birth and nurture their calves between August and September.

Low season is also the cyclone season when some activities are not accessible but prices are cheaper then and we will help you make the most of your holiday if that’s the only time you have available.

 

Contact us to ask when the best time to go to Madagascar is for your interests.

There’s lots and lots activities for you to do and we can customise or tweak our existing tours to do more of whatever you want – just contact us for a quote or explore the options

We already include a lot of activities within the standard programmes but if there are some specific ones you want including then please let us know and we will find out if they are available.

Possible extra activities

  • Extended trekking
  • Rickshaw driving
  • Canoeing
  • Wine tasting
  • Shopping
  • Visiting charities
  • Visit to village elder
  • Face mask painting
  • Fishing
  • Diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Windsurfing
  • Whale watching (Aug and start of Sept)
  • Trekking up Pic Boby
  • Zebo cow milking
  • Cultural visits
  • Museums
  • Cycling /Mountain Biking

Not only does Madagascar contain some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world but you can cross many of them in the single day. As the four largest island in the world there are nearly 5000 km of coastline with quiet romantic beaches overlooking the worlds’ third largest coral reef system which is where we will start the normal tours. You will be then led through dry dusty deserts filled with baobab trees and spikey trees. On the way to the higher grounds filled with rice fields you will see large areas of savanna, steppe and prairie grass. You will pass by the near-3000m peaks of the Tsaratanana Massif to finish off in the many national parks with their jungles and rocky landscapes.

If you choose to customise your tour, then we can arrange visits to the beautiful limestone formations of razor-sharp pinnacles and features called Tsingy.

Malagasy refer to themselves and their language as Malagasy and their country as Madagasikara, but for most English speakers they find it easier to refer to both as being of Madagascar. There are 18 main tribes in Madagascar with regional ethnic groups loosely divided by geographically distinct areas. The further you travel in Madagascar the more cultures you experience, from the varying taboos (“fady”), the rituals for the dead, the way of farming, the value of Zebu cows alongside their stories and histories passed down the generations. It’s all just waiting for you to discover them through our local tour guides with their introductions to them and the passing on of their knowledge to you.

Come here to discover how the class and caste systems the still dominate society, how men and women are treated, how the long lasting decisions by ancestors are still being followed. As a poor nation you will find out how people cope with the poverty they try to escape and have adapted their way of thinking to be able to deal with the difficulties life deals to them.

77% of the 20 million population live below the international poverty line of 1.25 USD per day, 90% live on less than 2 USD per day, most of the population work in subsistence agriculture and half of children under three years suffer stunted growth due to a chronic malnutrition. We hope that you will both find your trip interesting but also appreciate that your money is going to a country in need of increased income and can support its developing economy.

Madagascar has over 14,000 plant species with 80% being endemic, so only found here. Almost all of the palms found here are nowhere else, as are six of the worlds eight baobabs. 80% of the world’s Pachypodium (elephants foot) species are endemic too. Over 80% of the 900 types of orchid are also here – are you getting the idea that Madagascar is a great place to see new things yet?!

It’s partly because of the range of climates that you can see so many species of flora – from the dry, deserts to the plush rainforests, from the deciduous forests to the grasslands – and with 80 million years of isolation then it’s a botanists paradise. Let us recruit the local experts in the flora you are interested in and make your dreams come true. The whole country is covered in rare species from palmsferns and bamboo to orchids, Pachypodium and baobabs.

You might also come to see whole families of endemic plants (Asteropeiaceae,Sarcolaenaceae,Sphaerosepalaceae, Didiereaceae) or some of the others:

  • Adansonia Fony (Baobab)
  • Commiphora (Vasa Peeling Tree)
  • Moringa (Baobab like)
  • Pachypodium Lamirai (Dwarf Boabab = Elephants Foot)
  • Bismarkin Nobilis (Palm)
  • Madagascar African Daisy
  • Madagascar Early Jessamine
  • Madagascar Princess Flower
  • Madagascar Early Jessamine
  • Madagascar Princess Flower
  • Pōhutukawa Macro
  • Madagascar dark-red Bougainvillea
  • Madagascar Pink Trumpet Vine
  • Madagascar ribbon plant
  • Madagascar Star tickseed
  • Madagascar red clocks-like flower
  • Catharanthus roseus
  • Madagascar Pink Anthurium
  • Madagascar Hibiscus macro
  • Madagascar Yellow Flowers
  • Madagascar Purple Flower

