The Living Eden: Madagascar’s Unique Flora and Fauna

10 Oct – 1 Nov 2016

  • Region:
    • Africa
    • Madagascar
  • Status: limited
  • Code: 21630
Your leaders
Limited to 16 participants

Tour Highlights

  • With Stephen Ryan explore Madagascar’s rich and unique wildlife habitats, venturing into exquisite national parks and reserves ranging from semi-tropical rainforests, succulent and spiny thicket, rocky landscapes of the central west and the spectacular mineral forest (karst spires) of the Tsingy de Bemaraha
  • Learn about Madagascar’s fascinating blend of Austronesian and East African cultures.
  • View the spectacular Avenue of the Baobabs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Get up close with Madagascar’s unique lemur and hear the call of the Indri across the Andasibe rainforest.
  • Enjoy invigorating walks in Andasibe-Mantadia, Ranomafana and Isalo National Parks, while searching for lemurs, chameleons and strange insects in the forest.
  • Make an excursion to Masoala National Park and the island reserve of Nosy Mangabe home to the White-Fronted Brown Lemurs and Black-and-White Ruffed Lemurs, Leaf-Tailed Geckos and several species of chameleons.

23 days in Madagascar

Overnight Antananarivo (1 night) • Andasibe NP (3 nights) • Antananarivo (1 night) • Maroantsetra (1 night) • Masoala NP (3 nights) • Antananarivo (1 night) • Bemaraha NP (3 nights) • Morondava (1 night)  • Antananarivo (1 night) • Toliara (1 night) • Isalo NP (2 nights) • Ranomafana NP (3 nights) • Antsirabe (1 night)


Visit one of the world’s botanical and zoological hotspots with Stephen Ryan, who will be making his fifth trip since the 1990s. Stephen is a renowned horticulturalist, writer and lecturer with a life-long love affair with the plants and animals of this unique land. This, the world’s fifth-largest island, has a higher percentage of endemic species than any comparable land mass. It has plant species, genera and even families that grow nowhere else on earth. Madagascar also has many unique native terrestrial mammal species, including such iconic and endearing creatures as lemurs. The exact number of species isn’t known, as new ones are regularly discovered. However, 86 have been described, from the tiny Madam Berthe’s Mouse Lemur – the world’s smallest primate at about 30 grams – to the Indri, one of the largest living lemurs, that can weigh in at 9.5 kilogrammes. Chameleons can be as small as your little fingernail or as big as a kitten. Many do change colour, although not as dramatically as the cartoons would suggest. The Leaf-Tailed Gecko is possibly the world’s most perfectly camouflaged lizard – until it moves you won’t believe it’s there. This is the land of the world’s largest moth, the Comet Moth, that can measure 20 centimetres from antennae to tail, and who wouldn’t love a Tomato Toad or a Giraffe-Necked Weevil with a neck five times longer than its body? We will see amazing scenery from the dry canyons and buttes of Isalo National Park, where John Wayne would have felt at home, to the pristine rainforests of Maroantsetra with its orchids and giant bamboos eaten by Madagascar’s equivalent to the Panda, the Bamboo Lemurs. This land’s unique plants and animals are not its only charms. As the last major habitable land mass to be settled by humans, the history, culture and customs unique to the Malagasy people will fascinate all who experience it.


The following itinerary was updated on 24 August 2016. Further changes are anticipated. Participants will receive a final itinerary together with their tour documents closer to departure date. The tour includes breakfast daily, lunches (usually boxed lunches) and evening meals as indicated in the itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch, and D=evening meal. The duration of walks described below are approximate only.

Discovering Lemurs
Lemurs belong to the suborder Strepsirhini, which also includes bushbabies, pottos and lorises. These groups are the most basal living primates. Ancestral prosimians, possibly resembling today’s Mouse Lemurs, are thought to have colonised Madagascar from mainland Africa 50-60 million years ago. In the absence of competition from other non-primate mammals, these species diversified to fill a wide range of unusual ecological niches. There are five distinct families of lemurs: Lemuridae, Indriidae, Megaladapidae, Cheirogaleidae and Daubentoniidae. The Lemuridae comprises 10 species, divided into two subfamilies: the Lemurinae (‘true’ lemurs) and the Hapalemurinae (Bamboo or Gentle Lemurs). All species of lemurs are endemic primates of Madagascar. They are the smallest primate in the world, from Ms Berthe Lemur which weighs 30 grams to the Indri, which can weigh up to 9.5 kg. Recently extinct species were much larger. In 2010, five families, 15 genera and 101 species and subspecies of lemurs were officially recognized. Between 2000 and 2008 39 new species were identified. During this tour we shall study several beautiful species including the Indri Indri, Sifaka and some interesting nocturnal species.

Guiding in Madagascar and visits to the National Parks
Entry to national parks and reserves in Madagascar requires that you be accompanied by a local guide. During visits to the national parks there will be at least two local guides as well as our English-speaking national guide from Wild Madagascar. This will enable us, if necessary, to sub-divide into small groups according to preference and ability levels. If you feel you cannot keep up with the rest of the group or feel tired, you may return to the entrance of the national park, shorten your visit or take a short-cut to meet the rest of the group at a different place.

Antananarivo - 1 night

Day 1: Monday 10 October, Arrive Antananarivo
  • Airport transfer for participants travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flight (from Mauritius MK 288 1410-1505)
  • Welcome Evening Meal at La Varangue

We arrive in Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital city, affectionately known as ‘Tana’ and transfer to our hotel located in the heart of the city. This evening we gather for a welcome meal at La Varangue, one of the city’s top gourmet restaurants thanks to it’s chief Lalaina Ravelomana who is a kitchen maestro and chocolate specialist. (Overnight Antananarivo) D

Andasibe National Park - 3 nights

Day 2: Tuesday 11 October, Antananarivo – Marozevo – Andasibe
  • Peyrieras Reptile Reserve (Mandraka Nature Farm), Marozevo
  • Physical Endurance: Our visit to the reserve may include an optional ten minutes hike to the top of a nearby hill where a family of Coquerel’s Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) and a group of Common Brown Lemurs (Eulemur fulvus) reside. The hillside is quite steep. Duration: 2hrs
  • Early evening walk in the VOI Community managed forest of the Reserve of Indri d’ Analamazaotra
  • Physical Endurance: The night walk starts at around 1800 from the entrance to the VOI preserve. The trail, winding in the understory of the forest, is reasonably flat. Duration: 1.5hrs

This morning we depart for Andasibe, a region of primary forests and lakes. En route we stop at the Peyrieras Reptile Reserve, founded by the French entomologist and naturalist André Peyriéras, for a close-up look at some of Madagascar’s numerous reptiles and amphibians, including several species of chameleons, snakes, geckos and frogs. We arrive at our atmospheric lodge, set on the edge of the rainforest, in the late afternoon.

