Madagascar Rainforests, Wildlife, Tsingy & Beach
Brown lemur in mid-air, Andasibe-Mantadia (Mike Unwin)  
Madagascar highlands  
Eastern lesser bamboo lemur, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park  
Crowned lemur, Montagne D'Ambre  
Tsingy, Ankarana  
Giraffe weevil, one of the island's iconic small-scale marvels  
Indri, the icon of Andasibe-Mantadia National Park  
14 day tour
Including flights and transfers
Prices from
£5335 - £5705

Tour Highlights

  • Luxuriant rainforest at Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
  • Tsingy limestone pinnacle-fields at Ankarana
  • Rare wildlife including lemurs, chameleons and endemic birds
  • Relaxing in the balmy Nosy Be archipelago
I'm enquiring about: Madagascar Rainforests, Wildlife, Tsingy & Beach
I'm enquiring about: Madagascar Rainforests, Wildlife, Tsingy & Beach

Madagascar Rainforests, Wildlife, Tsingy & Beach

Madagascar

On this itinerary, we aim to show you as much of Madagascar’s exquisite wildlife and habitats as can comfortably fit into a two week trip. The tour takes in a variety of Madagascar’s diverse eco-types, from humid rainforest to seasonally dry woods. You visit the enchanting reserves in Madagascar’s Eastern Rainforest belt at Andasibe-Mantadia (‘Perinet’), home to the Indri and 11 other lemur species, as well as the isolated rainforest in the volcanic massif of Montagne d’Ambre, complete with sacred crater lakes, waterfalls and Crowned and Sanford's lemur. Another highlight of the tour is a visit to Ankarana, frequently cited as the one place in Madagascar having that ‘WOW’ factor, which is a tough call in this extraordinary island! The 35km fortress-like limestone massif is famed for its pinnacle-fields, sunken deciduous forests and a vast network of caves and underground passages. A short spell on the islands of the balmy Nosy Be archipelago***, provides the perfect relaxing ending after the parks.

***For the purposes of this sample itinerary we use Manga Soa Lodge on Nosy Be itself, but on request we can (a) extend the beach section at the end for you and (b) quote with alternative accommodation such as Eden Lodge, Tsara Komba or Constance Tsarabanjina. Ask us for details

 

Read more about this tour


Day 1
Flight London (or selected other UK airports) - Antananarivo
Depart in the morning on Air France flight via Paris (Charles de Gaulle) to Antananarivo. On arrival in Antananarivo in the evening you will be met by your tour leader, and assisted with currency exchange. Transferred to the comfortable Relais des Plateaux, just 10 minutes drive away, for a 1-night stay, with breakfast included.
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
   
Day 2
Day 2
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
After a leisurely breakfast depart with your guide by 4WD vehicle to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park (‘Perinet’), an easy 4-hour drive through scenic high plateau countryside to humid rainforests on the eastern escarpment. You’ll be based at Vakona Forest Lodge for 2 nights, all meals included.
 
Take an introductory rainforest walk, visit Lemur Island and if you wish, make a night walk in Madagascar’s most visited protected area because of its rich and varied wildlife. Iconic species include the Indri, the largest of all the lemurs, the two-foot long Parson’s chameleon (pictured here, by Mike Unwin) and numerous rainforest-dependent birds.
Accommodation: Vakona Forest Lodge
       
Day 3
Day 3
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
Explore the easy trails of Analamazaotra Special Reserve (‘Perinet’/ Andasibe) with your guides and at night, seek nocturnal wildlife across the road in the rainforest concession managed by the proactive NGO Association Mitsinjo.
Accommodation: Vakona Forest Lodge
       
Day 4
Day 4
Mantadia National Park - Antananarivo
Visit the lush primary rainforest national park of Mantadia, about 37km north of Andasibe town. This rainforest holds an assemblage of rare birds and mammals not necessarily found in ‘Perinet’. The trails are somewhat steeper and narrower than those in Analamazaotra. In the mid afternoon, travel back to Antananarivo to arrive at dusk and overnight in Relais des Plateaux, with breakfast included.
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
   
Day 5
Day 5
Antananarivo - Diego Suarez - Montagne d’Ambre National Park
You’ll be collected from your hotel and transferred to Antananarivo airport to check in for the Air Madagascar flight to the far north coastal town Diego Suarez/Antsiranana. On arrival, your guide and driver meet you and take you to the lodge to check in for a 2- night stay in a comfortable room at Litchi Tree OR the Nature Lodge. All meals are included.
 
