There’s an engaging eccentricity to Madagascar; charismatic endemic wildlife combines with world-class beaches to make it a great choice for a family holiday served with a dash of adventure
This journey is an ideal way to combine visits to Madagascar's rainforests with some exceptional landscapes and rural northern Madagascar
Above all Madagascar has the capacity to surprise, whether it’s the outlandish colours of its chameleons and geckos, the yellow Renault 4 taxis in Diego Suarez or the magnetic charm of its many lemurs. Or for that matter the excellent food that’s widely available and reflects a blend of the indigenous Malagassy (Indonesian) culture, overlaid with the French. Stop in a road-side restaurant and you’ll be as a likely to find pork served with eel (a Malagasy delicacy), as to find excellent home made foie gras.
Begin in Antananarivo
Days 2,3 & 4
Andasibe and surrounds
Head to the east of Tana for your lemur fix - a chance to see Indri in the forests of Analamazoatra Reserve and Mantadia and to see these creatures up close.
Up to Diego Suarez
An early flight to the north gets you to the northern town of Diego Suarez. Spend the day exploring this colourful small town as well as heading out to the pristine bays to the east of here.
A short journey to the south east of Diego Suarez is the reserve of Amber Mountain. Spend a night here staying in a civilised small lodge with views over the forest reserve. While here take night walks on the fringes of the park to see nocturnal lemurs as well as sleeping chameleons
Simple, but comfortable
Enjoy the natural Madagascan hospitality in a small lodge on the edge of Amber Mountain. Simple structures belie excellent food and friendly service.
Days 7 and 8
Ankarana National Park
Wildlife in this reserve is plentiful from numerous species of lemur to chameleons, bats and (small boys in particular pay attention here) some fairly impressive spider action.
The defining characteristic of Ankarana, however is the limestone rock on which the park sits and the erosion of this limestone to produce extraordinary pointed and fluted shapes (known locally as Tsingis) is the reason many people visit the area.
These sharp and brittle structures are also to a degree responsible for the preservation of the ecosystem as the rocks, riven with deep fissures make access in many places all but impossible.
Caves and Tsingis
The limestone is also responsible for one of the other astonishing features of Ankarana and one which remains hidden in large part from all but the most intrepid explorers. The erosion visible on the surface extends far beneath the park and Ankarana sits on an extensive network of underground channels and rivers, connected to massive caves. On the eastern side of the park there is relatively easy access to an impressive sinkhole (dry in the dry season, raging torrent in the rains) as well as a number of large bat-filled caves that look as though they were designed in hollywood.
The Ankarana Reserve is an important refuge for significant populations of the crowned lemur, and Sanford's brown lemur, but plenty of other species live here including the northern sportive lemur, brown mouse lemur, fat-tailed dwarf, fork-marked lemur, eastern woolly, Perrier's sifaka aye-aye and the western lesser bamboo.
Days 9,10 & 11
To the islands
Continue the journey east to the coast where you'll meet your boat for the transfer to Nosy Khomba.
Civilised Island Living
Enjoy a wonderful small lodge on Nosy Khomba with far reaching views over the Indian Ocean. Expect wonderful sea-food including shrimp and lobster as well as classic French dishes like Foie Gras. Take excursions from the island to look for marine wildlife - whale sharks and manta rays frequent these waters in December, while turtles feed in large numbers on the seaweed of some of the islands which makes for excellent opportunities to swim with them.
Our experienced travellers include:
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.
"They were incredibly helpful with choosing which camps we should go to and they took extra time to learn about us as a family so that they could be most able to advise us...I found them extremely willing to answer any questions and always responded in an extremely quick manner. Our itinerary went exactly as outlined and was very comforting to have someone every step of the way who was there to facilitate our moves between camps. We felt very lucky to have seen the parts of Kenya that we did and we would have never been able to research enough to affect the same things on our own."
"Natural High provides great personalized service - they have incredible knowledge of Africa, and work with you to focus your interests and match you with an amazing experience. We have always had unbelievable trips with Natural High!"
Best holiday and a true "once in a lifetime" experience
"I've been on many lovely holidays, but have never before had the ultimate luxury of such a personalised itinerary. Natural High Safari's attention to detail and total consideration of our particular requirements was quite simply brilliant! Our guide Joseph taught us more than we could ever have hoped, and my sons are looking forward to taking him on an English Safari, though we'll be sorely challenged to make it remotely as exciting and wonderful as the trip we had with him."
"Excellent the partner in Belize, excellent guide and service. The program choosen for he group was realy tailor made."
"Have just returned from a fabulous holiday booked through Natural High safaris. From the initial conversations through to the end of the holiday it was easy and stress-free. Everything went without a hitch, transfer times and connecting flights were all perfectly co-ordinated and the accommodation was lovely. My only niggle was that I couldn't get hold of Vanessa at the office and sometimes my messages were not passed on so I had to call again. Thank you too for all the little goodies that you sent through before and after our trip - a lovely touch!"