On this trip, we will explore the Rugged Northern area of Madagascar – on foot and by 4WD to get into the true soul of this unique and diverse country. We will camp, stay in huts on the beach, eco hotels and will even spend a couple of nights in a tree bungalow! Madagascar is a one-off; there is no other place like it.
Its landscapes, animals and plants are simply fantastic! Near the equator with an astonishing array of habitats, ranging from rainforests to deserts and from mountain tops to mangrove swamps, it is one of the most important countries for biodiversity on the planet. The tropical climate is a perfect host to the process of nature and, like nowhere else, the variety and richness of life has flourished. We will see much of the unique flora and fauna on this action packed adventure which is sure to satisfy everyone in the family.
Family Adventure Holiday Itinerary
Day 1: Antananarivo
After arriving in Antananarivo (or Tana, as it is known by the locals) late pm, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel
Day 2: Antananarivo – Majunga (B,D)
Transfer to the airport in time for your flight to Majunga. Your guide and driver who will be with you (until Sakalava) will meet you at the airport in Majunga. Mahajanga’s baobabs, scattered islands, forest reserves, lakes and caves have turned it into a major escape away for the capital’s inhabitants, however is still pretty much off the international tourist route. . The amazing natural and cultural heritages of Mahajanga make this city and its environments an extraordinary worthy destination. Afternoon is at leisure to explore Majunga or chill out by the pool.
Overnight Hotel – Karibou Lodge or similar
Day 3: Majunga (B,L,D)
Today we will visit the sacred lake at Mangatsa, which is a site of great religious importance to the Sakalava trbe. Enroute we will pass by some typical Sakalava villages. Later this afternoon we can visit the Cirque Rouge – a stunning multi-coloured circular rock formation consisting of red-beige-and lilac-cloured rock eroded into strange shapes:peaks,spires and castles.
Overnight Hotel – Karibou Lodge or similar
Day 4: Majunga to Ankarafantsika National Park (B,L,D)
Morning at leisure before heading to Ankarafantsika (approx. 2 – 2 ½ hours by car)
Ankarafantsika National Park is situated on Lac Ravelobe and is a den of birds and lemurs, including being the home to the beautiful Coquerel’s sifaka lemur as well as 7 other species of lemurs (inc. woolly, mouse, mongoose lemurs) and exceptional birds (including roufous vanga and fish eagle). There is an organized network of paths that is perfect for wildlife viewing. Tonight we will take a night walk to see some of the nocturnal species (including mouse lemur
Day 5: Ankarafantsika National Park (B,L,D)
We set off after breakfast to explore this forest on foot, a superb, fauna rich day excursion. We will take a picnic
lunch to have on the trail in the national park. If there is enough time, there is also an option of a flat bottomed boat trip on the lake, which is perfect for birdwatching.
Overnight – bungalows
Day 6: Ankarafantsika – Ankify (B,L,D)
Today we will set off early for a days drive to Ankify (8+ hrs). This is a long day, however at the end of the day we will be rewarded with the azure blue sea and golden sand at Ankify. Along the way we will pass through villages and animated markets so there is always something to look at en-route. We will add lots of short stop offs to keep young travellers (and their parents) happy. Ankify is a small fishing & farming village with thatched huts and tropical vegetation and is surrounded by a number of sandy beaches overlooking the crystal clear sea
Overnight – bungalows.
Day 7: Ankify – Ankarana (B,L,D)
We can spend the morning relaxing on the beautiful beach (the beaches are flat so swimming can be restricted at low tide) before setting off to Ankarana which is approx. 4 hrs by road. Here you have the choice to stay at a lodge or camp (this can be decided at time of booking. ( there is no running water if camping)
Day 8: Ankarana (B,L,D)
Ankarana Special Reserve covers 18,220ha and is known for its limestone karst pinnacles called Tsingy along with its extensive cave system and network of underground rivers. Ankarana possibly has the highest density of primates of any forest in the world and here we may see the crowned lemur, Sanford’s brown lemur, Perrieri’s (black sifaka) lemur, the northern sportive lemur and dwarf lemurs as well as a variety of chameleons and leaf-tailed Uroplatus gecko and great flora. Today we will spend our time exploring this amazing park along with the Tsingy and the canyons.