Some of the latin names of the many plants, trees and flowers you might see include:

  • Abelmoschus ficulneus
  • Adansonia digitata
  • Adansonia za
  • Aerangis citrata
  • Aeranthes
  • Alluaudia procera
  • Aloe helenae
  • Ancylobothrys petersiana
  • Aponogeton bernerianum
  • Aponogeton madagascariensis
  • Asteropeia amblyocarpa
  • Asteropeia matrambody
  • Asteropeia multiflora
  • Barbeuia
  • Beccariophoenix
  • Biophytum umbraculum
  • Borassus madagascariensis
  • Bryophyllum fedtschenkoi
  • Buddleja acuminata
  • Buddleja fragifera
  • Buddleja madagascariensis
  • Calophyllum chapelieri
  • Carphalea
  • Catharanthus roseus
  • Ceropegia striata
  • Cladogelonium
  • Commelina mascarenica
  • Crinum asiaticum
  • Cynanchum macrolobum
  • Cyperus laevigatus
  • Cyperus squarrosus
  • Dalbergia baronii
  • Dalbergia brachystachya
  • Dalbergia catipenonii
  • Dalbergia davidii
  • Dalbergia erubescens
  • Dalbergia greveana
  • Dalbergia humbertii
  • Dalbergia louvelii
  • Dalbergia monticola
  • Dalbergia orientalis
  • Dalbergia pseudobaronii
  • Dalbergia tricolor
  • Dalbergia urschii
  • Delonix boiviniana
  • Delonix floribunda
  • Delonix tomentosa
  • Dicraeopetalum capuronianum
  • Didiereaceae
  • Dilobeia tenuinervis
  • Dioscorea sansibarensis
  • Dypsis ambositrae
  • Dypsis antanambensis
  • Dypsis bejofo
  • Dypsis canaliculata
  • Dypsis ceracea
  • Dypsis coursii
  • Dypsis decipiens
  • Dypsis fasciculata
  • Dypsis humilis
  • Dypsis interrupta
  • Dypsis madagascariensis
  • Dypsis mangorensis
  • Dypsis nossibensis
  • Dypsis oropedionis
  • Dypsis perrieri
  • Dypsis procera
  • Dypsis sahanofensis
  • Dypsis serpentina
  • Dypsis tsaravotsira
  • Ehretia cymosa
  • Eragrostis amabilis
  • Erythrina hazomboay
  • Eugenia petrikensis
  • Euphorbia alfredii
  • Euphorbia ambovombensis
  • Euphorbia ankarensis
  • Euphorbia aprica
  • Euphorbia banae
  • Euphorbia benoistii
  • Euphorbia boissieri
  • Euphorbia bongolavensis
  • Euphorbia capmanambatoensis
  • Euphorbia caput-aureum
  • Euphorbia croizatii
  • Euphorbia decorsei
  • Euphorbia denisii
  • Euphorbia elliotii
  • Euphorbia erythroxyloides
  • Euphorbia fiherenensis
  • Euphorbia gottlebei
  • Euphorbia hedyotoides
  • Euphorbia hildebrandtii
  • Euphorbia humbertii
  • Euphorbia intisy
  • Euphorbia kondoi
  • Euphorbia mahabobokensis
  • Euphorbia mainty
  • Euphorbia mangelsdorffii
  • Euphorbia martinae
  • Euphorbia moratii
  • Euphorbia orthoclada
  • Euphorbia parvicyathophora
  • Euphorbia pellegrini
  • Euphorbia plagiantha
  • Euphorbia quartziticola
  • Euphorbia rangovalensis
  • Euphorbia razafinjohanyi
  • Euphorbia rossii
  • Euphorbia stenoclada
  • Euphorbia tetraptera
  • Euphorbia tulearensis
  • Euphorbia zakamenae
  • Gyrocarpus americanus
  • Heliotropium foertherianum
  • Hypoestes phyllostachya
  • Kalanchoe adelae
  • Kalanchoe bouvetii
  • Kalanchoe tomentosa
  • Lemurophoenix
  • Leptolaena cuspidata
  • Leptolaena masoalensis
  • Leptolaena raymondii
  • Madagascar spiny forests
  • Marojejya darianii
  • Masoala madagascariensis
  • Melanophylla alnifolia
  • Melanophylla crenata
  • Melanophylla perrieri
  • Millettia capuronii
  • Millettia orientalis
  • Mimulopsis
  • Neoharmsia baronii
  • Noronhia
  • Oeceoclades alismatophylla
  • Orania ravaka
  • Ormocarpopsis calcicola
  • Ormocarpopsis parvifolia
  • Pachypodium
  • Pachypodium bicolor
  • Pachypodium gracilius
  • Pachypodium rosulatum
  • Pentachlaena
  • Physena
  • Plectranthus amboinicus
  • Pongamiopsis viguieri
  • Rauvolfia media
  • Ravenea glauca
  • Ravenea lakatra
  • Ravenea madagascariensis
  • Ravenea rivularis
  • Ravenea xerophila
  • Saba comorensis
  • Sarcolaena codonochlamys
  • Sarcolaena grandiflora
  • Sarcolaena multiflora
  • Satranala
  • Secamone schatzii
  • Senecio cedrorum
  • Solanum pyracanthon
  • Stephanotis floribunda
  • Tabernaemontana coffeoides
  • Tamarind
  • Typhonodorum
  • Utricularia bisquamata
  • Utricularia firmula
  • Utricularia livida
  • Utricularia scandens
  • Vangueria infausta
  • Voanioala
  • Xylocarpus granatum
  • Zostera capensis

