13 Day escorted tour Itinerary

Madagascar Classic Tour

See the iconic areas of Madagascar

Join our scenic tour of Madagascar and discover the dramatic landscapes waiting in abundance from the highlands of hills and mountains, through to rainforests and dry forests as well as the mountain ranges of Andringitra and Isalo National Park, which is one of the most spectacular national park’s on earth, home to a stunning combination of sandstone rocks and rare plants.  
Passing through this magnificent country you will see beautiful countryside, small villages, smiling locals and an array of indigenous wildlife which will leave you amazed.

During your holiday you will also have the opportunity to meet the different tribes of Madagascar and learn all about their history and culture. 

Daily Departures

Our Experts Recommend:
  • Exploring this relatively undiscovered island
  • Trekking through the rugged and beautiful national parks
  • Spotting numerous varies of lemurs
  • Meeting friendly locals and experiencing their way of life

Sample Itinerary Summary

We can tailor any part of this itinerary or create a new one just for you.

Duration
13 days
Destination Breakdown
  • Antananarivo
    1 Night
  • Antsirabe
    1 Night
  • Ranomafana National Park
    1 Night
  • Fianarantsoa
    1 Night
  • Andringitra Massif
    2 Nights
  • Isalo National Park
    2 Nights
  • Ifaty
    3 Nights
  • Antananarivo
    1 Night
Options
Private basis, Escorted
Included
  • Accommodation, meals, activities and entrance fees as per itinerary
  • Domestic flight Toliara to Antananarivo in economy class
  • Transfers with English speaking driver-guide
  • Transfers in air-conditioned transfer vehicles
  • Tourism tax
Not included
  • International flights
  • Visas
  • Any meals, activities and entrance fees not specifically mentioned as included
  • Optional activities
  • Drinks, gratuities, extras
  • Personal insurances
  • Expenses of a personal nature

Itinerary Breakdown

Arrival in Antananarivo, meet and greet at the airport then transferred to your hotel with the rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Palissandre Hotel & Spa

After breakfast, start your adventure and drive southward to Antsirabe through mountains, hills and rice fields. Learn about the daily life of the highlands and its typical scenery, meet local people in villages, in the local markets or visit the countryside schools. Stop at Ambatolampy and visit the aluminium craftsmen’s workshops who produce all the cooking pots for the Malagasy people. 

Arrival in Antsirabe at the mid-afternoon then short city tour of the thermal town. Antsirabe lies at 1,500m altitude and was founded in 1872 by Norwegian missionaries attracted by the cool climate and the healing properties of the thermal springs.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Couleur Café

Begin the day with breakfast at the hotel befire visiting the local gems shop in Antsirabe to learn about the precious and semi-precious stones of Madagascar.

Then drive to Ambositra the capital of the Malagasy handicrafts and the centre of Madagascar’s woodcarving industry. There is an abundant choice of carved figures with good quality and marquetery of Zafimaniry in several shops. Then continue to Ranomafana through Ambohimahaso, leave the highlands and drive through the tropical rain forests of mid altitude. Late arrival at your hotel.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Hotel Thermal Ramomafana

After breakfast at the hotel, visit the forest to spot birds and lemurs. Three species of bamboo lemurs are found in this forest (grey bamboo, golden bamboo and the greater bamboo lemur) as well as other lemur species such as the Milen’sedwardssifaka, the common brown lemur and the red bellied lemur. With luck you might spot as well some of the biggest chameleons in the island known as the Parson’s chameleon.

After the visit, take an optional lunch at Ranomafana village. Ranomafana means 'hot water', and it was the water that first drew visitors in the colonial days and financed the buildings in the area.

In the afternoon, continue to Fianarantsoa, meaning ‘Place of Good Learning'.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Zomatel Hotel

After breakfast take a short city tour by car up to the old town as the town is built on a hill. Then drive to Andringitra through Ambalavao. In Ambalavao visit a very interesting factory producing hand-made paper used by many locals. Continue on for a visit of the Anja community reserve where you can easily spot the famous ring tailed lemur. 

