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Madagascar Tours & Safari Packages

There is no other place like Madagascar. That might sound like brochure talk, but it is true. Madagascar is unique. Of roughly 200,000 known animal species found in Madagascar, 150,000 are endemic, meaning they occur nowhere else in the world. The same applies to the island’s weird and wonderful flora. How this incredible biodiversity came about is much up for debate. But there is nothing debatable about the sense of wonder one experiences when setting foot on this magnificently intriguing country, often referred to as the eighth continent. Looking to book a Madagascar tour? Here are some common questions answered to help you plan your dream holiday.

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1-19 of 19 Madagascar trips, packages and vacations

6 Questions About Madagascar Tours

 
 

6 Questions About Madagascar Tours

Answered by Ariadne van Zandbergen

Why should I go to Madagascar?

“There are many good reasons to go to Madagascar. The immense tropical island of Madagascar is a special destination. For some people it’s the idyllic white sandy beaches and turquoise waters that are the main attractions. Others are lured by the fascinating animal world. There are cuddly lemurs, chameleons ranging from tiny to huge, slinky fossas, leaf-tailed geckos (the ultimate masters of camouflage), and much more. The wildlife is protected in a network of about 50 parks and reserves. These natural places are as diverse as the animals that live in them. Habitats range from pristine rainforest to dry spiny forest, dominated by the weird-looking octopus trees. Then there are oddities, such as the serrated limestone formations known as tsingy, and picture-perfect landmarks, such as the Avenue of the Baobabs.”

1

Where should I go on a Madagascar trip?

“Madagascar is a very big island and there is a surprising number of places to visit. When going on a road trip, you’ll probably need to choose between highlights of the north or the south. You can’t really do it all in one tour. If you incorporate one or more flights, your options to mix and match increase. Most tours start in Antananarivo. A popular tour takes you to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, the best place to see the world’s largest lemur, the indri. From there you follow the N7 south, spending time in Ranomafana National Park to see a large variety of lemurs and reptiles, and Isalo National Park for some hiking in spectacular sandstone formations. The tour ends on the west coast at Toliara or Ifaty, which are great places to relax on the beach. Highlights of the north include the rainforest of Amber Mountain National Park with its waterfalls, crater lakes and abundance of chameleons. Ankarana Special Reserve with its tsingy landscapes is another not-to-be-missed destination up north. Both parks can be visited from Madagascar’s most popular beach destination, Nosy Be. A great bush-and-beach combo is a tour combining time in two properties run as all-inclusive bush lodges: Mandrare River Camp at Ifotaka Community Forest and Manafiafy Lodge at Sainte Luce reserve. You’ll be spoiled for a choice of guided activities on this tour. There’s lemur watching, night walks, cultural tours, whale watching, kayaking and much more.”

2

What is a good length of time for a Madagascar holiday?

“Unless you’re mainly going on a beach holiday in Madagascar, you’ll ideally need at least 12 days to visit some of the highlights. Many roads are in bad condition and the driving time between parks is often long. You might have to overnight in small towns along the way. Luckily, this is never wasted time. You’ll learn about the traditional cultures and the many crafts and arts the Malagasy people are known for. To take in the main highlights of the north and the south of the country, you’ll need about 20 days, even when making use of a couple of domestic flights. With limited time available, a return trip from the capital city, Antananarivo, to Andasibe-Mantadia NP is a great option. The driving time each way is three hours, and you can see a lot on a four-day tour to this popular park. You’ll have a chance to see different lemur species and a variety of reptiles and amphibians. A night walk is a great opportunity to see some nocturnal species. This tour is a great introduction to Madagascar or a possible stopover on an Africa trip of a lifetime covering highlights of different countries.”

3

What is the best time of the year for a Madagascar safari?

