Madagascar Wildlife Discovery Tours 2018
A conspiracy of Ringtail lemurs, Anja  
Indri at Andasibe-Mantadia, where it is a flagship species  
The endangered Greater bamboo lemur is best sought in Ranomafana  
Largest of all chameleons, Parson's chameleon inhabits Andasibe  
Typical Highlands architecture  
One of the numerous species of Boophis tree frog found in the rainforest at Ranomafana  
The animated diurnal Ringtailed mongoose, one of the island's 9 endemic carnivores (Gerald Cubitt)  
The widespread but rare Black and white ruffed lemur can be seen at Ranomafana  
Long-tailed ground-roller, Ifaty (Toky Andriamora)  
The endangered Golden bamboo lemur is reliably seen only at Ranomafana  
Elephant's foot pachypodium, Isalo National Park.  
Giraff weevil, one of Madagascar's numerous 'small scale marvels'.  
Dead-leaf gecko (Uroplatus) - Toky Andriamora  
Isalo is Madagascar's premier hiking destination (Craig)  
Ranomafana's rainforest (Craig)  
16 day tour
Including flights and transfers
Prices from
£4450

Tour Highlights

  • Indris, Verreaux's sifakas, Ringtails and other Lemurs galore!
  • Colourful chameleons, geckos and a plethora of tree frogs
  • Woolly, Dwarf and Mouse lemurs during night walks
  • Mesites, Couas, Ground-rollers, Asities, Vangas and other endemic birds
  • Intriguing Malagasy culture
  • Rainforest and Spiny bush; Orchids & Baobabs
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I'm enquiring about: Madagascar Wildlife Discovery Tours 2018

Madagascar Wildlife Discovery Tours 2018

Madagascar

Our very popular and successful set, small group tours allow you to explore some of Madagascar's spectacular, protected areas for their compellingly unique wildlife in a diverse range of habitats. You will see many species of lemurs, endemic birds, reptiles such as chameleons, and an unsurpassed array of plants, from baobabs to orchids.

These tours are led by experienced, higly-praised, professional guides. In locations where there are trails of varying grading, two parks guides are enlisted to take care of partipants: one for those preferring a more moderate pace, and one for those preferring a slower pace.

The itinerary includes a coastal stop at Ifaty, bordered by spiny bush. Accommodation is always in the best available lodges or hotels at each of the locations in the itinerary.

Should you wish to add individual extensions before or after the tour to other protected areas, or to a beach location, let us know and we can tailor-make something for you.

Please note that participants require a reasonable level of fitness in order to complete this tour.  There are some long drives, albeit through varied and interesting countryside.

You need to be able to walk on some arduous, uneven or hilly terrain in certain parks, for at least 4 - 5 hours. 

Accommodation varies from excellent (Les Dunes d'Ifaty; Isalo Rock Lodge) to simple and no-frills (Varangue de Betsileo; Setam Lodge).

We will also be pleased to quote with other international carriers - ask us for details.  If you wish to fly out a day or two ahead of the departure, please ask us for details. We will be pleased to assist with any addtional arrangements. 

Group size: minimum 6 - maximum 10.   

Read more about this tour


Day 1
Day 1
Antananarivo
Fly with Air France from London (or other selected regional airports) to Antananarivo via Paris CDG. On your arrival late this evening you will be met, assisted with currency exchange and transferred to Relais des Plateaux, a comfortable hotel only 10 minutes drive from the airport to stay overnight with breakfast included.
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
       
Day 2
Day 2
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park ('Perinet')
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel. Your tour leader and driver will meet you and give the group a briefing. Depart on the 4hr drive east along good tarmac roads to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, the country's number 1 'must see' protected rainforest site. Located in the central-eastern escarpment, Andasibe is perhaps best known for key species such as Indri (largest of all extant lemurs), birds such Red-fronted coua and Coral-billed nuthatch vanga, and 'herps' including Mossy leaf-tailed gecko and the critically endangered Golden mantella, the area's flagship frog. Take a guided introductory walk in Andasibe where trails are mostly graded as 'easy'. After dinner, take a night walk across the road in Analamazaotra Forest Station which is administered by proactive NGO Association Mitsinjo. Stay 3 nights in either Vakona Forest Lodge OR Andasibe Hotel OR Mantadia Lodge.
Accommodation: Vakona Forest Lodge
           
