Madagascar Wildlife Discovery Tours 2022 and 2023
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 can be seen in Andasibe  
Lowland streaked tenrec, Ranomafana  
Critically endangered Black & white Ruffed Lemur  
Ringtailed vontsira, one of Madagascar's 9 endemic carnivores.  
Furry-eared dwarf lemur, Andasibe  
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'.  
Uroplatus phantasticus is often seen at Ranomafana  
One of our tour groups in Isalo's canyons - pic by Daniel Austin  
Ranomafana's beautiful upland rainforest  
Painted mantella, Ranomafana NP  
Sicklebill vangas, Ifaty (Clive Marks, Sep 2018 group tour)  
The lovely Blue coua can be seen in Andasibe and Ranomafana  
Fringed gecko (Uroplatus), Ranomafana NP  
Adansonia za baobabs, Zombitse Forest National Park  
Rufous mouse lemur, Ranomafana National Park  
Scaly ground-roller, Mantadia NP  
Sub-desert mesite in Ifaty spiny bush  
Malagasy moon (comet) moth is best sought around Ranomafana  
16 day tour
Including flights and transfers
Prices from

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 2022 and 2023

Madagascar Wildlife Discovery Tours 2022 and 2023

Our very popular fully escorted small group tours enable you to experience some of Madagascar's most spectacular protected areas for compellingly unique wildlife in a diverse range of habitats. 
You will see many species of lemur, including the two largest, i.e. Indri and Diademed sifaka and some of the smallest (various Mouse lemur species, endemic birds including various Mesites, Couas, Asities and Vangas; reptiles such as chameleons and leaf-tailed geckos, and an unsurpassed array of plants,  from endemic Baobabs (two species)  to diverse Orchids. 
These tours are led by highly experienced, internationally praised, professional Malagasy wildlife expert guides. We encourage you to read the reviews from previous tours, on our website.
In locations where there are trails of varying grading, the services of two park guides are enlisted to take care of participants:  one for those preferring a more moderate pace, and one for those who require a slower pace.
The itinerary includes a coastal stop at Ifaty, bordered by spiny bush. Here, you have the opportunity to snorkel. 
Accommodation is always in the best available lodges or hotels at each of the locations in the itinerary.
Should you wish to add an individual extension before or after the tour, please 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 will need to be able to walk on some arduous, uneven or hilly terrain in certain parks, for at least 3 - 4 hours. (Notably Ranomafana).
Accommodation varies from excellent (Ifaty; Isalo) to no-frills (Betsileo Country Lodge, Ambalavao).
We will also be happy to quote with other international carriers - ask us for details. If you wish to fly out a day or two ahead of the departure, We will be pleased to assist with any addtional arrangements. 
Group size: minimum 6- maximum 8.
2022 DATES:
17 September - 02 October 2022 (2 SPACES AVAILABLE - GUARANTEED DEPARTURE)

