Basic travel information
A nature trip to the varied landscapes of the unique island state of Madagascar. Madagascar is a stunning tropical cocktail of endemic wildlife with half-monkeys and chameleons, local culture and diverse and scenic landscape, from the rainforests of East Madagascar’s world-famous national parks to the canyons of the Isalo Mountains and the monkey bread forest on the southwest coast of the island.
Our tour of Madagascar will take you to the wonderful forests of this fascinating African country with some of the finest World Heritage Sites, a hike to the highlands of central Madagascar, and at the end of the trip to enjoy the peaceful beaches and turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.
DAY 1 – HELSINKI – ANTANANARIVO
Flights from Helsinki overnight to the island of Madagascar. Arrival the next day.
DAY 2 – ANTANANARIVO
Arrival in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo, which locals call Tana. Transfer from the airport to the hotel and free time.
DAY 3 – ANTANANARIVO – ANDASIBE
After breakfast, we set off from the capital towards the rainforests of eastern Madagascar. During the drive, stop to enjoy refreshments and explore the local reptile and amphibian collection. Arrival near Andasibe National Park in the afternoon. Andasibe is a naturally rich rainforest park. 11 species of monkeys. (A)
DAY 4 – ANDASIBE
Today we explore the national park and observe the interesting fauna of the area under the guidance of a local guide. In the area of the park, e.g. indrys, brown macaques, gray bamboo macaques and parsonon chameleons growing to the size of a domestic cat. In the evening, those interested also have the opportunity to go for a walk at dusk to spot nocturnal animals such as ai-ai. (A)
DAY 5 – ANDASIBE – ANTSIRABE
After breakfast, it is a long drive through the lush countryside in the middle of the island towards the town of Antsirabe. During the trip, stop at lunch. We arrive in Antsirabe in the late afternoon and stay at a local inn. (A)
DAY 6 – ANTSIRABE – RANOMAFANA
In the morning the journey continues from Antsirab south. A drive to the world-famous Ranomafana National Park, known as a World Heritage Site and especially a sanctuary for a variety of sweets. Ranomafana is a treasure trove of nature, where you can also enjoy e.g. the semi-ape species goldfinch, found only in the 1980s, as well as 30 bird species known only in the area of this park. We stay near the national park. (A)
DAY 7 – RANOMAFANA
We hike the trails of Ranomafana National Park under the guidance of a local guide. Excursions start early in the morning, and the hottest time of the midday can be spent in the pool of a nearby spa. Those interested in Ranomafana also have the opportunity to take part in an evening trip. (A)
DAY 8 – RANOMAFANA – ISALO
Our journey continues southwest towards Isalo National Park. The terrain and landscapes become dramatically drier as you drive across the plateau. The Isalo area is known for its varied mountain scenery and sandstone formation. It is also home to six species of monkeys, including a witty ring-tailed macaque. Accommodation at the Lodge on the edge of Isalo National Park and the mountains. (A)
DAY 9 – ISALO NATIONAL PARK
We hike all day in Isalo National Park under the guidance of a local guide. We admire the dramatic scenery of the national park, the opportunity to swim as well. (A, L)
DAY 10 – ISALO – TULEAR – IFATY
After breakfast, we will take a course towards the southwest coast of Madagascar and the coastal town of Tuléar. In Tuléar, we enjoyed lunch before continuing to Ifaty Beach on the coast of the Mozambique Channel, where we stay in beachfront bungalows. The Ifaty area belongs to the coastal dry forest zone, in the area of which e.g. admire the island’s famous native monkey bread trees. They grow in 6 species in Madagascar, while in the rest of Africa there is only one species. (A)
DAY 11 – IFATY
The whole day is reserved for laziness on the beach or for self-employed and self-published excursions near Ifacy. Here you can go snorkelling, boat trips with fishermen or explore the nature of southern Madagascar on foot. (A)
DAY 12 – IFATY -TULEAR – ANTANARIVO
After breakfast transfer to Tulear Airport and flight to Antananarivo (approx. 1h 15min). transfer to hotel in Antananarivo and free time. (A)
DAY 13 – ANTANANARIVO –
After breakfast free time before transfer to the airport. Return flights to Finland overnight. (A)
DAY 14 – HELSINKI
Arrival in the home country.
MEALS: [A] BREAKFAST [L] LUNCH [I] DINNER
Country information :
A Malagasy visa is obtained from the airport upon arrival in the country. The visa currently costs 35EUR. The passport must be valid after 6 months of travel.
Check that your basic vaccinations are valid during the trip. Hepatitis A and B vaccination and malaria prevention are recommended for all travelers to Madagascar.
The official languages of Madagascar are Malagasy and French. France is understood quite generally in the country, English is spoken less.
The Malagasy currency is the ariary (MGA). Madagascar’s currency cannot be exchanged in Finland. You can bring euros for the trip, which can be exchanged for your local currency in Antananarivo. You can also withdraw local money from ATMs in major cities. Credit card payments are rare in Madagascar.
The top culture is typical of Madagascar. If the service has been good in the restaurant, you can leave 5-15% of the total amount of the invoice to the waiters. Travelers tend to pay tips to drivers and guides. Breakfast is included in the price of the trip, so in addition to tips, there are expenses for meals, food drinks and souvenirs along the way. You can book about 5 euros / day for tips from local guides and drivers.
Madagascar’s climate is tropical in coastal areas and mild in the inland highlands and mountains. The rainforest areas of the east coast receive rains all year round, while the south coast of the island is dry. The dry season is in most parts of the country from September to November. During the rainy season in January-March, there are occasional hurricanes. The spring and summer months in Madagascar are mostly dry, but in summer the temperatures inland are relatively low.