12 DAYS – From £1,480 per person
Andasibe – Manambato – Akanin’ny Nofy –Tamatave – Mahambo – Ile Sainte Marie – Antananarivo
Madagascar is fascinating for the children. This trip offers a real biology class right in the middle of nature. We have put together an adventurous itinerary for the whole family. Throughout this trip the children and adults alike will learn about lemurs, chameleons, frogs, whales and marine life and the amazing biodiversity of the big island. Sailing along Pangalanes Canal is another wonderful experience for the whole group. Driving distances are moderate and many activities suitable for children are included. The Island of Sainte Marie is a great place to relax at the end. Alternatively, you can choose to fly to Nosy Be or Diego Suarez and continue discovering the north.
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 email@example.com to discuss your requirements, check availability and get a confirmed price.
Whale-watching excursion is optional, payable locally (about £15-34). Due to weather conditions it is better to arrange the trip onsite.
Day 1 – Welcome to Antananarivo
Today you will arrive in Antananarivo where you will be met and transferred to the hotel. Antananarivo means “City of thousands”, the place which unified the tribes of Madagascar about 500 years ago. The city is built on 3 levels: the high city where the queen’s palace is situated, the mid-city with nice boutique shops and all the administrative buildings, and the bustling low city with the markets. Time permitting, a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ambohimanga is highly recommended (45 min drive). The fortified hill which is also a royal burial site is considered sacred to the Malagasy people. Don’t miss the spectacular sunset. Overnight at Au Bois Vert.
Day 2 – Antananarivo to Andasibe
After breakfast, take a morning city tour of Antananarivo. Visit the upper city with its splendid views, the Independence Avenue, the botanical garden, the railway station and Lake Anosy with beautiful jacaranda trees (blooming in October). Later on, head eastward to Andasibe (4h drive) through the green highlands adorned with rice fields. The east is the humid part of the country, the realm of rainforests and lakes. On the way, stop at the Peyrieras Reptile Reserve which is home to chameleons and lemurs. Upon arrival spend the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at Vakona Forest Lodge.
Day 3 – Andasibe
After breakfast, take a morning exploration walk in the Andasibe Special Reserve. Situated close to Tana, Andasibe is the nearest and easiest National Park to visit from the capital. This reserve has a rich endemic fauna and flora. Expect orchids, chameleons, tenrecs, frogs and lovely birds. The highlight of Andasibe is definitely Indri Indri, the largest lemur, known for its spectacular whooping calls. In the afternoon, visit the Island of Lemurs in Vakona, called Mitsinjo Forest. This reserve has rescued lemurs from captivity, so they are very adapted to human presence and come really close to visitors. Overnight at Vakona Forest Lodge.
Day 4 – Andasibe – Manambato – Akanin’ny Nofy
After breakfast, drive to Manambato (3h). Stop and visit the town of Brickaville, an old colonial city known for its sugar cane plantation. In Manambato take a short picturesque boat trip across Rasoabe Lake and Pangalanes Canal (1h). The Canal stretches over nearly 700km from Tamatave all the way to Farafangana in parallel to the Indian Ocean. Navigate through the magnificent Canal surrounded by beautiful forests, luxurious palm-trees and mangroves, small sand-dunes and cheerful local villages. Once arrived in Ankanin’nyNofy you will find a heaven of peace and tranquility. It’s a true paradise for nature lovers. Overnight at Le Palmarium.
Day 5 – Akanin’ny Nofy
After breakfast, visit Palmarium reserve with its many species of lemurs living in full freedom. The park is adorned with beautiful trees, palms and orchids. Spend the afternoon at leisure, by taking a walk along the Canal, swimming or visiting surrounding villages. The bungalows are situated inside the park, surrounded by a huge lake with calm waters, an ideal place for relaxation. Visit Andranokoditra village on the other side of the Canal to meet and play with the local children. At dusk, take a boat across Ampitabe lake and visit the Aye Aye island, a newly created park to protect the endangered and seldom seen lemurs Aye Aye. Overnight at Le Palmarium.
Day 6 – Ankanin’ny Nofy to Mahambo via Tamatave
Early in the morning, continue your journey through the Pangalanes Canal towards Tamatave (Toamasina). Built in the first half of the 20th century, the Canal was a major moving force for trade in the region. During this journey, enjoy watching the simple way of local life: bamboo pirogue transporting charcoals, boats transporting goods and passengers, women washing dishes and laundry, kids swimming, fishing nets creating beautiful ornaments in the water etc. After a short stop in Tamatave, continue the trip to Mahambo. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at La Pirogue.
Day 7 – Mahambo to Sainte Marie
Early in the morning, take a boat from Mahambo to Sainte Marie – a paradise island with turquoise waters, splendid beaches and forests with with endemic wildlife. The island is inhabited by a cheerful population living a chilled lifestyle with vibe inherited from pirates who found shelter here in the past. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at Villas de Vohilava, a perfect small lodge for families. The villas can be either self-catered or with a cook and housekeeper. There is also a restaurant onsite. Situated right on the beach, the villas are close to a diving and an excursion centre. Overnight at Les Villas de Vohilava.
Day 8 – Sainte Marie
Ile Sainte Marie was on the shipping routes to the Indies. This strategic location has attracted many pirates around the 1700s. The Pirates Cemetery testifies to this part of the story: during a walk and a canoe trip, you will visit Ambodiforaha and discover the tombs of legendary pirates such as John Avery or Thomas Tew. You will also visit the first church built in Madagascar and a local palace. During the island tour, you can stop anytime for snorkelling and swimming. Alternatively rent a motorcycle or bikes and take a self-ride around the island. Overnight at Les Villas de Vohilava.
Day 9 – Sainte Marie
Each year, hundreds of humpback whales come to feline in the warm waters of Sainte Marie after long months spent in Antarctica. During the mating season (early July to late September), this paradise becomes a nest for of whales. Expect spectacular parades, graceful ballets and impressive jumps out of the water. The humpback whales breed in the Antongil bay and the strait that separates the island of Sainte Marie from the mainland. Take an excursion in the sea to discover the frolics of the whales or the birth of baby whales. The trip lasts about four hours. Overnight at Les Villas de Vohilava.
Day 10 – Ile Aux Nattes
After breakfast depart to Ile aux Nattes by boat. Surrounded by a turquoise lagoon and white sand-beaches, Ile aux Nattes is a heaven of peace and tranquillity. After swimming and snorkelling, the guide will lead you to the local village where you will discover local crafts and delicious food. A barbecue lunch will be served during the trip. You can walk around the whole island on the beach in about 2 hours. Take a nice hike to the viewpoints Maison Blanche with a rooftop terrace and the lighthouse, a bit further south. Expect a 360* view over the whole island. Return to the hotel around 16:00. Overnight at Les Villas de Vohilava.
Day 11 – Sainte Marie to Antananarivo
Today fly back to the capital. You can spend this day at leisure strolling around the markets or do some fun activity in the capital. There are a few nice spas in town worth trying. In Madagascar massages are accompanied with locally grown ingredients, such as lemon grass, vanilla, ginger and other nice scents. Your skin will smell like heaven! Alternatively, we highly recommend taking a local cooking class with the whole family and learn more about chocolate, seasoning and spices. It is a fun activity with take-away gifts and a delicious lunch/dinner at the end. Overnight at Au Bois Vert.
Day 12 – Departure. Veloma!
According to your flight’s schedule, you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight. You can extend your trip by flying north to Diego Suarez or Nosy Be and do the Highlights of the North trip, or fly to Morondava in the west and visit the Avenue of the Baobabs and Tsingy de Bemaraha.