Tailor-Made Holiday

Tropical North: Antananarivo, Ankarana & Nosy Be

Amber mountains and emerald seas

12 days

from £3,495pp (excluding flights)

The north east of Madagascar is tropical and wild and perhaps more than any other region, sums up Madagascar. Beautiful rainforests full of lemurs and orchids, charming people and one fo the best places in the country to experience the dramatic Tsingy pinnacles at Ankarana.  Even better, once finished trekking and having had your fill of lemurs, you can easily make your way across to the beautiful Nosy Komba island - away from the crowds in Nosy Be -  to sit and do nothing.

  • Wander the streets of Diego Suarez and try the local THB beer
  • Wander through cool forests, full of waterfalls,  lakes and lemurs in Amber Mt
  • Explore Ankarana, the most accessible – and dramatic – Tsingy in the country
  • Spend time relaxing on the tropical beach at Nosy Komba 

Starting in Diego Suarez (Antsiranana), Madagascar’s most important northerly port still retains an air of faded, colonial grandeur and the locals definitely take things easy. What it lacks in conventional beaches, it makes up for in beautiful bays, including the famous Emerald Sea. Driving through this remote and colourful part of the country brings us to the first of two stunning parks – Amber Mountain. Taking its’ name from the resin found in the trees here (which is used by local for a whole range of medicinal purposes) the park offers welcome respite from the heat of the plains and at an elevation of around 1000m, the shady waterfalls and lakes provide plenty of photo opportunities on the treks.

The second part of this journey travels to the striking Ankarana Special Reserve, where you find the unique Tsingy forests, a series of striking stone pinnacles, best explored by clambering over the paths and rope-bridges strung between the peaks. Whilst not for the faint-hearted, the views are never ending and watching the lemurs leap from pinnacle to pinnacle is heart-stopping stuff. Whilst it does get warm here, head down into the shadows where collapsed cliffs have created river-fed caves and canyons, where you can find bats and even crocodiles.  Finally, a cross country drive taking you through rural Madagascar, arrives at the port of Ankify, where a boat awaits to take you to the remote tropical island of Nosy Komba and the chance to unwind on the shores Indian Ocean.

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

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 3495 £ 800
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation
  • Internal flights
  • International flights as detailed
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas


Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Addis Ababa overnight

Day 2

Fly Addis Ababa to Antananarivo

Antananarivo City Tour
This tour is not about the sites but more a chance to get a feel for this captivating capital city. Start with Rova, the Queen's palace, rebuilt after being destroyed by fire in 1995, and continue on to the Prime Minister's Palace, containing gifts from past monarchs including Queen Victoria. Both palaces offer commanding views across the city, with some traditional Malagasy houses in the foreground.

Continue to the Mahamasina market, colourful and full of life this is a market that sells almost everything. There is also the chance to explore one of Madagascar's most colourful places, the daily flower market, near Lake Anosy, where a dazzling array of bouquets are on display.

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.

You will be staying at La Varangue, bed and breakfast

Day 3

Travel from Antananarivo to Diego Suarez (Air Transfer Journey)

Drive from Diego Suarez to Amber Mountain National Park (Road Journey)

On arrival in Diego Suarez, you are welcomed by your guide and then begin your journey to Joffreville, the main access town for Amber Mountain National Park. There is usually time for a short tour of Diego Suarez itself, known for its spectacular setting and harbour. The town is dotted with old colonial buildings and crumbling, two-storey town houses and is buzzing with markets and shops. Heading out of town, you will pass by Les Trois Baies, a series of stunning bays and beaches, before heading off road in to the countryside. The journey to Joffreville takes around one hour.

Explore Amber Mountain National Park
Established by the French in 1958, this volcanic massif and its surrounding forests are now one of the most exciting parks to visit. Named after the amber resin found in the trees here, thousands of acres of the montane rainforest of the park are home to extraordinary plant and animal life, with huge ferns and strangler figs adding drama to a park filled with indigenous species of lemurs, including Sanford's lemur and the crowned lemur.

Crested ibis, paradise flycatcher, and forest rock thrush flit through the greenery as the trail passes numerous waterfalls and crater lakes. The network of trails here offers the chance to explore one of the country's most intriguing forests in the wilds of the northern Madagascar.

You will be staying at Nature Lodge, full board

Day 4

Today is another full day to explore Amber Mountain, with your private guide. Activities and timings are flexible to suit.

You will be staying at Nature Lodge, full board

Day 5

This morning you leave Amber Mountain and make your way to the eastern part of Ankarana, the journey taking between two to three hours. Given the size of Amber Mountain itself, we recommend splitting your time between the east and the west, spending a night in the east en-route. Here, you are able to spend more time on the top of the Tsingy itself, with a series of spectacular rope bridges and walkways, offering breath taking views across the rocks.

