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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.

12-Day Madagascar off the Beaten Track

12-Day Madagascar off the Beaten Track

$20,495 to $23,787 pp (USD)

Madagascar: Private tour Mid-range Lodge & Tented Camp

You Visit: Antananarivo (Start) , Bemaraha NP, Morondava (Town) , Isalo NP, Ifotaka Forest, Andasibe-Mantadia NP, Antananarivo (End)

Tour operator has an office in United States

4.9 /5  –  149 Reviews

5-Day Andasibe Luxury Tour

5-Day Andasibe Luxury Tour

$1,710 pp (USD)

Madagascar: Private tour Mid-range Lodge & Hotel

You Visit: Antananarivo (Start) , Andasibe-Mantadia NP, Antananarivo (End)

Malagasya Travel   Tour operator has an office in Madagascar

4.8 /5  –  13 Reviews

24-Day Tsingy - Baobab - Andasibe - Ranomafana - Nosy Be

24-Day Tsingy - Baobab - Andasibe - Ranomafana - Nosy Be

$3,996 pp (USD)

Madagascar: Shared tour (max 60 people per vehicle) Mid-range Hotel & Bungalow

You Visit: Antananarivo (Start) , Antsirabe (City) , Morondava (Town) , Kirindy Forest, Bekopaka (Town) , Bemaraha NP, Ranomafana NP, Andasibe-Mantadia NP, Palmarium Reserve, Nosy Be, Nosy Komba, Nosy Iranja, Ivato Airport (Antananarivo) , Antananarivo (End)

Soul Of Madagascar Tours   Tour operator has an office in Madagascar

5.0 /5  –  14 Reviews

12-Day Madagascar 1000 Views Tour

12-Day Madagascar 1000 Views Tour

$3,135 pp (USD)

Madagascar: Private tour Budget Lodge & Hotel

You Visit: Antananarivo (Start) , Andasibe-Mantadia NP, Andasibe-Mantadia NP, Antsirabe (City) , Ranomafana NP, Isalo NP, Isalo NP, Ifaty (Town & Beach) , Antananarivo (End)

Safari With Us

5.0 /5  –  219 Reviews

madagascar safari and beach holiday

7-Day Nature and Little Paradise

$994 pp (USD)

Madagascar: Shared tour (max 15 people per vehicle) Mid-range Guest House & Hotel

You Visit: Antananarivo (Start) , Andasibe-Mantadia NP, Palmarium Reserve, Antananarivo (End)

Go Travel Madagascar   Tour operator has an office in Madagascar

5.0 /5  –  1 Reviews

madagascar safari and beach holiday

8-Day Nosy Be Beach

$3,127 pp (USD)

Madagascar: Private tour Luxury Lodge

You Visit: Nosy Be (Start) , Nosy Komba, Nosy Be (End)

Jenman African Safaris

4.9 /5  –  17 Reviews

madagascar safari and beach holiday

9-Day Unique Adventure Trip from Antananarivo to Tulear

$1,786 pp (USD)

Madagascar: Private tour Mid-range Lodge & Resort

You Visit: Antananarivo (Start) , Antsirabe (City) , Ranohira (Town) , Toliara (City) , Anakao (Town & Beach) , Isalo NP, Antananarivo (End)

Explorer MDG

Not yet rated

madagascar safari and beach holiday

6-Day Time + Tide Miavana

$4,070 pp (USD)

Madagascar: Private tour Luxury+ Resort

You Visit: Antsiranana (Start) , Nosy Ankao, Antsiranana (End)

East Cape Tours

5.0 /5  –  61 Reviews

madagascar safari and beach holiday

6-Day Madagascar Adventure & Beach Honeymoon

$4,950 to $5,966 pp (USD)

Madagascar: Private tour Luxury Resort & Guest House

You Visit: Antananarivo (Start) , Anjajavy Reserve, Antananarivo (End)

madagascar safari and beach holiday

4-Day Leisure Time in Nosy Be

$624 pp (USD)

Madagascar: Private tour Mid-range Hotel

madagascar safari and beach holiday

18-Day Best of Madagascar Tour

$2,880 pp (USD)

Madagascar: Shared tour (max 60 people per vehicle) Mid-range Lodge & Hotel

You Visit: Antananarivo (Start) , Antsirabe (City) , Morondava (Town) , Bekopaka (Town) , Bemaraha NP, Belo sur Mer (Town & Beach) , Morombe (Town) , Salary Bay (Beach) , Ifaty (Town & Beach) , Ranohira (Town) , Isalo NP, Ranomafana NP, Ivato Airport (Antananarivo) , Antananarivo (End)

madagascar safari and beach holiday

4-Day Diego and Montagne Ultimate Experience

$803 pp (USD)

You Visit: Antsiranana (Start) , Amber Mountain NP, Antsiranana (End)

madagascar safari and beach holiday

8-Day Trekking - in the Ridges and Canyons of Isalo

$1,149 pp (USD)

Madagascar: Private tour Budget Camping & Guest House

You Visit: Antananarivo (Start) , Antsirabe (City) , Fianarantsoa (City) , Ranohira (Town) , Isalo NP, Ambositra (City) , Antananarivo (End)

madagascar safari and beach holiday

8-Day Trip from Antananarivo to Morondava & Tsingy

$1,667 to $1,905 pp (USD)

You Visit: Antananarivo (Start) , Miandrivazo (Town) , Morondava (Town) , Allee Des Baobabs (Highlight) , Bemaraha NP, Antsirabe (City) , Ampefy (Village) , Antananarivo (End)

madagascar safari and beach holiday

11-Day Madagascar Family Adventure Tour

$7,618 to $8,380 pp (USD)

You Visit: Antananarivo (Start) , Andasibe-Mantadia NP, Morondava (Town) , Kirindy Forest, Anjajavy Reserve, Antananarivo (End)

15-Day Adventure and Beach

$2,670 pp (USD)

Madagascar: Shared tour (max 20 people per vehicle) Mid-range Lodge & Hotel

You Visit: Antananarivo (Start) , Ankafobe Reserve, Antsirabe (City) , Fianarantsoa (City) , Isalo NP, Ambalavao (City) , Nosy Be, Antananarivo (End)

madagascar safari and beach holiday

13-Day Tsingy De Bemaraha - Baobab Alley - Nosy Be

$2,891 pp (USD)

Madagascar: Shared tour (max 60 people per vehicle) Mid-range Hotel

You Visit: Antananarivo (Start) , Antsirabe (City) , Morondava (Town) , Bekopaka (Town) , Bemaraha NP, Allee Des Baobabs (Highlight) , Nosy Be, Nosy Komba, Nosy Iranja, Antananarivo (End)

madagascar safari and beach holiday

10-Day Beach and Lemur Explorer

$5,400 pp (USD)

You Visit: Nosy Be (Start) , Mitsinjo Forest, Perinet SR, Antananarivo (City) , Ifotaka Forest, Antananarivo (End)

madagascar safari and beach holiday

10-Day Trekking - High Peak of Andringitra

$1,512 pp (USD)

Madagascar: Private tour Budget Camping & Lodge

You Visit: Antananarivo (Start) , Ambositra (City) , Ambalavao (City) , Andringitra NP, Antsirabe (City) , Antananarivo (End)

madagascar safari and beach holiday

17-Day Highlights of Madagascar

$11,297 to $12,985 pp (USD)

You Visit: Antananarivo (Start) , Andasibe-Mantadia NP, Isalo NP, Toliara (City) , Ifotaka Forest, Nosy Komba, Antananarivo (End)

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6 Questions About Madagascar Tours

Ariadne van Zandbergen

Answered by

Ariadne van zandbergen.

madagascar safari and beach holiday

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.”

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 choice of guided activities on this tour. There’s lemur watching, night walks, cultural tours, whale watching, kayaking and much more.”

How long do I need in Madagascar?

“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 4-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.”

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, February and March 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.”

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 longer 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.”

How much will this tour 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.”

Madagascar Holiday Reviews

madagascar safari and beach holiday

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

Madagascar: land of lemurs

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

madagascar safari and beach holiday

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

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...

United States

Wonderful Wildlife!

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...


Great place for close ecounters with wildlife

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...


The smile island

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.


Madagascar : country of landscape and light !

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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Nws St Madagascar Ringtail Lemur

Madagascar Safari Holidays

Madagascar is a destination like no other and has even been named the ‘8th continent’ for its enchanting beauty and resplendent breadth of diversity. The only place in the world where you can see lemurs in the wild, Madagascar is home to a unique plethora of endemic wildlife. Boggle-eyed chameleons, dancing lemurs, and leaf-tailed geckos are just the start.

The Madagascar Safari Experience

  • This is no traditional African safari, swap the 4x4 with exploring on foot to allow for getting up close and personal with wildlife.
  • From the tiny egg-cup sized mouse lemur to the morning calls of the teddy bear-esque Indri, a safari to Madagascar offers something truly unique for the wildlife lover.
  • The East Coast is a hot spot for some world class whale sightings as humpback whales migrate through this eastern oceanic corridor, even using it for calving.
  • Visit the Avenue of Baobabs for an incredible photography location.
  • Discover the unique landscapes that Madagascar has to offer by hiking through the hot southern deserts and dramatic rock formations of Isalo.
  • From private islands to luxury retreats, there are many options available if you want to wind down at the end of your safari by the beach.

Why Natural World Safaris?

Our Founder & CEO, Will Bolsover, spent many years guiding in Madagascar, while several other members of the team have also now spent extended periods of time in the depths of the country. We have an in-depth knowledge and passion for this fantastic country, having several contacts and personal friends in-country who we can rely on day in day out. Our focus is wildlife, including up-close and personal encounters.

Madagascar Safaris

MAD Sl Madagascar Crowned Lemur Black Lemur Hybrid Credit Shannon Wild

Short Madagascar Safari

In this safari you can experience a vast amount of wildlife in a short amount of time. Head into Andasibe National Park and Mantadia Reserve to offer you a truly unique insight into the initial fauna and flora of Madagascar.


Madagascar Small Group Safari

A fantastic small group safari to Madagascar that gives you the opportunity to explore a number of destinations, in the company of just seven others.

Miavana Piazza

Luxury Madagascar Safari

This exhilarating adventure through some of Madagascar’s most biodiverse regions showcases the best of its wildlife and natural splendour. Lacking in the big game and fierce predators of its African relatives, Madagascar offers a unique and ‘hands on’ experience for your safari. A range of weird and wonderful insects and reptiles can be discovered and closely inspected, and the instant appeal of cuddly lemurs is magnetic for many travellers.

View All Madagascar Safaris


Talk to an Africa Destination Specialist

How much does madagascar cost.

A Madagascar holiday is still very good value for money, especially when you compare it to mainland Africa. For a 7-day safari in Madagascar, we recommend a starting price of £6,250 per person. If you are looking to stay in some of Madagascar’s most iconic and best loved lodges, you’ll need to increase the budget to £44,000 per person including private light aircraft and helicopter flights, intimate lemur encounters and private guides.

When to go on a Madagascar Safari?

The best time to visit Madagascar is from April to October. This dry season brings fewer rain showers, meaning optimal conditions for seeking out wildlife, hiking and enjoying the beach. Whilst Madagascar holidays can be enjoyed year-round, the principal wet season is from late December through to the month of March; often involving cyclones and is probably best avoided!  Read more about when to go.

Where to stay in Madagascar

From remote camping in undiscovered parks, to luxury beach hideaways and jungle lodges, Madagascar now has a great selection of truly diverse places to stay. If you are looking for primary rainforest, tropical coastlines, and truly wild lemurs, then look no further than Masoala Forest Lodge. A family run property owned by Pierre and Maria every guest is made to feel at home in thatched tented bandas overlooking the beach. For a luxury beach retreat, escape to the private island destination of Miavana with stunning villas and ocean views.  Read more about where to stay in Madagascar.

Luxury Lodges in Madagascar

Our top 10 places to stay in madagascar.

Kayaking The Coast Of Tampolo

Madagascar Honeymoons

Madagascar is situated in the Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of Africa and is a fantastic destination for a honeymoon for adventurous couples looking for something a little different. From the weird and wonderful endemic wildlife to a stunning coastline and tiny islands, there is plenty to see and explore.

Russ Maclaughlin Madagascar Lemur Ringtail

Ringtail Lemur Baby Encounters

Nature's Great Events

Trekking the arid lands of southern Madagascar, working your way around dry forest and bush, and past bizarre sandstone formations; you spot what you are looking for - arguably the most captivating and iconic of all the lemurs in Madagascar, the ringtail.

What to expect from a trip to Madagascar

MAD Madagascar Baby Ring Tailed Lemur Mlorenz

This trip was so meticulously designed and was perfect for a solo female traveler like myself - thank you so much! My guide, Tojo, and our driver were simply superb! They ensured that I got to see and do every single thing I wanted to.

Everything that was shown to me and described to me before the trip was exactly as it played out and I can humbly say that this trip exceeded my expectations. The guide we had was fantastic. He was not only knowledgeable with answers for every question and concern but his passion, pride, and love for his home was quite evident which made it easy to learn about Madagascar regarding the wildlife, the cities, the countryside, the people and everything else in between. Thank you for this experience and a special thanks to Toky, our guide who made this trip very special and to be quite honest, the best trip I have been fortunate to enjoy.

David was excellent and was very professional and courteous to communicate with. My trip to Madagascar was wonderful and easily a 10/10 experience. I enjoyed the landscapes and wildlife and our guide Toky went above and beyond to make sure we had a great trip - he even included extra night walks that weren't included in the itinerary. NWS is clearly committed to delivering quality trips with excellent guides and accommodations to beautiful destinations in the world.

We saw so many lemurs as mentioned in the itinerary and lots of other wildlife including chameleons! The tour was very well organised and we were treated with great accommodation. We felt safe and sure we were getting the best experience available in each location.

All in all, this was a great safari - highly recommended! Everyone we interacted with from NWS was friendly and helpful. This tour was reasonably priced for the high quality of its guides, accommodations, and local tours. The small group safari was the perfect size (for mobility, to encourage interaction, and to ensure that everyone got good looks at sometimes skittish wildlife). The NWS app was very helpful, and I referred to it frequently before and during the tour to check the itinerary, weather, map, etc.

We loved this trip and Masoala with incredible wildlife sightings. Our guide, Felix, was amazing. We had no idea the food would be so excellent at the lodge. The evening campfire, while a small detail, was a very nice touch and helped form relationships among guests and staff.

Madagascar is a fascinating but very difficult place to travel to. NWS worked with me to put together a really interesting itinerary. Lodges ranged from good to superb. Local guides were excellent. Tough place to travel. Glad I had their help.

Simply amazed. We had unrealistic expectations for this "adventure" but they were nevertheless exceeded. In almost every instance where it could have gone went NORTH! All in my travel group were impressed by the superior service and experiences that were a direct result of our NWS itinerary. This experience set the bar. We don't know how any other service could exceed it for the things we like to do.

David was excellent in crafting a short safari that met the special requirements of our group, giving us a wonderful variety of wildlife experiences in eastern Madagascar. NWS were appropriately realistic in describing the resource challenges in the country, but nonetheless we enjoyed very comfortable accommodations, very good food and superb local guides throughout the week. Great service from NWS HQ and the high-quality local partners who provide the experiences.

Madagascar Safari Holidays FAQs

Can i drink tap water in madagascar.

No, we recommend that you always drink bottled, boiled or treated water during your time in Madagascar. You can buy purification tablets or iodine to treat water during your travels, and vitamin C tablets are good for hiding the taste. If you are buying bottled water, ensure the bottle is sealed when it is handed to you. Always ensure that any ice in drinks is purified or made from bottled water rather than tap.

Which languages are spoken in Madagascar?

The official first language of Madagascar is Malagasy, and the official business language is French. Your guides and some hospitality staff in hotels and lodges will speak English but speaking some basic French could come in handy.

What money should I take?

The local currency in Madagascar is Malagasy Ariary, although most major currencies are accepted. US Dollars and Euros are usually the preferred currency. There are not very many opportunities to change money in Madagascar, so when you arrive at the airport (or before you depart) try to change enough to last you at least a week. Credit card use is very limited throughout Madagascar (the most widely accepted is Visa), but very useful as a back up.

What is the food like in Madagascar?

Malagasy food is heavily rice based, influenced by the many cultures of Madagascar, including Indonesian and European. The closer to the coast you are, the better the seafood. In Antananarivo, as with many big cities, there is a huge variety in international restaurants and cuisine.

For those who eat meat, there are lots of pork, beef and fish dishes, including a traditional dish made from pork and cassava leaves. Vegetarian and vegan options can be quite limited - often there will be a choice of omelettes or spaghetti and sometimes there will be some sautéed vegetables on offer with rice and noodles. Let us know your dietary requirements in advance and we will do our best to arrange something for you in destination.

Is Madagascar safe?

Madagascar is one of the safest and friendliest countries we have travelled to. The locals, staff and guides are all welcoming and friendly, happy to answer your questions and keen to talk. Remember that Madagascar is a very poor country and there are some cases of petty theft in the capital, so make sure you don’t walk around flaunting jewellery or money. You must ensure, as with travelling in any destination, that you look after you belongings, keep money in separate places in case of loss or theft and ensure you’re not out alone at night. In regards to the wildlife, there are very few animals that pose a threat to humans. Listen to your guides, you will remain in safe hands.

Do I need a visa to go to Madagascar?

