Highlights of Madagascar

16 days
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£2,849
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Trip code: 
WZIA
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Wildlife Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Discover Madagascar's unique wildlife and stunning beaches

Madagascar is a paradise for wildlife lovers, and much of its animal life cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The chief attraction is the lemurs. Undeniably one of the most delightful and cute creatures, there are over 70 species spread throughout the country. In Andasibe, we hope to see the rare Indri, the largest lemur, while in the cloud forest of Ranomafana National Park, we hope to see the rare Golden bamboo and Greater bamboo lemurs. Go in search of Ring-tailed lemurs in Anja Reserve and have a final day in search of wildlife in Tsimanampetsotsa National Park.

Highlights

  • The chance to see lemurs in their natural habitat
  • Incredible wildlife in the Andasibe Nature Reserve and in Ranamofana National Park
  • Isalo National Park, with its amazing rock formations, spectacular canyons and natural swimming holes
  • Striking spiny forest in Tsimanampetsotsa National Park
  • Relax on the beach in the coastal town of Anakao

Key information

  • 10 nights standard and 3 simple hotels, all en suite
  • Travel by private bus and internal flight
  • Some long drives on poor roads

What's included

  • All breakfasts
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Depart London.

  • Day 2

    Arrive Antananarivo.

    The group flights usually arrive in the early afternoon.  You will be transferred to your hotel and the rest of the day is free to relax. This evening's welcome briefing is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers.

    Accommodation: Hotel Belvedere or similar
    Standard Hotel

     

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Drive to Andasibe.

    This morning we drive to Andasibe through the green and luxuriant vegetation of the east. This first step brings us to the humid part of the country with many primary forests and lakes. Along the way we will see Merina villages in the rocky mountains. Arrive in Andasibe around 3pm and the rest of the afternoon is free to relax. In the early evening we take a twilight/nocturnal walk along the road, close to the Andasibe Nature Reserve, looking out for the nocturnal species of lemur as the torchlights pass their eyes.

    Accommodation: Hotel Feon’ny Ala or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Morning trek in Andasibe National Park and afternoon visit to Vondron’olona Miaro Mitia Ala Reserve.

    Discover Andasibe National Park (also known as Perinet) and its wildlife on a 4 hour walk. The park is home to the teddy bear-like Indri, the largest of Madagascar's lemur species, as well as other forms of flora and fauna and a wide array of bird life. Listening to the piercing yet melancholy cry of the Indri in the morning is an evocative sound and for those who are prepared to follow them through the thick rainforest, the reward is often a close-up view of these beautiful creatures. A group of five Diademed sifaka have recently been re-introduced to Andasibe from Mantadia, and if we are lucky, we may spot one of these unusual creatures.

    In the afternoon we visit the Vondron’olona Miaro Mitia Ala Reserve. This is a community run reserve where you are able to see several species of lemurs and birds. The reserve is an untouched paradise for endemic animals and plants. There are groups of Indris which we hope to see here in their natural habitat, and their white-headed relatives, the Diademed sifakas, jump between the tree tops.  For reptiles and amphibian lovers, the reserve offers countless frogs along its crystal clear river and several amazing chameleons can be found in the forest.

    Accommodation: Hotel Feon’ny Ala or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Return to Antananarivo; continue to Antsirabe.

    We drive back to Tana, and head south to Antsirabe, across the highland landscape with its beautiful rice fields on stage. The spectacular eroded hills called ‘lavaka’ remind us of the Far East with its rice fields and green landscape with vegetables and fruit trees. On the way we visit the Peyeiras centre in Mandraka which houses an outstanding collection of butterflies, chameleons and frogs.
    Antsirabe, or ‘the place of salt’, is an elegant city well known as the centre of the beer industry and we can smell the Star Brewery as we enter the town. Founded by the Norwegians in 1856, it is the only place which really feels and looks like a European city. It has a temperate climate and all fruits and vegetable, which grow in cold climates, are found in Antsirabe.
    Accommodation: Les Chambers du Voyageur or similar

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    To Ranomafana.

