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|Itinerary at a Glance
|3||Johannesburg & Antananarivo|
|4||Antananarivo, Toliara & Ifaty|
|5||Ifaty & Ranohira|
|6||Ranohira & Isalo National Park|
|7||Ranohira & Fianarantsoa|
|8||Fianarantsoa & Antsirabe|
|9||Antsirabe & Antananarivo|
|10||Antananarivo, Antsiranana, & Ambohitra|
|11||Ambohitra, Ankarana & Antananarivo|
|Nosy Be Extension|
|11||Ankarana, Ankify & Nosy Be|
|12||Nosy Komba & Nosy Tanikely|
|15||Nosy Be, Antananarivo|
24 travelers max, dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Highlights||Fianarantsoa & Antsirabe as well as Reniala Spiny Forest, the Isalo National Park and the Amber National Park. Optional Nosy Be extension.|
In a recent survey, Friendly Planet travelers choose Madagascar as their favorite destination to add to our selection of package tours. Now, you're invited to experience this off-the-beaten-path destination for yourself with our Magical Madagascar tour package.
Madagascar, the world's fourth largest island, is an exotic, exceptional destination and truly a nature-lovers' dream. Here you'll discover wild and fascinating landscapes, including baobab forests, virgin coastlines, and coral islands, and unique flora and fauna. Though it's perhaps best known for its many adorable varieties of lemurs, Madagascar is also home to a variety of other primates, chameleons, hundreds of frog species, and over a hundred bird species found nowhere else on earth. And every year, scientists discover new species of plants and animals in its deserts and forests. You'll also experience the hidden treasures of its indigenous people and unique Malagasy culture, unlike anything else in Africa.
This trip is created for very small groups, and space is highly limited. If you're longing for pristine, unspoiled magic on your next vacation, don't wait a minute to join us on this amazing adventure.
Sorry, there are no currently available tour dates.
Day 2: Johannesburg, South Africa. This morning you will arrive in Johannesburg, South Africa. You will be met and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon, join an optional tour to Soweto (short for Southwestern Township), a sprawling metropolis on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Your tour will give you a close-up look at daily life in this bustling neighborhood, the largest black urban settlement in Africa and center of political campaigns aimed at the overthrow of the apartheid state. Highlights of the Soweto tour include the former residence of Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela; the Hector Peterson memorial for the victims of the civil unrest in the 1970s; the ultra-modern Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital; and various other impressive community development projects ($90). Accommodations: Airport Grand Hotel. Breakfast provided.
Day 3: Johannesburg & Antananarivo, Madagascar. After breakfast, transfer to the airport where you will continue your journey to Madagascar. Upon arrival in Ivato Airport, Antananarivo the capital city of Madagascar. After completing immigration and customs formalities, transfer to your hotel. Accommodations: Relais des Plateaux. Dinner provided.
Day 4: Antananarivo, Toliara & Ifaty. After breakfast, enjoy the morning at leisure. Later you will transfer to Ivato Airport for your short flight to Toliara. Upon arrival in Toliara, you will be met and transferred to Ifaty, a fishermen's village located approximately 30 km north of Toliara, for check-in at your hotel.
Spend the afternoon exploring the Reniala spiny forest. This unique ecosystem is home to more than 2000 types of plants and 65 bird species, including several rare species such as the long-tailed ground roller, the sub-desert mesite, the red capped coua, and the blue vanga. The reserve is also inhabited by various reptiles and mammals including the world's smallest primate—the grey-mouse lemur. Accommodations: Caliente Beach Hotel in Toliara on Oct 19 departure, Le Paradisier Hotel on Nov 16 departure, Les Dunes Hotel on all others. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 5: Ifaty & Ranohira. This morning, continue via Toliara to Ranohira, northeast of Toliara. Enjoy the wonders of this landscape typical to the southern part of this island, which in this area are mostly savanna and bush. Pass by several sapphire mining villages, and along the way, you will notice the painted tombs of the island's southern tribe. The "Aloalo" is a carved pole sculpture accompanied by the horns of a zebu (a type of cattle) placed above the tombs of important people. The symbolic shapes are topped by figures or objects telling the story of the person's life.
Upon arrival in Ranohira, check-in at your hotel. Later this afternoon, visit the Interpretation center of the park, followed by a beautiful sunset at the Window of Isalo. Accommodations: Satrana Lodge on Sep 14 & Oct 19 departures, Le Jardin du Roy on all others. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 6: Ranohira & Isalo National Park. Early this morning, drive to the nearby Isalo National Park, where you will spend the day. This park is known for its wide variety of terrain, including massive sandstone formations, deep canyons, palm-lined oases, and grasslands. Walk to the "Piscine Naturelle," a natural oasis consisting of a stone cave overlooking a beautiful waterfall and crystal-clear pool. Visit typical tombs of the Bara people who live in the surrounding areas. Meanwhile, keep an eye out for ring-tailed lemurs, brown lemurs, and sifaka lemurs, which are plentiful here. This afternoon visit the Namaza site. Return to your hotel for the remainder of the evening at leisure. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 7: Ranohira & Fianarantsoa. Today you will travel north across the Horombe highlands, passing the Bishop's Hat Rock formation to Anja. Protected by the local people, the ring-tailed lemur is easily seen in this reserve, and you can enjoy spotting some snakes, chameleons and endemic birds.
