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16 DAYS FROM 4265 PP

Best time to go
Aug - Nov 2023

MAD St Madagascar Andasibe National Park Coquerel Sifika Lemur Shutterstock Mbrand85
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Madagascar Small Group Safari

A fantastic small group safari to Madagascar that gives you the opportunity to explore a number of destinations, in the company of just seven others. You will visit the national parks of Isalo, Andasibe, Mantadia and Ranomafana; the Palmarium Reserve; the Kianjavato Lemur Project; and the coastal city of Tulear.

This exhilarating adventure through some of Madagascar's most biodiverse regions showcases the best of its wildlife and natural splendour. As part of a small group of just eight guests, you will first visit the Palmarium Reserve for a glimpse of the peculiar aye-aye, before traversing the wildlife-rich rainforest reserves of Andasibe and Mantadia to listen out for the early-morning calls of the indri lemurs. From there, pass through the country's scenic highlands and try to spot three separate species of bamboo lemur within the forests of Ranomafana National Park The final section of your journey will see the landscape shifting to vineyards, savannah and the rocky outcrops of Isalo National Park – where encounters with the distinctive ring-tailed lemurs beckon – before your safari ends on the west coast of the "Red Island".

Why book this trip?

Small Group Size

Group size is limited to a maximum of eight guests (this truly does make a significant difference to your experience, your comfort while in vehicles and your engagement with our naturalist guide).

Slow Travel Madagascar

This journey travels East-West at a comfortable pace allowing you to fully experience each unique part of the island. There are still long stops to experience each unique part of the island fully road journeys involved to traverse this island continent, often on rough roads, but we invite you to relax, enjoy the stops en route and watch the scenery slip by.

Madagascar experts

NWS started as World Primate Safaris more than a decade ago. There is no better team to take you to discover the unique primates of Madagascar.

MAD St Madagascar Isalo National Park Dennis Van De Water

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Day by day breakdown

Day 1 - Arrive in Antananarivo (Tana)

Day 2 - Antananarivo - Palmarium Reserve

Depart in a mini-coach for a 6-hour road journey to the village of Manambato and board a speedboat following part of this 600-kilometre long channel for about an hour to head to the Palmarium Lodge, passing by local fishing villages en route.

Day 3 - Palmarium Reserve

Enjoy a walk through the forest with one of the lodge guides. Here it is possible to see Coquerel’s sifakas, black lemurs, red lemurs, crowned lemurs, black-and-white ruffed lemurs, and a family of indri. By early evening, you will embark on your pirogue canoe for a quiet ride on the Pangalanes Canal to an island occupied by the famous aye-aye.

Day 4 - Palmarium Reserve – Andasibe National Park

Today you head south to the renowned reserve of Andasibe, first by boat through the Pangalanes Canal and then around 3.5 hours by road. In the afternoon you'll enjoy your first exploration of this stunning rainforest. At nightfall, set off with flashlights to seek out nocturnal species alongside your naturalist guide.

Day 5 - Andasibe National Pak

Enjoy a full day exploring Andasibe National Park with your expert wildlife guides. One of its most famous inhabitants is the indri, the largest of all lemurs, which resembles a black-and-white teddy bear. Other lemurs which can be seen here are the brown lemur, red-bellied lemur and lesser bamboo lemur, as well as nocturnal species like the brown mouse lemur, eastern woolly lemur and sportive lemurs. In addition to lemurs, the rainforests are home to a wide range of reptiles including the boa manditra snake, 84 species of amphibian and some rare and magnificent orchids. This is also a place to find the unique satanic leaf-tailed gecko, as well as bizarre insects like the famous giraffe-necked weevil. As late afternoon rolls around, spend time on the property of Vakona Forest Lodge.

Day 6 - Mantadia National Park

Spend the day exploring Mantadia National Park. This is 20km (1 hour) north of Andasibe and offers a much more rugged experience with steeper, slippery trails, but can offer up rewarding sightings. Here you’ll have good chances of spotting the golden-coloured diademed sifaka and the local indri (who, for some reason, are darker than their Andasibe relatives) as well as black-and-white ruffed lemurs. Some endemic species like the common brown lemur, eastern lesser bamboo lemur, sportive lemurs and mouse lemurs (the smallest of all lemurs) can also be found. The park has some excellent birdwatching including chances of seeing the scaly ground-roller, pitta-like ground roller and red-breasted coua.

Day 7 - Andasibe National Park – Antsirabe

Depart Andasibe and drive back towards Tana, then southwards to Antsirabe (approx. 6-hour drive including stops). Throughout the day you'll pass through a variety of highland scenery, with an optional stop at Ambatolampy to see aluminium pot casting. In the afternoon there may be time to visit two or three of the many brilliant artisan workshops found here, including silk, gems, scrap metal, weaving, models, zebu horn crafts, raffia, sweets, beer and cheese.

