Itinerary Highlights

  • Aye ayes and Ruffed lemurs at Le Palmarium
  • Indri, Diademed Sifaka and various nocturnal Lemurs in Andasibe-Mantadia
  • Fosa, Fork-marked lemurs and Baobabs at Kirindy
  • Leaftailed geckoes and chameleons at Montagne d'Ambre
  • Perrier's black sifakas in Andrafiamena

What's Included

  • Flights
  • Accommodation Throughout
  • Travel Guide
  • Transfers
21 nights from £10,250 per person
All of our holidays are tailor-made to your requirements by an expert Travel Specialist
Rainbow Specialists
0203 131 5311

We are proud to offer another of our annual Madagascar Wildlife small group departures with Daniel Austin, author of Madagascar: Bradt Guide and Madagascar Wildlife: A Visitors Guide.

An accomplished tour-leader, Madagascar expert Daniel has been leading very successful small group departures for us for several years now, taking guests to seek a wide variety of Madagascar's most unusual and spectacular protected areas. Through the years these tours have delivered a stunning catalogue of wildlife sightings - the 2023 and 2024 tours should leave participants with a smorgasbord of wonderful memories and lengthy checklists including some of the island's rarest and most sought-after species. (The October 2022 tour - which followed the same itinerary as this - was one of the best ever, with epic sightings throughout).

The tour begins with a visit to Kirindy Forest in the hot Western plains, where sought-after mammal attractions include Fosa, Verreaux's sifaka and Fork-marked lemur, among others. Kirindy also represents an example of the island's most endangered forest type, i.e. its Western tropical dry deciduous forests and what makes this area particularly special is the presence of three of the 6 endemic Malagasy Baobabs. (Uniquely, this tour allows for participants to see ALL of Madagascar's six endemic Baobab species).

The second part of the trip entails travelling by road to the Eastern escarpment, with a stay in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, so guests can explore the wildlife-rich Eastern rainforests and enjoy observing iconic species such as Indri, Parsons chameleon and others. From Andasibe, continue down to the Eastern lowlands where people come to the Palmarium Private Reserve primarily to see Aye ayes, and to photograph numerous other lemurs resident there. 

The third leg of the tour starts with a flight up to the far North (Diego Suarez) for the 'Northern Parks Loop': the first stop, Montagne d'Ambre National Park, is especially excellent for herpetologists, with various species of Uroplatus, the famed Leaf-tailed geckoes, being present. After having explored Montagne d'Ambre, continue southwards to the seldom visited Andrafiamena-Andavakoera Protected Area, a community-managed initiative where the key mammal attraction is the critically endangered Perrier's black sifaka. We have been the leading specialist tour operator bringing ecotourists to Andrafiamena-Andavakoera to appreciate the rare wildlife and the work being done to protect it. 

Still in the Northern parks loop, the tour then continues to the remarkable Ankarana National Park, one of the distinctive raised limestone karst plateaux in the western half of the island, topped with fields of razor sharp pinnacles called 'tsingy'.  After having explored this incredible place, the trip continues to remote and secluded Baobab Beach, just opposite Nosy Be island. Here, participants can enjoy a breather with some world class snorkelling at Parc Marin Nosy Tanikely and see the wildlife of the 'Sambirano' Domain, where rainforest and deciduous forest types merge. Also in the programme is a visit to Lokobe Reserve, which protects a fine stand of Sambirano Forest. 

With more than one international carrier offering flights from Nosy Be back to UK, Europe, South Africa or USA, it is easily possible to exit Madagascar from Nosy Be rather than having to return to the capital city. So, if you prefer to do so - or if you prefer also to stay on in the Nosy Be region for a few extra nights, do let us know and we can assist with any additional arrangements. (Most of the 2022 and 2023 tour participants chose to do so).

 As ever, Daniel will be accompanied by ace Malagasy guide, Harry Rakotosalama, who also has superb experience when it comes to showing natural history enthusiasts around his country's incredible wild places.

Group size is restricted to a maximum of 8 guests. 


