Day 1 Antananarivo
You will be met on arrival at Ivato International Airport in the capital city called ‘Tana’ by the locals. You’ll find this bustling city to have traditional architecture and a more Indonesian influence than the rest of Madagascar.
2 Nights in Antananarivo
Today your private guide will collect you to explore the historical upper town of Antananarivo, with its stunning French inspired architecture. Continue downtown for lunch at le Café de la Gare in the old colonial railway station built by the French in 1910. In the afternoon, drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the ancestral home on the Merina kings and queens who united Madagascar under one rule.
Day 3 Andasibe
Tour guide will collect you this morning for the 4-hour ride to Mantadia National Park and the Perinet Special Reserve, which is well known for its population of Indri lemurs, the largest of the species. The ride will be a nice introduction to rural life of rice fields, red brick houses and roadside markets. Check into your lodge and have lunch. This afternoon you will explore on foot to spot lemurs, chameleons and birds.
2 Nights near Mantadia National Park
Today you will head to Mantadia National Park with a picnic lunch. You’ll be looking for the various lemur species and an abundance of birds. The trails are slightly more difficult than Perinet but the rewards are great here in this taller and wilder forest. Enjoy lunch by the Rianasoa Waterfall and hike back to the vehicle. Later this evening you can take a night walk with a local guide to see a variety of nocturnal lemurs.
Visit the Perinet Reserve in search of the Indri indri. With a barely visible tail, black and white markings and a surprised teddy–bear face, this lemur is one of the few animals in the world that cannot survive in captivity. There are another 11 species of lemur to spot as you walk through the rainforest. There are over a thousand orchid species in Madagascar and many of them can be seen here. Later you will stop at Lemur Island a private reserve for habituated lemurs that are ‘camera-ready’ for you!
Return to ‘Tana’ this evening to stay at a hotel near the airport.
1 Night Antananarivo
Day 6 Mandrare River
This morning you will board your charter flight to Ifotaka in the southern part of the country. You will be met on arrival and transferred to camp to settle in. Just before sunset you will stretch your legs with a walk in the Forest of Zenavo to see the nocturnal lemures begin to wake up in the eerie and prehistoric Spiny Forest. Once the sun has set, you’ll spot all kinds of creatures.
3 Nights at Mandrare River Camp
Enter the Spiny Forest for an early morning walk to watch the sunlight break through the octopus trees. Later this morning you may visit a local market. Relax this afternoon watch life along the river from your tent terrace. Head out to the baobabs for sundowners. Tonight, the local village will perform traditional dances. Song and dance is at the heart of Antandroy culture and is used to accompany the major rituals and events of everyday life.
Today you will take a boat or walk across the Mandrare River to reach the Sacred Gallery Forest to see Inquisitive groups of ring-tailed lemurs and the always entertaining Verreaux sifaka. Later you will walk through the forest to the ancestral tombs of the local Antandroy tribe. Your guide will point out the extraordinary array of flora and fauna, unique to the spiny forest.
Today you will move to the coast and settle in at Manafiafy Beach, a unique location to enjoy rainforest, ocean and breathtaking mountain scenery.
4 Nights at Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge
From July to November the seas come alive with humpback whales breaching and playing just off the shore. A short boat ride offers he ultimate up-close whale watching experience. Or you can enjoy a guided kayak or motorboat trip through the mangroves in search of endemic bird species, amphibians and reptiles. Enjoy the beach this afternoon.
Just a short distance away lies one of the last remaining blocks of southern littoral (coastal) rainforest. Explore this fascinating ecosystem spotting critically endangered species such as Southern Woolly Lemurs and Collared Brown Lemurs. Break for a beach barbecue lunch. Return to camp to relax in your hammock or get a massage. Venture out tonight with your guide into the forest.
Journey to see the huge colonies of large, fruit-eating Flying Foxes which are now considered a “vulnerable species.” Visit Manafiafy Village for a cultural experience of typical Antanosy life. The fishermen return with their catch late morning. You can visit local markets or a school. Later today you can watch the sunset and toast to your grand adventure.
Fly back to Antananarivo and check in for your onward flight.