Day 8 - Antsirabe - Ranomafana National Park

Continue your drive south through the highlands and make your way eastwards to the rainforest reserve of Ranomafana National Park. This town is known for its woodcarving industry; look out for the houses' uniquely carved balconies and shutters. Should you wish, you can stop off at one of the local woodcarving shops to see the handicrafts – including Christian wood carvings – that the town produces.

Day 9 - Kianjavato Lemur Project

Today you will have the privilege of visiting our exclusive conservation project about 1.5 hours from Ranomafana. This busy project researches bamboo lemurs, black-and-white ruffed lemurs and aye-ayes, as well as conducting reforestation and working with local communities and schools. Your day will include tracking these highly endangered lemurs, as well as having the chance to visit a nearby school (depending on school holidays), and spending time with the researchers to understand more about conservation issues in Madagascar.

Day 10 - Ranomafana National Park

Today is spent exploring Ranomafana National Park. Ranomafana is a diverse habitat which spans 415 square kilometres and is comprised of waterfalls, dense rainforest and mountainous areas. There are 12 species of lemur, including the golden bamboo lemur, which was discovered here in 1986. It is thought that the reason behind their golden fur lies in their diet of bamboo tips, which contain cyanide. The park is excellent for spotting birds; there are over 118 species here! You may even be lucky enough to spot the rare greater bamboo lemur. You can look out for the endearing red-bellied lemurs who live in couples with their offspring, red-fronted brown lemurs that reside in groups, and Milne-Edwards' sifakas.

Day 11 - Ranomafana National Park – Isalo National Park

Today you make an early start for the drive south (approximately 8 hours including stops). After a brief stop at Fianarantsoa, the last major town of the highlands, you will descend into the west coast region where the scenery drastically changes to open savannah grasslands with zebu herds tended by Malagasy herdsmen. There is time before lunch to visit the vineyards found at the town of Ambalavao and to see handmade paper being produced. Just after Ambalavao is the community-managed reserve of Anja. Here you should be able to spot troupes of ring-tailed lemurs in the forest between huge granite outcrops, a wonderful photo opportunity.

Day 12 - Isalo National Park

Today you have the exciting opportunity to trek through Isalo’s striking canyons and along its dramatic headland, which has been manipulated by the wind and rainfall over the years into a variety of bizarre shapes. A classic walk is along the massif affording dramatic views from the cliff-hugging paths. Arrive late in the afternoon at "La Piscine Naturelle", a natural swimming pool formed in the rocks fringed by palm trees and forever topped up by a flowing waterfall. After a long day in the sun, a dip here is hard to resist! Return to the hotel for an evening at leisure.

Day 13 - Isalo National Park – Ifaty

Today your journey continues onwards and south towards the coastal area of Ifaty (via Tulear). You will stop off at Zombitse -Vahibasia National Park which is a hugely important park in terms of biodiversity as it is the only remaining transition forest between the west and southern regions. As well as being a birder's paradise, home to the Appert's greenbul, it also is home to a variety of lemurs (including the verreaux's sifaka) and also baobabs, so a great chance to get up close to these magnificent trees. You will then continue your drive south to Tulear and on to the fishing village of Ifaty about 2 hours north of Tulear and in the evening you will go on a night walk in search of nocturnal species.

Day 14 - Ifaty

With a mix of sandy stretches and some rocky sections, Ifaty beach is nice enough for a brief respite from travelling across this vast island. The key reason to come here is to access the spiny forest with its mix of succulent plants, baobabs and birdlife. This morning set off on a guided visit to the Reniala spiny forest, home to the famous Baobab trees as well as many interesting birds and flora that manage to flourish in these difficult conditions. The spiny forest conjures images of wild and spiky flora, lemurs clinging to the sharp prickles of the trees, seemingly unfazed by their needle-like protrusions.

Day 15 - Ifaty - Antananarivo

Today you will be driven to Tulear Airport, stopping off en route to visit the Honko mangroves if time permits. On landing in Antananarivo you will be met and driven to your hotel and later in the day you will be taken on a tour of the Upper Town and museum, before enjoying dinner at Cafe du Musée.

Day 16 - Depart Antananarivo

Accommodation Highlights

Mantadia Lodge

Perfectly situated for exploring Andasibe and Mantadia National Parks and its elevated position allows for panoramic views over the rainforest. This modern hotel has 25 rooms which are equipped with WiFi and a wood stove which is perfect for keeping warm in cooler months. The lodge also has a pleasant swimming pool and a restaurant which serves delicious local fare with a French twist.

Thermal Hotel

Refurbished to match the former design, Thermal Hotel is a modern and natural hotel located in the beautiful Ranomafana National Park

Dates & Prices madagascar

Dates and Prices for madagascar
DateGuestsTrip LengthTrip StylePrices from
Aug 27 - Sep 11 202316 DaysSmall Group4265
Sep 17 - Oct 02 202316 DaysSmall Group4266
Oct 08 - Oct 23 202316 DaysSmall Group4265

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