2023 DATES:

09 - 24 September 2023

16 September - 01 October 2023

30 September - 15 October 2023

21 October - 05 November 2023

Read more about this tour

Day 1
Day 1
Take to the skies: fly to Antananarivo
Early morning departure from London Heathrow (or selected other UK airports) to Paris CDG. Connect with the mid morning Air France flight to Antananarivo. On your arrival off your international flight late tonight, 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 (if flying on Air France), with breakfast included.
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux Hotel & Spa
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. Along the way you travel through scenic 'Hauts Plateaux' countryside of the Imerina, with rice paddies and villages with characteristic multistoreyed houses.
Located in the central-eastern escarpment (Bezanozano country), Andasibe or 'Perinet; is perhaps best known for iconic 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, go for a guided 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 Mantadia Lodge with all meals included.
Accommodation: Vakona Forest Lodge
Day 3
Day 3
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
After an early breakfast at your lodge, your guides will take you into the beautiful rainforest at Andasibe. Walking towards the rainforest in the early morning as the mists lift off the canopy and listening to the calls of the Indri is pure Malagasy magic at its best.
One of today's main objectives is to see - among other species - the remarkable Indri. During the dawn chorus, birding is usually wonderfully productive too. Sought-after endemic species usually seen here include Blue coua and Coral-billed nuthatch vanga.
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. After dark, second nocturnal walk will be taken, this time at VOIMMA, a small concession managed by a resident guides association. This should provide the opportunity to see more nocturnal lemurs (notably Goodman's mouse lemur); chameleons and tree frogs.
Accommodation: Vakona Forest Lodge
Day 4
Day 4
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
Today you will be taken on an excursion to the 10,000ha primary rainforest national park of Mantadia. It is about 37km from Andasibe along a rutted road. Mantadia is home to a select band of mammals, birds and 'herps' not necessarily present at Andasibe. Do note that trails here are steeper than is the case in Andasibe.
Key attractions include Diadem sifaka, Black & white ruffed lemur, Scaley and Pitta-like ground-rollers; Parson's and Nose-horned chameleon and colourful Mantella baroni frogs, among others.
The scenery here is beautiful, including superb views from the top of the trail over the rainforest-clad slopes.
Accommodation: Vakona Forest Lodge
Day 5
Day 5
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park - Antananarivo
After breakfast, you will be taken on a final rainforest walk in Andasibe-Mantadia, during which you can seek species previously missed out on.
We will also take you on a visit to the habitat restoration project under way by the NGO Association Mitsinjo: this is one of the many inspiring initiatives now being supported by the charity Money for Madagascar. You will have the opportunity to plant an endangered, endemic tree from the impressive nurseries here, as part of the reforestation efforts: this is a wonderful way of literally putting something back into Malagasy soil. (Unbeknown to most wildlife enthusiasts, the Indris made famous by the David Attenborough documentaries - among others - were all filmed in the Mitsinjo / Analamazaotra rainforest, rather than at Andasibe across the road).
After lunch, drive back to Antananarivo in time for dinner and overnight at the very comfortable Relais des Plateaux.
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux Hotel & Spa
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, close to the Tropic of Capricorn.
This is the most arid corner of the country and the natural habitat there, is mostly sub-arid 'spiny thicket' or Euphorbia-Didieraceae thorn bush. It is remarkable in places, being comprised of much shrubby 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 a selection of rare, range-restricted locally endemic birds and reptiles. Birds include the Long-tailed ground-roller, Sub-desert mesite and LaFresnaye's vanga. Reptiles include the peculiar little Three-eyed lizard.
Drive time from Tulear airport to Ifaty is now roughly 20 minutes. Time allowing (and if it is open), you will be taken to see the small museum in Tulear, managed by the University. (Museum Cetadron). Here, exhibits include some very rare tribal artefacts such as a replica of a Sakalava grave replete with erotic carvings, and a mask made by the mysterious Mikea people, containing human teeth and hair. During your time at Ifaty, a visit will also be included to the Honko Project which is concerned with mangrove conservation.
