This tour is all about exploring the north eastern region of Madagascar by both sea and land. Enjoy the stunning natural beauty all around you, with fascinating wildlife and wonderful conservation work to explore. The diversity of the north of Madagascar is sure to impress you!
Looking for a different type of adventure? Check out our 16-day highlands to coast bike tour of Madagascar or feel free to contact us so we can help you choose the right tour for you. From camping to island-hopping, we can make your Madagascar travel dreams come true!
Today you will arrive in Antananarivo. A driver/guide will collect you at the airport and drive you to Chez Jenne, a guesthouse near the airport. You will obtain your visa at the airport and we also recommend you change currency at the airport before leaving for the hotel; the facilities are there, both a bank and exchange cash desk. The driver-guide will supply you with vouchers for the following days and answer any questions you may have.
Should you arrive early in the morning or in the middle of the day, there is a possibility we may take you to a hotel in the centre of the city instead of near the airport. In the evening, it is more practical to take you to a hotel nearby.
Transfer: From airport to hotel
Accommodations: Guesthouse Chez Jeanne
After breakfast, a hotel courtesy bus will take you to the airport for the inland flight to Maroantsetra, a pleasant city in the Northwest of Madagascar.
On arrival at this small airport, a guide will collect you and accompany you to the harbour where you will catch the ferry for the 30-minute crossing to Nosy Mangabe, which is situated some 2 kilometres from the coast. This is an island with a national park bearing the same name. It is compulsory to be accompanied by a guide (cost included) to walk through the tropical rainforest here. The park covers an area of 520 hectares and is home to many chameleons, frogs, other reptiles, and, of course, lemurs.
The history of Nosy Mangabe is one of both trade and piracy. Dutch sailers have carved rocks in the West Coast of the island as far back as the 16th century. On arrival at Nosy Mangabe, you will enjoy a picnic lunch. At the end of the afternoon, you will sail back to Maroantsetra and spend the night in the Manga Beach Hotel on the basis of accommodation and breakfast.
Transfers: Hotel to airport in Antananarivo; airport to hotel in Maroantsetra
Accommodations: Manga Beach Hotel
In the morning, you will be transported by boat to the Arol Lodge near the Masoala National Park. You will stay here overnight on the basis of full-board. Various excursions are possible here; we recommend, on arrival, you discuss with the guide what you wish to see in the afternoon and the following day.
The following excursions are available:
Transfer: By boat from Maroantsetra to Masoala (about 2 hours)
Accommodations: Arol Lodge
A day off in Arol Lodge on the basis of full-board and your choice of excursions, all included.
You will depart early in the morning today for the best sea and inland flights conditions. You will be ferried back to Marasontsetra in about 2 hours and then driven to the airport for the inland flight to Sambava. You will be collected by a driver/guide who will transfer you to Hotel Orchidea Beach for the night.
In the late afternoon, you may be given a tour of vanilla plantations and/or enjoy a city tour. Sahambava is the number one Vanilla region, the best vanilla is grown here in Madagascar and perhaps in the whole world.
Transfer: Boat Masoala – Marsontsetra (about 2 hours); Inland flight to Sambatya; airport to hotel
Accommodations: Orchidea Beach
Today, your driver-guide will take you by 4×4 vehicle to the entrance of the Marojejy Park, a trip of 2 hours with beautiful panoramas. A cook and porters will accompany you as well. Near the entrance of the park, there is storage capacity for larger items of luggage; we recommend that you pack a smaller backpack with the items you will need during this 4-day/3-night hike.
You will start a walk arriving at the first camp in about 4.5 hours, where a delicious lunch awaits you, before embarking on a discovery trip in the afternoon to see the first lemurs, chameleons, frogs, and other reptiles.
Marojejy is a very special, real, authentic rainforest of Madagascar, with few visitors. A dense forest awaits you with very high trees, partly bamboo, entirely different from Maroantsetra. The walks require more energy here. You will spend the night in a very simple tent hut on stilts.
The Marojejy mountains are one of the most majestic massifs of Madagascar with the original smell of forest/plants/spices. This area is unique in the world because of the density of the forest, an abundance of cliffs, its fogs, and the unequalled rich flora and fauna. Marojejy measures 55,500 hectares and is covered with lush vegetation, a very diversified park with high mountains in a tropical and therefore moist region of Madagascar. Steep inclines spark the interest of scientists all over the world.
It is home to an exceptional diversity of plants and animals: at least 275 kind of ferns, 33 kinds of palm trees, 149 kinds of amphibians and reptiles, 118 kinds of birds. and 11 kinds of Makis live in the parc, including the endemic ‘silk Sifaka’. Unfortunately, it is threatened with extinction.