Day 3
Day 3
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
After an early breakfast you will be taken to the rainforest at Andasibe, where the main objective is to see - among other species - the remarkable Indri. Hearing their whale-like calls emanating from the mist-enshrouded rainforests in the early mornings, is pure Malagasy magic at its best. During the dawn chorus birding is wonderfully productive too. In the quieter middle part of the day, visit Lemur Island, a refuge for lemurs confiscated from trappers. Another rainforest walk can be done in the mid afternoon and if you wish, a second night walk in Analamazaotra to catch up on species previously missed out on.
Accommodation: Vakona Forest Lodge
           
Day 4
Day 4
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
Today you will be taken on a visit of the beautiful 10,000ha primary rainforest national park of Mantadia. It is about 37km north of Andasibe and holds a select band of mammals, birds and 'herps' not necessarily present at Andasibe. Key attractions include Diadem sifaka, Black & white ruffed lemur, Scaley and Blue-headed ground-rollers; Parson's chameleon and colourful Mantella baroni frogs, among others. The scenery here is beautiful.
Accommodation: Vakona Forest Lodge
           
Day 5
Day 5
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park - Antananarivo
During the morning you will be taken on a final rainforest walk in Andasibe-Mantadia, during which you can seek species previously not seen. A visit will also be made to the reforestation project under way by Association Mitsinjo: this is one of the many inspiring initiatives now being supported by Money for Madagascar. After lunch, drive back to Antananarivo in time for dinner and overnight at Relais des Plateaux.
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
       
Day 6
Day 6
Antananarivo - Tulear (flight) - Ifaty
You will be transferred to the airport after breakfast for the flight to Tulear on the south-west coast. This is the most arid corner of the island and the natural habitat around it is mostly sub-arid 'spiny thicket' or Euphorbia-Didieraceae thorn bush. It is remarkable in places, being comprised of much bushy Euphorbia interspersed with drought-resistant trees and plants including Bottle baobabs (here Adansonia rubrostipa) and spiky Octopus trees (Didieraceae family). The endemicity rate among this floral assemblage is remarkably high and people come here also to seek some rare, range-restricted birds and reptiles. They include the Long-tailed ground-roller (pictured). Stay for 2 nights in the very comfortable Les Dunes d'Ifaty OR Le Paradisier.
Accommodation: Les Dunes d'Ifaty
           
Day 7
Day 7
Ifaty
An early start: after breakfast, you will be taken to a nearby parcel of 'spiny bush' (there are two locally managed/protected parcels that are visited this day) to see the remarkable flora which travel writing legend Dervla Murphy so aptly Christened 'Nature's Botanical Lunatic Asylum'. In this otherworldly habitat you'll be able to seek some very rare birds such as the aforementioned ground-roller; Sub-desert mesite and LaFresnaye's vanga, along with rare or range-restricted reptiles such as Madagascar radiated tortoise (now critically endangered) and the strange little Three-eyed lizard.
Accommodation: Les Dunes d'Ifaty
           
Day 8
Day 8
Ifaty - Zombitse Forest National Park - Isalo National Park
This morning travel 20 minutes south along the recently tarred road back to Tulear, outside where you will stop at Arboretum de Antsokay, a delightful place for nature enthusiasts which showcases the strange sub-arid South's spiny bush habitat. Its also great for small wildlife - one can see many birds, reptiles and wonderful invertebrates. Continue traveling inland for just under 3hrs on a good, flat tarmac road to Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park, where some very range-restricted species are found: you'll be able to look for Verreaux's sifaka; Hubbard's sportive lemur; the massive Oustalet's chameleon; Standing's day gecko and birds including the locally endemic Appert's greenbul and the stately Giant coua. After the nature walk in Zombitse, continue 1 hour to the sandstone massif of Isalo, where the country's most visited national park is located. Stay 2 nights at the very comfortable Relais de la Reine OR Isalo Rock Lodge
Accommodation: Isalo Rock Lodge
                 
Day 9
Day 9
Isalo National Park
Your guides will take you to explore Isalo National Park. While much of the park is comprised of dry, 'ruiniforme' sandstone formations, trails do take visitors to verdant streamside vegetation. Here, you can look for Ringtail lemurs, Verreaux’ sifakas and locally endemic flora. The best known plant here is the dumpy 'Elephant's foot' Pachypodium, which flowers in September. Look on the lodge buildings at night for birds such as Madagascar long-eared owl, Madagascar white-browed owl and Madagascar nightjar.
Accommodation: Isalo Rock Lodge
                 
