Wildlife Group Tour

Madagascar group tour - Land of the Lemur

Departing 8th - 19th September 2019

12 days

from £3,495pp
  • Set off on a classic wildlife tour of Madagascar; spot lemurs, chameleons and the elusive fossa
  • Explore rainforests, lakes and lagoons, as well as the iconic 'Avenue of Baobabs'
  • Benefit from travelling as part of a small group, led by local wildlife guide
  • Discover spectacular rock pinnacles at Tsingy de Bemaraha, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Experience the diversity of Madagascar's unique fauna and flora, away from the crowds. Whilst exploring the island's jungles, spend time searching for the various lemur species for which Madagascar is perhaps most famous. Also explore its dramatic landscapes, meeting Malagasy people along the way.

Start by heading east to the famous Andasibe-Mantadia Park, where the whale-like song of the country's largest lemur, the indri, echoes through the forest. As well as lemurs, admire the beautiful orchids, colourful chameleons, frogs and dazzling birds. Continue to the towering limestone pinnacles of the Tsingy de Bemaraha.

Journey to the western coast of Madagascar - via the iconic Avenue of Baobabs - to the famous Kirindy Forest. Here, catch a glimpse of Madagascar's largest carnivore, the cat-like fossa in this lowland dry-forest environment, before returning to the highlands and finishing in the colourful, rickshaw-strewn town of Antsirabe.


Accommodation mainly consists of small, authentic camps, with an emphasis on comfort. All have private bathrooms. In each area, we have tried to choose the best available option.


Early starts are guaranteed, as the wildlife is most active during the morning. Generally, you will then return to camp around mid-morning, then head out again in the early afternoon, as the temperature cools.


September is the perfect time to go, as it is when the spring arrives, after the rains have ended. This is also when the lemurs have their babies and the birds start nesting. Furthermore, the rising temperatures cause reptiles to become more active. 


The fitter you are, the more you will enjoy it. Whilst many of the walks are easy, the temperatures do warm up during the day. The west coast in particular is hotter than the rest of the country, so you need to be comfortable walking in slightly warmer temperatures. We avoid the hottest part of the day.


In Andasibe, you can expect to see the indri (the largest lemur) and plenty of other lemurs. The pangalanes is much better for birding and there is also the possibility of seeing the aye-aye here. In Kirindy, the brown lemur is most prolific but the big draw here is the cat-like fossa, Madagascar’s only large carnivore.

Departing on:
  • 8th September 2019

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

STARTFINISHPrice Excluding Flights £Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour ExpertStatus 
8th Sep 2019 19th Sep 2019 £ 3,495 £ 800 £ 475 Charles Randrianantenaina Limited
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation as shown
  • All park fees
  • All transfers
  • English speaking guide
  • Full board basis except at Relais des Plateaux
  • Half board basis whilst at Relais des Plateaux
  • All transport and domestic flights
  • Local guides and trackers

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • International flights
  • Visas
  • Travel insurance
  • All drinks


Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Outbound Flights
The recommended outbound flight for this tour is:

Ethiopian Airlines ET701, which departs London Heathrow at 21:00 on 7th September. This arrives in Addis Ababa at 06:35 on the following day and connects with ET853, which departs at 08:50 and arrives in Antananarivo at 13:40.

An arrival transfer will be provided to connect with this flight. You will then be met and transferred to the hotel in Antananarivo.

For those making their own way to Antananarivo and not taking the recommended flight, the starting point for the group is the Relais des Plateaux in Antananarivo. Please speak to one of our team regarding organising an arrival transfer for you.

Antananarivo is literally translated as 'City of a Thousand', in reference to the 1,000 Merina tribe warriors, used by the king as protection of his city. More familiarly it is known as 'Tana'. Split into two regions (upper and lower towns), the city itself is a maze of bustling streets and alleyways, full of colourful markets, interspersed with ancient stone steps and historical sites.

Meet Charles, your guide throughout the trip, and have a welcome dinner with the rest of the group.

Only dinner included.

You will be staying at Relais Des Plateaux, half board

Day 2

Drive from Antananarivo to Andasibe

This morning after breakfast, depart for Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. This four-hour journey is an adventure in itself as the drive takes in spectacular mountain highlands and traditional merina villages, with rice paddies stretching away into the distance. Arrive at the lodge around lunchtime.

