The Highlights Tour in 7 days – Lemursbirdsparks and cultures

An unforgettable tour of rare and endemic lemurs, birds, reptiles and insects as we show you round different landscapes, from pristine beaches through desert, savannah, steppe, mountain and rainforest.

Tour length: 8 days/7 nights (+/- 1 day as preferred)

Highlights
See rare animals, plants and birds, visit 4 nature parks, experience local culture
Private tours only
We will not mix you or your group with other groups
Tour staff
Dedicated Tour Leader, Dedicated Driver, Local Guides
Group size
1-36 (contact us for even larger groups)
Travel dates
All year round, choose your own dates.
Transport
Vehicles and internal flights included in our prices
Accommodation
7 nights in hotels
Included meals
7 breakfasts, [no lunches], 7 three-course evening meals
Tour pace
All abilities (flexible)
Suitable for
Adults, Pensioners, Teenagers, Children, Couples, Honeymooners, Single/solo travellers, Families, Groups of friends

Perfect for

Wildlife, Nature, Beaches, Culture, Relaxation

Route Map (click to view in Google maps)

Madagascar-7-day-tour-map

7 Day Tour Price

1,995per person
  • (Approx: £1,497 GBP, $2,185 USD)
Price based on 2 people sharing a room and car and varies based on the actual travel dates. More people sharing a vehicle is cheaper. Contact us with your exact details for a final price.
Inclusions

  • Visits and excursions mentioned in the programme.
  • Accommodation (on a twin/double sharing basis).
  • All breakfasts and evenings meals.
  • Vehicles and fuel.
  • Dedicated tour guide with chosen language.
  • Dedicated driver.
  • Local guides and spotters.
  • All park entrance fees.
  • Internal flights.
  • Transfers to and from the airports.
  • Camping equipment and porters if Pic Boby option selected.
  • Tourist taxes on rooms.
Exclusions

  • International flights.
  • Lunches.
  • Drinks and extra food.
  • Extra sports and activity fees.
  • Tips.
  • Insurances.
  • Laundry

Summary Description

We’ll take care of you and keep you interested and absorbed from the moment we pick you up for the airport to dropping you off again.

You’re guaranteed to see and take photos of new and exotic wildlife and plants that you’ll want to share with your friends while you tell them of the adventures you just had. Madagascar is one of the bucket-list countries most people only ever dream about going to but we turn your dreams into reality as you go off the beaten track to embed yourself into the landscape and peoples.

With a dedicated local guide, driver and vehicle you’ll be safely chauffeured between the national parks and villages, discovering the flora and fauna in their natural environments, using the experience of your guide to spot and understand the new world around you. Madagascar is the only place in the world to see lemurs in the wild and has some of the world’s rarest birds, animals, Baobab trees and plants – every day brings new wildlife tour surprises as we do a road trip across the country to bring you the holiday highlights of this little visited but amazing nation.

We offer you a wide ranging but flexible tour itinerary to showcase the best and most beautiful that Madagascar can offer you. Our typical itinerary can be adjusted to match your exact requirements and personal desires for privately guided safaris, treks and wildlife tours.

All our tour guides are from Madagascar and intimately aware of all aspects of their country so you’ll be introduced to things you’d never see or learn by travelling by yourself.

    UntitledClick on the ‘+’ signs for daily details
You’ll be met at Antananarivo International Airport and taken by car to your hotel to relax and recover from your flight and prepare for your new adventures. If you arrive in time we’ll escort you on cultural walking tours to experience the sights, smells and sounds of the capital city.

Highlights of the day:

Meeting your guides at the airport.
Driven to your nearby hotel.
Introduction to the local culture, food and history.
Experience people, palaces and colonial buildings.
Cultural tour of the capital.
Madagascar Day 1 Antananarivo

Your local, English speaking, tour guides will be waiting for you at Antananarivo International Airport to take you by car to your nearby hotel to relax and recover from your flight and to prepare you for your new adventures about to start. We’ll help you get safely through the bustling crowds of people waiting at the airport and onto your own private vehicle. On the way to your hotel you’ll be introduced to the different cultures and people’s lives here in Madagascar; the people growing rice in the fields next to the road, women carrying loads on their heads, men carrying them on their shoulders, hump backed zebu cattle and the squashing of too many people, animals and belongings into the numerous taxi-buses.
When you get to the hotel your guides will check you in, fully introduce themselves, go through the itinerary with you, answering any questions you have and arranging any emergency purchases of forgotten items.

