Ready to get outdoors and venture around Madagascar? In this 21-day tour, we’ll go trekking, camping, and wildlife spotting in various parts of the country. Experience national and local parks, learn about conservation efforts, and understand the endemic wildlife we have here in Madagascar. This tour is a glimpse into the diversity of this island nation that you’ll remember forever! Don’t worry, we won’t be camping every night…there are plenty of hotels mixed in as well.
Looking for something different? How about this 16-day highlands to the coast bike tour? See it all and stop into small villages along the way, completely off the tourist track. We’re always happy to chat about our tour options to help you choose the right one for you. Feel free to reach out any time.
2 pax: 2798 euro p.p.
4 pax: 2257 euro p.p.
Arrival at Ivato Airport in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. Welcome or ‘tonga soa’! Our driver will bring you to your guesthouse hotel near the airport so you can relax and have dinner after your long flight. On the road to the hotel, you will start with overlooking the characteristic rice paddies of the high plateau right away! Your journey begins!
You will obtain your visa upon arrival and we also recommend you exchange money at the airport.
Transfer: From airport to hotel
Accommodations: Chez Jeanne or similar
After breakfast at your hotel, you will be driven eastward to Andasibe. This journey covers 138 km, a drive of approximately 3.5 hours. If you wish, you can enjoy lunch near the village of Andasibe and visit the VOI community-based reserve before you go to your hotel.
VOI (Vondron’olona Ifotony) is a small local reserve managed by local people. The reserve protects different species of animals and flowers: a group of Indris, diademed sifakas, woolly lemurs, reptiles, amphibians, and different insects like the famous giraffe-necked weevil.
The letter sequence means (in English): “Local people love the forest”. The private park not only serves as recreational, but also informs local people about conservation and ecotourism. Half of the generated income is used for several projects in Andasibe, e.g. building water taps or supporting a small local hospital.
Afterwards, you will reach the locally owned and managed simple Ricolodge hotel in a small part of the forest. In this forest, if you wish, you can take a short walk through their territory and ask the employees for a night walk.
Transfer: Antananarivo – Andasibe (3.5 hours’ drive – without traffic jam in/around town)
After an unforgettable wake-up call by the indri and breakfast at your hotel, Mitsinjo private park will take us on a trek through a scenic agricultural landscape in the south of the Torotorofotsy rainforest. This is a RAMSAR wetland of international importance, home to the critically-endangered Greater Bamboo Lemur and other lemurs, including the biggest one, the Indri. Mitsinjo will explain and show us the current conservation challenges, showing their forest restoration programme during a hike while also enjoying the rich biodiversity.
Lemurs tend to be shy in this forest, but birds, insects, and amphibians can be more easily observed. We will walk a long trail to the forest to reach the scientific station of Torotorofotsy where we will camp. At night, you can enjoy a night walk and, with some luck, spot the mous lemurs.
Accommodations: Basic camp at Torotorofotsy
Today, you will continue your trekking around Torotorofotsy and through a part of the Mantadia National Forest. In the afternoon, we will be back in the village and will stay the night at the Ricolodge.
Today, you will begin your southern adventure with a 7-hour drive towards Antsirabe. The driver will first take you back to the capital to reach the famous National Road 7. After that, you will see Ambatolampy; this is a small town at 1500m altitude and considered to be the coldest town of Madagascar due to the mountain range of Ankaratra. There is a possibility to visit a small family factory that produces aluminium cooking pots and other kitchen utensils that are sold everywhere on the red island.
You will arrive in Antsirabe by the end of the afternoon and spend the night at a simple but charming hotel.
Transfer: Andasibe – Antsirabe (7 hours’ drive)
Accommodations: Chambre du Voyageur hotel
Today, you will experience the backland of Antsirabe. You will head to the village of Fiadanana, a village located about 30km from Antsirabe city. The car will bring you to a small town from where you will start a simple trek to Fiadanana. There, you will have a tour in the village to discover the rural way of life along with the customs of the residents. After the rice fields of Fiadanana, you will head to the Guesthouse (very simple local place) where you will spend the night.
After the picnic lunch, you will continue your tour to different villages, passing by rice fields, vegetable fields, mountains, and so on. All villages all have their manufacturing specialities.
Transfer: Antsirabe – Betafo (30 minutes’ drive)
Trekking tour: at least 30 minutes till half a day
After an early wake up with the local sounds of the village in the background, you will have breakfast followed by a short walk of about 30 minutes back to the RN34, where the driver will wait for you with the car. There, you will continue your journey on the winding road (National road N° 7) to Ambositra, the city of Malagasy craftsmen.
