Madagascar's Endemic Wildlife

Lemurs, Chameleons, rainforests and humpback whales

Not much prepares you for your first encounter with Madagascar’s indigenous lemurs

Look at a photograph and you might be forgiven for thinking that lemurs are “a bit like a monkey”, worthy of a quick look and not much more. But this would be to vastly underestimate both their diversity and magnetic appeal.

The fact that Madagascar is populated by one dominant strand of primate and that evolution has allowed this strand to proliferate and diversify to such a degree is bewildering.

For those interested in evolutionary biology there can be few better examples than Madagascar’s wildlife of how random mutations, combined with natural selection can create such astonishing variety and occupy so many diverse ecological niches. Some adaptations are so exquisite that they take your breath away…and it’s almost impossible not to nod to your inner-creationist.

Whether it’s their piercing eyes - which seem to look through, as much as at you - their easy dexterity or their phenomenal agility, these animals are a delight to track, observe and photograph. And en-route you will find legions of other peculiar species, from giant iridescent green pill bugs, to frogs that look like Christmas decorations and geckos so green that you wont believe your eyes.

Take a look at a sample trip

Madagascar's Wild Northeast with Lemurs & Humpbacks


Find out more

Madagascar's Humpback Whale Migration

Maybe it's because Madagascar is such a cornucopia of natural wonders that so little has been made of the annual arrival of the Humpback Whales which is only now starting to gain attention.

Whale-watching is a global phenomenon with hotspots found from Alaska to Tahiti. Surprisingly perhaps, for an island so synonymous with endemism, Madagascar is right up there among the best of them.

Arguably the most rewarding of all the whales to watch is the Humpback, with their famously photogenic habit of breaching (propelling two-thirds or more of their body out of the sea and splashing down on their backs) and raising their enormous fluked tails out of the water when diving. The fact that they are approachable and curious as well as active and entertaining only adds to their appeal.

Humpback Whales are found in seas and oceans around the world and their numbers have been gradually recovering since the 1966 global ban on whaling came in to force, current estimates stand around 80,000 individuals.  Yet despite these numbers and their massive range (undertaking the longest migrations of any mammal) finding them is not necessarily straightforward - because although they're over fifty-foot long and weigh more than 36 tonnes, the oceans are vast.

Happily however, Humpbacks migrate to tropical waters to calve and every year from late June to September females gather to give birth to their calves in waters surrounding Madagascar - particularly in the shallow channel between the mainland and Île Saine Mairie running north in to Antogil Bay by the Masoala Peninsular.

For anyone considering visiting Madagascar it is definitely worth considering doing so in the northern summer (June to September) months and including some time on the east coast of the island. Watching the Humpbacks can be done in relative luxury on Masoala - flying in and out of Tana - and for those looking for adventure the incomparable drive up the Route National 5 will give ample opportunity to spot these behemoths cruising up this most spectacular of coastlines. 

Talk to us about your Madagascar trip

There are a number of parks in Madagascar where it’s possible to find and observe the various species of lemur.

The starting point is likely to be Andasibe-Mantadia to the east of the capital Antananarivo

This is an excellent place to see these animals at close proximity and while you’re unlikely to have the experience to yourself, it’s still worth covering this area before heading slightly further off-piste. Chat with us about how best to get this balance right.

Habituated families of Indri live in Analamazaotra Reserve, an area of thick primary forest cut through with winding pathways. Here, if you’re lucky you’ll find yourself in the presence of Indri, sometimes at astonishingly close range. These are vocal animals, so part of the experience is to stand – slack-jawed – as they call to one another in the loud, reedy calls.

Children (and adults) will be mesmerised by the chance to tangle with a rescued family of lemurs at a reserve close to Andasibe (take a look at Madagascar for families). More than anywhere this gives a chance to see them at very close range (like for example sitting on your head) and is a great experience as a precursor to seeing their less habituated counterparts in other national parks.

Request an itinerary for Madagascar
1 / 4

Sample Trips in Madagascar



Lemurs and rainforests in the east and north of the country. Incredible landscapes & culture. Indian Ocean islands and marine life

View sample trip
2 / 4

Sample Trips in Madagascar



Madagascar's largest unbroken rainforest, lemurs and forest species, pristine beaches and humpbacks. Stunning small forest lodge.

View sample trip
3 / 4

Sample Trips in Madagascar

Madagascar's Wild East Coast Road


Madcap safari up Madagascar's east coast. 15 pontoons, countless bridges and river crossings, migrating whales and beautiful coastline

View sample trip
4 / 4

Sample Trips in Madagascar


View sample trip

They are so cute...from a reasonable distance”


Take the first step

Tell us where you'd like to go...

Please sign me up for your newsletter
Please post me your brochure

Talk to us

+44 (0) 1747 830950

Our experienced travellers include:

Alex Edwards
Alex Edwards
Vanessa Janion
Vanessa Janion
Rod Tether
Rod Tether

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.


Another Perfect Trip

"Morocco was our fourth trip with Natural High and true to past trips, the itinerary was right on point for our interest and goals, all logistics went off without a hitch and the service throughout the trip was high end. Everyone we worked with were friendly and professional. We had a fantastic time...Thank you!"

Tom & Karen Holterhoff

Perfect holiday from start to finish.

"Absolutely excellent service. The itinerary was spot on and the whole holiday worked like clockwork. The pre holiday notes and briefing were most useful too. I would have no hesitation in recommending Natural High Safaris to others."

Angela R CR

Fabulous trip to Tanzania

"This is the second time we have used Natural High Safaris, and again they organised an outstanding holiday for us, this time in Tanzania, combining a safari and beach holiday that was top-notch. Highly recommend them, with huge range of experience and desire to really understand what it is their clients want - and then delivering! Thanks to Catherine Ronan."


An outstanding trip to the Himalayas superbly designed by Natural High.

"Natural High organised a 2 week family trip to Ladakh in August 2018. Andrea Hulme used her local knowledge to design an exciting trip that included a 5 day trek, white water rafting and numerous cultural visits and experiences. Their local partners Shakti were absolutely outstanding and we loved staying in the village houses as opposed to hotels. Their female Ladakhi guide Sonam was really one of the best we have every had on our travels."


Natural High

"Yet again another great holiday arranged by Natural High - Air France tried to ruin it but Natural High and their local agent were very helpful in resolving the problems caused. ."

James and Laura AH