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Thank you for your interest in our holidays. To help us provide the best service for you, please tell us a bit more about what you are looking for, including details of activities or particular holidays you are interested in. Our expert will then begin planning your perfect visit to Madagascar.

We really excel at tailor-making your trip to your needs. You may want to see certain species or visit particular parks, reserves or lodges. You may want a private plane or helicopter and high class car, or need to travel at a certain time of year. Tailor-making works whether you are an experienced traveler or trying out a wildlife holiday for the first time, wanting to enjoy a wildlife experiences as part of an occasion like a birthday, honeymoon or anniversary, or a busy executive in search of a short wildlife fix.

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The East of Madagascar is unique in its own way. The topography, the people, the society is quite different from the other parts of the island. The nearness to the sea provides a moderate climate in this region. Under this immense forested canopy a countless number of species had found an ideal habitat. In Malagasy people’s perception, the eastern forest symbolises inexhaustible wealth! The East has tremendous potential, thanks to the valuables tree species of its forests, its underground resources, its abundant food production, its natural sanctuaries and preserved sites. The famous “Eastern rain” does not even constitute an impediment to visitors. Nature would not be this beautiful without it…

The great variety of flora and fauna witnessed in the rain forests of the eastern coastal strip is a delight for all. Easy to visit the Perinet Reserve. Andasibe-Mantadia National Park at only a 2-3 hour drive from the capital, Antananarivo.

Elsewhere, the Green East of Madagascar is home to wonderful coastal villages in and around the Pangalanes Canal and the Pirate Coast, as well as a number of parks and reserves. The Pangalanes Canal connects a series of natural lakes, and was originally built by the French colonists as a transport network and harbour. The canal is only a few meters inland from the sea, and heavily populated with a string of idyllic sea and lake-side villages.

After so much wildlife, many visitors opt to head to the laid-back marine ecosystem of Sainte Marie (also called Nosy Boraha) and relax under the palm trees of the incredible beaches of this small paradise. During the austral winter, Sainte Marie is also a perfect place to watch the humpback whales. The Ste. Marie, once a pirate's haven and now a sought-after destination for beach lovers. Visits to Île Sainte Marie, are also a highlight of many visits to Madagascar's. He offers honeymooners romantic small hotels nestled under palm trees and surrounded by the warm, turquoise seas of the Indian Ocean. Not quite as busy as Nosy Be, for many Île St Marie is Madagascar's finest beach getaway.

This region is the home of the Betsimisaraka, the second largest ethnic group in Madagascar. Cash crops such as coffee, cloves, vanilla and all tropical fruits thrive on the East Coast, making the local population in general more affluent than in any other regions. The lifestyle of this ethnic group retains the traditions and customs of ancient times. The people belonging to this group are warm and friendly.

Wherever your destination is: musicians playing traditional instruments such as the zither-like "valiha", the "akordogna" (accordion) or the rattle "kaiamba" will likely accompany you on your way.

Best time to visit

jan feb mar apr may june july aug sept oct nov dec

Key attractions

Analamazaotra Special Reserve – follow Indri’s call

The small Analamazaotra Special Reserve (popularly known by the old French name of the nearby town Andasibe and railway station Périnet) is one of the most frequently visited sites in the country, one of the easiest to reach, and one of the best places to observe lemurs in Madagascar, and indeed one of the best primate-watching sites in the world. Almost all visitors to Madagascar will choose to come here to follow the Indri call, which is the undisputable star of the park. An overnight stay at this site is an absolute must for the first time visitor to Madagascar, since it is the single best place in the country for seeing the indri (Indri indri).

Since 2007, Andasibe-Mantadia belongs to UNESCO world nature heritage sites. This forest was protected mainly for the rather large population of Indris living there. Over 60 families reside in the park, and their distinctive ‘howling’ can be heard from up to 3kms away. (The basic function of these displays is to demark territory). They are at their most active at dawn, but during the rest of the day can be seen lazing in the trees all along the majestic trails in Analamazaotra. Indris  are the largest living lemurs at all reaching up to 1 meter. It lives in small groups and cannot survive in captivity. Two indri groups in the surrounding forest have been habituated to the presence of tourists and are easily found with the help of our guides.

All exploring is done on foot along trails that weave through the forest: expeditions can vary in length from one hour to five. Walks are particularly rewarding in the early morning when indri calls, sounding rather like a weird forest whalesong, echo through the air. There are different circuits suiting every physical condition and interest.