You can visit the sculptors during their working hours. They are the “Zafimaniry”, an ethnic group with Asiatic origin, particularly known for their beautiful wood sculptures and marquetry. You can also have lunch here. Afterwards, you will be driven about 150km to the Southeast to reach Ranomafana with its rainforest that is rich in endemic fauna and flora. Ranomafana has a national park with impressive waterfalls, hot springs, lemurs, birds, and more.
Ranomafana is one of the most important parks of Madagascar, especially for scientists. That’s also why you can find an international science centre from the world-renowned primatologist Patricia Wright here.
It’s a unique research and conservation centre that has worked in close collaboration with Madagascar National Park for over 26 years. CVB facilitates research and manages numerous projects including development, reforestation, and biodiversity monitoring. Their main aim is to improve the health and well-being of Malagasy people while safeguarding the surrounding ecosystem and its biodiversity.
We shall organize your overnight here, enjoy this very special place.
Transfer: Fiadanana – Ranomafana (5 hours’ drive)
Over the next two days, an experienced local guide will take you on a more strenuous trekking up and down the hills into the primary forest of Vatoaranana, where the trees grow taller, the vines are thicker, the humidity is higher, and the number of tourists lower. You might be accompanied by leeches but the challenges are worth it!
You will be led through lush plant life, across a variety of vegetation types, take a swim in a natural pool, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. You might even get to see and hear the beautiful black and white ruffed lemur as well as endemic bird species along our way. At night, we shall eat and sleep in a research campsite under the stars while falling asleep to insect and frog orchestras.
Accommodations: Basic camp
Today, we shall return to Ranomafana, arriving around lunch time. In the afternoon, you will be free to relax or visit the small local museum in Ranomafana or go to the local thermal bath. If you still have enough energy left before dinner, bring your flashlight for a short night walk to go find some nocturnal forest residents.
Accommodations: Valbio Center
Early in the morning, you will start the trip to your next destination; it’s quite a long driving day to Ranohira (6 – 7 hours’ drive). You will first pass by Fianarantsoa after 1.5 hours, the Betsileo capital with its 1001 churches. Fianarantsoa has a remarkable old town, which is listed among the world heritage sites. This city is surrounded by vineyards and the only tea plantation of Madagascar.
Another hour drive south from Fianarantsoa, you will pass by Ambalavao and just a few minutes from Ambalavao, we suggest you stop for a visit at the private lemurs’ park called Anjà Park.
This is a reserve run by the local community and it contains plenty of cultural and historical remains. The fauna is mainly represented by a large colony of maki lemurs, as well as many birds, chameleons, etc. The royal carp abounds in the water. The view from a rocky promontory is amazing…it’s a big breath of fresh air. You can enjoy lunch after the visit to the park.
After lunch, you will head to Ranohira, which is a village near the Isalo National Park. The landscape you drive through today is getting drier as you drive through steppe-like areas until you arrive at the beautiful mountains of the Isalo Massif.
Transfer: Ranomafana – Ranohira (6.5 hours)
Accommodations: ITC hotel
This day is dedicated to visiting the Isalo National Park, which covers 80,000 hectares consisting of sandstone rocks cut by deep canyons and eroded into weird shapes. Local wildlife lives in these canyons. The ring-tailed lemur, Verreaux, sifaka, and the brown lemur are commonly sighted, along with birds and chameleons in the Canyon des Makis and Canyon des Rats. You can also take the short Namaza Trail that takes you along a scenic route to a magnificent natural swimming pool where you can relax and swim.
The ITC Lodge is engaged in a reforestation project via an Association called Soa Zara that we shall visit and contribute to, by planting a few trees ourselves.
Not even 50 years ago, there were small patches of primary forest surrounding the base of Isalo National Park. Unfortunately, all of those trees have been cut. Soa Zara is working to change this reality by creating a natural forest outside of the park. With a small patch of community-run land, the association is actively planting trees and offering visitors the chance to partake in doing good for the future of their local environment.
Soa Zara is building this natural forest to provide energy resources for the local population, offer a home for several lemur species, and to redevelop the badly damaged top soil.
Accommodations: ITC Lodge or similar
After breakfast, your car will be waiting for you to bring you to Tulear. Today, your journey leads you to a landscape characterized by high plateaus, vast savannas stretching to the horizon, and very impressive mountain ranges.
You will first cross the center of the sapphire region. The majority of the inhabitants in the village of Manombo are merchants of sapphires and other precious stones. After Manombo, you will see the first Baobabs, indicating we are entering a much drier area.
