Madagascar Reef & Rainforest
Second largest of the extant lemurs, the Diademed sifaka is found in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park  
Dense rainforest near Mantadia National Park  
One of the numerous Boophis tree frog species found at Andasibe-Mantadia.  
Princesse Bora Lodge, executive villa  
Princesse Bora Lodge, infinity pool  
The Indri is the largest of the 100+ remaining Lemur species.  
Whale watching can be productive from July to mid September  
Giraffe-neck weevil - one of the country's iconic oddities  
The Parson's chameleon is the largest of all the world's chameleons .  
Lakana (dugouts), Ile Aux Nattes Sept 2016  
Coco Bay, northern Ile Ste Marie  
14 day tour
Including flights
Prices from
£3650 - £3800

Tour Highlights

  • Malagasy culture in Antananarivo
  • Exquisite, wildlife-rich rainforest at Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
  • Palm-lined beaches on Ile Sainte Marie
  • Whale-watching (in season) off Ile Sainte Marie
I'm enquiring about: Madagascar Reef & Rainforest
I'm enquiring about: Madagascar Reef & Rainforest

Madagascar Reef & Rainforest

Madagascar

This is an easy two-week tailor-made holiday in Madagascar combining stunning wildlife-rich eastern rainforests and a lovely eco-sensitive hotel at a reef-protected beach on the tropical Ile Ste Marie. The Andasibe-Mantadia National Park protects 11 species of lemur as well as many reptiles including the enormous Parson's chameleon, and most of the country's rainforest-dependent endemic birds, such as the Blue coua and Nuthatch vanga. In th 10,000ha primary rainforest of Mantadia National Park, you can see the Diademed sifaka and a select band of other rarities not necessarily found at Andasibe ('Perinet').  Night walks may reveal the localised Goodman's Mouse lemur and a host of other nocturnal denizens of the central-eastern rainforests. This area holds a world record for number of frog species among rainforests of comparable size. 

End the holiday on the balmy, tropica Ile Ste Marie where Princesse Bora Lodge is also home to a research project for the protection of marine mammals and a great place to indulge in some whale-watching from July to mid September.


Day 1
London - Paris - Antananarivo
Fly with Air France from London (or selected regional airports) via Paris.
 
On arrival into Antananarivo. you will be met and transferred to the Relais de Plateaux for a one night stay. This comfortable hotel, which has one of Madagascar's best restaurants, is just 5 - 10 minutes drive from the airport so very conveniently located.
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
   
Day 2
Day 2
Antananarivo & Andasibe-Mantadia National Park (Perinet)
After a leisurely breakfast, your professional wildlife expert guide and driver collect you at your hotel. You will be driven 3 and a half hours eastwards along winding tarmac roads to Vakona Lodge in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park.
 
Begin your exploration of the reserve in search of the iconic, ape-like Indri along with a plethora of other rainforest-dependent wildlife. Evening walk in the Station Forestier de Analamazaotra rainforest concession managed by proactive NGO Association Mitsinjo, for nocturnal wildlife. Stay 3 nights at Vakona Forest Lodge, breakfast, dinner included.
Accommodation: Vakona Forest Lodge
       
Day 3
Day 3
Mantadia National Park
Explore the primary rainforest of Mantadia National Park to seek Diademed sifaka, Black-and-white ruffed lemurs, the insectivorous tenrecs and the rainforest-dependent ground rollers. You may wish to take a picnic lunch and eat it beside a waterfall. In the afternoon you may wish to visit Lemur Island, where visitors go to get that 'lemurs on the shoulder' experience.
Day 4
Day 4
Andasibe aka Amalamazaotra ('Perinet')
Your guides will take you to explore the rainforest of Andasibe, where groups of Indri and other iconic rainforest species are readily seen along paths mostly graded as 'easy'.
Day 5
Day 5
Andasibe - Antananarivo
Much of the day to explore either more of Andasibe, or visit the rainforest concession of Analamazaotra across the road, administered by Association Mitsinjo which works with Money for Madagascar. Here, visitors are encouraged to plant an endemic endangered tree to offset their carbon footprints and literally give something back to Malagasy soil. (Photo below).
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
   
Day 6
Day 6
Ile Ste Marie
You will be driven to the airport for the flight to Ile Ste Marie for a seven night stay in a double comfort bungalow at Princesse Bora Lodge, with breakfast and dinner included.
 
Complimentary lodge activities include snorkelling, kayaking, use of bicycles, sauna, Jacuzzi and swimming pool.
 
Activities with a surcharge include spa treatments, fishing, day excursions, rental of motorbike or quad bikes, fishing and scuba diving.
 