Marojejy, with its wild and rugged character and its exceptional biodiversity, is a paradise for lovers of mountains and nature.
Transfer: Sambava – Marojejy Park entrance (about 3 hours’ drive)
Accommodations: Simple tents
After breakfast, a climb of about one to two hours (depending on the pace) will take you to a second camp at a height of 775 meters. You will spend the second night here. The camp is located near a waterfall and has a beautiful view. Here you can go for a ‘Simpona‘ walk between a rainforest at low altitude and high mountains. The name Simpona originates from the endemic white lemur (also known as Silk Sifaka) that you may spot here. Guides will assist you to locate this rare lemur.
Accommodations: Simple tents
Today, you can discuss with your guide which part of the park you want to see. In any case, you will spend the night in the same camp as the previous night. The eager walker would want to climb to 1250 meters to reach the top of the park and enjoy a majestic view of the mountain range. There are other possibilities today, so do let your guide know your preferences.
Accommodations: Simple tents
Today, you will walk back at an easy pace to the entrance of the National Park. After the 5.5-hour walk, the driver will be waiting for you to take you Vohemar, an approximate 4-hour drive. Here you will stay in a hotel near Iharana Bay. After camping for 3 days, you will enjoy the possibility to refresh. We recommend starting the day early so you can arrive in Vohemar in daylight, take a swim, and enjoy the sight of returning fishing boats.
Transfer: Marojejy Parl entrance – Vohemar (about 4 hours’ drive)
Accommodations: Baie D’Iharana hotel
Today, you will continue the drive heading north using a very rough and dusty road. We do recommend starting as early as possible (around 6 a.m.) to enable you to stop along the way, walk around, and spot the amazing Golden Crown Sifaka. After about 4 hours, you will reach a spot called ‘Campement Tattersali’ located at the outskirts of the Daraina forest. You will spend the night here in the ‘Friendly Camp’.
Transfer: Vohemar – Daraina (about 4 hours’ drive)
Accommodations: Friendly Camp
Today will be another tough travel day on rough and dusty roads. You will drive about 5 hours to a magnificent location, the Iharana Bush Camp, which is not visited by many tourists but is enormously appreciated with well-educated personnel. You will enjoy the rest of the afternoon at your leisure.
The hotel is situated on quite an amazing location only a short walk away from a spot with a panoramic view of the Tsingy d’Ankarana. There is also a small lake that is wonderful to enjoy. Previous guests on our tours have enjoyed the village close to the hotel, mingling with the local population, pure and simple, as they are not used to many tourists.
Transfer: Daraina – Iharana (5 hours’ drive)
Accommodations: Iharana Bush Camp
Today, you leave the hotel at about 07:30 after breakfast to visit the western part of the Ankarana Park, which is the least visited, yet not less beautiful. During the walk, you will spot lemurs and birds and also visit two caves to admire the ‘underground’ part of the Tsingy. Additionally, you will pass the first canyon and you may walk to the so-called ‘Green River’. At the end of the day, you will spend the night in the Iharana Bush Camp.
The national Ankarana Reserve covers an area of 18,255 hectares. It is a combination of eroded limestone containing an important part of the Ankarana culture in the underground world. The park is situated in the Ambilobe region and consists of tapered rock formations, with many caves in between, including the bat cave with many stalagmites and stalactites, the Cathedral cave of Andrafiabe, the crocodile cave, the crystal cave, and so on. All of these caves are truly beautiful.
In the eastern part of the park, some 108 km from Diego Suarez, you will find the little Tsingy, the ‘lost’ river, and the large ‘avenue de Mahamsina‘, which are all such natural beauties. The little Tsingy is the result of erosion and geological transformations from the Jurassic era. In the east, you will find the beautiful viewpoint at Ambohimalaza, the ‘tourelle des Tsingy’, and the ‘beaux Tsingy rary’, which resembles the Tsingy of Bemaraha. The Tsingy of Ankarana, with its gothic colour and landscape created by water and air over millions of years, makes a wonderful impression upon visitors
Transfer: Iharana Park entrance back (about a 2.5-hour drive)
Accommodations: Iharana Bush Camp
After breakfast, the driver will take you to the other side of the Ankarana park, the east side. This is the side that is most visited by tourists, yet still far away from mass tourism. At this side, various walks can be enjoyed. Please discuss your preference with the guide and he will explain the possibilities. Should you wish to walk five hours or more, we recommend the ‘Tourelle des Tsingy’. This area is the home of the endemic lemurs the ‘couronnatus’, which are worth spotting, too.