We can’t guarantee that you’ll see all 280 species without a few months spare but here’s some of the many birds that you are likely to see on the three recommended tours, and it is common to see between 30-60 different species of them. And a third of them are endemic so it’s a fantastic place to see birds you’ve never seen before. With the local forest guides showing you around they can take you straight to their nesting locations and help you spot them in the undergrowth using their local knowledge. Dedicated bird watchers can request that more time is spent with the birds with bird focused holidays using specialist local bird experts and guides.

Birds you’re likely to see on our recommended tours:

  • Long Tailed Ground-Roller
  • Running Coua
  • Chabert’s Vanga
  • Lafresnaye Vanga
  • Magpie Robin
  • Souimanga Sunbird
  • Sakalava Weaver
  • Greater Vasa Parrot
  • Crested Coua
  • Subdesert Mesite
  • Malagasy Coucal
  • White Browed Owls
  • Madagascar Partridge
  • Madagascar White Eye
  • Benson’S Rockthrush
  • Madagascar Kestrel
  • Madagascar Flycatcher
  • Madagascar Wagtail
  • Crested Drongo
  • Madagascar Bulbul
  • Madagascar Bee Eater
  • Madagascar Hoopoe
  • Turtle Dove
  • Common Jery
  • Common Newtonia
  • Madagascar Red Fody
  • Grey Headed Lovebirds
  • Ashy Cuckoo Shrike
  • Tylas Vanga
  • Nutach Vanga
  • Madagascar Buzzard
  • Madagascar Cuckoo Roller
  • Madagascar Woodrail
  • Rands Warbler
  • Longbilled Greenbull
  • Red Tailed Vanga
  • Nelicourvi Weaver
  • Madagascar Brush Warbler
  • Redbreasted Coua
  • Helmeted Guinea Fowl
  • Mellor’s Duck
  • White Faced Whistling Duck
  • Red Billed Teal
  • Swamp Hen
  • Madagascar Kingfisher
  • Forest Rock Thrush

 

The full list of endemic birds in Madagascar is as follows:

 