Explore Ankarana Special Reserve
This remote and undeveloped park is almost a fantasy grotto of stark tsingy pinnacles and dry forests, where bats and crocodiles hide in subterranean caves and forest-filled canyons. The imposing grey cliffs are dotted with splashes of green, as the weird and wonderful flora found here takes hold, providing both habitat and food for the 10 species of lemur.

When not squeezing through fissures following the trail on the ground, or clambering up steps cut into the side of the rocks, those with a head for heights can see the park from a very different perspective by crossing the carefully constructed and well-maintained walkways that span the pinnacles themselves. This not only allows you to get a true sense of scale, but watching lemurs leap from one impossibly sharp pinnacle to another is heart stopping.

This remote and undeveloped park is almost a fantasy grotto of stark tsingy pinnacles and dry forests, where bats and crocodiles hide in subterranean caves and forest filled canyons.

The imposing grey cliffs are dotted with splashes of green, as the weird and wonderful flora found here take hold, providing both habitat and food the 10 species of lemur found here.

Tougher than other parks, but definitely worth it and one of the more accessible tsingy regions in the country (when compared to the 10 hour drive to reach Tsingy Bemaraha in the East.)

You will be staying at Ankarana Lodge, full board

Day 6

Drive from Ankarana East to Ankarana West

Today, continue your journey through Ankarana to the western region of the park. The journey lasts around three hours.

This afternoon, you explore the east of the park. Here, there are floodplains looking out across to the Ankarana Massif, so you explore the canyons from the ground up, with alleys and trails winding their way through the park.

You will be staying at Iharana Bush Camp, full board

Day 7

Another full day to explore Ankarana.

You will be staying at Iharana Bush Camp, full board

Day 8

Today, you leave Ankarana East and drive through rural Madagascar to the port of Ankify, a journey of around three hours. On the way you can stop and visit the excellent Millot Plantation at Ambanja. This 100% organic plantation, offers the chance to see learn about the country's most famous crops, including vanilla, coca, pepper and ylang-ylang. Lunch is also taken here. As you continue to the port, you are met and transferred to your lodge by speed boat, a boat journey of around 90 minutes. There are a number of excellent lodges to choose from here and Eden Lodge is only a suggestion, depending on your preferred style and budget.

Time at Eden Lodge
Time spent at Eden Lodge is almost as varied as Madagascar itself. The beautiful, private beach is the perfect spot to waste hours with a good book taking an occasional cooling dip in the sea, which at certain times of the year is home to migrating dolphins and whales.

If you can drag yourself away from this, then there are hobiecats and sea kayaks available, or for the more adventurous, windsurfing, sustainable deep sea fishing, or the chance to head beneath the waves and enjoy some superb snorkelling or diving. The lodge also has its very own traditional pirogue, which offers shorter tours, visiting a number of nearby natural pools and waterfalls.

The gardens around the lodge however are alive with colourful wildlife, from the lemurs and chameleons living in the baobabs to the occasional Aye-Aye, one of the few places in the country they are found. A birding walk might yield black parrots, vanga and drongo's, either with a guide or on one of the self-guided trails, but for many, the highlight is looking for the green turtles who often come ashore to lay their eggs - with some guests lucky enough to watch them hatch. That said, each of the rooms also have their very own massage area, just in case you need some pampering or a traditional Malagasy spa treatment.

Nosy Be is one of the most popular regions in Madagascar, famous for its beautiful beaches, stunning coastline and fantastic sea life. Whilst Nosy Be might mean "Big Island" there are plenty of smaller islands and properties hidden away where you can enjoy your very own castaway holiday.

Nosy Be is also known as the perfumed isle for its heady scent of ylang-ylang and vanilla from the plantations dotted around the area and it is this tropical ambience and relaxed feel, combined with the lush forests leading down to squeaky white sand that draws people from all over the world.

You will be staying at Eden Lodge, full board

Day 9

Free time at Eden Lodge.

You will be staying at Eden Lodge, full board

Day 10

Free time at Eden Lodge.

You will be staying at Eden Lodge, full board

Day 11

After a leisurely breakfast, transfer by boat back to the mainland, where you are met and taken to the airport for your international flight home.

Fly Nosy Be to Addis Ababa

Day 12

Fly Addis Ababa to London


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

La Varangue

La Varangue

This lovely old Creole-style house oozes colonial charm, with the brightly painted shutters and national flags on the outside a colourful contrast to the whitewashed walls and corridors....

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Nature Lodge

Nature Lodge

These safari-tent style cottages not only look great from the outside (a mixture of sleek canvas, stone bathrooms and thatched roofs) but the dark polished wood inside, covered in colourful batik and traditional lamba fabrics, softens the atmosphere....

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Iharana Bush Camp

Iharana Bush Camp

Iharana Bush Camp is one of the nicest places to stay in the reserve....

View Accommodation

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

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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.

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