Towards dusk, you will be taken to a massive baobab at Reniala Centre for sundowners and then a short night walk in search of nocturnal lemurs including Petter's sportive lemurs and Reddish-gray mouse lemurs.
Stay for 2 nights in the very comfortable Le Paradisiers, with all meals included.
Accommodation: Le Paradisier
Day 7
Day 7
Ifaty Spiny Bush (and beach)
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 - this morning the visit will be to 'Parc Mosa') 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 highly localised endemic birds, along with rare or range-restricted reptiles such as Madagascar radiated tortoise (now critically endangered) - many are held here at the 70,000m2 Village des Tortues, after having been confiscated from poachers, especially in two truly massive seizures in the last two years.
Other bloated, drought-resistant trees that you will see today include Delonix adansonoides, part of the same tree family as the 'Flamboyant' tree, which originates from remote central-western Madagascar.
Accommodation: Le Paradisier
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 travelling inland for about 3 hours along the paved RN7 route, to Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park, which year-round is a rewarding wildlife hotspot: you'll be able to look for the iconic Verreaux's sifaka; locally endemic Hubbard's sportive lemur; the massive Oustalet's chameleon; locally endemic Standing's day gecko and birds including the locally endemic Appert's greenbul and the stately Giant coua, which can be seen strolling around on the forest floor.
After the guided nature walk in Zombitse-Vohibasia, continue driving inland for about 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; Jardin du Roy, OR Isalo Rock Lodge
Accommodation: Le Jardin du Roy
Day 9
Day 9
Isalo National Park
Your guides will take you to explore one of the circuits of Isalo National Park today. You will be able to drive up to the vehicle parking lot, from where you complete one of the circuits on foot. (Note that a second park guide will be provided for those who wish to take a slower pace, or shorter trail).
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: Le Jardin du Roy
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, the 30 ha Anja Parc, a community- managed protected area near Ambalavao which is home to a thriving population of Ringtailed lemur, the island's national mammal, and plenty of other, smaller wildlife (notably chameleons, geckoes and skinks). The terrain, dominated by granite domes, is spectacular. Worth noting is that this protected area, provides a livelihood for some 2,400 people who live in the region.
Overnight in Betsileo Country Lodge, with all meals included.
Accommodation: Betsileo Country Lodge
Day 11
Day 11
Ambalavao - Ranomafana National Park
After breakfast at the lodge, visit the Soalandy silkworks project if it is open.
A 3 - 4 hour drive north-east along the RN7 route, will take you to the 41,600ha 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 - do note that the majority of trails here traverse some arduous terrain with long slopes.
Your accommodation for 3 nights is Thermal Hotel
Enjoy an introductory walk in this very beautiful rainforest. A night stroll outside the park periphery should reveal some Rufus mouse lemurs and with luck, Leaf-tailed geckoes and Tree frogs, as well as some interesting invertebrates. (Its the best place in which to seek Malagasy comet moth).
Do note that from September to November, the area is packed with wildlife enthusiasts so you will not be alone during night walks.
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, 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 will be able to visit during your time at the park. After dinner, make another night walk if desired ***
Ranomafana is the only place where Greater (broad-nosed), Golden and Grey (Eastern lesser) bamboo lemurs coexist. Many visitors also see the striking Milne-Edward's sifaka here, another of the park's flagship species.
Enjoy the beautiful scenery, healthy climate and plentiful wildlife here.
*** Visitors who wish to look for radio-collared Aye ayes and who have a high level of physical fitness, can make the challenging night hike at Kianjavato, near Ranomafana. The cost for this excursion is £120 per person. (Please advise well in advance if you wish to do this)
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 including the lovely diurnal 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, set off on 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, with all meals included.
Accommodation: Couleur Café
Day 15
Day 15
Antsirabe - Antananarivo
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. (Those who wish, can visit Akany Avoko, one of the children's homes supported by Money for Madagascar).
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 Hotel & Spa
Day 16
Air France departs to Antananarivo around 01h20 and arrived in Paris CDG by mid-morning.
Connect with the lunch time flight back to London Heathrow or selected other UK airports.

