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Madagascar Tours

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Traveller Reviews of Madagascar Tours

''Experience which Tops the Charts''

Words alone cannot describe the incredible experience my family and I had on our tour with Madagascar Tours. My family will return home with the best experience of their life.

 

 

- Anne , Malaysia, Tripadvisor Comment

''More than a Friend to us, well Experienced''

Our tour was fantastic and we managed to go to all important tourist spots as per our plan. Amaan was more than a friend to us, and well experienced. In short we enjoyed to the most.

 

 

- Anthanasia, Tanzania, Personal Email

''Amazing, Infinitely Knowledgeable''

I was fortunate to have an amazing guide, Anthea. She was infinitely Knowledgeable. She allowed me to spend as much time as I liked at any of the stops and tailored the trip to my interests.

        

- Noah , USA, Tripadvisor Comment

Madagascar Tours: All You Need to Know

Overview | Highlights | East Madagascar | West Madagascar | South Madagascar | North Madagascar | Wildlife | Accommodation | Seasons | Benefits | Guides | Accreditations | Fly or Drive | Roads | Checklist | Currency | Safety Tips


Spot rainbow-coloured chameleons as they scurry through the dense rainforest. Snap photographs of dramatic rock formations. Soak up all the scenes as you’re driven by our accredited local Madagascar tour guide through lush landscapes in your air-conditioned SUV.

 

Whether it’s walking barefoot on beaches of paradise, gazing up in wonder at ancient baobabs, or forging strong connections with local Madagascans, our Madagascar tours offer you truly authentic experiences. We’ll take you to hidden gems off the beaten track while you sample local delicacies like traditional Romazava and delectable cinnamon rum cocktails - knowing your Madagascar trip supports local businesses and families while you’re at it.

 

Thinking of heading to this incredible part of the world but not sure how to plan? Luckily, we’re experts in all things Madagascar travel related and can answer all your questions with our helpful travel tips. Read on to discover more about this exotic island destination.  

 

Highlights to See on Madagascar Tours

 

Madagascar is a country blessed with natural beauty and an abundance of endemic wildlife experiences, so it can be difficult to know what to single out. You’ll want to do everything, but we know time is precious, so here are some absolute gems that you won’t want to miss during your Madagascar tour.

 

East Madagascar Tour: Explore Natural Wonders

 

The East of Madagascar is all about exploring dense rainforests in short high-quality bursts, in contrast to the West which is known for its distinctive deciduous dry forests and unique wildlife. Head East to spot the rare panther chameleon in various dazzling colours, the red tomato frog or the elusive comet moth. Here are some other highlights to see on your Madagascar tour:

 

  • Aye Aye Lemur Night Tour: Join a nocturnal excursion to see this elusive bizarre-looking creature with bat-like ears, a bushy tail and a special thin middle finger.

  • Lemur Island: Located within the Vakona Private Reserve and is home to some extremely friendly Eastern grey bamboo, black and white ruffed and red bellied brown lemurs. You can get up close and personal to them, snap that perfect photograph and even let them sit on your head.

  • Palmarium Reserve: Only accessible by boat, this remote and fairly isolated reserve gives you the opportunity to spot lesser-seen creatures such as the Indri lemur, who are typically shy in more populated areas.

  • Andasibe-Mantadia Park: Head off on walking trails in this protected area, making your way through the thick forest past waterfalls and lakes, as you stop to spot all sorts of exotic creatures like the golden bamboo lemur, Parson’s chameleon or ring-tailed mongoose.

 

West Madagascar Tour: Visit Icons of the Island

 

West Madagascar features dry deciduous forests and offers the chance to spot unique wildlife such as the fossa, a carnivorous cat-like creature only found in Madagascar. Here are some other gems to see on a West Madagascar Tour:

 

  • Tsingy de Bemaraha Park: Dwarfed by the magnitude of these crooked canyons, you’ll marvel in awe at this mineral forest which is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site (source). Taking its name from the Malagasy word for “walking on tiptoes”, it will be clear why when you lock eyes on these stunning limestone needles (source).

  • Avenue of the Baobabs: These ancient and sacred trees are one of the most visited attractions in the region, with iconic views that line the landscape as far as the eye can see. With some of the trees over 800 years old, you won’t want to miss seeing them and capturing their beauty in a photograph.

  • Kirindy Forest: Head off on a night excursion into the forest where you may spot the elusive mouse lemur, chameleons and geckos. 100 square metres in size, this deciduous forest is also home to the greater hedgehog tenrec, fossa and several other lemur species.