In the early evening we make our first visit to the special Reserve of Indri d’ Analamazaotra with a stroll through the VOI community managed forest. Here we search for a number of nocturnal species including various tree frogs, chameleons, the Eastern Woolly Lemur (Avahi laniger), Furry-Eared Dwarf Lemur (Cheirogalus crossleyi) and Goodman’s Mouse Lemur (Microcebus Lehilahitsara). (Overnight Andasibe) BLD

Day 3: Wednesday 12 October, Andasibe
  • Journey by 4WD
  • Birdwatching and nature tour of Mantadia National Park: The Tsakoka and Belakato Trails
  • Physical Endurance: Hiking trails in Mantadia can be steep and are often sandy/muddy. As our plan is to combine birdwatching and wildlife, lemurs in particular, we cannot limit walks to the lower elevation. Group may be divided into smaller groups based on ability levels. Duration: 4-5hrs.

The Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is a pristine primary growth rainforest reserve, separated into two sections, each home to plants and animals found only in that part. The two protected areas are referred to as the ‘special Reserve of Indri d’Analamazaotra’ (or Andasibe National Park) and Mantadia National Park. Mantadia National Park, located 21kms north of the Andasibe National Park, was created primarily to protect the Indri and also constitutes a habitat for the Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegat). A quiet, beautiful area with numerous waterfalls, it is undeveloped and less visited than its popular neighbour to the south.

We spend today exploring this section of the park, looking for lemurs, reptiles and rare endemic birds. The terrain at Mantadia is ranked from rough to very rough and searching for wildlife will be physically demanding. We will dedicate four to five hours to following a combination of the Tsakoka and Belakato trails. We intend to be back at our lodge around mid-afternoon. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure. (Overnight Andasibe) BLD

Day 4: Thursday 13 October, Andasibe
  • Birdwatching and nature tour of the special Reserve of Indri d’Analamazaotra
  • Physical Endurance: Hiking trails in the reserve are steep in spots and can be sandy/muddy. Group may be divided into smaller groups based on ability levels. Duration: 3-4hrs.
  • Lemur Island

This morning we explore the special Reserve of Indri d’Analamazaotra, world famous for its population of Indri whose unforgettable wail can be heard emanating from the misty forest throughout the day, most commonly in the early morning. There are about 60 resident family groups of two to five Indris each. In 2005 the Goodman’s Mouse Lemur was discovered here and identified as a distinct species. There are numerous other species to see as well, such as the Bamboo Lemur and the Brown Lemur, the Emerald-Green Parson’s Chameleon and a number of rainforest dependent birds.

In the middle of the afternoon, we visit Lemur Island, a tiny reserve owned by Vakona Lodge, home to three species of lemur including the Bamboo Lemur, the Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur and the Brown Lemur. Here we may obtain a close-up view of these endemic creatures. (Overnight Andasibe) BLD

Antananarivo - 1 night

Day 5: Friday 14 October, Andasibe – Antananarivo
  • Orientation tour of Antananarivo
  • Queen’s Palace
  • Prime Minister’s Palace
  • Evening Meal at Villa Vanille

This morning we make the return journey to Antananarivo. We take an orientation tour of the city including stops at the former Prime Minister’s s and Queen’s Palaces.

The city of Tana was built in three stages; the high city was the first area occupied during the royal period, and it is here that the old Manjakamiadana Rova (Queen’s Palace) is located. This royal palace complex (rovain Malagasy) served as a residence for the kings and queens of the Merina Kingdom during the 17th and 18th centuries and the rulers of the Kingdom of Madagascar in the 19th century. Its religious counterpart is the nearby fortified village of Ambohimanga, which served as the spiritual seat of the kingdom. Originally made of wood, in 1869 the palace was rebuilt in stone by order of Queen Ranavalona II. In 1995 a fire almost completely destroyed the palace sparing only the stone walls. From its high position the palace offers great panoramic views of the city and the Twelve Sacred Hills.

The Andafiavaratra Palace, also known as the Prime Minister’s Palace, is located north of the Queen’s Palace. The original wooden palace was built under the supervision of Queen Ranavalona I. In 1872, it was rebuilt according to the plans of British architect William Pool. The 3-storey palace centres on a large reception hall lit up by a glass dome. Each of the four corner towers includes a bell tower. From 1864 to 1895 the palace was the residence of Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony, who married three queens and exercised ultimate power from here. After Madagascar became independent, the palace was used as army barracks, a court, school of fine arts, presidential palace and finally again as the prime minister’s office. In 1976 the palace burnt down. Following extensive restoration it now houses a museum displaying precious items which were saved from the fire of the Rova in 1995 including the red jacket of Radama I, the royal coral jewels, various royal portraits and the diadem of the last queen.

We next drive down to mid-city Tana, or the administrative district, ending at the Rainiharo tombs. While poorly maintained, the tomb designed by Jean Laborde in 1835 for the deceased prime minster is nevertheless a significant example of French colonial architecture and the first structure in Madagascar to use carved stone. A three-year stay in Bombay, shortly before Laborde’s fateful shipwreck on Madagascar, gave a decided Hindu air to his design for this mausoleum.

Finally we visit the low city which is the commercial area of the town with its magnificent Avenue de l’Indépendence and its imposing colonial buildings including the old railway station.

This evening we enjoy a dinner at Villa Vanille, a charming restaurant housed in an old colonial villa. (Overnight Antananarivo) BLD

Maroantsetra - 1 night

Day 6: Saturday 15 October, Antananarivo – Maroantsetra
  • Flight from Antananarivo to Maroantsetra (MD318/417 1345-1620)
  • Orientation tour of Maroantsetra
  • The Tomato Frog, Dyscophus antongilii

Early afternoon we take the flight from Antananarivo to Maroantsetra. Located at the far end of the Bay of Antongil, near the mouth of the Antainambalana River, this charming town described as ‘Madagascar at its most authentic’, enjoys both river and ocean views.