    After breakfast we drive to Ambositra, the centre of Madagascar's wood carving industry. We are still in the highlands, which are characterized by their architecture: 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, which is resistant to the bush fires of the area. The landscape is still dominated by rice fields on stage, pine forests and eucalyptus trees and rocky mountains. Our destination for the day: Ranomafana National Park.


    Accommodation: Centrest Hotel or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Full day in Ranomafana N.P.

    Parc National de Ranomafana (approximately 40,000ha), with its rain forested hills and abundant wildlife, has long been considered one of Madagascar’s highlights, and is one of the most heavily visited of the country’s national parks. Its entrance lies about 7km from Ranomafana village. Altitudes in the park range from 800m to 1200m. 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 easternmost part of the park retains relatively large areas of primary forest.

    We go for a walk in the national park for approximately five hours in the hopes of spotting some of the lemurs, chameleons and other animals found here. We hope to see Golden bamboo lemurs who are unique to this park, as well as other lemurs such as the Eastern woolly lemur, the Red bellied lemur, the Grey bamboo lemur, and the Red-fronted brown lemur. This park is also home to other mammals including tenrecs, bats and some of the carnivores such as mongoose and the Malagasy striped civet.


    Accommodation: Centrest Hotel or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Drive to Ranohira, visiting Anja N.P. en route.

    An early start as we leave Ranomafana National Park behind us. The scenery changes dramatically as we head to the small town of Ranohira, a journey of approximately 9 hours. We stop near Ambalavao to visit Anja National Park along the way - a small reserve where several families of Ring-tailed lemurs can be seen amongst the vegetation.


    Accommodation: Orchidee de l’Isalo or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Full-day trek in Isalo N.P. visiting Monkey Canyon and the natural swimming pools.

    After an early start, we spend our day exploring Isalo National Park. Isalo is a vast region of wind-polished and water-scoured rock towers, deep canyons, gorges and oases often described as Eden. We go walking in the magnificent Canyon des Makis in search of cheeky Ring-tailed lemurs and the Verreaux Sifaka. We also visit the 'Piscine Naturelle' (natural swimming pool), a beautifully lush spot in such an arid landscape where we can swim and relax. Perhaps the magic is just to soak up the sheer beauty of the park, the combination of coloured eroded rock formations, strange plants and enveloping silence make this one of the most captivating places in Madagascar.

    Accommodation: Orchidee de l’Isalo or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    To Tulear, visiting Zombitse N.P. en route.

    After breakfast, we continue to Tulear. This brings us new scenery, among the dry forests of the west and the spiny desert of the south. On the way admire the different ‘Mahafaly tombs and the ‘Antandroy tombs’ from the road and visit Zombitse National Park for a few hours. The Zombitse National Park forest is of particular interest to birdwatchers, as it is home to one of Madagascar's rarest endemics, Appert's greenbul, as well as other species such as Giant coua, Crested ibis and Cuckoo roller. Verreaux's Sifakas, Red-fronted Brown lemurs and Sportive lemurs are also seen here.

    Accommodation: Hotel Victory or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Boat transfer to Anakao; free day for optional activities.

    This morning we take a boat transfer to Anakao arriving at around 9.00 am. This Vezo (meaning 'the people who fish') fishing village lies on the south west coast of Madagascar and boasts white sandy beaches.The rest of the day is free for optional activities, including snorkelling, diving, pirogue (small boat similar to a canoe) excursions, swimming and more.


    Accommodation: Hotel Lalandaka or similar
    Simple Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Full day in Tsimanampetsotsa N.P.

    An early 4x4 transfer of approximately two hours takes us to Tsimanampetsotse for a full day visit of the national park. The large, shallow soda lake is the focus for this terrific 43,200ha national park. The large limestone plateau here has some of the most striking spiny forest vegetation in Madagascar with countless endemic species. The park sits on a large underground aquifer that runs north, evidenced by the numerous sinkholes and caves. The lake is renowned for its waterfowl, notably flamingoes and other rare endemic birds including the Madagascar plover. We may even be lucky and spot the emblem of the park, the very rare Grandidier’s mongoose! In the afternoon we return to Anakao.

    Accommodation: Hotel Lalandaka or similar
    Simple Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Excursion to Nosy Ve to see Red-tailed tropic birds nesting on this small island.