This afternoon you visit the isolated rainforest-clad national park of Montagne d’Ambre, where the flora and fauna is quite different than that you will previously have seen in the Eastern Rainforests of Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, as the two are not connected. The drive time to the entrance near Joffreville is roughly an hour. Montagne d’Ambre is one of Madagascar’s oldest and most scenically beautiful national parks.
Accommodation: The Litchi Tree
     
Day 6
Day 6
Montagne d’Ambre National Park
Today you return to Montagne d’Ambre to seek out more the one of the wildlife unique to the far northern region. Key species include Crowned and Sanford’s lemurs, Panther chameleon and Amber Mountain rock-thrush. The waterfalls and crater lakes make this park especially attractive for photographers.
Accommodation: The Litchi Tree
     
Day 7
Day 7
Ankarana National Park: Ankarana Est
Travel three hours southwards to visit Ankarana Est, where among other formations you can see the Petite Tsingy. Overnight at Ankarana Lodge, with all meals included. These strongly eroded limestone pinnacle fields are a feature of the island’s ‘tsingy’ plateaus, of which there are three protected examples in the western region. Rising up abruptly from the surrounding savannah, Ankarana is a 5km x 20km limestone fortress, which in its labyrinth of caves and sunken forests, protects large populations of often rare and localized wildlife.
Accommodation: Ankarana Lodge
       
Day 8
Day 8
Ankarana Ouest
Travel around the reserve to Ankarana Ouest, to stay 2 -nights in en suite bungalows at Iharana Bush Camp, with all meals included. The western sector of the special reserve, with its grand tsingy formations, is a place in Madagascar which renowned travel writer Hilary Bradt describes as having the ‘wow’ factor. Here the tsingy formations are far larger, and there are awe inspiring caves and underground rivers.
Accommodation: Iharana Bush Camp
         
Day 9
Day 9
Ankarana Ouest
Your guides will take you into the remarkable Ankarana Ouest today. Here you can seek wildlife local to the north-western dry deciduous forests and marvel at the incredible geological formations which include a vast network of caves and subterannean passages. You will also have the chance to visit one of the nearby villages, for a glimpse into the culture of the Antakarana people who live in the region.
Accommodation: Iharana Bush Camp
         
Day 10
Day 10
Ankarana Ouest - Ankify - Nosy Be
You will be transferred about 3hrs by road to the seaside town Ankify, where you will be met at noon for the speedboat transfer to Nosy Be, largest of a tropical archipelago off Madagascar's balmy north-west coast. Transfer to the lovely Manga Soa Hotel on Nosy Be for a 3 night stay with dinner and breakfast included.
Day 11
Day 11
Nosy Be - Lokobe National Park excursion
You will be collected from the lodge after breakfast and taken by road and by boat on an easy-going day trip to Lokobe, the last remaining stand of Sambirano Forest left on Nosy Be. In this highly threatened forest type, rain and deciduous forest types merge and so, it holds its own locally endemic assemblage of wildlife including iconic species such as the endangered Black lemur. Enjoy a traditional lunch at the local Sakalava fishing village after completing the nature trail.
Day 12
Day 12
Nosy Tanikely Marine Reserve and Nosy Komba excursion
You will be collected from the lodge and taken by speedboat on an excursion to the satellite island of Nosy Tanikely, a reef-ringed marine reserve where snorkelling is wonderful. On the island there are lemurs, a roost of Madagascar flying fox (Fruit bats) and breeding Tropic-birds. Then stop by at Nosy Komba where people come for that 'lemurs on the shoulder' experience with Black lemurs. Lunch is included, at the picnic site under tall trees by the sandy beach.
Day 13
Nosy Be to Antananarivo
Morning at leisure on Nosy Be. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Antananarivo, where your guide and driver will meet you and take you to back to Le Relais de Plateaux, just 10 minutes drive from the airport, for use of a day room.
 