On arrival we make a short tour of the town which often smells of vanilla and cloves; looking around we may see tables of drying vanilla beans on colourful blankets or cloves drying on mats and plastic bags. Vanilla is a major export from Madagascar’s east coast.  The only fruit-producing orchid, it is one of the most labour-intensive crops in the world, taking as long as five years from planting the vine to producing aged extract. Production involves the entire family, who pollinate the vanilla by hand when it flowers after two years, and then collect, cure and dry the pods. World vanilla prices experienced a massive spike after a 2000 cyclone devastated much of the East Asia crop. The sudden drop in supply pushed vanilla prices to nearly $500 per kg. However, by 2010 prices had dropped to as low as $25 per kg. Today, vanilla prices are surging again due to drought, fungal attacks and low prices driving many producers out of the market. Vanilla now sells for $80-$120 per kg. Despite the establishment of a financial cooperative which allows farmers to access credit during the lean season that lasts for most of the year (vanilla is sold only between June and October), very few people are still interested in caring for their plantations. Many have moved away from vanilla to other cultivations. Seeing drying vanilla pods is therefore very much dependent on the year and whether vanilla plantations are still tended. There is also an abundant market featuring food such as large jumping shrimp, rice, greens, coconuts and a variety of cooked dishes, housewares, clothing and jewellery. Among the local crafts are lovely handmade raffia hats and bags which are primarily used by the local women. Women with stately postures may be seen balancing raffia totes and baskets piled high with fruit, vegetables and other goods on their heads.

While in Maroantsetra we may also visit an area dedicated to the breeding habitat of the Tomato Frog, Dyscophus antongilii, a conspicuous red-orange frog belonging to the Microhylidae family. Currently listed as ‘Near Threatened’ by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, it is present in eastern and north eastern Madagascar, with two main nuclei, one around and within the town of Maroantsetra, and the other in the surroundings of Antara, close to the town of Toamasina. In the late afternoon we continue to our hotel Manga Beach facing the river Anjahanambo. (Overnight Maroantsetra) BLD

Masoala National Park - 3 nights

Day 7: Sunday 16 October, Maroantsetra – Nosy Mangabe – Masoala National Park
  • Réserve de Nosy Mangabe
  • Physical Endurance: Hiking trails can be steep and are often sandy/muddy. Group may be divided into smaller groups based on ability levels. Duration: 2hrs

Early this morning we travel by boat to the Masoala Peninsula. En route we make an excursion to the island nature reserve of Nosy Mangabe, a small island (520 ha), located in Antongil Bay two kilometres offshore from Maroantsetra, and covered in humid dark-green thick forest. The boat takes around 40 minutes before we wade ashore. The island is home to White-Fronted Brown Lemurs and Black-and-White Ruffed Lemurs, Leaf-Tailed Geckos (Uroplatus fimbriatus), several species of chameleons, frogs and snakes, including the Madagascar Tree Boa (Sanzinia madagasciensis), some of which can usually be spotted easily on the forest trails during a day visit. There is also the nocturnal Aye-Aye Lemur, which in the past could be seen if one stayed overnight on the island. However, the Aye-Aye on Nosy Mangabe are now more elusive and night walks are no longer permitted on the island.

In the early afternoon we continue by boat to the Masoala Peninsula. Here we spend three nights based at the Masoala Dounia Forest Lodge offering accommodation in rustic, but quite adequate, thatched huts. (Overnight Masoala) BLD

Day 8: Monday 17 October & Day 9: Tuesday 18 October, Masoala National Park
  • The Western Coastal Trail, Lohatrozona
  • Physical Endurance: Hiking trails can be steep and are often sandy/muddy. Group may be divided into smaller groups based on ability levels.
  • The Tampolo Marine Reserve
  • Nocturnal Forest Walks

That the Masoala peninsula is ‘truly exceptional’ is not an extravagant or vain claim: two percent of all of planet earth’s animal and plant species are to be found here. Some species like Aye-Aye, Red-Ruffed Lemur, Madagascar Red Owl and the extremely rare Serpent Eagle are endemic to the peninsula.” Encompassing 2,300 square kilometres of rainforest and 100 square kilometres of marine parks, Masoala is Madagascar’s largest protected area. The park was established in 1997 to preserve this unique ecosystem comprising coastal rainforest, flooded forests, marsh and mangroves from the serious threat of encroachment by local communities that depend on the area for agricultural land and firewood, and from international logging companies harvesting timber. The park forests, which abound with chameleons, geckos, frogs as well as several species of butterflies, tumble down to the edge of a pristine, unspoiled shore peppered with unexplored golden beaches. The three marine parks protect over 10,000 ha of coral reefs, marine plants and mangroves around the peninsula. Presently, more than 3,001 fish species have been inventoried in the marine parks. Antongil Bay is also used as a shelter by humpback whales that gather here during the summer breeding season, when Antongil’s waters literally froth with cetaceans. The region also supports one of the most diverse groups of palm species in the world. The park is home to a total of 102 species of birds, more than 60% of which are endemic. During our stay we shall be looking for, among others, the rare and localised Helmet and Bernierʼs Vangas, Madagascar Long-Eared Owl, Red-Breasted Coua and both Short-Legged and Scaly Ground-Rollers. There are also several rare species of lemur (Red-Ruffed, White-Fronted Brown, Fork-Marked) and chameleon. Among the carnivores, Masoala is the only locality where the Mongoose Salanoia Concolor or Brown-Tailed Mongooses have been observed since 1970. This species is the least known of the Malagasy carnivores.

During our 2-day program here, there are options for both full day or half day walks. On the Western coastal trail, Lohatrozona is a paradise for ornithologists, while the marine reserve of Tampolo offers superb corals and nice, clean beaches for a swim. We may also explore the forest for wildlife in the vicinity of our lodge. Kayaking is also possible for the more energetic! (Overnight Masoala) BLD

Antananarivo - 1 night

Day 10: Wednesday 19 October, Masoala – Maroantsetra – Antananarivo
  • Morning flight from Moroantsetra to Antananarivo (MD417 1200-1315)
  • Royal Hill of Ambohimanga
  • Handicraft market of Antananarivo

We travel this morning by boat to Moroantsetra where we connect with our flight back to Antananarivo. We spend the remainder of the day exploring this city, including the UNESCO heritage listed Royal Hill of Ambohimanga, one of the most important spiritual and historic sites for the Malagasy people. Occupied since the 15th century, it was a fortified political capital, royal palace and royal burial ground. In the nineteenth century, the French colonial authorities made several attempts to undermine the significance and national symbolism of Ambohimanga, all of which proved unsuccessful. We shall also visit the wonderful craft market which has beautiful fossil specimens for sale and stalls selling baskets, woodcrafts and vanilla pods. (Overnight Antananarivo) BLD

Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve - 3 nights

Day 11: Thursday 20 October, Antananarivo – Morondava – Belo Tsiribihina – Tsingy de Bemaraha
  • Morning flight from Antananarivo to Morondava (MD702 0740-0840)
  • Journey by 4WD to Bekopaka via the Tsirbihina River and Belo Tsiribihina