    Today we take a boat excursion to Nosy Ve to see the world's most southernmost all-year breeding colony of Red-tailed tropic birds, stunning all-white seabirds with red bills and long, thin, red tails, nesting in this small island. If we are lucky we may see the females roosting under small shrubs, well hidden from any airborne predators such as hawks or eagles. A stroll around Nosy Ve’s shoreline including a long white sand beach takes about one hour. After our exploration we will return to Anakao, usually around lunchtime. The rest of the afternoon is free for optional activities.

    Accommodation: Hotel Lalandaka or similar
    Simple Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Fly to Antananarivo.

    Today we transfer to Tulear airport for our flight to Antananarivo. Depending on the flight schedule, you may have some time in the afternoon free to explore Antananarivo on your own.

    Accommodation: Belvedere Hotel or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    City tour; visit to Ambohimanga and end.

    This morning we embark on a city tour of Tana, the picturesque capital of Madagascar. With its bustling markets, friendly people and ancient town on a hill with freestone churches and ancient royal places, it is unique among the world’s other capitals. We visit Ambohimanga, the fortified village and its Royal palace. Ambohimanga, otherwise known as Blue Hills, was for a long time forbidden to Europeans. The kings and queens returned here for rest and relaxation on top the forested slopes of this hill-top village. From here began the line of kings and queens who united Madagascar into one country. Ambohimanga still remains of spiritual significance for the Malagasy people with ceremonies and rituals still taking place.

    Our adventure ends this afternoon after a city tour. Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport in the evening for the very early flight the next morning.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Madagascar

Visas are required for entry to Madagascar. 30-day tourist visas may be obtained at the airport on arrival. If obtaining a visa at the airport, you should ensure that an entry stamp is recorded in your passport. The visa fee is payable in US dollars or Euros (US$31/€28).

Vaccinations

Madagascar

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Eating and Drinking

The food in Madagascar is generally of a good quality, particularly so at the coast where the seafood is excellent. The cuisine has been strongly influenced by the French and a three-course meal should cost €9-€15. A one-course lunch should cost €4-€7. Please allow approximately €300 for the meals not included, plus a little more if you enjoy a drink with dinner! Malagasy lager is reasonably priced and easily available. Malagasy wine is also reasonably priced but is not to everyone's taste. It is sometimes possible to get hold of French or South African wine. A delicacy in Madagascar is the various flavoured Rum’s which are widely sold and very reasonably priced.
Please note that if you eat neither fish nor meat, your food options will be rather limited (i.e. omelette, cheese, pasta, vegetables and rice) on this trip. Breakfasts are usually simple, offering a baguette, Jam and coffee or tea. You may wish to bring something to supplement your morning meal (e.g spread, peanut butter etc).

Weather

Madagascar has a tropical climate with two seasons - rainy and dry. The driest season extends from April to October. It can be cold on the central plateau (including Antananarivo) in the evenings, and in the rainforest areas, so you should bring warm clothes (fleece and waterproof). There is considerable regional variation but coastal areas will normally be very hot and dry. Expect daytime in the shade temperatures up to 38ºC from October-December and up to 30ºC during the trips running from April-June and September.

Antananarivo, Madagascar

Is this trip for you?

Madagascar is a rewarding destination with its wealth of flora and fauna, however, before you decide to travel, we would highlight the following issues for you to consider:

Travelling by vehicle in Madagascar can be uncomfortable as some of the road quality varies. The majority of the roads are well-surfaced, but it is worth noting that Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world and the infrastructure reflects this. Some roads will be better than others, and at times a little patience, humour and flexibility may be required! There will be a lot of very early starts and long days on this itinerary, but the diverse scenery more than makes up for time spent on the bus. We break up our road journeys with stops at villages, to take photos and to stretch our legs.

The tourist infrastructure in Madagascar is relatively new and some services are limited. It is not unusual for there to be changes to accommodation or internal flights and for this reason, the order of the itinerary (but not the content) may sometimes have to be changed.

Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

We use standard hotels throughout the trip except for three nights where we stay in a simple hotel in Anakao.

Please note that although all the hotels are said to have a reliable electricity and water supply there may be instances in which you experience some gaps in supply - this is more a reflection of life in Madagascar than the standard of the hotel. Please be aware that some hotels do not have 24 hr electicity, and in some, hot water is not always available. There is WiFi in most of the hotels but often this is only in the communal areas and not in the rooms.