Analamazaotra consists of mid-altitude montane rain forest at 900–1,250 m, but covers a mere 810 ha. However, it is immediately adjacent to the much larger Mantadia National Park and several other important forests, such as Maromizaha.

In addition to the indri, the following lemurs are also relatively easy to observe at Analamazaotra: Goodman’s mouse lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara), Crossley’s dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus crossleyi), weasel sportive lemur (Lepilemur mustelinus), brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus), gray bamboo lemur (Hapalemur griseus griseus), and eastern woolly lemur (Avahi laniger), as well as recently re-introduced diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema) and sometimes southern black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata editorum), also a recent re-introduction. The sifakas are now quite easy to see in the same area as the two habituated indri groups, but the ruffed lemurs are more difficult. There is also a possibility of seeing the red-bellied lemur (Eulemur rubriventer) and the aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis), although sightings of these species are much more infrequent. Finally, the rare hairy-eared dwarf lemur (Allocebus trichotis) is known to occur in the reserve, but is difficult to find. If this species is of interest, be sure to ask for a guide who knows where to look for it. And if you are lucky, you may spy the glamorously named black and white ruffed lemur - an endangered species - rare orchids, super-sized spiders and mesmerizing chameleons.

Near the park entry of Analamazaotra, there’s a small orchid garden including a small lake, which is part of the national park, too.

You will not be disappointed!!!

Watch more photos about Analamazaotra Special Reserve here.

Mantadia National Park

First time visitors to Madagascar should spend at least two nights in Andasibe, and go to the Mantadia National Park. The Park is home to the loudest and most famous animal the Indri (Indri indri) jumping through the tree tops, whose calls reach far away through the forest and awake many guests in the morning. Within a 3 km of the park can hear the peculiar call of the indri very early in the morning until noon and again in the late afternoon. Indris (called Babakoto in Malagay) are the largest living lemurs at all reaching up to 1 meter. Andasibe is the best place to observe the Indris given that there are a couple of families habituated to humans. It lives in small groups and cannot survive in captivity. There are several legends trying to explain its origins since it is considered a sacred animal in the whole Madagascar. Nowadays it is endangered.

Diademes sifakas (Propithecus diadema) and black and white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata) live inside these rainforests, too. All three species as well as 11 others, such as woody lemur, grey bamboo lemur, diademed sifaka, brown lemur, red mouse-lemur, red-bellied lemur and even aye-aye, can be watched inside the national park quite well, but they will rarely come closer than ten meters distance. In other words, with a little bit of luck and perseverance, one can see 8 to 11 different lemurs at this one site — a good start to any lemur-watching tour.

Birdwatching is also exceptionally good at Mantadia, especially in September and October when the ground-rollers (Brachypteracias) are visible. Over 100 species of birds make the reserve their home, many of which are endemic such as: Madagascar green sunbird, Madagascar falcon, Madagascar long-eared owl, Madagascar yellowbrow, Madagascar baza, Madagascar wagtail or the Madagascar serpent-eagle.

The extraordinary animal diversity is completed with another 15 mammal species, 50 of reptiles, the boa manditra and many leaf-tailed geckos and more than 80 amphibians. Reptile lovers will be lucky to see the heaviest chameleon of Madagascar, the impressive Calumma parsonii, but also other chameleons like. Calumma brevicornis or Furcifer wilsii and the tiny nose-horned chameleon. Day geckos live all around the park and often you find them on huts and palm trees taking sun baths. The completely harmless Madagascar tree boa (Sanzinia madagascariensis) crawls on the ground and climbs trees here, too. Insect lovers can discover strange, only here occuring bugs like lantern bugs (Zanna pauliani) or the famous giraffe necked weevil (Trachelophorus giraffae).

The area claims a world record for the number of frog species, which include the brightly coloured golden mantella. Most reptiles and frogs are seen during night walks, particularly during the spring, summer and autumn months, September to May, when the nocturnal lemurs are at their most active. There are also a few local endemic fishes swimming in the small rivers and hundreds of insects, among them some extraordinary colourful and big butterflies.

Mantadia a vast tract of protected rainforest, has a hillier terrain, with established trails through its impressive forest. Scenic landscape with an ecotouristic attraction of various ranges by its different endemic flora which constitute a panorama of natural forest rich in biodiversity.