In the late evening, you will be transferred to the airport for the Air France check-in. (If flying out on Air France)
 
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
   
Day 14
Departure
Air France flight from Antananarivo to Paris CDG, where you connect on arrival in the mid morning with the regional flight back to London Heathrow or selected other UK airports, arriving by lunch time.

Pricing Information & Dates

14 day tour, from £5335 - £5705 per person
Price Includes:
  • Flights
  • Accommodation
  • Transfers
  • Guide
Price Includes
* International return Air France flights from London Heathrow or selected other UK airports via Paris CDG to Antananarivo (economy class) and airport taxes;
* Domestic Air Madagascar flight as per itinerary, and airport taxes
* Accommodation as stated, with meals as indicated
* All private transfers and 4WD (and speedboat) transportation;
* Services of dedicated, private, English-speaking guide and of drivers
* Park guides and national park guide fees
* All excursions and activities as per the itinerary.
Price Excludes
* Gratuities
* items of a personal nature (travel insurance, phone calls, laundry)
* drinks
* Madagascar visa (€27, issued on arrival)
Price Notes
Please note: this is a sample, tailor-made itinerary so can be modified to suit your travel calendar and special interests. To extend beach time at the end, you might also wish to consider places such as Eden Lodge - contact us for details and a customized proposal.

Tour Route Map

  1.   Antananarivo
  2.   Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
  3.   Montagne d’Ambre National Park
  4.   Ankarana
  5.   Nosy Be, the Mitsio and Radama islands

Accommodation on this Tour

Ankarana Lodge
Ankarana Lodge
Ankarana, Madagascar
Ankarana Lodge Location:Established by Yorke and Lydia Pareik, this comfortable, no-frills, owner-run lodge,  close to Mahamasina Gate at Ankarana Est, is about  4 1/2- 5hrs drive from......
       
Iharana Bush Camp
Iharana Bush Camp
Ankarana, Madagascar
Situated about 16 km from the town of Ambilobe, Iharana Bush Camp has eight bungalows with en suite facilities (showers not bath tub). The design reflects a unique crossover between traditional Malagasy and African styling.
         
Relais Des Plateaux
Relais Des Plateaux
Antananarivo, Madagascar
Relais Des Plateaux is positioned on the outskirts of Antananarivo and is just a ten minute drive away from the airport. Rooms are large and comfortable with air-conditioning and mini-bar. The hotel has a large outdoor heated pool and a spacious new restaurant.
   
The Litchi Tree
The Litchi Tree
Montagne d’Ambre National Park, Madagascar
Located a short distance from the tiny centre of the old French military town of Joffreville, The Litchi Tree is a six-roomed boutique guesthouse. Rooms have large wooden beds, en suite bathrooms with large shower, wooden floors and simple, but colourful and stylish décor.
     
Vakona Forest Lodge
Vakona Forest Lodge
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Madagascar
This is a family-run property and the best hotel in the area. It has 28 comfortable rooms and bungalows, a pool and stables in a eucalyptus plantation and private reserve 7km from the entrance to Perinet. The lodge is 140 km from the capital, about 3 hours by tarred road.
       

Image Gallery

Reviews

'Dear Derek 

We had a fabulous time in Madagascar, thank you. In summary everything worked perfectly (well jolly nearly and one cannot expect more in Madagascar) and we are delighted to have chosen Rainbow Tours to organise it for us and would not hesitate to use you again or to recommend you. 