Scientific name Common name
Accipiter francesii Frances’s goshawk
Accipiter henstii Henst’s goshawk
Accipiter madagascariensis Madagascan sparrowhawk
Acrocephalus newtoni Madagascan swamp warbler
Actophilornis albinucha Madagascan jacana
Agapornis canus Grey-headed lovebird
Alectroenas madagascariensis Madagascan blue pigeon
Amaurornis olivieri Sakalava rail
Anas bernieri Bernier’s teal
Anas melleri Meller’s duck
Artamella viridis White-headed vanga
Asio madagascariensis Madagascan owl
Atelornis crossleyi Rufous-headed ground roller
Atelornis pittoides Pitta-like ground roller
Aviceda madagascariensis Madagascar cuckoo-hawk
Aythya innotata Madagascan pochard
Bernieria madagascariensis Long-billed bernieria
Brachypteracias leptosomus Short-legged ground roller
Brachypteracias squamigera Scaly ground roller
Buteo brachypterus Madagascan buzzard
Calicalicus madagascariensis Red-tailed vanga
Calicalicus rufocarpalis Red-shouldered vanga
Canirallus kioloides Madagascar wood-rail
Caprimulgus enarratus Collared nightjar
Charadrius thoracicus Madagascan plover
Circus macrosceles Madagascar marsh harrier
Copsychus albospecularis Madagascar magpie robin
Coracopsis vasa Greater vasa parrot
Coua caerulea Blue coua
Coua coquereli Coquerel’s coua
Coua cristata Crested coua
Coua cursor Running coua
Coua gigas Giant coua
Coua reynaudii Red-fronted coua
Coua ruficeps Red-capped coua
Coua serriana Red-breasted coua
Coua verreauxi Verreaux’s coua
Crossleyia xanthophrys Yellow-browed oxylabes
Cryptosylvicola randriansoloi Cryptic warbler
Cyanolanius madagascarinus Blue vanga
Dromaeocercus brunneus Brown emu-tail
Dromaeocercus seebohmi Grey emu-tail
Euryceros prevostii Helmet vanga
Eutriorchis astur Madagascan serpent eagle
Falco zoniventris Banded kestrel
Falculea palliata Sickle-billed vanga
Foudia madagascariensis Madagascar red fody
Foudia omissa Forest fody
Gallinago macrodactyla Madagascan snipe
Haliaeetus vociferoides Madagascan fish eagle
Hartertula flavoviridis Wedge-tailed jery
Hypositta corallirostris Nuthatch vanga
Ispidina madagascariensis Madagascar pygmy-kingfisher
Leptopterus chabert Chabert vanga
Lonchura nana Madagascar munia
Lophotibis cristata Madagascar crested ibis
Margaroperdix madagascarensis Madagascan partridge
Mentocrex beankaensis Tsingy wood rail
Mesitornis unicolor Brown mesite
Mesitornis variegata White-breasted mesite
Mirafra hova Madagascan lark
Monias benschi Subdesert mesite
Monticola bensoni Benson’s rock thrush
Monticola imerinus Littoral rock thrush
Motacilla flaviventris Madagascan wagtail
Mystacornis crossleyi Crossley’s vanga
Neodrepanis coruscans Common sunbird-asity
Neodrepanis hypoxanthus Yellow-bellied sunbird-asity
Neomixis striatigula Stripe-throated jery
Neomixis tenella Common jery
Neomixis viridis Green jery
Nesillas typica (E) Madagascar brush warbler
Newtonia amphichroa Dark newtonia
Newtonia archboldi Archbold’s newtonia
Newtonia brunneicauda Common newtonia
Newtonia fanovanae Red-tailed newtonia
Oriolia bernieri Bernier’s vanga
Otus madagascariensis Torotoroka scops-owl
Otus rutilus Malagasy scops-owl
Oxylabes madagascariensis White-throated oxylabes
Philepitta castanea Velvet asity
Philepitta schlegeli Schlegel’s asity
Ploceus nelicourvi Nelicourvi weaver
Ploceus sakalava Sakalava weaver
Polyboroides radiatus Madagascan harrier-hawk
Pseudobias wardi Ward’s flycatcher
Pterocles personatus Madagascan sandgrouse
Rallus madagascariensis Madagascan rail
Randia pseudozosterops Rand’s warbler
Saroglossa aurata Madagascan starling
Sarothrura insularis Madagascan flufftail
Sarothrura watersi Slender-billed flufftail
Schetba rufa Rufous vanga
Tachybaptus pelzelnii Madagascan grebe
Tachybaptus rufolavatus Alaotra grebe
Thamnornis chloropetoides Thamnornis
Turnix nigricollis Madagascan buttonquail
Tylas eduardi Tylas vanga
Tyto soumagnei Red owl
Uratelornis chimaera Long-tailed ground roller
Vanga curvirostris Hook-billed vanga
Xanthomixis apperti Appert’s tetraka
Xanthomixis cinereiceps Gray-crowned tetraka
Xanthomixis tenebrosus Dusky tetraka
Xanthomixis zosterops Spectacled tetraka
Xenopirostris damii Van Dam’s vanga
Xenopirostris polleni Pollen’s vanga
Xenopirostris xenopirostris Lafresnaye’s vanga

