Madagascar truly is a lost world. Thanks to its long isolation from neighbouring continents, it’s home to some 2,300 species of plants and animals, most found nowhere else. For years, adventurous travellers have driven its rugged 4WD tracks in search of dancing lemurs, eye-spinning chameleons and that strange mix between cat and mongoose – the predatory fossa.
Packed into the planet’s fourth-largest island is a landscape so diverse it astounds. Central highlands run nearly the entire 1580-km length, separating the tropical, rain-forested lowlands in the east from the drier, rain-shadowed lands in the west.
Sandstone canyons and red-rock formations, forests of limestone pinnacles some 300 m high, idyllic tropical islands, chains of freshwater lakes and mangrove lowlands create habitats not just for strange reptiles and mammals, but breathtakingly beautiful birds and a rich collection of plants, including Darwin’s orchid – the world’s rarest.
But perhaps the island’s greatest secret is also its most obvious – the warm and friendly people. The Malagasy are proud of their heritage and are keen to share their art, handicrafts, food and music (both spicy).
We are excited to offer two expeditions to explore this incredible island. On trips lasting three weeks each, our small groups will travel by plane, minibus, 4WD, canoe, boat, on foot and maybe even pousse-pousse (rickshaws) to experience cultural and natural wonders.
And while Madagascar’s most intriguing wonders are often found tucked away in remote regions that are often challenging to reach, we’ve chosen the most comfortable (luxurious even) places for you to rest at day’s end.
Join us on a journey of wildlife and wonder as we explore Madagascar’s lost world.
An in-depth exploration of the “eighth continent” takes us to the southwest to visit spectacular forest reserves where lemurs dance and swing through the trees, the limestone pinnacles and caves of Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, and the spectacular Avenue des Baobabs. The highlands offer thermal pools, sandstone canyons and handicraft markets featuring traditional woodwork and papermaking. We then uncover the northern tip of Madagascar. Visiting the magnificent Montagne d’Ambre national park, Ankarana Special Reserve, the “red Tsingy” plus many more wonders of nature and unique wildlife of the area. In the east we cruise freshwater lakes and lagoons to the stunning Lake Ampitabe, heart of the Panganales Canal, before flying back to Tana or relaxing in paradise on Sainte Marie Island. Throughout our adventure we encounter lemurs, chameleons, amazing birds and plants found nowhere else.
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Our 28-day A Lost World tour can be divided into two separate tours:
- The Southwest: 16 days
- The Northeast: 12 (13) days.
PART 1: The Southwest (16 days)
On arrival in Tana you will be met at the airport and transferred to our group hotel. We will have 2 nights in Tana (Antananarivo), Madagascar’s capital, visiting the wonderful and interesting sites of this great Malagasy city. Then on day 3 we fly south to the coastal city of Tulear the southern capital of Madagascar, known as “The White City” or “Sun City”. The city offers bright colours and a rhythmic ambience made by the Tsapiky music. Then drive 25 km north to the quaint fishing village of Ifaty. B, L, D
We spend the morning visiting the Honko’s mangrove conservation site and learn about the regions ecology and culture before heading back to the outskirts of Tulear were we visit a private Arboretum – a botanical garden specialising in the flora and fauna of SW Madagascar. The Arboretum was created around 1980, on the initiative of a Swiss amateur botanist, Hermann Pétignat who died in 2000. There are almost 900 species of plants, 90% endemic to the region. After lunch, we pass through Sakaraha in the Atsimo-Adrefana region, were we should start to see baobabs, cotton growing and roadside painted tombs. We continue driving towards Isalo National Park passing through wild-west style towns, which in recent years have become the makeshift homes of sapphire hunters. B, L, D
These days will be dedicated to exploring the NP of Isalo, the Malagasy Colorado and sacred burial grounds for the Bara people. The park has a unique combination of deep sandstone canyons, bush plains and rare endemic plants such as – the endemic Aloe. The park comprises of the entire stretch of the Isalo Massif – a spectacularmountain chain of eroded sandstone. This strikingly beautiful reserve consists of golden plains, punctuated by craggy pinnacles of terracotta rock, valleys, canyons and waterfalls. We plan to enjoy some wonderful walking in this surreal environment and cool off in natural oasis-like swimming hole along the way. We may also make a visit to one of the Sapphire mining areas. In the afternoons you might like to take a horse ride around the nearby pagodas, enjoying the evening light before dinner. B, L, D
We say goodbye to the palm-laced savannah scenery of the Horombe Plateau and the Bara lands where we should encounter huge numbers of Zebu (the ubiquitous humped cattle). These animals hold an almost sacred position in Madagascan life and are certainly symbolic of the prosperity of their owners. We will have a stop at the private reserve of Anjah, sacred to the Betsileo people because their ancestors are buried in the high cliff tombs here. We might also be graced by close encounters with the cheeky ring tailed lemurs. If time allows we would like to visit some of the charming, highlands town of Ambalavao and visit the Antaimoro hand-made paper factory. This papyrus like paper is impregnated with dried flowers. B, L, D
