Madagascar Holidays

Discovering Madagascar's eccentricity and charm

Madagascar’s rainforests ring to the calls of lemurs and exotic birdlife, humpback whales breed in its waters and ancient 2 CV taxis ply the streets.

Meanwhile restaurants in the middle of nowhere serve homemade foie gras as good as anything you’ll find in Dordogne. After many trips over the past few years this place has become a firm favourite of ours.

A Madagascar safari holiday offers the sort of eccentric charm it’s increasingly hard to find these days. Not quite Africa, part Indonesia with a dash of Arabic, all overlaid with a French accent. This is a place with the capacity to surprise on many levels, whether it’s the wildlife, the beautiful scenery or the food.

While it may not be the obvious choice for those wanting a sophisticated modern safari experience, it will reward those of a curious nature looking for a bit of adventure in a wildly exciting corner of the planet. And some of Madagascar’s wildlife experiences – particularly the rainforests and coast on the Northeast of the island - are as good as anything you’ll find on mainland Africa. 

Planning a trip to Madagascar? Talk to us

For families Madagascar is a cornucopia of eclectic experiences that will keep children big and small thrilled

Enter the rainforest on foot and you’ll be smitten by the extraordinary endemic species that live their; brightly coloured chameleons that resemble the beaded trinkets for sale in Johannesburg airport or some of the world’s last Indris – sombre looking lemurs the size of a child, with a call like a vuvuzela and the ability to leap 7 metres in a single bound.

Take night walks to discover creatures deeply asleep on the ends of branches, explore massive caves and landscapes that look like they came from a Hollywood set. Head to the coast and the turquoise waters, white sandy beaches and rich sea life are mesmerising. 

Take a look at a Madagascar safari for families

Madagascar's Wildlife

Lemurs, rainforests and humpback whales

Discovering Madagascar's unspoilt forests and coastlines

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If you know where to look Madagascar still contains sensational wild areas

While much of the island has suffered terribly from deforestation, the country’s last remaining rainforests are still cathedrals to biodiversity teaming with colourful mammals, reptiles, birds, insects and plants - many of which remain unknown to science.

In all Madagascar is home to over 100 species of lemur, while stunning islands and beaches offer the chance to see – and even swim with - a plethora of marine wildlife, from humpback whales to whale sharks, manta rays and turtles.

In August and September look out for breaching humpback whales as they migrate to and from their breeding grounds. At Christmas time whale sharks can be found in the islands around Nosy Be, while manta rays and sea turtles are year-round residents.

For those after real adventure consider taking the RN5 “the world’s worst highway” which follows the magical east coast of the island; 5 days of unspoilt beaches and small fishing villages.

Take on the RN5? Read the sample itinerary

It's no mean feat to be able to run a luxury lodge in Madagascar - few people would have the determination to try, but of those that do, a few stand out as remarkable.

Beyond a select handful of properties that we'd advise you to build your itinerary around, it’s sensible to assume that accommodation in Madagascar won’t be highly sophisticated

In many cases there are good logistical reasons for this (it’s pretty hard to get a lot of things in very remote areas), but this aside, the travel market here isn’t as mature as in some parts of Africa and standards reflect this. 

You could however argue that moderate accommodation is the price to be paid for visiting the little visited regions of Madagascar.

In many places – and particularly if you’re driving, there is a reasonable selection of mid range hotels to choose from in places like Andasibe, but styling tends to be functional rather than ground breaking. Go further afield though, for example to the wild east coast and you can expect some quite basic set ups.

However, in our experience, what you will find almost everywhere are enormously welcoming people and very often exceptional food.

All of this said, there are one or two exceptions that prove the rule – truly special small lodges like Masoala Forest Lodge, located in the magical Masoala National Park, that offer exceptional food in a seriously off the map locations and it’s places like this that we’d advocate building your trip around if  you can.

Take a look at a sample trip
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Madagascar Sample Trips

MADAGASCAR'S WILD NORTHEAST WITH LEMURS & HUMPBACKS

Highlights:

Madagascar's largest unbroken rainforest, endemic lemurs, humpbacks and a stunning beach lodge

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Madagascar Sample Trips

MADAGASCAR'S DEEP SOUTH

Highlights:

Spiny Forest, Lemurs and Sifakas, varied landscapes, whales and dolphins - all well off the beaten track

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Madagascar Sample Trips

NORTHERN MADAGASCAR'S RAINFORESTS & ISLANDS

Highlights:

Rainforests, lemurs, dramatic landscapes and the crumbling charm of Diego Suarez. Ending up on an indian ocean island

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Madagascar Sample Trips

Madagascar's Wild east Coast

Highlights:

Not for the faint hearted. A madcap adventure through one of Madagascar's least accessible coastal areas. Whales, lemurs and pristine coastlines

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I am not sure if Julien bought us to the lemurs or vice versa, but there they were, astonishing beings, upright, immaculately attired in furs and tails, bouncing through the trees like pianists in white tie and knickerbockers. They had no fear of us. They crooned, chattered, ate, carried their babies — and then they called. I jumped. Lemurs can make a shrieking hoot that vibrates through tree trunks. You would think a troop of yeti were coming for you.”