Pricing Information & Dates

16 day tour, from £4520 per person
Price Includes:
  • Flights
  • Accommodation
  • Transfers
  • Guide
Price Includes
* Return international Air France flights from London Heathrow (or selected other UK Airports) to Antananarivo. (Economy class seating)
* Air Madagascar (Tsaradia) domestic flights and departure taxes
* All accommodation as outlined
* All meals
* Bottled mineral water in the vehicle.
* National Park/ reserve entry permits
* Services of your professional, experienced, English-speaking wildlife expert Malagasy guide/ tour leader and of an experienced driver
* National Park/ Reserve guide fees
* All private road transfers and transportation.
* All excursions and activities as per itinerary.


Group size: minimum 6, maximum 8.

2022 DATES:
17 September - 02 October 2022 (2 SPACES AVAILABLE - GUARANTEED DEPARTURE)

2023 DATES:
09 - 24 September 2023
16 September - 01 October 2023
30 September - 15 October 2023
21 October - 05 November 2023
Price Excludes
* Visa fee (35 Euros, issued on arrival)
* Drinks
* Items of a personal nature (travel insurance, phone calls, laundry, gratuities).
Price Notes
At the following locations, we use accommodations of an equivalent grading - all have been carefully chosen:

* Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, some of the tours stay at Vakona Forest Lodge, others at Mantadia Lodge
* Isalo National Park, some groups stay at Relais la Reine or its sister property Jardin du Roy; others at Isalo Rock Lodge.

Please note: We will endeavour to keep the 2023 prices the same as 2022 - the only element which may vary is airfare.

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.   Ranomafana National Park
  8.   Antsirabe

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.
Le Jardin du Roy
Le Jardin du Roy
Isalo National Park, Madagascar
One of Madagascar’s finest country hotels, Jardin du Roy is under the same ownership as Relais la Reine d’Isalo and is located on the southern edge of Isalo National Park. There are 25 spacious, en suite rooms, in which modern luxury has been blended with a touch of Malagasy style.
Le Paradisier
Le Paradisier
Ifaty, Madagascar
Le Paradisier We really enjoy this property and recommend it highly for our guests visiting Ifaty-Mangily.It is located only about 10 minutes from Mangily village, about 20 minutes’ drive north......
Relais Des Plateaux Hotel & Spa
Relais Des Plateaux Hotel & Spa
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


Hi Helen

We have settled back in at home after an amazing holiday which proved strenuous for us older folk. Still, we managed to complete all the treks and were thrilled by the variety of wildlife and how close we were able to approach, especially the lemurs.

Here are a few comments on the various stages –

Relais des Plateaux – Very good service, excellent food. Position close to the airport is ideal.  Accommodation comfortable, clean and neat.

Vakona Lodge – Exceeded our expectations. Accommodation, meals and surroundings all very good.

Visits to Mantadia National Park gave good sightings of Indri and Red Fronted Lemurs , also, a Tenrec.

Lemur Island was a surprise, getting close to Common Brown Lemurs, good views of Red Ruffed and Black and White Ruffed Lemurs. Also, a n Eastern Grey Bamboo Lemur.

Analamazaotra Forest trek was unforgettable with too many Lemurs and birds to mention and even a Giraffe Necked Weevil.

Likewise Mitsinjo Forest – good for a variety of Chameleons  and Leaf Tailed Geckos.

Throughout, the local guides, William and his assistant  (Jolene I think) were exemplary. True experts in locating the animals.

Overall, the time spent at Vakona Lodge was about right with adequate time for visits to National Parks.

After flight to Tulear, visit to Arboretum was okay ensuring we did not arrive too early at the Paradisier . Good hotel  - pleasant location on the beach. We would have liked to have spent at least one more day here, so that we could spend more time in the Spiny Forest, and relax a little. Early morning visit to Parc Mosa showed  us a wide variety  of birds – one minor criticism, the local guides  were over enthusiastic in chasing out a Ground Roller, clearly to please the group , but we did feel  the bird was unduly harassed.

At Zombitse National Park, highlight was seeing Verreaux’s Sifakas and Oustalet’s Chameleon.

Jarden du Roy – Excellent in all respects. We would have liked to spend more time here, for relaxation.

On morning visit to Isalo National Parkm we saw a Hoopoe  feeding its young and continued our interesting walk through rocks to see natural pool.

Afternoon visit involved a  long walk through canyon was hard work, but well worth the effort for the scenery, Ring Tailed Lemurs and birds. We had amazing sight of Paradise Flycatchers in action.

Betsileo Lodge was fine. Good Accommodation, food and service.