 Madagascar as a country was an amazing place to go to visit. The wildlife was stunning and you did well in helping us to choose good and varied places to visit to get a wide cross section of things to see. With the help of amazing guides we managed to see a large proportion of what was available in each location. They also took the opportunity of time not walking to tell us more about the country, people and customs thus making us feel we had a better idea of life for the Malagasy. The degree of poverty and the difficulty of daily life for the Malagasy is eyeopening although we tried hard not to appear shocked by it. We will certainly look into the charities you suggest on your leaflet. On the subject of which our excellent guide (see below) mentioned Père Pedro and his work in Tana with the homeless, which I now see is mentioned in the Bradt Guide. Is it a charity you know anything of? By the careful avoidance of unsafe food and practice we largely remained free of illness and although we were obviously shielded from the realities of life in Madagascar for most people we hope we got a good feel for the way of life in the areas we visited. 

 We were very well taken care of.  Our main guide, Belaviv, was brilliant. After some changing of plans he ended up coming to Montagne d'Ambre on the flight with us and escorting us all the way to Ankify which we were very pleased about. He was efficient and dedicated in his arrangement of things, making sure we got the most out of every experience both in terms of enjoyment and what we saw. He arranged lunch stops in very good places and when he discovered Naomi was gluten free he rang ahead a couple of times to arrange suitable food. So when he collected packed breakfast for our early flight to Antsiranana he made sure there was a suitable one for her,  he rang Ankarana Lodge where we had lunch after our journey from Montagne d'Ambre on our way to Iharana Bush Camp and he informed the Bush camp before we got there. He was well informed about the wildlife in addition to the local guides and stopped to show us things during journeys. We had to detour to the office to get some paperwork in Antsiranana and he took the opportunity to take us to a view point for Sugar Loaf Island. He organised the breakfasts and dinners to get the most out of visits to the park in a very quiet but insistent manner to waste as little time as possible. He was also an absolute delight to be with, perfect for our family. He started out quietly and diffidently and opened up as the time went on. He was a pleasure to spend time with so we enjoyed any meals together and he took our request to  learn some Malagasy seriously. I hope you will feed that back as he is a young man who deserves to do very well in his career.... 

The drivers were all brilliant. Our first (Roy) took greatest care of us and never stopped cleaning the car every time we got out. He never left the car unattended with anything of ours in it which I felt very guilty for as he ate his meals in sight of it rather than with us. The 2 from Antsiranana were also very considerate and good humoured despite the road conditions in places. At no time at all did I ever feel in danger and I do have a reputation here for being a very nervous passenger after too many crashes in my Rally Navigation phase in my 20s.

There were always copious bottles of water available in the cars and the one in the north without the working starter motor was an excellent reminder that we had never taught out eldest to bump start a car, although usually it was just carefully parked on a slope to avoid any evidence that it didn't start in the conventional manner. This is an amusement not a complaint as it was good not to be in TOTAL luxury as that would have felt very wrong in Madagascar.

Local guides all brilliant. Edwin in Andasibe very good at finding things, patient with our interest and had a very effective 'bush telegraph to let him know what was where. It took me a while to realise he was not just conducting social chit chat on his phone but finding things for us to see! 

Antonio for Montagne d'Ambre and Ankarana was also very knowledgable, friendly and sensitive enough to tell Belaviv to make sure we did not take valuables to Montagne d'Ambre without telling us why or making us concerned as he was the guide held up at gunpoint there in October 2015. He told us later in Ankarana. He had an amazing ability to find wildlife.

Hotels: no complaints at all. 

Relais: very conveniently close to the airport and, although service at dinner was desperately slow on the 2 occasions we were there to eat, the food was good. Clean, large sized rooms, helpful staff.

Vakona Lodge: I am delighted with my choice. Loved the bungalows, grounds beautiful. Breakfast good, evening meals also good. Used our last morning to go to the two reserves of the hotel (crocodile park and then lemur island). Managed to spend ages at the crocodile reserve looking at so many things the guide from there said 'You are interested in everything aren't you)! but there was so much to see even if that was our first Magpie Robin or Day Gecko! Lemur island was a lovely experience for all its slightly un PC-ness in the fact that it exists at all. We persuaded ourselves it was a rescue area and just enjoyed the time there. 