- HORATIO CLARE - FINANCIAL TIMES

Madagascar changes you. It made me an evangelist for the country - for the necessity of foreign understanding and support for this vulnerable and still extraordinary place”

- HORATIO CLARE - FINANCIAL TIMES

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MADAGASCAR'S HIGHLIGHTS

MANAFIAFY

INCREDIBLE BEACH RESORT WITH A DIFFERENCE

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MADAGASCAR'S HIGHLIGHTS

MASOALA NATIONAL PARK

DENSE FOREST WITH A WEALTH OF EXOTIC SPECIES

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MADAGASCAR'S HIGHLIGHTS

Ankarana National Reserve

WILDLIFE FROM LEMURS TO CHAMELEONS

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MADAGASCAR'S HIGHLIGHTS

Diego Suarez

One of the world’s largest naturally protected bays

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MADAGASCAR'S HIGHLIGHTS

ILE SAINTE MARIE

THE BEST LOCATION FOR WHALE WATCHING

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Blog

When’s the best time to visit Madagascar?

As a general rule of thumb Madagascar is best visited from April to December. Although some guide books suggest visiting Madagascar only from...
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Blog

Month by month guide to visiting Madagascar

January is the start of a very wet and hot period in Madagascar; rainfall can be as much as 340mm, especially on the east coast. Roads to places of...
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+44 (0) 1747 830950

Our experienced travellers include:

Andrea Hulme
Andrea Hulme
Rod Tether
Rod Tether
Catherine Ronan
Catherine Ronan

It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary.

All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.

Reviews

First class. Experts in the holiday adventure field. Great to deal with

"First class! Natural High are experts in their field. All the boxes are ticked which leaves you to travel without any worries. Excellent destinations, superb accommodation and all the logistics are taken care of. Natural High tailor holidays exactly to your needs. Would highly recommend and we will be using Natural High again."

Anonymous

Perfect family Safari!!

"Our family Kenyan safari trip to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary was perfectly planned by Catherine from the moment we landed in Nairobi, to our last day. We traveled to Ol Malo in Laikipia, Lewa House in Lewa Downs, and Tangulia Mara in the Maasai Mara. Each place offered incredibly talented and informative guides, and gracious, loving staff. The variety of animals we saw was breathtaking. Our grand daughter celebrated her 14th birthday with special pancakes and singing in Ol Malo, and then a beautiful candlelit dinner under the starry night in Lewa. Our 50th wedding anniversary was celebrated at Tangulia Mara with an amazing day watching the migration of the wildebeest in the Maasai Mara, and beautiful intimate dinner party and dancing with the entire staff during the evening.
Thank you, Natural High, for the best trip of our lifetime!"

Anonymous

Fantastic Zambia holiday - South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi

"We cannot thank Natural High and Catherine enough for such a fantastic holiday. During the planning, Catherine answered endless questions from our family and supported us every step of the way in coordinating our separate itineraries (which can't have been easy when we were a party of 11 and all travelling from different locations!). The South Luangwa has become our favourite Africa destination - and Flatdogs our favourite camp! Catherine was very thoughtful in arranging extra surprises for our group as we were celebrating a special birthday. The staff at Flatdogs treated us so well, and they were very open to letting us have large family dinners at various locations around camp. The guides were so enthusiastic the entire week!
We had our own separate holiday afterwards for just the two of us at Chongwe River Camp in the Lower Zambezi. Catherine was so supportive and flexible in helping us identify a suitable camp within an easy distance of Flatdogs, which also provided a different range of activities (boat safaris, tiger fishing and canoeing in addition to game drives!).
All in all a brilliant holiday (Flatdogs and Chongwe were the perfect combination), and everything went so smoothly. We are very much missing enjoying our G&Ts whilst watching elephants in the sunset...!"

Edgar & Alexandra Bailey CR

Absolutely amazing Family Celebration at Flatdogs!

"Outstanding service from Catherine who really understands what we want from our holiday. Catherine always goes the extra mile to choose the very best camps for us; to make sure all arrangements are in place; and to make sure we are treated as special guests when we arrive. This trip was an extra challenge given the size of our group - 11 with age range from 4 to 64 and wide range of "Africa experience" and in choosing Flatdogs, she made the best call possible - it was an amazing trip and could not have been better! Jess, Adrian and all the staff made sure our stay was fabulous; the guides were superb; the accommodation wonderful; and the "treats" -sundowners; brai; pimms; picnic; evening meals together (with hippos, bushbabies and elephants in attendance) and drinks at the fire were all that we could have hoped for - all in all, a really special family holiday."

Anonymous

outstanding organisation and service

"really know the regions they deal with well, excellent organisation of our trip, great understanding of our needs, flexibility and quick follow up, outstanding local representatives, very good pricing. we used them before and will for sure do again."

VCA

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