Madagascar Group Safari | Classic tour
DAY1: WELCOMING (TRANSFER)
Arrival at Ivato International Airport. You will be welcomed by HT Agency Tours Staff. Once you have passed customs formalities, our Guide will smooth through the rest of the arrivals process – changing money, setting up your phone with the new SIM card, and anything else you need. We will provide 2 (two) SIM cards with Data + National Call + 5mn International call for your stay in Madagascar; it will make our contact easier. Transfer directly to the hotel in town for check-in “Antananarivo”.
NIGHT AT THE NOVOTEL CONVENTION AND SPA (Breakfast)
DAY 2 : ANTANANARIVO - ANDASIBE (PERINET)
After breakfast, we explore Madagascar’s capital, known simply as “Tana“. We drive to the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, consisting of a royal city and an ensemble of sacred places. The Queen’s Palace here is a symbol of the Merina Kingdom, the dynasty that made Madagascar a modern state. This is a place of pilgrimage and the burial ground for its sovereigns since 1817.
Sitting atop the highest hill in Antananarivo, it offers spectacular views of the surroundings. We then drive down to Independence Avenue and Anosy Lake. Here we get a good picture of the diverse communities that come together from all over the island in the capital, before we take a scenic drive to Marozevo.
We visit the famous exotic animal breeding centre owned by naturalist Andre Pereyras, where we see almost all the chameleon species of Madagascar – as well as butterflies, leaf tailed geckos, lemurs and other interesting animals. On the RN2 east we enjoy panoramic views of the stepped rice fields of the Highlands of Madagascar.
NIGHT AT MANJARANO LODGE AND SPA (Breakfast and Dinner)
DAY 3: ANDASIBE (PERINET)
Today you start with a guided visit at Analamazaotra National Park. It is better to leave the hotel early (about 7:30AM) to meet easily the Indri-Indri and the Diademed Sifaka in their forest home. The visit takes about 3 hours. Within a mile of the park you can hear the peculiar call of the indri very early in the morning until noon and again in the late afternoon.
(called Babakoto in Malagasy) They are the largest living lemurs at all reaching up to 1 meter. Andasibe is the best place to observe the Indris given that there are a couple of families habituated to humans. It lives in small groups and cannot survive in captivity. There are several legends trying to explain its origins since it is considered a sacred animal in the whole Madagascar. Apart from the Indri, another 13 lemur species inhabit these forests, such as woody lemur, grey bamboo lemur, diademed sifaka, brown lemur, red mouse-lemur, red-bellied lemur, black and white ruffed lemur and even aye-aye.
In the afternoon
We visit Andasibe village, known as “the City of Waters”, and stroll through the local market to see some Malagasy craftspeople working. Then, you will enjoy an amazing up close and personal experience with lemurs on the private Lemurs Island and then on to view many other species in the Vakona Reserve Zoo, where you will see many crocodiles in the huge river enclosure, native birds, and other wildlife in well-kept surroundings.
Around 6:30PM, you end this day with a guided night visits which will take 1 hour and half, and then drive back to the hotel.
NIGHT AT MANJARANO LODGE AND SPA (Breakfast and Dinner)
DAY 4 : ANDASIBE - ANTSIRABE
We depart early and have a full day drive through spectacular eroded hills called ‘lavaka.’ This area will remind you of Southeast Asia with its terraced rice fields, thatched houses and green landscapes of vegetables and fruit trees. We return west along the RN2 almost as far as Antananarivo before turning south onto the famed RN7.
Along the way
We visit the metal workshop of Donné Vy and stop in Behenjy, a little town which is known for its production of paté de foie-gras. We also stop in Ambatolampy to see aluminum pot making. Our destination is the highland town of Antsirabe, with its wide colonial streets, volcanic lakes and colourful rickshaws. “The Place of Salt” is the centre of beer making in Madagascar and is known for its handicrafts.
Founded by Norwegian missionaries in 1856, it is the only place which really feels and looks like a European city – with its elegant spa and the railway station. It has a temperate climate and so fruits and vegetables which grow in cooler parts of the world are grown here. We visit a number of the town’s famed craftspeople to watch them working on the precious and semi-precious stones that Antsirabe is famous for, as well as seeing embroidery making.