At present, tourist visas are required by all nationalities entering Madagascar. These can be gained upon arrival in Antananarivo, however we do recommend you look into obtaining it in advance. Visas for Madagascar are approximately EUR35 per person, to be organised on arrival at the airport, but things change regularly so contact your local Embassy for more details. Obtaining the correct visa is your responsibility.

Embassy Contact Details

  • The closest Malagasy Embassy to the UK is located in Paris: 4, avenue Raphael, 75016, Paris. Tel: +33 145 046 211, [email protected] ,
  • In the USA the Malagasy Embassy is located at 2374 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington DC, 20008 Tel: +1 202 265 5525, [email protected]


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  • Madagascar Holiday

The ultimate guide to your next Madagascar Holiday

Get to know madagascar.

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By Andre Van Kets

Co-founder, Discover Africa

The world’s fourth largest island, Madagascar, is situated just off the east coast of Africa and is home to a wealth of unique flora and fauna. Madagascar’s tropical climate, sun-kissed beaches, friendly locals, and diversity of wildlife and flora make it a must-see beach destination for travelers and wildlife enthusiasts alike .

Few countries on the planet can match Madagascar’s biodiversity – over 70% of the 250,000 wildlife species on the island are found nowhere else in the world. At the same time, it’s estimated that 90% of the plant life on the island is also native to the country.

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Why Madagascar?

  • Spectacular whale watching on a Madagascar holiday
  • Madagascar Island is home to one of the biggest baobabs ever
  • Stunning world heritage site – Bemaraha Tsingy National Park
  • Madagascar has a fascinating culture and history

Where to go in Madagascar

  • Antsiranana (Diego Suarez)
  • Fianarantsoa
  • Nosy Boraha (Îl Sainte-Marie)
  • Taolagnaro (Fort Dauphin)
  • Toamasina (Tamatave)
  • Toliara (Tulear)

Once coveted by French and British military powers for its strategic importance, the northern port town of Antsiranana has grown into an eclectic Madagascar holiday destination with a diverse mix of architecture and cultural influences that include Creole, Indian, Colonial, and Arab.

In the middle of the harbor, a small island (nicknamed ‘the sugarcube’) rises out of the water, and the region is ringed by a lush hillscape that’s as dramatic to look at as it is to explore.

There’s a wide variety of accommodation available, from budget backpackers to upmarket beach lodges. With its secluded beaches, bustling nightlife, and extensive adventure activities such as surfing, kitesurfing, and trail running, Antsiranana offers something for everyone.

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Hike French Mountain (Montagne des Francias)

For some of the best views of the turquoise bay and colourful town, it’s worth taking the four-hour hike up to the top of French Mountain on your Madagascar holiday.

The trail is well-maintained and set inside a protected area home to lemurs and baobabs. On clear days you can see the island of Nosy Lonjo from the summit.

Go Surfing or Kitesurfing

There are several fantastic bays around the east coast of Antsiranana, and the conditions in Madagascar’s north are perfect for surfing and kitesurfing.

Sakalava Bay and Andovokonko Bay are two notable examples that have increased in popularity over the past few years. New lodges and surfer-friendly facilities have started to garner attention from the international surfing community.

Visit Amber Mountain National Park (Montagne D’Ambre)

This park is home to some of the most pristine montane rainforests in the world. When dry, its beautiful peaks (massifs) can be reached by road, and in general, it’s one of Madagascar’s most accessible parks.

It’s a great place to get close to the enormous ferns, ancient cycads, chameleons, and lemurs that are endemic to the island.

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Spend the Night in Ankarana National Park

This unusual park is also home to more than 100km (62mi) of underground caves that wind their way beneath the limestone tsingy (rock pinnacles shaped by the wind).

Many have their own small ecosystems, and some feature underground lakes containing cave-dwelling crocodiles.

The best way to experience this park is to book a few nights at one of the upmarket lodges on its outskirts, as most include transfers via 4×4 from Antsiranana.

Practical information

  • Antsiranana is well connected by air, with weekly flights from Nosy Be and daily flights from Antananarivo. There are also a few direct flights from a handful of international destinations.
  • While the weather here is similar to Madagascar’s eastern zone, the region has its own microclimate, and conditions tend to change quickly.
  • Taxis are a good way to get around town, but get an estimate of the price before you set out, as unscrupulous drivers sometimes overcharge.

About 400km (249mi) south of Antananarivo is Fianarantsoa, considered the cultural capital of Madagascar. Split into an upper and lower town, Fianarantsoa has a captivating historical charm.

The upper, referred to as the ‘old town’, is perched on a hill with the Antranobiriky Church at its center, and there’s a good mix of midrange and budget accommodation to be found.

However, the surrounding areas are the biggest drawcard for visitors. A blend of undulating valleys and exotic plantations offers holidaymakers something quite different from the rest of the country.

Fianar, as it’s affectionately known, is also the gateway to the eastern rainforests and is best suited to adventurous travelers who don’t mind long travel times or those happy to hire a vehicle and driver.

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Explore Ranomafana National Park

Madagascar’s rainforests are a naturalist’s nirvana. Ranomafana is the best park in Madagascar to experience its wild mix of ancient forests and curious wildlife (new species are being discovered yearly).

There are a variety of well-marked trails inside the park, and guides are particularly adept at finding lemurs.

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Ride the Fianarantsoa-Cote Est Railway

This 163km (101mi) long railway line is built from rails taken from Germany after WW1.

It runs between Fianaro and Manakara on the east coast, a full-day trip that departs on Tuesdays and Saturdays, with the return journey from Manakara on Wednesdays and Sundays.

You’ll cross a total of 67 bridges and go through 48 tunnels – one tunnel is over a kilometer long.

About 56km southwest of Fianar is the remarkable highland town of Ambalavao with its distinct architecture of carved balconies and steep red-tiled roofs.

It’s also home to the world-famous Antiamoro Paper Factory, which manufactures a papyrus-type paper infused with dried flowers.

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Practical Information

  • There’s an airport in Fianarantsoa, but no regularly scheduled flights. Getting there takes about seven or eight hours by road from Antananarivo and you’ll need to hire a vehicle with driver or use a taxi-brousse (local bus). As such, Fianar is generally a destination for the hardier traveller and usually done as part of a longer trip from Antananarivo down to the south coast.
  • You’ll need cash to pay for national park entry permits and the various other conservation fees along the way. Although not particularly expensive, it can get complicated with all the different permits involved, so be sure to get the latest details and prices before you set out.

Mahajanga is the largest commercial port town on Madagascar’s west coast and the hub of the country’s trade with East Africa. As one of the first points of contact between mainland Africa and Madagascar, it has a rich history and a wonderful mix of cultures colored by merchants and traders.

Set along the Bomboteka River delta, there’s lots to see outside of town. Most holidaymakers head north to explore the area’s natural highlights from one of several exclusive resorts along the coast.

The region is best known for its African baobabs (an introduced species), one of which plays a major role as a traffic island!

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Visit Cirque Rouge

About 12km (7.5mi) north of Mahajanga is a dramatic natural rock formation – a canyon of eroded sandstone with rock pinnacles rising like church spires.

Visitors to Madagascar can walk down to the bottom of the valley, where a river runs out towards the sea. It’s best visited in the late afternoon when the formations seem to glow in the soft, warm light.

Take the ferry to Katsepy and the Antrema Reserve

Across the bay from Mahajanga is the small fishing village of Katsepy, and just beyond it, the Antrema Reserve, a magnificent mix of mangrove forests and lakes.

The ferry crossing from Mahajanga takes 45 minutes each way, and exploring the small fishing village and hiking one of the short park trails is a great way to spend a day.

Visit Ankarafantsika National Park

A delight for hikers, this national park is about three hours away from Mahajanga. It’s tourist friendly with well-marked and well-maintained trails and there are also boat tours of Lake Ravelobe available. It’s home to the rare Madagascan radiated tortoise, sifakas, mongoose lemurs and western woolly lemurs, and is the only place in the world where you might spot the golden-brown mongoose lemur.

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It’s home to the rare Madagascan radiated tortoise, sifakas, mongoose lemurs and western woolly lemurs, and is the only place in the world where you might spot the golden-brown mongoose lemur.

Explore the Town

Mahajanga is well known for its nightlife, and the town is abuzz once the sun goes down.

During the day, travelers who want to get familiar with Mahajanga’s history can take a self-guided walk (about 2.5 hours), following the 18 numbered plaques that link the major points of interest around town.

As a relatively busy port town, Mahajanga has good facilities, including clinics, ATMs, and shopping. There’s also good road access from Antananarivo, although it will still take you 10 hours in a private vehicle and significantly more on public transport.

Many lodges along the coast north of Mahajanga also offer direct fly-in packages from Antananarivo.

On Madagascar’s west coast, this ultra-relaxed seaside town was once a popular stopover for sailors trading with chiefs of the Sakalava Kingdom.

Today it’s the center of a large rice-growing region, and aside from its sandy streets and seaside bungalows, there’s not much to see or do. It’s beyond the town where the treasures lie.

More or less mirroring the distant Mozambique coastline, the landscape north and south of Morondava boasts remote beaches, deciduous forests, sprawling deltas, and waterways teeming with life.

Exploring the region’s excellent nature reserves is definitely for the more adventurous traveler. At the same time, those looking for a laid-back beach break will find a range of hotels and resorts along the beautiful boulevard that runs along the Nosy Kely Peninsula.

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Walk along Baobab Avenue

With trees up to 30 meters high, the baobabs along this famous ‘avenue’ in Madagascar are unique not only because of their size but also because this is one of the few places where they’re almost entirely unobstructed by surrounding forests.

This makes for spectacular photography holidays , with dawn and dusk the best times to capture their isolated silhouettes against a purpling sky.

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Take a 4×4 trip to Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park

Only accessible from May to November (and even then, only via a 10-hour 4×4 drive or chartered flight), this UNESCO World Heritage Site is fantastic for nature lovers.

With gigantic grey rock pinnacles (called tsingy) that appear to be balanced precariously on top of one another and careful walkways and suspension bridges that somehow link them together, it’s an otherworldly landscape.

Alien-like succulents, sifakas, crocodiles, and chameleons, complete the stunning picture, and there are six hiking trails of varying lengths that allow visitors to explore on foot.

You’ll find a wide range of accommodation, from basic camping to luxury lodges, at Bekopata, just a few kilometers from the park entrance.

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Visit Kirindy Reserve

Not to be confused with Kirindy-Mitia National Park, which lies directly to the south of Morondava, Kirindy Reserve is 65km (40mi) to the north and is one of Madagascar’s most recently established protected areas.

Despite its history as a logging zone, it’s home to significant concentrations of wildlife and plenty of reptiles, including collared iguanas and hognose snakes.

It’s also one of the best places in the country to spot fossa, a rather curious cat-mongoose that eats lemurs and lizards and is endemic to Madagascar.

This region of Madagascar is hot and dry, especially in summer. If you’re planning to hike, rock climb, or spend the day outdoors doing anything physical, start early and avoid the afternoon heat.

Traveling to the national parks and reserves in this area can be challenging, especially if you’re traveling alone or not staying at a lodge that offers transfers.

Tour operators generally charge per vehicle, with the onus on single travelers to negotiate between themselves to split the costs.

Nosy Be is a small island a few kilometers off the northwestern coast of Madagascar. It’s Madagascar’s quintessential beach-holiday destination , with a delightful climate almost year-round and white-sand beaches so pure they squeak.

Its coral reefs are colorful and prolific, and the tropical waters, warmed by the Agulhas Current, beckon you in. Inland, forested reserves and lush ridges are home to island birds, peculiar reptiles, and lemurs, making Nosy Be an unmissable destination for sun-seekers and nature lovers alike.

On its south coast, the small port town of Andoany (more commonly known by its former French name, Hell-Ville) connects Nosy Be to mainland Madagascar by ferry.

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It’s awash with bright colors, tuk-tuks, old colonial buildings, and busy markets selling fresh seafood and spices, and everywhere, the hypnotizing scent of ylang-ylang blossoms drifts through the air.

Go snorkeling or scuba diving: Nosy Be’s inshore waters are shallow and protected by colourful coral reefs, making this one of the safest swimming spots in Madagascar and the perfect destination for families on holiday.

Most hotels and seaside resorts provide gear and offer snorkeling excursions for all ages, while many also organize scuba-diving trips for more adventurous guests.

Marine highlights include hawksbill-, loggerhead- and green turtles, which swim through the underwater meadows and use beaches on the nearby archipelagos for nesting.

Reef visitors include clownfish, pufferfish, batfish, and butterflyfish, and lucky divers might spot dolphins, humpback whales, or even a whale shark at the right time of year.

Hire a Scooter

There’s something particularly exotic about exploring an island with the wind in your hair, and Nosy Be is the perfect place to do it.

A ring road circles the island, so getting lost is almost impossible. It also gives you the freedom to explore some of the lesser-visited bays, and for budget travelers, it’s much cheaper than paying for a taxi.

Visit the Markets

A visit to one of the markets in Hell-Ville is an incredibly entertaining excursion filled with just the right mix of chaos, exotic sights, smells, and sounds.

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It also gives you the opportunity to buy arts and crafts directly from local artists and support the local economy.

Charter a Boat

Get even closer to Nosy Be’s incredible marine life by hiring a live-aboard catamaran and spending several days exploring the nearby islands of Radamas and Mitsios.

Catamarans are available for groups or families with exclusive service (you won’t be sharing with strangers) and generally come with their own private chef.

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Whale-watching excursions can also be arranged, while deep-sea fishing is a year-round activity with kingfish, sailfish, wahoo, mackerel, and yellow-fin tuna on the bill.

Go Hiking in Lokobe National Park:

For landlubbers, Nosy Be’s Lokobe National Park offers a magical mix of island flora and fauna, which visitors can spot on one of three hiking trails.

These range from a leisurely one-hour forest meander to a more challenging three-hour route. There’s also the option to hire a pirogue (small dugout canoe) and explore the park’s shores from the water.

  • Nosy Be shares a microclimate with the north of Madagascar, largely dominated by the Tsaratanana Massif.
  • This gives it year-round sunshine, and daytime highs rarely dip below 20°C (68°F). It also means that rain can fall at any time of year, but the showers don’t usually last longer than a few hours. Unlike much of Madagascar, where accommodation prices are listed as ‘per room,’ the prices for accommodation on Nosy Be are generally quoted ‘per person.’ Keep this in mind when comparing quotes, and always ask before booking.
  • Most travelers arrive by air, on local flights from Antananarivo or Antsiranana or long-haul flights from hubs such as Johannesburg or Paris. These direct flights allow travelers to avoid the potential hassle of flying via the mainland, but as such, they are hugely popular and get booked up very far in advance.
  • Nosy Be is exceptionally safe, and the people are incredibly friendly and helpful, but it’s still best to avoid walking alone after dark or flashing valuables.

Nosy Boraha (formerly and still more commonly known as Îl Sainte-Marie) is a sliver of paradise off Madagascar’s northeast coast. A notorious pirate hideout in the late 17th century, it’s believed that this tropical islet once provided shelter for almost 1000 marauders.

They would shelter in its calm bays between escapades into the Indian Ocean, plundering vessels as they returned from the West Indies laden with riches, especially spices.

The remains of some of their pirate ships still lie just beneath the surface at Baie des Forban, a tantalizing prospect for divers and snorkelers.

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Nowadays, Nosy Boraha’s long, palm-shaded beaches, tropical rainforests, and selection of rustic-chic lodges and luxury hotels provide the perfect hideaway for holidaymakers looking for an even quieter island holiday in Madagascar, which can be found on Nosy Be.

Go Whale Watching

Nosy Boraha is the best place in Madagascar during whale season, which runs from July to September. As they make their way north (many to Antongil Bay on mainland Madagascar to calve), humpback whales filter through the eight-kilometer-wide channel.

Because of this, they generally drift pretty close to the shoreline, and spotting them can be as easy as sitting outside your hotel and glancing across the water. Boat tours can also be arranged if you’d like to get up close.

Explore the Town of Ambodifotatra

Nosy Boraha’s main hub is not much more than a long sandy road, but it’s an exciting mix of old French architecture and exotic goods.

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There’s a market on Tuesdays and Thursdays where you can buy fresh fruit, fish, cloves, coco rum, and handicrafts. Those willing to venture a little further can visit the pirate cemetery south of town – even one with the classic skull and crossbones on the headstone.

Go Snorkelling and Diving

The shallow waters and secluded bays around Nosy Boraha make it an excellent destination for snorkeling during your Mauritius Holiday.

The best spots are near Atafana and La Crique on the central western shores, where the mix of healthy coral reefs and shallow wrecks makes for an enchanting underwater experience.

Further out, black-coral reefs and expansive granite-bouldered seabed are the perfect environments for scuba divers to encounter grouper, grey sharks, stingrays, and barracuda.

There are also a handful of deeper wrecks for more experienced divers to explore.

Take a Pirogue (dugout canoe) to Île Aux Nattes:

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  • Nosy Boraha’s location is a double-edged sword. Its position off Madagascar’s more temperamental east coast has saved it from overdevelopment, but the weather can be unpleasant at certain times of the year (January to March).
  • Nosy Boraha has some exceptional hotels and lodges, and regular flights are scheduled from Antananarivo and Taomasina.
  • Be aware that these can get severely overbooked during the holiday season (July and August), so last-minute bookings are not advisable.
  • Swimming on Nosy Boraha should be done with caution – while there are several safe, shallow bays, Madagascar’s east coast is known for its strong currents, and much of the island is not protected by coral reefs.
  • When booking whale-watching tours, be sure to find a reputable operator that adheres to ethical whale-watching guidelines – some have been known to use unethical tactics to try and get visitors as close to the whales as possible.