Overnight Ankarana Lodge or similar – (or camp)
Day 9: Ankarana – Montagne D’Ambre (B,L,D)
Today we head to Jofreville (approx. 3 hrs on a slightly bumpy road) and the Montagne d’Ambre – the Amber Mountain. This is a stunning National Park and is comprised of a huge tropical forest with waterfalls and volcanic lakes. There are numerous animals that inhabit this national park including the ring-tailed mongoose, the fossa and 8 types of lemurs. It is also home to 75 bird species – 35 of them are endemic, 60 reptiles, 35 types of frog and 40 species of butterfly.
Due to its relative proximity to Diego, this park can get quite busy (by Madagascan standards) in the high season, however it is really worth visiting.
Day 10: Montagne D’Ambre (B,L,D)
We will spend the day exploring the forest trails and waterfalls in the Montagne d’Ambre which is rich in both animal and plant life (including orchids).
Day 11: Montagne De Francais (B,L,D)
Today we head to Montagne de Francais, just a short 2 hours by road, but a very different environment – a tropical dry forest with Baobab trees, caves, fish eagles and lemurs.
Montagne de Français – this reserve protects deciduous dry forest characteristic of the north of Madagascar. Much of the forest is on a calcareous massif that has been eroded into Tsingy. The forested area ranges from 100-450 metres above sea level. This is one of the best places to see one of the most beautiful baobabs, Adansonia suarezensis.
We will have a unique experience here as we will stay overnight in the tree bungalows – literally huts built in trees! Don’t expect luxury (or en-suite facilities)
Overnight – Tree bungalow
Day 12: Sakalava (B,L,D)
This morning we head to Sakalava (1 hour by car). Sakalava. With beautiful white sand and a shallow lagoon with pristine waters this is a perfect family destination to end your time in Madagascar. You can choose to extend your stay with some extra days on the beach if you prefer or take the beach extension below.
Overnight Sakalava Bungalow
Day 13: Diego – Tana (B)
We will leave Sakalava and head to Diego, where you will take an Air Madagascar flight back to Tana.
Upon arriving in Tana you will be met by a guide and transferred to your hotel – en-route you can visit the handicraft
Day 14 : Flight Home (B)
Transfer to the airport in time for your flight home.
NB: This itinerary is subject to change – arrangements, routes and facilities are subject to variation depending on local conditions. On this particular trip there is a minimum age of 8 and some previous outdoors experience is useful. We can also tailor itineraries to suit your exact requirements including catering for younger children
Optional Beach / Island Hopping Extension – from £695
Day 14: From Diego to Nosy-be (B) Day
We head to Diego where we will take an Air Madagascar flight to Nosy Be. Upon arrival we will transfer to a hotel where we will spend the afternoon at leisure
Day 15: Nosy-be / Anjiabe (B,L,D)
First thing this morning we will meet at the beach for where we board a dhow Sakalava to explore an area where the sea is the only path. Swimming, snorkeling and diving discovery of an incredibly rich and diverse underwater world awaits us. After a dhow journey we will land at Anjiabé, a 3km long beach bordered by a semi-abandoned coconut plantation, a site with extraordinary low tide. This is where we will camp for tonight. After a drink and a stuuning meal of seafood prepared for us by our chef, we will have the chance to nap, swim and for those who wish, walk trails to observe the many species of birds, mostly endemic to Madagascar. Sunset, cocktails, meals … And good night!
Day 16: Scuba Diving and Nature Walks (B,L,D)
Depending on the tide we will depart relatively early towards the Island’s northernmost archipelago Radama. (approx. a 2 1/2hr crossing). Along the way we will get a chance to swim. Nosy Ambariopôtaka rises to 166 meters and includes a different landscape to last night and we camp facing the majestic Mozambique Channel. In the next bay we tend to find a Sakalava carpenter at work – with one or more shells of dhows resting on a bed of pink and white periwinkles. The whole island is surrounded by a lagoon. Scuba diving, nature walks in the jungle and lazing are the order of today.
Day 17: Ambariomena (B,L,D)
We set off early to head Ambariomena, a quiet Malagasy fjord like a lake surrounded by small patches of orange sand, dominated by a steep forest crisscrossed by tongues of pink sandstone. The island plunges into a maze of mangroves and primary forest. We set up camp a lovely little village and, depending on the tides, in the afternoon, we head out to the sea in a canoe or explore the island on foot. After our evening aperitif, we will enjoy a meal under the stars and camp the night.
Day 18: Flight back to Tana (B)
This morning we head back to Nosy Be where we will take an Air Madagascar flight back to Tana. Depending on time of arrival you will have the option of a visit to the handicraft market and also day use of a hotel. International flights are usually at 01:00hrs. Transfer to the airport in time for your flight home.
Day 19: Flight Home
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