NIGHT AT THE ARO HOTEL (Breakfast and Dinner)
DAY 5 : ANTSIRABE - RANOMAFANA
We continue to wind our way through the Highlands’ scenic landscapes, where the houses are made with ornately-carved wooden balconies and shutters with bright colours. Further on we pass the ‘le col de tapia’, a type of tree resistant to bush fires. The landscape is still dominated by very photogenic rice fields, pine forests, eucalyptus trees and rocky hills.
At the Malagasy arts and crafts capital, Ambositra, we stroll through the city visitting workshops of Zafimaniry artisans – skilled sculptors working on marquetry rosewood and ebony. We also see the Zafimaniry weavers of “landikely” and “landibe” silks.
NIGHT AT THERMAL (Breakfast and Dinner)
DAY 6: RANOMAFANA
This morning we search Ranomafana National Park‘s rainforest for lemurs, accompanied by our local naturalist guide. This is a high-altitude rainforest reserve where the Golden Bamboo Lemur was discovered in 1986. The forest is home to 11 other lemur species, endemic chameleons, Leaf-tailed Geckos, Mantella Frogs and a myriad of birds. We embark on a quest to see the fabled “Hapalemur aureus” – the Golden Bamboo Lemur – which is only found in Ranomafana. We will also see many different species of birds, such as Ground Rollers.
The park is particularly rich in flora and features many plant varieties unknown elsewhere, including different types of orchids and ferns. The approximately 40,000 ha of Parc National de Ranomafana, with its rain forest-covered hills and abundant wildlife, has long been considered one of Madagascar’s highlights. Altitudes in the park range from 800 to 1,200 metres above sea level.
In addition to its densely-forested hills, Ranomafana’s terrain is characterised by numerous small streams which plummet down to the beautiful Namorona River. Although much of the region has been logged, the park retains relatively large areas of primary forest. This day includes strenuous walks in the rainforest.
In the afternoon
We visit the orchid arboretum located near the village. Here we find many orchid species, but also reptiles such as chameleons and geckos. We also visit a village of the Tanala ethnic group, the forest people of southeastern Madagascar. After dinner you can join us on an included night walk in the area around our hotel to try and spot the Rufous Mouse Lemur, the Greater Dwarf Lemur and some of the other nocturnal wildlife.
NIGHT AT THERMAL (Breakfast and Dinner)
DAY 7: RANOMAFANA – ISALO
Early departure to drive via Fianarantsoa, cultural capital of the Central Highlands, to the pleasant rural town of Ambalavao. This is the site of one of the largest livestock markets in the South (Wednesday mornings only.) We visit a local winery and a workshop making the unique Antemoro paper, which is hand made from the bark of a local tree using a method is inherited from Arab culture. We also visit a silk factory in town and learn about the local way of making fabric from silk thread and the process of dyeing it with natural dyes.
We head to
We then continue to Anjar Community Reserve for a short walk, during which we have the chance to see Madagascar’s iconic animal – ring-tailed lemurs (Lemurian Catta.) In the past, visitors fed the lemurs, so the majority of the animals are unafraid to come near us to pose for photographs. We continue to Ihosy, capital of the Bara tribes, who are herders of Zebu cattle.
Further on we pass the volcanic peaks of the Andringitra massif, which serves as a transition between the green Highlands with its very spectacular granite rock formations and the dry south.
We continue to Isalo
Our journey south takes us through a landscape of rock formations typical of the dry Grand South, some of which are sacred. We pass through the legendary ‘Porte du Sud’ and cross the desolate expanse of the Plateau de Horombe with its deep red soil, arriving late afternoon in Ranohira, gateway to Isalo National Park.