Morning walk to National park was spoiled by torrential rain – a good introduction to the rain forest, but photography of Lemurs and Sifakas wasn’t possible due to the rain.

To Hotel Thermal – very wet- so a free afternoon was welcome. Next day, in fine weather, excellent sighting of Giraffe Weevil, Milne Edwards Sifakas, Golden Bamboo Lemurs and Greater Bamboo Lemur.

Long drive to Antsirabe was clearly unavoidable but made interesting by meeting local children on brief stops.

Couleur Cafe was OK for brief stay.

On arrival at Antananarivo , city tour was informative with a ride in the CV’s a surprise.

Our extension in Antananarivo was a chance to wind down. With the car and driver we were able to visit Rova Palace in Antananarivo and the next day we went to the Ambohimanga  palaces in the countryside which are in good condition.

So overall was an unforgettable experience which more than fulfilled our expectations. Made all the more special by our guide, Solofoniray and the local guides.



Mr Cheetham and Mr Wheatley
October 30, 2019

Hello Derek

What can I say?   The trip was wonderful. Thank you, Rainbow Tours and Za Tours for its organisation.  

The standard of the hotels in general was higher than I expected and some were excellent: 

Vakona Forest Lodge was of a high standard although everything seemed to stay damp (I know, a rainforest)

La Paradisier was excellent in a beautiful location with a good personal feel to it. 

Jardin du Roy was fine, obviously, but except for the scenery could have been anywhere in the world. 

Thermal Hotel ranks with La Paradisier as excellent partly as being the only place where we could wander out into the village and see people going about their daily lives (I even watched children early morning swim training which seems unbelievable).  It would have been preferable to have had the planned 3 nights there.  

Food in general suited me, a bit boring but I didn’t fall ill and I didn’t go hungry. Interesting how much pasta was offered.  Lunches too large, breakfast sometimes didn’t capitalise enough on the wonderful fresh fruit available.  And, thank goodness, all meals included, no fusing around looking for cafes etc.  

Wildlife.  Superb.  

I had expected lemurs and they didn’t disappoint, I think 12 different ones, highlights: watching, photo-ing an indri as he shouted, golden bamboo lemurs leaping around in the trees, red bellied lemurs spotted by chance as we left Mantadia NP

But also chameleons.  At least 9 varieties.   Unexpectedly, I really enjoyed them.  

And geckos, lizards, a tenrec, tree boa.  Various insects, giraffe beetle, preying mantis

Nothing unusual to you but all of them unique for me.  

There were birds but I saw few of them. Not prolific like elsewhere in Africa.  

I also enjoyed walking through forests (except one morning in Ranomafana NP, where we saw virtually nothing and got unbelievably wet, the Thermal hotel hair dryer worked hard at drying my usually waterproof boots). The spiny forest with amazing baobabs was a pleasure, I’ve seen some in SA and boabs in Western Australia nice to see their cousins.  No dangerous animals makes for a so different experience than elsewhere in Africa.  

Landscape:  complete surprise to me to see endless paddy fields and almost endless brick making.  The very different agriculture. No tractors.   And potholes.  

People, culture.  I’m not going to say anything new.   I was very interested to see it all and would have liked more but clearly not an interest to the rest of my group.  Sadly they seemed most interested in giving sweets to begging children.  

Our guides.  Solofo was brilliant.   Best guide I think I have ever had.  Clearly a benefit to keep same person throughout so he gets to know us and us him. But beyond that very intelligent, knowledgeable about and passionate about Madagascar.  Almost couldn’t floor him with a question.  He has greatly added to my experience in and knowledge of the country.   I have nothing but the highest praise.  

Guides in the parks seemed well chosen and skilled at lemur location.  

Our driver kept us safe on some poor roads with bad drivers.  

Of the tour in general. At times too rushed. Things we could have spent longer with.  But 2 weeks is a magic number.  I especially liked the fact that we were not endlessly moving on, that we had 2 or 3 nights in a location and as already mentioned not to have to fuss about meals was a bonus.  