If you arrive in the morning then there’s time for us to escort you on cultural tours of the capital city: the King’s Palace, the Queen’s Palace, the Presidents Palace, museums and the Monument to the Dead on an island in Lake Anosy can all be seen. We’ll weave our way up and down the small paths and roads of the capital’s sacred hills with great views of the city below and the far away landscapes. It’ll be a gentle introduction to seeing close up the local people living in their homes and markets of the country’s biggest city with its population of many tribes. The tours take upto two hours, or less if you prefer. Taxis can optionally be organised for people with walking difficulties.

If the internal flight the next day is in the early morning we try to book a nice hotel near the airport, or if not then near the city centre.

The hotels we usually book you into are:

As you are staying half-board you will be offered a choice of meals from the menu. See here to generic details and questions on staying half-board. Luxury upgrades are possible at extra cost.

You will fly on an (included) internal flight to Tulear airport on the West coast where you’ll witness the radical change to a dry sandy landscape where it hardly ever rains and the much darker Madagascan tribes live in grass huts and ferry water up and down the roads on their heads and on hand pulled carts. Uncover the must-see arboretum, oceanographic museum and/or shell market or just wander the street markets to witness the local way of life and grab yourself a bargain.

Highlights of the day:

Internal flight across the island to Tulear (SW Madagascar)
Experience the dry desert environment.
Visit the botanical garden, Museum of the Sea, and/or shell market.
Wander the streets amongst the special “zebu” cows.

Common sights of the day: Plants and Trees, Birds, Reptiles, Zebu cows, Coelacanth fossil.

Madagascar Day 2 Tulear

Note that the expensive internal flight to Tulear is included in our quote, unlike many other tours. There is only one company to fly with and it costs about the same privately anyway so it’s much easier to you if we organise it for you as a package deal 

After breakfast, you will be driven by our guides back to Antananarivo Airport and transferred to an internal flight (included in the price) to Tulear airport on the West coast of Madagascar. Tulear is the heart of the Great Reef (the fifth biggest barrier reef in the world) but is also at the centre of the driest environment in the country so you’ll feel the heat and dryness of a desert environment and learn to understand the difficulties of the local people living there.

At Tulear your new dedicated driver will be waiting with your private vehicle that you will be in for the rest of your trip. Your driver and your personal guide will then escort you to your hotel and help you check-in before guiding you round the nearby botanical garden, museum of the sea, lively local market and/or shell market. The botanical garden is a fantastic place created in 1980 to wander round and see over 900 species of plants and trees, most of which are not found anywhere else in the world. Marine enthusiasts will love the museum of the sea with its prehistoric Coelacanth fossil. If you prefer you can be shown round the various street markets to pick unusual fruits, local bread and vanilla or just stare at the “zebu” cows with their extra hump being taken to market.

There is a great deal of flexibility in all our vacation itineraries so if you want to spend more time (or all your time) in any of these then the choice is yours. There is also the Regional Museum with a small ethnological collection run by the local university if you prefer to see an egg of Aepyornis, the extinct elephant bird, among its other exhibits such as the erotic tomb sculptures of Sakalava. Or why not have a go in a “Pousse-pousse” (local rickshaw) which is how most people transport both themselves and their shopping. We are very flexible in all our itineraries so if you want to spend more time (or all your time) doing certain activities then the choice is yours. As your permanent guide we will always be at hand to help you with any questions about the hotel and holiday, where to buy lunch, medical requirements or even just translations of menus. We are there to make your holiday the most memorable you’ll ever have and will explain the local customs and environment of the people that you see while walking and driving and have endless stories to tell you about their country that we love so much. We can join you and entertain you with Madagascan culture and history during the evening meals or leave you alone to enjoy a quiet intimate meal if you prefer.

The hotels we usually book you into are

Drive to see the lemurs, birds, chameleons and plants at Zombitse National Park, passing lots of interesting sights on the way. Watch sunset at the ‘Window of Isalo’ rock formation then stay the night ready the next day’s full day at Isalo National Park.

Highlights of the day:

Zombitse National Park and its animals and plants.
Lots of interesting sights and smells along the N7 highway.
Sunset at ‘Window of Isalo’ rock formation.

