- Land of lemurs
Lemurs are unique to Madagascar, yet all species are now endangered by deforestation and hunting.
- Colourful characters
Half the world’s chameleons are indigenous to Madagascar, and the males tend to be the most colourful.
- When is a giraffe not a giraffe?
When it’s an indigenous Madagascan weevil with a long neck which he uses to fight off competition for his mate.
- Mingle in the markets
Visiting colourful markets reveals insights into the diet and daily life of the local people.
Tours Pace 2
Madagascar: The Lost Continent
Madagascarfrom £2,999 per person 14 2 Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £71 if not required
- Small Group 18 or less
- VIP door to door
Discover the ‘lost continent’ of Madagascar, in the beautiful Indian Ocean…
There is no place on Earth like Madagascar, the world's fourth largest island and home to an incredible array of flora and fauna evolved from 80 million years of isolation in the Indian Ocean. Nowhere else will you find such weird and wonderful wildlife, or the 2,000-year-old Malagasy culture, steeped in taboo and magic. This tour offers visits to Andasibe, Ranomafana and Isalo national parks, sightseeing in the capital Antananarivo, visits to tribal villages and even a stay on Ifaty's beautiful beaches…
12 nights in hotels and 2 in flight
34 meals: 12 breakfasts, 11 lunches and 12 dinners
- Optional travel insurance underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance SE, UK Branch and additional cancellation rights on overseas holidays for over 50s, or a price reduction if not required (cover is subject to medical questions)
- Return flights and transfers
- Saga tour manager
- Porterage at all hotels
Excursions and visits
- Tour of Antananarivo
- Visit to Ambatolampy aluminium workshop
- Horn workshop, jewellery store and sweet shop
- Ranomafama National Park
- Ambalavao hand-made paper factory
- Isalo National Park and the Canyon des Makis
- Reniala National Park
- Andasibe National Park
- Peyrieras Reptile Reserve
Day 1 UK- Madagascar
After taking Saga's included UK door-to-door travel service to the airport, fly overnight to Madagascar.
Day 2 Antananarivo
Arrive in the capital of Madagascar after lunch and stay overnight at the locally rated 5-star Hotel Carlton. The hotel is situated on the edge of the city with a lake on one side. Relax after your journey and enjoy the hotel's outdoor swimming pool, fitness club, jacuzzi, two restaurants and bars, a poolside bar, a hairdresser and a casino. All 171 rooms have a television with international channels, complimentary bottled water, tea and coffee-making facilities, a hairdryer and a safety-deposit box. Wi-Fi internet access is available (extra charge). Dinner is at the hotel tonight. D
Day 3 Antsirabe
After breakfast, enjoy a city tour of Tana – the local name of Antananarivo – taking in the upper town, Independence Avenue, Anosy Lake and the flower market. Afterwards take a three-hour scenic drive south to Antsirabe. En route you’ll stop for lunch at a restaurant in Ambatolampy. The town is known as the ‘capital of aluminium’ and you’ll see the processes involved in making pots and pans. Continue to Antsirabe, where you’ll visit workshops to see the production of jewellery, boiled sweets and decorative artefacts created from animal horns. Stay for two nights at the small and friendly, locally rated 3+-star Le Royal Palace Hotel with dinner here tonight. Surrounded by green hills, hamlets, rice terraces and paddy-fields, the pure mountain air and natural thermal springs led to Antsirabe becoming a health retreat in 1872. By the 1920s it was a popular spa town with French colonialists and their influence can still be seen around the elegant streets. The hotel's facilities include a restaurant, bar, swimming pool and gym. All 34 bedrooms have satellite television and free Wi-Fi access. B, L, D
Day 4 Antsirabe
Discover daily life in rural Antsirabe on a walking tour with a local guide, where you’ll meet local people going about their work at home or in the rice fields. Stroll on the lake shore to meet the traders and browse their offerings of handicrafts and gem stones. Lunch is at a restaurant or back at the hotel. The afternoon is at leisure. B, L, D
Day 5 Sahambavy
After breakfast, continue your journey south towards Sahambavy. The four-hour-plus drive will take you through changing landscapes. Pause in Ambositra, well-known as a centre of woodcarving, for lunch. You’ll stay at the locally rated 3-star Le Lac Hotel, near Fianarantsoa for two nights. Accommodation is in stilted houses set in Sahambavy Lake, which is surrounded by a tea plantation. Close to the hotel is the railway station, where subject to your departure date, you may be able to see local traders meeting the train with food or handicrafts for sale. B, L, D
Day 6 Ranomafana