But ultimately it can only be classed as wonderful.   For that, again many thanks.  

Where next?



Mrs Pedder
October 28, 2019

Hi Derek

You will have received some excellent shots from some of our group members. The trip (Madagascar Wildlife Discovery 23 October 2018 departure) was excellent and we have very positive views and would recommend the trip.

All arrangements were good, accommodation and food were good to excellent.

All the guides used were very good.  Jessica was one of the best tour  leaders we have ever had.  I am sure that will be a comment shared by all trip participants.  

More than sufficient time was given for viewing and photographs.

Best wishes

Richard Higgs


Mr and Mrs Higgs
December 10, 2018

Gersica was an exceptional guide (Madagascar 23 October 2018 small group Wildlife Discovery tour) - knowledgeable, humorous, nothing was too much trouble for her. 

Overall holiday satisfaction: Excellent



Mr and Mrs Ridgeway
November 23, 2018

Dear Helen

I am safely back home after a very successful trip to Madagascar. We had a very good guide on the first part of the tour, (Gersica). She had great knowledge of both wildlife and culture. Without her stories about the culture of the different tribes we met on the long drive from Tulear back to Tana, the journey should felt much longer. The accommodation was very good at all places. And the wildlife was superb. I saw 102 new bird species (endemics) inclusive the two bird orders I was missing, the cuckoo roller and mesite. I also saw representants from all five endemic bird families.

I saw 21 species of lemurs and 15 species of chameleons and one tenrec (the lesser hedgehog tenrec), a new mammal order for me.

The trip north to Ankarafantsika was also very successful. The Madagascar fish eagle was breeding at lake Ravelobe and could be studied from the boat.

I attach a few photos of some highlights on the tour.

Thank you very much for organising this tour.

Best wishes,



Mr Gershag and Mr Venas
November 22, 2018

Our guide (22 September small group tour) was sensational....The trip was better than I had been expecting; the hotels were all very good and I would recommend your company.

Helen's adfice when I was booking was excellent and I loved Madagascar!

Ms Posnansky
November 1, 2018

My favourite parts of the (Madagascar Small Group Wildlife Discovery Tour, 07 October 2018 departure) trip were:

1) Andasibe

2) The Spiny Forest (of Ifaty)

3) Isalo - mainly for the birds but also the scenery

4) Lemur Island - good fun. 

My least favourite part were the long but slow drives from Setam Lodge to Couleur Cafe to Antananarivo, with little or no birding or wildlife interest. 

Gersica was friendly, helpful, well organised and had excellent knowledge of birds (my main interest(. She was thoughtful and was good company. Our drivers were caerful, especially Tsu. 

Mr Langford
October 30, 2018

'Overall satisfaction (16 September Madagascar Small Group set departure): Excellent.

The garden and setting of Relais la Reine were splendid'. 

Mr Miskin
October 23, 2018

Dear Helen,

I wanted to thank you personally for the terrific trip [22 September 2018 small group set departure]  to Madagascar. It was everything we could have dreamed of and more.

There really wasn’t one thing that was not quite right. It was all brilliant, the organisation, accommodation, transport, parks and sites, food everything.

Hery our guide,  was exceptional, so were the drivers, always good humoured after the most harrowing drives, we always felt safe too.

I hope we will be back one day, this time maybe with some gemmologists. I will get in touch with you about that.

Please could you pass on our compliments to your DMC for such a well organised tour.

We have been with Rainbow Tours four times now and will definitely go again.

With best wishes

Barbara and John

John Baldwin and Barbara Kolator


Ms Kolator and Mr Baldwin
October 22, 2018

Our key species list for the 22 September Madagascar Small Group Wildlife Discovery Tour. 

