Tsingy, Baobabs, Wildlife and Whales
 
Tsingy de Bemaraha  
Exploring the Grand Tsingy (June to November)  
Decken's sifakas in Tsingy de Bemaraha  
Grandidier's baobabs in bare, cultivated land at Baobab Alley (Helen)  
Crossing the Tsiribihina River by ferry  
Indri at Andasibe-Mantadia National Park (Mike Unwin)  
Parson's chameleon, largest chameleon in the world  
Whale watching around Ste Marie can be good in July and August  
Black & white ruffed lemur, Mantadia (M Bigey)  
Critically endangered Diademed sifaka, Andasibe-Mantadia NP (Craig)  
Fosa are easily seen at Kirindy  
17 day tour
Prices from
£4750 - £5090

Tour Highlights

  • Grand tsingy at Tsingy de Bemaraha
  • Wildlife at Kirindy Forest - Fossa, Giant Jumping rats and lemurs galore
  • Whale-watching (July - August) at Ste Marie
  • Majestic Grandidier's baobabs
  • Indri and other rainforest wildlife in Andasibe-Mantadia
  • Quiet palm-lined coves at Ste Marie island
I'm enquiring about: Tsingy, Baobabs, Wildlife and Whales

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I'm enquiring about: Tsingy, Baobabs, Wildlife and Whales

Tsingy, Baobabs, Wildlife and Whales

Madagascar
This wonderful tailor-made individual tour includes a visit to one of Madagascars most spectacular national parks, Tsingy de Bemaraha, with the addition of visiting the fascinating dry forest of Kirindy in Menabe Antimena Protected Area, and Baobab Alley en route.
 
You will also explore the isand's number 1 protected rainforest wildlife hotspot, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, highly praised for its wonderful wildlife and lovely rainforest trails. 
 
Enjoy a beach break on relaxed Ile Sainte Marie, where in season (July to mid September) whale watching is superb.
 
Due to accessibility of the Grand Tsingy formations at Tsingy de Bemaraha, this trip should be done only from late May to early November. 
 
The order of locations in the itinerary can be swapped around / tailored to suit your schedule and other requirements.
 
Update (15 August 2019): we currently highly recommend ending this tour with the rainforest section at Andasibe-Mantadia, as getting to the national park does not require depending on domestic flights. 
 

Day 1
Day 1
Arrival in Antananarivo
Fly on Air France from London Heathrow (or selected other UK airports) to Paris CDG and connect on the mid morning Air France flight to Antananarivo. On your late evening arrival you will be met, assisted and transferred to Relais des Plateaux to stay overnight with breakfast included.
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
       
Day 2
Day 2
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
After breakfast (time to be confirmed locally), your guide and driver collect you at the hotel. Travel 3 - 4 hours east along good, winding tarmac roads to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park ('Perinet') where you stay for 2 nights in an en suite bungalow on a half board basis. This afternoon, take an introductory rainforest walk with your guides.
Accommodation: Mantadia Lodge
           
Day 3
Day 3
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
Explore Madagascar's 'number one must see' protected rainforest site with your guides. Trails are mostly graded as 'easy' and the guides are adept at locating sought-after species such as Indri, Diadem sifaka; a multitude of rainforest birds and interesting reptiles such as Parson's and Nose-horned chameleons. (Parsons Chameleon by Mike Unwin) In the quieter middle part of the day, visit Lemur Island. In the evening, a night walk is possible in the rainforest concession of Analamazaotra, administered by proactive and exemplary NGO Association Mitsinjo.
Accommodation: Mantadia Lodge
           
Day 4
Day 4
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park - Antananarivo
This morning, visit the primary rainforest at Mantadia National Park where some rare mammals and birds not necessarily present at Andasibe ('Perinet') may be sought. Trails here are steeper than at Andasibe and they can be slippery during or after inclement weather. Depart mid-afternoon for the drive back to Antananarivo, where you arrive at dusk to overnight in Relais des Plateaux with breakfast included. Brown lemur photographed by Mike Unwin
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
       
Day 5
Day 5
Kirindy Forest
Transfer to the airport for the Air Madagascar flight to Morondava on the central-west coast. On arrival your guide and driver meet you and transfer you about 2 hours north on a dirt road to Kirindy Forest via the alley of giant baobabs.
 
Overnight in the rustic, comfortable Relais du Kirindy, about 20 minutes drive from Kirindy.
 