Easily accessible from the capital, Antananarivo, Andasibe is one of Madagascar's most popular wildlife parks and offers great opportunities to see some of the country's exceptional wildlife including the unique indri. Its popularity is reflected in the high-quality accommodation and guiding available.

Afternoon Visit to the Park
After lunch, venture into Andasibe National Park for the first time. Home to the largest lemur, the indri, the park is one of the best places to spot them. Their eerie calls often give away their location in the forest canopy. Also look out for other lemur species, as well as chameleons and numerous types of birds.

You will be staying at Vakona Forest Lodge, full board

Day 3

Full day in Andasibe National Park in Search of Lemurs
Heading out at first light as the indris' calls rings out across the forest is a thrilling introduction to Andasibe. Whilst the country's largest lemurs are the star attraction, the diversity of wildlife found in Andasibe, ensures there is enough to keep you busy for days.

Lemurs abound during day walks and wandering the forest trails is great fun as leaf-tailed geckos camouflage themselves on trees where tiny nose-horned chameleons hide under leaves and comet moths dry their wings in the sun. Head out after dark as tiny tenrecs rustle in the leaves and mouse lemurs sit wide-eyed in the torchlight, whilst a chorus of frogs act as the night time soundtrack.

You will be staying at Vakona Forest Lodge, full board

Day 4

Return to Antananarivo

After a more leisurely breakfast this morning, you then retrace your steps back to Antananarivo and after checking in to your hotel, the remainder of the day is at leisure to relax. Should you wish to explore Antananarivo, please discuss this with your guide who will be happy to run through the options with you.

You will be staying at Relais Des Plateaux, full board

Day 5

Travel from Antananarivo to Tsingy de Bemaraha (Air Transfer Journey)

Tsingy de Bemaraha is a grey forest of limestone caves and razor-sharp pinnacles (tsingy), understandably considered one of Madagascar's most dramatic parks. Remote and inaccessible, you can discover this untouched wilderness through a network of trails, river caves, canopy walkways and well-maintained canyon bridges.

Upon arrival, transfer to a vehicle and drive to Bekopaka, which is around two hours away.

Visit the Petit Tsingy
Walk through the Petit Tsingy region of the park, following a circuit that takes around four hours to complete. Pass between these towering limestone pinnacles, stopping at a pair of spectacular viewpoints that look out over the landscape. Here, look out for Decken's sifakas and red-fronted brown lemurs - both of which inhabit this unusual habitat.

You will be staying at Le Soleil des Tsingy, full board

Day 6

Visit the Grand Tsingy
Head deep within this limestone forest, into one of the most spectacular areas of the park. Cross several suspended rope bridges, which link the rock pinnacles and hang above dramatic ravines. These bridges can be challenging for those who do not like heights, so please mention this to the guide beforehand if it affects you.

Walk through the Grand Tsingy, following a circuit that takes around four hours to complete. The views over this dramatic landscape are spectacular, with a number of panoramic vistas en route. Finish as the sun sets, illuminating the grey-white limestone with a reddening dusk glow.

You will be staying at Le Soleil des Tsingy, full board

Day 7

Drive from Tsingy de Bemaraha to Kirindy

A journey of around six hours, heading south past Morondava.

Steppes clients who have made the effort to come here, consider this one of the most rewarding wildlife habitats in Madagascar, but remains overlooked by many visitors. Located midway along the western coast, this dry, deciduous forest reserve remains one of the best places to catch a glimpse of the elusive fossa, a carnivorous cat-like mammal that is endemic to the island. It is also home to a number of endemic dry forest species such as the giant jumping rat (not as bad as it sounds), narrow-striped mongoose and pygmy mouse lemur, along with over 70 species of bird found here. Plenty of lemurs allow for some wonderfully close-up shots and as many of the lemurs here are nocturnal, night walks are particularly rewarding.

Evening Walk
In the evening, explore on foot, looking out for the nocturnal creatures that inhabit this dry forest environment. Look out for dwarf lemurs, chameleons and endemic giant jumping rats.

You will be staying at Relais du Kirindy, full board

Day 8

Day Visiting Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust's Projects
In the morning, meet Anselme Toto Volahy, manager of Durrell's Menabe project. After a short introduction to the dry forest and Durrell's work to conserve this unique ecosystem, set out into the forest, accompanied by Anselme.

Return to the lodge for lunch, then in the afternoon, return to the forest. Join a patrol with the local community rangers, whose job it is to protect this threatened environment. You will again be accompanied throughout by Anselme.