Please note that while the hotel in Anakao has Wifi in the main reception/restaurant area there is no electricity to charge devices in the rooms - these can be left to charge at reception. The rooms do have electric lighting. Solar heated hot water for washing will be delivered to each bungalow every morning and evening as there is no running water in the bathrooms, just a large container of fresh water and a traditional ‘bucket shower’.  This container of fresh water is also used to manually flush the toilet.  

 

Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

African sunset

From the volcanic slopes of Kilimanjaro to the highland plateaux of the Simien Mountains, Exodus has cultivated an ar

  • Reviewed October 2017
    Steve Gilbert

    Wow, Wonderful Place and Excellent Holiday

    I travelled there with some expectations regarding wildlife especially. These were exceeded. I was amused, impressed and very pleased at the number of wildlife sightings and especially the great opportunities I had for some brilliant wildlife photography.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There was no single moment I can identify. It was each occasion we went for a walk and encountered the Lemurs and Reptiles. Through the choice alone of the Lemus and Chameleons we got very close on more than one occasion. I will emphasise this was the animals choice not mine. Brown & Ring Tailed Lemurs can approach up to an arms length away. I didn't get bitten but I was wary. But it was exciting!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rija was one of the most enthusiastic and happy tour leaders I have had the pleasure of travelling with. Not only was she informative and organised she was also an expert wildlife spotter. She had an ability to spot something, when all we could see was undergrowth. I distinctly remember the rare 4 inch chameleon in the dark that she spotted from 10 paces when actually it was under a large leaf? I've never travelled with a leader equipped with xray infrared vision before, but I have now.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The tour company was good and supplied bottled water every day. Don't throw away the bottles. They are a desired commodity to the people in the hills and they are very happy when you hand over the empties for them to put their local produce in, honey, oil or similar. You may like to hand over other stuff too but the children can get a bit boisterous so choose your moment carefully if its something for them. Dont forget the adults, they are poor too. In a couple of areas during September it got chilly in the evening, please remember a light fleece or jumper.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was surprised so many people used their mobile phone or tablet to take pictures. Be patient with them, as I noticed it took them much longer, and they stood so much closer to the subject than us with the SLR cameras.
  • Reviewed June 2017
    Eve Doyle

    A Great Experience

    This was an excellent trip. Very well organised. Madagascar is a huge island and there are some long travel days to get across the country. Very varied environments and we saw lots of different wildlife.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being close to , seeing and hearing the Indri Lemurs was a very special experience. My favourite day was the walk in Isalo National Park.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rija was one of the best guides I have ever had. Her local knowledge was amazing. She had done this trip many times and she knew how to make it run smoothly, sometimes in difficult circumstances. Despite her experience she was still really enthusiastic about everything and made the trip really enjoyable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take walking poles if you usually walk with them. It was torrential rain in the Rainforest and I could have done with my full set of waterproof clothing and back pack cover. I should have taken a warmer jumper as well as my fleece. The hotel at Isalo offered washing very cheaply and we got all our wet and muddy Rainforest clothing washed and dried there. Change all your money at the airport on arrival and when you go back through later. The ATMs [we had two opportunities] may only allow you to change around £50. Those who did try and change money at the bank had to queue around 2 hours to be served!! No where took cards. Be prepared for the unexpected...no electricity, no running water, hold ups, bumpy roads, changes of time, unexpected encounters with local people etc

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You need to have an Adventurous spirit. These sort of trips are more of an experience than a holiday!
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Sean Williams