Click here to see the range of likely lemursClick here to see the range of likely plantsClick here to see the range of likely other animals.

The isolation of Madagascar island for the last 80 million years has led to the evolution of a large number of endemic animal species of which 80 percent are not seen anywhere else in the world. The best example is lemurs – yes, that ‘s right, you will not find these amazing animals in the wild anywhere else on Earth, while in Madagascar there are over 50 species of them! It is not uncommon that our clients get to see over 10 lemur species on our classic 7 day tour (and many more on our longer tours).

The other mammals found in Madagascar include the cat-like fossas, fanalokas, tenrecs, mongooses, bats and a variety of rodents.

With about 280 species of birds with over 100 of them being endemic, Madagascar is a paradise for bird watchers. There are five bird families unique to Madagascar or shared only with the Comoro Islands: the vangas, the cuckoo-roller, the ground-rollers, , the asities and the mesites.  Our guides will help you to discover them and share their knowledge about them. You are likely to see a long tailed ground-roller, sakalava weaver, malagasy coucal, madagascar partridge, nuthatch vanga, ashy cuckoo shrike, Benson’s rockthrush and many and many more.

The animal adventure, however, does not end there – watch out also for chameleons, lizards, geckos, frogs, butterflies, beetles, moths, spiders and snakes. And the best part of it is that you don’t need to be worried about getting hurt – none of these Madagascar animals are deadly to humans.

Some of the top animals (in addition to the lemurs, plants and birds seen on their own FAQ page) are:

  • Bicolour Parrotfish
  • Clown Triggerfish
  • Comet Moth
  • Flatid Leaf Bug
  • Giraffe- Necked Weevil
  • Hawksbill Sea Turtle
  • Humpback Whale (Aug and start of Sept)
  • Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
  • Nile Crocodile
  • Parson’s Chameleon
  • Pygmy Leaf Chameleon
  • Radiated Tortoise
  • Tomato Frog

Madagascar is one of the truly amazing places on earth with mammals, plants and birds you can’t see anywhere else but as a holiday destination it has to compete with all the other tourist places in the world so here’s why to come to Madagascar instead of picking somewhere else:

  • During the summer holiday season in Europe and the USA, many of the main tourist destinations are too hot. However, when it’s summer in the Northern hemisphere it is the pleasantly moderate winter season in Madagascar so you can enjoy nicer temperatures compared to most of Asia, North Africa, equatorial locations and the Middle East.
  • Similarly, Madagascar has good weather when it is the monsoon and hurricane seasons elsewhere in the world.
  • Very few places in the world can compete on the quantity and variety of flora and fauna to be found here in Madagascar: 80% eg of the country’s bird species are found nowhere else in the world. 70% of animals and 90% of plants found in Madagascar are endemic too.
  • People looking for adventure and going to interesting places will find Australia and New Zealand boringly similar to their European home countries.
  • People find Madagascar not as scary as going to the the mainland African countries which they would find too “exciting”.
  • One of the many extraordinary facts about Madagascar is that it bears virtually no dangerous animals except for the Nile crocodile and you won’t find a single snake deadly to humans unlike many other interesting countries.
  • You can experience miles of empty beaches and barrier reefs without the crowds.