Day 10
Day 10
Isalo National Park - Anja - Ambalavao
After breakfast, drive about 6-7hours east across the desolate central southern interior (Bara country) to a granite domes region which marks the entrance to the southern Highlands. Here, visit another deservedly popular stop, Anja Parc, a community- managed protected area near Ambalavao which is home to a thriving population of Ringtailed lemur, the island's national mammal. Overnight in Betsileo Country Lodge.
Accommodation: Betsileo Country Lodge
     
Day 11
Day 11
Ambalavao - Ranomafana National Park
A 3 - 4 hour drive north-east will take you to the upland rainforest of Ranomafana National Park, where seeing 5 species of lemur in a day walk is not uncommon. Key species include the Milne-Edwards diadem sifaka and adorable Red-bellied lemur. Ranomafana is also home to a number of rare bird species, including the Brown mesite, Rufous-headed ground-roller, Yellow-bellied sunbird asity and Pollen's vanga. Walks vary in length from a couple of hours to a half day. Your accommodation for 3 nights is Thermal Hotel OR Setam Lodge. Enjoy an introductory walk in this very beautiful national park.
Accommodation: Thermal Hotel
     
Day 12
Day 12
Ranomafana National Park
Explore wonderful Ranomafana National Park today. Here, look for lemurs such as the endangered Golden bamboo lemur (pictured), found almost exclusively in this rainforest. This icon of the park was discovered in the mid 1980s by primatologist Patricia Wright - who almost single-handedly put the park on the international tourism map and who established the Centre ValBio, which you may visit during your time at the park. Ranomafana is the only place where Broad-nosed, Golden and Grey (Eastern lesser) bamboo lemurs coexist. Enjoy the beautiful scenery, healthy climate and plentiful wildlife here.
Accommodation: Thermal Hotel
     
Day 13
Day 13
Ranomafana National Park
You will have another day to explore Ranomafana's upland rainforest with your guides today. Aside from its many lemurs and birds, you'll have the chance to look for remarkable life forms such as the bark-mimicking Fringed gecko (Uroplatus). The area is especially good also for well known invertebrates such as the massive Madagascar comet moth and the day-active Urania moth. Orchids, Palms and Bamboos abound, the island holding more species of all three these plant groups than the African mainland does.
Accommodation: Thermal Hotel
     
Day 14
Day 14
Ranomafana - Antsirabe
After breakfast and a final rainforest walk, begin the scenic journey northwards along the popular RN7 route, passing through Betsileo and then Merina territory, where you can see people cultivating rice, selling food on the roadside and at Antsirabe, numerous colourful rickshaws. Enjoy exploring some craft stalls and overnight in Couleur Café OR Plumeria Hotel.
Accommodation: Couleur Café
     
Day 15
Day 15
Antsirabe - Antananarivo and departure
After a leisurely breakfast, depart Antsirabe through scenic Highlands country back to Antananarivo, where you have the use of day rooms at Relais des Plateaux. Visit some of the capital highlights with your guide. After a farewell dinner, those who are flying back to the UK with Air France, will be transferred to Antananarivo airport to check in for the Air France flight departing after midnight.
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
       
Day 16
Departure
Fly with Air France at about 01h00 to Paris CDG, where you arrive mid morning and connect with the regional Air France flight back to London Heathrow (or selected other UK airports), arriving back home at lunch time.

Pricing Information & Dates

16 day tour, from £4450 per person
Price Includes:
  • Flights
  • Accommodation
  • Transfers
  • Guide
Price Includes
* Air France international flights from London Heathrow or selected other airport to Antananarivo via Paris CDG (economy class seating) and departure taxes
* Air Madagascar domestic flights and departure taxes
* All accommodation and all meals
* Bottled mineral water in the vehicle.
* Park entry permits
* Services of your professional, experienced, English-speaking wildlife expert guide and of an experienced driver
* National Park/ Reserve guide fees
* All private road transfers and transportation.
* All excursions and activities as per itinerary.

SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT: £625

DATES:

02 - 17 SEPTEMBER 2018

16 SEPTEMBER - 01 OCTOBER 2018

22 SEPTEMBER - 07 OCTOBER 2018 [FULLY BOOKED]

07 - 22 OCTOBER 2018 (ONE ROOM AVAILABLE 19/06 UPDATE)

23 OCTOBER - 07 NOVEMBER 2018 [FULLY BOOKED]

Group size: minimum 6, maximum 10.
Price Excludes
* Visa fee (single entry 1 month visa currently 27 Euros, issued on arrival)
* Drinks
* Items of a personal nature (travel insurance, phone calls, laundry, gratuities).
Price Notes
PLEASE NOTE: flights are booked on an ad-hoc basis so airfares are quoted based on a low season fare and are subject to availability at time of booking.

At Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, some of the tours stay at Vakona Forest Lodge, others in Andasibe Hotel or the new Andasibe Lemurs Lodge (07 Oct 2018 departure).

Tour Route Map

  1.   Antananarivo
  2.   Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
  3.   Tulear
  4.   Ifaty
  5.   Zombitse-Vohibasia Forest National Park
  6.   Isalo National Park
  7.   Antsirabe
  8.   Ranomafana National Park

Accommodation on this Tour

Betsileo Country Lodge
Betsileo Country Lodge
Ambalavao and Anja Parc, Madagascar
Betsileo Country Lodge Formerly called Varangue de Betsileo, proprietor Frank Janssens runs a friendly property that is more reminiscent of a B&B than a hotel. The property is located in......
     
Couleur Café
Couleur Café
Antsirabe, Madagascar
Three hours to the south of Antananarivo, Couleur Café is the perfect place to break the journey to or from Ranomafana. It has five charming en suite rooms (one of which is a family room) set in lovely gardens.
     
Isalo Rock Lodge
Isalo Rock Lodge
Isalo National Park, Madagascar
The impressive new Isalo Rock Lodge has 60 luxurious rooms and is located high on a sandstone massif overlooking the Isalo National Park. From the lodge the panoramic views over the surroundings area are breathtaking.
                 
Les Dunes d'Ifaty
Les Dunes d'Ifaty
Ifaty, Madagascar
Les Dunes d'Ifaty offer the highest standard of accommodation in Ifaty. Set on the southern tip of Ifaty beach, its terraced bungalows all have sweeping views over the Mozambique Channel and are well equipped with TV and 24hr electricity.
           
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.
       
Thermal Hotel
Thermal Hotel
Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar
Completely rebuilt and refurbished, this is now one of the best hotels at Ranomafana National Park.
     
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

'Overall holiday satisfaction (22 October 2017 Madagascar Wildlife Discovery Small Group tour): 'Completely exceeded our expectations. 

Andasibe Lemurs Lodge: all brilliant apart from the mattress, as hard as a board, obviously brand new rubber mattresses.

Les Dunes Ifaty: Lovely place, perfect setting.

Varangue de Betsileo: Small, intimate, perfect. Excellent

Plumeria: excellent. 

The information itself was well detailed and wonderfully helpful, the holiday was well organised, incredibly interesting and far exceeded our expectations. Our guide Gersica was excellent, the hotels good and the food outstanding - apart from the dreaded bed at Andasibe Lemurs Lodge all was utterly perfect. - Thank you!'

Mrs Cox and Ms Cameron
November 22, 2017

'Gersica is an absolute star - knowledge of everything from culture to flora and fauna and any Madagascar topic inbetween. Nothing was too much trouble for her; always a smile on her face. The best guide we have ever had the pleasure to have been led by on any tour we have ever been on. 

Overall holiday satisfaction (07 - 22 October 2017 Madagascar Wildlife Discovery Small group tour): Excellent

We appreciate that we signed up to a hectic schedule  but it would have been ideal to weave a little more free time into the programme. We recognise however that there were often great distances to cover, which makes this difficult. 

Overall, a very comprehensive tour of a fascinating island. We went expecting an adventure - and were not disappointed!

Thanks finally to Derek for the excellent support and advice; and to Gersica and her team for their hard work and their dedication to make such a memorable tour' 

Mr Riley and Ms Stokes
November 10, 2017

'Our overall guide Gersica was absolutely brilliant (Madagascar Wildlife Discovery Tour 07 - 22 October 2017 departure). Everything was well organised. Gersica ensured that everything ran smoothly and was extremely competent.

Overall holiday satisfaction: Excellent

Andasibe Lemurs Lodge: Comfort, service and location: Excellent. Meals and facilities: Good. 

Thermal Hotel Ranomafana: Comfort, service and location: Excellent. Meals and facilities: Good'

 

Mr and Mrs Fuller
October 27, 2017

'Hi Craig

Just a quick note, Want to tell you what an amazing trip we had.  (Madagascar Wildlife Discovery Tour: 07 - 22 October 2017 departure)  Not a holiday more an adventure!   All the things you said about the trip were true.  It is not a destination for everyone.  The journeys are long and tiring but necessary to see the different landscapes and wildlife.  We had a few issues with some of the accommodation but nothing we did not expect thanks to your accurate briefing before we booked.    We had a lovely group overall but a couple of them were struggling....   All in all everyone got something out of the trip....    We had absolutely no problems with it and indeed felt that we had a real adventure.    Our guide, Gersica was superb.  She was professional, charming, knowledgeable, helpful and patient throughout the trip'.