2015 rates for whale watching (payable at the hotel): 45 Euros per adult (and 23 Euros per child) for the first whale-watching excursion; 30 Euros per adult and 15 Euros per child for subsequent excursions. Transfers to idyllic Ile Aux Nattes (Nosy Nato), payable at the hotel: 12 Euros return.
Accommodation: Princesse Bora Lodge
                   
Day 7
Day 7
Ile Ste Marie
Enjoy palm-lined coves, discover the offshore islands such as lovely Ile Aux Nattes, see the legacy of pirate and French settlement, explore the coastal bush and the mangrove system, dive the wrecks, snorkel, watch village life and in season, arrange unforgettable whale watching excursions through the hotel. (Please note that whales are wild animals so sightings can never be guaranteed: officially the whale watching season is 01 July - 30 September, but global weather patterns can result in unforeseen changes so in 2016 Princesse Bora decided to stop the season mid September due to lack of sightings at that time).
Day 8
Day 8
Ile Sainte Marie
Aside from rest and relaxation time, you could explore some of the island of Ste Marie, where attractions include the world's only pirate cemetery. (aerial view pictured, 2016)
Accommodation: Princesse Bora Lodge
                   
Day 9
Day 9
Ile Sainte Marie
Relax on Ile Sainte Marie or partake in various activities which can be arranged at the lodge. (Activities are payable directly).
Accommodation: Princesse Bora Lodge
                   
Day 10
Day 10
Ile Sainte Marie
Day to enjoy Ile Sainte Marie.
Accommodation: Princesse Bora Lodge
                   
Day 11
Day 11
Ile Sainte Marie
Enjoy the tropical island of Ste Marie. Another enjoyable day trip is one that can be arranged to Coco Bay in the north of the island (pictured). A picnic lunch can be included.
Accommodation: Princesse Bora Lodge
                   
Day 12
Day 12
Ile Sainte Marie
Another day to enjoy Ste Marie, or perhaps visit nearby Ile Aux Nattes. Snorkelling around the latter is rewarding. There is plenty of small wildlife to be seen in the coastal bush on Ste Marie, notably reptiles and frogs.
Day 13
Antananarivo
You will be transferred to the airport for the flight to Antananarivo where you will be met and transferred to Relais De Plateaux where you will have a day room.
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
   
Day 14
Paris - London
You will be transferred to the airport to for your flight at 01.40 back to London Heathrow via Paris, arriving in London about 13.30.

Pricing Information & Dates

14 day tour, from £3650 - £3800 per person
Price Includes:
  • Flights
  • Accommodation
Price Includes
Air France international flights via Paris CDG (economy class seating from London or other UK airport)
Departure taxes
Air Madagascar domestic flights
Accommodation and meals as specified
Park entry permits
Exclusive services of a qualified driver and a professional English-speaking wildlife expert guide for Andasibe-Mantadia National Park and Antananarivo
Transfers and private transportation.
Price Excludes
Visa fee (€27)
Drinks, items of a personal nature, additional meals and any activities not mentioned.

Tour Route Map

  1.   Ile Ste Marie
  2.   Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
  3.   Antananarivo

Accommodation on this Tour

Princesse Bora Lodge
Princesse Bora Lodge
Ile Ste Marie, Madagascar
Princesse Bora Lodge is a superb hotel on the west coast of Ile Ste Marie. Twenty lovely, self-contained villas built of natural materials are set amidst a grove of coconut palms, beside the long white beach at the edge of the lagoon. Many marine sports are on offer including a PADI dive centre.
                   
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.
   
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 Helen

Overall we had a great trip, absolutely memorable.

Our guide was called Vola (?) and she looked after us very well In Andasibe and Mantadia.  There with a local guide, we saw 6 species of Lemur; Indri, Common Brown, Sifuka, Red bellied Black & White, Bamboo and Easter Woolly.  Having IS binoculars helped a great deal and with a new camera we got some good photos of Lemurs 30m or 40m above us.  In fact we could see things the guide could not.  The night walks were less successful, but interesting all the same.  Orchids & birds were a tad disappointing due to the season.  The Orchid Park was devoid of any blossoms on any of its many orchids due to the season.  It must be wonderful when they bloom.

The Andaside Hotel was comfortable and the service good.  We experimented with Malagasy food with varying success.  Zebu steak was good; a chicken curry mostly bone!  Rice with every meal!  Vola took us through the village to see how the locals live and Di bought some small locally made Indri lemurs. 

The road transfers were most interesting seeing the paddy fields and brick making and the washing.  More alarming were the mountainsides cleared and planted with Eucalyptus for charcoal production – but that seems to be the main fuel.  We came across a 100 or so people singing and dancing with a body taking it for re-wrapping; later we saw a second just as we were leaving Ste Marie.    We also saw the freight train; pity it does not carry passengers.

