(Antananarivo, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Antsirabe, Ranomafana, Fianarantsoa, Isalo National Park, Anakao)
The mist is heavy deep in the Madagascan rainforest and sweat drips from your brow after a full-day hike. Then you see it grazing among the bamboo thickets – the rare golden bamboo lemur – and your heart leaps.
An experienced local tracker and expert park ranger will lead you deep into the Ranomafana rainforest in search of the elusive golden bamboo lemur, and when the sun goes down a night-time tour will reveal the forest’s nocturnal secrets such as the skittish fosa or small puma and the tiny mouse lemur. You’ll also traverse the island’s lush highlands where you’ll visit traditional villages and encounter the abundant wildlife; marvel at the barren landscapes and twisted rock formations in Isalo National Park; and explore the ancient old city of Antananarivo.
From the secret life of Madagascar’s deep rainforests to the lush highlands and the barren moonscapes of Isalo, this tour presents the island’s diverse environments in all their pristine glory. Experienced trackers and park rangers guide the way and reveal the elusive wildlife of the island’s unique ecosystems, and accommodations from historic townhouses to rainforest lodges provide an authentic Madagascan experience.
Kensington Tours offers local support in each region you visit, another reason we deliver unbeatable value. Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
Meet your in-country representative at the airport before setting out on this unique Malagasy adventure.
Please be aware that your driver will be waiting for you at the International Arrival gate. An airport sign with your name should be seen and you may have to look for the Kensington Tours logo if the airport gets overcrowded. If you cannot locate your driver please remain calm and approach the Airport Welcome Service. An announcement intended for your driver can be broadcasted there, and this will then become the rally point. In the case of an emergency or you cannot locate your driver, the emergency contact details are on your documents and you should call the mentioned numbers before attempting to leave the airport.
Enjoy a private vehicle transfer to/from the Antananarivo International Airport.
Begin this Madagascar adventure by exploring the capital and largest city in Madagascar. Discover the colonial history of this ancient city, and find out the reason why Antananarivo was once named "the city of a Thousand." Marvel at the goings on and the daily life routines of these Malagasy people. Highlights of this tour include a visit to the Old City sections, and the palace of the Queen, which will introduce you to the architecture and urbanism of this dynamic African city. No tour of the town is complete without a moment's pause on one of the hills to take in the view over the city.
A private vehicle with driver will be at your disposal for the day.
Depart from the Madagascar capital, Antananarivo, and travel along the hillside twisty roads towards the Eastern part of the island. The first scheduled stop will be in Marozevo at the Pereyras reserve for the first glimpse of Madagascar’s unique biodiversity and fantastic Chameleon Sanctuary. Continue along to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, and start the discovery tour of the nocturnal animals and primates that inhabit this unique and distinctive National Park.
The Lemur is a clade of strepsirrhine primates endemic to the island of Madagascar. The actually word "lemur" derives from the word lemures (ghosts or spirits) from Roman mythology, and was first used to describe the nocturnal habits and slow pace of certain creatures, which applied perfectly to the habitual primates of Madagascar. Shortly after humans arrived on the island of Madagascar some 2,000 years ago, there were some lemurs as large as a gorilla. Today, there are nearly 100 species of lemurs, and most of those species have been discovered or promoted to full species status since the 90's.
Begin the day with a hike through the rainforest to discover the natural Malagasy flora and fauna, as well as the famous Indri lemurs. The Indri lemur is one of the largest in size and has a lovey thick black and white coat. The Indri is well known for its loud, distinctive songs, which will help you to locate them within the thick forest vegetation. Other lemurs which can be seen in this area include the red-bellied lemur, brown lemur, and the lesser bamboo lemur. The park is also a place of habitat for some nocturnal lemur species including the brown mouse lemur, greater dwarf lemur, eastern woolly lemur, sportive lemur and if you lucky, the elusive nocturnal Aye Aye. During your rainforest exploration enjoy a stop for some relaxation at a picturesque waterfall. This day tour is filled with beautiful landscapes and a variety of habitual wildlife.
Almost half of the world’s chameleon’s population, that being some 60 different species, are found only in Madagascar. They are known for their ability to change color as these reptiles can alter their appearance in response to changes in temperature, light, and mood. By rotating each eye independently, chameleons able to see all sides and directions without moving their heads, making meals out of flies instantaneously!
Today, hop into your privately driven vehicle as you depart towards Andasibe, making route to Tana and then southwards to Antsirabe. You will cross the highlands via the famous national RN7, which leads to the South of Madagascar. A lunch-stop is scheduled in Ambatolampy where the opportunity presents itself to meet the passionate villagers who make handmade pots and other frequently used household items. In the afternoon, you will reach the town of Antsirabe, known as the "Vichy Malgache" and famous for its thermal waters and rickshaws.