DATES: 24 September - 15 October 2024


International flight to Antananarivo. The tour price is based on Kenya Airways flights from London Heathrow via Nairobi, but we can also book other carriers, such as Air France; Ethiopian Airlines; Airlink or Air Mauritius - let us know if you would prefer one of those airlines instead).
On arrival into Antananarivo this evening, you will be welcomed at Ivato Airport and transferred to the very comfortable Relais des Plateaux to stay overnight.
This morning, transfer to Antananarivo Ivato Airport to check in for the lunch time Tsaradia flight to Morondava on the central- west coast. On arrival into Morondava, we set off in 4-wheel drive vehicles on the 90 minute drive north to Kirindy Forest for a 2-night stay at Relais du Kirindy. Introductory night walk in Kirindy, highly regarded as one of the island's two or three top locations for seeing nocturnal wildlife. As the walk begins in the later afternoon, we'll also be able to chalk up observations of interesting diurnal fauna.
We will make day and night walks in Kirindy in search of its diverse nocturnal inhabitants which include the likes of Fosa (Madagascar's largest predator); the incredibly localised and critically endangered Giant jumping rat and an impressive selection of nocturnal primates including Red-tailed sportive lemur, Pale fork-marked lemur and Gray mouse lemur. You will also be taken to look for our tiniest cousin, the Madame Berthe's mouse lemur, now feared possibly extinct and at best, very scarce, as it is found only in the Menabe Antimena Protected Area. (Our clients in 2022 and 2023 managed excellent sightings of this rarity).
We have another morning to explore the fascinating dry forest of Kirindy and perhaps nearby Marofandilia, during a guided walk. In the afternoon, we'll drive back to Morondava with a stop for photos at Allee des Baobab, along the way for photo opportunities and for those who wish, planting a Baobab sapling as part of the habitat restoration programme. We overnight at Palissandre Cote Ouest, all meals included.
This morning, we will fly back to Antananarivo where we stay overnight in Relais des Plateaux. As it'll be our only chance for some sightseeing in the capital, we make an excursion to Tsaratsaotra (the world's only privately owned RAMSAR wetland site), and the very atmospheric African House.
After breakfast, we depart on the approx. 5hr drive eastwards to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park for a 3 night stay at Mantadia Lodge, all meals included. Afternoon introductory rainforest walk in Andasibe, which is deservedly the island's most visited and popular protected example of its dense eastern rainforests. Today's walk in the forest at Andasibe is sure to reveal many of the life forms which attract people to this park, with flagship species including Indri, Diademed sifaka, Eastern lesser bamboo lemur; Blue and Red-fronted couas; Rufous and Coral-billed nuthatch vangas; Parson's chameleon, Giraffe-necked weevil and many more.
Much enjoyed by our clients is Maromizaha Experimental Reserve, which we explore a trail in for our morning activity. The rainforest here is wilder than that of Andasibe and Analamazaotra, allowing for the chance to seek rare species including Black & white ruffed lemur and Velvet asity (pictured). In the afternoon we will return to the rainforest in Analamazaotra, and after dark, we make the first of our night walks here, in search of nocturnal critters.
Enjoy Andasibe this morning, where one of the highlights is seeing (and hearing) the iconic Indris, as well as spying critically endangered Diademed sifakas with their 'what-are-you-looking-at' expressions. Trails are graded as easy for the most part. Birding is marvellous in this rainforest site, with most of the eastern rainforest-dwelling 'specials' being present. Those keen on 'herps' can seek the likes of Mossy leaf-tailed gecko, colourful Day geckos, tiny Brookesia and Nose-horned chameleons and a myriad interesting invertebrates. We will make another night walk after dark, to seek species such as Goodman's mouse lemur.
After breakfast, we drive down the escarpment to Manambato, where the 4-wheel drive vehicles are parked and from where we embark on a 1hr motorised boat transfer to Lac Ampitabe for a 2-night stay at the comfortable, no-frills Le Palmarium, with all meals included. Tonight, we'll do the boat trip to a wooded islet in the lake where we have the wonderful experience of observing wild Aye ayes.
Today we explore the east coast littoral forest of Palmarium Private Reserve for its abundant wildlife. Tonight, those who wish can repeat the excursion to see Aye ayes again.
After a relaxed breakfast we transfer by boat back to Manambato, where we meet our 4-wheel drive vehicles and set off back up-country, on the all-day drive to Antananarivo, where we arrive late afternoon and stay overnight in Relais des Plateaux.
After breakfast, we transfer to Antananarivo airport for the Tsaradia flight to Diego Suarez on the far north coast. Then drive about an hour southwards to Joffreville (ascending about 800m in elevation), where climate and vegetation are remarkably different than that we will have seen earlier today. Montagne d'Ambre National Park protects an isolated rainforest-clad massif where fauna is quite different than that found in the eastern rainforest band which you will previously have seen. The main focus for tonight is a nocturnal walk, because herpetofauna is particularly rich here. We will visit the privately protected forest patch in the grounds of Domain de Fontenay, where people come to seek diverse nocturnal animals, notably various species of Leaf-tailed (Uroplatus) geckos and Chameleons. With luck, Dwarf and Mouse lemurs will also be in evidence. Two nights*** at the comfortable Nature Lodge.