The transfer to Ste Marie began slightly bizarrely.  It was a very early take-off, but we had been directed to a back entrance to the airport, where we sat in the car for almost an hour as the aircrew gradually arrived.  Eventually we were admitted and processing the 10 or so passengers was pretty quick. 

The arrival in Ste Marie is memorable as is the transfer to the Princess Bora in a wagon drawn by two Zebu.  We very much enjoyed our stay at the hotel which was outstanding in a number of ways, although we do have one or two adverse comments which I will come to later.  What was excellent was the staff service who were all extremely friendly and helpful.   Despite the restaurant having burnt down a few months ago, the food was wonderful.   For the evening meals, there was a choice of two for each of the three courses.  Often Di had one choice and I took the other as the quality and presentation was so good.  Breakfast was an extensive buffet with plenty of choice of fruit and pastries and a chef who was pleased to cook you eggs any  style.  We always ate breakfast outside the restaurant tent with our binoculars.  On many occasions we were able to see whales as we ate breakfast!  Not many hotels can offer that!

We liked our villa; it is wonderful to go to sleep with the sound of the waves on the beach.  You might note that they do provide separate beach towels, so we brought our own towels back unused.  Also while there was one ordinary bike available free (another under repair), but there is a charge for a mountain bike – 30,000 Ar. for a half day and 40,000 Ar. for a full day.  We hired for a morning to cycle to Ambodifotatra to get more of a feel for the local life.  We had previously been into the town by Tuc-Tuc, but they travel at such a speed you cannot see much.  We walked to the Pirates Cemetery which was most interesting.  The sign says you can go without a guide, but we were compelled to take one and he was thoroughly worth the money.

After a lecture one evening by a young American on whale research programme, we went out the next day and had plenty of sightings including mothers and their calves.  Again lots of photos and videos.  We then got absolutely soaked in a torrential downpour, but that’s life.... 

The swimming and snorkelling are rather oversold.  While it is a major diving centre, the sea between the beach and the reef is only about 3 feet deep, is pretty polluted with a lot of weed and sea urchins and almost no fish.  We did borrow snorkelling equipment (good quality) on two occasions.  Locally we were told that you had to swim out through the gap in the reef used by the boats, about a 100m.  I did this, but felt uncomfortable that with no safety boat and a long swim back.  Di did not attempt it.  We were advised to try on the Ile aux Nattes and at the southern end of Ste Marie near the crossing.  However, we found the same.  Despite looking ideal, it is not a swimming or snorkelling beach.... The pontoon has a swimming area, but that is also not very deep.  If the pontoon had reached beyond the reef, it would be much easier to snorkel.  Another thing for your information, they offer Wi-Fi in the library/lounge but it is pretty slow and intermittent.  They also have it in the reception area where it is much faster, so we usually went there before breakfast each day.

As you know, our return flight time was changed and we are very grateful that it was re-arranged that we stayed a further day at Princess Bora rather than waste two days in Tana.  The flight in the Bora 4 seater was also memorable as we flew quite low.

On the final day, Lionel took us to the Craft Market, which was rather overwhelming – the relentless sales pressure is not for the faint hearted, but there is a fantastic range of souvenirs.  We had in fact bought most things we wanted from roadside craftsmen and vendors In Ste Marie.  After lunch we had a walk round the high town and visited the Queen’s Palace, where again we had an extremely good guide, who was an Anglophile.  He showed us the George III cannons and the positive influence Britain had from Mauritius before the French invaded.  Rugby is their second national game and his heroes were Jonny Wilkinson and Lawrence Dellaglio; a bizarre conversation to have in Madagascar.

Many thanks for helping us have a memorable and enjoyable trip; we saw plenty of lemurs and whales.   We had excellent guides, but we also saw how local people live e.g. when we visited Andasibe village and when we walked across the middle of the Ile aux Nattes; how despite their poverty (by our standards) there are plenty of smiles around and many are colourfully dressed.

Best wishes

John

PS I am still going through photos; if I find any good ones I will copy them to you.'

Mr and Mrs Mathisen
September 13, 2017

'The Royal Palissandre Hotel was lovely.

Sahatandra River Hotel at Andasibe: pool was nice. Staff were friendly. Room comfortable. Dinners were nice.

Princesse Bora Lodge: excellent. So much to do, in a lovely place.

Craig was very flexible in tailoring the holiday to suit our needs. The rest of the Raibow Tours team was very friendly and helpful when we called'

Mr Wilson and Ms Elliott
November 18, 2016

'Thanks for arranging such a wonderful holiday. Lovely, friendly staff at Andasibe Hotel. Excellent in all respects. Princesse Bora Lodge is excellent in all respects. Very good lodge with excellent staff'.