This is the perfect time to ask questions about how the Durrell team are implementing conservation strategies on the ground, as well as learning about the challenges they face.

Drive back to Morondava via the Avenue of the Baobabs at Sunset

A journey of around two hours, stopping en route to visit the Avenue of the Baobabs. This spectacular group of giant trees straddles the dirt road and, at sunset, they are beautifully silhouetted against the pinkening skies.

Sitting on the island's west coast, the laid-back coastal resort of Morondava was once the centre of the ancient Sakalava Kingdom. The surrounding area still contains hidden tombs decorated with erotic carvings, for which the Sakalava people were most famous. Whilst the town itself is small, a leisurely walk along the main street past faded traditional buildings and the chance to get lost in the huge covered market is a fun way to spend a few hours.

You will be staying at Palissandre Cote Ouest Hotel, full board

Day 9

Drive from Morondava to Miandrivazo

A journey of around six hours, passing through rural Madagascar with small villages dotting the road.

Miandrivazo is the perfect stopping off point for journeys between Antananarivo and western Madagascar. Lying along the Route National 34, the area sits on the outskirts of Tsiribihina Delta, surrounded by marshes and mangroves. Unless driving to or from the west, there is little reason to stay here, but it makes a pleasant break in the journey.

You will be staying at Princesse du Tsiribihina, full board

Day 10

Drive from Miandrivazo to Antsirabe

This is a journey of around five hours. Leave the coastal lowlands and Mahajilo River behind, as the road winds its way into the hills. Pass by rice paddies and farms, as you enter the more temperate highlands.

Antsirabe is Madagascar's third largest city, where colourful and chaotic streets are crammed with brightly painted rickshaws (pousse-pousses). Used as a retreat by Norwegian missionaries, who founded the city in the late 1800s, the town has now grown into a colourful, vibrant and fascinating place to spend the night. Traditional wooden buildings sit alongside imposing protestant and catholic churches and the market here is considered one of the best in Madagascar.

You will be staying at Couleur Cafe, full board

Day 11

Antsirabe City Tour
Antsirabe is very much a working Malagasy town and is fascinating as a result. Colourful pousse-pousse - locally made rickshaws - line the dusty streets, offering rides to the brave. The colourful, if faded French townhouses rub shoulders with smaller, humble homes and shops, before opening out into lively markets, where bartering skills can be put to the test.

You will be staying at Couleur Cafe, full board

Day 12

Drive from Antsirabe to Antananarivo.

This is a journey of around four hours, passing through the central highlands, which are home to the main Merina tribe.

Head straight to Antananarivo airport to connect with your departure flight.

Inbound Flights
The recommended inbound flight for this tour is:

Ethiopian Airlines, scheduled to depart Antananarivo at 14:30 on Friday 19th September, arriving in Addis Ababa at 19:20. This connects with ET700, which departs at 01:05 the next day and arrives in London Heathrow at 06:50.

A departure transfer will be provided to connect with this flight. For those not taking the recommended flight, please speak to one of our team regarding organising a departure transfer for you.


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Vakona Forest Lodge

Vakona Forest Lodge

One of the most established lodges in the area, Vakona Forest Lodge sits in its own private reserve, so you get extra wildlife for your money along with plenty of rainforest....

View Accommodation

Relais Des Plateaux

Relais Des Plateaux

Relais Des Plateaux is in a residential area, just 10 minutes from the airport and an hour from the city centre....

View Accommodation

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Madagascar

Chris Johnston, Travel Expert

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Illona Cross, Travel Expert

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"Excellent personal service; well-informed local knowledge; dependable outcome; quality of experience."

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Local Expert

Charles Randrianantenaina

Charles Randrianantenaina
This tour will be led by local guide Charles Randrianantenaina. Charles moved to Isalo, where he began his training as a local park guide. After qualifying as an official independent guide, he focused on English speaking clients and since then, he has explored almost every region of Madagascar, leading several specialist groups for Steppes. As charming as he is knowledgeable, he always maintains the best groups are the ones that ask the most questions.
Enquire about this Wildlife tour:

Group Size:

Min 3 / Max 10

Tour Expert:

Charles Randrianantenaina

Departure Date (S):

  • 8th September 2019

  • Active - The tour may involve daily walks and will have a faster pace in certain areas. Walks will be no longer than 6 hours. The pace of this tour will be quite busy, expect long travel days and very little time at leisure.

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