Madagascar's 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

Where to see Lemurs in Madagascar

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”








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...
Read More



What’s Madagascar like for a family holiday?

Madagascar is one of our favourite destinations for a family safari or holiday; there are plenty things for people of all ages to experience and...
Read More



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...
Read More

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:

Vanessa Janion
Vanessa Janion
Catherine Ronan
Catherine Ronan
Alex Edwards
Alex Edwards

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.


Outstanding customer service well above the call of duty.

"Natural High arranged a trip to remember ...accommodation first class, transportation on very long road trips was excellent. Spotless . air conditioning .. food and water. Rhino and Tiger sightings to die for.. local agents left nothing to chance ... we felt in the safest hands ... then when we off grid the virus struck... Natural High and their local Agent Banyan took total control and got us from the back of beyond to UK in very worrying and uncertain times. All without us being able to do anything at our end ...outstanding attention to detail. Worth every penny."


Personal service and excellent organisation

"This was our first holiday to be organised by Natural High. We made the enquiry on New Year’s Eve for a departure in February and within a few days they had produced a wonderful-sounding itinerary in Costa Rica. There were helpful notes for packing as they seem to have someone there who has been to any chosen destination. We did do some groundwork for flights but left it to Dial-a-Flight who were also most efficient. We visited the office as it is very local to home and everyone there was cheerful and interested in our upcoming trip. We were presented with a leather file which turned out to be the most useful item en-route for all our paperwork ..... and it smelled lovely!
The holiday was one of our best ever. Not just because we saw a plethora of wildlife, but because there was always someone waiting to whisk us to another destination, be it to the airport, from the airport or a boat to a lodge etc. And they did it with great charm and humour and were always very knowledgeable about any queries we had.
For the last 8 days we had a driver/guide who was just outstanding. He was very familiar with the 3 remaining lodges where we stayed and his rapport with the other staff and guides helped to ensure that we were really well looked after. He was a skilled naturalist, had a great sense of humour and was always putting our welfare first - he made a wonderful companion for the trip.
All of the above meant that it was a really relaxing holiday so that we could maximise our time looking at the flora and fauna of Costa Rica.
We would highly recommend Natural High ...... where next?!"

Ken and Caroline

Natural High

"Brilliant, everything is so well organised. We have had two trips of a lifetime organised by Rod Tether who is also a guide extraordinaire!"

Antony & Jane Braithwaite RT

Fantastic Natural High

"Perfectly organised trip to two great Nomad camps in Tanzania!"


Natural High nailed it again

"Sledding in Sweden was our second wonderful holiday with Natural High. From the moment you speak to them to when you get home the service and attention to detail is wonderful.
Everything is so well planned and organised that you can just sit back and really enjoy your holiday. We couldn’t recommend husky sledding in the north of Sweden more. We all agreed it was one of the best family holidays ever."