At the southern end of Madagascar’s spectacular eastern rainforests, Taolagnaro (formerly and still commonly known as Fort Dauphin) has the charm and je ne sais quoi of a French port town turned holiday destination without any of the tourist trappings.

Situated on a thin outcrop peninsula, the little town is almost entirely circled by gorgeous beaches. Behind it, a hefty shoulder of mountains and classic Madagascan spiny forest give it a sense of complete isolation.

In fact, it’s more than just ‘a sense’ – this former French outpost has incredibly poor road access. Along its shores, pirogue boats bob in the ebbing tide, and locals move languidly between the clutches of colonial buildings and straw rondavel huts.

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Surfers wait for perfect breaks, and lobster nets are only checked now and again. Time comes to an almost complete stop here, which makes it the ideal beach destination for a holiday in Madagascar that feels like it could last a lifetime.

Hit the Beaches

Blessed with a seemingly endless coastline, Taolagnaro is home to some superb swimming beaches (Libanona Beach is considered the best), tidal pools, and even a handful of shallow reefs worth exploring.

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There are also a handful of world-famous surf spots that include sites for relative newbies, such as Ankoba Beach, and more advanced breaks, such as Monseigner Bay.

Visit Berenty Reserve

Probably Madagascar’s best-known reserve, Berenty, is about three hours west of Taolagnaro but undoubtedly worth a visit for the more adventurous traveler. It’s unusually verdant for this part of Madagascar, thanks to its position on the Mandrare River.

While most reserves and national parks in Madagascar require that you take a guide, Berenty is unique in that guests can walk the trails unguided and explore the riverine and baobab-scattered forest in search of lemurs.

Five species are common here, the most famous being Verraux’s sifaka, known for its comical poses, which make the lemur look like it’s dancing.

Tour the Forts

Toalagnaro is home to the oldest building in Madagascar, a fort whose origins remain somewhat of a mystery. Some claim it was built by shipwrecked Portuguese sailors in 1504 while others maintain it was a Swahili structure erected centuries prior.

Worth a visit too is the Flacourt Fort, built more than a century later. Both forts offer a fascinating glimpse in to the history of this part of the island.

  • Effectively cut off from the rest of the island due to its deplorable access roads, you’ll want to make your holiday in Taolagnaro a fly-in and fly-out affair. There are local flights from Antananarivo daily; the alternative is hours of bumpy and unreliable public transport.
  • Although very safe, it’s generally a good idea to keep valuables out of sight and to avoid walking alone along the beaches at night
  • Swim and surf only at designated beaches – Madagascar’s southeast coast has areas with powerful currents, and swimming can be dangerous outside indicated areas.

Toamasina (formerly known as Tamatave) is Madagascar’s central port city. It’s situated on the east coast, on the northern edge of the island’s vast rainforests.

The region around it is characterized by long beaches split by rivers that empty into the sea.

High concentrations of unique flora and fauna can be found, as well as exotic plantations of coffee, vanilla, clove, banana, coconut, and lychee.

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The city is an enticing mix of bric-a-brac sophistication – boulevards lined with palm trees and upmarket hotels sit alongside old, crumbling colonial buildings and creole houses built on stilts.

Take a boat trip down the Pangalanes Canal

Just south of Taomasina, at Port Fluvial, you’ll find a series of lakes linked by canals built during the French colonial occupation.

Their quiet waters are perfect for idling the day away as you glide by on a dug-out pirogue, past the private nature reserves that line the shore.

Explore the Port Town

You can do this officially, with a historical guided tour, or at your leisure with a map from the local tourist office.

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Some buildings date back to the early colonial era, and three fascinating museums highlight everything from the town’s beginnings as a pirate community to local modern art and Malagasy culture.

Rent an ATV

Exploring Madagascar’s east coast on a four-wheeler is something for the adventurous, with day tours down to the Pangalanes Canal and overnight trips into the surrounding forests and nature reserves.

For added excitement, some itineraries include river crossings.

  • As Madagascar’s major port city, Toamasina is one of the few coastal destinations that are relatively easy to get to by land – a good network of roads links it to Antananarivo, and the journey takes about seven hours. There are, however, also daily flights from Antananarivo for those who want to minimize travel time.
  • Toamasina has good facilities – ATMs, supermarkets, and a shopping mall, all serviced by rickshaws, tuk-tuks, and taxis.
  • As a holiday destination in Madagascar, Toamasina is probably Madagascar’s most weather-dependent – visiting midyear is a magical experience. In contrast, during the wetter summer months (December to April), the rainfall can feel endless, and there is always the risk of cyclones.

Toliara is Madagascar’s southern paradise. Centered mainly around St. Augustine’s Bay, this coastal town and its surrounds are blessed with an excellent mix of pristine beaches, clear tidal pools, and shallow frontal reefs, making it a wonderful place to snorkel and swim.

With less rainfall than the rest of Madagascar and consistently warm days even during winter, it’s also a year-round beach destination.

Inland, a handful of truly exotic national parks and reserves are home to unique arid landscapes which support some of the world’s rarest flora and fauna, most famously a family of large spiny plants that look like they belong on another planet.

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Explore St Augustine’s Bay

You’ll never tire of this 14km (9mi) long coastline. Stretching south from Toliara’s airport to the Onilahy River mouth, you’ll find a mix of open beaches, rock pools, caves, and mangrove forests.

While offshore, dhows lean gently over on the white sand, waiting for the tide to lift them up on gently rising, turquoise waters.

Go Scuba Diving and Snorkelling

The Toliara region was once Madagascar’s most popular beach destination for underwater activities . However, overfishing and silting have left large parts of the seabed in poor condition.

That said, there is still a good reef called Massif de Roses at Ifaty, which is 24km (15mi) north of the town and is where you’ll find the best diving in the area.

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Visit the Reniala Forest Reserve

There are several small reserves a little way inland. Reniala Forest Reserve is one of the best and home to some of the typical flora and avifauna of the southern region.

Expect to find spiny forests, long-tailed ground rollers, sub-desert mesites, and Madagascar’s famous lemurs. Routes are well marked, but walks are guided and should be booked in advance.

Go hiking, mountain climbing or horse riding at Isalo National Park

It’s a four-hour drive inland from Toliara, but a one- or two-night stay at Isalo National Park is incredibly rewarding for active travelers, especially hikers and mountain climbers.

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Deep canyons cut into the rock are home to extraordinary arid flora and succulents. The reserve has several well-marked trails and rock pools, plus several midrange and exquisite upmarket lodges.

  • Toliara offers a wide range of accommodation, from affordable backpackers to ultra-luxury lodges.
  • This is Madagascar’s driest and hottest part, sometimes getting no rainfall in a year. If you’re planning any physical activities, start as early as possible, as it gets scorching in the afternoons.
  • It takes two days (20 hours of driving) to get to Toliara from Antananarivo, so flying is the best option for most visitors.
  • While Toliara has good facilities for holidaymakers (ATMs, shopping, clinics), the surrounding areas generally have very little, so be sure to draw cash and buy supplies before heading out.

Travel with Confidence

With over 20 years of experience, our team will help you tailor your itinerary to your perfect adventure., 24/7 support, personalized, experience our tailor-made tours in madagascar, when is the best month to travel to madagascar.

  • Madagascar in January

January is midsummer in Madagascar. In the northern and eastern regions, this is characterised by heavy rainfall – up to 340mm have been recorded on the east coast during the month. It’s a continuation of the ‘wet season’, which starts around the end of November and lasts well into March. It’s significantly drier in the south and southwest but there is still rainfall throughout the country, including on Madagascar’s inland highlands. January is also the start of cyclone season on the north and east coast. Daytime temperatures average 25°C (77°F) with highs of 33°C (91°F) in the south.

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Where to Go

Travelling by road in Madagascar in January is generally ill advised. Heavy rains render some regions completely inaccessible and several hotels and lodges along the west and the east coast close completely for the first two or three months of the year. Nosy Boraha and Taomasina can be particularly unpleasant in January as hot monsoon air currents make it exceptionally humid and the rain can set in for several days. In the extreme north, Antsiranana has its own microclimate and experiences less rainfall than the east but is still prone to cyclones. Similarly, while also less affected by the rainy season, Nosy Be still experiences its heaviest rainfall and high humidity. If you’re set on visiting Madagascar in January, the southern regions, Toliara, Taolagnaro, and to a lesser extent Morondava, provide the best chance of a pleasant holiday although you will still experience peak summer temperatures.

  • Those willing to take their chances in the rainy season may be rewarded with discounted accommodation prices, cheaper airfares and far fewer other visitors.
  • Several regions are inaccessible during this time of year, with some completely cut off by swollen rivers. There is a risk of cyclones on the north and east as well as heavy rain that could set in for the entire duration of your stay.
  • Madagascar in February

Madagascar’s rainy season continues throughout February and there is high chance of heavy rain across most of the country. This is also the month with the highest risk of cyclones. Many lodges and hotels along the east and west coast remain closed during this period although even in these rainy months there are some sunny days. Average midday temperatures are between 25°C (77°F) and 30°C (86°F) on the coast and between 20°C (68°F) and 25°C (77°F) in the central highlands.

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Much like January, travelling to regions on the east and northeast coasts is a bit of a gamble in February. With February bearing the brunt of the cyclones that make landfall (more than 12 cyclones have hit land in the last decade), it’s best to avoid destinations such as Nosy Boraha and Taomasina during this time. The risk to tourists is actually quite small – warnings come several days in advance and brick and mortar hotels are generally impervious to the storms. Nevertheless, they can completely shut down internal travel and you may not see much beyond your hotel’s doors.

  • If it’s solitude and bargains you’re after, you’ll pick up the best deals in February. However, accommodation options are limited. Naturalists prepared to brave the rainforests this time of year will be rewarded with incredible sightings of flowering orchids found nowhere else on Earth.
  • Humid and wet, Madagascar in February isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Many tour operators shut down completely, especially those offering excursions to national parks where dirt tracks become thick with mud. Driving and walking can be nearly impossible in places. Similarly, with many hotels and lodges closed at this time of year, your preferred accommodation may not be available.
  • Madagascar in March

March is still very much within Madagascar’s wet season, with recorded rainfall up to 280mm in the northeast and around 25mm in the south. Recent years have seen some of Madagascar’s southern regions receiving almost no rainfall at all, but this is unusual and subject to change. Although rain across the island tends to abate towards the end of the month, swollen rivers and deltas along both the east and west coasts continue to make access, especially to the highlights, near impossible. As such, many lodges and operators remain closed until April. It’s still hot across Madagascar’s coastal regions and especially humid in the north and east. Central Madagascar and the highlands are prone to impressive thunderstorms during this time.

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With significantly less rainfall than the rest of the country, and sea temperatures generally lower than in the north, the semi-arid south and especially the shores of Toliara and Taolagnaro are your best bet for a sunny beach holiday in March. Off-season specials on Nosy Be and a handful of islands off Madagascar’s northwest coast are also available for those on a budget. Visiting the rainforests in the eastern region around Ranomafana is an excellent option for those interested in reptiles and amphibians, which are especially active during this time.

  • Off-season specials, affordable flights and fewer tourists makes visiting Madagascar during March very attractive. Wildlife lovers and naturalists interested in smaller forest and wetland fauna will also be rewarded with some wonderful sightings.
  • Several of Madagascar’s parks and tour operators remain closed during this period. Swollen rivers and muddy tracks continue to make transit very tricky and there is still a risk of the final few cyclones of the season making landfall in the north and northeast.
  • Madagascar in April

While there may still be significant rainfall in the east and north, the number of sunny days across the country increases dramatically in April and the countryside, from the highlands down to low-lying valleys, is at its most lush and green. It’s the hottest period of the year on the east coast, with averages temperatures of 30°C (86°F). On the west and south coasts, April marks the start of the dry season and the deciduous forests and deltas around Mahajanga and Morondava, as well as the arid regions north of Tulear, won’t see rain again until November.

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April marks the start of the breeding season for Madagascar’s lemurs. Males are active throughout the country’s national parks but especially fascinating are the ring-tailed lemurs, best found in Berenty Reserve and Isalo National Park where they engage in ‘stink fights’ – wafting pungent odours and shaking their tails at one another. North-easterly winds bring fantastic ocean swells and draw experienced surfers to the Toalagnaro coastline. The beaches of Tulear, Morondava and Mahajanga are also popular, with little to no rainfall and conditions that are cooler and less humid than the rest of the country.

  • April is a month of lush landscapes, bounding lemurs and quiet national parks and beaches. It’s very much still ‘shoulder season’ and the beaches and hotels are generally quieter, despite good deals on hotels, private tours and certain flights. There’s great surfing to be had on the southeast coast and the drier west coast is good for snorkelling and scuba diving.
  • The rainy season isn’t over on the east and northern coasts and accessing the local parks and natural wonders can still be very tricky.
  • Madagascar in May

May marks the start of a stable and dry southern winter. There’s no rain at all on the west coast from May until November and average daytime temperatures rarely stray outside 20°C (68°F) to 25°C (77°F). Many wetlands, marshes and deltas are still swollen from the rains, but access gets much as the month progresses and conditions are generally pleasant and sunny in the highlands, despite the occasional chilly morning.

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While some of Madagascar’s wetlands are still inaccessible in May, fly-in safaris to lodges around Morondava and Mahajanga are now possible, where you’ll find a great mix of quiet beaches and beautiful deciduous forest. It’s a wonderful time to spot small mammals and curious reptiles, including chameleons, giant jumping rats, tenrecs and dwarf lemurs, before they go into hiding for the winter. Madagascar’s interior is green and lush and views from the highlands are spectacular. The peach blossom valleys and lavender scented hillsides around Fianarantsoa are especially pretty.

  • Cooler temperatures and clear skies make Madagascar’s northern and eastern beaches especially comfortable during May. May is still considered the ‘shoulder season’ and you can expect lower prices from hotels and operators attempting to attract pre-season visitors. On Nosy Be, the weeklong Donia Festival in Hell-Ville is usually at the end of the month, although sometimes it shifts to the first week in June. The festival features live music, a carnival, dance performers, and even a beauty pageant. In Antsiranana, look out for the weeklong Zegny’Zo Arts Festival with its parades and circus acts, street painting and puppetry.
  • Some inland regions are still inaccessible in May, and you’ll be just too early for the start of the whale watching season which begins in early June.
  • Madagascar in June

June is the coldest month in Madagascar, but daytime temperatures along the coast remain pleasant, only sometimes dipping below 20°C (68°F). The arid south is particularly cool in the late afternoons, while the highlands are even cooler, with days seldom topping 21°C (70°F) and dropping close to freezing in the evenings. It’s also relatively windy in the highlands, which makes for some magnificent, crystal-clear afternoons. While this is officially Madagascar’s dry season, the north-western and northern microclimates (from Mahajanga up to Antsiranana) continue with their perennial rainfall, with occasional, light showers that rarely last very long.

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June brings lovely clear weather all around Madagascar’s stunning coastline and although temperatures are relatively cool there are still some great beach days. Isalo National Park is especially pleasant at this time of year, with just the right conditions for warm, comfortable afternoon trekking. June also marks the start of whale season in Madagascar and Taolagnaro, Toamasina and Nosy Boraha are also fantastic for swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving and boat trips.

  • Madagascar celebrates its independence on 26 June and there are festivities throughout the country. It’s also the start of the whale season on the east coast (although some can be seen off the western coast too). The western archipelagos are best known for turtles; June marks the start of the hatching season when the baby turtles dash for the sea.
  • The highlands can get very cold in June and many of Madagascar’s forest creatures go into hiding during the winter months. June also marks the start of the island’s busiest season and the more popular hotels and lodges can be harder to book.
  • Madagascar in July

July is generally dry across Madagascar although the country’s two microclimate regions (the northeast and northwest) still receive regular, light rains. Temperatures average around 22°C (72°F) along the coast, but can often reach 28°C (82°F), especially in the east. Conditions inland are c onsiderably colder with daytime highs seldom above 21°C (70°F) and cold evenings that dip to almost freezing.

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Madagascar’s east coast (particularly Nosy Boraha and Taomasina) is at its best from July to September, when humpback whales make their annual migration north. You might even spot males competing for females by breaching and slapping their tails and fins on the water. There’s still great surfing in the southeast around Taolagnaro and trekking conditions are ideal at Ankarana, Isalo and Berenty Reserve, although much of the highlands parks’ endemic wildlife will be less active and harder to see.

  • July is ideal beach time all across Madagascar and you’ll find excellent surfing conditions along the southeast coast. The island of Nosy Boraha holds a nine-day whale festival (Festival des Baleines) near the beginning of July, with a carnival, concert, singing, film screenings and dancing, as well as a trail run and mountain bike race. Antsiranana also hosts a major highlight on the international trail running calendar in July – Racing Madagascar’s Ultra Trail run.
  • July (and August) is high season in Madagascar and flights and hotels book up far in advance. Top destinations such as Nosy Be, Nosy Boraha and Tulear can get particularly busy at this time of year. Some of Madagascar’s smaller mammals and reptiles are also largely inactive so it’s not the best time to see the island’s incredible endemic fauna.
  • Madagascar in August

August has a similar climate to July. Days are cool with temperatures on the east coast reaching their lowest for the year, occasionally dipping below 20°C (68°F). The west and north coasts have daytime averages of 22°C (72°F) with sporadic showers. The south coast is slightly warmer and bone dry, but its waters are cooler than those in the north, which makes daytime dipping all the more refreshing. Intermittent south-easterly winds buffet the east and north coasts throughout August, with wind speeds ranging from 20 to 40 knots (37 to 74 km/h).