Visit Ranomfana National Park, an hour’s drive from the hotel. Take a walking tour through the forest trails with local guides who will head off track if necessary in order for you to see any of the flora or fauna, and seven species of daytime lemurs, including the golden bambu lemurs which are endemic only to this Park. This area is home to the Tanala – people of the forest – tribe who survive by hunting and fishing. B, L, D
Day 7 Ranohira (for Isalo)
After breakfast, continue south towards Ranohira, the gateway to Isalo National Park. Travel through sapphire mining villages to the Ambalavao rice-growing region that’s home to the Betsileo tribe. Stop for lunch at a restaurant and, later, visit a women’s paper-making workshop. Call in at the Anja Reserve, managed by the Betsileo people as a conservation site for ring-tailed lemurs, chameleons and a host of birds and plants. Arrive at the locally rated 3-star+ Le Relais de la Reine for two-night stay. B, L, D
Day 8 Isalo National Park
Isalo National Park is a vast sandstone massif – exposed area of the Earth’s crust – divided by a canyon and gradually eroded into distinctive strata and weird formations by wind and rain. The Bara tribe here regard the mountain as sacred as they bury their ancestors’ bones in the highest rock clefts they can reach by climbing. Bara people farm local cows, called zibus, and such is their value that they represent their owner’s status, hence a tendency for cattle rustling… Explore the Park with a guide today, keeping a lookout for an array of birds, reptiles, frogs and the Verreaux’s sifaka or ‘dancing lemur’! B, L, D
Day 9 Ifaty
Leave the rocky interior behind today as you head south, passing through the dry Spiny Land to the former fishing villages of Ifaty and Mangily, on the south west coast of the island. Stay two nights at the locally rated 3-star Les Dunes d’Ifaty, close to Ifaty lagoon and the baobab forest with its walking trails. The beach-side hotel, set within a serene tropical park, overlooks the Mozambique channel. The hotel has 41 rooms, a restaurant serving international and local cuisine, a free-form swimming pool and beach bar. B, L, D
Day 10 Ifaty
Enjoy a visit to peaceful Reniala Private Reserve, where your guide will point out plants used for medicinal purposes and several statuesque baobab trees, one of which is 1200 years old! You’ll be amazed by the variety of birds you’ll spot here, along with various species of chameleon, geckos and insects. B, L, D
Day 11 Andasibe
After breakfast, fly back to the island’s capital, Antananarivo, where you will have lunch. Afterwards, drive to the centre of the island and Andasibe National Park where you will stay for two nights at the locally rated 3-star Vakona Forest Lodge, on the edge of the Park. The Lodge has 28 bungalows set in lush gardens. There is a swimming pool, restaurant, bar, television lounge and a verandah, from which you can enjoy views over the lake. There is also complimentary Wi-Fi internet access. Bungalows are equipped with a private bathroom, mini-fridge, mosquito nets and safe (extra charge). B, L, D
Day 12 Andasibe National Park
This morning you'll explore the Analamazaotra Reserve, where you will see palm trees, tree-ferns, vivid lichens, epiphytes – which derive their moisture and nutrients from the air – and hundreds of species of orchid. A large percentage of the birds, amphibians and animals you will see are unique to Madagascar, such as one of largest lemurs, the tree-dwelling Indri Indri which can be over a metre in height. It lives in trees but just a few feet above ground. You should also see other lemur species, various chameleons, reptiles and many endemic birds, perhaps even the coloured nightjar or ground roller. After returning to your hotel for lunch you'll head out to the Vakona Pivate Reserve where you could see more species of lemur including the diademed sifaka and the chic black-and-white ruffled lemur. B, L, D
Day 13 Antananarivo
After breakfast, drive back to the island’s capital, Antananarivo, stopping en route at Peyrieras Reptile Reserve for a guided visit. See crocodiles, geckos and of course chameleons, including the colourful Panther chameleon. Return to the Hotel Carlton for an overnight stay. B, L, D
Day 14 Antanarivo-UK
After breakfast bid goodbye to Madagascar as you travel to the airport for your overnight flight to the UK, via Addis Ababa. Arrive in the UK on day 15 for your door-to-door travel service home.
The eighth continent
Madagascar has been isolated from other lands for 88 million years, and as a result around 90 per cent of the animals and plants found here are endemic – they exist nowhere else on Earth. Hence the fact some ecologists refer to it as the eighth continent. It is the absence of monkeys on the island that allowed the lemur to thrive and diversify, although loss of habitat has caused some to become endangered or even extinct. Some species are endemic to only particular areas – Ranomafana National Park is one of the only places where you’ll find the Golden Bamboo lemur.