    Highlights of Madagascar

    This was a really enjoyable trip. Although the group was the maximum (16 people) and the bus could be a bit cramped at times, it worked really well. The trip used a local driver and guide both of whom were excellent (Ritza and Andree) and in particular Ritza was able to inform us about the wildlife and different aspects of the culture of Madagascar. The other guides used in the national parks and at the accommodation were also very good. Madagascar is an amazing place and the range of landscapes and wildlife is extremely varied. I also found the local people to be very friendly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many highlights including the following: 1. Hearing the early morning cries of the Indri lemurs in Andasibe. 2. Seeing mouse lemurs and the rainforest in Ramofana. 3. Seeing ring tailed lemurs very close. 4. The amazing landscapes and the "black pool" at Isalo. 5. Travelling to and from Nosy Ve by a traditional dhow. 3. The welcome given to us by the villagers when our bus broke down and we had a 90 minute delay while Andree fixed the bus.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ritza was excellent. She was very friendly, enthusiastic and approachable throughout the trip and gave some very good talks on the bus on Madagascan life. The dealt with the bus breaking down crisis brilliantly and got the ladies on our trip dancing with the villagers.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some long drives on some poor roads (although most of the roads outside the Tana to Fianarantsoa section were fairly decent) but that is realistically the only way to see the number of attractions which are covered by this trip. The accommodation was very good throughout but I would try and although the food was generally fine I would try and eat outside the hotels whenever possible. The town close to Isalo has an amazing pizza restaurant about 200 yards from the hotel.
  • Reviewed October 2015
    Geoffrey Vaughan

    Highlights of Madagascar

    The trip gives a good insight into the exotic fauna and flora of Madgascar and into several of the "cottage" industries that have been set up, mainly to provide items for the tourist trade. The trip involves many hours of travelling on roads that are in many cases badly surfaced, even when classifies as a "Route National" - this is not a trip for those that don't like long coach journeys! The arrangements were very good and the hotels, in the main, excellent though facilities were quite varied.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Obviously the wildlife was the main highlight: lemurs, chameleons and geckos were all fabulous. The range of species, colours, habits etc were constantly fascinating. If I had to pick one moment, however, it would be the chameleon catching an insect - so fast, so accurate, a great sight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Elodoie was a great tour leader - full of enthusiasm and always wanting to tell us more about the island, its people, language and way of life - as well as the animals and flora.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for long coach journeys: make sure you have insect repellent and malaria prophylaxis: good walking boots/shoes are essential. I found poles very useful.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Learn to use your camera. Some of the party I was with didn't know how to switch off the red-eye protection so I have several photos bathed in red - very annoying!
  • Reviewed June 2015
    Richard Broughton

    Highlights of Madagascar

    I great trip to see the centre and South of Madagascar with plenty of changing landscapes and Limurs in the forests. The island in the South was uniquely beautiful, but unfortunately a bus heavy trip was made much worse by the cancellation of internal flights adding another 23 hours to the time spent on a bus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Ranohira national park had fantastic canyons and sandstone features. It was a shame we did not walk longer here.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was highly knowledgeable in all areas and managed to return us safely to Antananarivo safely even when the internal flights were cancelled.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There is really a lot of bus travel on this trip, even the city tour on the last day involves 60km of bus ride. Be careful about changing money back at the airport as we were tricked. The exchange only had 50 euro or 20 dollar notes so simply rounded up all the local money to an exchange rate in his favour essentially robbing us.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The cancellation of the internal flights essentially meant that we lost a day's holiday and any chance to explore and shop in Tana. This was extremely frustrating as I spent 2 days with motion sickness and diarrhea on the bus. Then the flight to Paris was delayed so I missed my connecting flight and spent 7 hours waiting at Charles-de-Gaulle as Air France would not transfer to the 3 Lufthansa flights that departed every 2 hours as my bags were checked through to my final destination.
  • Reviewed November 2014
    Anonymous .