Do you prefer plants? Then Andasibe could be your favorite, too. The primary forests of Mantadia contains a dense humid forest covered with lians, moss, fern tress and more than hundred orchids species blooming between September and January. Another common plants growing here are pandanus, ravinala palm-tree, tambourissa, bamboos and some precious wood, like palisander and ebano. Rare orchids, a huge number of tree ferns and other endemic plants offer pure variety.

If you are willing to trek and enjoy a wilder and thicker forest with older and taller trees and not so many people, you will not be disappointed. In Mantadia (which gets as already mentioned a thinner flow of tourists) the forest stretches at an altitude from 900 to 1200 m and trails are varied: Sacred Waterfall Circuit (this is a cultural path passing through several holy places of the ancient inhabitants), Rianasoa circuit (you will spot indris and see orchids as well as visit the sacred waterfall and a nature pool where you can take a bath), Tsakoka circuit ( you will try to find more lemurs and other animals) and a night tour (1-2 hours), Belakato circuit (a harder trail going up and down while looking for indris and other species and passing by the waterfalls). It is also possible to arrange a one-day-trek visiting all the previous trail together.

Watch more photos about Mantadia National Park here.

The farm “Madagascar exotic”

The farm “Madagascar exotic”, a valuable hot-spot for nature lovers. This place was founded by Mr Peyrieras (that is why the farm is also called Réserve Peyrieras), who is a true expert in Madagascar fauna. The vast area includes a small river and a natural pool.

The reserve is located in a beautiful valley in the middle of mango and lychees plantations. From a hill, where a historic building dating from the beginning of the 20th century is built, visitors can admire the nice landscape with its ravines covered by lush forest.

Here has a large collection of Chameleons. Also amphibians, snakes, lizards and crocodiles live here.

Watch more photos about The farm “Madagascar exotic” here.

Torotorofotsy Ramsar Site

Situated in the fokontany of Menalamba in the north-west of Andasibe Commune, the Torotorofotsy wetlands (together with its three branches Mokaranana, Ankahelava and Ambasimbavy) serve as a large reservoir for water and host an array of water dwellers. Birds, frogs, lemurs and chameleons depend on the wetland just as much as the rural human population living close to it.

Torotorofotsy once was one of the last intact mid-altitudinal marshes in Madagascar. In recent years, human encroachment has unfortunately led to its increasing degradation as its wild form faces impending transformation into rice fields.

The marshes and their surroundings are immensely rich in biodiversity. The herbaceous vegetation of the marshes is dominated by three plant families (Cyperaceae, Poaceae and Polypodiaceae) and contains the carnivorous plants of the genus Drosera. The marshes are home to the elusive Slender-Billed Flufftail (Sarothrura watersi), Greater Painted Snipe (Rostratula benghalensis) and aggregations of waterfowl such as Meller’s Duck (Anas melleri). Another bird, the Madagascar Scops Owl (Otus madagascariensis), was the namesake for the marshes. Called torotoroka in Malagasy, the scops owls of the region are believed have a white (fotsy) plumage which distinguishes them from their conspecifics occurring elsewhere.

At the marshes’ periphery, Pandanus pulcher is abundant. The ground between their inundated stems are the realm of the Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca). Scattered in between the marshes are small islets of woody plants. Adjacent to the marshes grows rainforest that extends all the way into the Ankeniheny-Zahamena Corridor. Here live other amphibian species, such as the Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) or the beautiful Painted Mantella (Mantella baroni).

These dense forests are exceptionally rich in giant bamboo, the staple of the critically endangered Greater Bamboo Lemur (Prolemur simus).

Justified by its enormous biodiversity, Torotorofotsy was declared Madagascar’s 4th Ramsar site in 2005. Torotorofotsy marsh is also a destination for tourist and researchers alike. In 2007, a population of one of the rarest lemurs in the world, Prolemur simus, was found in the Torotorfotsy area. It previously was thought to only exist in small populations in Ranomafana National Park, so the discovery of this Torotorofotsy population has lead to a deluge of scientists working in the area, hoping to find more populations.

The coarse calls of the equally rare Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata) can also be heard in these forests.

Watch more photos about Torotorofotsy Ramsar Site here.

THE LEMUR ISLANDS – Get ready! Lemurs pirates!

After spending the time at Mantadia National Park and Analamazaotra chasing lemurs through the gorgeous rainforest you are thought that you had already seen too many lemurs for one day… You are wrong… There is no such thing as too many lemurs for one day.

Andasibe has enough to do that you can fill a day or two before, after, or in between visiting Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. There is swimming pools, walking trails, horse riding, canoeing, lemurs on islands, and crocodiles.

