Highlights of the North

Diego Suarez – Amber Mountain National Park – Tsingy Rouge – Tsingy de Ankarana – Nosy Be

11 Days – From £1,900 per person

The trip will take you to the fascinating north of Madagascar. Diversity, adventure and relaxation – this is a balanced itinerary suitable for all. Diego with its beautiful bays and the views of the Sugar Loaf, the orchids, lemurs and chameleons of the Amber National Park, the fragile Red Tsingy, the spectacular pinnacles of Ankarana and the magical Nosy Be – you will get to see them all. The trip will be balanced off on a good pace, since it takes time to drive between each place. You can do this trip starting from both Diego Suarez and Nosy Be. It is a good idea to switch the start and finish of the holiday if there are better flights to either of the two airports. Let us know about your preferences.

  • Price is per person, based on two people sharing in a double/twin room. If more than two people travel together, the price will be lower.
  • Accommodation & meals as per itinerary (breakfast and picnic lunch)
  • All the excursions mentioned in the itinerary on a private basis except the expedition with the scientist which is on a shared basis
  • All transfers by car and boat on a private basis
  • Car rental including a driver, gas and insurance as per itinerary
  • Professional English speaking naturalist guide
  • Entrance & guiding fees to all the mentioned National Parks
  • 1 large bottle of water per day per person
  • All mandatory local taxes
  • International and Domestic Flights
  • Personal Expenses
  • Insurance
  • Visa
  • Tips & Porters
  • Additional Drinks

International flights are not included in the package price. We give you the freedom to use miles and choose your preferred airline, and if you are stuck we can help you find the right connections. Return flights to Madagascar start from £700 per person, depending on the connections and time of the year. There are direct services to Nosy Be from JNB, ADD, from several airports in Italy and also seasonal flights from Eastern Europe. If you have to fly via Antananarivo, the capital city, we can tailor this trip according to your arrival and departure times.

This is a sample itinerary and prices are correct at the time of writing. We can tailor the itinerary to suit your plans by changing the length of the trip or the order of activities. More days can be added and different hotels can be chosen according to your preferences and needs.

Give us a call or email us at madagascar@boutiquetravelexperts.com to discuss your requirements, check availability and get a confirmed price. 

  • A professional guide on the top of the driver is mandatory for this particular itinerary. No English-speaking driver guides are available in the north of Madagascar.
  • The Emerald Sea excursions are seasonal. Between April and October this excursion might be challenging due to the weather conditions and the heavy Varatraza winds. If the local authorities decide that it is not safe to go into the lagoon, we always respect that advice and cancel this activity. It can be a the last minute decision. If the local authorities are just warning us for strong wind, the guides will discuss with you if you want to go into the lagoon or if an alternative excursion can be proposed.

 Day 1 – Arrival to a city of spectacular views

Today you will arrive in Diego Suarez. This calm colonial city is the place where the first Europeans landed on Madagascar. Surrounded by the Mozambique Channel and the Indian Ocean, it has spectacular bays and beautiful beaches. You will visit the harbour and the market, continuing to the 3 picturesque bays: Bay of the Dunes, the Bay of the Pigeons and the Bay of the Sakalavas. A little bit of relaxation at the beach with a picnic lunch will balance off the feeling of jet-lag. On the way back to town, don’t miss the awing view over the Sugar Loaf from the French Mountain. There are a few baobabs in the area which are always nice to see. Overnight at Suarez Hotel.

Sugar Loaf

Day 2 – A day in a heavenly beautiful lagoon of the Emerald Sea

Today’s colour is emerald. After breakfast, your driver will take you to the fishermen village of Ramena. Here you will embark on a traditional Arabic-style dhow to the Emerald Sea – a lagoon with transparent dark green waters and a rich marine life. This is a perfect place for snorkelling with the turtles and colourful fish. Emerald Sea is a haven of peace, Mora Mora says it all. A fresh picnic with grilled fish will be served by friendly locals. Here, time seems to have stopped, you will always remember the beautiful scenery of this day. Upon your return to the hotel, balance the evening at leisure. Overnight at Suarez Hotel.

Emerald Sea - Diego Suarez

Day 3 – Hiking in the lush rainforest of Amber Mountain National

After breakfast, drive south to Joffreville to visit Amber Mountain National Park, a beautiful mountainous rainforest. The park owes its name to the amber coloured resin that flows from its trees and is used by Malagasy people for medicinal purposes. During the walking excursion you will discover a wide variety of birds, lemurs and chameleons. Spend the day hiking in the dense forest, discovering small crater lakes and magnificent waterfalls, hidden by exuberant vegetation. The trail will take you further to an elevated point where you can have amazing views over the rainforest. It is well worth the hike. Overnight at Litchi Tree.