We have a full day dedicated to the nature reserve of Ranomafana. We certainly recommend waking up early for a morning walk in the park, as it is the best time for animal observation. The Park came to the world’s attention in 1986 with the discovery of the golden bamboo lemur. Ranomafana NP is also renowned for the originality and variety of both flora and fauna. There are 12 species of lemurs, 100 species of birds, 36 of which are endemic and many reptiles and butterflies. In the afternoon, we can visit the village with its hot spring & local market, followed by a night walk inside the national park on a search for nocturnal lemurs, chameleons and frogs. B, L, D
En-route we will make a stop in Ambositra to visit the handicrafts markets. Ambositra is a small town renowned for its Zafimaniry woodcarvings and other handicrafts. The Zafimaniry people are known for the curious wooden architecture of their houses and fine ancestral woodcarvings. They inhabit about 100 villages in the forested highlands of the southeast; their language originated from Borneo and their culture and lands are classified as UNESCO World Heritage. Antsirabe is a beautiful city in the highlands of Madagascar, a mixture of cultures has formed the city over two centuries and is a key part of the Betsileo people, famed for their rice cultivation skills. Founded in 1872 by Norwegian missionaries, the city reflects the warmth of its people and the authenticity of its traditions is still alive. It will be a very early start as we have a long 10-hour-drive from Ansirabe to Morondava on the west coast of Madagascar crossing the heartland. B, L, D
After lunch we drive through the remarkable Avenue des Baobabs on the way to Kirindy. This cluster of towering Grandidier’s baobabs is one of Madagascar’s most famous views. Kirindy is simply superlative and comprises dry deciduous forests – one of the most outstanding and threatened wildlife habitats in Madagascar. It is renowned for the giant jumping rat and is home to 7 species of lemur and numerous endemic reptiles. After dinner we plan a night walk through the forest. If we are lucky we may see the weird and wonderful fossa (cat-like) – the only endemic carnivorous species of Madagascar. B, L, D
Up early for bird and wildlife viewing in Kirindy’s dry forest and wetlands, keeping an eye out for the paradise flycatcher, giant coa and Berther’s lemur, considered to be the smallest primate. A seven-hour drive on rough tracks, including ferrying across the languid Tsiribihina and Manambolo rivers takes us to our comfortable lodge in the heart of Tsingy de Bermaraha National Park. B, L, D
We spend two days exploring the Tsingy’s (limestone plateaus dramatically eroded into pinnacles, caves and gorges) by canoe and on foot. UNESCO World Heritage-listed, Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park is home to bats, lemurs, birds and plants adapted to these spectacular 300m-high ‘stone forests’ – which offer fantastic views. B, L, D
Drive back to Morondava, stopping for sunset at the beautiful Avenue des Baobabs. The next day will be at leisure to relax and enjoy the beach or visit the town centre. For those who wish to visit the Baobab Avenue at sunrise this can be arranged, or you can visit the towns colourful bustling main market and browse through the huge range of products & produce. On day 16 we fly back to Tana. B, L, D
PART 2: The Northeast (12/13 days)
We fly from Tana to Antsiranana (Diego Suarez), in the extreme north and are taken by 4WD’s south of Diego through Joffreville (an historical town characterised by its European architecture), before reaching the Montagne d’Ambre (Amber Mountain) National Park. The next day is fully dedicated to exploring the Park. Established in 1958. This massif rises from the surrounding dry region forming an isolated stretch of montane rainforest covering an area of 18.200 hectares at altitudes between 800m and 1470m. The park offers great biodiversity: a huge tropical forest with endemic fauna and flora, luxuriant vegetation and many waterfalls and volcanic lakes. The climate is perfect, and the cool air refreshing after the heat of the lowlands. The dominant ethnic groups in this area are the Sakavala and the Antankarana. A large number of animal species inhabit the NP including 25 species of mammals, among them 6 carnivores such as the ring-tailed mongoose and the fossa. There are 8 lemurs: Sanford’s brown lemur, crowned lemur, lesser bamboo lemur and five species of nocturnal lemurs. B, L, D
After breakfast we drive 4 hours to Ankarana Special Reserve. Here we find impressive limestone pinnacles known as Tsingy, and the largest network of underground caves with stalactites and stalagmites to be found in Africa. A full day will be dedicated to exploring the reserve: walking through the ‘Tsingy’, visiting the caves which are surrounded by dry deciduous trees such as Baobabs and Elephant foot plant. Its dense forests also support one of the largest and least disturbed populations of crowned lemurs. Keep an eye out for Sanford’s brown lemur, Perrier’s black lemur, northern sportive lemur and dwarf lemurs, also ringtailed mongoose, fossa, tenrecs and striped civet that are also a common sight. Inside the spectacular and huge labyrinth of caves, 14 bat species, local endemic blind shrimps and the world’s only known cave-living crocodiles are waiting for your visit. At night swarms of bats and flying fox swoop in the darkness. B, L, D
After an early breakfast, we drive back to Antsiranana, with a detour to visit the “Tsingy rouges” or “red Tsingy”, which provide a wonderful spectacle of sculpture and colour all shaped by the wind and rain. Shaped by wind and rain. The sandy track we follow to reach the Tsingy threads between palm trees “satrana”. It is not easily accessible but well worth the scramble. We arrive into Antsiranana in the late afternoon. After a relaxing morning in Diego Suarez we fly back to Tana. B, L, D
