Magnificent North – North Madagascar Holiday

Starting from the last highland forest, we’ll move through barren Tampoketsa to join the north west coast (and a canoe trip through the mangroves) before ending up in Diego. On this active trip, we will be able to explore a great line of National parks, and enjoy the unique and diverse environments and fauna accompanied by a naturalist guide.

We had an amazing time. Everything worked well with connections and arrangements.  We really enjoyed the trekking and the camping, and overall the itinerary was a good mix and timings were perfect too.  Thank you again for a great trip and all your help.

Ryland Day Family.

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 of Northern Madagascar on this adventurous trip. As part of our commitment to responsible travel and in conjunction with we finance a tree nursery and orchard in Italavina – which is a long term reforestation project.

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North Madagascar 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.

Overnight Hotel

Day 2: Ambohitantely National Reserve (B,L,D)

After breakfast you will meet your guide and we will head towards Ambohitantely National Reserve (approx. 3 hrs). This afternoon we will spend the time hiking through this special reserve.

Overnight in Camp

Days 3: Trekking in the reserve & Ankarafantsika (B,L,D)

We will spend the morning trekking this reserve again before heading back to our car for our transfer Ankarafantsika (approx. 6 hr transfer).

We will overnight at the bungalows in the national park – these are set discreetly in the forest and face Lake Ravelobe. They are clean, comfortable and simple, and are ideal for us to get an early start in the forest tomorrow (being a 2 min walk from the park entrance).

Overnight bungalow

Day 4: Visit of the Ankarafantsika National Park (B,L,D)

We set off after breakfast to explore this forest on foot, a superb and fauna rich day hike. We will take a picnic lunch to have on the trail in the national park. After dinner we will have the option of setting out on a night hike again to see some of the nocturnal inhabitants of the forest.


Overnight bungalow.

Day 5: Antsohihy (B,L)

After another morning exploring the forest, we will drive to Antsohihy. Along the way we will pass through villages and animated markets so there is always something to look at en-route.

Overnight bungalow

Day 6: Ambanja (B,L,D)

Today we will we head for Ambanja.

Tonight we will sleep in  bungalows on the beach.


Overnight bungalow.


Day 7: Ankarana  (B,L,D)

This morning we head to Ankarana (approx.  4 hrs by road). Upon arrival we will set up our camp and we will then get a chance to explore. This afternoon we will visit Perte de Riviere – which is the gateway to a series of caves leading to the ocean.


Overnight Hotel


Day 8: Visiting Ankarana Reserve (B,L,D)

Today will be spent exploring this amazing park along with the Tsingy and the canyons. The trails are not easy but are feasible for anyone with a moderate level of fitness and we recommend visiting this park in the dry season (May-Nov).

This afternoon we will visit Perte de Riviere – which is the gateway to a series of caves leading to the ocean.


Overnight Hotel               

Day 9: Jofreville & Amber Mountain (B,L,D)

Today we head to Jofreville (approx. 3 hrs on a slightly bumpy road) and the Montagne d’Ambre – the Amber Mountain.

Our accommodation whilst here will be a charming boutique hotel


Overnight Hotel


Day 10: Amber Mountain (B,L,D)

Today we will spend the day exploring the forest trails and waterfalls in the Montagne d’Ambre.

Overnight Hotel


Day 11: Flight Home or Optional Beach Extension (B,L,D)

We will catch the Air Madagascar flight from Diego to Tana.  Depending on your time of arrival in Tana you can visit the handicraft market .


Overnight Hotel

Day 12: End of Trip (B)

Transfer to airport in time for flight home.  We can arrange a day use room if you are on a late night flight (not included)



This is the Wild North and is not on the usual tourist route, so the accommodation quality does vary and some of the drives are long.

This itinerary is subject to change – arrangements, routes and facilities are subject to variation depending on local conditions.  We can also tailor itineraries to suit your exact requirements. When driving times are given, this is only an indication.  It aims to reflect the actual driving time (and doesn’t include stops, lunch, traffic). The road journeys, while often long, are one of the great ways to experience Madagascar.  There is so much life on the road and many photographic opportunities along the way from a natural and people perspective.  



Day 11: Diego to Nosy Be (B)

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.

Overnight Hotel

Day 12: Nosy-be/Anjiabe (B,L,D ) 

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 stunning 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!

Overnight Camp.


Day 13: Radama (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.

Overnight Camp


Day 14: Ambariomena (B,L,D)

We set off early to head Ambariomena. 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!

Overnight Camp

Day 15: Nosy be – Tana (B)

Flight Back to Tana



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Average rating:  
 3 reviews
by L.Taylor on Pioneer Expeditions

Trip was great and a welcome break from work!
My only comment would be that it would have been nice to have more local food.

by Mary P. on Pioneer Expeditions

It was a great hols & thank you so much for arranging it. everything went like clockwork. The choice of Mammy & our driver Zoo was an excellent plan & we couldn't fault their professionalism .We did think that it would have been better to have visited less places & had a bit more down time. The stay at Eden Lodge was super.

by Ryland Day Family on Pioneer Expeditions
Tailormade North

Just a quick note to say very many thanks for arranging our trip last week to Madagascar - we had an amazing time. Everything worked well with connections and arrangements. The guides assigned were excellent - Apolinia's eyesight was just amazing and he spotted so many wonderful things. We really enjoyed the trekking and the camping, and overall the itinerary was a good mix and timings were perfect too. The boys are already asking when we can go back to Madagascar, so we may have to look into some family friendly itineraries in another part of the country next year. Thank you again for a great trip and all your help.

  • Duration12 days/11 nights
  • Price£2,150$2,595
  • Upcoming Group Departures2017: 6th May'; 27th Jun'; 15th Aug'; 2nd Sep'; 28th Oct' //2018: 5th May; 26th Jun'; 14th Aug'; 1st Sep'; 27th Oct';
  • Tailormade DeparturesMar - Dec

Extraordinary Sights

Breakfast at Antsohihy Passing villages along the way Ankarafantsika National Park is the place for bird watchers A common brown lemur & baby at Ankarafantsika Crocs on the lake at Ankarafantsika The beautiful Coquerel's Sifaka Visiting a local market en route to Antsohihy Bungalows on the beach at Ankify A chameleon crossing Trekking at ankarana Ankarana caves Crowned lemur at Ankarana National Park Meeting the wildlife at Ankarana Meeting the locals
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