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August is a great time to explore Madagascar’s arid regions with the Reniala Forest near Tulear and Isalo National Park both at their best for daytime trekking. Nosy Boraha and Taomasina are excellent this time of year with the whale season in full swing. Favourable winds in the bays around Antsiranana (Sakalava Bay is especially good) make this the best time of year for kitesurfing, while the swells around Toalagnaro in the southeast offer up some magnificent surf.

  • With the weather at its mildest across the board, it’s tough to pick a bad spot in Madagascar in August. For active holidays, August offers the best conditions for trekking, surfing, trail running and kitesurfing.
  • August is the most popular time for holidaymakers across Madagascar’s coastal regions so you’ll need to book well in advance. Strong winds along the east coast can hamper scuba diving, especially with regard to reduced visibility. Some of Madagascar’s rainforest wildlife goes dormant in winter and there’s much less action in the lowland and montane rainforests.
  • Madagascar in September

September is springtime in Madagascar and temperatures start to rise gradually across the country. Evenings on the west coast and the highlands remain cooler, while the northwest and northern coasts experience daytime averages of 25°C (77°F) and sporadic showers. The southwest and south are a little warmer and remain dry, with steady winds along the south coast that are not quite strong enough to ruin lazy days on the beach. In general, September’s weather is mild and pleasant across Madagascar and it’s a great time to find yourself anywhere on the island.

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Spring signals the start of baby lemur season in Madagascar and it’s nothing short of adorable watching mother lemurs and their babes swinging through the trees. Berenty Reserve near Taolagnaro is an especially good place for this, but reserves and national parks across the country are all excellent at this time of year. Ranomafana and the montane rainforests offer exceptional birding in September, with optimal avifauna conditions continuing through to January. September also marks the start of the mating season for Madagascar’s curious fossas and your best bet of spotting these are on the west coast’s Kirindy Reserve, near Morondava.

  • September is your best chance of spotting whale sharks as they move across the Mozambique Channel to the warm waters off Madagascar’s north-western archipelagos. Fauna and flora flourish at this time of year and the beaches across the country are at their magnificent best.
  • September’s major disadvantage is its popularity with visitors and smaller boutique hotels and budget backpackers can fill up equally quickly. You’ll need to book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • Madagascar in October

As Madagascar ramps up to summer, average temperatures along the coastal regions nudge their way up to 26°C (79°F). Temperatures in the highlands also get markedly warmer and winds drop everywhere, bringing blue skies and clear days. Across the island it stays generally dry except for sporadic showers in northern and eastern zones. Weather-wise, October is arguably Madagascar’s best month, with warm, pleasant days and cool nights throughout the country.

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It’s impossible to isolate Madagascar’s best regions in October. Throw a dart at the map and you’ve found a great place to be. Baby lemurs and excellent birdlife are still plentiful throughout the parks and the beaches just get better as the temperatures slowly rise. Along the southeast coast the flagging winds mean better visibility for scuba diving and the highlands are magnificent, with mild daytime temperatures that make exploring Fianarantsoa and the surrounding valleys bliss.

  • The town of Sambava, in Madagascar’s northeast, hosts the festival of Festivanille, which celebrates the island’s vanilla industry. There’s also the Malagasy VTT Raid, a six-day, 300km, mountain bike race up the coast from Toalagaro. Scuba diving is also at its best this time of year, and with the local school holidays over, it’s also quieter across the country.
  • There are no real disadvantages in September other than securing your bookings and, perhaps, struggling to leave.
  • Madagascar in November

November marks the start of the rainy season in central and eastern Madagascar, while the west and south coasts remain relatively dry. Average temperatures continue to climb across the country with daytime highs reaching over 30°C (86°F) and humidity building rapidly in the east and north. The long eastern escarpment catches the southeast trade winds, slowly gathering the deluge that will soon be unleashed over the windward rainforests. November is a risky time to visit Madagascar, but warm, clear days can still be found across the country.

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Madagascar’s south and west coasts are the last to receive rain and tend to remain relatively clear and fine during November. Scuba diving and snorkelling is excellent around Nosy Be and Morondava, where water temperatures can reach a balmy 32°C (90°F). Madagascar’s northern microclimate zone, around Antsiranana, is also generally pleasant, offering a mix of great beach days and a genuine rainforest feel. Visit the surrounding montane regions, such as Mount Amber, for superb sightings of lemurs, chameleons, colourful amphibians and hundreds of birds.

  • Warm waters along the northwest and dry conditions in the south and southwest don’t rule out the great beach days just yet. It’s also generally quieter this time of year as visitor numbers drop off briefly before rising again for Christmas.
  • The east coast can get very wet in November, with high humidity that makes the days hot and sticky.
  • Madagascar in December

December is Madagascar’s hottest month with highs of 33°C (92°F) in the north, east and west, and still hotter days in the south as the sun climbs directly over the Tropic of Capricorn. Although hot, there’s often a cool sea breeze along many of the coastal regions, reducing the humidity and providing some relief. With the wet season reaching its peak, you can expect to see rain roughly two out of every three days in the east and northeast, with slightly drier conditions in the west, and the least rain falling in the south.

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The northern and north-western archipelagos of Nosy Be and Antsiranana, as well as the southern beaches of Tulear, are generally the best bet for a beach holiday in December. The southern beaches may remain completely dry and showers in the north and west usually only last a few hours. There’s still good surfing at Toalagnora (and especially Monseigneur Bay) in December, but the weather is less predictable, with the chance of much heavier rain. Warm daytime temperatures and abundant fauna make the highlands attractive this time of year.

  • Each December, for just a few days, Madagascar jumping frogs gather to mate in the marshlands of Ranomafana, and the males turn a bright canary yellow in order to attract a mate. There’s also the Mada Sakafo Food Festival which takes place in Antananarivo. Happily, jumping frogs are not on the menu.
  • Heavy rain begins to make many of Madagascar’s parks and reserves inaccessible and except for the far south, beach days are certainly not guaranteed. The December holiday season is also a busy time in the major centres and hotels and lodges can book up far in advance.

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Faqs about madagascar.

  • The Malagasy ariary is the local currency you will use on your holiday in Madagascar .
  • The bulk of flights to Madagascar land at Antananarivo Ivato International Airport
  • Air Madagascar flies to Ivato from Paris, Johannesburg, and Bangkok
  • Air France flies to Ivato from Paris
  • South African Airways and Airlink fly to Ivato from Johannesburg
  • Kenya Airways flies to Ivato from Nairobi
  • Madagascar is a safe island to visit for the most part. However, it is always recommended to take precautions when travelling to most African countries.
  • Madagascar's local currency is the Malagasy Ariary (MGA). The Euro is the most widely accepted foreign currency, but US dollars and British pounds are also easily exchanged. You can exchange money at banks or withdraw cash from ATMs in your area.
  • Madagascar, an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the coast of southern Africa, is the world's fifth-largest island, with a landmass of 587,000 km2 and a population of 25.6 million people.
  • In general, travelling in Africa during the dry season is preferable because it is cooler and there are fewer bugs.
  • This means visiting Madagascar between May and October. Plan your trip between June and September to see the humpback whale migration.
  • If you want to dive with whale sharks, try to go between November and March. The breeding season for lemurs lasts from October to December, when babies are born to take advantage of the new spring greenery.

See Madagascar in Your Comfort

  • An Affordable Holiday in Madagascar
  • Budget Holidays in Madagascar
  • Luxury Holiday in Madagascar

Although flights are relatively expensive, Madagascar is much more affordable once you land. There are good-value, mid-range hotels and lodges to be found throughout the island and its archipelagos, although the widest variety is in and around the mainland beach towns of Antsiranana, Taomasina, Tulear and Morondava. Here you can choose between half-board lodges or self-catering apartments, with nearby restaurants and cafes, vibrant nightlife and easy access to a variety of tour operators. Tours can be arranged into the nearby parks and reserves, or there’s also the option of staying just outside a park’s borders where there’s almost always a good selection of reasonably-priced lodges and hotels offering transfers and guided tours. The eastern rainforests and the deciduous parks in the west have excellent nearby accommodation and tend to be more popular. The north and arid south also have good options, but on the whole, are quieter.

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Madagascar offers a wonderful sense of freedom and spontaneity for travellers on a mid-range budget. Bespoke itineraries, guided tours and even vehicle hire (almost always only bookable with a driver included) can be arranged at reasonable rates, which means combining the magic of Madagascar’s beaches with its natural marvels – without having to worry about logistics. Superb combinations include Tulear and Isalo National Park; Morondava and Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park; Nosy Be, Antsiranana and Ankarana National Park; and Taolagnaro and Berenty Reserve. Prices depend largely on the region, season, scope of activities and type of accommodation, but $1700 a person is a rough benchmark for a six- night custom tour with transfers, accommodation, activities, and most meals included. Alternatively, a 4×4 with driver costs around 500,000Ar ($135) a day, while half-day excursions (whale spotting by boat from Nosy Boraha; island-hopping from Nosy Be; horse-riding in Isalo National Park) are generally around 200,000Ar ($55) a person.

Travel Tips

Organising an itinerary in Madagascar yourself can be frustrating and time consuming. If your budget allows, it’s almost always better to spend a little more on a booking a tour through an established, trusted operator that knows the country well. You’ll spend more time enjoying the islands’ splendours and less being frustrated by tricky travel arrangements and logistics. Keep this in mind when comparing prices – a few extra bucks can save a lot of headaches. You can pick up good deals by travelling in the shoulder months of April, May and October, and even better ones if you’re prepared to brave the rains in January and February, although you risk the chance of a washed-out holiday. If you’re not flying directly to any of the coastal towns, then select itineraries closer to Antananarivo – Morondava, Toamasina, Nosy Boraha and Fianarantsoa are good options. Expect to pay around 200,000Ar ($55) a couple a night for mid-range, half-board lodges and about half that for self-catering. Mid-range accommodation on the outskirts of Madagascar’s national parks is around 400,000Ar ($110) for a double room including transfers.

Travelling on a budget in Madagascar can be exciting and immersive, provided you’re willing to accept that it may not always be comfortable. Distances are significant and public transport generally old and crowded; the most affordable way get around takes time and often involves a few bumps! Antananarivo has the biggest selection of budget accommodation, offering the widest variety of low-cost guesthouses, hostels and basic rooms. Further afield, you’ll find budget hostels and hotels close to the beaches in Taolagnaro, Antsiranana and Tulear as well as in tourist hotspots such as Nosy Be. Across the rest of the island, there’s budget accommodation almost everywhere in the form of plain, simple rooms with shared ablutions and facilities.

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Great surfing at great prices is one of Madagascar’s major highlights. For budget surf rentals and lessons, head to Taolagnaro where you can hire a surfboard at Ankoba Beach or Monseigneur Bay for about 20,000Ar ($5.50) a day. Surf lessons cost about the same. For a very affordable taste of Malagasy history and culture, take a self-guided walking tour in Taolagnaro, Tulear, Mahajanga or Fianarantsoa. Simply buy a cheap map from the local tourism offices in each town.

Flights to Madagascar can be pricey, and internal transfers are also often quite steep. These can be as much as $400 or more for a return from Antananarivo so it’s important to plan your route with care. Even better, fly directly to your preferred stretch of coast and explore the surrounding area from there. Local taxi-brousse (buses) will get you practically anywhere on the island, but while a short journey can be fun and interesting, longer routes may quickly become an ordeal. Fares are low, and depend on distance. A trip from Antananarivo to Tulear takes about 20 hours, for example, and will cost you around 60,000Ar ($16.50) one way.

Once arrived, you’ll find Madagascar an extremely affordable island destination, but it’s even better value if you’re travelling as couple or – first prize – in a group. Tours, activities, vehicle hire and guide fees are rarely available on a per person basis, which means you’ll pay the same whether you’re on your own or with company. This can also apply when booking rooms, which are sometimes charged at the same rate for single or double occupancy. That said, a simple double room will start at 18,000Ar ($5) a night, although expect to pay more in the harder-to-reach, exclusive areas. One option is to find the less expensive rooms a little further from the main beaches and hire a scooter for about 35,000Ar ($9.50) a day. This will not only allow you to reach the more exclusive, remote areas, but adds a degree of independence and the ability to explore a little inland.

If it’s luxury you’re looking for then Madagascar is your oyster, and where to find its pearls is entirely up to you. For chilled-out beach bliss, cocktails and massages, look no further than the upmarket lodges around Nosy Be, Mahajanga and Antsiranana. If it’s Madagascar’s unique fauna and flora that fascinates you, you’ll find almost all of the national parks have at least one exclusive resort nearby. There are private bungalows that look out onto sculpted ‘forests’ of tsingy and luxury tented camps with seemingly prehistoric mountain views. Then there’s French villas, board walked jungle gems and even a handful of modern designer hideaways secreted away in secluded bays. For opulence and privacy with a gourmet flair, there are some excellent hidden treasures around St. Augustine’s Bay and also along the beaches north of Mahajanga.

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Few places in the world are as varied and exotic as Madagascar. With it’s incredible wildlife, unique flora and stunning natural landscapes it’s a dream destination which offers a luxury experience like no other. Choose somewhere remote and intimate and you’ll likely have coral reefs, squeaky white-sand beaches, private pirogue cruises and enchanting forest trails all to yourself. Or why not charter a catamaran with a private chef and let yourself be whisked off for a beach picnic with not a soul around for miles. As a growing luxury destination, Madagascar is all about tailor-made itineraries. Your greatest indulgence here is the freedom to choose.

You’ll need to book well in advance if you’re planning to travel during peak season (June to September). Although growing slowly, the number of exclusive hotels and lodges in Madagascar is still relatively small and they tend to book up fast. If you’re spending more than a week (recommended for such a large, varied island), request a few itinerary options from your hotel or tour operator. Many have fantastic ‘beach and bush’ options with partnership arrangements that mean fewer snags and, often, discounts. Several upmarket and boutique hotels offer fly-in packages, which are great for maximising your holiday time and eliminating the chance a frustrating transfer. Almost all large hotels and luxury lodges take credit cards (very few, if any, take American Express), but it’s a good idea to carry some local cash for tips and souvenirs.

Holiday Styles and Options in Madagascar

As far as genuinely fascinating destinations go, you can’t beat Madagascar. Beyond the exported images of baobabs and beaches are ancient forests and wetlands filled with peculiar creatures, secret bays once bedevilled by pirates and crumbling citadels built by feuding kings and queens. And that’s just the start…

This is because on Madagascar – the oldest island on Earth – two very contradictory influences have converged to create something quite sublime. On the one hand is a natural history that has unfolded in almost total isolation. On the other is a melting pot of humanity that’s left virtually no one out. Indonesian, African, Arabic, European – all lay claim to an inextricable mishmash of culture that colours Madagascar’s anthropology. And it’s these two seemingly opposed forces – isolation and accessibility – that together have created an island that is truly, in every sense of the word, unique.

For visitors, it’s a recipe that couldn’t be more intoxicating. There are endless shores and ancient reefs, forested trails and lazy rivers. There are tropical islets filled with the smell of ylang-ylang blossoms, valleys that radiate with the scent of lavender and markets where vanilla wafts between pots steaming the air with the aroma of boiling rice. You can hike along vast and deep terracotta canyons that glow red at dusk, ride through primordial jungles on mid-century railroads or zoom through pastel-coloured coastal towns in yellow tuk-tuks. You can explore underground caves home to troglodyte crocodiles, climb massifs once fortified by Allied soldiers or brave suspension bridges that dangle between precipitous spires of limestone carved by the wind. You can also just take your towel down to the beach, order a bottomless cocktail and a barrel of seafood and do absolutely nothing.

You cannot, however, do them all. And therein lies the challenge for anyone planning a holiday in Madagascar. At more than half a million square kilometres it is the fourth-largest island in the world. It spans more than 15 degrees of latitude and straddles the southernmost tropic. Its climate, landscape and infrastructure are as varied as they are on some entire continents. Variations in culture, language and customs are not far behind. To travel from the east to west coast by 4×4 could take as much as three full days. From north to south you can easily triple that.

And so, what makes Madagascar most unique of all is how to plan a holiday here. Whether it’s the swashbuckling shores of the south, the languid beaches of the north, rainforests of the east or semi-arid wonderlands of the southwest, each region is poised to offer different types of traveller exactly what they are looking for, all the while remaining quintessentially Madagascan.

Experiencing all that Madagascar has to offer would take even the most expedient traveller at least a year. The distances are too great and the infrastructure simply too poor to zip from one end to the other, and there’s just no way to tick all the boxes on a two- or even three-week-long holiday. The most enjoyable way to experience this unique destination is to do it one region at a time. With its mix of world-class beaches, exotic cuisine, sublime wildlife and cultural interactions, not to mention superb hospitality and variety of hotels and lodges in all the right places, you won’t feel like you’re missing out by taking it slow. This is an island to experience one magnificent region at a time, with the added bonus that by revisiting you’ll be supporting the conservation organisations and local traders and businesspeople that depend significantly on tourism to keep this wonderful destination going.

Who is Travelling to Madagascar with you?

  • Family Holiday in Madagascar
  • Honeymoon in Madagascar
  • Solo Travel in Madagascar

Immersive wilderness experiences and an endless supply of adventure activities make Madagascar an amazing destination for enquiring minds. There’s snorkelling and kayaking and horse riding and climbing, and the absence of big game means your kids can get close to weird and wonderful creatures and return home with photos of animals that their friends won’t believe exist. Despite all this, you should consider a family holiday to Madagascar carefully. Poor infrastructure can mean long transit times so it’s best to keep focussed on a specific town or region.

