Northern Madagascar: Rainforests & Islands

Visit one of Madagascar’s key wildlife regions and home to more than 50% of the island’s biodiversity

Unbroken primary forests meet the shores of the Indian ocean and make this place a must for those looking to experience wild, unspoilt Madagascar.
Request a detailed itinerary
Where
MADAGASCAR
When
JUNE TO SEPTEMBER
How long
5 NIGHTS
How much
POA
why
WILD RAINFOREST; MARINE LIFE; LEMURS; PRISTINE BEACHES
staying in
BOUTIQUE LODGES

MADAGASCAR'S NORTH-EAST COAST IS A HOTSPOT FOR ALL NATURE LOVERS AND THIS ITINERARY HAS BEEN DESIGNED WITH EXACTLY THIS IN MIND.

At 2,400 km2, Masoala National Park itself is the largest unbroken rainforest on the island, its iconic rainforests are home to prolific wildlife - red-ruffed lemur, white-fronted brown lemur, aye-aye and the diminutive, but intriguingly named tenrec are all present – as is the cat like and elusive fossa.

There are more than 90 species of bird, including the endemic helmet vanga as well as numerous exotic and brightly coloured amphibians. Much of the wildlife can be hard to spot in comparison to places like Andasibe, but the showy behaviour of the headline act – humpback whales – more than makes up for the shyness of the rest of the animals in this part of the world.

Humpbacks whales migrate here from Antarctic waters, gathering in large numbers to breed and mate in the shallow protected waters of Antongil Bay. Their elaborate behaviour makes for some of the most exciting and dramatic wildlife viewing imaginable.

The only way to reach Masoala is by boat and the journey from Maroansetra can be an excellent place to encounter the whales. Very little prepares you for your first encounter.

You might spot the tell-tale balloon shaped “blow” that can be as high as 3 metres and easily visible for many hundreds of meters, but frequently the first indication that the whale is there at all will be an elaborate piece of surface behaviour. Tail or fin slaps are common, where the whale lies on its back of front repeatedly slamming its fins or fluke onto the surface of the water with a loud report.

But humpbacks are perhaps best known for full breaches which see the entire whale (all 40 tons) launching at full speed out of the water only to land with a detonation like a depth charger exploding.

If you’re staying at Masoala then there are chances to hop into a kayak and watch as humpbacks glide past, occasionally just a few metres away. Alternatively you can watch from the comfort of the restaurant at the stunning Masoala Forest Lodge, which sticks out into the sea with a clear view of passing whales.

Masoala forms the eastern shore of Antongil Bay, one of the most productive bays in the Indian Ocean and an area of extraordinary fecundity fed by nine rivers. The bay covers almost 3,000 km2 (and includes a significant marine reserve along the shore of Masoala) and sits at the point where the South Equatorial Current divides around the east coast of the island.

Apart from the whales, the relatively shallow protected waters of Antongil along with huge numbers of pelagic fish make this a vital mating and nursery ground for a number of key marine species including 19 species of shark. In 2015 a new shark sanctuary was established in Antongil Bay with the aim of handing responsibility for management of marine areas into the hands of local communities that have a vested interest in their longterm sustainability. 

SEND ME A DETAILED ITINERARY

DAY 1

DAY 2

DAY 3

DAY 4

DAY 5

DAY 6

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:

Andrea Hulme
Andrea Hulme
Olly Williams
Olly Williams
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

Everything went smoothly and selection of accommodation was perect for us

"Excellent, no problems"

Anonymous

Fantastic Kenya 🇰🇪 Safari thanks Vanessa

"We stayed at three beautiful lodges; The Emakoko Nairobi National Park, Tortillis Camp Amboseli National Park and Kicheche Valley Camp Mara Conservation Area. Great food, great staff, great guides, great management, could not fault anything. Every pick up was on time and with a smile. Loved the ‘Captains Table’ at Kicheche. Highlight was the Ballon ride over the Mara - fantastic. We saw all that we hoped to see, Nairobi; lion, rhino, plains game Amboseli; elephant, lion, buffalo, hippo, plains game Mara; leopard, lion, elephant, cheetah, buffalo, plains game. In Nairobi we stayed at the Sarova Stanley which was also great, leaving a message on the mail board by the ‘Thorn Tree’. Key to our great safari was our travel consultant Vanessa Janion at Natural High who was fantastic. Yes we loved everything, thanks Vanessa 💖"

David Poninghaus VJ

Amazing experience

"Seamless service, Catherine was able to accommodate my changing needs, even last minute changes that were my fault, and ended up with a wonderful vacation experience......highly recommend for efficient and individualized service."

Anonymous

Very helpful and accomodating

"Very helpful and Catherine went out of her way to accommodate us. It was also short notice from our side and yet it all worked very well. Good advice was provided to us about where to stay en route and all queries promptly answered."

Anonymous

Phenomenal Safari which will certainly stay with us for years to come

"Our main contact, Rod, was extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of the Safari that we ultimately decided upon. We trusted his recommendations throughout and were certainly impressed by the trip. Whilst we were on Safari Rod was always there at the end of the phone, or email should we need him (which we did with a bit of a passport blip) and he did everything he could to help us out."

Matt & Lucy Worthy RT

RECENT UPDATES

M00o93H7pQ09L8X1t49cHY01Z5j4TT91fGfr