Early morning we take a flight from Antananarivo to Morondava, and drive northwards to the shores of the Tsiribihina River where a barge will transport us across the river to the town of Belo Tsiribihina. The river crossing takes about 45 minutes. Following lunch in Belo Tsiribihina we make the four to five hour drive to Bekopaka. Our journey takes us across savanna, a grassland home to the Madagascar Harrier-Hawk (Polyboroides radiatus). One of the commonest raptors of Madagascar, this is a very large bird of prey. Aside from its size, it is unmistakable with its black and white stripes (called barring) on its underside, grey back, long bare yellow legs and bare pink or yellow skin patch around the eye. A second barge will take our party across the river Manambolo to the village of Bekopaka. We shall spend the next three nights based at the Soleil des Tsingy. Located in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Tsingy de Bemaraha, the lodge is perched on the highest point in this region, offering spectacular views of the surrounding scenery. (Overnight Bekopaka) BLD

Day 12: Friday 21 October, Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park
  • The Gorge of the Manambolo River by pirogue
  • Physical Endurance: The excursion by pirogue on the Manambolo River is not suitable for anyone with bad knees. Further details are provided below. Duration: 2hrs
  • The Petite (Small) Tsingy
  • Physical Endurance: The walk includes a short ascent following a series of iron ladders and wooden walkways. Group may be divided into smaller groups based on ability levels. Duration: 2-3hrs

The spectacular mineral forest of Tsingy de Bemaraha stands on the west coast of Madagascar. The area, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1990, comprises 1575 square kilometres of canyons, gorges, undisturbed forests, lakes and mangrove swamps. The northern section is designated an Integral Reserve, and therefore off-limits to visitors, but we shall visit the southern section, declared a national park in 1998. This vast forest of rugged and eroded karst pinnacles supports about 90 species of birds, 8 species of reptiles and 11 species of lemurs. Scientists estimate that 86.7% of the flora and flora are endemic to Madagascar, and 47% are endemic to this region.

This morning we make an excursion by pirogue (wooden dug-out canoe) to the spectacular Manambolo Gorge, where the river has carved a deep channel through the limestone plateau.  As we canoe past dry forest and sheer, vertical cliffs, craggy caves and overhangs, we shall view unusual vegetation, endemic water birds, and hear the shrill cries of black parrots resounding against the rock walls. Madagascar Fish Eagles can sometimes be seen perching in large trees edging the river. The park is generally divided into two parts – the Petit (Small) and the Grand  (Big) Tsingy – a distinction based upon on area and also on the height of the pinnacles.

This afternoon we visit the Petit Tsingy. An easy walk through a dry deciduous forest (where you’ll get to see plenty of lemurs) takes us to the base of the karst formations. Here a short ascent – following a series of iron ladders and wooden walkways (designed by a French mountaineer) – takes us to the viewpoint that opens up to a vista of the surrounding Tsingy forest.  (Overnight Bekopaka) BLD

Dugout pirogues used at the river Manambolo

Dugout pirogues used at the Manambolo River – courtesy of  Didier B. Ramilison For stability, there are always two pirogues “attached” to each other; pirogues with outriggers are unknown in this area. Usually, there is one rower, although most of the time he will propel the pirogues by punting. Each single canoe can seat three to four passengers, yet for comfort, this can be limited to a maximum of three people. Passengers will sit on a movable piece of plank which rests on the opening edge of the boat. Passengers’ legs are either extended forward or folded depending on the room each person has. Despite the discomfort one might experience travelling aboard this type of pirogue, and unless someone has serious knee problems, the visit should remain enjoyable as it is carried out with a couple of breaks when we shall get ashore to visit caves and relax our knees. Certain birds such as the Madagascar Fish Eagle may only be viewed from the middle of the river.

Day 13: Saturday 22 October, Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park
  • Climbing The Grand Tsingy (Option 1: strenuous)
  • Physical Endurance: Option 1: Climbing the Grand Tsingy is long and strenuous and can be very hot during the middle of the day. It includes many steps, cables, walkways, caves, and a fair bit of rock scrambling. You need to be okay with heights. A climbing harness is provided for those undertaking the cables and rock scrambling section. Duration: 4hrs
  • The Grand Tsingy: Adjacent Forest Walk (Option 2)
  • Physical Endurance: Option 2: A more leisurely forest walk. Duration: 2hrs
  • Afternoon at leisure

This morning we depart early for a one-hour drive to the Grand Tsingy. We may see lemurs and dozens of birds, orchids, aloes, pachypodium and baobabs. The endemic and medicinal plants make the flora of this park unique. Here there is the option to take an adventurous (and indeed strenuous) walk traversing the pinnacles either along a harnessed track or following the iron ladder way. A harness clipped to a steel cable is used for safety on the vertiginous and exposed scrambling sections amongst the rock. (Note: no technical climbing experience is necessary). For those who do not wish to climb the Grand Tsingy, there is the option of exploring the adjacent forest for birds: Decken’s Sifaka (Propithecus deckeni), Randrianasolo’s Sportive Lemur (Lepilemur randrianasoli). At the entrance of the Tsingy we may also search for the Western Ring-Tailed Mongoose (Galidia elegans occidentalis). Note: the Grand Tsingy, the outskirts of which are characterised by xerophyte vegetation, may be viewed from below, from quite short distance without needing to climb. After visiting the park we shall return to our hotel for lunch and an afternoon at leisure to relax. (Overnight Bekopaka) BLD

Morondava - 1 night

Day 14: Sunday 23 October, Bekopaka – Morondava
  • Return journey to Morondava by 4WD
  • Avenue des Baobabs

We return to Morondava by road, viewing the sunset in the Avenue des Baobabs. This cluster of towering Grandidier’s Baobabs (Adansonia grandidieri) is one of Madagascar’s most famous views. In 2007 the avenue (together with about 300 baobabs of three species in the surrounding one kilometre) became an officially protected natural monument. Andansonia grandidieri is the most majestic and famous of the baobab species and may reach 30m in height. The best-known specimens form the Boabab Avenue. These trees would once have been surrounded by dense forest, but today their isolated silhouettes can be seen for miles across the flat, featureless rice fields. There is now an active program to plant saplings amongst the existing trees. The project suffered a setback late in 2012 when a fire engulfed 11ha of the 320ha reserve, destroying 99 of the 2220 newly planted trees, but no mature baobabs were affected. We overnight in Morondava, a relaxed coastal town located on the Mozambique Channel. (Overnight Morondava) BLD

Antananarivo - 1 night

 Day 15: Monday 24 October, Morondava – Antananarivo
  • Morning flight from Morondava to Antananarivo (MD702 1225-1325)
  • Time at leisure

This morning we take the flight from Morondava back to Antananarivo. The rest of the day is at leisure. (Overnight Antananarivo) BLD

