Treasures of Masoala

Explore Madagascar’s largest national park by foot, boat and canoe on this exciting safari that will take you through habitats teeming with lemurs, snakes, geckos, chameleons, dolphins and sea turtles.

Duration 9 days
Price From $4,630
When Apr - Dec
Destination Madagascar

Safari Overview

The Masoala Peninsula in Madagascar’s northeast is one of the country’s most spectacular destinations. It is thought that 80% of the plants here have yet to be scientifically described, while Masoala National Park encompasses one of the most diverse range of habitats to be found in any of Madagascar’s protected areas, including tropical rainforest, mangroves and coral reefs. On this safari you’ll be able to uncover the secrets of Madagascar’s largest national park on a range of different excursions, and also enjoy a week’s stay in what award-winning travel journalist Sophy Roberts has described as her favourite accommodation in Africa, Masoala Forest Lodge.

What makes this trip extraordinary

  • Explore primary forest and marine reserve in one unique location.
  • Walk beneath Masoala’s canopies where lemurs, geckos, birds and chameleons make their home.
  • Kayak through Antongil Bay and coastal mangrove forests, sharing the waters with marine wildlife like green turtles, bottlenose dolphins and blue-spotted stingrays.
  • Seek out the five lemur species living on the pristine island sanctuary of Nosy Mangabe. 
  • Immerse yourself in Malagasy culture with performances from traditional dance groups and visits to local villages.
  • Stay for seven nights in a picturesque lodge where the rainforest meets the sea.

Day by day

Day 1

Arrive Antananarivo

Upon arriving in Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital, you’ll be met by our local representative and transferred to your city hotel to settle in and prepare for tomorrow, when your safari begins in earnest.

Overnight: Relais des Plateaux B, L, D

Day 2

Antananarivo - Masoala

Your early-morning transfer to nearby Ivato Airport will take you to a private hangar, where you’ll board a shared scheduled charter flight to Maroantsetra in the north; flying time will be approximately two hours. On the way, enjoy magnificent views of the rugged hills and rainforests that sprawl across eastern Madagascar, before descending over Antongil Bay and landing at Maroantsetra’s airport. Once on the ground, you’ll head to the shore and embark on a two-hour voyage across Antongil Bay to Masoala Forest Lodge, looking out for dolphins and whales (when in season) along the way. The forested mountains of the Masoala Peninsula serve as a dramatic backdrop as you approach your destination. Following lunch at the lodge, set off to explore the beaches and coastal forests that surround your home for the next few days. You can even take to the water and indulge in a spot of swimming. White-fronted brown lemurs are often spotted among the trees on the trail to Tampolo Point. Make sure to return to camp for sundowners around the beachfront fire and a delectable dinner at the lodge.

Overnight: Masoala Forest Lodge B, L, D

Day 3

Masoala National Park

Take your breakfast overlooking the ocean this morning before setting off on the day’s adventure. Seek out red-ruffed lemurs, dwarf chameleons and other local wildlife as you walk along the coast and up into the primary forest, rich with giant hardwoods and majestic tree ferns. Late afternoon will bring a guided sea kayak expedition to the lookout rock at the nearby “Secret Cove” for sunset. Keep an eye out for the green turtles and bottlenose dolphins you may encounter en-route.

Overnight: Masoala Forest Lodge B, L, D

Day 4

Masoala National Park

Today’s guided walk will take you through Masoala’s coastal forest in search of more bugs, birds and mammals. After around two hours you'll reach the crystal-clear waters of the Tampolo River which cascade down at the foot of the forested mountains here, where you can cool off with a welcome swim. From here, paddle down the shady river course in a traditional dugout canoe. After lunch you can partake in a relaxed afternoon swimming on the private beaches or snorkelling above the area’s coral reefs. A nighttime guided walk presents the intriguing possibility of spotting secretive nocturnal wildlife, such as dwarf and mouse lemurs, leaf-tailed geckos and perhaps even the elusive aye-aye.

Overnight: Masoala Forest Lodge B, L, D

Day 5

Masoala National Park

A bevy of water-based activities await you at the midpoint of your safari. The fantastic rock formations of Tampolo Point are best seen either by sea kayak or boat, but make sure to stop for a swim off “Sacred Island”. Afterwards, continue on with your guide as you kayak through pristine mangroves and tree-lined rivers, with the chance of spotting blue-spotted stingrays in the shallow water or perhaps the lesser bamboo lemur peering down at you from the canopy. After a picnic lunch on the beach, return to camp across the water for an evening of entertainment and high spirits with the visit of the traditional Malagasy music and dance group from the local village.

Overnight: Masoala Forest Lodge B, L, D

Day 6

Tampolo Marine Reserve

Today’s boat journey through the Tampolo Marine Reserve offers up stunning views of the verdant coastline, picturesque beaches and calm blue sea. Upon reaching the mouth of the Antalavia River, board the dinghy for the short paddle in the estuary to the cascades. Here refreshingly cool, clear water forms perfect swimming pools in the shade of overhanging trees. Look out for white-fronted brown lemurs leaping through the canopy. After a picnic lunch, return to your lodge by boat or on foot to spend the remainder of the afternoon at your leisure.

Overnight: Masoala Forest Lodge B, L, D

Day 7


Following breakfast on your lodge’s sea deck, join your guide on a short walk across rice fields and farmland to the nearby village of Ambodiforaha. Here you can learn about the sustainable lifestyle of the local Betsimisaraka culture by visiting their traditional homesteads where locally sourced vanilla, cloves, coffee and rice are prepared, and mats, baskets and headwear are woven. You can also pay a visit to the village school, which is co-funded by Masoala Forest Lodge. After lunch, you’ll have the opportunity to take a peaceful birdwatching pirogue trip on the cool, shady river.

Overnight: Masoala Forest Lodge B, L, D

Day 8

Masoala National Park

Today is yours to do with as you choose. If you fancy taking it easy, there are plenty of places to sunbathe on one of the private beaches here, or you can relax with a good book and a cold drink while making use of the hammock on your private veranda. If you’re still searching for adventure, try spotting birds and mammals along the lodge’s private forest trails, or take the opportunity to return to the primary forest for a final time in search of more endemic wildlife.

Overnight: Masoala Forest Lodge B, L, D

Day 9

Depart Masoala National Park

It’s time to bid farewell to Madagascar today, but there’s still time to take in some of the island’s wildlife and natural beauty. Take your final breakfast on the sea deck before boarding the boat for the voyage to the island of Nosy Mangabe. Now you can explore the network of trails on this densely forested reserve accompanied by your expert guide. The island is home to five species of lemur, including the nocturnal aye-aye, as well as leaf-tailed geckos and Madagascar tree boas. You can view the engraved rocks on the “Plaige des Hollandaise" as well as traditional Malagasy tombs within a cave system here. After a picnic lunch on the beach, continue on your boat journey across the bay to Maroantsetra and transfer to the airport in time for the scheduled charter flight to Antananarivo. You will then be met on arrival and transferred to your nearby hotel, before departing Madagascar the following morning.

Overnight: Relais des Plateaux B, L, D

Trip Details

About Tailor-made Safaris

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