Afterwards, continue to the small town of Ambalavao. Visit the Antemoro Paper Factory where you will observe the local people making paper from scratch using the bark of the Avoha bush. The bark is boiled to make a pulp which is then pounded and spread out on cotton cloth on wooden frames to dry in the sun. Just before it is dry, colorful flowers are pressed into the paper.
Continue your journey to Fianarantsoa. You will notice a change of the landscape which now mainly consists of terraced rice fields and villages typical of the highlands. Upon arrival in Fianarantsoa, check-in to the hotel. Accommodations: Zomatel on Sep 14 & Oct 19 departures, Tsara Guest House on all others. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 8: Fianarantsoa & Antsirabe. This morning, embark on a city tour of the capital of the Haute Matsiatra region, Fianarantsoa, and the cultural and intellectual center for the entire island. Home to the Betsileo tribe, some of the oldest Protestant cathedrals in Madagascar are found here. Continue your journey through the highlands, stopping at Ambohimahasoa for a traditional lunch and folk entertainment.
Visit the town of Ambositra, the center of the Malagasy handicraft. The town of Ambositra is well known for exquisite wood carvings. Here you have the opportunity to purchase some wonderful gifts including wooden boxes, chessboards, and figurines.
Day 9: Antsirabe & Antananarivo. Embark on a city tour of Antsirabe which is well known for its rickshaws, gemstones, and hot spring waters. It is also the industrial and agricultural center of Madagascar. Afterwards, continue to Antananarivo for lunch. Arrive at your hotel in the mid-afternoon. The remainder of the evening is at leisure. Accommodations: Tana Plaza Hotel. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 10: Antananarivo, Antsiranana, & Ambohitra. This morning transfer to Ivato Airport for your short flight to Antsiranana. Upon arrival, continue to Ambohitra. Enjoy a walk through the Amber Mountain National Park, which features tropical forest, waterfalls, and volcanic lakes. A large number of animals inhabit this park including a variety of lemurs, over 75 species of birds, reptiles, chameleons, geckos, snakes, and butterflies. The most visited part of the park is the Sacred Waterfall. The short walk provides many opportunities to spot lemurs and birds.
In the afternoon, transfer to your hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure. Accommodations: Nature Lodge Hotel. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
After a picnic lunch, travel to Ankify and transfer by boat to Hell Ville Port on Nosy Be Island. Continue to the Nosy Be airport for you flight back to Antananarivo. Or take advantage of an optional extension to Nosy Be Island (see below). Accommodations: Tana Plaza Hotel. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 12: Depart Antananarivo. Enjoy your last morning in Madagascar at leisure. This afternoon bid farewell to the exciting island of Madagascar, as you check in for your overnight flight to New York, via Johannesburg. Breakfast provided.
Day 13: Arrive USA. Your magical journey comes to an end as you arrive in New York this morning.
Why not take advantage of your already-included international airfare to visit Nosy Be Island, off the north-western coast of Madagascar. You will return to the USA 4 days after the return dates shown above.
Day 11: Ankarana, Ankify & Nosy Be. Pass through the villages typical of the Antakarana tribe as you travel to Ankarana National Park. Known for the largest density of primate populations in the world, the reserve is also famous for the tsingy limestone formations. These eroded caverns and fissures were created when groundwater undercut the elevated uplands leaving needle-like formations.
After a picnic lunch, travel to Ankify and board a boat to transfer to Nosy Be Island. On arrival at the Hell Ville Port, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Accommodations: Vanila Hotel. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 12: Nosy Komba & Nosy Tanikely. This morning embark on a scheduled excursion to Nosy Komba. Your visit of the island includes a walk through the fisherman's village. Continue by boat to the marine reserve of Nosy Tanikely. Enjoy a picnic lunch and some beach time for swimming. Optional snorkeling and diving excursions are available on your own at an additional cost. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 15: Nosy Be, Antananarivo. Enjoy the morning at leisure. In the late morning, transfer to the Nosy Be airport for short flight to Ivato Airport, Antananarivo. Accommodations: Tana Plaza Hotel. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 16: Depart Antananarivo. Enjoy your last morning in Madagascar at leisure. This afternoon bid farewell to the exciting island of Madagascar, as you check in for your overnight flight to New York, via Johannesburg. Breakfast provided.
Day 17: Arrive USA. Your magical journey comes to an end as you arrive in New York this morning.
We've taken 3 trips with Friendly Planet. All of them have been good, but this one topped them all. We loved the itinerary. We came home feeling we had seen so much! We loved the hotels. The River Lodge in Karongwe was amazing. Our game guides Keenan and Matthews were the best! The African Pride Hotel in Cape Town was beautiful. Our room looked out on Table Mountain! And most of all, our guides did everything they could to ensure that we had the very best time possible. We will definitely look to Friendly Planet again for our next trip!
Claudia Quinn, San Bruno, CA
The tourism infrastructure in Madagascar is still in development stages and somewhat limited. While every effort has been made to secure comfortable accommodations and transportation, we ask you to keep in mind that the standards you will encounter may be different from those you are used to at home or when traveling to Western Europe. On several days during your trip, a considerable driving distance between the various towns is involved. Due to poor road conditions in some of the areas visited as well as comfort stops at places without proper toilet facilities, some discomfort during those days should be expected. Your patience and understanding are appreciated.