South Madagascar Tour: See Diverse Rainforests

Planning to spend more time exploring the rainforests? The South is the place to do it then - you may even spot the Golden Bamboo Lemur, which is more prevalent here. Here are our other top picks for the south Madagascar rainforest tour:

 

  • Isalo National Park: This is one of the most visited national parks in the country with good reason. A dramatic canyon and rolling plains make the perfect backdrop to pristine natural pools and waterfalls, as well as an abundance of wildlife such as the Madagascar ground boa, white lipped bright-eyed frog and Malagasy rainbow frog.

  • Snorkelling & Diving: The remote beach paradise of Ifaty offers you clear warm waters with endless silk sand beaches to explore. Head off snorkelling, fishing, or canoeing on the lagoon and end off the day sipping cocktails as the sun sinks below the horizon.

  • Ranomafana Rainforest: Pull on your hiking boots to explore this tropical rainforest wonderland which has been in isolation for around 60 to 80 million years, according to UNESCO (source). Besides the chance to spot the leaf tailed gecko and ring-tailed mongoose, this Garden of Eden is also home to peculiar and arresting flora including luminescent fungi, wild banana trees and red bromelia.

 

North Madagascar TourSnorkeling and Beach Paradise

 

With a focus on coastal activities, the North of Madagascar has so much to offer, including the chance to spot creatures such as the Amber Mountain leaf chameleon and Malagasy Civet. Here are some other highlights:

 

  • Nosy Be Island: Plunge into the turquoise waters at this popular tourist spot, whose name is derived from the words “big island”. Diving and snorkelling are the order of the day here, and you may even see turtles swimming by as you wallow in the warm water. You can also visit rum distilleries and ylang ylang plantations if you feel like something a bit different.

  • Emerald Sea: This lagoon epitomises “tropical paradise”, with its lapping azure waters which turn an almost blue-black as it gets deeper. There’s also ample space to try your hand at kiteboarding, windsurfing and snorkelling.

  • Amber Mountain Reserve: Expect waterfalls, volcanic lakes and extremely rich birdlife as you explore this reserve. Butterflies fluttering past you, tiny chameleons resting on branches and clearly marked trails make this an excursion to remember.

  • Sainte Marie Island (optional): Want to see humpback whales in their natural breeding ground as they frolic in the waves and take care of their calves? A channel off this island provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. There’s also excellent diving here, as well as a chance to learn more about the history of piracy in the region.

 

If you want to ensure that you’re not missing out on the most visited attractions during your Madagascar trip, consider our carefully curated Madagascar Highlights Tour which can be combined with a North Madagascar Snorkeling Tour. Contact us to find out more.

 

Wildlife Seen in Madagascar

 

Colourful, surprising and completely unique: Madagascan wildlife is one of the primary reasons that people come from all over the world to this unique island. With up to 90% of the fauna and flora being found nowhere else on the planet, Madagascar is a highly biodiverse island set in a completely isolated ecosystem, where Mother Nature has been able to conduct many wonderous experiments over the centuries.

 

The island has more than 11 000 endemic plant species (source), including seven kinds of baobab tree, as well as around a quarter of the planet’s primates. Here follows some wildlife favourites Madagascar has to offer:

 

  • Lemurs: Black, bamboo, dwarf, Indri (listen out for its howling cry!) – there are around 60 different types (source) of lemurs on the island, so you’ll probably be spotting new varieties of these cheeky primates each day.

  • Chameleons: Madagascar is home to about half the world's 150 species of chameleons, every one with distinct markings and attributes. Psychedelic and fascinating, did you know that they actually don’t change colour for camouflage reasons, but rather to reflect their moods and emit social signals?

  • Tomato Frog: Found only in Madagascar, these bright red creatures ooze white sticky mucus when threatened (which is best avoided, even though it’s not toxic). Still, they make for a wonderful photograph if you can get close enough without disturbing them.

  • Aye Aye: These tree-dwelling creatures have long toes, big ears and large haunted looking eyes, and this bizarre appearance has led to locals considering them a bad omen. A bit like a cross between a bat and a squirrel, these are one of our favourite creatures to spot on the island.

  • Fossa: Looking like a mixture of both a cat and a dog, this large carnivorous mammal eats lemurs, insects and rodents and is actually a relative of the mongoose, with reddish-brown fur.

  • Tenrecs: It may look like a hedgehog, but these unusual mammals are actually a result of “convergent evolution” and they can actually resemble otters, mice, shrews, and even otters.

