12-day Madagascar rainforest and island tour

Day 1 International outbound flight

Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Antananarivo.

Day 2 Antananarivo

On arrival at Antananarivo's Ivato Airport, you're met by your private driver and driven to your hotel. Depending on traffic and the location of your hotel, this can take up to an hour and a half. You have the rest of the day to relax at your lodgings or, depending on your time of arrival, explore the city's historic old town and vibrant markets with a guide.

Day 3 Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

This morning your driver-guide drives you for around four hours through the Malagasy countryside to Andasibe National Park on the edge of the rainforest. A great option during your stay here is to take an evening guided walk, watching out for nocturnal animals such as tiny mouse lemurs and greater dwarf lemurs, whose eyes can be seen illuminated by your guide's flashlight.

Day 4 Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

You have all day to explore the rainforest on foot with your private guide, searching for the various lemur species found in the area. This includes indri, the largest species of lemur, which have a very distinctive, haunting cry that you can sometimes hear as you hike through the forest. You may also see grey bamboo, brown and woolly lemurs amongst the vegetation, as well as numerous reptile species such as the nose-horned chameleon, and vivid bird species like blue and red-fronted coucals.

Day 5 Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

Today you're driven for around 45 minutes into Mantadia National Park, whose beautiful, untouched forest provides a home for even more lemur species, including diademed sifakas, black and white ruffed lemurs and the elusive aye-aye, which is notoriously difficult to spot and only comes out at night. Make sure you wear good walking shoes as the hiking trails here can be a little more difficult.

Day 6 Antananarivo

This morning you might like to head to Lemur Island, where you can get up close to a number of habituated lemur species, including ringtail and indri. While the lemurs here aren't wild, a visit gives you a wonderful opportunity to see these incredible animals at close quarters. In the afternoon, take the four-hour drive back to Antananarivo. You can explore more of the city with your driver-guide or relax at your hotel.

Day 7 Ile Sainte Marie

Your private driver collects you from your hotel this morning to take you back to Ivato Airport - a journey of up to an hour and a half, depending on traffic. From here, you take the hour-long flight over to Île Sainte-Marie. Depending on the weather, you may reach your hotel by traditional zebu cart, which takes around 15 minutes, or takes a five to ten-minute journey in a 4x4. On arrival, spend the rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing at your lodge amongst idyllic surroundings. You could head to the beach, do a spot of snorkeling or simply unwind with a cocktail.

Day 8 Ile Sainte Marie

Today you can take your time exploring this sleepy island. We recommend hiring a bicycle to get around, stopping at some of the island's small villages, cafes, and beaches. The beaches themselves are often deserted, and you may see fisherman paddling offshore in wooden pirogues. We can arrange for you to take a pirogue trip to the island's pirate cemetery, where you can see the graves of dozens of pirates who used the island as a base during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Day 9 Ile Sainte Marie

Enjoy another day at leisure on the island. Snorkeling and diving are excellent here, with coral reefs providing a habitat for damselfish, whale sharks, eagle rays, tuna and many other marine species. The waters are calm and clear, with visibility of between 10m and 30m (33ft and 98ft) all year round. There are several PADI dive establishments and we can arrange this for you.

Day 10 Ile Sainte Marie

You have another day to spend exploring and relaxing on Île Sainte-Marie. If you're visiting during the whale season, you have the opportunity to see humpback whales, who migrate to Madagascar's shores to have their young. You can often see them from the beach, or you may wish to go out with a research boat for the day in order to get a closer look and learn more about them.

Day 11 Ile Sainte Marie

On your last day on Île Sainte-Marie, you could explore the tiny capital, Ambodifotatra. This is the hub of island life, with a bank, some shops, and a small harbor. It's a pleasant place to walk around and take in island life, visiting the local market, the Catholic Cathedral and some of the cafes that line the streets.

Day 12 International return flight

Arrive home today to complete your journey.

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