Andasibe is well-known for being home to a huge number of wild lemurs but it is also the home of Lemur Island – a tiny reserve that protects a number of habituated lemurs. Yep, an island of tame lemurs, Including some resident bamboo lemurs, black & white ruffed lemurs, brown lemurs and one diademed sifaka. That's where semi-tame lemurs jump on your head. You will have excited to meet these friendly locals.

There is some controversy over the Lemur Islands. Some people say Lemur Island should not display captive lemurs since they don’t keep them for conservation, restoration, or research but only as a tourist draw. On the other hand, they are providing a rescue service since all the lemurs they have were given to them, were previously in captivity, and some in not-so-good conditions. While not affiliated with any conservation programs, the island does provide a home for some lemurs that were formerly captive as pets and rescued and can’t live in the wild.

You can get excellent photos as the lemurs come right up close.

Lemur Island, a private lemur sanctuary accessible only by a canoe, where rescued lemurs clamber for food and petting from their visitors. You will enjoy a ‘lemur on the shoulder’ experience. Guests are guaranteed a plethora of memorable encounters, whether during a leisurely canoe ride down the river at dawn or in the afternoon, or on a walk through the forest to witness the life abounding here.

Lemurs are clean-looking. But mainly greedy. These spoilt island brats have the appetites of 18-year-old boys and are willing to do anything to get that piece of banana that you have to offer. Get ready! - many lemurs will be intent on boarding a canoe! Lemurs pirates!

After seeing the world lemurs at the national park – lemur island will the cherry on top of a delicious cake of a day.

Watch more photos about The Lemur Islands here.

Welcome to Paradise, Zahamena National Park of first class World Heritage UNESCO!

It is worthy of at least two days of your stay here!

Park is located on the Eastern coast within the tropical rainforest, 70km northwest of Tamatave and about 25 km east from Lake Alaotra. The terrain is hilly and full of lush plant life and diverse wildlife. The Zahamena National Park is home to many endangered species that are specific to its environment, it has a moist and warm climate which is favorable to the plants and animals. Park is part of Africa's rainforests which is one of the three biggest tropical rainforests in the world. The other two places with the biggest rainforests are the Americas and Asia. In Madagascar, many of the animals live in trees and as you go through this site you will see the different kinds of animals and plants.

The park is divided into two areas (the western and the eastern one), which are partially separated by a corridor that includes several villages. It is still a very little-known area, and naturalists are currently carrying out surveys to improve the scientific knowledge of the biodiversity found here.

Zahamena shelters an incredibly high biodiversity, in fact one of the highest of the Madagascar. There are 45 mammal species, 13 of them are lemurs. Species known to occur here include Simmon’s mouse lemur (Microcebus simmonsi), hairy-eared dwarf lemur (Allocebus trichotis), Crossley’s dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus crossleyi), Masoala fork-marked lemur (Phaner furcifer), weasel sportive lemur (Lepilemur mustelinus), northern bamboo lemur (Hapalemur occidentalis), brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus), red-bellied lemur (Eulemur rubriventer), variegated black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata variegata), eastern woolly lemur (Avahi laniger), diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema), indri (Indri indri), and aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis).

There are many kinds of animals in the Zahamena National Park.

The Fossa: is a very strong predator. They are related to the mongoose and different species of cats. They can be identified by their long tails and big eyes. The fossa hunts during the day and night, and it likes to hunt lemurs, the prey, more specific the giant lemurs. The fossa is very limber and can easily jump from tree to tree, which is important because the giant lemurs live amongst the trees. They have retractable claws that help to latch onto trees and their prey. Giant lemurs are becoming extinct, but so is the fossa due to the lack of giant lemurs to consume.

The Mongoose: The mongoose in Zahamena is another example of a predator. They can be described as looking like a weasel, because they are long and thin. Typically they live in a large group, and they feed on snakes. They do so by sticking the snakes head in their mouth and chomping down.

A total of 112 bird species have been observed within the park, 67 of them are endemic to Madagascar. Zahamena offers the largest protected area for endemic bird species in Madagascar. Some emblematic species are the Madagascar serpent eagle, red owl, red-tailed newtonia, crested ibis, brown mesite, blue coua, velvet asity or helmet vanga.

Apart from that, there are 29 species of fishes, 62 of amphibians and 46 reptiles, like the Madagascar big eyed gecko.