Transfer: Iharana – Ankarana East (about 2 hours’ drive)
Accommodations: Chez Aurelien
We recommend you leave early in the morning with the driver in your 4×4 car heading north to Joffre Ville. On the way, you may visit the Red Tsingy, which is certainly worth the effort. Should you wish to make the total walk, it should require 2 – 2.5 hours.
The Red Tsingy are peak-shaped formations offering a magnificent view. Over the course of years, wind and rain have shaped the Tsingy; they are unique in Madagascar. Contrary to the ordinary Tsingy (with pointed rocks) the Red Tsingy has round rock points. Various kinds of rocks produce various color schemes, resulting in a true spectacle. A difficult but passable path for a 4×4 cuts through the middle of this savannah-like area with wild palm trees, which leads to this special Red Tsingy. It is definitely worth the trouble!
Close to the Red Tsingy, you’ll take the time and place for a picnic lunch. At the end of the afternoon, you will arrive in Joffre Ville, where accommodation is provided by nuns on the basis of half-board. This is a very special spot.
Transfer: Ankarana – Tsingy Rouge – Joffreville (about 5 hours’ drive with the Red Tsingy)
Today is dedicated to visiting the National Park Montagne d’Ambre, located some 30 minutes’ drive by 4×4 from the hotel. The national Montagne d’Ambre reserve covers a volcanic area of 300,000 hectares of varying heights from 800 to 1475 meters. Nature is all around us, with an enormous variety of flora and fauna; an abundance of medicinal plants, tall trees, orchids, ferns, and so on can be found in this tropical forest. This park is also home to various species of lemurs and the smallest chameleons on Madagascar, as well as one of the smallest primates in the world, the Mircocebus rufus.
Walks can start from the entrance where the options can be explained to you. Again, accommodation is provided by local nuns.
Transfer: Joffreville – park entrance (about 30 minutes’ drive)
Today, you will be taken to Diego Suarez, a 45-minute drive from Joffreville. You will then be taking a ferry to Mer d’Emeraude, so we recommend starting early in the morning since the sea is at its quietest in the morning. Also, the tide has to be taken into account for the crossing, so we cannot give you an exact duration of sailing.
You will be taken to hotel Paillottes Babaomby for the conclusion of your tour. The hotel is situated at the famous Mer d’Emeraude, which is primarily known for snorkelling and kitesurfing. Even if you do not want to go kitesurfing our experience is that our visitors consider the stay a fitting conclusion in this wonderful region. The bungalows are simple, yet beautiful and good, a small swimming pool offers the possibility to swim when the tide of the sea is out, and nice snorkelling excursions are possible. Personnel is still being trained but competent. We consider it high-class ‘gasy-style’. The food is excellent.
Transfers: Joffreville – Diego Suarez (about 45 minutes’ drive); Ferry to Mer d’Emerause (about 1 hour)
Accommodations: Paillottes Babaomby
You can enjoy two free days at the Mer d’Emeraude in the Babaomby Paillottes.
Accommodations: Paillottes Babaomby
Depending on the tide and the inland flight schedules, you will be ferried to Diego-Suarez, where a local flight will take you back to Antananarivo and then, in the evening (depending on the airline company), you will board your international flights. In Antananarivo, you will be taken to guesthouse Chez Jeanne near the airport for your last dinner before departure.
Transfers: Ferry back to the mainland (about 1 hour); shuttle to the airport (about 20 minutes)
Mora Travel dedicates itself to organizing ‘sustainable’ trips to Madagascar every day. Sustainability is very important to us! By organizing these trips, we believe our travelers can experience Madagascar and enjoy everything that the country has to offer. And because you are traveling with us, we can contribute to preserving biodiversity and endemicity and giving local people in Madagascar a real chance.
Madagascar is not an easy destination to promote sustainable tourism as the logistics in remote areas are often very basic, the options are limited, and many resources are hard to get by. There aren’t always sustainable options, but wherever possible we opt for the most sustainable choice. Nevertheless, we do promote responsible travel to lessen our negative impact on our destination as much as possible.
This means we work together with partners that are environmentally conscious (renewable energy, sustainable waste management) while also looking after the social and economic wellbeing of the local people. We give preference to local Malagasy accommodations, businesses or for example parks that employ local staff under good conditions, that use mainly local products and/or are engaged in community initiatives. This means that the hotels during the trip are a real mix of very simple and luxury hotels depending on the criteria mentioned above.
We also contribute to reforestation. To compensate for the carbon dioxide emissions of all tourists who travel with us, we plant trees. The purpose of planting trees is to house animals, because they have less and less place to live because of deforestation. We still have a long way to go, but we feel that making this a choice and communicating this to our partners will help create a larger sustainable tourism community in the long run.