 

Most wildlife now exists in the small pockets which have been kept as reserves, and it helps to have a knowledgeable guide with you during your Madagascar holiday, as they’ll know when and where to spot various creatures that may be on your “must-see” list.

 

Many of Madagascar’s species are under threat and your visit to the island, if conducted in an environmentally responsible way, can contribute to the preservation of these magnificent creatures. Take a Madagascar Nature Tour with us and join this environmentally conscious movement.

 

Madagascar Tours: Lodges and Camps – What to Expect

Madagascar is generally off the beaten tourist track, so it’s more underdeveloped than typical island resorts you may have visited, making it all the more charming.  

 

Accommodation in Madagascar is generally rustic and of a more variable standard than you’re used to in developed countries and picking the right places to stay can make or break your holiday. For this reason, we make use of handpicked 4-star establishments and above where possible, as well as certain high quality 3-star establishments where no other options are available.

 

Here are two of our favourites, providing contrasting experiences to guests:

 

Camp Amoreux

 

Simple yet extremely well run and clean, this locally run lodge (and the best available standard in the Kirindy area) is made up of tented lodge bungalows, so you can enjoy a truly immersive natural experience.

 

The en-suite tented rooms are built on platforms and protected with thatch roofs, as well as mosquito nets. Outdoor showers and lemurs leaping around the campsite certainly add to the overall experience! In the evening, you can head off on a forest night excursion, where you can spot various nocturnal species such as the elusive mouse lemur, chameleons and geckos.

 

Soleil Des Tsingy

 

An eco-boutique hotel close to the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Soliel Des Tsingy has 17 gracious suites, a large swimming pool, a restaurant open to the sky, and dramatic views of the forests and mountains surrounding it.

 

Head out for a walking trail through the private forest or take a ride in a dugout canoe along the Manambolo River. Whether you choose to refresh yourself with a dive in the pool or want to relax on a sun lounger, get to the bar at sunset for some incredible sights as another day in Africa comes to an end.

 

When Should you Travel to Madagascar?

 

While Madagascar trips can be enjoyed all year round, the cyclone season (source) normally lasts from late November through to April, so bear this in mind when planning your holiday. January and February rainfall are high and there is an increased risk of cyclones in the northeast part of the island. March is still part of the peak rainy season, although your chances of experiencing cyclones are a little reduced.

 

In May, visitors start making their way to this tropical paradise, but it’s not yet high season, so hotels have more openings and generally attractions are not quite as busy. Come July, tourists are flocking, so it’s best to pre-book well before you travel (this applies for the rest of the year too, all the way up until November).

 

Madagascar is a vast country, so weather conditions vary from region to region and are generally unpredictable. It’s best to be prepared for anything!

The Benefits of a Custom Private Madagascar Tour

Going on a custom private Madagascar tour with us allows you to benefit from our years of experience researching and curating customised inclusive Madagascar packages for our clients. Because this is such a remote location, chances are you won’t visit more than once, so you want to get it right the first time.

 

For example, you may opt for a West Madagascar Tour to marvel at a limestone pinnacle forest, or an East Madagascar Tour to discover Andasibe-Mantadia national park. Planning a trip with authentic experiences that appeal to your specific tastes and offer life-changing moments could take countless hours of research. Save time and let our Madagascar travel planners help you do this.

 

We know the safest routes to drive, the best hotels to stay at, and the little quirks that make a holiday here completely memorable, rather than stressful. Going on a private Madagascar tour with us gives you an instant package solution of all the components that are important to you, whether that means waking up a little later one morning or devoting the whole holiday to walking in the rainforests, because that’s your passion.

 

Our trusted partners such as our tour guides and drivers have all the necessary certifications from the relevant government departments such as the Ministry of Tourism, so you can rest assured that you’re in safe, accredited and expert hands.

 

Local Accredited Madagascar Tour Guides

When you’re visiting a new country, you’re there to explore new places, discover new experiences and grow as a person. That’s why a Madagascar tour with local experienced guides is the best way to visit this fascinating country, as they use their unique knowledge of the region and share stories that will really help you see the country through their eyes.

 

Maps and guidebooks might tell you how to get there, but we'll show you around and share the magic behind our land.

 

ASTA – Member of the World’s Largest Travel Organisation

 

ASTA Membership Number: 900255971

 

Madagascar Tours, a Momentous Travel subsidiary, is a local Southern Africa tour operator which is certified by ASTA, the largest organisation of travel professionals worldwide (source).