The landscape is very hilly, with several steep-sided valleys drained by rivers, some of them flowing into Lake Alaotra. The flora is as rich as the fauna: at least 60 species of orchid, 20 palms and more than 500 woody plants grow within the National Park and the Integral Reserve. Most of the world's medicines are found in the rainforest. Some even say that the cure for cancer could be there. At lower altitudes the thick humid evergreen forest has a 15-20 m high canopy. The medium levels are dominated by bushes and secondary forests covered with tree-ferns and screw-pines called Pandanus. On the highest areas we find humid forest passing onto a dense montane forest.

Access to the park is difficult. But the forest in this region is spectacular! Ambatondrazaka offers some basic hotels, but you have to camp to stay in the park itself.

Enjoy these… trekking:

Access from the east of the park is exclusively by foot, trek up Madagascar’s steep eastern escarpment. You can also walk (or ride in zebu-cart) south from Vavatenina to Miarinarivo, proceeding from there on a vigorous, two-day walk to the strictly protected lowland rain forests of the southeastern corner.

Other circuit goes through the forest to spot lemurs and birds and passes by a natural pool, ending with an incredible view over the Alaotra Lake. The trek takes one whole day, so a camping place is available next to the pool to stay overnight.

Another trek through the forest which ends at a 80m high waterfall. This trail is much shorter, but visitors normally camp by the waterfall to enjoy the terrific scenery and spot some more wildlife.

You can combine circuits and spend more days and nights exploring the treasures of Zahamena. This is the least visited National Park where you will see the real wildlife of Madagascar. Through this site you will able to capture the true beauty of this wonderful biome and ecosystem. You will learn about the different kinds of animals and factors in the Zahamena National Park, along with the plants. Zahamena is a beautiful national park and it is full of adventure. It is home to many unique species of animals, especially lemurs, that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Zahamena in Madagascar is such a beautiful place, and it is definitely worth a visit if you are looking for an amazing time full of fun!

For the completeness adventure and discovery, we recommend that you continue the way through the smugglers route, certainly remarkable trek that reaches the East coast after four or five days and completing it on an unforgettable island Ile Ste Marie.

Watch more photos about Zahamena National Park here.

The splendor of Ile Ste Marie, nicknamed the “Garden Island”

Whether you call it island of Sainte Marie, Nosy Boraha or Ile Ste Marie, it won’t change the fact that it is a unique tourism spot that resembles no other and it are, besides Nosy Be, one of the most visited islands of Madagascar and has a good infrastructure.

Sainte Marie island is located right off the eastern coast of Madagascar. Its is also nicknamed the "Garden Island", an obvious reference to the Garden of Eden. Indeed, the island of Sainte Marie and its small surrounding islands are a true jewel and very rich in terms of terrestrial and marine biodiversity. Nosy Boraha also offers a stunning landscape: majestic waterfalls, clear natural pools, preserved tropical forests and - of course - fine sand beaches that face the turquoise sea. Its seascape is equally impressive thanks to its coral reef and its waters filled with fish.

Ile Ste Marie it is a narrow granitic island 57 km long 8 km its lush vegetation interspersed with many small villages, the kilometrical sandy beaches shaded by coconut palms, its bays and coves protected by coral reefs have turned this tropical dream island in is one of the most popular beach spots Madagascar has to offer. An atmosphere of peace, tranquility and pure natural beauty prevails on the island, a feeling definitely emphasized by the joie de vivre of the Malagasy.

Ile Ste Marie is famous for its white beaches of dreams. In several places, you can dive and snorkel. The coral reef around the island is untouched and home to a variety of corals, fish and other sea creatures. If you prefer to relax, get a cocktail in a bar and take your place on the beach between palm trees – or have fun in the local discotheque. From a five stars hotel to simple accommodation, Ile Ste Marie has everything for everyone.

Cycling is the most popular means of transport of getting around. Another way to move further is on board of a traditional pirogue. It can take you to beautiful deserted little bays overgrown with tropical vegetation. For outdoor walk-lovers, the island is crossed with tracks, and offers many opportunities to explore on foot.

In 17th and 18th century, the island was settled by pirates, among them legendary freebooters like William Kidd or John Bowen. While the pirates of its past have long gone, there are still a broad array of attractions and activities that make it a favorite spot for tourists. To whet your Island hopping appetite, we’re taking a look at six of the most popular things you can do on the lush and charming Ile St Marie. Enjoy these... experiences:

*The adrenalin rush of humpback whalewatching. In winter (from June to the end of September), the sea around Sainte Marie island offers one of the most fascinating natural spectacles in the world. Large groups of humpback whales (Megaptera) make their annual migration from the Antarctic to the sheltered waters around Ile Ste Marie where they calve, nurse their young and engage in their spectacular courtship rituals between the end of June and September.