Amber Mountain

Day 4 – Visit the unusual formation of the Red Tsingy

Early after breakfast drive southwards to the Red Tsingy, a strange sculpture looking like a forest of red chimneys. The last part of the trip is done on a dirt road for about 1h. This is one of the most impressive sites of the northern region. Located on the plateau of Sahafary, at the foothill a beautiful canyon, they have an incredible ochre colour which changes according to the time of the day. This is also a good place to stop for lunch. In the afternoon, continue to Ankarana for about 2h. Don’t miss the sapphire diggers in Ambondromifehy village on the way. Upon arrival balance the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at Ankarana Lodge.

Tsingy Rouge

Day 5 – Discover the natural wonders of Ankarana Reserve

After breakfast, visit of the National Park of Tsingy d’Ankarana. It is a beautiful rocky park made of sharp needles of limestone, with a very thick network of cracks, underground caves and lakes. This is another spectacular landmark of the north, a beautiful place to get lost for nature lovers. Various species of animals and plants still keep their cradle inside the rocks. Spending the whole day in the park is a good idea, there are various paths and trails. A picnic lunch will be served whenever you will want to make a break. Overnight at Ankarana Lodge.

Tsingy Ankarana

Day 6 – Drive to the coast through lush plantations and traditional villages

After breakfast, drive towards Ankify for about 3h. This road will take you across an agricultural paradise. This region is volcanic and therefore one of most fertile lands in Madagascar. Coffee, cacao, sugar cane, vanilla, cashews and ylang ylang plantations grow all along. You will also drive along the mountain chain of Tsaratanana, which has the highest peak on the island. Stop in the picturesque markets of the Muslim villages of Ambilobe and Ambanja and don’t miss a visit to the Cyrille cacao and vanilla plantation. Upon arrival to Ankify you will take a speedboat to Nosy Be. Balance the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at l’Heure Bleue. 

Ambanja - Cocoa

Day 7 – Discover the smaller islands of Nosy Komba and Nosy Tanikely

Today visit two smaller islands, Nosy Komba and Nosy Tanikely. Start with Nosy Komba, the island with a lush tropical forest. Visit the small lemur park and the local community who are the masters of embroidery. Later on take a 1-hour boat ride to Nosy Tanikely, a protected marine reserve with a spectacular marine life. The island is a true aquarium with a very rich ecosystem of marine life. When you feel that it is time to refresh, a seafood lunch will be prepared for you on the island. Don’t miss the lighthouse at the top of the hill with 360° panoramic views over the region. In the evening return to Nosy Be. Balance the evening at leisure. Overnight at l’Heure Bleue.

Madagascar Boat

Day 8 – White sand and turtles in Nosy Iranja

After breakfast embark on a private boat to visit the most beautiful place in the north of Madagascar. This will be an unforgettable getaway to sun-kissed beaches, azure waters with natural coral reefs teeming with exotic fish. A breathtaking sunset and absolute tranquillity is on the menu. Nosy Iranja is located about 1,5h by speed boat to the south of Nosy-Be. There are two islets, Iranja Be and Iranja Kely, connected by a 1.2 km strip of white sand. The islands are also the nesting ground for Hawksbill turtles. Have a relaxing day discovering the beautiful views. In the evening return to Nosy Be. Overnight at l’Heure Bleue.

Nosy Iranja

Day 9 – Expeditions with the scientists to Nosy Sakatia

After breakfast embark on a boat to visit the tiny island of Sakatia. This place is full of local history and traditions. Take a great expedition with passionate local scientists to swim with dolphins, shark-whales or turtles. It is a shared excursion, but all the staff on board speak both English and French, so there will be no communication issues. On the island visit of local village, relax on the beach and go snorkelling as much as you want. Upon arrival back on Nosy Be, balance the evening at leisure. Overnight at l’Heure Bleue.

Snorkeling Nosy Komba

Day 10 – Island tour of Nosy Be 

Today explore Nosy Be. Start with visiting Andoany – a melting pot of cultures. Mosques, churches and the sacred trees represent all forms of beliefs. You will see the impressive 200 years old Sacred Banyan Tree, the historic Marodoka village and the botanical garden Lemuria Land, located in the middle of an ylang ylang plantation. There is a museum and a distillery of essential oils and rum. Don’t miss Andilana, the most beautiful beach of Nosy-Be with turquoise waters. Finish with a splendid sunset at Mont Passot and the views over the sacred lakes. The legend says that spirits of the Sakalava royal family live in the lakes. Overnight at l’Heure Bleue.

Lemur

Day 11 – Departure

According to your flight schedule, you will be transferred to the Fascene Airport (NOS) for your onward flight. We hope that you will have in the North. In case you start this trip in Nosy Be, you will be taken to the airport in Diego Suarez (DIE) at the end of your trip.

Boat - Sailing sunset