With many thanks for such a fabulous trip,

Clive Marks


23rd September, Andasibe, arriving:

Indri family groups by the roadside


23rd September, 1st night walk

Short-nosed chameleon

Stump-tailed chameleon (superciliaris)

Mossy leaf-tailed gecko, underside

Parson's chameleon

Darwin spider

Green tree frog

Goodman's mouse lemur, being hounded by many people & hiding between Clive's boots


24th September, Andasibe

Red-tailed vanga

Blue coua

Forest fody


Scops owl, eastern rufous

Diademed sifaka

Eastern woolly lemurs

Green day gecko

Collared nightjar

Giraffe-necked weevils, male and female

Brown pansy butterfly

"Steve bum-biter bug"!

Blue pansy butterfly

Blue swallowtail butterfly

Madagascar wagtail, on nest at the reception


24th September, Villageois project (optional walk)

Mossy leaf-tailed gecko, blending into the lichen-covered trunk

Madagascar tree boa, confusingly asleep on the ground

Brown lemurs

Common newtonia

Red-tailed newtonia

Madagascar nigthjar


24th September, 2nd night walk

Green stick insect

Goodman's muse lemurs (x2, fleetingly)

Woolly lemur, eyes in the distance

Short-horned chameleon, juvenile male

Green tree frog

Yellow-fingered tree frog


25th September, Mantadia

Black-and-white ruffed lemur


Diademed sifaka

Red-bellied lemur

Greater vasa parrot

Madagascar blue pigeon

Madagascar paradise flycatchers, male white-backed, female & juvenile

Green day gecko

Red-fronted coua

Clouded mother-of-pearl butterfly

Madagascar satyr

Assorted pansy butterflies

Caterpillars of the green lady butterfly

Funnel web spider

Lined day gecko, at the lunch stop


26th September, Lemur Island


27th September, Arboretum de Antsokay - Celia (the giggler)

Green-capped coua

Madagascar magpie robin

Madagascar fody

Madagascar kestrel, pair (female having been brought a gecko by the male)

Common jery (henceforth known as the "Tom & Jerry" bird)

Iguanid lizards

Crested drongo

Madagascar lesser cuckoo

Small gecko (Phelsuma mutabilis)

Warty chameleon, male

Namaqua dove, female

Steve's carrot baobab

Sakalava weavers

Pied crows

Black-winged stilt


28th September, Spiny Forest - Relaxa and his spotters

Greater vasa parrot

Madagascar sparrowhawk

Stripe-throated jery

Fighting cricket

Crested coua

Hook-billed vanga on its nest

Pied crow

Long-tailed ground roller (endemic to this small area)

Sub-desert mesite (endemic to this small area)

Madagascar turtle dove

Madagascar fody

Madagascar bulbul

Petter's Sportive lemur


28th September, Reniala Mangroves - Sala

Black-winged stilt

Yellow-billed kite (aka black kite)

Giant swallowtail butterfly

Madagascar cisticola

Green-backed heron

Grey-headed lovebirds


3-banded plover

Kittlitz plover

Madagascar plover


Mosquitoes galore


29th September, Zombitse Forest - Lucien

Oustalet's chameleon (aka Malagasy giant chameleon), male

Brilliant pansy butterfly

Zombitse (Hubbard's) sportive lemur

Lesser vasa parrot

Hook-billed vanga

Madagascar buttonquails

Verreaux sifaka (x8 + baby)

Crested drongo

Tiny gecko = Phelsuma Mutabilis

Giant coua (plus two by the lunch stop)

Madagascar partridge (by the road while driving to Jardin du Roy)