*Soak up the Sun. Beach-bumming is a must for visitors to Nosy Boraha, with its ring of palm-fringed beaches and warm, soft sand. Year-round on the Island, the skies clear and it’s nothing besides sunny skies, clear blue oceans surrounded by tropical forests you’ve most likely only witnessed in films!  Sainte Marie boasts numerous stunningly beautiful beaches and secluded coves, fringed with coconut palms. The east coast is relatively rugged and - until recently - undeveloped. It offers some of the better beaches, particularly on the Ampanihy Peninsula, which is separated from main island by the long Baie d'Ampanihy. The best swimming beaches are located in the Northern and Western coasts, as well as in the islet aux Nattes. This the perfect time kick back while you soak up the sun, but you’ll also be able to truly immerse yourself in the beauty for which the Island is renowned.

*The pedestrian walks. If there is one thing that can really be said of Ile St Marie, it’s that it certainly rewards the active traveller who wants to get out and experience a place in a myriad of ways.  Not only is this an incredibly unique way to experience the Island, but it also brings you up close and personal meet with the diversity of its landscape and the numerous creatures that call it their home.

*Remember ancient rogues in the pirate cemetery. Ile St Marie is the perfect destination for those fascinated by history. In the 17th and 18th Centuries, it’s said that up to 1000 pirates called the Island their home – including the infamous and widely-feared William Kidd and Thomas Tew.

*Dive into the Depths. The coral reefs located slightly off shore of Ile St Marie offer the perfect playground for scuba diving and snorkelling. Its waters are rich with tropical fish, moray eels, dolphins, marine turtles, groupers, lobsters and grey sharks. Boasting a unique and beautiful array of ocean wildlife, as well as a couple of fascinating pirate shipwrecks and, in the Soanambo reef, the beautiful black coral, the waters around Sainte Marie island provide a memorable diving destination for anyone who loves the ocean.

*Fish in the Deep. Those who’ve developed a love for deep sea fishing, are bound to have heard others speak of how Madagascar and its surrounding islands offer some of the best sites in which to cast a line. Some of the species that can be caught, while deep sea fishing off the coast of Nosy Boraha, include marlin, sailfish, kingfish, barracuda and dog-toothed tune – all of which present a worthwhile challenge for anyone looking to reel in a big one!

People's lives on the island have not changed much since the old days. The rhythm of life is given by the sun and by small-improvised bands playing homemade instruments. You will have the opportunity of sitting on the beach, listening to a small band playing Malagasy music and treating yourself to one of the best coconut chicken dishes in the whole of the Indian Ocean. As all coastal regions of Madagascar, Sainte Marie island offers to its visitors a cuisine based on seafood: lobster, shrimp, crab and various fish. You will also taste many Malagasy specialities with meat of zebu, rice, brèdes and other spicy flavors.

Watch more photos about Sainte Marie island here.

Lake Alaotra. A diamond in the marsh.

Due to the imminent rice fields, you will think you were brought to south-east Asia. The largest lake of the island! It is located in central-eastern Madagascar, just west of Zahamena National Park. It is the only place to see the Critically Endangered Lac Alaotra bamboo lemur (Hapalemur alaotrensis), which is endemic to the immediate vicinity of the lake, and occupies one of the most unusual niches of any primate.

The rich flora and fauna of Lake Alaotra includes a number of locally endemic species such as the Alaotra gentle lemur (Hapalemur alaotrensis), which is the world’s only primate  found exclusively in wetlands; the Durrell mungo (Salanoia durrelli), which was only discovered in 2004; and the Madagascar pochard (Aythya innotata) and other rare and endangered water bird species. Due to its ecological peculiarity, the high biodiversity and the high proportion of locally endemic species, Lake Alaotra and its freshwater marshes have been included as a Ramsar area since 2007 (Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, No 1312).

Lac Alaotra can be visited after 2 or 3 hours drive through a very bad track.

Bamboo lemurs can be found either by paddling a pirogue through the reed beds in the early morning, or, when water levels are low, by walking in and around the reed beds on dry land. It is essential to have our experienced guide who is familiar with the behavior of this lemur, since it is a cryptic species and not easy to find. The village of Andreba has a marsh reserve where our guides can help find it, and there is a simple but well-run camp in Andreba as well.