    Highlights of Madagascar

    This is a fabulous holiday for experiencing a breathtaking natural environment. Landscapes range from the lush bright green rice fields, dry spiky desert, rugged canyon full of texture and shades of ochre and terracotta, the tangled green rain forests down to the turquoise, crystal clear coral sea - not forgetting the white shell strewn sands. There are so many different Lemurs to see, even the nocturnal, tiny mouse lemur with a penchant for bananas. Lemurs leap with their clinging babies among the tree tops defying the camera, others 'pose' swinging upside down and, at times, just fluffy bundles, legs limply dangling snooze above paparazzi heads. Chameleons, some tiny, some podgy, tantalize the spotters by merging into their leafy or stony backgrounds whilst over sized butterflies, moths and insects scurry about underfoot and overhead. The natural pools, cascading waterfalls and brightly coloured flowers evoke memories of the Bounty adverts. There's so much packed into each day - as well as night, morning and daytime trekking with the 'spotters', there's opportunity to watch wood and zebu horn carvers, silk weavers, even wine tasting. Travelling is by mini bus, 4x4's, speed boat, traditional canoes, even a zebu cart out to the boats which is quite an experience! The Malagasy people waved and smiled whilst the enterprising children loved little treats but particularly bottles of water which was such a precious gift in the south.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole group was enthralled by the wildlife experiences and cultural visits and stories but we were all totally inspired by the amazingly resourceful recycling projects. We visited some very enterprising people who had built mechanisms from scrap materials to enable them to create the most intricate things as well as essential, everyday basic utensils. The Malagasy people work in such difficult circumstances which are effected by the climate and environment and working conditions are archaic with little regard to health and safety to say the least. It is a rich country in terms of gems and spectacular natural beauty but the infrastructure is poor and even basic commodities are so difficult to obtain and control, particularly power and water which are so precious.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our local group leader, Tyena, was excellent. He ensured we were well informed, well supervised, well fed and our experience of Madagascar was educative and authentic. Our safety was also of utmost importance to him. He never rested until we were settled and genuinely enjoyed telling us about his country, helping us to be better informed about cultural issues, environmental problems and the daily lives of the Malagasy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Currency - Stirling or USD changed into local currency on arrival at the airport is all that is required. There are few opportunities to use ATM's and locals/hotels refer local currency. Mastercard is not accepted anywhere. Meals are very reasonable with 3 courses plus drinks averaging around £6 - yes cheap!! On arrival at the Tana airport be prepared to argue with security staff regarding Yellow Fever certificates - they're not needed but those people without them had to pay bribes of up to $20 to get through security!!! Take non electric mossie plug ins etc as electricity is mostly not available at night. I did take a travel kettle though ( for when I had a socket and electricity) as there's times when you're desperate for a cuppa even without milk! Take a good torch and camping light for your room. We virtually all had problems with batteries due to the climate so take spares for the camera. Take a load of Imodium and re-hydrates and a good deet spray or cream.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Take a few long sleeved cotton shirts for trekking off rain forest tracks plus long or roll up bottom walking trousers and plenty of tee shirts. Leave bling and glam at home - just take casual clean for night (it's dark anyway!!!). Leave plenty of room for 'tat' shopping and buy some small sweets to keep the children happy - it's not really encouraging begging as they're inquisitive and when you see how poor they are you'll be glad you've got a treat!
  • Reviewed September 2014
    Kay Roantree

    Highlights of Madagascar

    There were only six of us on the trip so this was a real bonus. It meant that we had lots of room in the minibus and when being guided around we could spend a long time viewing the wildlife. Saw more than was mentioned in the trip notes and spent longer in the national parks as being a small group we all agreed on what we wanted.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing lemurs in their natural environoment. Snorkelling on Nosy Ve

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The holiday was really well organised by our tour leader Armel. He even worked on days when he really did not have to as when we had free time he still guided us around the towns. He was enthusiastic about finding lemurs and making sure we could all get a good view of them. Great tour leader enthusiasic and knowledgeable about the country and wildlife. He spoke excellent English and always wanted to make our holiday as enjoyable as possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There is a lot of driving but the days are broken up with visits to national parks, so not as onerous as it sounds in the notes. However the last few days from leaving the beach to arriving home is very tiring and for a couple of days there was not much to see in Tulear and Antananarivo

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go while there is still things to see
  • Reviewed September 2014
    Nancy nancy

    Marvellous Madagascar!

    A really varied trip with the opportunity to see several different areas of Madagascar; the gorgeous beaches, some beautiful national parks and delightful lemurs and chameleons!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The range of lemur species that we were privileged to see interacting in the wild and swinging in the trees! I was surprised how close they came to us, allowing for some fantastic photo opportunities!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was a native Madagascan so was able to give us a real insight into his country. He was also very eager to ensure that everyone had a positive experience and nothing was ever too much trouble... Having received the groups details before the trip began he'd even arranged some birthday surprises (a band and a cake) for one of the group members.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It was colder than I expected in the north, particularly at night - pack plenty of warm clothes for this part of the trip. And be prepared for crowds/chaos when you arrive - no one seems to queue for their entry visa!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was struck by how poor the Madagascan people were, even compared to other African countries I'd visited. If I were to visit again I would take more T-shirts etc that I could give away when I'd finished with them or perhaps try to support a local organisation through something like the stuff your rucksack website.
  • Reviewed December 2013
    Anonymous .