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Unless you’re feeling very brave, it’s highly recommended that you centre your family holiday around a child-friendly lodge or hotel. These offer activities for children, private, comfortable transfers, and have experience in providing safe and entertaining itineraries for kids. Suitable hotels are increasingly common across the country, but there are good options around Isalo National Park, which offer short walks directly from the premises, horse riding, mountain biking and on-site play areas. Hotels in Tulear, Nosy Be and Nosy Boraha also have child-friendly activities and staff who are trained to deal with young ones.

Horse riding in Isalo National Park is a magical experience that allows the whole family to explore the canyons and arid flora and fauna without having to walk large distances. A guided walk at the top of Mount Amber National Park is also perfect for kids and in the dry season (April to November) it’s possible to drive all the way up to the main picnic site which eliminates the long trek usually needed to get there. At the top, there are short walking circuits, many on easy boardwalk trails that wind their way past Madagascar’s ancient mega flora. Snorkelling in the warm waters around Nosy Be is also safe thanks to a large offshore reef, which keeps the shallows relatively calm and clear. A visit to the pirate cemetery on Nosy Boraha (where one of the gravestones has a skull and crossbones on the headstone) is certain to fire up the imagination of young minds interested in myth and adventure.

  • While Malagasy culture is very child friendly, you won’t find many concessions to travelling families outside the dedicated family hotels and lodges. Many tour operators, for example, don’t accommodate children under eight years old and few restaurants anywhere have high-chairs available.
  • You’ll certainly need to stock up on child-specific supplies (high SPF sunscreen, medication, formula, insect repellent, travel sickness tablets etc.) before you leave, as you won’t find any of these easily once there.
  • While travelling on public transport with young kids can be stressful, it’s worth noting that children five years old and under generally go for free on local busses.

A beach holiday in Madagascar has all the qualities of a classic romance – long walks along white-sand beaches, tropical sunsets and warm evenings under a blanket of stars. That said, there is such an intoxicating mix of exotic flavours, sights and smells that it doesn’t really matter where you are in the country, there’s always the feeling that you might be swept up in a romance at any time. Madagascar has come a long way in the past few years and there’s increasing choice for romantic visitors. From luxury lodges with honeymoon specials, to fly-in safaris and private-hire catamarans, Madagascar leaves it up to you to set the scene for your next romantic escape.

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For complete, luxurious, romantic isolation head to Madagascar’s west coast, just north of Mahajanga. Here you’ll find a selection of stunning fly-in resorts where you’ll feel like you have the beautiful beaches all to yourselves. The boutique hotels and upmarket lodges of Nosy Be and Nosy Boraha are also fantastic romantic islands for couples, with palm-tree-lined beaches and clear, turquoise waters. On mainland Madagascar, Antsiranana in the north and Tulear in the south both offer couples the option of mixing luxury oceanside accommodation with the spectacular natural highlights of Amber Mountain National Park and Reniala Forest Reserve. For a truly wild break, Berenty Special Reserve and Ranomafana National Park set an unforgettable scene for romance amongst some of Madagascar’s most breathtaking forest scenery.

Whether it’s a honeymoon, anniversary, or a just an impromptu getaway, a romantic holiday in Madagascar ticks all the boxes. You can take a private boat trip to the Radama and Mitsio island archipelagos near Nosy Be, or watch whales lobtail and breach from the shore on Nosy Boraha. You could learn to surf together in Taolagnaro or search for lemurs on a jungle trek. Of course, and probably most importantly, you can also find a secluded bay in Ifaty, Tulear, or Morondava, and simply while away a sparkling afternoon in each other’s company.

  • Some hotels and lodges – especially the smaller more bespoke establishments – are exclusively childfree. It’s worth seeking these out for an uninterrupted romantic getaway.
  • Be aware that many of the upmarket and exclusive hotels and lodges (especially on Nosy Be and Nosy Boraha) list their prices for accommodation as ‘per person’, whereas the rest of Madagascar it’s generally quoted as ‘per room’.
  • Madagascar is one of the relatively few African countries where homosexuality is not a crime, although public displays of affection, regardless of sexual orientation, are unusual in Malagasy culture and are best avoided.

Travelling alone can be daunting regardless of where in the world you go. On a remote island with a beleaguered infrastructure, it can seem all the more formidable. The good news is that Madagascar is absolutely fantastic for solo travellers. But that’s only provided you take one essential item: the right (casual) attitude. With a laid-back approach and, especially, a relaxed notion of time, solo travellers will find Madagascar safe, fun and rich with cultural and natural experiences, whether travelling on foot, by bicycle, or using rented or public transport.

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The best region for solo travel in Madagascar depends on two factors: your interests and the time of year. Many solo travellers gravitate to the surfing and kitesurfing hotspots of Antsiranana and Taolagnaro, with optimal conditions between April and September. The bars and cafes of Nosy Be, Nosy Boraha, Taomasina and Tulear also attract a small community of independent travellers and are at their busiest between June and November. On the other hand, if you’re travelling solo to escape the crowds then you’ll have no problem finding a quieter spot. Even the busiest resorts are relatively quiet by world standards, but try April, May or November for the best combination of good weather and fewest people.

For the truly independent, self-guided city tours in Taomasina, Antsiranana, Taolagnaro and Mahajanga allow solo travellers to wander the streets and take in the history and culture of these key port towns in their own time; maps are available the towns’ tourist offices. Joining a group is also a great way for solo travellers to meet new people and split costs. Try one of the adventure activities around Taomasina, such as scuba diving, ATV excursions or boat trips down the Pangalanes Canal. For solo travellers on less tight budgets, most of the country’s luxury lodges provide all-inclusive, often highly customisable packages, with a wide range of activities to suit your taste.

  • In general, there isn’t much of a backpacker vibe in Madagascar, so if you’re planning to wing it you should be prepared to get to know the locals or spend much of your time on your own.
  • One major disadvantage is the cost of tours and guided trips into the national parks and reserves. Most operators, and certainly all national parks, charge a flat rate for guides (who are compulsory). Unless you find a group to split the costs, you’ll need to pay the full guide rate even if you’re on your own. The same applies to hiring a vehicle with driver, which is the only way to access large areas of Madagascar.
  • Women travelling alone will likely encounter men making uninvited approaches. In general Madagasy men are respectful and a firm ‘no’ is usually enough.

What You Need To Know

  • Fauna and Flora of Madagascar

To really appreciate the diversity of Madagascar’s flora and fauna you first need to understand its unique geological history. Separated from Africa almost 100 million years ago, the base of all its plants and animals is original marooned stock from the Gondwana supercontinent. While those on the African and South American continents continued to evolve in constantly changing environments, Madagascar’s ancient species were left to develop in relative isolation, miles from anywhere, for millions of years. Sporadic landings from floating and flying seeds (sometimes on air currents and sometimes in the stomach of seabirds) and brief land bridge across the Mozambique Channel, only further contributed to Madagascar becoming its weirdest, and most wonderful self.

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Some of its more bizarre creations – 400-kilogram elephant birds, giant sloths the size of silverback gorillas and dwarf hippos a quarter the size of their continental brethren – have been driven to extinction by human colonisation. However, it’s still home to more than 200,000 species of fauna and flora, including 11,000 endemic plant species, 420 different kinds of endemic reptiles, five complete bird families and a variety of mammal species found nowhere else on earth. Per square kilometres this makes Madagascar one of the most biodiverse places on the plane, and one of the world’s officially recognised biodiversity hotspots.

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For travellers trying to decide how to immerse themselves in this natural wonderland, it’s best to understand Madagascar as an island of two parts. The eastern flank is mostly made up of dense rainforest, separated from the rest of the island by a long, arched spine of mountains that runs down the length of the country, a few kilometres east of centre. West of the escarpment is drier, made up initially of stark gnarled highlands and then deciduous trees and savannah grasslands as the mountains descend into rolling hills and valleys. Nearer the western shores, the landscape is a mix of marshlands and delta and mangrove swamps, with some arid regions stretching all the way to the coast. The south is mostly arid, with spiny forests, succulents and hardy woods dominating much of the landscape before reaching the shores. The north has its own microclimate. It’s closer to the equator and hemmed in by a half moon of towering massifs making it tropical and humid, but also susceptible to cyclones.

In the moist rainforests, you’ll find ancient cycads, giant ferns, orchids and long-stemmed lianas stretching across the damp undergrowth. Red-bellied-, and rare cyanide-eating golden-bamboo lemurs hang out in the dense canopies. Still more peculiar creations, such as giraffe-necked weevils, giant millipedes, satanic leaf-tailed geckos and a very special species of chameleon no larger than your thumbnail, all hide in the undergrowth.

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Though you’ll find far fewer species in the western deciduous forests, wetlands and arid regions, they are no less strange. These dynamic regions are home to species such as radiated tortoises, hog-nosed snakes, net-throwing spiders, fossas, dancing sifakas, vasa parrots, skinks, plate lizards, cave-dwelling crocodiles and large boas.

Found throughout the island are baobabs, including many endemics. Of the nine species of baobab found in the world, six grow exclusively in Madagascar.

Seabirds are also common around the island although, in comparison to its litany of insects, reptiles and small mammals, Madagascar’s population of birds is surprisingly small.

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In terms of marine life, Madagascar shares much of its variety with the western shores of Africa. Perennial visitors include hawksbill and green turtles, and humpback whales frequent its eastern bays on their mid-year migration from Antarctica. Madagascar is also notorious for sharks. Its east coast is a well-documented hotspot and as such many bathers prefer the west where the shallow reefs not only offer more protection, but also give snorkelers and divers a larger variety of tropical sightings (more so even than the Red Sea) that includes a wild menagerie of curiosities, such as squirrelfish, batfish, boxfish, flutefish, lionfish, butterflyfish and damselfish.

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madagascar safari and beach holiday

Safari and Beach Holidays in Madagascar

Intoxicating. Infuriating. Fascinating. Frustrating. Diverse. Stunning. Weird. The one thing you will definitely never ever call Madagascar is boring. This completely extraordinary island broke off from mainland Africa when Gondwanaland separated. It has implausibly beautiful beaches, wildlife that’s evolved differently from anywhere else on earth and a unique culture that would take a lifetime to truly understand.

Come for lemurs, dancing lemurs, ruffed lemurs and ring-tailed lemurs. Come for chameleons as long as your arm, and as a tiny as your fingernail. Come for rainforests, turtles, whales, cow-carts and spectacular gravestones. Come for waterfalls, moths the size of a dinnerplate, scarlet frogs and baobab trees.

And come prepared for the challenge. Most of the best experiences are on foot in the wet and muddy forest. Lemurs are unpredictable. Local flights can be cancelled and moved days later or earlier. In many places, roads are horrific. Lodges can be spectacular or comically chaotic, and sometimes you don’t have a choice.

We say this all not to put you off, but to put Madagascar in context.  Our staff have growled with irritation in Madagascar, and shed a tear with the magic of it all. If you’re put off, Madagascar probably isn’t right for you. If you’re intrigued, give us call .

We work with the best of the best on the island, and have an armoury of contingency plans. So, please pack your flexibility, your sense of humour and let us show you how special Madagascar can be.  

A side note from us:

Madagascar is by some margin, the most challenging country we work with in Africa. For this reason, we have limited content on our website as it is especially important for us to have detailed conversations with our travellers to ensure we are delivering on the standards they expect from us.

More on what to do and where to stay in Madagascar:

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JENMAN African Safaris

Madagascar Safari

Travel packages & tours.

Enjoy this Madagascar safari, designed to showcase the incredible variety of landscapes, wildlife, and people on this vibrant Indian Ocean island, located off the east coast of Africa. Your holiday to Madagascar will be filled with a multitude of sights and sounds, starting upon arrival in the capital city of Antananarivo , affectionately known as Tana. Surrounded by national parks and reserves, the city is the springboard for your discovery of Madagascar. Experience the safari of a lifetime to Madagascar as the country is abundantly rich in unique wildlife and vegetation, with 90 % of the species on Madagascar found nowhere else on earth. These include 50 different lemurs, including the Indri, the biggest living lemur, that can be observed in the Andasibe National Park .

There are countless other wilderness wonderlands waiting to be explored on your Madagascar vacation. Make sure to include the picture-perfect natural phenomenon of the Avenue of Baobabs in your itinerary to Madagascar, as well as the great variety of geckos and chameleons in the lush surroundings of Masoala National Park, the incredible hiking opportunities in the cliffs and canyons of Isalo National Park and the breath-taking waterfalls and volcanic lakes in Montagne D’ambre National Park. Discover Madagascar’s beautiful tropical beaches, an unmissable inclusion in any holiday plans to this stunning location. The rich turquoise waters and vibrant coral reefs of Nosy Be are filled with fascinating marine species and are also the site of the spectacular whale shark migration. Ile Sainte Marie is a tropical paradise in Madagascar, its beaches lined with coconut palms and its waters a prime snorkeling and diving spot.

Experience the most magical of journeys with a Madagascar holiday package expertly planned by Jenman African Safaris. The breathtaking landscapes, unique wildlife and pristine beaches make Madagascar the perfect place for the safari of a lifetime. Discover the best lemur experiences that Madagascar has to offer in the incredible Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. As Madagascar’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park is a landscape of towers, rifts and canyons. Marvel at the sight of a multitude of rare lemur species on your Madagascar vacation to Tsingy.

Observing the cave-dwelling crocodiles in Ankarana National Park, will turn your Madagascar wildlife safari into an exceptional experience. This natural wonderland in Madagascar also boasts numerous lemur species, 14 different types of bats, 60 amphibian and reptile species and more than 90 bird species.

Renowned for its production of wine and tea, Fianarantsoa is the place to go to experience an authentic island lifestyle on your Madagascar safari. Spend time on your Madagascar holiday wandering through the town or walking in the stunning natural surroundings, passing sites like the impressive Ambozontany Cathedral.

Include the charming port city of Antsiranana, also known as Diego Suarez, in your plans to discover Madagascar. From its beautiful natural surroundings to delicious Creole and Indian cuisine, the city offers a springboard to discover the north of Madagascar. Top your Madagascar vacation with a dip in the crystal clear turquoise water of the Emerald Sea.

We recognise that the cultures, environments and economies that we visit can be fragile and require an ongoing commitment from us to ensure that we have a lasting positive effect. Tourism, when carried out in a responsible manner, can be a real help to local communities in providing income, positive cultural exchanges and the financial incentive to protect their natural environment. We run our safaris in keeping within ecotourism guidelines.

Most lodges and hotels cater for families with children. We can advise and tailor-make tours that incorporate fun activities, best months to travel to avoid high temperatures and short travel distances suitable for children.

Madagascar is becoming more popular for a honeymoon destination. The island offers all kinds of experiences whether you prefer to plan: a relaxing, romantic beach holiday; an adrenaline-filled adventure or a tour to photograph beautiful spaces, places and people – Madagascar has it all.

We can tailor-make any experience for you.

Tourism in Madagascar is still very much in its infancy stage. Booking tours with Jenman African Safaris will ensure you will have a vacation with running water, flushing toilets, electricity (sometimes produced with a generator for a few hours and switched off at night for example from 11 PM to 6 AM), and hygienic and clean accommodation. Tours are divided into classic, superior and exquisite so that you can choose which comfort and luxury level you require.

There are around 30 four-star hotels in Madagascar, the nicest of them are probably Anjajavy and Constance Tsarabanjina. There are only three Five star hotels in Madagascar, Miavana Lodge on Nosy Ankao (high luxury), Carlton and Novotel in the capital city Antananarivo. Luxury tents are also an option for accommodation at the Mandrare River Camp on the Barefoot Luxury Southern Explorer tour.

Currency The official currency of Madagascar is the Malagasy Ariary (MGA). One Ariary (Ar) is divided into 5 iraimbilanja, which turns it into one of the two circulating currencies with a non-decimal division in the world. There are banknotes of 10,000 MGA, 5,000 MGA, 2,000 MGA, 1,000 MGA, 500 MGA, 200 MGA and 100 MGA. There are even coins from 1 up to 50 Ar. The one of 50 Ar is very beautiful and has baobabs carved on it.

Banking Banks are normally open from 08h00 to 12h00 and 14h00 to 15h30 on weekdays. Credit cards (the most useful credit card is VISA CARD) are only accepted in large hotels, restaurants and some shops, mainly in Antananarivo. In the other big cities, you can get cash from Automatic Cash Machines (ATM) only with VISA CARDS. There’s now also an ATM at the airport in Antananarivo. Don’t rely on ATM machines only; they are often out of order. Keep some cash in Euro for emergencies.

Madagascar is a huge place, the roads can be bad and travel times long. Internal flights can be huge time-savers but can be expensive. Private vehicle and driver is a great alternative. Due to the often difficult driving conditions, most rental agencies make hiring a driver compulsory with their vehicles. Driving in Madagascar is on the right-hand side. Police checkpoints are frequent.

Madagascar’s cuisine is traditionally based on rice, which is served with vegetables, meat and spicy seasoning. Malagasy enjoy very spicy food, therefore many dishes are prepared with hot peppers or any other spices. The dishes are usually flavoured with garlic, ginger, onion or curry. Desserts are flavoured with vanilla.

Drinking tap water isn’t recommended in Madagascar. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water. Most hotels have drinking water available. It’s also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit and vegetables before eating.

The best time to travel in most areas is April and October/November. The coolest time to travel anywhere is during the dry season (May to October), but during this time the Hauts plateaux (central highlands; which include Antananarivo) can get cold and windy, with freezing showers.