Our highland crossing into the region of Betsileo brings you to the first stop in the town of Ambositra, famous for its workshops and Zafimaniry Wood Carvings. Next, we will visit some various other handcrafter workshops. Just after lunch, we will finally begin heading into the Ranomafana rainforest. Once you get there, a night visit through the rainforest will uncover some of the many nocturnal species that call this rainforest home including lemurs, frogs and chameleons. The approximately travel and tour time is 6.5 hours.
Today you will visit the Ranomafana forest; this forest is known for species of bamboo lemurs found in Madagascar. The most common is the lesser bamboo lemur which can also be seen in Andasibe. The greater bamboo lemur is very rare and only known to be found in two locations. You may find them by hearing the crack of big bamboo stems as they feed. The star of Ranomafana is the golden bamboo lemur "Hapalemuraureus" which was only discovered in 1986 whilst researchers were trying to find the greater bamboo lemur. The park was created soon after this discovery. The largest lemur in the park is the elusive Milne-Edwards sifaka, often spotted high up in the forest canopy. You should also look out for red bellied lemurs which live in couples with their offspring and red fronted brown lemurs which live in large groups. Ranomafana is also a birding hotspot but finding birds in the dense forest can be very tricky.
In real life, the island of Madagascar has no lions, giraffes, zebras, or hippos, unlike the animated movie! The fossil record shows that hippos once lived on the island, but scientists think they went extinct about 1,000 years ago. These hippos, known as pygmy hippos, were much smaller than their African relatives. The largest mammal-carnivore on the island of Madagascar is the Fossa, a close relative of the mongoose. Often compared in size to a small cougar, the Fossa feature semi-retractable claws and flexible ankles allowing it to climb and descend trees head-first.
Start the day off bright and early as you head out on a hike through the forest for a day of exploration. Set out on foot, accompanied by your expert guide, to the deep regions of the National Park of Ranomafana to view the diverse variety of Lemurs living here. The park’s star attraction is the golden bamboo lemur, often found grazing amongst the bamboo thickets. Marvel at the colorful bird-life and uniquely beautiful flora and fauna of this rich natural habitat.
Enjoy your private vehicle transfer from Ranomafana to Fianarantsoa. The drive will take approximately two hours.
Today enjoy your private guided tour of old town Fianarantsoa. It is perched onto the hills with its beautiful traditional architecture reflecting the different stages of colonization. You will walk through the streets of Fianarantsoa and stop at the major landmarks to know more about the connection between the Betsileo and the period of colonization.
This adventure continues as you depart the highlands area in the comfort of a privately driven vehicle, and travel further South towards the semi-dry landscapes this truly diverse island country. The first scheduled stop of the day is in the small town of Ambalavao, one of the cultural hubs of the country, boasting a variety of architectural treasures and quaint veranda-lined houses. Enjoy a visit to the entirely natural Paper Factory in Antemoro. Here, inlaid paper is created from plants and flowers which are exported nowadays all over the globe to create some of the world's most famous and beautiful greeting cards. The day’s journey is completed upon your arrival into Ranohira the main town outside Isalo National Park. Isalo National Park is home to some of Madagascar’s most stunning scenery, with barren landscapes, twisted rock formations and extraordinary plants life.
Spend the day exploring the almost lunar landscapes of the Isalo National Park. With an expert guide at your side, travel through the deep canyons of this stellar location. Visit the wonderful waterfalls and natural pools as they pass, providing an ideal opportunity for a refreshing swim or to take some memorable photos. As your day comes to an end enjoy watching the natural beauty of the sun-setting below the horizon of this stunning national park.
The Tenrec is considered one of the first mammals to arrive on Madagascar. Although it looks very similar to hedgehogs, or otters, they are not closely related to any of them, their closest relatives are some other African, insectivorous mammals such as golden moles and elephant shrews. When scared, this little dynamo curls up in a ball and extend its spiky hairs to protect themselves from predators.
The Grandidiera Baobab Tree or Monkey Bread Tree is the biggest and most famous of Madagascar's six species of baobabs. This imposing and unusual tree is endemic to the island of Madagascar, where it is an endangered species threatened by the encroachment of agricultural land. Each of the Grandidier's Baobabs have massive cylindrical trunks, that span up to three meters across, and are covered with smooth, reddish-grey bark. They can reach a whopping 25 to 30 meters in height, and truly standout amongst the native Madagascar flora and fauna. They often produce large, dry fruits which contain kidney-shaped seeds providing an edible pulp.
