Natural Wonders of Madagascar

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Duration: 14 nights
Type: Worldwide walking holidays
Walking Grade: 2

The world’s fourth largest island, Madagascar is a largely unspoilt paradise complete with ancient and unique flora and fauna, dense rainforests, highland rice fields, stunning beaches, and rich wildlife (resident animals include more than 70 species of lemur and over half the world’s chameleons). Holiday highlights include trekking through canyons and sandstone cliffs that jut upwards across Isalo National Park, exploring the lush rainforests of Ranomafana National Park, and learning more about a culture steeped in rituals and tradition.

What you’ll love

  • Exploring the national parks of this enigmatic island
  • Discovering beautiful beaches and clear waters
  • Visiting Isalo, the Tsaranoro Valley and Ranomafana
  • Spotting a variety of flora, fauna, and wildlife
  • Waking through dense rainforests
  • Spending time in traditional villages

What’s included

  • Full programme of guided walks led by local HF Holidays Leaders
  • Comfortable accommodation
  • Full-board, from breakfast on day 2
  • All sightseeing and national park entrance fees (as per itinerary)
  • Air-conditioned transport
  • Internal flight
  • Return flights from the UK including hold baggage and airport transfers

Trip Notes

Easy to download as a PDF, our trip notes provide detailed information for every holiday. Please click below to find the trip notes for your departure date.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take alternative routes or adapt the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.

Flight to Antananarivo via Paris. Arrive late evening in the Madagascan capital and transfer to our accommodation (1 night)

Au Bois Vert, Antananarivo - Madagascar

Au Bois Vert is located a short transfer, only 5 minutes, from the airport. The lodge has been built in the heart of a 3 hectare forest and its setting, along with its pool, makes it the ideal place for you to rest after your flight. Rooms are air-conditioned and facilities include TV, safe and free internet connection. 


Transfer to the airport for our flight to Tulear, in the south of the island (1 night) for an introduction to the island’s endemic flora at the Antsokay Arboretum, before we begin our tour of the national parks.

Les Dunes d’Ifaty - Madagascar

Les Dunes d’Ifaty provides the perfect place for relaxation, located on the lagoon of Ifaty. The rooms take full advantage of the surroundings with direct access to the beach from wide, wooden steps in the main building. Facilities also include a swimming pool, terrace, beach bar and on-site restaurant.


Journey to Ranohira and Isalo National Park (3 nights). En route we stop to walk in the Zombitse National Park (approximately 2 hours), enjoying the wildlife there before driving on to Isalo. Isalo is home to some of the most stunning scenery on the island, and affords you a fantastic chance of being able to observe the endearing ring-tailed lemurs. 

Le Relais De La Reine, Isalo National Park - Madagascar

This is a fabulous hotel. The location of Le Relais de la Reine is superb, in the Isalo National Park. The comfortable chalets are all en-suite with their own veranda and are arranged around a shaded garden next to the pool. 


We explore rocky plateau overlooking the canyons and the sandstone cliffs of the magnificent Isalo National Park. Its mountains are home to over 400 species of flora. There are some amazing natural pools and waterfalls on the walks including the Black and Blue Swimming Pools.

Walks are up to 10km with a maximum 350m of ascent. Some parts ascend through the canyon with steps to the pools.

Le Relais De La Reine, Isalo National Park - Madagascar

This is a fabulous hotel. The location of Le Relais de la Reine is superb, in the Isalo National Park. The comfortable chalets are all en-suite with their own veranda and are arranged around a shaded garden next to the pool. 


Drive to Ambalavao with an afternoon at leisure to take advantage of the hotels facilities. The following morning we drive to Tsaranoro for a full day walk at Iharavaratra, where our path will cross paddy fields before reaching the forest to search for more ring tailed lemurs. Our walk includes a picnic lunch.

Iharavaratra – full day of walking - maximum ascent of 300m

Betsileo Country Lodge, Ambalavao – Madagascar

Enjoy the panoramic views of the granite rock formations that dominate this area with the mountain chains of the Andringitra National Park in the distance. Rooms are simply decorated but light with a swimming pool, terrace and on-site dining.


En route to Fianarantsoa (2 nights), we stop to explore the community reserve of Anja and look for chameleon. We’ll also visit the Antemoro paper factory, which still shows the production of the handmade paper made from the bark of wild mulberry trees. Village walks on the following day introduce us to the Betsileo culture and their traditions as masters in rice cultivation. We share a typical Malagasy lunch at the home of one of the families.

Anja reserve has some narrow rocky paths with 150m of ascent.

Betsileo countryside approximately 3 hours with some 350m of descent

Ambalakely Hotel, Fianarantsoa - Madagascar

Ambalakely means ‘in the small countryside’ and this hotel certainly lives up to its name with its beautiful lush surroundings.

Rooms are modern, and all have private bathrooms, but are designed with comfort and quiet in mind. 


The lush rainforests of Ranomafana National Park (2 nights) afford us excellent opportunities to discover a vast diversity of flora and fauna. We shall visit the Valbio Research center and the school funded by the center. The next day’s full day exploration of the National Park gives us the best chance of spotting wildlife. If we’re lucky we may see the park’s famous resident, the golden bamboo lemur.

Undulating trails through the park 3 – 4 hours of walking. Ascent varies between 150m – 550m.

Centrest Sejour Hotel - Madagascar

Situated just outside the town of Ranomafana in Eastern Madagascar, the Centrest Sejour is ideally positioned both for exploring the town and the nearby Ranomafana National Park.