“Madagascar can be visited at any time of the year. However, the wettest months of January and February are perhaps best avoided. September to November is a lovely time for a beach holiday, but the cool, dry months from May to October are better for hiking. The coldest months aren’t ideal to see some animals. Therefore, the best wildlife-viewing months are the shoulder months of April, May, October and November. These months are warm enough for all animals to be active, but not too wet. Having said all this, you have to keep in mind that there are wide regional variations. The east of the island sees the most rain, so avoiding the peak of the Wet season is more important here than in drier parts of the country.”

4

Do I need to be physically fit for a Madagascar safari?

“As all wildlife viewing in Madagascar is done on foot, you will need to have a reasonable level of fitness for a safari on the island. The rainforest parks tend to be wet and the paths can be very muddy and slippery. Walking in the dry parks in the southeast of the country is usually easier. There are different trails with different lengths and difficulties available in all the parks. Even the short trails are very rewarding and give great opportunities to see lemurs and other wildlife. There are also many sanctuaries and private reserves in the country where it is sometimes possible to see animals within the immediate vicinity of the lodge. So, while you’ll get the most out of a Madagascar safari with a level of fitness allowing you to take on some of the proper hikes, you can in fact see a lot without having to walk very far. However fit you are, it is important to come well prepared with good shoes, a hat and rain gear. A walking stick can also come in handy to keep you steady on slippery slopes.”

5

How much do Madagascar safari packages cost?

“There are many variables determining the price of a Madagascar tour. However, as a guideline, you can expect a 12-day mid-range package to start at around US$2,000 per person. The level of accommodation is a big factor. Taking a few local flights can save valuable time otherwise spent driving long distances, but it also increases the overall cost. Another variable is the choice between a private or group tour. Spending time on the beach is usually cheaper than moving around on tour. Taking all these variables into account makes for a wide range of prices.”

6

Madagascar Safari Reviews

4.4/5 21 Reviews
Expert
Anthony Ham  –  
Australia AU

Anthony is a photographer and writer for travel magazines and Lonely Planet, including the guides to Kenya and Botswana & Namibia.

Madagascar: land of lemurs
4/5

Often referred to as the ‘Eighth Continent’, Madagascar is epic in scale, a unique world that I love for its wildness, vast tracts of wilderness, and wildlife. Separated from Africa for millions of years, its wildlife is found nowhere...

Full Review

Expert
Philip Briggs  –  
South Africa ZA

Philip is an acclaimed travel writer and author of many guidebooks, including the Bradt guides to Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa.

A world apart
4/5

Madagascar is, in a word, strange. Mind-bogglingly so, in certain respects. The world’s fourth-largest island, it is sometimes referred to as the Eighth Continent on account of its unique biodiversity and high level of endemism. Home to...

Full Review

CarolineG  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Apr 15, 2020
Wonderful Wildlife!
5/5

I thought my trip to Madagascar was amazing. I went for 2 weeks with Natural Habitat Adventures in the Summer of 2013. We saw 21 species of lemurs, an endless number of birds, with many endemics, and lots of chameleons. Our accommodations...

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lukasz36  –  
Poland PL
Reviewed: Nov 18, 2019
Great place for close ecounters with wildlife
4/5

We had a 8 days trip to Madagascar in November 2019. We spend the time on east cost of the island - Andasibe & Palmarium Reserve. The wildlife was very good - lemurs are close and provide excelent opportunites for photography. Birds in...

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Gaston Batistini  –  
Belgium BE
Reviewed: Nov 5, 2019
The smile island
5/5

Go to Madagascar for the smiles!
They have nothing but they are all smiling and friendly.
Hotel of quality with ready good food, this is the secret destination where you have to go to enjoy meeting peoples.

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Zoizeaux de Gabriel. Gabriel Leboff  –  
France FR
Reviewed: Sep 28, 2019
Madagascar : country of landscape and light !
5/5

Wildlife is unique and amazing, sceneries are exceptionnal ! Wheater, let's say : hot in september , accomodations are at the opposite : you can get high level comfort as well poor with sanitaries very very ... simple (forget hot water !). ...

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