Toliara - 1 night

Day 16: Tuesday 25 October, Antananarivo – Toliara
  • Morning flight from Antananarivo to Toliara (MD714 0740 – 1015)
  • Arboretum d’Antsokay

Early-morning we take a flight south-west to Toliara. This afternoon we visit the splendid Arboretum d’Antsokay, located 12 kilometres south-east of Toliara. Created in the early 80s on the initiative of a Swiss amateur botanist, Hermann Petignat, the arboretum is devoted to the conservation of plants from the south-western part of Madagascar. In close collaboration with many institutions including the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and WWF it presents a typical spiny thicket (also known as spiny forest) in a botanical garden preserving more than 900 species, of which 90% are endemic to the region and 80% have medicinal virtues. (Overnight Toliara) BLD

Isalo National Park - 2 nights

Day 17: Wednesday 26 October, Toliara – Zombitse National Park – Isalo
  • The Succulent Thicket of Zombitse National Park
  • Physical Endurance: An easy walk along the Mandresy Trail; terrain includes loose sand. Duration: 2hrs

We make a very early start with a drive to Zombitse National Park which protects one of the most important remnants of dry deciduous forest of Madagascar. Madagascar Cuckoo Rollers displaying maniacally over the canopy is one of the highlights here. Males of this huge forest endemic engage in flapping displays and loops accompanied by shrieking whistles. The forest is a very special transition zone between the southern flora and the western deciduous forest. Similar in appearance to the latter, it contains the baobab species of the former. Here we will find our first Angraecum orchids and see Rhopalocarpus, a large tree and a member of a family unique to Madagascar. We might also find the giant green Phelsuma standingi gecko, a roosting White-Browed Owl and perhaps even Oustalet’s Chameleon, the largest chameleon in the world! The large white Verreaux’s Sifakas bound from tree to tree and often allow close views. The forest is also home to one of Madagascar’s rarest endemic birds, the Appert’s Tetraka or Appert’s Greenbul (Xanthomixis apperti). The species was first described as late as 1972, and has been the subject of considerable taxonomic confusion. It was initially placed in the Greenbul genus Phyllastrephus, and later with the Old World warblers in the genusBernieria. Recent research indicates it is part of an endemic Malagasy radiation currently known as the Malagasy warblers.

In the afternoon we continue our drive to Isalo’s remarkable landscapes, with eroded ‘ruiniforme’ sandstone outcrops, giving hints of silver and green reflections of sunlight, and interspersed with endless palm savanna of the endemic Bismarkia Palms (Bismarkia nobilis)(Overnight Ranohira) BLD 

Day 18: Thursday 27 October, Isalo National Park
  • Morning nature trail to the Natural Pool (Piscine Natural), Isalo National Park
  • Physical Endurance: The path to the natural pool climbs steeply and there is little shade along the way. The hiking time for the uphill climb is approximately 1-1.5 hours at a leisurely pace with stops. Group may be divided into smaller groups based on ability levels. Duration: 2-3hrs
  • Afternoon trail to the Piscine Noire et Bleue, Isalo National Park
  • Physical Endurance: This 4km walk begins with easy walking, but becomes more difficult towards the end of the canyon due to stream crossings on flattened boulders, cliff ascents on carved steps, followed by a descent to the pools along narrow steps and stepping stones. Group may be divided into smaller groups based on ability levels. Duration: 3hrs

We explore Isalo National Park’s fascinating plant community, including some very localised species of palm, aloe and the squat ‘elephant’s foot’ pachypodiums, which flourish on the rock faces. With luck, we’ll see some Ring-Tail Lemurs or Verreaux’s Sifakas in dense vegetation lining the canyon streams. Isalo offers several options for hikes into rocky canyons and verdant oases, with opportunities to take a refreshing dip in naturally formed pools at the base of hidden waterfalls. We shall look for Ring-Tail Lemurs, Verreaux Sifakas and Red-Fronted Brown Lemurs that have adapted to life in this dry desert climate.

Our morning trail leads us to the ‘Natural Pool’, providing views of xerophytic and sclerophyllous vegetation as well as stunning sandstone runiforme scenery. Our afternoon trail leads to the ‘Piscine Noire et Bleue’ (Black and Blue Pools), both fed by narrow waterfalls, located at the end of the Namazaha Canyon. This canyon features riparian (riverbank) vegetation and shelters a variety of birds including the Benson Rock Thrush (Monticola bensoni). We begin the trail in a dry deciduous pocket forest that is home to birds, reptiles and insects. At the centre of this forest we may see Ring-Tailed Lemurs, the Red-Fronted Brown Lemurs and a Verreaux Sifaka. (Overnight Ranohira) BLD

Ranomafana National Park - 3 nights

Day 19: Friday 28 October, Isalo National Park – Anja – Ranomafana
  • Ring-Tailed Lemurs of Anja Community Reserve
  • Physical Endurance: Relatively easy trail with only slight uphill slopes. The narrow trails follow open vegetation through dry-deciduous forest. Duration: 2hrs

Leaving Isalo National Park early after breakfast we continue our journey north-east to the community-run Anja Reserve. Known for its superb scenery, the reserve covers eight hectares and is home to about 300 Ring-Tail Lemurs (Lemur catta), instantly recognisable by their banded tail, and some intriguing plants adapted to the dry southern climate. The region is sacred to the Betsileo; their ancestors are buried here and it has always been fady (meaning taboo in the traditional culture of Madagascar) to hunt the lemurs. The caves here have provided a useful sanctuary in times of trouble and were inhabited up to a century or so ago. We spend a couple of hours in the Anja Reserve following a relatively easy trail through dry-deciduous forest to spot groups of Ring-Tailed Lemurs and various species of reptiles.

Mid afternoon we drive across the desolate central southern interior to Ranomafana National Park in the mountainous highlands. Our drive takes us past terraced rice paddies and patched forests of Eucalyptus. (Overnight Ranomafana) BLD

Day 20 & 21: Saturday 29 October & Sunday 30 October, Ranomafana National Park
  • Mornings: Birdwatching and nature walk along the Varibolamena Trails
  • Physical Endurance: One of the most difficult trails, it is taxing due to the rough terrain and humidity. Group may be divided into smaller groups based on ability levels. Duration: 4hrs.
  • Afternoon: Birdwatching and nature walk along the Vohiparara Trails
  • Physical Endurance: The Vohiparara Trail is flatter than the Varibolamena Tail. Group may be divided into smaller groups based on ability levels. Duration: dependent on bird species spotted; approx 2hrs.