January to March there is heavy rainfall in many areas and a high risk of cyclones in the east and northeast.  The west and southwest get searingly hot during summer, but the winter months in these regions are pleasant, with blue skies, cooler temperatures and little rain. Most rain in the northeast falls from July to September.

Average maximum temperatures vary from about 30°C in coastal areas (higher in summer) to around 25°C on the Hauts plateaux. In Antananarivo and other highland areas, temperatures during winter can drop to 10°C and even lower during the night.

To cope with the Madagascan climate, light material should be worn during the summer on high central plateaux and throughout the year in the north and south. Cotton and natural fibres work better in this sweaty weather. Warmer clothes are advised for during the evenings and winter in mountainous areas. Rainwear is advisable as a precaution.

Internet cafes are found in some of the larger cities like Antsirabe, Fianarantsoa and Antananarivo. Smaller towns and remote areas will have far less access, so prepare to disconnect when travelling out of urban centres.

In Madagascar, the two-pronged plug and the European standard socket are the most used with a tension of 220 volts (but it may go down to 170 volts in some areas at peak times)

Except for the height of the wet season, Madagascar is regarded as a destination that can be visited throughout the year. The best time for your Madagascar safari, however, will depend on what you intend to include in your vacation plans.

The months of April and May and then again between September to November are peak viewing times for your Madagascar holiday and to view the country’s weird and wonderful wildlife. The iconic lemurs of Madagascar can be seen all year round but breeding generally occurs between October and December. Humpback whales can be seen off the coast of Madagascar in July and August. September to mid-December is best for birdwatching in Madagascar.

The perfect time for a relaxing beach holiday in Madagascar is between September and December. If you intend to discover Madagascar on a hiking trip, the cool, dry months between May and October are the most optimum time.

Dry season in Madagascar

Most of the activities on your safari of a lifetime to Madagascar is best suited to the dry season and the period between May and October. Temperatures on Madagascar are mild and pleasant while the humidity is low. Do remember to pack some layers as evenings and early mornings on your Madagascar vacation during this time can sometimes be a bit cool.

Wet season in Madagascar

Should you consider planning your Madagascar safari during the wet season, between November and April, take note that some establishments close operations in February and March. Heavy downpours can also be expected in December and January in Madagascar and waterproof clothing is essential. You can also expect hot and humid conditions on your Madagascar vacation.

Find the Perfect Safari

1000 Views of Madagascar

1000 Views of Madagascar • 12 Days

Andasibe Reserve Lemur Experience

Andasibe Reserve Lemur Experience • 5 Days

Andasibe Reserve Wildlife Experience

Andasibe Reserve Wildlife Experience • 3 Days

Barefoot Luxury Madagascar Explorer

Barefoot Luxury Madagascar Explorer • 9 Days

Beach and Lemur Explorer

Beach and Lemur Explorer • 13 Days

Diego & Montagne d’Ambre Package

Diego & Montagne d’Ambre Package • 4 Days

Île Sainte-Marie Beach Package

Île Sainte-Marie Beach Package • 6 Days

Island Gems of Madagascar

Island Gems of Madagascar • 11 Days

Madagascar North Adventure

Madagascar North Adventure • 8 Days

Masoala Adventure

Masoala Adventure • 9 Days

Morondava Baobab and Tsingy

Morondava Baobab and Tsingy • 6 Days

Beach and Lemur Explorer

Nosy Be Beach • 8 Days

Southern Flamingo Package

Southern Flamingo Package • 4 Days

Andasibe national park, ankarana national park, antananarivo, antandroy spiny forest, avenue of baobabs, île aux nattes, île sainte marie, isalo national park, masoala national park, montagne d’ambre national park, pangalanes canal, ranomafana national park, tsingy de bemaraha, accommodation, 293 on komba • nosy komba, allamanda hotel • diego suarez, anakao ocean lodge • anakao, andasibe cyperus hotel • andasibe, ankarana lodge • antisiranana, constance tsarabanjina lodge • tsarabanjina island, grace lodge • andasibe, mandrare river camp • madagascar, miavana by time + tide • nosy ankao, nature lodge • diego, princesse bora lodge & spa • ile sainte-marie, ravintsara wellness hotel • nosy be, sambatra beach lodge • ile aux natte, tsara komba luxury beach & forest lodge • anjiabe.

Get in touch with our experienced consultants, dedicated to curating your ideal African safari. Let us guide you towards the perfect destination, ensuring your trip is nothing short of extraordinary.

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With stunning beaches and unrivalled biodiversity, there's no place in Africa quite like Madagascar

Madagascar Safari and Beach Holidays

Madagascar, the fourth-largest island in the world, lies in the Indian Ocean just off the coast of Mozambique, and includes several much smaller islands in its diverse archipelago.

I would thoroughly recommend that anyone wanting to go to Madagascar should use Gane and Marshall Francoise

The wonderful island retreat of Madagascar is naturally an excellent destination for a beach holiday , but with a rich past and a diverse range of ecosystems, Madagascar is also an ideal destination for those looking to delve further into Africa's rich history and culture, or for wildlife enthusiasts looking to experience an alternative African wildlife holiday, away from the usual safari routes of Eastern and Southern Africa. Whatever attracts you to the island, holidays to Madagascar are always exciting and unique.

A prominent chain of mountains cuts through the centre of Madagascar, accounting for the differences - in landscape, weather and culture - between the eastern and western coasts. The eastern coast is more densely populated than the west, with large swathes of rainforest and fertile plains, whereas the west coast has a drier climate, its landscape defined by its palm savannahs and rocky steppes. Southern Madagascar is equally dry and arid, notable for its spiny forests and great baobab trees - a complete contrast to the green east - while northern Madagascar boasts many of the island's most beautiful beaches and private island retreats.

Madagascar's islands are surrounded by turquoise seas, pristine beaches and coral reefs teeming with fish. In terms of biodiversity, Madagascar truly is one of a kind, and visitors retain long, warm memories of their holidays here. Of roughly 200,000 known species found in Madagascar, about 150,000 are endemic, making Madagascar a wonderful and unique wildlife destination. Endemic to the island are more than 35 types of lemur and 3,000 species of butterfly, 1,000 orchids and 7 kinds of baobab tree. Madagascar also abounds with unusual and colourful flowers and other flora, as well as a diversity of reptiles, amphibians and birds.

You can get a feel for what's possible in Madagascar by looking at our sample Madagascar itineraries, which cover the length and breadth of the island and its surrounding archipelagos. Whether your interests are in wildlife, walking or beaches - or a combination of the three! - our team can help you plan a tailor-made itinerary that takes into account your budget and preferences. Contact us today to start planning your holiday to Madagascar.

Several of the images on our Madagascar pages are used with the kind permission of Kamili Safaris.


Travel in Madagascar during February and March is often advised against due to the risk of cyclones. This is the principal rainy season, though the east coast may experience cold rains between May and September.

Madagascar's central plateau tends to be cooler and drier than the coast with average temperatures between 13-19c April to November.

The coastal temperature varies between 21-32c.

There is excellent whale watching off Ile Ste Marie between July and September.

Infrastructure is limited, and so your Madagascar holiday should not be rushed - plenty of time is needed to get the most from your visit.

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Madagascar By Region

Southern Madagascar is a dry and arid land with a very different climate to the wet and lush eastern regions of the country. It offers its own unique attractions, including some great hiking routes, f....

The northern coast of Madagascar offers pristine islands and islets with fabulous beaches, most famous among them Nosy Be and Iranja. Elsewhere, much of the region consists of mountainous rainforest a....

The east coast of Madagascar is a haven of wildlife and lush Madagascan rainforest, not to mention stunning beaches - everything, in short, that the island is famous for.....

Of all the Madagascan islands, Nosy Be in the north west is undoubtedly the best known, famous for both its beautiful beaches and its laidback atmosphere.....

The Highlands

The Highlands form the central hilly region of Madagascar, dominated by the city of Antananarivo and its rich hinterland of mountains and rainforest.....

The west of Madagascar is drier than the east, and consequently large pockets of deciduous forest flourish here, harbouring a wealth of rare and endemic wildlife.....

Our Madagascar Itineraries

madagascar safari and beach holiday

The South of Madagascar

Journey to the South of Madagascar on this 13-day tour. Beginning in the capital of Antananarivo, you'll explore Andasibe-Mantadia and Ranomafana National Parks, before continuing to the Dry South and Isalo, then ending on the coast at Ifaty.


Prices from  £1960  pp

madagascar safari and beach holiday

Journey to the North of Madagascar

This itinerary takes in the best of Madagascar’s northern and eastern regions. Beginning in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, you will visit the eastern parks of Andasibe, Vakona, and Mantadia before flying to the reserves and beaches of northern Madagascar, including Amber Mountain, Anakarana, and Nosy Be.

Prices from  £1885  pp

madagascar safari and beach holiday

Madagascar East and West

From the Pangalanes Canal to the Kirindy Forest Reserve, explore the contrasting sights and sounds of Madagascar’s eastern and western coastlines on this 13-day journey beginning and ending in Tana.

Prices from  £2545  pp

madagascar safari and beach holiday

Madagascar North (with Miavana)

Revel in northern Madagascar’s spectacular inland and coastal scenery on this 7-night luxury safari and beach itinerary, visiting Madagascar's newest and most luxurious beach retreat, Miavana.

Prices from  £9845  pp

Madagascar By Activity

Madagascar beach holidays.

Madagascar boasts some of Africa's most beautiful, yet least explored, beaches, from the developing resorts of Ile Saint Marie and Nosy Be to the private reserve of Anjajavy.....

Additional Information

Visa requirements.

30-day tourist visas are available on arrival and payable in cash in local currency, US dollars or in euros. Ensure that your passport is stamped.

There is no Madagascar Embassy in the UK but if a visa is required in advance this may be obtained through the Embassy of Madagascar in Paris.

Your passport must be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Madagascar. You should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

We recommend you check visa requirements before travel as requirements can change.

When to Travel

Madagascar is a huge island with a variety of weather patterns between the north and south of the country. Apart from the months of January to March, when rainfall is high and there is a risk of cyclones, the island can be comfortably visited throughout the year.

July to November are the best months for most itineraries, offering little or no rainfall and moderate temperatures.

To see humpback whales, you should plan to visit between July and September, when the whales make their way from the South Pole to the east coast of Madagascar to calve. Lemurs can be viewed all year-round, though the hottest months (Dec-Feb) do offer some advantages to wildlife photographers hoping to spot reptiles and amphibians. Birding is excellent throughout the year, though September and November are notable for being the peak breeding season.

Health & Immunisation

Please contact your GP/travel nurse for the latest advice regarding inoculations. See also the NHS Fit for Travel website.

If you have previously visited or transited through a country where yellow fever is a risk, you will be asked to provide a yellow fever certificate.

Good protection against malaria is strongly recommended. Most importantly – insect bite precautions e.g. insect repellent containing DEET (Autan, Jungle Formula or Pure DEET). Your doctor may advise you to take anti-malarials.

We must stress that our suggestions for medical protection are purely advisory and you should always consult your GP for the latest information.

The Malagasy Ariary is the national currency of Madagascar. We recommend exchanging euros, US dollars or sterling into the local currency on arrival. ATM machines are found in larger towns. These only dispense Ariary. The most widely accepted card is Visa. Credit cards are not widely accepted. Travellers cheques are not accepted.

For safaris we recommend a tip of approx. $10 per client per day for your guide, or approx 30,000 ariary.

There is usually a box at the camp for tipping cooks, waiters, and other staff. We recommend about $5 per client per day into the kitty.

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madagascar safari and beach holiday

Our Destinations

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Madagascar Safaris

A truly unique place, a safari holiday in Madagascar offers visitors charm and eccentricity, from the country’s one-of-a-kind wildlife to the picturesque towns.

madagascar safari and beach holiday

  • Best Time to Visit
  • Top experiences
  • Parks & Areas
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About Madagascar

Madagascar’s rainforests ring to the calls of lemurs and exotic birdlife, while humpback whales breed in its waters and ancient 2CV taxis ply the streets.

A Madagascar safari holiday offers eccentric charm in spades. Not quite Africa, part Indonesia with a dash of Arabic, all overlaid with a French accent. This is a country with the capacity to surprise on many levels, whether through its wildlife, the beautiful scenery or the food.

While it may not be the obvious choice for those looking for a sophisticated modern safari experience, it will reward those of a curious nature looking for a bit of adventure in a wildly exciting corner of the planet. And some of Madagascar’s wildlife experiences – particularly the rainforests and coast on the Northeast of the island – are as good as anything you’ll find on mainland Africa.

For families, too, Madagascar provides a cornucopia of eclectic experiences that will keep children enthralled, big or small. Enter the rainforest on foot and be smitten by the extraordinary endemic species that live there — brightly coloured chameleons that resemble the beaded trinkets for sale in Johannesburg airport or some of the world’s last Indris. These are child-size, sombre-looking lemurs with a call like a vuvuzela and the ability to leap seven metres in a single bound.

Take a night walk to discover creatures sleeping deeply on the ends of branches, or explore massive caves and landscapes that look like they came from a Hollywood set. Or head to the coast and be mesmerised by the turquoise waters, white sandy beaches and rich sea life.

If you know where to look, Madagascar still contains sensational areas of wilderness. While much of the island has suffered from terrible deforestation, the country’s last remaining rainforests are still cathedrals to biodiversity, teeming with colourful mammals, reptiles, birds, insects and plants — many of which remain unknown to science.

In all, Madagascar is home to over 100 species of lemur, while stunning islands and beaches offer the chance to see, and even swim with, a plethora of marine wildlife, from humpback whales to whale sharks, manta rays and turtles. Those after real adventure should consider taking the RN5 — “the world’s worst highway” — which follows the magical east coast of the island, for five days of unspoiled beaches and small fishing villages.

+ Read More

madagascar safari and beach holiday

  • The lemurs and endemic species
  • See the humpback whale migration
  • The gem of Masoala Peninsula
  • Authentic and off the beaten track

madagascar safari and beach holiday

A print anthology of safari and wilderness travel with over 220 pages of travel inspiration.

Tailor made

Top Reasons To Visit Madagascar

Often the best safaris involve looking beyond the obvious highlights. It’s about the myriad exhilarating encounters that will make your heart sing. These are encounters that nobody could ever predict, but that make your safari genuinely unique.

madagascar safari and beach holiday

Best Time To Visit Madagascar

A versatile paradise for most of the year.

Make the most of Madagascar in its high season from July to December

Although some guide books suggest visiting Madagascar only from September to November, the island is so large, and its climate so varied that when you choose to book your trip will ultimately depend on what you’re most eager to get out of it. However, the high season starts in July and stretches through to September, coinciding neatly with European summer holidays, though in Madagascar, this falls into the island’s winter months.

From July to September, look out for breaching humpback whales as they migrate here from Antarctica to breed and calve in the island’s warm waters. While they can sometimes be spotted from the shore, you can get an even closer look by taking a boat trip from Ile Sainte-Marie or Masoala. At Christmas time whale sharks can be found in the islands around Nosy Be, while manta rays and sea turtles are year-round residents.

The animals most easily seen between September and December are lemurs, with October and November being the perfect time to track baby lemurs and chameleons. The hot, relatively dry climate comes in advance of the three-month rainy season, giving families and explorers alike the chance to combine some time on safari with relaxing on the beach.

Explore Madagascar by land from April to June

Madagascar’s autumn showcases the replenished country following the heavy monsoon season.

With many of Madagascar’s safari parks and resorts closing altogether as monsoon season strikes at the start of the year, the following months are ideal for chilling out on its glorious beaches or exploring the rainforests in search of its legendary wildlife.

The days are still warm and the nights warmer than they are in July and August time, giving the perfect opportunity to relax on the beaches. You will still experience the odd shower, but it comes as a welcome break from Madagascar’s heat. And, thanks to the wet season before, rates are relatively low around the island and parks are much less busy. 

madagascar safari and beach holiday

Talk to our Experts

They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.

Madagascar’s Top experiences

madagascar safari and beach holiday

Madagascar’s RN5 to Masoala National Park

Unspoilt rainforest, lemurs, humpback whales and virgin forest combine with stunning beaches on this epic adventure up the wild east coast of Madagascar

Madagscar’s Parks & Areas

Madagascar’s landscapes vary from verdant rainforests and palm-fringed beaches to semi-arid deserts and mangroves teeming with wildlife.

madagascar safari and beach holiday

Masoala National Park

The densely forested Masoala Peninsula contains the largest remaining block of protected rainforest in Madagascar and harbours a wealth of rare and unique species.

– Protected rainforest with a wealth of rare species

– Spot the glamorous red-ruffed lemur

– Swimming, sea-kayaking and snorkelling

– Stay in the beautiful Masoala Forest Lodge

madagascar safari and beach holiday


Just a few hours to the east of Antananarivo, Andasibe-Mantadia is where the majority of people come to get their lemur fix.

– Encounter habituated Indris in Analamazaotra

– Walks in Madagascar’s primary rainforest

– Numerous indigenous lemurs in the wild

– Brightly coloured chameleons, geckos & bugs

madagascar safari and beach holiday

Madagascar’s Deep South

Visit Madagascar’s Deep South to spot ring-tailed lemurs aplenty and explore a wild empty coastline dotted with shipwrecks, whales and dolphins.