Litchi Tree: Splendid place. We loved it. Hervé excellent in all respects, rooms a delight, food excellent. With a night walk taking us out we felt we could easily have stayed another night and maybe headed to the Cap d'Ambre or other more northern area for the day of arrival and had a full day in the Montagne d'Ambre park in order to enjoy The Litchi tree even more (of course this wouldn't have fitted with flight schedules but one can dream...)

Iharana Bush Camp: I did briefly wonder why we were driving for 1.5 hours away from Ankarana Est only to return fairly early the next day, but when I arrived I knew why. This was a delightful place. Very comfortable, very exciting and excellent food and service. We loved it. Even the drive there was interesting passing all the houses and the views were amazing. Good birdlife too.

L'Heure Bleue: Splendid choice, thank you. The bungalows with legs in the sea (or whatever the website calls them were sheer luxury). The view at any time of day was breathtaking. The only downside was that that side of the bay is in shadow from before 4pm but the rest of the experience easily surmounts that small fact and one can always get up to watch the sunrise instead. Breakfasts and dinners good and eaten on the terrace overlooking the bay. My daughter liked it so much she declined Tanikele to stay at the hotel. (Snorkelling with company called 'Baleines Rand'eau' just down the beach from the hotel. Pleasant frenchman and 2 Malagasy assistants. 2 sites for snorkelling round Nosy Tanikely and a short land on the island and then excellent lunch at Sakatia and snorkelling with the Green turtles after, good trip although my mask didn't have a clip and was just put through the mask headband so kept kinking. He sorted it out for the second session and it was fine.) 

Anjajavy:

What can I say? Paradise. We had the two cabins at the very far end away from the main lodge and in my opinion the best despite the walk taking 4-5 minutes (you just needed to factor that in to timings) not sure if that was requested by you or just chance? It would not work to come here before other places in Madagascar as many of the things we worked so hard to find and were so excited to have a glimpse of were just sitting around waiting to be viewed. We had worked quite hard with early starts and evening walks so felt justified in a bit of a rest here although there was still so much to do that resting was rationed. The whole experience was fabulous: accommodation, trips, service, food, everything. 

We met people who were here for a week and had spent a week either at Ile St Marie or 4 days at Andasibe and 2 at Tana, both arranged by Audley Travel. In my opinion they were badly advised. They did not see as much of Madagascar as they could have done in the time and I think that showed in their experience of the country compared to ours. Your suggested itineraries undoubtedly swayed my suggestions as to what we would like to do and I am sure that your approach is right and leads to a much more fulfilling holiday. 

Air France, however you are also right about. Poor disinterested service, 2/5 TV sets did not work on journey home (despite requesting reset), very limited food service (there are help yourself snacks during the flight but no information that they exist. However for UK probably better to have the last leg so short as opposed to changing in Istanbul, but close call. And although they had Gluten free food for Naomi on the way out they did not on the way back, the flight attendant said we should have confirmed it 48 hrs before the flight. As you will know from Anjajavy and most of Madagascar that is not really likely to work. 

All in all a remarkable trip. I have already read your recent brochure from cover to cover to see where to go next...

Thank you again to all at Rainbow who made this trip not just possible but such an incredible experience for the whole family.

Kind Regards

Sonia  C'

 

Chavasse family
August 2, 2017

'We had a wonderful time.  Highlights were of course the lemurs!

Mitch also loved the diving (particularly the floor diving) and I absolutely loved the horse-riding.

Food was great too, at Sakatia but we do eat a lot and I think impressed them with our abilities.  Also great massages.

 Loved the wildlife! Wish more could be preserved.'

Dr Carbone and Mr Watsky
June 27, 2017

'Everything worked like a dream. There were no hiccups. Jessica was very informative and eager to go the extra mile to ensure that we were able to do everything we wanted to. Michael was also an excellent guide, showing great concern for our well-being. He told us lots about the politics and cultural life of Madagascar. 

