13 Days Luxury Madagascar wildlife and beach safari
13 Days Luxury Madagascar wildlife and beach safari
Spanning over 220,000 square miles, travelers will find steep escarpments with lush tropical forests, expansive central highlands of fertile rice valleys and grassy hills, desert, shrub-lands, mangrove forests and sandy beaches. At once alien and enchanting, the island’s diverse landscape is of intrigue to all visitors. That said, the real highlight is the island’s unique wildlife. Life has been left to develop in relative isolation here, making it a biodiversity hotspot. Over 90% of its flora and fauna is found nowhere else on Earth, including one of the world’s largest lemurs, the Indri. The island is home to over 100 species and sub-species of lemur altogether.
- Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
- Perinet Reserve
- Wildlife viewing around Mandrare River Camp
- Birding and beach relaxation at Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge
Detailed safari itinerary
Day 1: Arrival in Antananarivo and transfer to your hotel for overnight
On arrival in Ivato International Airport in Antananarivo, you’ll be greeted by an English-speaking guide who will escort you to Maison Gallieni, a restored colonial mansion in the upper town of Antananarivo. Spend the afternoon relaxing in the pool or exploring the traditional architecture of Antananarivo, known locally as ‘Tana’.
Day 2: Drive to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
After breakfast, you’ll meet your guide for the four-hour drive to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, a stunning rainforest park with two protected areas including Mantadia National Park and the Perinet Special Reserve, famous for its population of indri, the largest living lemur species in the world. On your drive to Andasibe, you’ll get an insight into rural life in Madagascar, with redbrick houses, rice fields and roadside stalls selling seasonal fruits and vegetables along the way. On arrival at Mantadia Lodge, you’ll enjoy lunch and in the afternoon you’ll visit Lemur Island, a private island with a protected population of habituated lemurs including the brown lemur, bamboo lemur, black and white ruffed lemur and one diademed sifaka. This evening, you’ll venture out on an exciting night walk with your local guide to see the forest’s nocturnal creatures come alive.
Day 3: Full day exploration of Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
Enjoy breakfast before meeting your guide for the 1.5 hour drive to Mantadia National Park, a beautiful park where you can spot a variety of lemur’s species including the indri lemur, grey bamboo lemur, white ruffed lemur, red-bellied lemur and the diademed sifaka. While the trails are slightly more challenging, you’ll be rewarded with a taller, thicker forest and fewer crowds than Perinet Reserve. You’ll also have plenty of rare mammal, reptile and bird species to find, including the breasted coua, scaly ground roller and pitta-like ground roller. You’ll enjoy a family picnic by the Rianasoa Waterfall before walking back to the vehicle and driving back to the lodge. This evening, you can head out on another night walk to see the nocturnal lemurs including the mouse lemur, woolly lemur, white-footed sportive lemur and fat-tailed dwarf lemur.
Day 4: Morning Visit to Perinet Reserve and transfer to Antananarivo
After an early breakfast, you’ll meet your guide and drive to the Perinet Reserve, a 180-hectare expanse of pristine rainforest, where you’ll go in search of the indri lemur, characterised by its cute teddy bear face and black and white markings. There are 11 other lemur species to spot in this rainforest including the bamboo lemur, black and white ruffed lemur, common brown lemur and the diademed sifaka. Birders should keep watch for the blue coua, velvet asity, Nuthatch vanga and many other endemic species. You’ll also find a number of reptiles, invertebrates and scores of orchid species. After lunch in Andasibe, you’ll make the drive to Antananarivo, where you’ll check in to Maison Gallieni.
Day 5: Flight from Antananarivo to Mandrare River Camp
Enjoy breakfast before boarding your scheduled charter flight to Ifotaka, taking two to three hours. You’ll be met on arrival by a guide from Mandrare River Camp and transferred to the camp, where you can settle into your luxury tent on the banks of the Mandrare River. This evening, you’ll head out on a thrilling night walk in the Forest of Zenavo, where you can spot diurnal lemurs nodding off to sleep and nocturnal lemurs waking up for a night of action. You can see mouse lemurs, sifakas, white foot sportive lemurs, chameleons, owls and a variety of birds.
Day 6: Full day exploration around Mandrare River Camp
After breakfast, you’ll venture to the south of the camp to the magical Sacred Gallery Forest. You’ll either walk or take a boat across the Mandrare River, depending on the water levels. Once you’re in the forest, keep your eyes peeled for curious groups of ring-tailed lemurs and playful Verreaux’s sifaka. You’ll return to the camp for lunch and a peaceful soak in the pool, and in the evening, you’ll enjoy a walk through the Sacred Spiny Forest with a local tracker, who will take you to the ancestral tombs of the local Antandroy tribe and teach you about the plants and animals found only in this forest. You’ll end your adventure with a refreshing sundowner on the banks of the Mandrare River.