Ms Holland and Ms Boers
October 10, 2016

'We had a fantastic honeymoon. All the locals were so friendly. Wanting to do more of Madagascar now!. Our guide Rova was brilliant, had great knowledge of the area, answered every question and was very helpful. Would recommend him to anyone!

Relais des Plateaux was jusa used as a place lay down our heads and get a good nigts' sleep.

Princesse Bora Lodge: we had a fantastic stay and made good use of the facilities i.e kayaking, snorkelling, bicycles. The staff are so brilliant and accommodating; would recommend to anyone.

 

Mr & Mrs Hewitt
September 30, 2016

'Well organised tour and couldn't fault the care we were given by our guides and representatives in a very poor country in its infancy of tourism.

Combava Hotel: Good. Fine for overnight stops and very nice to have use of a room before late evening transfer to airport.

Andasibe Hotel: Good. Unprepared for how cold Andasibe-Mantadia National Park was in the evenings. Otherwise absolutely fine.  

Princesse Bora Lodge: excellent. Couldn't fault the hotel - wonderful'.

 

Mr and Mrs Reekie
September 20, 2016

'Njiva was a fantastic guide - thoroughly recommend him. Driver, Dodo, was also very good. Overall holiday satisfaction (Classic Madagascar overland: the RN7 route): excellent. 

Vakona Forest Lodge is a lovely place but they wanted us to leave the bar/seating area by around 9pm. 

Setam Lodge: good in all respects. Location excellent.

La Varangue de Betsileo: Service and comfort: excellent. Location, meals and facilities all good. 

Relais la Reine d'Isalo: excellent.

Moringa Hotel: good in all respects; excellent meals.

Princesse Bora Lodge: Comfort, meals and facilities good; service and location excellent.'

 

Ms Godfrey and Mr Naylor
January 25, 2016

'Thank you for an excellent holiday. Fiona Herring has been very helpful all the way through - thank you Fiona! We would certainly recommend Rainbow Tours to other people thinking of a holiday in Madagascar'

Mr and Mrs Monckford
October 30, 2015


'We were very impressed that Rainbow Tours ensureed we had tickets on a private charter from Ile Sainte Marie when the Air Madagascar flight looked like it was going to be cancelled. This could have ruined the end of our holiday but it just goes to prove that Rainbow Tours are exceptional at what they do. We'd happily travel with Rainbow Tours in the future'

Ms Clements & Mr Stephenson
September 25, 2015

"Hi Derek, just a note to say thank you to yourself and Rainbow Tours for a great trip. June and I got back home at about 7:30pm last night after an amazing time on this beautiful island. It surpassed all expectations and so difficult to pick one highlight, but to list a few:

* Great support by Za Tours

* Excellent guides and drivers

* Lovely accommodation

* Lovely food

* Lovely, friendly people

* Driving through Tana - an experience not to be missed!

* drivng through villages, getting a glimpse of life - very humbling

* Rainforests were lovely

* Sainte Marie island - beautiful

* Performing Humpback whales - how lucky were we?!

* Wildlife, flowers, birds

* And of course...lemurs. FABULOUS!! Saw 10 different types (including aye ayes at the zoo).

I could go on but had better stop. Would highly recommend this trip. Will definitely return. Thank you to all the team. "

Ms Elgar
September 14, 2015

We thought you would enjoy these two photos which hopefully express how much fun we had in Ambodiforaha, blowing soap bubbles with the children, and touring Sainte Marie!

Ambodiforaha

Sainte Marie

Nicole Fraser and family
March 16, 2015

From the very beginnings of our contact with Rainbow Tours we have been impressed with your service and prompt replies to our queries. The holiday itself was an astonishing mix of history, natural history, culture shock and relaxation – just as we had hoped. Our guides (Fan, in particular) and drivers were mines of information, charming and helpful. Barry in Andasibe had an incredible knowledge and ability to find lemurs, chameleons and birds – without him we would never have seen them.

M Hall & W Bayne
June 10, 2014

Fantastic time on the reefs and rainforests tour as a family of four with two teenage children. A little bit anxious before we left but there was no reason to be. We were well looked after at every stage….with a high emphasis on safety. Travel arrangements went smoothly, food was great and there was a nice mix of relaxation and interesting things to do (lemurs, whales etc). Madagascar is more turned to tourism than some websites lead you to believe. The dry season only means it is less wet than the wet season – you still need an anorak and won’t have any need for shorts in the rainforest. Really glad we chose Madagascar with Rainbow Tours.

Harrell
July 29, 2013

Fantastic trip!

Mr Christie
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