(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.
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!
Enjoy a private vehicle transfer to/from the Antananarivo International Airport.
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.
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. Finally, you might want to opt to visit the Tsimbazaza Zoo and Botanical Gardens, if time and energy allows.
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 at the Pereyras reserve for the first glimpse of Madagascar’s unique biodiversity and fantastic Chameleon Sanctuary. Continue along to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, where you will start this 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.
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.
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 which 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, this helps you locate them within the forest. Other lemurs which can be seen in this area are the red-bellied lemur, brown lemur, lesser bamboo lemur. The park is also place for the nocturnal lemurs - brown mouse lemur, greater dwarf lemur, eastern woolly lemur, sportive lemur and if you are a lucky one, you might see the elusive nocturnal Aye Aye. Along the way, 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 along with your guide as you depart towards Andasibe, making route to Tana and then southwards to Antsirabe. We 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, we will reach the town of Antsirabe, known as the "Vichy Malgache" and famous for its thermal waters and rickshaws. This highland crossing continues into the region of Betsileo, for a stop in the town of Ambositra, famous for its workshops and Zafimaniry Wood Carvings.
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.
Today, before you depart you can enjoy a morning lemur trek and then hop into your privately driven vehicle along with your guide as you depart towards Ranomafana.
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.
Today you will visit the Ranomafana forest, This forest is know for 4 species of bamboo lemur 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 for 2 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 dicovery. 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 lemur which live in couples with their offspring and red fronted brown lemurs which live in large groups. Ranomafana is a birding hotspot but finding birds in the dense forest can be very tricky - an early morning start is essential.
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 a local tracker and an expert park ranger, 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. Return back to the hotel for lunch before heading out to explore the old town of Fianarantsoa, perched high on the scenic hillside. This unique location reflects the different stages of colonization which have taken place during the history of Madagascar.
The Tsara Guest House is a quaint little hotel located in Fianarantsoa, Madagascar’s second largest city. The Tsara boasts 18 rooms in the main building, all with en-suite bathroom facilities. The property has a bar, restaurant and small garden.
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 is 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 landscaps, twisted rock formations and extraordinary plants life.
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.
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 refreshing swim or some memorable photos. Your day comes to end as you enjoy viewing 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 guide 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 adn meet your boat trasfer to the island of Anako. This water transfer will take 45 minutes.
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.
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 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.
November 08, 2012
"I am a world traveller and this was one of my Top 3 vacations ever! Kensington Tours did a great job with EVERY little detail, from the planning to being met and catered to every step of the way. Our favorite lodges were Tau Pan in the Kalahari, Botswana & Moon Mountain in Sossusvlei, Namibia. We especially loved the Batswana people and all the animals we saw at Camp Moremi on the Okavanga River. The highlight of our trip was actually our stay in Swakopmund when we stayed on the South Atlantic & went for an exciting boat ride to see all the sealife up close and personal (like a seal coming onboard the boat!), a rollar coaster dune ride in a 4 X 4!! the balloon ride over the red sand dunes over Namibia and several champagne brunches in the middle of the desert. Also, will never forget all the sundowmer game drives which ended with our favorite cocktail, watching the sunset with wildlife close at hand!
Unforgettable. Thanks Ivona for planning it all!"
October 26, 2012
"35 Goose Pond Road
Lincoln, MA 01773
Re: Steven Weru Kinyua, Kenya tour guide
We recently returned from a wonderful 8 day tour of Kenya with Steven, he is an exceptional individual. But one example: As we returned to the Samburu lodge from our first game drive, Steven pointed out a young, sick-looking lion in the shade of a tree. We observed it momentarily and soon returned to the lodge for dinner.