– Ring-tailed lemurs aplenty

– Wild empty coastline

– Home to the Spiny Forest

– Bottle nose dolphins and humpback whales

Our Favourite Camps & Lodges

madagascar safari and beach holiday

The carrot at the end of any Madagascar trip is the Masoala Peninsula and the gem of a forest lodge – the Madagascar of our imagination.

Madagascar (FAQs) Need to Know

What is the best way to get around madagascar.

Many parts of Madagascar are completely cut off from the rest of the island and reachable only by plane or boat. Much of the road and rail network are in terrible condition, which can make visiting multiple locations difficult if not planned correctly.

Navigating our Madagascar wildlife holidays often involves a combination of private car, 4×4, pirogue, and plane, plus a shared boat and scheduled flight. Drives can sometimes be long, but are scenic, and of course you can always stop at your convenience to explore areas of interest and stretch your legs. Flying lets you access some of the island’s most remote parts in relative comfort, while Madagascar’s national parks are best explored on foot, helping you get deep into the heart of the forests.

What is the food like in Madagascar?

As a country which draws on a mix of African, French, Indonesian and Arabic heritages, Madagascar cuisine is especially diverse, and prepared extremely simply. Its island setting allows for a great variety of seafood and fish dishes, while steak is particularly popular. Madagascan street food also encompasses spring rolls, samosas, and a delicacy known as koba, which is a sliced mixture of banana, rice and peanuts, wrapped up in the leaf of a banana plant.

What languages are spoken in Madagascar?

The most widely-spoken languages in Madagascar are Malagasy and French, the former being a mix of Polynesian and French. However, both are considered Madagascar’s official languages, with French most commonly spoken by the country’s wealthier citizens. English also became an official language of Madagascar in 2007 and is widely understood in hotels and by guides and drivers.

From Our Travel Guides

madagascar safari and beach holiday

Month by Month Guide to Visiting Madagascar

madagascar safari and beach holiday

Top Safari Destinations for Christmas

madagascar safari and beach holiday

6 Of The Best Beach & Safari Holidays

Meet our travel experts.

It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary. The Natural High team have unrivalled experience and will take your ideas and turn them into your trip of a lifetime.

madagascar safari and beach holiday

Into The Wild Brochure

Need some more inspiration? Request a copy of Into The Wild, our comprehensive anthology of safaris and wilderness travel.


superb travel planners for Madagascar

Rod’s communications were excellent- through the planning phases and during our trip. His advice on where to go and what to pack was consistently ex…

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Kept fully informed, well advised, Catherine was great at reminders and checking in that everything was organised. The recommended flight agent was a…


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Amboseli trip…fantastic

incredibly helpful whilst planning trip, then everything went smoothly when we were there, great accommodation, transportation, food, guides etc etc. …

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When we weren’t laughing we were moved to tears – thank you!

From my first conversations with Vanessa and Catherine I felt the comfort of knowing I was in good hands and had connected to people with an evident p…

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Outstanding bespoke trip. Every tiny detail was taken care of. We stayed in a variety of lodges and the service was excellent throughout, as were the …

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We live in Canada and have relied on Vanessa Janion to plan and organize 3 trips to Africa for our family members. Without a doubt she has consisten…

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Great safari. Great sightings. Hiking. Had it all….

Thank you for organising an excellent trip. Your service was responsive and helpful. Occasional slip-ups in the written detail made me wonder how meti…

Brilliantly planned adventures in Uganda and Madagascar

Rod organised 2 excellent trips to Africa for me this summer – the first in June to Uganda and the second in August to Madagascar. Both trips benefit…

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Simply first class on every level. Catherine Ronan was ‘on it’ from the start and built the most fabulous bespoke holiday for the family in Mozambiqu…

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Avenue of baobabs, Madagascar

© ©Javarman,Shutterstock

Verreaux's sifaka, Madagascar

© AGMarks

Tsingy Bemaraha, Madagascar

© ©DvandeWater,Shutterstock

Ile Sainte Marie, Madagascar

© Javarman,Shutterstock

Madagascar holidays

Lemurs, baobabs and beaches... Madagascar is a truly unique destination for nature lovers.

Tailor-made Madagascar holidays

If you’re thinking about a holiday in Madagascar you’re probably keen on wildlife and want to see the unique lemurs (the only place in the world they exist), or perhaps you’re looking for an unusual luxury beach holiday with a touch of wildlife and nature too. We can tailor-make a Madagascar holiday to be exactly what you want.

We had a special eye to eye experience with an indri and baby - after a long climb we emerged opposite an indri sitting in the top of a tree. After about 5 minutes a little black bundle of fur uncurled itself from its mother's abdomen.

Call:  01473 890499

Start planning your tailor-made holiday now. Tell us what you want, and we will tailor make your perfect trip.

Client Rating for Madagascar 5/5 from 9 reviews

Mandrare and Manafiafy

11 days from £8000pp plus international flights.

Explore Madagascar's nature, wildlife, beaches and culture while staying at two beautiful eco-lodges in the south, enjoying fine cuisine and excellent hospitality.

  • ​See lemurs: ringtail, mouse, sportive ...
  • Explore the unique spiny forest
  • Beautiful remote beaches
  • Explore coastal mangroves
  • Spend time in local communities
  • Gorgeous camp and lodge

Special things to do and see in Madagascar

Madagascar is the only places to see lemurs, but in addition it’s excellent for unusual flora (baobabs and other spiny forest species), strange spiky limestone formations called tsingy, fabulous beaches and fascinating culture. Read about some of the wonderful things you can see and do in Madagscar.

Lemur spotting in Madagascar

Searching for an indri.

Hearing the song of Madagascar's largest lemur, the indri, is like listening to a whale in a forest.

When to go to Madagascar

The best time to come to Madagascar is from about April to December, avoiding the monsoon months of January to March. For general wildlife, we’d recommend June to October, but birders would be better off in November or December if you can cope with the heat.

Places to go in Madagascar

Read about the highlights of this incredible country in our short summary guides to the main places to go.

Madagascar’s Beaches & Islands

Glorious beaches and idyllic Indian Ocean Islands might not be the first thing you think of when planning a trip to Madagascar. However, there are some stunning coastal spots and islands worthy of your attention; from Nosy Be to Manafiafy and many more in between.

Madagascar’s Wildlife

Madagascar is best known as a wildlife destination. From the teeny tiny mouse lemur to the largest of the island’s mammals, the fossa. With a huge array of chameleons and much more in between nature lovers can’t go wrong. There is such variety in wildlife throughout Madagascar, that a holiday here never gets boring.

Madagascar’s Towns & Culture

Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island, over twice the size of the UK. The culture of the island is a fusion that reflects the melting pot of influences over the centuries from east Africa and southeast Asia.

Madagascar’s Habitat & Landscape

Madagascar really is quite unlike anywhere else on earth. The unique and varied landscape plays host to a diverse range of flora and fauna, some of which will not be found anywhere else on the planet.

Places we love to stay in Madagascar

Here you’ll find a small collection of our favourite places to stay in Madagascar, though as an independent tour operator specialising in tailor-made holidays, we actually sell a much wider choice of Madagascan properties than we show.

Vakona Forest Lodge

Couleur cafe, satrana lodge, andasibe hotel, facts and information, flight time.

Flights from Europe to Madagascar take about 10/11 hours.

Malagasy and French are Madagascar's official languages. English or German is spoken by a municipal workers and guides.A basic working knowledge of French will make communication easier.

GMT +3 hours

Most nationalities require a Madagascar visa, obtainable from the High Commission in London (or on arrival into International Airport.

Malaria is present in most of the country. No vaccinations are compulsory.

Read more in our Tribes blog

The Tribes blog brings you regular articles written by our specialists, travellers or partners and conservationists in our destinations. We have a big collection of articles now, so have a mooch to find some interesting short reads.

Searching for an indri in Madagascar

This was the last but one day of my first ever trip to Madagascar, the Big Island  Perhaps stupidly, I wasn’t prepared for the size.

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Madagascar Safaris, Tours &  holidays

Home » African Safari Destinations » Madagascar Safaris, Tours & Holidays

Madagascar Safaris

Madagascar, officially the Republic of Madagascar, and previously known as the Malagasy Republic, is an island country in the Indian Ocean, approximately 400 kilometers off the coast of East Africa. At 592,800 square kilometers, Madagascar is the world’s second-largest island country. About 300 miles east of southern Africa, across the Mozambique Channel lay the island of Madagascar. Best known for its lemurs (primitive relatives of monkeys, apes, and humans), colorful chameleons, stunning orchids, and towering baobab trees, Madagascar is home to some of the world’s most unique flora and fauna.

Madagascar is a large island nation in the Indian Ocean. It is off the east coast of Africa. Twenty-two million people live there; its capital is Antananarivo.

Madagascar is renowned for being home to a cat-like primate called the lemur. There are 50 different types of lemur that live in the forests of Madagascar. Indri is the largest of all lemurs found on Madagascar Island.

The developing country’s frequent political instability, weak infrastructure, restrictive business environment, and declining agricultural productivity are a few answers. These factors reduce the opportunity for development in Madagascar and decrease the Malagasy people’s living conditions.

How to get to Madagascar

The only practical way of getting to Madagascar is by air, as there are no passenger ferries from South Africa, Mozambique, or Tanzania. There aren’t even any boats running from Madagascar’s nearest neighbors, the Comoros Islands, and Mauritius.

With limited direct flights, the best way of traveling to Madagascar from the UK, Ireland, North America, Australia, and New Zealand is via Paris, Nairobi, or Bangkok. There are direct flights to Madagascar from Johannesburg, which might not only suit visitors from South Africa but also be a handy connection hub for travelers from Australia and New Zealand. Most planes fly into Antananarivo, the capital, though a handful of French and Italian charter companies sometimes offer seasonal flights directly to Nosy Be from Paris and Milan. Read on for advice and tips on how to get to Madagascar.

Passport, Visa, and Entry requirements for Madagascar

The overall crime rate in Madagascar is lower than many other African countries and is therefore considered safer for travel. Regardless of this reputation, however, the fallout of the political turmoil has led to increased unemployment rates resulting in a rise in crime, particularly muggings and robberies.

Visa, Passport, and entry requirement

Tourist visas are valid for up to 90 days. Business visas are valid for up to 5 years.

Business visas for stays longer than 90 days must be obtained through the Madagascar Embassy in the US. Once issued, the visa holder has one month to enter Madagascar and apply for the visa to be extended by Madagascar’s Ministry of Interior.

Non-extendable tourist visas are available upon arrival or in advance. They can also be obtained electronically.

The essential requirement for a Madagascar visa is a passport that is valid for at least 6 months from the time of entry and has at least three blank pages. Additional requirements vary depending on the type of visa and the length of stay.

Proof of a yellow fever vaccination is required only if the applicant has been to a yellow fever endemic country within the last six months. Additional health precautions are strongly encouraged.

Visa fees can change at any time, based on decisions by the Madagascar government. Fees generally do not include service charges, postage, and other related costs.

Business visas start around $50, tourist visas cost about $30 but can exceed $50. All on-arrival visas must be paid in cash, prepare accordingly.

The health sector of Madagascar

Madagascar’s healthcare system comprises western and traditional medicine practices. Traditional medicine is available throughout the country and practiced largely in rural provinces. Traditional medicine in Madagascar uses plant-based products for medicinal purposes, for example, the Raraha plant is used for its aesthetic qualities.

Western medicine is available through public and private facilities. General hospitals are confined to the capital city Antananarivo. Other urban areas across Madagascar have hospitals, but rural areas largely lack any presence of medical facilities, Hence why traditional medicine is largely practiced.

It can be a challenging task to find the best private health insurance policy in Madagascar. One of the best decisions experts or travelers can make is to consult an experienced insurance broker.

With two decades of experience matching experts with the most optimal health insurance solutions on the market, Pacific Prime leverages its close partnerships with all major insurers and has an extensive portfolio of all the best plans. In addition to having the best health insurance policies, Pacific Prime also offers unparalleled service and outstanding claims support.

Malaria and Yellow fever vaccination for  Madagascar

Most travelers to Madagascar will need vaccinations for hepatitis A, typhoid fever, influenza, and polio, as well as medications for malaria prophylaxis and travelers’ diarrhea. Other immunizations may be necessary depending upon the circumstances of the trip and the medical history of the traveler, as discussed below. Insect repellents are recommended, in conjunction with other measures to prevent mosquito bites. All travelers should visit either a travel health clinic or their personal physician 4-8 weeks before departure.

Malaria: Prophylaxis with Lariam (mefloquine), Malarone (atovaquone/proguanil), or doxycycline is recommended for all areas.

Currency of  Madagascar

The local currency in Madagascar is Malagasy Ariary. The most accepted foreign currency is Euro, but US dollars and GBP are easily changed. We recommend that you carry a mix of denominations.

There are money changing facilities (forex bureaux & bank kiosks) available at the major banks in Antananarivo or at the airport on your arrival. You will be able to change money in most main towns and cities. The most accepted foreign currency is the Euro, although the US Dollar is also accepted.

We recommend you change your money upon arrival, as it is more difficult to change money whilst on safari. There are ATM machines available in the major towns and the most widely accepted card is Visa. All ATMs will only dispense Ariary. There are very few places where credit cards can be used so please only use them as an absolute emergency. Please do not take travelers’ cheques as you will not be able to change these in Madagascar.

Official Language of  Madagascar

Malagasy is by far the most widely spoken language. Nevertheless, many people involved in the tourism industry speak some English, while visitors with a good understanding of French will be at an advantage in making themselves understood.

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Best time to travel to madagascar.

Broadly speaking, the dry months are in the winter between April and September, but rainfall varies enormously in different areas. Try to avoid July/August and the Christmas/New Year period when popular places are crowded. January to March is the rainy season when some more remote places get cut off by the swollen rivers, particularly in the north and west. However, the off-peak season can be rewarding, with cheaper international airfares and accommodation and fewer other tourists.

September is nice but frequently windy in the south. April and May often have lovely weather, and the countryside is green after the rainy season. Keen naturalists have their own requirements: botanists may want to go in February when many of the orchids are in flower, and herpetologists will prefer the spring/summer because reptiles are more active – and brightly colored – during those months. Bear in mind that giant jumping rats, dwarf lemurs, tenrecs, and some reptiles are less active and so harder to see during the cool dry months of June to September. Our favorite months to visit Madagascar are October and November when the weather is usually fine but not too hot, the jacarandas are in flower, the lemurs have babies, and lychees are sold from the roadside stalls in the east.

What to wear in Madagascar

Modest clothing is advisable in the bigger towns and cities in Madagascar, however, in the lodges and camps and on the beaches at the coast, it is perfectly fine to wear shorts and shirts or beachwear. A warm fleece or jumper is advised for the cooler evenings.

What to bring while traveling to Madagascar

It’s important to pack smart for Madagascar: limit your baggage to 15 kg and use soft bags.

  • Malagasy phrasebook
  • Rain jacket
  • Warm clothes
  • Loose change
  • Digital camera or binoculars
  • Mosquito repellent
  • A quick-drying towel
  • Solar charger
  • Water bottle

Car hire and driving in Madagascar

Madagascar is safe to travel independently and it is a lot of fun to do so. Otherwise, we would not allow car rental without a driver. But, there are a number of restricted areas for which a driver is needed.

Accommodation in Madagascar

Accommodation is not a problem in Madagascar for tourists but during the high season from June to September and from December an advance booking may be required as there are many tourists

Local food of  Madagascar

Madagascar is best known for its diversity when it comes to its cuisine. The country is proud to be one that features some of the world’s most delicious dishes. Rice is the staple of the local people and you will notice that it is rice that dominates much of the cuisine. The local dishes also feature a variety of vegetables along with seafood and meat. This completes the meal that one would eat in Madagascar. Food is generally flavourful and it consists of some basic ingredients like onions, tomatoes, garlic, and ginger. Drooling already? If so, continue reading below to find out more about the top traditional food that features prominently in the cuisine in Madagascar.

Tipping while Travelling in Madagascar

Although Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world; you should never be tempted to  tip  less than 500 to 1000 Ariary for an entire day trip. .For restaurant visits, about 5% of the price is considered an appropriate  tip . A little care should be taken with  tips  especially at Ivato airport in Antananarivo for safety reasons ensure you have tipping money separate.

Further information for Madagascar

Madagascar is one of the best destinations to see Lemurs in the world and it’s also a spectacular beach destination and it can be perfectly combined with gorilla tracking in Uganda and Rwanda, wildebeest migration in Kenya and Tanzania.

Safety of Madagascar

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Luxury Madagascar Safaris

  • Itineraries
  • Where to go
  • Accommodations
  • Inspiration

Luxury & Private Madagascar Safaris

Sitting more than 300 miles off the coast of Mozambique , Madagascar is a premier destination for private safaris that appeals to the intrepid wildlife-lover who’s been everywhere on mainland Africa .

Spanning more than 220,000 square miles, travelers will find steep escarpments with lush tropical forests, expansive central highlands of fertile rice valleys and grassy hills, desert, shrublands, 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 per cent 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 more than 100 species and sub-species of lemur altogether.

What to expect on a luxury trip to Madagascar

Madagascar is a big country, and the fourth-largest island in the world. It’s capital, Antananarivo (a.k.a. Tana), lies in the country’s center. Though we like Tana as an introduction to Malagasy culture and history, this city has notoriously terrible traffic and is most commonly used as a jumping-off point between wildlife locations elsewhere in the country.