Particularly rich in wildlife, this hitherto unprotected fragment of mid-altitude rainforest and higher-altitude mountain cloud forest first came to the world’s attention with the discovery of the Golden Bamboo Lemur in 1986; formal protection followed in 1991. Today this exquisite upland cloud forest is one of Madagascar’s top wildlife hotspots. The 12 lemur species that live here include all three Bamboo Lemurs: Grey Bamboo Lemur (Hapalemur griseus), Greater Bamboo Lemur  (Prolemur simus) and the Golden Bamboo Lemur (Hapalemur aureus). The Bamboo or Gentle lemurs have grey-brown fur. Their muzzles are short and their ears are round and hairy. Lengths vary from 26 to 46 cm, with tails just as long or longer, and they weigh up to 2.5 kg. Bamboo Lemurs prefer damp forests where bamboo grows and as their name suggests they feed almost exclusively on bamboo. Completely dependent on this low-energy food source, the lemur must lead a very sedentary lifestyle and spend much of its time eating. As with many specialised species, this lemur is unable to adapt to its rapidly changing habitat. Widespread clearing of its rainforest habitat has caused populations to become isolated in the few remaining patches of forest capable of supporting the species. Other residents of the park include the striking Milne-Edward’s Sifaka and the robust Black and White-Ruffed Lemur. There are also scores of reptiles and beautiful chameleons.

We shall spend two days in Ranomafana National Park exploring the network of paths through the forests and dense stands of giant bamboo. Expect to see various lemurs, such as Red-Fronted Brown Lemur (Eulemur rufus), Red-Bellied Lemur (Eulemur rubriventer) and the shy Grey Bamboo Lemur. For the tree lover we will see some of the species of Dombeya with their heads of pink or white flowers. Ranomafana is also superb for birdwatchers as many of the rainforest dwelling endemics occur in the park. There are Brown Mesite, Blue Coua and the Velvet Asity. Ranomafana is a herpetologist’s paradise, with a variety of chameleons, geckoes, skinks and frogs. The floral diversity is bewildering, with numerous species of palm, bamboo and orchid thriving here.

The Ranomafana National Park trail is considered to be one of the most difficult walks included on this tour due to the roughness of terrain and the permanent humidity. Difficulty will undoubtedly arise while tracking wildlife, in particular Golden Bamboo Lemurs and Milne’s Edward Sifaka, the former being very often met only off track – which can be a strenuous endeavour. The terrain where birds are usually encountered is more even. (Overnight Ranomafana) BLD

Antsirabe - 1 night

Day 22: Monday 31 October, Ranomafana – Ambatovaky – Ambositra – Antsirabe
  • Blacksmith village of Ambatovaky
  • Wood carving of Ambositra
  • Rickshaw ride: visit to the semi-precious stone workshops and handicraft sector of Antsirabe
  • Farewell Evening Meal

Leaving the rainforest early after breakfast we begin with a visit to the village of Ambatovaky. Situated 24 kilometres from the entrance to Ranomafana National Park, the village consists of a small population of farmers and artisans. Here shall visit a local blacksmith.

Continuing north, our next stop is the Betsileo town of Ambositra, whose close proximity to the forest has made it the centre of Madagascar’s wood carving industry.  Its name means “the place of the eunuchs” supposedly because the Merina tribe castrated all defeated warriors of the local tribe, the Zafimaniry. The cultural influence of this tribe can be found in the traditional motifs on the local houses with their intricately carved balconies, panels and shutters. We’ll encounter many specialized workshops in printmaking, wood carving and marquetry.

Depending on the traffic, we hope to arrive into Antsirabe in time for a short orientation stroll along the Avenue de l’Indépendence. Colonial Antsirabe’s broad tree-lined avenue, which stretches from its handsome railway station to the Hôtel des Thermes was intended to achieve the goals of defining the resort as European and of making it a symbol of French rationality and modernity with which to impress the Malagasy.

Antsirabe is the third largest city in Madagascar. Located on a high plateau, at an altitude of approximately 1500m, it has a relatively cool climate. Its name, meaning “where there is salt”, honours the large number of hot springs whose curative qualities were appreciated by the local population when French colonists decided to locate a thermal bath here in the 19th century. It is also renowned for having hundreds of registered rickshaws (or pousse-pousse in French) and specialises in the cutting of semi-precious stones. In the town’s thriving handicrafts sector we may view a variety of products including jewellery made from zebu horn, toys crafted from old tin cans, wood carvings, polished minerals, embroidered tablecloths and clothing.

This evening we enjoy a farewell meal (Overnight Antsirabe) BLD

Day 23: Tuesday 1 November, Antsirabe – Ambatolampy – Antananarivo TOUR ENDS
  • Aluminium Pot Workshops, Ambatolampy
  • Airport transfer for participants travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flight (MK289 TNRMRU 1655-1940)

Early this morning we make the return journey to Antananarivo. South of Tana we make a brief visit to the charming and very typical plateau town of Ambatolampy, famous for its aluminium pots. A visit to a local foundry will enable us to view the workers who, out of the blazing hot metal, create small artworks, cutlery and cooking pots. Their skilful technique is interesting to watch. The metal is smelted by one worker in a crucible until it is molten. In the mean time, another member of the team creates the inverted shape of the inside of the pot on the floor of the workshop using a very fine-grained mixture of sand, laterite and powdered charcoal. Once this shape has been completed, a wooden mould is lowered carefully over the foundry sand, and more sand is packed around it. Finally the molten metal is poured into the cavity between the two to create the pot. The pot is then left to cool – which is a surprisingly quick process – before the mould is removed and the foundry sand is gently swept away to expose the new pot. It is then sanded and burnished to remove the rough edges and reveal the characteristic silvery white colour of the metal.

We then continue directly to Antananarivo airport in order to check-in for our late afternoon flight for Australia (via Mauritius). BL



23 days in Madagascar

The following should be used as a guide only. Wi-Fi is not available in a number of the locations we will be visiting. A hotel list will be given to all participants prior to departure.