Depart this morning bright and early on a coastal drive to the city of Toliara. En-route your expert driver will explain the importance of the numerous villages that have been formed during the period of the sapphire rush. You will then go to the Tuliara port and meet your boat trasfer to the island of Anako. This water transfer will take 45 minutes.
This morning, bright and early, your guide will take you out on an exclusive island adventure. Not far off the coral reef coastline emerges the beautiful island of Nosy Ve, an uninhabited island boasting a variety of bird species. Enjoy a peaceful boat ride to get to this small island before taking a short stroll around exploring the unique birdlife and native flora and fauna. Spend the remainder of the afternoon relaxing on the picturesque, isolated beach. This day trip will make you feel as if you were in the world of Robinson Crusoe.
Today, enjoy some time doing whatever you please, reading on the beach, snorkelling and diving, a visit to the nearby village, or taking a quad-bike excursion. Anakao provides a variety of options for your leisurely enjoyment.
A privately driven speed boat will provide you with the means of transportation between Anakao and the mainland of Madagascar.
A private vehicle with driver will provide a transfer to/from the airport.
Enjoy your flight from Toliara (TLE) to Antananarivo (TNR), the flight will take 1 hour and 5 mins. Luggage restriction applicable to this flight: 20kg (44lb) per person, for checked luggage, the bag must not exceed 158cm (62 inches) in total. You can have one piece for your carry-on, weighing maximum 6kg (13lb), it must not exceed 115cm (45 inches).
Lokanga Boutique Hotel is an original Malagasy townhouse which has been furnished throughout with antiques and family souvenirs, inviting guests to journey back to the early twentieth century. Lokanga Boutique Hotel offers only 6 comfortable and exclusive rooms, each with breathtaking views over the capital, a desk, a private bathroom, individually styled and decorated with family antiques and full comforts: WIFI, mini-bar, heating during winter. After a day in the bustle of Antananarivo, guests can relax on the tea terrace and enjoy the breathtaking view out over the old city centre.
The Vakona Forest Lodge has been designed in an authentic, traditional Malagasy manner, boasting the architectural characteristics on the local buildings. Each of the 28 bungalows which have been built in a Madagascan style and has its own terrace. The dining room also offers a spectacular view of the forest as wells a cozy, warming fireplace. There is a pool and sun deck and a number of paths and sign-posted trails lead you to the middle of the primary forest.
Couleur Café is located in Antsirable the beautiful city of the highlands of Madagascar. It is made of bricks, tiles and wood in a green setting. The ten brick bungalows are located in a pleasant garden area and the main building has a communal lounge and restaurant. There is also a small shop, where you can buy souvenirs. The rooms have high ceilings and are light and airy. Each has an en-suite bathroom with a shower and there is also a fire place, which is very welcome in the colder winter months.
The Setam Lodge is set above river valley, in a heavily forested area just inside the boundaries of the Ranomafana National Park. Each of the 10 bungalows provides scenic views from there perched hilltop location of the dense rainforest and river below. Each of the 20 chalet rooms is located within the 10 bungalows.
The Tsara Guest House is a quaint little boutique hotel located in Fianarantsoa, Madagascar’s second largest city, consisting of buildings with traditional highland architecture. The main building is a restored church, and it now boasts comfortable and functional rooms, all with en-suite bathroom facilities. The property has a bar, restaurant and small garden. Here, guests will enjoy an atmosphere of a simple but elegant "Art de vivre".
The Isalo Rock Lodge is a modern and stunning 60 Room Retreat, positioned high in the Sandstone Mountains, overlooking the Isalo National Park in south western Madagascar, providing guest with some breathtaking views. Whilst luxury abounds in the hotel with all modern amenities, Isalo is home to many species of flora and fauna, including, the Giant Chameleon and the renowned Lemurs.
Anakao Ocean Lodge & Spa is a magical place that by strange and fortunate circumstances has remained an uncontaminated corner away from the more chaotic mass tourism routes. If a seaside holiday has to offer more to be held as the most memorable, you will discover a cultural travel experience that is enlivened by an indomitable passion for always finding destinations where you can once again savour authentic values and a now-forgotten pace, then Anakao Ocean Lodge & Spa will provide you with great excitements. In the central area there is a bar, a restaurant, various relaxation zones within the “little square” – fulcrum of the Lodge, a TV/library room and a boutique where you can find not only articles of clothing, costumes and beach wraps but also many small craft objects, from ethnic necklaces to important wooden sculptures, strong expressions of the local culture.