Common sights of the day: Lemurs, Birds, Chameleons

Madagascar Day 5 Zombitse, Isalo
We’ll travel along the N7 (‘the best road in Madagascar’!) with your knowledgeable tour guide pointing out and explaining the various sights along the way including the sapphire and gold panning towns, villages making local liquor from sugar cane, and the highly colourful Mafaty Tombs decorated with pictures of their past life and dreams. See the landscape change from desert to grasslands and savannah as the local majority tribe, traditions, taboos and languages change at the same time so you can experience multiple cultures and environments all within the same day. Zombitse National Park covers 363 km2 (over 5 times the size of Manhattan island so we won’t be seeing all of it! However the park is home to many different lemurs, birds, chameleons and plants that you won’t see anywhere else in the world so we definitely need to stop off on route for a local guide to show us round and see as many as possible.

There are lots of types of lemurs to see here (including the Verreaux´s Sifaka, Red-Fronted Lemur, Ring-Tailed Catta Lemur And Hubbard´s Sportive Lemur), 85 species of bird (mainly endemic), chameleons, termites and geckos as well as many orchids. There are several different walking circuits so we can pick and choose them depending on fitness and desires of the group.

Sunset at the ‘Window of Isalo’ rock formation is a popular activity, and will probably be the first time you’ve seen many tourists in the same place as at many places you will be the only people. You’ll look out over the changing colours of the rocky outcrops of the Isalo National Park that we’ll visit the next day. After the sun has set we’ll head to your nearby hotel, have a hearty meal and prepare for the next day of adventure. If you’re ‘lucky’ the hotel restaurant will be serving frogs’ legs and snails, amongst more normal food too of course!

The hotels we usually book you into are

A short drive from the hotel is the entrance to a dark cleft of a deep canyon containing the King’s waterfall that we can enter before driving round for a walk through the dramatic rocky scenery to a stumble onto a naturally enclosed swimming pool. A local guide will fascinate you with the tribe’s traditional funeral and burial ceremonies.

Highlights of the day:

Trekking into the deep canyons/gorges at the edge of the cliffs.
Hearing the explanation of the local funeral and burial ceremonies.
Viewpoints over the fluted, wind carved landscape.
Bathing in the natural swimming pools.

Common sights of the day: Lemurs, Birds, Plants

Madagascar Day 6 Isalo Park
We head off by car in the morning to go to the entrance of two enormous canyons cutting deep into the echoing rocky cliffs that contain the King’s shower where your local guide will share with you the many fascinating stories and traditions of the nearby Bara tribe, such as what men must do to get married and why you may not want to accept a drink at a funeral.

We should find Ring-Tailed Lemurs and Sifakas in the ‘Canyon of Monkeys’ and many of the 55 species of bird before walking through the breathtaking views of multi-coloured rock formations of the vast eroded sandstone massif from the Jurassic period. We’ll pause our trek at the natural swimming pool, fed by a refreshingly clear waterfall, as long as you want so bring your swimming stuff or just sit in the shade of this mini oasis. Spot the various indigenous plants such as the yellow flowers of the ‘elephant’s foot’, or attempt to spot stick insects before the highly trained eyes of your guide. When you’re fully satisfied with your time in the park we’ll head back to the hotel for food, their own swimming pool and a well-deserved sleep.

We will be staying and eating in the same hotel as the night before.

We continue through ever changing countryside and different tribes of people, along straight empty roads between grasslands and alongside huge mountains of rock. Stare out at the vastness of it all while your guide highlights the changing local customs, taboos and habits of the Betsileo villages you pass through. Almost touching the classic black and white ring-tailed lemurs playing amongst the enormous boulders and lake at Anja Park.

Highlights of the day:

Watching the massive landscape change and then change again.
The empty roads.
Photo-opportunities with the famous ring-tailed lemurs.
Walking in between the mountain-sized boulders of Anja Park for a view over the lake and distant countryside.

Common sights of the day: Lemurs, Plants

Madagascar Day 7 Anja Park
By now you’d think you’d seen everything there is to see on the road – zebu, overloaded taxi-buses, boys driving massive homemade carts full of water, whole villages going to market carrying things on their heads, and people selling nuts and carvings at the side of the road; but every hour and day seems to be different in Madagascar to there’s always something new to see and learn about. Yet again you’ll see the landscapes and people changes as you see yet more of the 18 Madagascan tribes and learn about them from your national English speaking guide. We will arrive in Anja Park which seems full of the classic ring-tailed lemurs (of the ‘Madagascar’ film fame). They run around the forest and huge boulder field but can normally be found next to the lake licking rocks – ask the guide why they would die if they didn’t. Anja Park is one of the best places for photo-opportunities next to the ring-tailed lemurs so don’t forget your camera!