NIGHT AT ROCK LODGE (Breakfast and Dinner)
DAY 8: ISALO
We explore the stunning desert plains, deep canyons, sandstone formations, grasslands and palm-lined oases of Isalo National Park. We hope to encounter the 3 lemur species that are found here – Red-fronted Brown Lemurs, Ring-tailed Lemurs and the loping, bipedal Verreaux’s Sifaka. We will also see vegetation such as Uapaca bojeri, Pachypodium rosulatum or ‘elephant’s foot’ and Aloe isaloensis, a native species of aloe endemic to Isalo.
The eroded mountains also served as a place where the Bara people kept their dead before they could bury them in their actual tombs. This day includes strenuous walks. “Picnic lunch in the park”. In the evening, drive back to the hotel with one stop at the famous window of Isalo to appreciate a breathtaking and spectacular sunset.
NIGHT AT ROCK LODGE (Breakfast and Dinner)
DAY 9: ISALO – TULEAR
This part of our journey continues down the paved RN7 to its end in Tulear on the Southwest coast, introducing us to new scenery among the dry forests of the west and the spiny desert of the south. We pass through the sapphire mining boom town of Ilakaka, a frontier town vaguely reminiscent of the Wild West.
We see the locations of different ornate hillside ‘Mahafaly Tombs‘, which were built for chiefs and kings and are covered in stones, sculptures and horns. The more important the deceased, the more horns and statues the with. One of the largest tombs has over 700 horns of zebu cattle! As this is a sacred site we will just be passing by. Tomb is adorned Photography is not permitted.
We also pass the area of the ‘Antandroy Tombs‘
This is the driest part of the country – called the “Deep South” – where the landscape is dominated by cactus-like, spiny forests of different euphorbias. In this area giant baobab trees, which can be hundreds of years old, grow. For most of the year these hardy trees have no leaves, so their bare branches look like roots – giving them the name “upside-down trees.” This is an area of dry and sandy soil where the local people battle to find drinking water.
Once we reach Tuléar (also known as “Toliara“)
We drive up the RN9 to the little fishing village of Ifaty with its breathtaking beaches on the Mozambican Channel. Here mangrove trees line the coast dotted with Vezo communities which earn their living from fishing. We can see many small pirogue dugout canoes with men who go out fishing twice a day, while the children and women wait on the coast to collect the fish before taking them to Tuléar for sale. 1 hour visit at the Reniala reserve, the spiny forest (Baobab Forest).
NIGHT AT LA MIRA (Breakfast and Dinner)
DAY10: TULEAR – ANTANANARIVO (Flight)
For this last day, you will be transferred to the airport of Tulear for flight back to the capital Antananarivo. On arrival, transfer in town followed by a shopping and purchase some souvenirs at the craft market of La Digue (Depending on our time of arrival in Tana, there may be time for last-minute). And then transfer directly to the international airport for your external flight.
END OF THE TOURS
Luxury Madagascar with the best luxury African safari tours packages. Discover your next perfect destination with HT Agency Tours
Domestic ticket’s flight TLE – TNR
Transfer from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the airport
Private car with Air Conditional
Driver/Guide (with English speaking)
Visits and excursions (following the itinerary)
Guides + entrance fees included for all national parks/reserves
Administrative management package
Bottles of water
Breakfasts and Dinners
Dinners and Picnic Lunch in Isalo national park
1 Local SIM Cards With Internet (You could have internet everywhere)
- International ticket’s flight
- Your guide will manage all programs’ timing
- Domestic flight departure timing: …
- During the trip, the following dietary requirement(s) are served: Regular (typically includes meat, fish, milk, sea food, …). If you have special dietary requirements it’s a good idea to communicate it to us
- Please note that the feasibility of the tour will depend on the availability of the proposed accommodations
- We do not take responsibility for any airline schedule changes that may occur after quoting or booking. We will do everything we can to alleviate any disruption of your itinerary or holiday but cannot be held responsible for any loss of funds, bookings, missed connections or other prebooked/paid services.