 

Madagascar’s 50 species of lemurs are found nowhere else on earth so if you want to see them in their natural environment then there’s only one place to go. Madagascar’s has the highest proportion of endemic birds of any country in the world so if you’re a birdwatcher then you’ll be in paradise to see the unique mesites, ground-rollers, vangas and other species. While there are over 300 species of reptile here, including the most of the world’s chameleons you won’t find a single snake deadly to humans. Or how about seeing the 100,000 types of insect too. Botanists dream of coming to Madagascar for the 6000+ species of plant including orchids, baobabs and primary rain forests.

Madagascar’s was first settled by people from Southeast Asia then Africa and the Arabian Peninsula around 1500 to 2000 years ago and is a  mixture of Malayo-Indonesian and African-Arab ancestry with a mixed and unique culture formed by the mixing of them.

All of our tours are managed and coordinated by Fidele Ramananandro, a licensed tour guide, registered since 1986 (30+ years) and a member of Association of National Tour Guides. If Fidele is personally available when you want to come to Madagascar then he will be your personal tour guide. However, if he is unavailable because he has another tour party organised then he will personally select the most experienced and qualified tour guides to give you the most enjoyable and memorable experiences while with us. You will be informed of this before you sign up for a tour. All tour guides are licensed and have worked with many clients with good feedback.

Most of the large international tour companies do not have their own permanent tour guides but employ local tour guides as needed, we use them in the same way but have intimate knowledge of the best ones as we have worked here for 30 years.

We have a history of over twenty years of successfully guiding clients around the beautiful island of Madagascar. Fidele estimates he personally has run over 250 tours, from single travellers to parties of 30, ranging from 5-years-old to 89-years-old.

We have so many good testimonials and reviews that we have created a special web page for them. Click here to see the recommendations, testimonials and reviews.

 

We have a history of over twenty years of successfully guiding clients around the beautiful island of Madagascar. Fidele estimates he personally has run over 250 tours, from single travellers to parties of 30, ranging from 5-years-old to 89-years-old.

We have so many good testimonials and reviews that we have created a special web page for them. Click here to see the recommendations, testimonials and reviews.

We have a history of over twenty years of successfully guiding clients around the beautiful island of Madagascar. Fidele estimates he personally has run over 250 tours, from single travellers to parties of 30, ranging from 5-years-old to 89-years-old.

We have so many good testimonials and reviews that we have created a special web page for them. Click here to see the recommendations, testimonials and reviews.

All of our tours are managed by Fidele Ramananandro, a licensed tour guide since 1986 (30+ years) and is a member of Association of National Tour Guides. Fidele has a Master’s degree in ‘British and Malagasy Civilisation’ and been running tour companies for the last 24 years. He has a wife and three daughters and is a musician in his spare time. He speaks English, French, Spanish and little Italian in addition to many of the Malagasy languages.

Flexible tours: We customise to your interests – lemurs, birds, culture or flora.

Flexible pace: Choose a full itinerary of activities or as much free time as you want.

Locally run: Experienced guides with 20+ years of local knowledge.

Fixed prices: Full descriptions of your tour given in advance with no hidden extras.
High standards: Decent mid-range hotels with menu options, reliable vehicles/drivers.

Tour guides: Be entertained in a small group; and escorted for maximum safety.

Unique experiences: Be transported to hard-to-reach places only the locals know.

No hassles: Enjoy your vacation without the hassle of organising it.
World’s rarest: 90% of plants and animals are found nowhere else in the world.

Expert guides: Be shown these plants and animals by guides with local knowledge.

A world on one island: deserts to mountains, 20 ethnic groups, 1,000+ animal species.

Group sizes: from 1 to 36 people, we cater for you, your family and/or your small group of friends.