30th September, Isalo Gorge - Naina

No pointing allowed

Madagascar bee-eater

Madagascar Kestrel

Madagascan ridged frog

Alpine swifts

Parrot vine flower

Praying mantis

Madagascar green sunbird, male

Stick insect, female

Black crab scorpion

Snout bug

Ring-tailed lemurs, in the campsite

Madagascar ground boa, male

Madagascan Paradise flycatcher, female

Madagascan cactus

Benson's rock thrush, female

Frog-mimic moth

Madagascar fody nest

Madagascar mannakin

"Bathing beauties" in the black and blue lagoons

Golden orb spider

Benson's rock thrush, male

Verreaux sifaka, in the campsite

Madagascar hoopoe

White-browed owl

Scops owl, western

Brilliant pansy butterfly

Malachite kingfishers


1st October, travelling

Oustalet's chameleon crossing the road


1st October, Anjaha community project - Daniel

Madagascar bee-eaters

Oustalet's chameleons, one enjoying being fed cricket kebabs

Ring-tailed lemurs, at the border of two territories

Stick insects

Madagascar coucal, male


1st October, further travelling

Madagascar hoopoe

Hammerkop nest (bird also seen flying elsewhere)

Dimorphic egret, dark morph


2nd October, Ranomanafana evening/night walk - Rudi, Edweesh

Blue coua

Barron's mantella frog

Blue-egged chameleon, juvenile

Rufus mouse lemur

O'Shaughnessy's chameleon

Deceptive short-nosed chameleon

Brown tree frog, unspecified


3rd October, Ranomanafana - Rudi, Edweesh

Madagascan pygmy kingfisher

Magpie robin, male

Red-fronted brown lemur

Short-nosed chameleon

Red forest rat

Golden bamboo lemur

Brown tree frog

Mossy stick insect

Satanic leaf-tailed gecko

Wild coffee plants

Milne-Edwards sifaka

Spectacled tetraka/greenbul, on nest

Velvet Asity, male (non-breeding plumage) and female

Red-bellied lemurs


3rd October, Setam Lodge grounds

Giraffe-necked weevils, nest building


3rd October, Ranomanafana evening/night walk - Rudi, Edweesh

Blue-egged chameleon, juvenile

Rufoud mouse lemur

Flap-necked chameleon

Deceptive short-nosed chameleon


4th October, Ranomanafana - Rudi, Edweesh

Crag martin colony, next to the bridge

Jewelled beetle, unspecified

Long-billed green sunbird, female

Praying mantis

Madagascar lesser cuckoo

Greater bamboo lemur, father & daughter feeding 

Pill millipede

Tanala memorial stones

Leaf frog, pale, unspecified

Satanic leaf-tailed gecko, juvenile

Eastern woolly lemurs

Pollen's vanga

Red forest rat

Plated lizard

Parson's chameleons, at the homestead of Hery's friend


Antanarivo paddy fields

Black heron

Grey heron

Squacco heron



Mr Marks and Mr Riley
October 17, 2018

Overall holiday satisfaction (Madagascar Discovery Small Group set departure, 16 September 2018): Excellent.

Mantadia Lodge: Excellent in all respects

Le Paradisier: excellent location, good in other respects. 

Relais la Reine: Excellent.

Betsileo Country Lodge: excellent meals, good in other respects.

Thermal Hotel: Excellent location, service and comfort. Good meals and facilities. 

Plumeria Hotel: good. Very comfortable.


Ms Rose
October 2, 2018

Harry, the guide for the duration of the (Madagascar Wildlife Discovery 02 September 2018 departure) was outstanding. Overall satisfaction: Excellent. 

Mantadia Lodge was spectacular. 

Relais des Plateaux has a very handy locaton for the airport.

Les Dunes d'Ifaty was fantastic.

Jardin du Roy was wonderful.

Betsileo Country Lodge was only an overnight stop.

Setam Lodge by comparison with the other hotels, was disappointing. Wonderful location. 

This holiday to Madagascar was a wonderful and amazing experienxce. In terms of a delivery, as a Wildlife Discovery tour, it was absolutely on the money. 

With Harry and the local guides and our drivers, we got to see just about everything we could have seen and were amazingly well looked after. Having never done a tour like this, I found it quite 'full on' bt I'm delighted about what I got to see and do. 

Thank you. 


Mr Izzard and Ms Bunton
September 28, 2018

'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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