    HIGHLIGHTS OF MADAGASCAR

    Amazing variety of scenery and more wild life than I'd expected from reading other reviews of trips to Madagascar. We saw several different species of lemurs and a fantastic variety of chameleons! The trip requires some very early starts to see the wildlife when its most active, but its well worth it. There are some long bus journeys but the roads were in better condition than I expected from the description in the tour notes, and for me personally, the inspiring scenery and interesting street life in towns helped pass the time. Towards the end of the trip there are 3 days at a beach resort, which for me was too long. Once we'd visited the Spiny Forest nearby there wasn't much to do. Even if you like sunbathing (I don't) this is made impossible by the strong winds that develop every afternoon, which pick up the sand - if you tried staying on the beach you'd be sand-blasted, and similarly, the wind churns up the waves and makes snorkelling impossible. I liked every other place we stayed at so ideally I would shorten the time at the beach and have another night in one of the other national parks  waves and makes snorkelling impossible.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing such a variety of chameleons, both in the wild and at a fantastic sanctuary we visitedLemurs, especially the very tame (but wild) ring-tailed lemursAwesome landscapes!The spiny forest national park right down southWaking up to the sound of Indri calling in the jungle before dawn, also hearing a family chorus when we were watching them - I will never forget!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tahianna, our leader, went out of his way to make sure we were all happy and comfortable. He gave us a lot of information about Madagascar, including personal insights and experiences that really enhanced my understanding of the country. At one point, about 2/3s of us were taken ill (a hazard of travelling in less developed countries and nothing to do with the trip) - he came to each of our rooms over the next 24 hours to check we were ok, made sure we had water and whatever else we needed, and even rearranged the itinerary when it was obvious that the group weren't up to going to a national park. I would give him 11 out of 10 for his tireless care and consideration of our needs.We had a different guide, Roger, for the last 36 hours (the guides change when you fly back from Tolear). I wasn't too impressed by him, it felt like we were a load of boring tourists to him!   

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You will witness extreme poverty so be prepared, especially if you're not used to travelling in less developed countries. On the positive side, your tourism is bringing much needed income and creating an incentive to protect the rapidly disappearing rainforests.You need to be reasonably agile on some of the walks (the trip notes say reasonably fit, but its not just about distances). At times we were clambering over rocks or walking on very uneven paths.Be aware, especially in Tana, of the risk of petty crime (snatch and run). This is nothing to worry about so long as you know it could happen. After learning that one of our group had a necklace snatched on her first day there I took off my (very small) gold St Christopher that's been with me on extensive travels over 20 years... if I'd realised that even this small item would be a temptation I would have just left it at home.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was really impressed by the knowledge and enthusiasm of local guides in the national parks.I paid for an extra night's accommodation, as the group flight home was full. My booking, and 2 other bookings, was stuffed up by Exodus, as the hotel we had written confirmation we would be staying in was full. This meant transferring to somewhere nearby - the 2nd hotel had our bookings no problem and was nicer - but it was still annoying as I lost half a day of the time I'd set aside to do some independent sight-seeing in Tana after the rest of the group had gone home.Related to the above, and various hassles with invoices before my trip, I don't rate Exodus admin that highly! Having said that, this trip was fabulous and I couldn't have seen everything that I did without either joining a group or spending a fortune, so I'm glad I did it. I would recommend this trip to anyone with a curiosity to get out and about and see this fabulous country!  
  • Reviewed November 2013
    Anonymous .

    HIGHLIGHTS OF MADAGASCAR

    A great trip with more wildlife than expected. Slightly longer beach stay than most exodus trips.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    When one if the wild ring tailed lemurs jumped right over my head as I stood in the boggy rain forest.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armel was an accomplished leader and good at managing expectations. He like to make revelations so only told us the next bit of info.

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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