Continue on for 2 hours to the Tsaranoro Valley to your camp for the next 2 nights.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Tsara Camp

Today a mini trekking through the Andringitra massif with its hills and villages will let you explore lush valleys and shady dray forests. Discover ring tailed lemurs (Catta or Maki) and many species of birds. Picnic lunch included.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Tsara Camp

Drive back to the tarred road and continue via Ihosy across wide Horombe grassland plains towards Ranohira. The scenery begins to change as you travel through the ‘Gateway to the South’ mountain and enter the attractive countryside of the Betsileo people where granite outcrops dominate the skyline. Here the village architecture also begins to change, from the double-storey buildings of the central highlands where the people a more akin to those from south-east Asia than Africa to the single-storey ‘African-style’ houses.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Relais de la Reine

Early start for the drive to nearby Isalo National Park, one of the most dramatic parks in country. Once there, collect a local guide at the park headquarters in Ranohira and walk through the Tapia forest for roughly 90 minutes to the natural swimming pool of the park for a swim. Nature lovers have the opportunity to learn about the endemic plants of Isalo: the aloes, the pachypodium and the bottle plants. Rest by the pool or continue the visit to the Namaza site and its dry forest and waterfalls or drive back to the hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Relais de la Reine

Breakfast at the hotel then drive to Toliara through different villages of sapphire miners and the southern savannah and bushes. Along the way baobab trees, well painted tombs as well as typical villages of the southern tribes can be seen.

En route stop to take photos at the Zombitse Park, known for its dry deciduous forest and a paradise for birdwatchers. Optional lunch in Toliara to immerse yourself in the rhythm of the "White City".

In the afternoon, transfer to the fishing village Ifaty.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Hotel Le Paradisier

Day at leisure.

Optional visit of the Reniala spiny and baobab forest or excursion by pirogue to visit the coral reef.

Ifaty is a nice place for birding within the spiny forest where some of the southern endemics can be seen.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Hotel Le Paradisier

After breakfast the day is at leisure. Spend your day exploring the surrounding areas at your own pace.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Hotel Le Paradisier

Breakfast at the hotel then at leisure until you transfer to Toliara airport for your flight back to Antananarivo. On arrival you are met and transferred to your hotel for the night. 

Overnight Accommodation

  • Palissandre Hotel & Spa

After breakfast, departure for a city tour and visit of the Ambohimanga Royal Palace.

Antananarivo, is well-known by its upper town or Haute Ville or Old city. The old city is dominated by numerous churches built of stone, the colonial or traditional houses with nice verandas, the Queen’s palace on top of the hill overlooking the lower city or the modern city and the surrounding rice fields and lakes. The visit starts from the old city then drives down Independence Avenue and its arcades buildings and ends at the main railway station. Continue to the lower town with its contrasting styles of architecture: the Carlton Hotel with its 15 floors, the modern buildings of the different ministries and the radio station. Visit the flower market and drive around Lake Anosy which is well decorated in October thanks to the jacaranda trees and its purple flowers.

Then drive to Ambohimanga, the sacred blue hill, cradle of the Merina Monarchy and listed as a UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage site. Ambohimanga is an important historical place of the Malagasy people and was for a long time forbidden to Europeans. It is the home of Andrianampoinimerina who was the first King who tried to unite the different kingdoms into one country. Ambohimanga has seven gates, though some are all but lost among the thick vegetation. One of the most spectacular, through which you enter the village, is an enormous stone disc which was formerly rolled in front of the gateway each night.

Day use at the hotel and late evening transfer to the airport for your flight back home.

  • Antananarivo

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Madagascar’s capital city
    • Founded in 1625
    • Perched on top of a mountain range close to several nature reserves
    • The city is also known for its bubbly nightlife
  • Antsirabe

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Known as the ‘Malagasy Vichy’ because of its numerous hot springs and thermal baths
    • Stop at Ambatolampy and visit the aluminium craftsmen’s workshops
    • The city’s attractions include colonial buildings, Scandinavian villas, markets and artisan workshops
    • Learn about the daily life of the highlands and its typical scenery
  • Fianarantsoa

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Morning visit of the forest to spot birds and lemurs
    • Three species of bamboo lemurs are found here
    • Fianarantsoa means 'Place of Good Learning'
    • Spot some of the biggest chameleons in the island
  • Andringitra Massif

    Itinerary Highlights

    • visit a factory producing hand made paper
    • Visit the Anja community reserve where can easily spot the ring tailed lemur
    • Stay in a wonderful tented camp
    • Climbing, trekking and paragliding are all possible to spice up your holiday
  • Isalo National Park

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Centuries of wind and rain have whittled the landscape into gorges, canyons and bizarre rock formations
    • There are also palm-lined oases and sprawling grasslands
    • Park a magnet for hikers, with treks ranging from a few hours to several days.
    • Cool off in the natural swimming holes
  • Ifaty

    Itinerary Highlights

    • The perfect setting in which to wind down
    • Take photos at the Zombitse Park, known for its dry deciduous forest and a paradise for birdwatchers
    • Laze on the beach
    • See the beautiful coral reefs