  • Antananarivo (1 night): 4-star Hôtel & Spa Palissandre – a charming hotel with 50 guest rooms. Located in the downtown Antanarivo with panoramic views over the city. Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, spa, fitness centre, restaurant and free Wi-Fi.
  • Andasibe (3 nights): 3-star Andasibe Hotel – a new property comprising 20 bungalows scattered in a planted garden of palm trees, overlooking a private forest. The air-conditioned bungalows have a terrace with a small living room and are equipped with a bathroom and toilet, safe, minibar and satellite TV. Facilities include a swimming pool, spa and restaurant.
  • Antananarivo (1 night): 4-star Hôtel & Spa Palissandre – as described above
  • Maroantsetra (1 night): Manga Beach Hotel – Facing the River Anjahanambo, this new boutique hotel has air-conditioned rooms with private terrace. Each room is equipped with orthopedic bed, en-suite (with shower and toilet), satellite TV and safe. Facilities include restaurant and free Wi-Fi.
  • Masoala (3 nights): Dounia Forest Lodge – Accessible only by foot or by sea, the lodge provides complete exclusivity in a remote corner of Masoala National Park. This small, intimate lodge has great access to some of the rare and endemic species of Madagascar. Accommodation is provided in thatched cottages and includes private facilities and offers views of the ocean and the forest. Electricity is provided by solar panels.
  • Antananarivo (1 night): 5-star Carlton Madagascar – a beautiful hotel with 171 guest rooms located on the banks of Anosy lake, 10-minutes walk from the historical centre. Facilities include a swimming pool, 2 restaurants and free Wi-Fi.
  • Tsingy de Bemaraha (3 nights): Soleil des Tsingy – the lodge, located in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site, offers spectacular views of the surrounding scenery. Accommodation is provided in 17 bungalows equipped with en-suite and fans (no air-conditioning). Facilities include a restaurant, bar and infinity swimming pool overlooking the forested valley below. Wi-Fi is not available.
  • Morondava (1 night): 4-star Hôtel Palissandre Côte Ouest – located at Nosy Kely on the beach of Morondava, 30 minutes drive from the Avenue of Baobabs. The hotel offers 30 spacious air-conditioned bungalows, all with a private terrace and sea view, and equipped with en-suite bathroom, minibar, satellite TV and safe. Facilities include a bar, restaurant and swimming pool and free Wi-Fi.
  • Antananarivo (1 night): 4-star Hôtel & Spa Palissandre – as described above
  • Toliara (1 night): 3-star Moringa Hotel – a new hotel located in the city centre, offering spacious and comfortable rooms, each with a private terrace.
  • Isalo (2 nights): 3-star Hôtel Le Jardin du Roy – luxury lodge located on the southern boundary of Isalo National Park. Built from granite to blend in with the landscape, the lodge offers 40 air-conditioned rooms with en-suite bathroom housed in eight thatched bungalows. Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, free Wi-Fi and restaurant. only)
  • Ranomafana (3 nights): Setam Lodge – set above the forested river valley on the edge of Ranomafana National Park. The lodge offers 20 chalet-style rooms overlooking the river and the spectacular rainforest below. Rooms are simply-furnished and equipped with bathroom and toilet, fans and electricity. Facilities include a large restaurant and bar area offering staggering views.
  • Antsirabe (1 night): Hotel Le Royal Palace – a modern hotel with 40 guest rooms. Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, restaurant and free Wi-Fi.

NoteHotels are subject to change. In this instance a hotel of similar standard will be provided.

Single Room Accommodation

Single rooms will be apportioned to those who book first. We cannot offer you a single room throughout the tour. This definitely may apply to Dounia Forest Lodge where accommodation is extremely limited. Approximately one month prior to departure, rooming lists will be confirmed. If you have booked a single supplement but must forego a single room in some places the single supplement for those hotels will be refunded to you.


How to book

Make a Reservation


Please complete the ASA RESERVATION APPLICATION and send it to Australians Studying Abroad together with your non-refundable deposit of AUD $500.00 per person (payable to Australians Studying Abroad).

Passport Details

All participants must provide no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the program a photocopy of the front page of their current passport.

Single Supplement

Single rooms will be apportioned to those who book first. We cannot offer you a single room throughout the tour. This definitely may apply to Dounia Forest Lodge where accommodation is extremely limited. Approximately one month prior to departure, rooming lists will be confirmed. If you have booked a single supplement but must forego a single room in some places the single supplement for those hotels will be refunded to you.


Gallery Tour Map
Physical Endurance & Practical Information
Physical Rating

The number of flags is a guide to the degree of difficulty of ASA tours relative to each other (not to those of other tour companies). It is neither absolute nor literal. One flag is given to the least taxing tours, six to the most. Flags are allocated, above all, according to the amount of walking and standing each tour involves. Nevertheless all ASA tours require that participants have a good degree of fitness enabling 2-3 hours walking or 1-1.5 hours standing still on any given site visit or excursion. Many sites are accessed by climbing slopes or steps and have uneven terrain.

This 23-day tour is definitely for the more adventurous of our ASA travellers and involves:
  • Walks which can be steep and strenuous, on uneven, muddy/sandy terrain; distances covered depend on wildlife sought and group’s ability.
  • Vehicle transfers up to eight hours; the route to Tsingy de Bemeraha is along an extremely dusty, potholed track.
  • Regular early morning starts at 7.00 or 7.30am; a number of nocturnal walks.
Other considerations:
  • 12 accommodation changes
  • 5 domestic flights: Antananarivo – Maroantsetra (Day 6), Maroantsetra – Antananarivo (Day 10), Antananarivo – Morondava (Day 11), Morondava – Antananarivo (Day 15), Antananarivo – Toliara (Day 16)
  • Excursions by boat (Nosy Mangabe, Masoala Peninsula) and canoe (Manambolo River)
  • Transportation by 21-seater Toyota Coaster (or Nissan Civilian or Korean Hyundai); 4WD’s used for the Morondava – Bekopaka track; 4WD’s used in Mantadia National Park
  • Meals include a number of boxed lunches
  • You must be able to carry your own hand-luggage
  • Hotel porterage includes 1 piece of luggage per person.

During visits to the national parks the group may be divided into smaller groups based on ability levelsIt is important to remember that ASA programs are group tours, and slow walkers affect everyone in the group. However, during visits to the national parks there will be at least two guides to escort us. We shall also be accompanied by our English-speaking tour guide from Wild Madagascar. This effectively means we have 3 guides escorting us during our visits to the national parks which will enable us, if necessary, to sub-divide into small groups according to preference and ability levels. Whoever cannot catch up with the rest of the group or feels tired, may either return to the entrance of the national park, shorten their visit or take a short-cut to meet the rest of the group at a different place. If you have any doubts about your ability to manage on this program, please ask your ASA travel consultant whether this is a suitable tour for you. Please note: it is a condition of travel that all participants agree to accept ASA’s directions in relation to their suitability to participate in activities undertaken on the tour, and that ASA retains the sole discretion to direct a tour participant to refrain from a particular activity on part of the tour. For further information please refer to the Terms and Conditions section.


