You got to move it, move it! . . .to a place like no other. Isolated 300 miles off Africa in the warm Indian Ocean lies an eco-paradise waiting to be explored. It’s the world's 4th largest island with such bio diversity, it's called the "8th continent." It’s home to 5% of the earth's plant and animal species, 80% of these are unique only to Madagascar! There is no African destination with weirder wildlife. Mada broke off from Africa 160 million years ago allowing a unique ecosystem. 250,000 species of flora and fauna, 220 small islands, 18 different ethnic tribes, 9 types of baobab trees and of course the famous lemurs. It's teeming with 60 different species of lemurs that thrive here but are facing extinction due to deforestation. There's nothing like watching them leap through trees like ballerinas with police siren calls. The adorable bug-eyed primates show little fear of humans. Madagascar is also nature's sanctuary for bazaar hissing insects, absurdly colored chameleons, blue geckos, elephant birds, tomato frogs and other weird native creatures.
We’re repeating this because our past groups simply loved it. It’s designed with a perfect affordable itinerary to explore the beauty of lush tropical rainforests and pristine white sand beaches. You can ride a traditional dhow boat, taste the freshest seafood, catch a whiff of vanilla plantations, shop markets, hike where the ring tail lemurs scamper, snorkel with turtles or dive coral reefs. After the verdant south, we fly north to the archipelago of Nosy Be for some island hopping from our luxury resort.
September is peak season and a great time to visit for ideal weather and whale sharks. Visitors come in autumn for the rich diversity, abundance and approachability of wildlife. This is not Costa Rica my friends, "Mada" is wild and unspoiled.
Come discover some rare encounters you never knew existed in an ocean paradise. This trip is the perfect escape for adventure and relaxation. Who among you can say they've been there? Madagascar is a world apart.
Faith B says “Suzy, First I can sum this trip up in one word – FABULOUS! I loved the small size of the group and wonderful local guides. At times I was challenged to go outside my comfort zone but it was all rewarding and hotels were great. I laughed so much watching the lemurs jump person to person. Thanks for showing us such a beautiful and unique destination”Book Now!
(Air details provided later.)
Our staff welcome you at the airport, then transfers to your hotel.
Welcome to the capital Antanarivo, bustling with 2 million inhabitants and called, "Tana". Situated high on a plateau, it was founded in 1610 by a Malagasy king. Most visitors find themselves just passing through this city although there are some sites to explore like the palace and markets.
Check into Hotel
(Hotels here have lower standards but we chose the best available to keep this affordable)
Get to know your fellow AFS travelers tonight over a group Welcome Dinner.
After breakfast, you leave Antananarivo for Andasibe. Andasibe National Park is the most popular stop on tour itineraries. You will cross a myriad of villages and get acquainted with the traditional lifestyle of the Malagasy people. With pretty golden grasslands in the background, you will enjoy the amazingly abundant rice paddies, chimneyless long clay red houses and millions of roadside markets displaying a variety of handicrafts, fruit and meat. We stop for lunch at local restaurant and then visit the fabulous Reptile & Butterfly farm to see a wonderful array of creepy crawly things. The chameleons are spectacular here.
You will arrive in Andasibe in the afternoon and get settled at the hotel. This evening enjoy a walk at VOIMMA Park (2 hours) run by the village community. There are many species of nocturnal lemurs and chameleons, and they are noisy and active at night. See the indri lemurs that descend through trees to gaze upon you with piercing blue eyes. They live to be 60 years old.
Vakona Forest Lodge is a vacation in nature. Property is set in the heart of a rainforest with exceptional flora and fauna, large bungalows, swimming pool and nice airy restaurant. Many activities and hiking paths offered here.
Overnight: Vokona Forest Lodge B, L, D
After breakfast, enjoy a hike through the rainforest at the Special Reserve of Indri. Your guide will search for the Indri Indri, largest lemurs have relative freedom here. There are 4 species of lemurs (Ruffed Lemur, Ring tailed lemur, Hapalemur). Later you’ll explore the islet of lemurs in dugout canoes
The humid forest of Andasibe is one of the most beautiful and the richest areas in terms of biodiversity. These forests are located at an altitude of 900-1,250 metres and trade winds blow permanently on its Eastern part. They also shelter many animals, this way ensuring their preservation.108 species of birds can be found in the park. In this region, there are 14 species of lemurs, 51 species of Boa reptiles, and 84 species of amphibians. In terms of flora, they are home to creepers and epiphytes such as orchids, mosses and ferns.
Overnight: Vokona Forest Lodge B, D
After breakfast we visit Mitsinjo Reserve for a 2 hour hike to see another shelter of lemurs, frogs, chameleons and more.