Day 7: Full day exploration around Mandrare River Camp
You’ll rise early this morning for a magical sunrise walk through the Sacred Spiny Forest. Watch the forest wake up as the sunlight streams through the octopus trees and wildlife begin to stir including a chorus of birds such as the crested coua, running coua and other endemic birds. You’ll return to the camp for a well-earned breakfast, before visiting the local market which is open on Thursdays and Saturdays, or the local village to meet the Antandroy tribe. Enjoy lunch at the camp and a relaxing afternoon before heading out for sundowner among the ancient baobab trees. This evening, you may be treated to a fantastic performance of music, song and dance by the local Antandroy village.
Day 8: Full day exploration around Mandrare River Camp
After breakfast, you’ll head out on a day trip to the stunning Lac Anony, a saltwater lake set near the Indian Ocean, separated by a strip of rolling sand dunes. The lake is a two-hour drive from the camp, and you’ll walk along the lake shore to a beautiful picnic spot, while you keep watch for Greater Flamingos and other salt water birds. After lunch, you can scale the 70-foot high sand dunes for a panoramic view of the region or enjoy a refreshing swim in the lake, before heading back to the camp for dinner.
Day 9: Air transfer to Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge
You’ll have an early breakfast, before taking the 25-minute flight to Fort Dauphin, where you’ll be greeted by your guide for the three-hour drive to Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge. Also known as Saint Luce, Manafiafy is a gorgeous sandy bay surrounded by forests, mountains, wildlife and a maze of mangroves. After settling in to the lodge, you’ll head out on a night walk through the Coastal Rainforest. As the last untouched section of the coastal rainforest in southern Madagascar, you can spot a number of endemic species along with five lemur species, over 80 bird species, and a variety of geckos, chameleons and reptiles. You can also spot nocturnal lemurs, satanic leaf-tailed geckos and the Madagascar Scops Owl, before returning to the lodge for a delicious dinner.
Day 10: Full day exploration around Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge
Enjoy breakfast before visiting the Stitch project and a local woodworking shop in the local Antanosy community. Created by Azafady, a UK-based charity working with a Malagasy NGO, the Stitch project provides sustainable skills and training to local women in English, business and embroidery, a traditional Malagasy skill. You’ll have a delicious three-course lunch before heading to the nearby mangrove network, which stretches for 40km from Manafiafy to Fort Dauphin. You’ll explore the mangroves on a motorboat, with excellent photography opportunities and the chance to spot endemic birds such as the Blue Coua, Madagascar Crested Ibis, Madagascar Harrier Hawk and Madagascar kingfisher species.
Day 11: Full day exploration at Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge
You’ll rise early this morning for a sunrise walk in the coastal rainforest, enjoying the magical atmosphere as the wildlife swing into action. Keep watch for the red-collar lemur, Crested Coua, Giant Coua, Hook-billed Vanga and Vasa parrots before heading back to the lodge for a tasty breakfast. This evening, you’ll head to a nearby community forest to see the Flying Fox, Madagascar’s largest bat, filling the air as they fly off in search for food.
Day 12: Full day exploration around Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge
Enjoy breakfast and spend the morning relaxing on the white sandy beach or taking a dip in the ocean. You may like to go on a whale watching trip (available from 15th June to 15th November at extra cost) or a deep sea fishing trip (available at extra cost). After lunch at the lodge, you visit the Antanosy village in Manafiafy, where you’ll meet the fishermen and their families, learn more about local customs, and see the traditional wooden houses lining the beachfront. End your day with a refreshing sundowner overlooking Manafiafy bay.
Day 13: Departure from Madagascar
After an early breakfast, you’ll be driven for three hours back to Fort Dauphin airport, where you’ll board a three-hour flight to Antananarivo. You’ll arrive with plenty of time to board your return flight home.
- Vehicle, Guide and Fuel
- Domestic flight
- All activities included on your final itinerary upon booking the safari
- Enroute meals and drinking water
- Airport transfers
- International flights
- Travel insurance
- Madagascar travel insurance
- Tips for guides and hotels
When to book this safari package
We recommend booking this package 9 months and 1 year in advance.
Best time to visit Madagascar for wildlife safari
November is often recommended as the best month to visit Madagascar for wildlife-watching.