The majority of this tour will be conducted in two air-conditioned 21-seater coaches, with luggage stored on the roof-rack, on the West Coast itinerary. Models used in Madagascar include the Toyota Coaster, Nissan Civilian or the South Korean Hyundai. Larger coaches (eg 30-seaters) are not available in Madagascar. 4WD vehicles will be used to travel along the Morondava-Bekopaka track and in Mantadia National Park. These vehicles are mainly station wagons (Toyota Land Cruiser or Nissan Patrol). While capable of seating 7-9 people, for the sake of comfort, we shall travel with a maximum of 4 people per vehicle. The track to Bekopaka from Belo Tsiribihina is potholed and dusty which limits the average speed to a maximum of 20km per hour.

Practical Information and What to Bring

We have elected to run this tour in October – November as the weather is usually fine but not too hot. October is one of the best times to see baby lemurs, when they are happily clinging to their mother and starting to explore their surroundings. This is also the time when chameleons are starting to come out of their winter hibernation. The western side of the island is always quite dry (eg spiny forest areas) while the eastern side of the island is wetter (rainforest areas). Average midday temperatures in the dry season are approximately 25° C in the highlands and 30° C on the coast. The central mountainous spine area can get cold at night throughout the year.

  • Malaria is a problem in many parts of Madagascar, especially the wetter rainforest areas. Be prepared and take a good anti-malarial prophylactic (we recommend you avoid using LARIUM which may cause side effects)
  • Mosquito repellent is essential
  • Good walking boots are a must
  • Head torch
  • Trekking day-pack
  • Light runners can be useful for evenings and travel days
  • A small pair of binoculars or field glasses is a must for enthusiastic birdwatchers
  • A good personal first aid kit
  • Walking poles
  • Sun hat & suntan lotion
  • Sunglasses
  • A small collapsible umbrella for extra shade
  • Light clothing for day-time activities
  • Pullovers are recommended for the evenings in the central high plateau and in the mountains
  • A windbreaker or raincoat is recommended for any trip to Madagascar regardless of the destination and the season.

Prior to departure, tour members will receive detailed practical notes which include information on visa requirements, health, photography, weather, clothing and what to pack, custom regulations, bank hours, currency regulations, electrical appliances and food. The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers see: and

Visa Requirements Madagascar

All foreign visitors to the Republic of Madagascar require entry visas. For short visits (90 days or less), every visitor, regardless of nationality, can obtain a visa upon arrival at the airport in Antananarivo, provided the visitor’s passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond the last day of the intended stay in Madagascar, and provided the visitor carries an airline-issued ticket or passenger receipt confirming the visitor’s intention to leave Madagascar within 90 days.


This tour requires that you take a minimum of luggage and that your suitcase is suitable for rough conditions. Please consider:

  • Excursions are undertaken using 21-seater coaches or 4WD vehicles where your luggage will be carried in racks on top of the vehicle.
  • Strict luggage allowance applies to the domestic flights included in this tour.
Mobile Phones

International mobile roaming is available throughout Madagascar, but is expensive. The best option is to purchase is to use a local simcard available through Telecom Malagasy, Airtel and Orange.

Tour Price & Inclusions

AUD $10780.00 Land Content Only – Early-bird Special: book before 31 March 2015
AUD $10980.00 Land Content Only
AUD $1500.00   Double (as single) Supplement**

** This is the maximum payable by guests reserving a single room. This amount would be reduced if twin-share is required in some hotels.

For competitive Economy, Business or First Class airfares and/or group airfares please contact ASA for further information.

Tour Price (Land Content Only) includes:
  • Accommodation in twin-share rooms with private facilities including 4-star hotels (Antananarivo), eco-lodges, bungalow-style accommodation and thatched tree-houses.
  • Meals, indicated in the itinerary, where: B=breakfast, L=lunch & D=evening meal
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals include water only.
  • Transportation by air-conditioned coach and 4WD vehicles
  • Airport-hotel transfers if travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flights
  • Porterage of one piece of luggage per person at airport and hotels (where available)
  • Lecture and site-visit program
  • Entrance fees to national parks and other sites as outlined in the itinerary
  • Excursions by boat (Nosy Mangabe, Masoala Peninsula) and canoe (Manambolo River, Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park)
  • Domestic flights: Antananarivo – Maroantsetra (Day 6), Maroantsetra – Antananarivo (Day 10), Antananarivo – Morondava (Day 11), Morondava – Antananarivo (Day 15), Antananarivo – Toliara (Day 16)
  • Bottled water during all excursions
  • Tour Reference Book
  • Tips for the coach driver, driver’s assistant, Malagasy national guide, local national park guides and restaurants for included meals.
Tour Price (Land Content Only) does not include
  • Airfare: Australia – Antananarivo, Antananarivo – Australia
  • Personal spending money
  • Airport-hotel transfers if not travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flights
  • Luggage in excess of 20 kg (44 lbs)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa for Madagascar.
Terms & Conditions

A deposit of $500.00 AUD per person is required to reserve a place on an ASA tour.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • More than 75 days before departure: $500.00**
  • 75-46 days prior 25% of total amount due
  • 45-31 days prior 50% of total amount due
  • 30-15 days prior 75% of total amount due
  • 14-0 days prior 100% of total amount due

**This amount may be credited to another ASA tour departing within 12 months of the original tour you booked. We regret, in this case early-bird discounts will not apply. We take the day on which you cancel as being that on which we receive written confirmation of cancellation.

Unused Portions of the Tour

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Will the Tour Price or Itinerary Change?

If the number of participants on a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates ASA reserves the right to amend the advertised price. We shall, however, do all in our power to maintain the published price. If an ASA tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all tour monies paid. Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of ASA make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes in due course.

Travel Insurance

ASA requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. A copy of your travel insurance certificate and the reverse charge emergency contact phone number must be received by ASA no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the tour.

Final Payment

The balance of the tour price will be due 75 days prior to the tour commencement date.

Limitation of Liability

ASA is not a carrier, event or tourist attraction host, accommodation or dining service provider. All bookings made and tickets or coupons issued by ASA for transport, event, accommodation, dining and the like are issued as an agent for various service providers and are subject to the terms and conditions and limitations of liability imposed by each service provider. ASA is not responsible for their products or services. If a service provider does not deliver the product or service for which you have contracted, your remedy lies with the service provider, not ASA. ASA will not be liable for any claim (eg. sickness, injury, death, damage or loss) arising from any change, delay, detention, breakdown, cancellation, failure, accident, act, omission or negligence of any such service provider however caused (contingencies). You must take out adequate travel insurance against such contingencies. ASA’s liability in respect of any tour will be limited to the refund of amounts received from you less all non-refundable costs and charges and the costs of any substituted event or alternate services provided. The terms and conditions of the relevant service provider from time to time comprise the sole agreement between you and that service provider. ASA reserves the sole discretion to canel any tour or to modify itineraries in any way it considers appropriate. Tour costs may be revised, subject to unexpected price increases or exchange rate fluctuations.

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