This trip combines two of the best and most idiosyncratic locations that Madagascar can offer – Masoala in the north and Ifotaka in the south.
Combine the rainforests of the Masoala Peninsula with the remote community-managed forest reserve of Ifotaka for a fabulous fix of Madagascar’s prolific wildlife, which includes a host of endemics such as the red-ruffed lemur, aye aye and Verreaux's sifaka.
Both locations offer extremely comfortable accommodation and strike the perfect balance between activity and relaxation, with excellent guides who will help you decipher the complexities of life on the island.
Day1: Depart UK
Day2: Arrive Antananarivo
On arrival in the capital Antananarivo, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Days3-5: Fly to Maroansetra & boat transfer to Masoala National Park
After an early breakfast, depart Antananarivo and transfer by boat to Masoala. The journey takes about three hours, passing Nosy Mangabe island, where you may see dolphins and whales (in season). You'll also travel past the thickly forested mountains of the Masoala Peninsula which serve as a dramatic backdrop. There's time to explore the lodge and nearby beaches and forest, or perhaps enjoy a quick snorkel on the reef before lunch.
In the afternoon take a guided walk along the stunning coastline to view the sacred island at Tampolo point, returning to camp by sunset, in time for sundowners on the beach before dinner.
Day6: Transfer to Maroansetra & fly to Antananarivo
After breakfast at the lodge, depart by boat to Maroantsetra and then take a domestic flight back to Antananarivo for an overnight stay.
Days7-9: Fly to Fort Dauphin & drive to Ifotaka Community Forest
Today you leave Antananarivo once again and fly to Fort Dauphin, where you will be met by your guide and transfer by 4x4 vehicle west towards the town of Ambosary, before continuing to Ifotaka, arriving in time for lunch.
In the afternoon, you can observe the gallery forest, and in the evening gather around the campfire for traditional music and dancing performed by Ifotaka villagers.
The Masoala Peninsula supports the largest area of lowland rainforest in Madagascar, and the greatest number of species. The mountain and valley cloaked primary forest borders the Bay of Antongil and is home to several rare birds and the last refuge of the red-ruffed lemur, one of the country's largest primates.
Excellent for: Photography tours with Nick Garbutt
This remote tract of community-owned forest is an admirable illustration of an initiative that encourages local communities to manage their natural resources sustainably. The native Tandroy people harvest certain areas of the forest, but preserve the spiny forest which is home to wildlife synonymous with the south.
Suggested accommodation options are shown below.
for further recommendations.
African-style safari camping is a new innovation in Madagascar, and this camp exemplifies all that is good about the experience. Located on the banks of the Mandrare River, there are six spacious tents with private facilities, and expert local guides are on hand to show you the local wildlife.
Set next to the beach, this up-market lodge brings comfortable African safari-style camping to Madagascar, with large furnished tents set on wooden platforms. In addition to exploring the forest, you can snorkel in the nearby marine reserve and even spot whales from kayaks in the summer months.