Experience Malagasy rainforest, 'tsingy', wildlife and coast.
Explore Madagascar's incomparable diversity - take in the lush rainforests of Andasibe-Mantadia; the bizarre limestone pinnacles of Ankarana and end with a sublime beach break.
Treat yourself to visiting Madagascar's number one 'must see' protected rainforest, Andasibe-Mantadia, for its wildlife and stunning scenery. Then travel up north to extraordinary and otherworldly Ankarana for limestone pinnacle-fields (tsingy), caves and sunken forests. End with a relaxing stint on the balmy north-west coast. This tailor-made sample itinerary can be adapted to suit your interests and requirements.
Pics © Craig Kaufman (CK)
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Day 1: Fly to Madagascar
Fly from London Heathrow or selected other UK airports. On your late night arrival, transfer to Relais des Plateaux to overnight with breakfast included.
Day 2: From scenic Highlands to lush rainforests
Travel 3hrs,30min east to the escarpment for a 3 night stay in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. Enjoy a guided rainforest walk to seek some of the animal oddities in this humid rainforest.
Day 3: The rainforest wonderland of Andasibe-Mantadia
Be sure to enter the mist-enshrouded rainforest of Andasibe-Mantadia aka 'Perinet' as early as possible as then, you'll experience the dawn chorus - Malagasy magic at its very best! After lunch at the hotel, return to the rainforest for a mid-afternoon walk and if you wish, a night walk at either the rainforest parcel protected by VOIMMA guides association, or that administered by Association Mitsinjo. Either way, you'll see some of the nocturnal rainforest denizens.
Day 4: Mantadia National Park
Energetic visitors can explore the nearby Mantadia National Park, a 10,000ha rainforest where there are lovely views from the ridge. If its not accessible, Maromizaha is as good an option. Or, just enjoy another trail in Andasibe. Those keen to leave behind a meaningful contribution, could plant an endangered, endemic tree from the nursery of Association Mitsinjo, as part of an ongoing reforestation scheme here. As our friend Hilary Bradt says. 'what better way could there be to literally put something back into Malagasy soil?'...
Day 5: Return to Antananarivo
Take a final rainforest wander to seek out species you may have missed. Then return to the capital to overnight once more at Relais des Plateaux with breakfast.
Day 6: Fly to Diego Suarez and drive to Ankarana
This morning you'll fly up to Diego Suarez, a port surrounded by dry hills on the northernmost coast. There your driver and guide will meet you and drive you to Ankarana Ouest, for a 3-night stay in stylish Iharana Bush Camp on a full board basis.
Day 7: Ankarana - the Lost World within a Lost World
Ankarana is the 'Lost World within a Lost World' - a formidable limestone fortress topped with fields of limestone pinnacles the Malagasy call 'tsingy'. Where caves have collapsed, sunken forests harbour populations of wildlife shielded from the outside world. Underground is an insane labyrinth of passages, caverns and fast-flowing streams and rivers. Your guides will take you on some of the circuits in this otherworldly place.
Day 8: Exploring more of Ankarana
You would want another day to get a more in-depth feel for what the remarkable Ankarana Special Reserve has to offer. At the lodge there is also a small lake, so boat trips are offered. Or, you could go cycling. Or visit a nearby village to learn about everyday life of the people living in this part of Madagascar.
Day 9: Through Sambirano Country to the coast
Travel about 3 hours through 'Sambirano Country', where if you wish we can arrange a stop at Plantation Millot, near Ambanja. Here you can see cocoa plantations from which, marvellous chocolates are produced. Take a speedboat transfer from nearby Ankify, to delightful Eden Lodge where you stay for 4 nights in an East Africa Meru-styled tented en-suite room with all meals included.
Days 10 - 12: Relaxing on the sublime north-west coast
Eden Lodge, with its impressive green credentials, is highly regarded and enjoyed by all who stay there. Its one of few sites in the country offering a combination of a lovely beach with wildlife. What's also appealing is you can't get there by road - its accessible only by speedboat. Hospitality and food are top-notch. Most visitors encounter green turtles while swimming and snorkelling offshore.
Day 13: Fly from Nosy Be to Antananarivo
Take a speedboat transfer to Nosy Be, from where you fly back to the capital. Here you'll have a day/evening room and you'll have time for some souvenir shopping. Late evening transfer to the airport for the Air France check in.
Day 14: Return home (reluctantly)
Fly back to the UK via Paris CDG. You'll be home by lunch time.
Duration: 13 nights
Location: Madagascar, Africa
Price per person sharing in double room accommodation, based on two people travelling together, includes return economy class international Air France flights from selected UK airports via Paris CDG to Antananarivo; internal Air Madagascar flights, air taxes, airport facilitation, private transfers and 4WD transportation, services of dedicated professional English-speaking Malagasy guide and of drivers; all excursions and activities as outlined; services of park guides; park permits/entry fees; accommodation with meals as outlined.
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