This private Madagascar luxury tours will take you from Antananarivo to Andasibe, Antsirabe, Ranomafana, Isalo and Toliara
Andasibe National Park
Andasibe National Park is a part of Toamasina. It is 1.5 kilometers from Andasibe, 140 kilometers from Antananarivo, and 200 kilometers from Tamatave. The surface of the area is 16,310 hectares (Analamazaotra Special Reserve is 810 hectares while Mantandia National Park is 15,500 hectares). The climate is very humid, the average annual temperature is 18 degrees Celsius, and the average annual rainfall is 1,700 millimeters spread over 210 hectares.
The park consists of 80% primary forests and 13% secondary forests, subject to the impact of human activity. The special reserve is dedicated to the protection of the largest Malagasy lemur, the indri. An orchid park is also open to the public. There are three campsites and a hotel in the park. When you travel in Madagascar and if you are fans of nature, do not miss to visit this park.
Isalo National Park
Isalo is located in the south of Madagascar in Ranohira. The park extends over an area of 81,54 hectares. Isalo is home to a population dominated by the Bara ethnic group mixed with communities of various origins who settled there because of the exploitation of sapphire in the surrounding area of Ilakaka. The territory is also a historically rich archaeological site, as it retains the continental plate connecting Madagascar with Africa, two million years ago.
A true tourist attraction
For its geomorphological singularities, at the same time varied and unique in the world, it is the most visited site on the island. The park is of rock structure that is globally shaped by the erosion of reddish mountainous sandstones dating back to the Jurassic era of 200 million years ago, extending for nearly 100 kilometers in the north-south direction. Its varied sculptural form is a chain of deep canyons, peaks up to 200 meters high, masses of granite and rock blocks of unstable appearance.
There are currently 82 species of birds, 33 reptiles, 15 amphibians, and 14 mammals including seven primates. Among these, there are the maki, sifaka, and varika. As far as tourists are concerned, the main attractions are the pedestrian routes which, from the outset, are reminiscent of a decorative façade of the Far West.
Ranomafana National Park
The Ranomafana National Park is located in the southeast of Madagascar straddling the regions of Upper Matsiatra and Vatovavy Fitovinany. It is 412 km south-east of Antananarivo, 65 km north-east of Fianarantsoa and 139 km west of the town of Mananjary. Terrestrial National Park classified World Heritage Site with its dense low-lying humid forest (600-800m), its dense humid forest of medium altitude (800-1400m), its bamboo forest, its marshland where plant and animal species such as Pandanus, Varecia variegata variegate, Crayfish, Limnogale Mergulus choose as habitat.
6 species of fish, 74 species of insects, 90 species of butterfly including 4 rare species, 350 species of spiders, 6 endemic species of crustaceans and a subspecies of crayfish of the group of Astacoides. 58 species of reptiles, 98 species of amphibians, 115 of the 257 species of birds of Madagascar the majority of which is endemic. 12 species of lemurs, 7 species of carnivorous mammals and 20 species of insectivores, 07 species of bats including Myzopoda aurita, a monogenous that exists only in Madagascar. There are also 13 species of rodents.
The Ranomafana forest is of the rainforest type whose hard core considered as primary forest is distant from the road axis. There are Apocynaceae, Euphorbiaceae and Rubiaceae, Dypsis sp and Phloga sp of the family Palmae, Asplenium nidus, orchids of the genera Bulbophyllum and Eulophiella. Large areas of secondary forest are occupied by Psydium cattleyanum of the family Myrtaceae.
Tropical hardwoods such as rosewood or Dalbergia sp, maka or Weinmania sp and varongy or Mespilodaphne tapack are also visible. A profusion of rare plants is also identified: ferns, bamboos and hundreds of orchids. Chinese guava occupies more and more spaces and is dispersed by lemurs and frugivorous birds.
The climate is tropical, but cooler in the highlands (dropping as low as 5°C at night in July/August in Antananarivo and Andasibe). The dry season is March to October continuing into November in most areas. The east coast is best March-May and September-November, January-March is cyclone season.
The south west area is hot, dry and semi-arid. March-April is the best time for flowers and reptiles. November (spring) is generally the best time for wildlife and birds, but lemurs can be viewed all year round. Seasonal weather patterns can be unpredictable.