Today will be an easy one, spent exploring the montane forest wonderland of Montagne d'Ambre National Park***. This isolated rainforest block holds a large variety of endemic vertebrates, notably many reptiles and frogs. So seeking out the 'herps' will be high on the list during day and night walks in this area. There are also substantial populations of the northern lemurs such as Crowned and Sanford's lemurs - it is the best site for the latter. Birding is rewarding; guides will keep a lookout for the likes of the locally endemic Amber Mountain rock-thrush. Night walks at the private park of Domain de Fontenay nearby, are always much enjoyed - highlights here include Greater dwarf lemur; Giant and Mossy leaf-tailed gecko and many chameleons.
A 3.5 hr drive today after an early morning rainforest walk, will take us to Andrafiamena Andavakoera Protected Area, a corridor of tropical deciduous forest with some limestone substrate and caves. For the night, our base will be the well tended Black Lemur Camp. (Daniel and Hilary Bradt's 2018 tour was the first tour group to visit here and they had a superb time; our groups have thus far had a 100% success rate in seeing the Perrier's black sifakas). Introductory forest walk during the afternoon and night walk after dinner. *** Should logistics demand, it may be preferable to do Andrafiamena-Andavakoera as a 1-night stay: the drive times between Montagne d'Ambre, Andrafiamena and Ankarana are now quite short and in Andrafiamena, the essential walks are the day walk behind the Camp, and a night stroll.
After an early breakfast, venture out from behind the camp up along the forest trail into the Protected Area in search of some of the Perrier's black sifakas which are protected here. Seeing these ultra-rare and localised lemurs which are one of the world's most endangered primates, is a wonderful and memorable trip highlight. There are also endangered Northern sportive lemurs and various birds and reptiles to be seen. We then drive to Ankarana National Park where we stay for two nights at Iharana Bush Camp, all meals included. This afternoon/evening we will do the wonderful 'tsingy, sundowners and lake' outing.
After breakfast, we will be taken into the eastern sector of Ankarana National Park, to marvel at the geological wonders packed into this 5km x 20km limestone fortress. There's also plenty of wildlife to be seen, including groups of Sanford's and Crowned lemurs; Ankarana sportive lemurs; various reptiles and birding is rewarding with the likes of Crested coua and Blue vanga being fairly commonly encountered. The day begins with a quick drive to Mahamasina Gate, from where the trail begins. (Grading today: easy). Lunch at Ankarana Lodge. (PIC by Daniel Austin, of some of the 2022 participants in Ankarana Est) We then drive around the southern limits of Ankarana to Iharana Bush Camp on the western side of the park for an overnight stay. In the mid afternoon we set off on the other much-enjoyed excursion, to enjoy the tsingy, sundowners and a boat trip on the small lake, after which we return to Iharana Bush Camp for dinner.
Depart after breakfast on the half-day drive through scenic Sambirano country (where Madagascar's high quality chocolates are made) to the north-western coastal town of Ankify. At the jetty, transfer by speedboat at noon, to discreet Baobab Beach where we stay 3 nights at the lovely Eden Lodge, all meals included. This is one of the very few locations in Madagascar offering the combination of rare wildlife and the marine aspect, and was very much enjoyed by Daniel's 2022 group. Afternoon and night walks will reveal some of the rare species unique to the Sambirano Domain of far north-west Madagascar.
One of the trip highlights, this reserve, adjacent to Lokobe National Park on the south-east corner of Nosy Be Island, protects the last stand of Sambirano Forest on Nosy Be. Among the highlights we can expect to see are Black lemurs, the critically endangered Claire's sportive lemur andherps such as Panther chameleon and Madagascar boa. After lunch we return to Eden Lodge, where those who wish can explore more of the Sambirano woods around the property.
A wonderful way in which to end a comprehensive tour: we are taken on a speedboat excursion to the reef-ringed marine gem, Nosy Tanikely, famed for the quality of its marine habitat which attract scuba diving and snorkelling enthusiasts from around the world. We are sure to - as the 2022 group did - enjoy swimming with enormous Green turtles while enjoying the colourful coral formations. After lunch on the island, we return to Eden Lodge, where those who wish can enjoy a night walk after dark.
A speedboat transfer to Nosy Be port and a road transfer to Nosy Be Airport*** is followed by a flight back to Antananarivo. *** Participants who wish to depart from Madagascar today can do so from Nosy Be, without having to return to the capital. (This is achievable on Ethiopian Airlines, so anyone on the Ethiopian Airlines flight home will be taken to Nosy Be Airport to check in for their onward flight.) *** Those who wish to make a beach extension in the Nosy Be region, can do so from here - please let us know and we shall amend your itinerary with pleasure. On arrival back into Antananarivo, we transfer to Relais des Plateaux, where participants leaving on Air France have day/evening rooms at Relais des Plateaux. After a farewell dinner, those departing on Air France will be taken back to Ivato Airport for the Air France check in.
You will be transferred to Antananarivo Airport to check in for your onward flight if your flight departs during the day today. * If your flight departs late the previous night, your transfer will be timed accordingly.
Kerry Cook

