Evolution has occurred more or less in isolation on this remote island – located 400 kilometres off Africa’s east coast – with the result that much of its indigenous wildlife is found nowhere else on earth. Madagascar’s menagerie of weird and wonderful creatures includes the world’s biggest and smallest chameleons and over 70 species of lemur – long-tailed primates endemic to the island. The Madagascan landscape is no less compelling than the resident wildlife, with terrain ranging from lush jungles and palm-fringed beaches to the knife-edged karst tsingys of the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park’s ‘stone forests’. Madagascar is an otherworldly paradise where visitors are offered a unique glimpse into a fantastical one-of-a-kind world.
Days 1 - 2
Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo, is known fondly as Tana and crowns a majestic mountain range at around 1400 metres above sea level. The city boasts a rich historical heritage that is complemented by scenic landscapes and a large network of sublime hiking routes. From here, it is possible to explore several nature reserves (don’t miss Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, which contains incredible limestone karsts). Known for its vibrant nightlife, Antananarivo features exciting local live music at a variety of clubs and bars. History and architecture enthusiasts have plenty to see - from the remnants of the French colonial era in the old heart of the city to ancient Malagasy palaces and forts. Other bucket-list items include the fascinating Musée de la Photo; the popular Parc de Tsarasaotra (an excellent bird sanctuary), and the vibrant Analakely Market.
Days 2 - 3
The seaside town of Morondova is situated on the west coast of Madagascar. The town serves as a gateway to the area’s claim to fame and main attraction: the world-renowned ‘Avenue of the Baobabs’. These massive, ancient Baobab trees tower over the terrain and create magical otherworldly silhouettes at sunrise and sunset. Other places to explore in the surrounding area include: Kirindy Forest, home to a host of endemic lemurs; and the magnificent Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park to the north, featuring unique, spiny rock formations. Don’t miss the opportunity to browse Morondava’s local market for a selection of locally made textiles and other sought-after Madagascan handicrafts.
Days 3 - 5
Set close to the southern boundary of the Tsingy of Bemaraha National Park, the town of Bekopaka lies in the district of Antsalova, Madagascar. It offers visitors a host of comfortable accommodation options and serves as an excellent base for exploring the spectacular Tsingy of Bemaraha National Park, a world-renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is known for its unique geology boasting forests of ‘tsingy’, which are spiky limestone karsts creating an otherworldly landscape for visitors to discover. Other attractions include the park’s untouched woodlands, mangroves and glistening lakes abundant with an array of wildlife such as the endemic lemur and almost 100 different bird species.
Days 6 - 7
Perched in the Central Highlands, Antsirabe serves as the capital of the Vakinankaratra Region. Known as the ‘Malagasy Vichy’ because of its numerous hot springs and thermal baths, Madagascar’s third largest city offers tourists a bustling and gritty atmosphere in a setting reminiscent of the Belle Epoque. The city can be experienced on foot or on one of the many colourful pulled rickshaws - referred to locally as pousse-pousses. The city’s charming attractions include: French colonial buildings dating back to the early 20th century, Scandinavian villas, vibrant markets and artisan workshops. A visit is incomplete without a trip up Ivohitra Hill, where a panoramic view of the scenic highlands awaits.
Days 7 - 9
Located in eastern Madagascar in the Moramanga District, the small village of Andasibe is surrounded by a belt of protected rainforest and several parks boasting incredible natural scenery and an array of exotic Madagascan wildlife. It serves as an excellent base from which to explore the spectacularly scenic surrounds. Visitors can look forward to discovering the natural wonders of the nearby Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Analamazaotra Reserve and Perinet Special Reserve. Don't miss the opportunity to hear the unique song of the large indri lemur, explore a network of incredible trails that wind passed glistening lakes and magnificent waterfalls and discover the rich biodiversity in the local flora and fauna.