In the afternoon we head back to Antananarivo where, if time permits, we will enjoy a special visit of Father Pedro's Project, NGO and orphanage. The Akamasoa Project (which means “good friends”) lies 10 miles outside Tana. The objective here is to restore human dignity to the poorest of the poor street people through paid work. Father Pedro built this compound 19 years ago and has assisted 320,000 in people in distress including 10,000 children. They've built thousands of brick home, many clinics and schools. It's an interesting 2 hour visit to see how they provide salaries for 3,100 people now in granite quarries, carpentry, cleaning, crafts and more. (Please bring school supplies)
Enjoy a Group Dinner at Café de la Gare
Overnight: Palissandre Hotel & Spa B, L, D
This morning, transfer to airport for 1.5 hour flight on Air Madagascar to Nosy.
Nosy Be is a large island in an archipelago that lies 10 miles off the north coast of Mada. Here you'll discover a little paradise, which has been spared of mass tourism. See verdant mountains, jagged coasts, turquoise bays, deserted beaches and crystal clear waters. The underwater world is amazing and offers excellent opportunities for snorkeling and diving. Nosy Be is called "The Scented Island" for its vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa and many other spices. Lunch will be provided.
Check into the fabulous Vanilla Resort, a first class property set on a private beach of endless white sand. It has a large Malagasy Spa, 2 pools, 4 bars, 2 restaurants with fresh cuisines and exotic buffets, evening entertainment, WIFI and a tour desk.
Overnight: Vanilla Hotel B,L,D
Enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet, before we set out in boats for an extraordinary day dedicated to the amazing marine life found here. It begins in Nosy Tanikely, a neighboring small island, a protected marine reserve. It offers superb snorkeling in warm water with incredible visibility. Among the colorful soft and hard corals, you may see lobsters, eels, turtles, barracuda, manta rays, sea urchins, anemones, starfish and other rare reef fish. A seafood picnic is prepared here.
We then sail on to Nosy Sakatia, a well preserved island. On one of its beaches, green and hawksbill turtles come to feed with a specific type of sea grass called "turtle herbs." We will be led by a diving instructor and a specialized guide. Time for fabulous snorkeling.
Overnight: Vanila Hotel B, L, D
After breakfast, check out of Vanilla hotel and transfer to the airport for your flight to Tana. MD321 1145AM-120PM
We assume afternoon departure with morning at leisure. Fly to Tana. Activities will be suggested. Dinner at Kudeta Restaurant.
Overnight at Carlton Hoel B, D http://www.carlton-madagascar.com/
It is the only 5-star hotel in Madagascar that complies with International Quality Standards and has been a 2015-version ISO 9001 certified hotel since September 2016. Carlton is in collaboration with the Pasteur Institute which carries out Systematic Sampling and Analyses of our food circuit as well as the water of our swimming pool.
Day at leisure to explore. I recommend Lemur Park. This private park works to protect lemurs. There are now 9 species here from all parts of the country in a botanical park with 70 species of native plants. Enjoy a guided tour with caretakers who can answer all your questions on lemurs. You'll delight to see them emerge from majestic bamboo. Each lemur has its own territory. Legendary Julius still dances for visitors. Observing these creatures in the wild is becoming increasing rare due to deforestation.
Overnight: Carlton Hotel B
Free morning at leisure. Transfer to airport for flight back to USA.
2. I have no trouble walking and if necessary, can walk for 3+ miles. Uneven surfaces are not a problem. I do not need a cane or walking device.
A $500 deposit will secure your reservation. Limited to ONLY 22 participants.
Detailed Trip Tips later.
Land Cost: $1695 + $562 Domestic Flights
Includes first class accommodation, daily guided tours with entrance fees, licensed English speaking guides, private coach, AFS GTL.
Air: Arrange your own air. We will provide help.
No group air due to small group size. Trip Tips explains in detail.
Not included: Gratuities, internal air or international air.
This 'option' is a required additional charge for this trip.
Please review AFS Terms and Conditions as well as Heading Abroad with AFS. Group air - Airlines may add surcharges to offset fuel inflation or taxes. The total ticket cost is not final until we receive your final payment and are ticketed. If doing own air, airport transfer may or may not be included depending on your air schedule. Do not buy air until we either group air is set or we advise - dates can change! Itineraries are prepared often a year in advance. Though not likely, AFS and our suppliers reserve the right to change or modify such to meet local conditions. Although rare, hotels can change – all hotel rooms are run of the house. Our prices are based on current taxation structures. In case any revision in taxes, sudden fluctuation in currency levels, change in Visa fees or increase in fuel charges, we will amend our prices and inform you accordingly. Land price is based on minimum number of trip participants.