Kerry Cook

All of our holidays are tailor-made to your requirements by an expert Travel Specialist

Pricing Information & Dates

21 nights from £10,250 per person
All of our holidays are tailor-made to your requirements by an expert Travel Specialist
Rainbow Specialists
0203 131 5311

Price Includes

  • Return International Flights as per the itinerary
  • All airport taxes and security charges
  • Accommodation and meals as specified
  • Transfers as specified
  • Activities and excursions as specified
  • All entrace fees on sightseeing tours as specified
Return economy class international flights from London Heathrow (or selected other UK airports) to Antananarivo Domestic Tsaradia/Air Madagascar flights Airport taxes Airport facilitation Services of tour leader Daniel Austin throughout the tour Services of experienced Malagasy guide throughout the tour Services of drivers Services of reserve/ national park guides. National Park permits All transfers and transportation in comfortable, private, 4-wheel drive vehicles Activities and excursions as detailed All accommodation as outlined All meals Mineral water

Price Excludes

  • Travel Insurance
  • Any meals not specified in the itinerary
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Optional excursions
Madagascar visa (35 euro, issued on arrival) Drinks Items of a personal nature (tips, phone calls, laundry, travel insurance)

Pricing Notes

Single Room Supplement: £650 Group size: minimum 6 - maximum 8 Should you prefer to arrange your own international flights, please deduct £900 from the price per person as that is the equivalent of the international economy class fare our tour price is based on. If you wish to upgrade from Economy to Business (or if available/offered by the airline of your preference, Premium Economy) on your international flights, call us for details.

Why Choose Us?

Passionate travel experts

  • We've been leading wildlife travel since our first South Africa tours over 25 years ago
  • Our Travel Specialists have lived in their specialist area for years
  • We work with local guides to immerse you deeper in our diverse range of experiences

Personal & tailor-made

  • You'll speak to your own expert who'll share their first-hand knowledge
  • We'll make your itinerary seamless with 24/7 emergency contact available
  • Your Travel Specialist will listen to ensure you have the best chance of seeing the wildlife you love

Responsible by nature

  • We take care to actively contribute to the conservation of environments we visit
  • For select countries, we make a charitable donation on your behalf when you make your booking
  • We've partnered with conservation experts and NGOs to curate responsible tours
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