- Antananarivo : 1300m
- Andasibe : 964m
- Antsirabe : 1500m
- Ranomafana : 876m
- Isalo : Varies from 800m to 1200m
- Tulear : 8m
HT Agency Tours offers torches for nocturnal wildlife walks, a water bottle. Please bring camera film (and spare batteries), binoculars and a beach towel and swimwear. Rain proof pants are very handy for walks in the rainforest. Walking poles maybe useful in Ranomafana NP and Andasibe NP.
What to wear?
Lightweight walking bootshoes and trainers is recommended. Clothing should be lightweight, but a warm sweater or jacket is advisable as nights at altitude and under desert conditions can be very cold, even in summer and especially in July to September. Rainwear is highly recommended on all tours for the occasional shower. Warmer layers will be required during the winter months.
Visa and Passport
Madagascar: An entry visa is required by USA citizens and can be obtained on arrival. The visa is chargeable at 40USD and issued for 30 days. The visa fee is payable in USD or Euro and we advise to take small denominations and a little extra as the USD amount is calculated daily by the applicable rate of exchange. Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate. For a single-entry tourist visa, you can apply via the e-visa website: https://evisamada.gov.mg/en/
You will need
To print a copy of your evisa approval letter and present this with your passport at immigration upon your arrival. The approval letter will take a minimum of 3 days to be processed so we strongly advise for you to apply within plenty of time (maximum of 6 months prior to your arrival) before your departure. You will be permitted to stay within Madagascar for a maximum of up to 90 days and we strongly recommend for you to read the FAQ section on the e-visa website before applying.
It is a condition of booking with HT Agency Tours that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude, please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A plus, Polio and diptheria. Please note that all travellers aged over 9 months old that have travelled from or have transit via a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission, will need to present a Yellow Fever certificate at immigration/borders in Madagascar for inspection. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria. Following the advice given by the Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, we strongly recommend the wearing long sleeved shirts and the liberal application of insect repellent as a precautionary measure to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. These precautions should be taken at all times as the mosquitoes are also active during daylight hours. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure.
Food and drink
The costs of meals may vary according to the location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given below are just an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the center of a major city may charge more:
- Lunch price: 10 USD
- Dinner price: 17 USD
- Beer price: 2 USD
- Watter price: 1 USD
For safe operation
- Given the fluid nature of local COVID-19 protocols, our itineraries are regularly reviewed and will be modified based on local requirements to ensure a safe experience. If a major change is necessary, we will let you know before departure.
- Our guide will use their judgment during the trip to modify the itinerary if physical distancing cannot be achieved; will receive in-depth training on COVID-19 protocols and how to conduct our journeys in the “new normal”; will brief you upon arrival on the use of face masks and physical distancing during the trip, based on local government guidelines.
- Only restaurants with strict protocols that comply with local food hygiene and physical distancing requirements will be used. We will encourage outdoor dining areas where possible.
- All of our staff and third party suppliers will be continually informed of new health and safety protocols.
- Our drivers will follow local protocols on the use of face masks and physical distancing required; will provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer and tissues in the vehicle and encourage customers to wash their hands when getting into the vehicle.
- All vehicles will be disinfected (seats, door handles, etc.) regularly throughout the day.
Protocols for Hotels
- We will only offer hotels that have specific COVID-19 protocols in place and comply with local government guidelines.
- We will ensure that these measures include; improved room cleaning, ventilation, physical distancing, regular cleaning and disinfection of high frequency touch points in public areas, food safety, staff retraining and minimization of contact within properties
If You Get Sick
- All of our leaders are trained to help any guest who becomes ill while traveling.
- We also have an “action plan” in case of suspected COVID-19 cases within the group and are ready to seek medical support at any time.
- Our guides are supported by our 24/7 based operations team and local partners across the country
- We recommend you to bring your own face masks (at least 2 reusable) and an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; to check with the airline for their individual COVID-19 requirements prior to departure; to check your own government travel advice and meet entry requirements including, but not limited to, COVID-19 testing, pre-arrival health questionnaires, and tracking and traceability in the country, etc