From Tana, you will look to the far reaches of the country’s circumference to find the most iconic points of interest. But accessing these far away areas can prove to be a challenge, in large part due to the national airline (Tsaradia) being unreliable, and the roads unmaintained. We find the best way to explore Madagascar is by incorporating charter flights (either scheduled or private), in order to eliminate long stretches of bumpy roads or uncertain flight schedules. Of course, the cost of a chartered flight is higher than driving or flying on a national carrier, so we can work with you to shape the best itinerary for your budget, interests, and time frame.

Ultra-luxury camps and lodges are not the main focus in Madagascar, but what you sacrifice in creature comforts, you more than make up for in unique experiences and adventure. If luxury is at the top of your list, Madagascar might not be the best fit. While the country has a handful of luxury lodges, accommodations tend to be fairly basic—clean and comfortable, but not five-star.

Madagascar coast with lush park in foreground and blue waters beyond on Madagascar safari

Admire the views between underwater excursions. ©Madagascar Tourism

Madagascar, Lemurs in the forest of Ankarana N.P.

Madagascar expert travel tips

  • Madagascar is vast, and has so much to offer. Instead of tacking it on to your traditional safari as an extension, think of it as a stand-alone destination. You’ll thank us later.
  • Avenue of the Baobabs can get busy around June, through to October. Beat the crowds by seeing baobabs at Mandrare or Anjajavy instead!
  • This destination is for the adventurous traveler who is okay with waking up to a frog in their toilet and bumping around on potholed roads.
  • Try the romazava  (a ginger-flavored meat and vegetable stew) and  ravitoto  (shredded manioc leaves with fried bread and coconut).

Best time to visit Madagascar

Madagascar’s climate is generally tropical with varying amounts of rainfall. Coastal areas tend to be hot throughout the year with much more moderate temperatures in the central, elevated regions.

In general, the best time to travel is April/May and September/October, on the shoulders of the cool and dry winter months (May to October). June to August are good for weather, but tend to get busier with tourists. During this time the central highlands, which include Antananarivo , can get cold and windy.

Madagascar can experience cyclones and extreme rain from January to March, so these summer months should be avoided. The roads can become impassable in these conditions.

Madagascar, Baobabs at Mandrare

Who will enjoy traveling to Madagascar?

People who want adventure and unique wildlife will love Madagascar.

It’s ideal for travelers who want to get outdoors and out of the car. The island offers diverse hiking options from rocky, arid landscapes to lush tropical forests, kayaking and canoeing through mangrove forests, and more. The island is best seen and explored through hands-on activities that get you moving.

Madagascar is also a unique destination for wildlife-enthusiasts who don’t mind skipping the big game of mainland Africa. You won’t find wildebeest and lion here, but you will find a biodiversity hotspot with animals found nowhere else on the planet.

For travelers who want to see lemurs, Madagascar is the top choice .

How much does a luxury Madagascar vacation cost?

As a safari destination, Madagascar offers exclusive accommodation in remote areas though the average lodge cost is less expensive than Tanzania or South Africa . That said, we recommend including charter flights for internal transport, which drives the cost back up to typical mainland safari costs.

You can expect prices as low as $500 or upwards of $1000 (per person per night), dependent on season, accommodation, type of internal transportation, and individual needs/preferences.

Best things to do in Madagascar

Many of the activities in Madagascar are outside the vehicle: hiking , night walks , cycling , kayaking , you name it.

  • Guided hikes through rainforests , karst rock pinnacles, and towering baobabs are one of our favorite ways to explore and get to know the island.
  • Canoeing and kayaking through the waterways is another great option when you’re ready to rest your legs without leaving nature.
  • With a mix of driving and flying you get to see the country from both perspectives.

Note : For travelers with limited mobility, this should be considered when choosing Madagascar as a destination. Additionally, the bumpy roads will not be comfortable for anyone who suffers from back pain. That said, a select few properties can assist travelers with mobility issues, and provide a great experience (including the opportunity to see lemurs). These select properties are some of the country’s most upmarket options, only accessible by charter.

Wildlife in Madagascar

Lemurs are the most popular among visitors, with over 100 sub-species calling the island home. You’ll also find unique mammals such as the cat-like fossa, and the planet’s smallest-known chameleon (plus two-thirds of the world’s total chameleons). Birders will delight in the more than 300 species found here, while humpback whales, sea turtles, and aye-aye (type of lemur) all call the island (or its waters) home as well.

Lemur seen on our best Madagascar safari

Meet the lemurs of Madagascar

Madagascar, whale shark

Whale shark dive off the coast of Madagascar (Photo from Peter Marshal of I Am Water)

Madagascar, two canoes in aqua water passing by rocks and palm trees seen on Madagascar canoeing safari

Kayak along the tranquil waters

Where to travel to in Madagascar

Madagascar packs a lot of diversity into one island, and we love exploring corner to corner. Some of our highlights include Andasibe-Mantadia National Park , the coastal rainforest reserve of Sainte Luce , Isalo and Ranomafana National Parks , and Anjajvy Forest and Ankarana Reserves . Otherwise, apart from Tana in the center, we can split Madagascar into four areas: East, South, West, and North & Islands.

Eastern Madagascar

In Eastern Madagascar you will find highland forests, which are very wet. Enjoy viewing an incredible number of unique animals while exploring parks such as Andasibe, Mantadia , and Masoala.

Southern Madagascar

Isalo National Park , in Southern Madagascar , boasts beautiful hilly and rocky landscapes, offering plenty of opportunity for hiking. Beyond this, we adore both Madagascar Classic Collection camps and areas. Mandrare River Camp is a safari-style camp through and through with proper tented camps and the fully inclusive lifestyle we safari-goes have become accustomed to. The spiny forest, salty Lake Anony , opportunity for cultural interaction, and incredible array of wildlife make this location unique. Its sister camp, Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge , offers excellent birding and rainforest species on a stunning stretch of private beach.

Western Madagascar

Western Madagascar is fairly dry compared to the rest of the country. Within this region, you will find incredibly diverse landscapes ranging from the rugged Tsingy de Bemaraha Nature Reserve , to the iconic Avenue of the Baobabs .

Northern Madagascar and Islands

Head to Northern Madagascar and Islands for more incredible biodiversity, found in such parks as Ankarana and Montagne d’Ambre . Anjajavy (Relais & Chateaux), located in the north-west, provides an array of experiences from it’s beach-side setting, including wildlife encounters, exploration of diverse nearby landscapes, and cultural interaction.

Lastly, it is off Madagascar’s northern tip that you will find the famous Nosy Be Archipelago , home to many gorgeous islands and some of the countries more luxurious lodges . This beach destination would be the perfect way to end a wildlife-focused itinerary, for those want incredible scuba diving opportunities, or simply to get some R&R.

madagascar safari and beach holiday


madagascar safari and beach holiday

Private luxury safari itineraries in Madagascar

aerial view of the amazing coast of madagascar islands

Madagascar: Lemurs, Rainforest, and Beach

Explore the biodiverse rainforest then relax in paradise

Lemur hanging in tree at Mandrare River Camp

Madagascar for Nature Lovers

Unique Wildlife and Other-Worldly Landscapes

Our favorite luxury safari camps and lodges in Madagascar

Accommodation, manafiafy beach & rainforest lodge, mandrare river camp, constance tsarabanjina.

Let us help you plan a bespoke trip of a lifetime for you.

A woman sitting on a bench in front of a herd of elephants.

Madagascar Beach Holidays

Although famed for its unique wildlife, Madagascar and its offshore islands offer visitors a wonderful choice of quiet, sandy beaches and  reef formations. The Nosy Be Archipelago lying off the northwest coast is awash with bays and colourful coral reefs, whilst Ile Ste Marie (Nosy Boraha) in the east, has sandy coves shaded by palm trees, and is one of the best places to go Whale watching in Madagascar. Less well known, but equally appealing, are beaches of the remote south-west coast at Anakao. Most trips to Madagascar combine wildlife touring with time soaking up the rays.  

Derek Schuurman

Derek Schuurman

Travel Specialist

Explore Madagascar

Madagascar combinations.

Madagascar Rainforests, Wildlife, Tsingy & Beach image 1

Madagascar Rainforests, Wildlife, Tsingy & Beach

On this bespoke, individual itinerary, we aim to show you a superb spectrum of Madagascar's compelling wildlife and stro...

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Madagascar Reef & Rainforest

This is an easy two-week tailor-made holiday in Madagascar combining stunning wildlife-rich eastern rainforests and a lo...

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Madagascar and Mauritius Made Easy

For a relaxed beach holiday with a twist, you cannot beat this trip which combines lemur spotting in a beautiful rainfor...

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Madagascar Made Easy Deluxe

Discerning travellers who don't have too much time available and who would like to get a feel for Madagascar's marvellou...

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Miavana - Luxury Madagascar at its Best

Madagascar's most luxurious property, Miavana has announced an excellent special for 2024. This particular sample itiner...

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For a unique adventure check out our Trans-Serengeti Balloon Safari!

Iranja Beach

Madagascar Wildlife and Beach Express

9 days from £3,515 in the low season (excl. international flights)

Andasibe-Mantadia  –  Nosy Be

Andasibe-Mantadia and Nosy Be island combination

The best two-centre combination in Madagascar for wildlife and beach

The most popular two-centre combination in Madagascar for those after a combination of wildlife with a coastal stint, this itinerary starts with 3 nights in the country's number 1 must see protected rainforest, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park.

Here you can get an excellent fix of Lemur Watching and also, Nocturnal Wildlife Walks to seek out the curious cast of characters that emerge after dusk from their daytime hideouts.

Afterwards, drive back to Antananarivo for a flight north to Nosy Be, largest of the islands in the Nosy Be Archipelago . Of Madagascar's varied microclimates, this is the most benign and enjoyable. Stay for 4 nights in one of the new Residence Villas - or, if another property in the region takes your fancy, call us for a costing.

The expert planning your trip will have travelled extensively around the places you wish to visit

The itinerary…

Day 1: a warm welcome to madagascar.

Antananarivo Lovely Tsiry

  • Antananarivo

On arrival in Antananarivo, you will be met and transferred to the stylish La Maison Gallieni for an overnight stay with breakfast included.

Days 2 - 4: The Madagascar Rainforest experience: Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

Andasibe Rainforest

Andasibe Rainforest

After breakfast, your dedicated professional, English-speaking Malagasy guide and your driver will collect you from Maison Gallieni. Set off on the 3hr,30min drive eastwards to the escarpment, where you stay 3 nights in an en-suite bungalow at Andasibe Hotel or Vakona Forest Lodge on a half board basis.

Your guides will take you on day and night rainforest walks, in search of the resident wildlife which include the marvellous Indris, which sound like humpback-whales.

For one of your night walks, you can explore the concession managed by proactive NGO Associaton Mitsinjo. For another, you might prefer to check out a small parcel of rainforest privately looked after by a VOIMMA, a guiding association based at Andasibe. At both sites, wonderful nocturnal wildlife awaits., especially in spring and summer months (September to April)

Day 5: Return to Antananarivo

Mantadia  Black And  White Ruffed  Lemur  Toky  Andriamora

Black and white ruffed lemur

You'll be driven back up to Antananarivo where you stay overnight in Relais Des Plateaux with breakfast included.

Days 6 - 9: Nosy Be Archipelago

Nosy Iranja In Madagascar

You'll be transferred to Antananarivo airport to check in for the flight to Nosy Be. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to Residence Villas to stay 4 nights in a villa with private jacuzzi, all meals included.

During your time here, using The Residence as your base, you can arrange various excursions through reception. (Payable locally). These include a boat trip to the island of Tanikely, a marine reserve around which snorkelling and diving is excellent.

Wildlife enthusiasts can visit Lokobe National Park on south-east Nosy Be island - it protects the last remaining tract of Sambirano Forest on Nosy Be and is home to wildlife such as endangered Black lemurs and colourful Panther chameleons. Lokobe is a sweet experience; getting there partly by dugout canoes is part of the fun.

Day 10: Fly to Antananarivo

Swimming At Nosy Iranja

Swimming in the turquoise sea

You'll be collected from your hotel and transferred to Nosy Be airport to check in for the Air Madagascar flight back to Antananarivo. On arrival, you will be met and time allowing, taken to the Artisans market for some souvenir shopping.

You will have the use of a day room at Relais des Plateaux. Late evening transfer back to the airport for the Air France check in.

Day 11: Departure

Early morning departure back to your home country. Time to start planning the next holiday!

Duration: 10 nights

Location: Madagascar, Africa

Price: £3515pp

Price is based on two adults travelling together and sharing in double room accommodation, includes all private transfers, services of dedicated, private guide and of driver; park permits and park guide fees; excursions as outlined; all accommodation as outlined with meals as listed.

Tailor this trip around your preferred dates, your budget and your ideas.

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    Madagascar Safari and Beach Holidays. Madagascar, the fourth-largest island in the world, lies in the Indian Ocean just off the coast of Mozambique, and includes several much smaller islands in its diverse archipelago. ... Madagascar Beach Holidays. Madagascar boasts some of Africa's most beautiful, yet least explored, beaches, from the ...

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    Variously described as the Lost World, a World Apart and the Land that Time Forgot, Madagascar is a mysterious and compelling destination, offering everything from intrepid expeditions in the mountains to relaxing luxury honeymoons on the beach.The landscape on the world's fourth largest island varies from rainforest and coral reefs, to desert and high plateau, with the coast enjoying a ...

  11. Madagascar Holidays

    About Madagascar. Madagascar's rainforests ring to the calls of lemurs and exotic birdlife, while humpback whales breed in its waters and ancient 2CV taxis ply the streets. A Madagascar safari holiday offers eccentric charm in spades. Not quite Africa, part Indonesia with a dash of Arabic, all overlaid with a French accent.

  12. Best Madagascar beach holidays & Resorts

    Western Baobab Safari - 12 days; On the Zebu Trails - 16 days; Off-the-beaten path - 14 days ... Beach holidays; Custom journey; The Tsingy Express Tour - 3 days; Elite Vacations - 10 days; ... Madagascar beach vacations. Our tours. Discovery Tours . Combo East-West Tours - 7 days;

  13. Madagascar wildlife holidays & beach holidays, tailor-made

    11 days from £8000pp plus international flights. Explore Madagascar's nature, wildlife, beaches and culture while staying at two beautiful eco-lodges in the south, enjoying fine cuisine and excellent hospitality. See lemurs: ringtail, mouse, sportive ... Explore the unique spiny forest.

  14. Madagascar

    Having separated from Africa almost 160 million years ago, this sparsely-populated island is a nature lover's paradise - home to an immense diversity of unique flora and fauna, including endemic plant species, chameleons, reptiles, and over 50 different kinds of lemur . Its spectacular landscapes are resplendent in their variety, from ...

  15. Madagascar Beach Holidays

    More upmarket Miavana is an expensive luxury eco-resort located on the island of Nosy Ankao, which is part of the Nosy Be archipelago in northern Madagascar. The resort is situated on a pristine white-sand beach and surrounded by lush tropical forests. The resort offers 14 spacious villas, each with a private pool and stunning ocean views.

  16. Madagascar Safaris, Tours & Holidays

    Madagascar Safaris, Tours & holidays. Madagascar, officially the Republic of Madagascar, and previously known as the Malagasy Republic, is an island country in the Indian Ocean, approximately 400 kilometers off the coast of East Africa. At 592,800 square kilometers, Madagascar is the world's second-largest island country.

  17. Luxury and Private Madagascar Safaris

    Indulge in a private luxury Madagascar safari, tailored for discerning travelers seeking unparalleled experiences. Private, bespoke, and unforgettable. +1 (212) 226-7331 ... Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge, offers excellent birding and rainforest species on a stunning stretch of private beach. Western Madagascar. Western Madagascar is fairly ...

  18. Madagascar Safari Holiday

    Expert Info on Madagascar Safari Holidays, Sample Madagascar Tours incl lemur safaris, walking, birding & beach resorts by safari experts Cedarberg Africa. ... It's the driest time in Madagascar and so ideal for a beach holiday and also trekking in the forests to see the lemurs. Note that the Central highlands around Tana and the south can be ...

  19. Madagascar Holidays

    Call Us +1 347-708-1755 Enquire Now. Ready to. explore more? Our travel experts are ready to start creating your tailormade trip. Discover Madagascar with Mahlatini Luxury Travel. Tailormade experiences by award-winning specialists. 100% financial protection. Sustainable travel.

  20. Madagascar Beach Holidays 2024/2025

    Safari beach holidays. Wildlife holidays. Family Holidays. Africa is a fantastic destination for families. Take the kids and head off for an adventure in the bush - animals in the wild enthuse and engage children of all ages. ... This is an easy two-week tailor-made holiday in Madagascar combining stunning wildlife-rich eastern rainforests and ...

  21. Why You Need to Travel to Madagascar

    If the local wildlife isn't enough, Madagascar is also the perfect addition to a safari and beach holiday. A unique blend of luxury and off-the-beaten-track adventure gives Madagascar a timeless quality and ensures there is something to entice every traveller. Stroll along blissful white beaches at sunset, shake fins with the local sea life ...

  22. Madagascar Wildlife and Beach Express

    Duration: 10 nights. Location: Madagascar, Africa. Price: £3515pp. Price is based on two adults travelling together and sharing in double room accommodation, includes all private transfers, services of dedicated, private guide and of driver; park permits and park guide fees; excursions as outlined; all accommodation as outlined with meals as ...

  23. Safari & Beach Multi Centre Holidays 2024/2025

    Kenya Classic Safari & Mombasa. Multi Centre Holiday. 14 days / 13 nights. Discover magnificent landscapes and exceptional wildlife viewing on this popular small group safari, before a week to relax on Mombasa's beautiful beaches. Guide Price: £1,985 pp.