 

In order to qualify as a member, we need to adhere to ASTA’s strict code of ethics, of which we are proud members. Code of ethics include:

 

  • Accuracy

  • Disclosure

  • Responsiveness

  • Cooperation

  • Confidentiality

  • Affiliation

  • Compliant

 

For more visit Asta.org (source)

 

SATIB24 - 24/7 Emergency Support in Madagascar

 

Policy Number: B1262BW 0217118 PI08/2019/3239

 

Our Satib24 membership allows our guests access to a 24-hour support centre which means that during any crisis, you can call their 24-hour support number (+27-311-002-370) and receive direct assistance. Services include:

 

  • Dedicated 24/7 helpline to the Satib24 incident operations centre

  • Clinically led decision making

  • Direct line to doctors, nurses and security professionals in a crisis

  • Trusted source of global support and advice

  • Coordination of an integrated network of emergency medical, security and incident management specialists

  • Medical and security evacuations

 

During your stay in Madagascar, simply keep our Policy Number on hand and provide it in case of any unforeseen emergencies.

 

Is it Better to Drive or Fly in Madagascar?

 

Depending on the time you have available, we recommend travelling in Madagascar using a mixture of driving and flying, especially over vast distances. Don’t worry if you’re unsure about the routes – we’ll recommend the best combinations, so you can make the most of your time in Madagascar.

 

  • South: In the South, there are many excellent reserves en route (including Isalo or Ranomafana Park), so doing the journey by road is worthwhile, as you get to see and experience a lot even while you’re travelling from place to place. And, it’s one quick flight back to Antananarivo from Tulear Airport after completing your drive.

 

  • West: We suggest flying from Antanarivo to Morondava Airport when you’re combining an East and West Madagascar tour.

 

  • East: Driving East is fine, given that distances are not too far, and the routes are well planned, with lots of sights to see along the way.

 

  • North: We recommend flying North to Nose B, given the vast distances.

 

In What Condition are the Roads in Madagascar?

 

Road conditions in Madagascar are generally challenging for those only used to driving in cities. You’ll experience off-road conditions where you need to be confident driving an SUV vehicle, and even more so when it rains.

 

Inconsistent GPS, inadequate signage and unofficial “tolls” add to the difficulty, and it is also recommended that you do not travel anywhere after dark if possible. (source)

 

For the above-mentioned reasons, booking a private Madagascar tour ensures you are led by an experienced guide, who is knowledgeable about the area and skilled in driving in challenging conditions.

 

Madagascar Holiday Checklist

 

As mentioned earlier, you really need to be prepared for all seasons when packing for your Madagascar trip. Madagascar checklists (source) should include items such as:

 

  • Comfortable, casual and practical clothing

  • A lightweight all-weather jacket (a bonus if it works for rain protection too)

  • Walking shoes/hiking boots

  • Your swimming costume

  • A wide hat for sun protection

  • Any medication you need for the duration of the trip

  • All personal hygiene items such as deodorant and general toiletries

  • Any other items of a personal nature

  • A plug adaptor to charge any electronic items like phones or laptops

  • A reusable water bottle

  • Sunscreen and insect repellent

 

Currency Information in Madagascar
 

Only certain large restaurants or hotels in Madagascar have card machines, so swipe when you can but make sure that you always have sufficient cash on you.

 

We recommend carrying the local currency, Ariary. Budget $35-45 per person per day (approximately Ar 130 000 - 165 000), which is enough to cover the cost of a typical lunch and dinner. Also bring along more for extra costs like gifts, or if you plan to drink or eat more than expected.

 

Safety Tips During your Madagascar Tour

 

Every country has its issues when it comes to safety – what is important is to be aware, rather than assuming Madagascar operates the same way as your home country does. Most visits to Madagascar are trouble-free (source), but there are some things to bear in mind when travelling here:

 

  • Follow local advice in the south-east of the country, as roads are challenging.

  • Travel with a recognised tour operator and avoid travelling after dark if possible.

  • Avoid openly displaying valuables, whether this is wearing a flashy watch, or leaving your camera in plain sight in an unlocked car for example.

  • Always be aware of your surroundings, especially in areas that tourists frequent (source).

 

Ultimately, booking a private Madagascar Tour allows you access to well curated tour packages which includes guides that know their surroundings intimately and can guide you safely.  Enjoy your Madagascar holiday along with the added comfort of knowing you have Satib 24 support and Asta certification throughout your trip.

Want to find out more about booking your Madagascar tour with us? Browse our trips or contact us today to book the trip of a lifetime.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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