I am totally in love with Lemurs!!  See attached picture (one of thousands).

Thanks again for all your help

Very Best Regards

Mandy Upton'

 

Feedback report:

We had a fantastic time in Madagascar. It is a challenging country to visit in some ways. The infrastructure is a 'work in progress'. I think travellers should be encouraged to do some research before going there. It is a very special place and anyone who has an interest in wildlife and the natural world generally, should go there and soon. 

Our experience with Rainbow Tours was very good. Craig Kaufman gave us a very good briefing as to what to expect before we booked. It turned out to be very accurate on tour, so nothing disappointed us. 

The choice of itinerary turned out to be a perfect introduction to Madagascar. We saw a variety of landscapes and a good number of different species of fauna and flora. We saw 22 different lemurs, 10 different chameleons, many birds, lizards, frogs, insects, snakes, and a few other mammals including a Vontsira mena (ringtailed mongoose) and a Tenrec. 

Journeys were very long but interesting and necessary to cover the different habitats. 

Accommodation was better than expected in some places. Food was good but too many three-course meals with large portions. The tour guide Gersica was exceptional. She was always cheerful, patient, helpful and knowledgeable. On our walks through the reserves she was as good as spotting and identifying things as the local guides were. Her choice off local guides was excellent. They did everything they could to ensure we all had good views of anything they found. 

No complaints re: tour content; we had a great time and a real life experience!'

 

I am totally in love with Lemurs!!  See attached picture (one of thousands).

Thanks again for all your help

Very Best Regards

Mandy Upton'

Mr and Mrs Upton
October 25, 2017

'Service from tour operator: excellent. (Madagascar Wildlife Discovery Tour 02 September 2017 departure)

Jessica was outstanding. Knowledgeable, charming, efficient. 

Les Dunes d'Ifaty: very comfortable, beautiful setting.

Relais la Reine: Excellent. Lovely gardens.

Aux Bouganivillees, Ambalavao: basic but clean, adequate and friendly

Thermal Hotel: comfort of room good. Meals excellent. Facilities and serivce average. No lounge or bar; no easy-chair in room.'

Ms Yate
October 4, 2017

'The (Madagascar Wildlife Discovery Small Group Tour, 02 September 2017 departure) was wonderful and lived up to expectations. The guide Gersica was fantastic - I can't praise her enough. She is extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and very well organised. She even organised a birthday cake for me at our last dinner. Both bus drivers were excellent as were the local guides, in particular the guide at Ranomafana. He was also a photographer and kindly took excellent photos for everyone in the group.

I seem to have made a lot of comments about comfy chairs but when you're travelling alone its nice to have somwhere comfortable to sit either in the room or preferably in the lounge area rather than on a bed. Although Aux Bougainvillees was not as smart as all the other hotels, I enjoyed staying there for 1 night - its too easy to remain in a 'bubble' on thes tours. 

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this tour to anyone'. 

Ms Halsall
October 3, 2017

'We enjoyed this holiday greatly. The itinerary was good but it was the local guide Mike who did a fantastic job on the ground to make the tour work seamlessly. Some of our fellow travellers were very experienced world travellers but we found their expectations to be very high to the point of being ridiculous eg complaining that beer was 'not cold enough'. Overall a fantastic holiday - Thanks!'

Mr Stevenson and Ms Dewberry
December 1, 2016

'Jessica was absolutely excellent. She always made sure everyone got the most out of the trip, according to their abilities. Setam Lodge had lovely food - the best on the trip! Another day in the park (Ranomafana) would have been good'. 

Mr and Mrs Brooks
October 26, 2016

'Gersica was superb and success of the holiday was all down to her. She is a treasure! Air Madagascar were for once very reliable. The pace of the tour and some distances travelled seemed unrelenting towards the end but we would not have missed any of it!.

We loved Les Dunes (Ifaty). Chilled out in bungalow overlooking beach. The Malagasy traditional meal at Setam Lodge was the food highlight of the tour. 

Gersica could not have been better organised, more considerate or more attentive. She is one of the best tour leaders we have experienced in over 30 years of travel on small group holidays'. 

Mr and Mrs Johnson
October 20, 2016

'We had a wonderful holiday - thank you. Our guide Gersica was fantastic - one of the best we have ever had and we have been travelling for years! She went out of her way to ensure each individual's needs were met and is so knowledgeable, too'. 

Ms Pearson & Ms Chippendale
October 12, 2016
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