May 11, 2015
"We were a group of 5 to Morocco. We were impressed at how seamless our private guided tour went. Accommodations were five star, the choice of family run hotels, beautifully appointed with Moroccan furnishings and large breakfasts, contributed to our experience. Our guide, Ishmail and driver, Abdul, made us feel like family. Ishmail showed off his country with pride, listened to our needs and was flexible to our style and speed of travel. We couldn't be happier with our Kensington experience beginning with the pre-planning in the US with Lily Baffour. Thank you very much for a memorable experience! "
May 12, 2015
"Our guide, Chakim, was fantastic, and our driver was excellent. We were very pleased with our accommodations. Only negative comments would be the villa in Essaouira (room, food, service not good although people very nice), and, while probably not an issue for other travelers, we were disappointed that we could not relax over a glass of wine at the end of our journey because Hotel Le Doge did not offer alcoholic beverages. We are currently scheduled with Kensington Tours for India in November and we are now planning on scheduling with Kensington for all our trips - right now that would be Thailand to Mynamar, and Egypt with Dubai extension. We are extremely happy with Kensington Tours and their travel agents. We would recommend Lily Balfour to anyone. "
April 08, 2015
"Kensington and its partners did not miss a single deadline, appointment or function to our total satisfaction. The result, no stress and total enjoyment."
April 08, 2015
"Christine was absolutely superb both in helping us frame and develop a custom tour as well as in constant follow up until we left. Inevitably things will change on the ground when trips are planned in advance and Christine was consistently on top of the changes and advised us accordingly. As first time travelers to Kenya and Tanzania Christine's advice and guidance was simply excellent. Rose, in Kensington's Nairobi office was likewise superb. Totally responsive to our needs, she helped make a few final adjustments while we were there. Once again, an exceptional experience made possible by Kensington."
Sachi Gowda ,
December 15, 2014
"We are extremely happy with your service from beginning to end and we had very a memorable trip."
Ronald Jones ,
December 12, 2014
"I cannot express how fabulous our trip was!! I know it was made that way thanks to ALL the kind, knowledgable, and helpful people that you all placed in our path. Many went above and beyond to make our experience even more positive. From drivers, to guides, to hotel staff---we met some wonderful people that we can now call friends. Thank you Christine and Kensington tours for this once in a lifetime African adventure!"
December 15, 2014
"Christine, our family trip was ALL we wanted it to be. The hotel accommodations in the cities were GREAT. We needed to make some room assignment adjustments but that's to be expected with a large family with children and same names.
I don't know where/how ya'll got those guides but...KEEP'EM! In both Cape Town and Joberg the guys knew their cities and environs excellently. Their English was very good...so good in fact that several got the sarcasm and even joked some. I do apologize if we over-tipped. I relied on each family to tip their own driver but, I wasn't sure of their "sense of what was right" so I followed up with something for each.
Simbavati was "PERFECT". As much as Glenda and I really liked Ngala, I do not think they could have handled a family as well...UNLESS, they had accommodations we did not see.
Please rest assured when ever I plan to travel on a multi-dimensional trip in the future, for sure with a group, or maybe just Glenda and I, I'll be calling Kensington... Christine and Donna specifically. And most definitely, anytime I can recommend a travel professional, your company and you two will be mentioned by name!
Thank you again Christine...you presented us the exact trip we dreamed about for our family and your folks on the ground made it happen! I sincerely hope you, Donna and everyone else involved have a most Blessed Christmas and a wonderful, successful New Year!"
Bruce Lundstrom ,
December 15, 2014
"Morocco has a lot to offer. Food, historic sites, craftsmen (rugs, jewelry, ceramics, furniture, etc.), natural beauty, roads and infrastructure, and a reasonably safe environment. Both Guide (Abdel) and Driver were excellent. Service-oriented, timely and easy going. Abdel was not afraid to speak his mind, offer suggestions and give us feedback on ideas. We enjoyed their company."
December 09, 2014
"A truly wonderful trip......first class accommodations and service in each venue....the guides were knowledgable and went out of their way to insure that we could see and understand Africa. Capetown is a fascinating city, Sabi Sands an extraordinary private game preserve, and Zimbabwe with Victoria Falls and the Victoria Falls Hotel a once in a lifetime experience. For those who want to visit Africa we enthusiastically recommend Kensington Tours. And Jolene Plant stayed with us in every step during the planning of our trip and itinerary. We saw as much of Africa as much as anyone can during our two weeks vacation."
Belinda Skelton ,
December 12, 2014
"This was one of the most amazing trips that I have ever had. The custom tours and activities exceeded my expectations. I was traveling alone but felt safe and in good hands. The process of booking the trip with Lily Baffour was so easy and personal, especially with the constant communications from her up to my departure. Thank you Kensington Tours for an awesome experience. I will definitely use you for my next adventure!"
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