Antananarivo | Relais des Plateaux Days 1 - 2
Antananarivo, also known as Tana, is Madagascar’s capital city, perched 1400 metres on top of a mountain range. It serves as a great base from which to explore the spectacular surrounding area, which hosts several nature reserves, including Tsingy de Bemaraha, with its fantastical limestone karsts. Founded in 1625, it has a rich historical heritage that is complemented by scenic landscapes traversed with a multitude of hiking routes. The city is also known for its bubbly nightlife, with live music played regularly at various clubs, bars and hotels. Visitors can explore the remnants of the French colonial era in the old heart of the city, as well as discover ancient Malagasy palaces dotted around the city.
Kirindy Mitea National Park | Kirindy Lodge Days 2 - 3
In the west of Madagascar near the town of Belo-sur-Mer lies a 12000-hectare swathe of pristine landscape that makes up Kirindy Mitea National Park. The park is endowed with a vast variety of ecosystems – dry deciduous woodlands, tropical rainforests and otherworldly spiny forests, coastal mangroves, dunes, lakes, beaches and reefs – all of which can be explored in the space of a single day. The grand baobabs found here are among Africa’s most impressive (some of them reach a height of 40 metres), and the region sustains a rich density of primates, including Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur, the smallest primate in the world, found nowhere else on earth.
Avenue of the Baobabs | Palissandre Cote Ouest Resort & Spa Days 3 - 4
One of the most popular tourist destinations in Madagascar, the Avenue of Baobabs is a stunning series of towering Baobab trees lining a 260m stretch of dirt road between Morondava and Belon’I Tsiribihina, in the west of the country. An endangered species, Baobabs are often referred to as ‘upside down trees’ because of the sparse root-like branches found at the top. They can live to be as old as 800 years, reach heights of over 30 metres and have trunks as wide as 11 metres. The avenue is at its most impressive at sunrise and sunset, when the trunks change colour and the shadows stand out. Visitors who come to see the Baobabs usually include an adventure to the spectacular Kirindy Forest Reserve and otherworldly Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park.
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park | Vakona Forest Lodge Days 4 - 7
A place of great beauty and biodiversity, Andasibe-Mantadia National in eastern Madagascar stretches across 154 square kilometres and is now divided into two distinct sections – the smaller Analamazaotra or Perinet Reserve to the south and the larger Parc National de Mantadia to the north. The region is swathed with thick tropical rainforests – made up of lush ferns, tangled lianas, hundreds of orchid species and myriad other jungle flora – teeming with a diverse array of endemic wildlife. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you hear the peculiar call of the Indri, the largest living lemur in existence, which can reach up to one metre in height. Visitors can enjoy spectacular hikes, discover hidden waterfalls, and hunt for rare orchids.
Antananarivo | Palissandre Hotel & Spa Days 7 - 8
Johannesburg | City Lodge OR Tambo Airport Days 8 - 9
Johannesburg is one of Africa’s biggest and most vibrant cities. It is the economic capital of Africa and the gateway to Southern Africa. Although not as famous as other South African destinations, there is plenty to do in Johannesburg and nearby Pretoria. The old city is a multi-cultural mixture of traditional medicine shops, Chinese restaurants, taxi ranks and ultra modern skyscrapers. There are excellent museums, art galleries and organised tours of historical and political interest. The shopping is Southern Africa’s best and the many restaurants cater for all tastes. The nearby township of Soweto is Johannesburg’s most popular tourist attraction.
Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve | Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge Days 9 - 12
The Sabi Sands is South Africa's premier private game viewing destination. It was here that the southern African safari began and today this famous reserve offers exceptional game viewing and equally exceptional accommodations. Two perennial rivers, the Sabi and the Sand flow through this Game Park, sustaining the diverse fauna and flora of the area.
The success of leopard viewing within the Sabi Sands is legendary. Elephants, lion, rhino, buffalo, cheetah, giraffe, zebra and a vast variety of antelope and other species can be closely observed in their natural environment.