Day and night guided walks in the forest for rare and unusual wildlife. At Kirindy, you have the chance to see mammals such as the endangered Giant jumping rat and the Fosa, the island's largest carnivore.
Accommodation: Relais du Kirindy
       
Day 6
Day 6
The journey to Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park
After breakfast and an early morning walk in Kirindy, travel north to Tsingy de Bemaraha. This 8 hour journey includes a ferry crossing. Stay 3 nights in the superb Soleil des Tsingy with all meals included.
Accommodation: Le Soleil des Tsingy
               
Day 7
Day 7
Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park - Petite tsingy and Manambolo River excursion
Your guides will take you to visit the Petite Tsingy formations and during the balance of the day, take a river trip on the Manambolo River, praised for its spectacular gorges where one can see wildlife and wonderful baobabs as well as deciduous dry forest.
Accommodation: Le Soleil des Tsingy
               
Day 8
Day 8
Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park - Grand Tsingy!
Visit the Grand Tsingy today. These incredible formations are accessible from June to November and are one of the trip highlights. But please note that (a) a reasonable level of fitness is required for this excursion and (b) you will need a head for heights.
 
The routes do involve hanging bridges and chain ladders - safety harnesses are provided.
 
Afterwards, relax at the hotel which is a veritable oasis in the middle of Menabe-Sakalava country.
Accommodation: Le Soleil des Tsingy
               
Day 9
Day 9
Back to Kirindy Forest
Depart on the drive (again with ferry crossing over Tsiribihina River) where you once again stay at the Relais du Kirindy, with all meals included.
 
A night walk this evening will give you another chance to seek out the remarkable wildlife which is found in Kirindy and nearby Marofandilia Forest.
Accommodation: Relais du Kirindy
       
Day 10
Day 10
Kirindy - Morondava airport - Antananarivo (flight)
Transfer to Morondava airport for the Air Madagascar flight back to Antananarivo.
 
On arrival, your guide and driver will meet you and transfer you to the hotel where you overnight with breakfast included. Time allowing, take a city sightseeing trip with your guide and driver.
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
       
Day 11
Day 11
Ile Ste Marie
Transfer to the airport to check in for the Air Madagascar flight east to Ste Marie, a balmy tropical island off the east coast. Transfer on arrival to Princesse Bora Lodge for a 5 night stay in a double charme bungalow with breakfast and dinner included.
Accommodation: Princesse Bora Lodge
                   
Day 12
Day 12
Ile Sainte Marie
Enjoy sublime Ile Sainte Marie and Ile Aux Nattes. In season (July and August in particular), whale watching is often productive.
Accommodation: Princesse Bora Lodge
                   
Day 13
Day 13
Ile Sainte Marie
Another day to enjoy Ste Marie. More active guests could hire quadbikes or mountainbikes, or take an excursion for snorkelling to nearby Ile Aux Nattes.
Accommodation: Princesse Bora Lodge
                   
Day 14
Day 14
Ile Sainte Marie
Relax at Princesse Bora or partake in activities which can be arranged at the hotel - enquire at reception or ask us for details.
Accommodation: Princesse Bora Lodge
                   
Day 15
Day 15
Ile Sainte Marie
Final day to enjoy Sainte Marie.
Accommodation: Princesse Bora Lodge
                   
Day 16
Day 16
Antananarivo and departure
Transfer to Ste Marie airport for the Air Madagascar flight back to the capital. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to Relais des Plateaux where you have the use of a day room. Late evening transfer back to the airport to check in for the Air France flight departing early the next morning.
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
       
Day 17
Departure
Air France flight to Paris CDG where you connect with your onward Air France flight back to London or selected other UK airports.

Pricing Information & Dates

17 day tour, from £4750 - £5090 per person
Price Includes:
  • Accommodation
Price Includes
Return economy class Air France flights from London Heathrow (or selected other UK airports) to Antananarivo
Domestic Air Madagascar flights
Airport taxes
Private transfers and private 4WD transportation
Accommodation and meals as listed
All excursions and activities
Services of professional English-speaking Malagasy guide and of driver
Park permits and park guide fees
Price Excludes
Any drinks and any meals not listed
Visa (currently €35, issued on arrival)
Tips
Items of a personal nature
Price Notes
Prices are based on Air France airfares from London Heathrow or selected other UK airports. (economy class seating) and on 2 people travelling together.

*** Update on this itinerary (August 2019): we highly recommend starting the tour with Morondava, Kirindy and Tsingy de Bemarha, then going to Ile Sainte Marie, and ending the tour at Andasibe, as getting to Andasibe does not entail the use of domestic flights.