Today we make our way to Antsirabe (2 nights). Our stay here is at a guesthouse run by the charity Residence Madalief, which supports projects in the local community and gives us a fantastic opportunity to support this worthwhile charity. Walks in the area discover the surrounding villages and the beautiful Lake Tritriva.

Morning village walk approximately 3 hours with between 150m – 200m of ascent

Lake Tritriva – gentle, mostly flat walking.

Residence Madalief, Antsirabe - Madagascar

Residence Madalief is a charitable organisation which operates community projects in and around Antsirabe. The guest house was opened to generate funds to support the charity. Our stay there is in en-suite rooms which look out onto a well-kept garden, the ideal place to relax. Watch out for the bird of prey that has made its home above the kitchen door!  


We take a morning city tour of Antsirabe before heading back to the capital in the afternoon.

Royal Palissandre Hotel & Spa, Antananarivo - Madagascar

Palissandre Hotel & Spa is 4-star hotel located in the centre of Antananarivo overlooking the famous Avenue of Independence. The hotel has 49 rooms designed to highlight local materials: rosewood furniture, mohair carpet & traditional, authentic decor.

The restaurant terrace offers panoramic city views and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The hotel also includes a craft shop, outdoor pool, hammam, spa and gym.


We explore the capital city and its surroundings with our historian guide for a heritage walk in the old city of Tana. We'll enjoy a farewell dinner at our hotel before our late evening transfer to the airport for our return flight.


Itinerary map for Madagascar

Au Bois Vert, Antananarivo - Madagascar

Au Bois Vert is located a short transfer, only 5 minutes, from the airport. The lodge has been built in the heart of a 3 hectare forest and its setting, along with its pool, makes it the ideal place for you to rest after your flight. Rooms are air-conditioned and facilities include TV, safe and free internet connection. 

Les Dunes d’Ifaty - Madagascar

Les Dunes d’Ifaty provides the perfect place for relaxation, located on the lagoon of Ifaty. The rooms take full advantage of the surroundings with direct access to the beach from wide, wooden steps in the main building. Facilities also include a swimming pool, terrace, beach bar and on-site restaurant.

Le Paradisier, Tulear - Madagascar

Le Paradisier provides the perfect place for relaxation, located on the lagoon of Ifaty. The rooms take full advantage of the surroundings with each freestanding bungalow overlooking the ocean.  Facilities also include an infinity pool, timber patio and on-site restaurant. 

Le Relais De La Reine, Isalo National Park - Madagascar

This is a fabulous hotel. The location of Le Relais de la Reine is superb, in the Isalo National Park. The comfortable chalets are all en-suite with their own veranda and are arranged around a shaded garden next to the pool. 

Betsileo Country Lodge, Ambalavao – Madagascar

Enjoy the panoramic views of the granite rock formations that dominate this area with the mountain chains of the Andringitra National Park in the distance. Rooms are simply decorated but light with a swimming pool, terrace and on-site dining.

Ambalakely Hotel, Fianarantsoa - Madagascar

Ambalakely means ‘in the small countryside’ and this hotel certainly lives up to its name with its beautiful lush surroundings. Rooms are modern, and all have private bathrooms, but are designed with comfort and quiet in mind. 

Centrest Sejour Hotel - Madagascar

Situated just outside the town of Ranomafana in Eastern Madagascar, the Centrest Sejour is ideally positioned both for exploring the town and the nearby Ranomafana National Park.

Residence Madalief, Antsirabe - Madagascar

Residence Madalief is a charitable organisation which operates community projects in and around Antsirabe. The guest house was opened to generate funds to support the charity. Our stay there is in en-suite rooms which look out onto a well-kept garden, the ideal place to relax. Watch out for the bird of prey that has made its home above the kitchen door!  

Royal Palissandre Hotel & Spa, Antananarivo - Madagascar

Palissandre Hotel & Spa is 4-star hotel located in the centre of Antananarivo overlooking the famous Avenue of Independence. The hotel has 49 rooms designed to highlight local materials: rosewood furniture, mohair carpet & traditional, authentic decor. The restaurant terrace offers panoramic city views and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The hotel also includes a craft shop, outdoor pool, hammam, spa and gym.

Essential information

It's best to be prepared for all weather conditions. To make it easier, here is a list of items you should consider packing.   

Essentials  

  • Walking boots 
  • Waterproof jacket 
  • Waterproof trousers 
  • Insulated jacket/top 
  • Walking clothing  
  • Walking socks (plus spares)  
  • Sunhat 
  • Gloves/mitts and warm hat
  • Water bottle (minimum 2 litre capacity)  
  • Headtorch 
  • High-factor sunscreen (minimum SPF 30)  
  • Sunglasses with a dark lens 
  • Rucksack (15-30 litres)  
  • Mobile phone 
  • Personal first aid kit (containing your medication, blister plasters, etc.) 
  • Passport 
  • Visa (if applicable) 
  • Copy of your travel insurance policy 
  • UK Global Health Insurance Card (formerly known as EHIC

Recommended

  • Collapsible walking poles 
  • Swimwear and travel towel
  • Snacks
  • Dry bags
  • Rubbish bags
  • Insect repellent

Optional extras

  • Camera 
  • Sit mat
  • Flask for hot drinks 
  • Durable lunch box
  • Gaiters 
  • GPS device 

Guest reviews

Duration:
14 nights
Type:
Worldwide walking holidays
Walking Grade:
2

Call to Enquire

020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ guests click here

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