The next day Steven mentioned he had reported the weak young lion to the local Samburu ranger. Steven explained that due to the arrival of a new alpha male in his pride the young lion had likely been chased out before he was able to hunt for himself. He further explained that the young lion would be welcome back in a week or two, if he were alive. I pursued the full story w/Steven. The ranger Steven had reported the weak lion to had been unresponsive, indicating he would do nothing. Steven, unsatisfied w/that response told the ranger to report it to the Head Park Ranger, or he would. The Head Ranger agreed with Steven's analysis of the situation; bought 10 kilos of meat for the young lion; and directed his staff to feed it appropriately.
Steven understood the workings of that lion pride, and has an exceptional knowledge of all the wild animals of Kenya. Furthermore he has a passion for their well-being. He would not accept a lazy, disinterested response from the local ranger. During our trip in Kenya I had occasion to speak to groups of secondary school students. I related Steven's actions as an excellent example of a Kenyan's knowledge, passion and commitment.
One day Steven pointed out a cheetah. We saw the cheetah w/a young impala in its mouth. After the cheetah had choked the young impala, Steven explained the mother cheetah was calling her cubs --it was thrilling to see the 3 cubs come tearing across the plain creating a mini-dust storm in their wake. The mother gave the kill to her cubs. Steven explained they had to learn to open it up. Shortly she sent them off the kill, twenty paces or so, then froze, looking westerly. A lion, smelling the kill Steven explained, was moving off to the north about a 1000 yards away. Intent on the lion the mother cheetah remained frozen in place (as we're the cubs, mimicking their mother). After the lion passed the mother called the cubs back to the kill. Not 15 minutes later the lion came back, followed by yapping jackels, this time moving off to the east of the cheetahs. As soon as the lion appeared, the mother cheetah repeated her previous actions, sending off the cubs and freezing over the kill, intently watching the lion. Steven explained that the jackels were distracting the lion from the kill, knowing if the lion found the kill, nothing would be left for them. Again the lion passed off to the southeast, never able to find the cheetah kill.
This summary highlights events that played out over a 90 minute period. In that time several tourist rovers and vans came, took pictures of the cheetahs, and left. None of those tourists had a complete explanation of the scene that was playing out before us. Game-viewing w/Steven is a rich experience, a clear cut above the average.
In our time w/Steven we had lengthy conversations about the pluses and minuses of grass-burning, the challenges of maintaining wildlife corridors, park encroachment by locals, roadway underpasses for big game, etc. in addition we discussed ukabila and other political challenges facing Kenya. Steven Kinyua is an exceptional Kenyan guide. He has a wonderful sense of humor, and made our Kenya safari a wonderful learning experience we will cherish for years.
Mark Masterson, Ed.D."
October 18, 2013
"I am so happy that I used Kensington Tours to help with my dream trip to Cape Town South Africa. I was looking for a well respected tour company that planned private guided tours that was not going to cause me my leg, lol. I begin searching companies by reputation and value. I narrowed it down to Kensington Tours because of the quality and value. I felt taken care of prior to my departure due to the detailed itinerary.
From the time of got off the plane to the time I headed back to the states, I was in excellent hands. The service was EXCELLENT! I will definitely use Kensington again. Certainly, a trip of a lifetime!"
October 29, 2013
"My husband and I have just returned from the trip of a lifetime in Egypt. The sites were amazing and overwhelming. Everything was as promised. We had the most amazing pyramid view and Nile view from our hotels. Our itinerary included the most magnificent sites and we were accompanied by the most informative and friendly people. I highly recommend visiting Egypt. It is totally safe. Thank you to everyone at Kensington for this experience. It was so beyond our expectations!"
October 31, 2013
"From our greeter, who whisked us through customs in Johannesburg, to all our excellent drivers, guides and associates in Lions Sands, Cape Town and the wine country, everyone was highly professional, well dressed, well mannered, and well informed. Overall our tour worked like a superbly designed, technically perfect Swiss watch. An experience for the ages. Bravo!"