The Litchi Tree: beautigul gardens, Herve was charming.

Iharana Bush Camp: arriving after dark, the accommodation was so poorly lit it was difficult to unpack. Shaving in the bathroom with loits of baby frogs was unnerving initially but in the daylight we got to enjoy their company. 

Sakatia Lodge: it was a tropical island paradise. The family were very friendly and tried hard to ensure we had a good time.

Andasibe Hotel: the lighting was poor. 

Considering our brief of lemurs, baobabs and some beach time we feel you did us proud. It all worked out very well and we had a really fantastic holiday which we will have fond memories of for a long time.  The guides made it for us. Jessica even told us a traditional Malagasy story about the drongo and the fruit bat. '

Mr and Mrs Zacal
June 26, 2017

Hi Helen

Overall we had an absolute fantastic trip! Everything went off seamlessly! It was both of our first experiences hiring a company like Rainbow tours on our own and I must say it’s been a pleasant experience from beginning to end: You were timely with responses, you listened to what we wanted and it was all in there in the itinerary. 

Rija was our favorite guide and Loren our favorite driver. They were so much fun and agreeable about stopping, pointing out all the wildlife and surroundings. Rija did all that she could to obtain information and provide us with the best info possible on our hikes.  

The accommodations were all very comfortable and the staff was always very nice and accommodating. Our first stop at Litchi Tree, the owner, Herve, was always polite and accommodating to Michelle and I. 

Bush Camp was amazing, staff attentive and friendly and they had frogs in the toilet! We personally love frogs in the toilet and our own toilets at home are now a huge disappointment :) Eden Lodge also amazing with fantastic staff. And super bonus that we were the ONLY ones there! It really was like having our own private beach. Vakona lodge also great. The rooms were underwhelming after Litchi, Bush and Eden but there was nothing wrong with them. In fact our room had a cat on the porch and that was a welcome bonus. Again staff and was great. The physical surroundings of Vakona were just beautiful and Lemur Island was definitely a huge highlight. Just icing on the cake! 

The place by the airport, Relais des Plateau (?), was okay. Our last stay there which was the afternoon/evening before we left they put us in room 5. Directly behind room 5 is where they burn the rubbish. It was quite an unpleasant smell. We discussed going to the front desk but decided since we weren’t staying the night… But I do regret not saying something. But I suggest for future bookings, tell them no room 5. 

Highlights for me are the Tsingy and ALL the lemurs. It was amazing to have lemurs on your shoulder but they were spectacular to behold on in the wild as well. I enjoy seeing as many animals as possible in the wild and we saw a LOT!

Our guide, Stefan, and driver - whose name I can’t recall! - were good. It was a different experience after being with Rija but still good. Stefan didn’t eat with us and we weren’t sure if it was because we are women, or just technically they are off the clock and eating with us is purely a personal choice. But he was great and loved taking pictures for us which was super helpful during Lemur Island. 

Thank you so much! We plan to be back to book with you! 

I’ll get some pictures together.

Molly 

 

Ms Gras-Usry and Ms Norsen
May 24, 2017

'Thanks to Fiona for all organisation. Njeeva was fantastic; he was with us for the whole trip except for Nosy Saba. Please advise the local agency of his conduct and empathy.

Litchi Tree is a brillaint place.

Nosy Saba is totally superb; great staff. Would love to go back'. 

 

Mr Pope and Ms Pyman
December 6, 2016

'Vakona Forest Lodge, Andasibe: lovely location.

Allamanda Hotel, Antsiranana: the food was very good.

Litchi Tree, Montagne d'Ambre: Friendly and characterful.

Iharana Bush Camp, Ankarana: accommodation a bit too basic; got bitten in bed

Eden Lodge: Lovely place'

Mr Foster and Ms Anderson
November 22, 2016

'Overall holiday satisfaction excellent.

Iharana Bush Camp excellent all round, 3 nights here would have been better.

Sakatia Lodge excellent, relaxed, plenty to do and enjoy.' 

Campbell party
October 19, 2016
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