This diverse and interesting Madagascar itinerary will take you into the beautiful rainforests of Andasibe-Mantadia, to the banks of the Mandrare River where you may experience wonderful wildlife and cultural experiences, and to the jungle and ocean activities at Manafiafy. This customizable sample schedule can be modified to fit your preferences and needs.
Day 1: Arrival in Antananarivo
Private, English-speaking guides will be waiting to take you from Ivato Airport in Antananarivo to your hotel in the city’s upscale uptown district. Locals refer to it as “Tana,” and its traditional architecture and heavy Indonesian influence make it stand out from the rest of Madagascar.
Day 2: Transfer to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
After breakfast, your guide will take you on a four-hour trip to Andasibe, an absolutely breathtaking rainforest park located to the east of the city. Mantadia National Park and the adjacent Perinet Special Reserve make up the park. The largest extant species of lemur, the Indri, can be found only in Perinet.
Rice fields, redbrick homes, and roadside vendors selling seasonal fruits and vegetables welcome first-time tourists to Madagascar on the trek to Andasibe. After lunch, you can travel to Lemur Island, a private reserve run by Vakona Lodge that is home to a number of tamed lemurs. The bamboo lemur, the black-and-white ruffed lemur, the brown lemur, and the diademed sifaka are the four species that can be observed.
Day 3: Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
After eating breakfast, you and your group will pack a picnic lunch and drive the 1.5 hours to Mantadia National Park. In this beautiful park, you may see a variety of lemurs, such as indri, diademed sifaka, grey bamboo lemur, red-bellied lemur, and white-ruffed lemur. The routes may be little more challenging, but the taller, wilder, less populated forest more than makes up for it. Numerous species of birds can be found here, such as the scaly ground roller, the pitta-like ground roller, and the breasted coua. Spending an entire day at the park is necessary to do Mantadia justice. To a naturalist, this area is like finding a treasure chest full with rare mammals, reptiles, and birds. Have lunch at the base of the Rianasoa Waterfall before making the return trek to your vehicle and the lodge. In the evening, you and your guide can go on another nighttime stroll if you so desire.
Day 4: Air Transfer to Fort Dauphin
The journey to Fort Dauphin begins today with a transfer to Ivato Airport. When you arrive in Fort Dauphin, a guide and vehicle from Mandrare River Camp will be there to take you to a fantastic local eatery. The four-hour trip to Mandrare River Camp follows an early lunch. When you get to camp, put up your tent and take in the breathtaking scenery of the Mandrare River. Get going on your nighttime stroll through the Zenavo Forest at around 5 o’clock. This is a great method to witness the nocturnal lemurs awakening and the daytime lemurs retiring in the creepy and ancient Spiny Forest. You can see sifakas and white-footed sportive lemurs during the day, as well as sleeping birds, chameleons, owls, and other nocturnal animals.
Day 5: Mandrare River Camp
The beautiful sacred gallery forest is located to the south of the camp, and you will visit it after breakfast. You may get to this mostly deciduous forest by crossing the Mandrare River on foot or by boat, depending on the water level. Highlights include groups of inquisitive ring-tailed lemurs and the ever-entertaining Verreaux sifaka. After lunch, head back to camp to unwind by the pool. The indigenous Antandroy tribe’s ancestral tombs can be found in the sacred spiny forest, which is also home to an incredible variety of flora and fauna. The best time to visit is late in the afternoon. You’ll learn about Antandroy traditions via your personal guide and a community tracker. Sundowners on the banks of the Mandrare River conclude your visit.
Day 6: Transfer to Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge
After breakfast, you’ll return to Fort Dauphin, where a guide from Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge will be waiting to show you to one of the town’s many lovely restaurants. Drive the remaining 2.5 hours to the Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge in the early afternoon. Sainte Luce, or Manafiafy, is a stunningly gorgeous sandy bay surrounded by verdant mountains and teeming mangroves. After settling into your posh bungalow, set out for a stroll around the Coastal Rainforest at 4:30 o’clock.
Visit the southernmost section of Madagascar’s coastal rainforest to look for lemurs, geckos, chameleons, and other reptiles. More than half of the bird species in this area are endemic. Nighttime lemurs, the Madagascar scops owl, satanic leaf-tailed geckos, and other expert chameleons await your observation.
Day 7: Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge and End of Tour
After a hearty breakfast of fresh fruit, pain au chocolat, breads, cereals, and eggs, you can meet some of your Antanosy neighbors at the Stitch Project or the local woodworking business. Azafady, a non-governmental organization, founded Stitch to give local women access to job training in embroidery, English, and business. The women of Madagascar have a long history of using their embroidery skills to create exquisite handbags, belts, and other accessories.
After a delicious three-course meal and a little break, you and your traveling companions will travel to the adjacent mangrove network at 4:00 p.m. to engage in some birdwatching and photography. This 40-kilometer network from Manafiafy to Fort Dauphin is ideal for botanists, landscape photographers, and adventurers due to its proximity to the breathtaking Anosy Mountain Range. You will be motorboating through the mangroves today. The Malachite Kingfisher, Pygmy Kingfisher, Harrier Hawk, Crested Ibis, and Blue Coua are all endemic to Madagascar.
You will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Antananarivo with Air Madagascar after a quick dinner and a short (2.5-hour) drive back to Fort Dauphin. Your own guide will be waiting for you at the airport and will take you directly to your hotel.