You will arrive at the end of the National Road 7 in the city of Tulear, which also means “where one can drop its anchor”. Tulear is the capital of the province and the least-populated region of Madagascar. It is known for its dry and arid landscapes.
Transfer: Ranohira – Tulear (4 hours)
One of the 3 main rivers of southwestern Madagascar, called Onilahy, has attracted attention for years. This river descends from the Highlands to 200 km from the west coast. A few days will be spent on this small river that is still wild and unknown. Half a day of four-wheel driving on track is necessary in order to reach Tongobory. After a picnic, it is time to organize the descent: a short walk along the river takes you to the boat, where you can set up camp on the sandbanks by the river.
Accommodations: Basic Camp
After breakfast and breaking down the campsite, it is time for 6 hours of sailing! With the boat, we reach Ifanato or “the region of the 7 lakes”. This site is still well-preserved and is a succession of cascading lakes with the most crystal clear water. We can also find lemurs here.
The primary forest is full of surprises that will delight the experts: banian ficus, orchids, wild vanilla, or other pachypodiums. The camping site is located at the 4th lake, perfect for camping. Here you can sit by the fire and go for a swim.
Accommodations: Basic Camp
After breakfast and a walking tour by Sainte Thérèse cave, we must continue up to Ambohimahavelona, a small fishing village. The villagers here live in total autonomy, since there is no access to the road. But here, nature is very generous: you’ll find rice, bananas, and mangos, and, of course, the sugar cane that, once distilled, gives us the famous local beverage: the “Toaka gasy”. We recommend tasting it at the camp. You will be entertained with stories, singers, and musicians of the village; here you get the opportunity to try the “kabosy” guitar with 3 strings, which is typical of southwestern Madagascar.
Accommodations: Basic Camp
This will be the last day of descent. The banks of the river are less and less concealed and give way to a larger bed. Here we can find crocodiles; endangered species of the Nile. You will have a picnic break in one of the river villages. These villages continue growing in number until the estuary of St. Augustin, where a night at the hotel will be well-deserved. You will get a warm welcome and you can enjoy a variety of seafood specialties in a setting that seems to be from another century.
Accommodations: Chez Espérance
Today, you’ll visit St. Augustin Bay. This little “tropical Etretat” was a stopping place for pirates, buccaneers, and slave traders. When they came here, they could refuel and trade with the local populations. Here, nature is generous: we can find huge limestone cliffs that meet the sea, mangroves, natural pools, and flamingos. You will have lunch at the waterfront with amazing seafood specialties. After lunch, you will head back to Tulear, which will only take an hour and a half. Along the way, you will make a stop at the Sacred Cave of Sarodrano for a last swim. Tonight, you’ll say goodbye to the guide who accompanied you on the river tour.
Accommodations: Hyppocampo Hotel or similar
Today, a hotel transfer will bring you to Mangily/Ifaty, a 30-minute drive. Upon your arrival in Ifaty, you will spend the night at Solidaire Mangily Hotel. This hotel is a sustainable tourism initiative, responsible and supportive, which directly benefits the local population through various educational projects and environmental preservation projects led by the Malagasy NGO Bel Avenir. It is helpful to know that this hotel is not located right on the beach, but just a 10-minute walk away from the beach.
In and around Ifaty, you will be able to organise activities on your own if you like. The hotel is situated close to the village and you can reach the well-known Spiney Forest here on foot, which is worth a visit with its very nice Baobab trees. Next to the Spiney Forest is the turtle village, which is also worth a visit. You can also spot mouse makis and see Baobab trees in the turtle village.
Another option is a snorkel excursion; please ask the hotel to help find the perfect boat and equipment to make your snorkel excursion a success. Diving is also possible and the hotel can help you find the right place to arrange this.
Visiting the hotel’s own agricultural school projects with lots of different disciplines is also very special – make your choice for the two days in Ifaty.
Transfer: Tulear – Ifaty (30 minutes’ drive)
Accommodations: Solidaire Mangily hotel
Today, depending on your inland flight schedule, you will be transferred back to the airport of Tulear. There, you will take your return flight to Antananarivo. Upon arrival in the capital, you will be transferred to a hotel near the airport for a day-use. Afterward, you will be taken to the international Ivato airport and will leave Madagascar with, hopefully, a lot of unforgettable memories!
Transfers: Shuttle from hotel to Tulear Airport; National flight Tulear-Tana; shuttle airport – hotel and back
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.