Tour Route Map

  1.   Antananarivo
  2.   Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
  3.   Kirindy Forest
  4.   Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park
  5.   Ile Ste Marie

Accommodation on this Tour

Le Soleil des Tsingy
Le Soleil des Tsingy
Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Madagascar
Best accommodation at the magnificent Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. Bright and airy with stunning views over the forested valley from an infinity pool which offers welcome respite from the tropical heat.
               
Mantadia Lodge
Mantadia Lodge
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Madagascar
Mantadia Lodge Sure to become the most sought- after accommodation servicing Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, this lodge, under the same ownership as Couleur Café in Antsirabe, was opened in......
           
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.
       
Relais du Kirindy
Relais du Kirindy
Kirindy Forest, Madagascar
Comfortable, no-frills accommodation with swimming pool, half an hour's drive from Kirindy Forest.
       

Image Gallery

Reviews

‘My partner and I travelled with Rainbow Tours to Madagascar earlier this summer and from beginning to end Derek, the team in London and their partner company Za Tours on the ground were wonderful.

When I first contacted Derek I didn’t know much about the Island. He drew up an amazing itinerary, visiting diverse parts of the country. We loved all the different flora, fauna and accommodation that our itinerary gave us.

Before we even left London we had some flight issues and Derek was just a phone call away providing a solution and, when he wasn’t in the office, his colleagues were equally as helpful

On the ground Za tours were always on hand. Particular mention goes to Stefan and Michel who were superb guides but all the drivers and people who met us were wonderful. Travelling Madagascar has it challenges, the roads are interesting (to say the least) and Air Madagascar definitely operates to it’s own schedule but at no point did we feel lost or unsafe. There was always someone to meet us, and when flights were delayed we had somewhere to wait and were kept fully informed.

All of the accommodation booked was unique, food included superb and recommendations wonderful. I only wish we had more time everywhere.

I wouldn’t hesitate recommending Rainbow Tours and am hoping that I will be able to travel again with them very soon there is so much more of Madagascar I want to see’

Thanks again for a wonderful trip. I will be in touch. 
 

Ms Jeffrey & Mr Tighe
September 18, 2019

Really good overall. Really needed the guides and the drivers to make it easy and they performed extremely well. 

Relais des Plateaux is very good for its purpose of in and out travel. Kept some luggage for us which was great. 

Princesse Bora: really liked the visibility of the manager. Very relaxed. Can rain there though!

Mantadia Lodge: great setting - excellent comfort, service and location; good meals and facilities. 

Camp Amoureux: for situation very good. Excellent service, location and meals. Facilities and comfort good for location. WOW, the food portions were HUGE! Meals great and staff so friendly. 

Palissandre Cote Ouest: good to unwind, good night and there's good security on the 'beachfront'. 

Jacklin Family party
August 1, 2018

'Hello Derek,

Thanks for the welcome home and thanks so much for organizing our amazing trip! The trip surpassed anything we thought it would be! It was definitely the trip of a lifetime. 

Quite an eyeopener into the life of these poor people. They have so little yet they work so hard and keep smiling.....such a contrast to we privileged North Americans who have so much, take so much for granted and often to not appreciate what we have nor each other. As I tackle my laundry from the trip, I will never again complain about having to do numerous loads in my washing machine!

We were incredibly well taken care of, though I often felt guilty being in such beautiful accommodations with incredible meals. The only thing that eased my guilt was knowing that our tourism creates many jobs to help the people. All hotels were great. Would have liked to have stayed longer than 10 hours at Royal Palissandre (sort of a tease of a visit because we arrived and left in the dark yet could hear the ocean and saw how beautiful the place was), however, I don't think we would have wanted any less time anywhere else. Probably needed another day or two!

Soleil des Tsingy was probably the best, though Princess Bora was fantastic and probably would have been the best had the unfortunate incident of their restaurant not happened. They were working very quickly on the temporary and original restaurant, so let your clients know they don't need to worry. We are very glad that we didn't choose to go to a different hotel. We had a beautiful villa right on the beach.

Le Camp Amoureux was a unique experience, with friendly staff, clean accommodations and good food. Relais des Plateaux was also very good - two basic rooms (the night we arrived and as our day room) and one beautiful spacious room on our longer stay. 

Our guides were wonderful. We had Too (not correct spelling of his name but can't remember how it's spelt) for the first week, Michael at Andasibe, as well as Andry in Tana. They were all great. 