Described by Gerald Durrell as a ‘honey-coloured teddy bear’, the Alaotran gentle lemur is the only species of primate to occur exclusively in wetlands. Significantly larger than the other species of bamboo lemur, this species uses its grasping hands and feet and long tail to balance when walking along reed stalks in its lakeside habitat. It can also leap from support to support in a vertical posture, landing feet-first, and may possibly be able to swim. They have a grey face, ears and chest, and the top of the head, back and tail are golden-brown with a variable amount of grey flecking. Their belly is a light brown ‘camel’ colour and their feet are grey. Gentle lemurs’ eyes are a deep red-brown and females, especially youngsters, often have very pale brown eyebrows. Adult males have enlarged top canine teeth that protrude from their muzzle, that give them a rather fierce expression, contrary to their name.

Direct observations during daylight hours showed that H. alaotrensis has two main activity periods, early in the morning and late in the afternoon, before dusk, with substantial night activity. It is not known how long gentle lemurs live, however 20-30 years is not unusual for other lemur species in captivity. Population estimate to number around 2,500 individuals. Population trend - Decreasing. This species has experienced a decline of more than 50% in less than a decade.

And what else is here to explore?

At the “station agricole” (agricultural station, 18 km to the north) visitors can learn all about crops. A collection of hundreds of varieties of rice and several varieties of sugar cane and tobacco is represented here.

Imerimandroso is an old village with typical Merina architecture, perched on a rocky promontory. A panoramic view offers a whole view of the lake even of the sacred islet at the northern part of the lake where Sihanaka resisted a Merina attack. One can also see the “Vohitrandriana” stone, a traditional place of worship, where foreigner visitors are tolerated if the oracles permit it.

Andilamena. A dirty road leads from the north end of the lake after 25 kilometres to this remote town. Some 15 kilometres away, on the boundary to the Eastern rainforest, there are the Sandratsio waterfalls. A panoramic point called “Le Belvédère du Marotsipy" (300 m high) offers a nice view to the Anosimboangy region, known for its precious stones sought.

The Manningory river plunges 90 m to the depth. This strenuous hike requires at least two days in the company of our guide confident with the twists and turns of the river. For good walkers only.

The smugglers route, a certainly remarkable trek that reaches the East coast after four or five days.

Watch more photos about Lake Alaotra here.

Akanin’ny nofy (Palmarium)

Akanin’ny nofy (Palmarium), known as the ‘nest of dreams’, this peaceful and relaxing haven is home to white sand beaches, forests, scattered orchids, strings of lakes and mangroves, all factors that have made the reserve to one of the most popular visits in the Canal des Pangalanes. Located on a peninsula of about 35 ha. on the shores of Lake Ampitabe (which is separated from the Indian Ocean by a mere line of very thin coastal dunes, that sometimes are a few meters width only), this protected area is home to nearly 100 000 palm trees specific to Madagascar. The gardens showcase native Malagasy plants like Ravenala, the Madagascar or Traveler’s Palm, local crops like vanilla and pineapple, and a few radiata tortoise.

Plant lovers will find big amounts of carnivorous pitcher plants (Nepenthes spp.) nearby the beach and a carefully cultivated stock of orchids, which shows most of its amazing blossoms in November.

For years, Akanin’ny nofy (Palmarium) has been famous for its many very tame lemurs. Ten species of lemurs live in freedom in the reserve, as well as reptiles, amphibians and crocodiles. Visitors can watch Indris, black and white ruffed lemurs, crowned lemurs and black lemurs count among the curious inhabitants of the reserve. This is even a place to watch the rare bizarre Aye-Aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) with a portion of luck.

To visit this reserve you will need our guide that will accompany you during walk. You may book guided nocturnal walks, and find the small mouse lemur and maybe some of the seldom seen wooly lemurs.

But not only Madagascar’s most famous mammals live inside this reserve, there are also many small frogs (Heterixalus, Mantella ssp.), harmless snakes (Langaha madagascariensis, Sanzinia madagascariensis, Domicodryas bernieri) and colourful chameleons (Furcifer pardalis, Calumma parsonii parsonii) next to fascinating geckos (Phelsuma kely, Phelsuma madagascariensis) and even iguanas (Oplurus ssp.).

