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Madagascar is an island on the east coast of Africa and is famous for its lemurs (a type of primate), large reptile population, baobab trees, lush beaches, and gorgeous islands. The place is filled with rainforests and wildlife parks, which will be the main focus of your Madagascar holidays. There is a unique array of animal and bird species in Madagascar that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. The trip will also be guided by experienced tour guides who are well-versed with the cultural traditions and all the special locations and activities that the holiday has to offer. The national parks and reserve areas will be explored with guided nature walks while bird watching, listening to haunting calls of elusive creatures, and witnessing the show-stopping performances such as a chameleon’s color-changing abilities and the fox-like predator fossa in action. You will also get to immerse in the local culture via a riverboat cruise along the waters that line the tiny villages in Madagascar.
Fly to Antananarivo
Start your Madagascar holidays off with a flight to Antananarivo in Madagascar.
Arrival at Antananarivo
On arriving in Antananarivo, you will be escorted by your private driver to your hotel. Depending on traffic and the location of the hotel, the drive may take up to an hour and a half.
On reaching the hotel freshen up, relax and spend the day at leisure, touring the city and exploring the historic old towns and vibrant markets with a local guide.
Andasibe National Park
Today, your private driver cum guide will drive you from your hotel through the Malagasy countryside to Andasibe National Park, located on the edge of the rainforest. The drive may take around four hours. You can take a guided walk in the evening, watch nocturnal animals such as tiny mouse lemurs and greater dwarf lemurs.
Another inhabitant of this national park is the leaf-tailed gecko and the largest lemur species called indri.
More adventures in Andasibe National Park
The next day, you can explore the rainforest while taking a walk with your private guide, looking for the rare lemur species found in the area. This includes indri, the largest lemur species, that has a distinctive, haunting cry that you might hear as you hike through the forest. You will also get to see grey bamboo, brown and woolly lemurs amid the vegetation, as well as several reptile species like the nose-horned chameleon, as well as vivid bird species like blue and red-fronted coucals. Your tour guide will help you spot these species and give more information on each one.
Adventures in Mantadia National Park
We will kick off the fifth day of your Madagascar holidays with a drive of around 45 minutes into Mantadia National Park, set against the backdrop of the beautiful, untouched forests. These forests provide a home to even more lemur species, including the diademed sifakas, black and white ruffed lemurs, and the elusive aye-ayes, which are notoriously hard to spot and only come out at night time.
The hiking trails can be a bit more challenging than usual, so be sure to wear good walking shoes.
Back to Antananarivo
This morning, you can visit Lemur Island, where you can see more habituated lemur species, including the ringtails and indri. Although the lemurs here aren't wild, you can still watch them in their natural habitat at close quarters.
By the afternoon, you will take the four-hour drive back to Antananarivo, where you can do some more exploring of the city or rest in your hotel.
Off to Ile Sainte Marie
Today, the driver will collect you from your hotel in the morning to take you back to Ivato Airport, which will be a drive of an hour and a half, depending on traffic. From here, you will take the hour-long flight to Île Sainte-Marie. If the weather is hospitable, you will reach your hotel by traditional zebu cart, which takes about 15 minutes or take a five to ten-minute ride in a 4x4.
Upon arriving, you can spend the rest of the day relaxing and taking in the idyllic ambiance, head to the beach, try some snorkeling, or unwind with a cocktail.
Enjoy Ile Sainte Marie
The day can be spent exploring the sleepy island of Sainte Marie. A fun activity to try would be hiring a bicycle, stopping at some of the island's small villages, cafes, and beaches along the way. The beaches are often quiet and deserted, and you may see fishermen paddling offshore in wooden pirogues.
You can also take a pirogue trip to the island's pirate cemetery, where you will be able to see the graves of pirates who used the island as a base back in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Another day in Ile Sainte Marie
The second day in Ile Sainte Marie can be spent snorkeling and diving. You will get to see the coral reefs which provide a habitat for whale sharks, eagle rays, damselfish, tuna, and many other marine species. The calm and clear waters have visibility between 10m and 30m all year round.
Several PADI dive establishments can be arranged on request.
Ile Sainte Marie exploration continues
The next day of the Madagascar holidays is also spent in lle Sainte-Marie. You will get an opportunity to see humpback whales in the whale season, which is from June to September, during which they migrate to Madagascar's shores to birth their offspring.
You can enjoy watching them from the beach, or you can go out with a research boat to get a closer look and learn more about the whales.
Last day in lle Sainte-Marie
On the last day in lle Sainte-Marie, you can explore the tiny capital of Ambodifotatra, a hub of island life, with some shops, a bank, and a small harbor. It is a pleasant place to walk around and to take in the vibes of island life, visit the local market, the Catholic Cathedral, and some of the cafes that line the streets of the capital.
Back to Antananarivo
You are almost at the end of our Madagascar holidays. On day 12, you will be met by your private driver for a ten- or 15-minute trip to the airport to board a one-hour flight back to Antananarivo.
If necessary, you can use a day room in a city hotel before boarding your onward flight.
You will be dropped at the airport in time for your return flight back home.
Finally, your fantastic Madagascar holidays have come to an end with memories of Madagascar's incredible sights, sounds, and experiences.