Our drivers Justin and Marc were also amazing and we felt totally safe with them behind the wheel. I certainly wouldn't want to drive there!

Whale-watching in Isle Saint Marie was probably Mike's highlight - we went three times on the boat as well as spotting them from the beach. Whale-watching probably ties with finding lemurs for me. The whole experience (even that road to get to Soleil des Tsingy with its ferries!) was fantastic!

No complaints about anything...everything was amazing! 

Thanks so much!

Janet and Mike'

 

 

 

 

Mr and Mrs Stooke
July 20, 2017


'The trip met with all our expectations throughout. Aside from the cancellation of the flight from Tana to Morondava, all our other flights were on time. A highlight for us was the Kirindy Forest. We enjoyed the setting and the variety of the more unusual wildlife sightings, e.g. the Fossa on the trails around the lodge and also the Giant Jumping Rat, which was fascinating to watch.

A bonus was to spend another night in the area at Camp Amoreux on the return from Bemaraha. All praise to our guide Lova and our driver Fily who took us between camps to maximise our wildlife viewings.

Ankarana: here we visited the Bat Cave and also went on a morning visit to the Crocodile Cave (where we walked through from the entrance to the sunken forest on the other end), seeing a single crocodile in each, as well as many bats in the former. The many stalagmites, stalactites and other weird and wonderful calcareous formations at the crocodile cave were intriguing. Not surprisingly we were the only tourists at the Crocodile Cave due to it being somewhat  remote from the other attractions.

Perinet and Mantadia: (Andasibe). Because of the greater flexibility of independent travel, at Perinet our guide arranged visits to two lesser visited reserves within the park area: Parc Villageos Reserve and Parc Mitsinjo. There we enjoyed closer wildlife viewing with no other tourists in the vicinity, although there was a BBC wildlife team filming at Mitsinjo. Mantadia was  rewarding (and far away from th annoying crowds) and where the guide found a Scaly ground-roller for us after we specifically mentioned our interest in seeing one of the Madagascan Ground-rollers.

We thoroughly enjoyed Bemaraha, paticularly the Grand Tsingy which added a bit of interest to the walking. This was in part due to having to use harnesses in order to scale the pinnacles.  We are used to scrambling about in rocks as this is something that one encounters when walking some of the bigger mountains of North wales or the Lake District, particularly if one deviates off the main tourist routes.  However it will not be to everyone's taste and we did encounter people who had to turn back on the 'classic' route as they were unable to cope with the heights / exposure.  Also the ,rope bridge caused others to falter/turn round. 

By contrast the Tsingy at Ankarana seemed somewhat tame (not so jagged at the part where we went to) but it made up for it with it's size.  However we only had about 2 hours there as we had been to the Crocodile Cave in the morning which linited the time available to us at the Grand tsingy in the afternoon.  (We met some people whose guide had taken them on an 8 hour circuit at Ankarana, which was inappropriate for their fitness levels). 

What we saw of the Petit Tsingy at Bemaraha was a bit tame by comparison, although there was wildlife to be seen (sifakas), which was not the case with the Grand Tsingy on our visit.  We arrived there about 20 minutes before closing time after driving from Kirindy, but our guide managed to arrange for a guide to take us round a small circuit for about 45 minutes. 

In the evening it was good to be able to return to the lodge (Solei des Tsyingy) which was up-market, comfortable and had good views.  The only minor thing about the hotel was the need to order one's evening meal in advance, which is OK except that on arrival on the first day there may not be very much choice avialable for the evening meal, unless one were to arrive earlier in the afternoon in order to place one's order.  Only a minor niggle though.  (There were not many people staying there whilst we were there).

The route to Bemahara via the ferry at Belo-sur-Tsirbihina was enjoyable despite the state of the roads.  Now that the local govenor has some influence in the central government funds have been made available to improve the section of the road north of Belo with new culverts /small bridges being built as well as some straightening out and re-alignment in some sections.  No tarmacing or anything like that but an useful improvements nevertheless. 

Travelling the road north of Kirindy makes one realise the extent of the deforestaion, with areas the size of medium English towns turned into black smouldering landscapes that look like the something out of the Somme.  They seem to clear the land both sides of the road leaving a thin strip of vegetation either side of the road which serves to hide the reality from the traveller.  Quite depressing to see.  

Despite the difficulties facing the guides in Madagascar, we found them to be dedicatedand enthusastic at all times'.

Mr & Mrs Mellor
November 12, 2015
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