Anja Park is the country’s most successful community run nature reserve, creating jobs and protecting the environment since 1999 and we have arranged for a local enthusiast to navigate you round the circuitous paths between the boulders until you get the best views of the lake and surrounding mountains. You’ll also pass some interesting tombs and many natural caves on the way. The guides can also explain the medicinal properties of the local and numerous plant species, of which nearly all have some medicinal benefits.

If prefer plants to boulders or wildlife tours then the guides can change the circuit to see the local plant species instead – though one species of orchid exists only on very top of the granite summits towering above. When we’re finished with Anja Park we drive on to Fianarsantsoa (don’t worry, your guide knows how to pronounce all these long Madagascan names!)  If time permits, we can visit a papermaking factory or a winemaking plantation for some local wine tasting. The Zebu cattle market is open for visits every Wednesday and Thursday and is a highlight of the locals’ social calendar.

The hotels we usually book you into are

We head to view some more jungle wildlife then on past established villages and rice fields to Ambositra village to view the wood carving in the Zafinra style. We can also stop on the way for lunch with traditional Madagascan music and experience the local markets if you ask. Having a ride in a rickshaw in the ‘pousse-pousse’ capital of the country.

Highlights of the day:

Zafinra wood carvings.
Eat lunch while listening to and taking photos with Madagascan musicians.
Riding in and/or pulling a ‘pousse-pousse’ rickshaw for photos to amuse your friends. 

Common sights of the day: Lemurs, Stars [/one_half]

Madagascar Day 10 Ambositra
Depending on your preference and fitness we can spend time visiting another park (which has some steep paths through the forest to track down more lemurs, birds and chameleons) or spend more time visiting the workshops and showrooms of local wood carvers near the market place of Ambositra and eating lunch while being entertained by Madagascan musicians with traditional music – dress yourself up in traditional clothes for some fun family photos.

We then go on to Antsirabe, the ‘pousse-pousse’ capital of the country where you can have a go riding or pulling a rickshaw to impress your friends, or flick through (or buy some of) the catalogues of Madagascar’s most famous photographers at his workshop. A talk on growing rice in the fields that you’ve been passing continuously is also a good way to appreciate the most common way of farming in the country. Antsirabe has many private workshops of skilled artisans which you can visit, or even look round the pousse-pousse factory.

This is a fairly big town with an ATM and the option for topping up with anything you’ve run out of. Here’ll we stop for the night before we transfer your vacation to the East of the island the following day. The hotels we usually book you into are

We start the day with a visit to workshops to see the long developed hand processing of natural materials into useful products and souvenirs. Be amazed at what the local crafts people can do with ingenuity and dedication in processing gems, zebu horn, metals and cloth and be shown the whole manufacturing process from start to finish. We then drive back to the capital city ‘Tana’.

Highlights of the day:

Watch artisans go through the whole manufacturing process of local goods and souvenirs.
Drive back into the capital city.


Madagascar Day 12 Antsirabe town
Antsirabe is famous for its arts and crafts so we take you to a series of interesting workshops where you can see things being made from scratch with local materials into goods and souvenirs – watch their skill in making things by hand in front of you.

The final view of the countryside takes you past a village that specialises in making sausages and we’re back to the capital city in time for an evening flight if you have one or relaxing in your hotel until your flight the next day. There’s an option to walk round the capital by yourself or be guided round if you haven’t already done so at the start of your vacation. Or if you’d like to contribute to alleviating poverty in the country then we can introduce you to a local charity that helps homeless people get back on their feet.

The hotels we usually book you into are

Your driver and guide will escort you from the airport to the airport and ensure you check in with enough time to not worry about missing the flight, even if you really wanted to stay. Wave goodbye until the next time and head back home satisfied with a holiday well done.

Highlights of the day:

Looking through the list of the places you’ve been to, the people you’re met, and the animals and plants you’ve seen.
Thinking of how you’ll tell your friends of your many adventures in a short space of time.
Sorting through all your photos to decide which to share on Facebook and with family.
Relaxing on the flight back home with fond memories and a plan to return.
Whenever your flight leaves, your driver and tour guide will pick you up with more than enough time to reach the airport to catch it safely. Look fondly at the people, zebu, taxi-buses and mayhem going on outside your vehicle and plan to come back to explore more of this amazing island.

If you’ve come for a life changing holiday adventure, a honeymoon or both then you’ll have come to the right place. We’ll make sure that you get on your flight and won’t leave the airport until we know you have. Relax all the way home knowing that you’ve made the most of your life’s opportunities by visiting one of the most interesting countries in the world. We expect to see you again soon.

Why choose us?

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 18 people, we cater for you, your family and/or your friends.

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