After breakfast we drive to Andasibe for 2 nights, with a stop in Marozevo to visit the private reserve “Pereyras” and Mandrake Reptile Farm – where we’ll have the opportunity for close viewing of some of the island’s most extraordinary reptiles and invertebrates. We continue on to Andasibe-Mantadia NP for a night walk. The star of the park is the indri indri; at up to 1m tall, it’s the largest lemur. But there are more than a dozen other lemur species, many endemic birds and more than a hundred orchid species. We will have a full day to explore this amazing region. B, L, D
After a morning in the park, we drive to Manambato on the Pangalanes Canal, a chain of freshwater lakes and lagoons connected by man-made channels to form a 600km inland waterway. Akanin’ny Nofy (Nest of Dreams), on the white sand shores of Lake Ampitabe. It is a haven of forests, orchids, mangroves and palms. We visit the Palmarium, a private reserve of endemic palms and vanilla bean, where lemurs, including indri indri, sifakas, mouse and crowned lemurs, and the endangered aye-aye, enjoy complete freedom. We cruise by boat to Tamatave, and then fly back to Tana. B, L, D
Our final morning in Tana will be dedicated to any last minute shopping before lunch and our transfer to the airport for our return flight home. B, L
Please note: The proposed itinerary is just a guide and changes could be made due to domestic flight schedule changes and hotel availability.
Dates & Costs
- 28 days 25 May – 21 June 2018
- 28 days 24 August- 20 September 2018
Our 28-day A Lost World tour can be divided into two separate tours:
- The Southwest: 16 days
- The Northeast: 12/13 days.
|Days||Twin Share Rate||Single Supplement added|
|28 Days||AUD 12,990 per person||AUD 2,100|
|16 Days||AUD 7,990 per person||AUD 1,300|
|13 Days||AUD 5,990 per person||AUD 900|
Book before 30 September 2017 and receive an early booking bonus of A$500 off our A Lost World 28 day tour
(Group size maximum 12 persons)
Please contact us for costing Ex Australia. All tour costs are land only exclusive of international airfares and taxes.The tour costs shown are per person quoted in Australian dollars and are subject to change due to exchange rate variations and other factors. Please check with us at the time of booking.Traveller’s Notes: Should you be travelling alone and wish to share, we will endeavour to match you with a roommate of the same gender. The number of single rooms available on each tour is strictly limited.
- An Adventure Associates Escort & English speaking local guide • All airport/hotel/airport transfers
- All accommodation based on twin/double share with private facilities at the best available hotels & lodges
- All Meals, Day 1 dinner – Day 28 lunch
- Bottled water during the trip
- All transfers, sightseeing, boat trips, entrance and park fees
- All domestic flights and transport as specified in the itinerary
- 4WD vehicles (only 3 pax per vehicle)
- All service charges and taxes
What’s not included
- International air-tickets and taxes
- Excess baggage on any flight, vaccination costs, passport or visa fees and travel insurance
- Any other meals or sightseeing not specified in the detailed itinerary
- Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone and other communication charges, personal gratuities to local guides and driver(s)
- Any other item not specifically mentioned as being included.
How to Book
To ensure your place on this exciting adventure, please contact us to reserve a place 02 6355 2022 or firstname.lastname@example.org, then complete the Adventure Associates Booking Form and return to us with your AUD 1000 per person deposit.
|Deposit required per person:||AU$1000 per person|
|Balance due:||75 days prior to departure|
|If booking within 74 days of departure:||Full payment must be made.|
Reservations are established when you receive written confirmation and acceptance of the deposit and Booking Form. Travel insurance is strongly recommended at the time of booking.
Cancellations must be advised in writing to Adventure Associates. Cancellation charges are subject to regulations of airlines, coach and tour operators, hotels and other principals involved. If it is necessary to cancel your arrangements, the following non-refundable charges will apply.
|More than 100 days prior to departure||AUD 500 per person|
|Between 99 and 75 days prior to departure||Full loss of deposit per person|
|Between 74 and 31 days prior to departure||75% of tour cost per person|
|On or within 30 days prior to departure||No Refund|
If the cancellation charge is more than your advance payment you remain liable for the difference. For these and other reasons mentioned above you are strongly recommended to take out Travel Insurance. Once the Land Tour has departed there will be no refund for any unused portions of the trip.
Guy Gerard Ratsarazaka
Guy is Malagasy and is fluent in English. He has been working as a tour guide in Madagascar for over 20 years. His knowledge about the country, its culture, history, flora and fauna is outstanding….You will be very satisfied with his services. Guy will be joining both trips in 2015.
Trained as a veterinary nurse, Sue has worked as an expedition leader, photographer and lecturer for 20 years, specialising in Antarctica and the High Arctic, but with trips throughout remote corners of the world, including the Amazon, Africa and the Himalaya. She’s led trips to most coastal regions of Antarctica and spent three months in Grytviken, working for the South Georgia Heritage Trust.