October 29, 2013
"This was a trip of a life time for me and I was never disappointed. Sylvia listen to me and give me exactly what I wanted in the way of a photo Safari as well as full tour of Cape Town and the wine country. I never had to wait one minute for a guide or any of the transportation provided. The people I dealt with along the way could not have been more courteous and friendly. I just cannot say enough about my experience with Kensington Tours, it was fabulous! "
Hanne Jones ,
October 24, 2013
"I have travelled all my life. I've combed much of Europe, from The arctic north in Norway to the streets of Seville in Spain, the beaches of Cannes and Nice in France and the medieval heart of Bologna in Italy. I've been on two African safaris (one tented, one not), both "luxurious." I've been on more than a dozen jaunts to India, some guided, others not. Over the years I have discovered that I had rather be lost and disoriented in a foreign country than submit once again to the unbending schedule of a guided tour. Hence I had given up tours of any kind, until Molly Kelly, an American Express travel agent, suggested I might want simply to list the places my friends and I wished to see in Morocco then let Kensington Tours make accessing them in an orderly way not only possible but thoroughly enjoyable as well. And this Kensington Tours did. They pulled our disparate destinations together and designed a far, far better route than we could ever have done on our own. They satisfied all our requests and threw in delicious additions, areas of interest we had never considered or even heard of. Our accommodations were well within our means and wonderful. Our guide and driver, not to mention our Mercedes SUV, could not have pleased us more. In other words, thanks to Molly and her recommending Kensington Tours, we had a sensational holiday. "
Anthoula Korina ,
September 05, 2013
"Africa had always been a myth in mind since I was child that was up until a week ago. I just returned from an epic safari adventure! Kenya, Tanzania and the Maasai are sorely missed.
Words cannot fully express the magic of this ever-flowing journey. It was awe-inspiring, breathtaking, free and powerful. My mind keeps playing tricks on me; thinking rather hoping that I'm going to see a giraffe cross a busy NYC street :)
The memories will resonate for a lifetime. To boot, I went on this trip solo; female traveler. Not sure any of it would have been possible w/out Kensington Tours!!! Thank you..."
July 12, 2013
"I had a wonderful trip visiting the mountain gorillas in Uganda. We were able to get really close to the gorillas and watched their interactions with each other. The local people are so gracious and made every minute a delight. The accomodations were great. I loved waking up in the morning to the sounds of the forest. The added luxury of a massage was a great way to end the trip!"
July 26, 2013
"Our family of 6 traveled to Morocco for a 9 day Imperial cities discovery, I was absolutely amazing. Our guide Lahcen Zaaim was the best guide we have EVER had and we have traveled to many countries. There was not one subject that he was not knowledgeable about. He made the trip sooooo memorable. He was so flexible and when he picked us up in the mornings to head out, he was talking nonstop to tell us soo much about everything we were seeing. There was soooo much to see in Morocco and he made sure we saw it all.. He truly has a gift in the touring business, you feel as if your leaving your best friend when the trip is over. When we got to the airport in casablanca, he spotted us before we saw him and of course, we asked him, how did you recognize us? He even went as far as to get the King of Moroccos artist to meet us at our riad the night before we left to return home late to do our names in moroccan arabic to frame, They were beautiful, He showed us a picture of the Kings Face he had done for the Palace! Lily Baffour from Kensington planned our trip and she was amazing, planning everything as she thought we would like based on what I told her. She did an Outstanding job and literally sent our Iteniaries by next day air in a beautifully done spiral bound personally book for each family that was going on the trip, SOOOOOO IMPRESSED and she even got the guide we requested!!!! I cant say enough about this trip and Kensington, we will definitely use again!!! We experienced a VERY different culture in going to Morocco and thats what we wanted, a Very different exotic trip and thats what we got!!!! Again our accomodations we Top Notch, staying in the TRuly authenic Riads, they were SOOOOO Luxurious, Plan on taking another suitcase or buying one there because you will buy more things to bring home than any other trip because of all the Handicrafts there, especially in Fes!!!
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