Besides the nature reserve at lake Ampitabe, there is well equipped bungalows and a very nice restaurant with a bar in the middle of a botanical garden. More bungalows, furnished with kingsize beds and luxury bathrooms, and a restaurant with lake view can be found few kilometers away. In this reserve, you can really leave all your cares behind! Soon you forget all your daily life sorrows trying tasty Malagasy food and self-made rum. You can take a sunbath on the beach, let your feet dangle from the boat stage or enjoy swimming in the warm water of lake Ampitabe. Together with our guide, you can also explore the lowland rainforest via simple paths. All paths inside the reserve are quite flat and easy to walk. From the viewpoint you have a great view over the reserve, the belonging crocodile lake and lake Ampitabe. Since 2015, there’s an reforestation project to green a formerly clear cut corridor in the middle of the reserve. The project only uses native plants coming from a nearby NGO tree nursery.

Nature offers plenty of plants and animals here, which are just waiting for your visit!

Watch more photos about Akanin’ny nofy (Palmarium) here.

Canal des Pangalanes, a true “expedition” discovery of a generous nature

Canal des Pangalanes is one of the quiet wonders of Madagascar, a collection of natural and artificial waterways that stretches over 645km along the east coast from Foulpointe to Farafangana and forms a network of man-made channels connecting fresh water lakes and lagoons. It was constructed under the governance of General Joseph Gallieni between 1896 and 1904, during the French colonial period, in an effort to create a safe passage for cargo boats to Tamatave; one look at the waves on the nearby Indian Ocean explains why. The Pangalanes is the longest canal in the world.

The canal still dominates daily life in this region as it provides the main source of trade, transport and travel. Cruising by boat on the calm waters of Pangalanes is a fascinating journey through time and history. This is wonderful spot. It's so quiet there. Very different from towns and cities, in the Pangalanes Canal you can find people who still continue to live with simplicity and joy. These people continue to live in an environment where you can feel that men and nature are created to live together in harmony.

This area is the stronghold of the Betsimisaraka people and their villages can be seen along the banks, as well as pirogues (traditional dugout canoes). On the waterways themselves you see pirogues, local fishermen, rafts carrying timber and over-crowded ferries and rafts with straw huts with names such as 'Great Hopes' and 'Malagasy Fish'. Villagers wave and shout at the passing boats and fishermen yell from the other bank asking you if you spent a good night!

The Pangalanes Canal both South and North are an ideal place to observe wild landscapes and to admire the nature and lemurs in peaceful areas. Nothing has changed here since a long time ago; always quiet and always wonderful. The soft sound of water lapping against the lake shore. It's wonderful to hear the sound of the nature. Also you will see birds in large numbers - kingfishers, guépiers, fody, egrets and herons, and all the seabirds who come there to make an incursion.

The Pangalanes Canal is a fresh waterway that connects lakes and rivers on the east coast, just a short distance from the far too dangerous ocean. The Canal runs parallel to the Indian Ocean. The strip of land between the salt and the sweet water measures just a few dozen metres. The landscapes are beautiful, and you need 3 nights/4 days at least to do the all the trip. But you just need one night and 2 days to do it from Toamasina to Akanin’ny nofy (Palmarium) (Rasoabe Lake - Rasoabe Beach) or from Akanin’ny nofy (Palmarium) to Toamasina.

This itinerary is ideal for those who appreciate navigating peaceful water canals, through lagoons, rivers and lakes. On the inland-shores there are areas where the plants are abundant, especially in the remaining pockets of tropical forest. There are little villages to visit and several tourist destinations, like a lemur park, a nature reserve, an agro touristic site, a distillery of essential oils, an orchid garden, too much to mention. Nature lovers will be happy to find many species of lemurs in a green forest area.

There are several ways to organize a trip on the Pangalanes. The most adventurous travelers can choose the more difficult route between Manakara and Toamasina, which usually takes three days at slow pace. We recommend this trip. Locals are little accustomed to vazahas, the scenery is frankly fabulous and the extraordinary pleasant atmosphere make this trip a really worthwhile enterprise. The villagers are more curious to observe us than we are. Each visit stop of the village provokes a gathering of curious people and the ambience is guaranteed!

This all together makes this unique boat on the Pangalanes Canal truly a true "expedition" discovery of a generous nature.

Watch more photos about Canal des Pangalanes here.

Ile aux Nattes – a small island of dreams

What a lovely place this is. Ile aux Nattes or Nosy Nato is a small island of dreams south of Sainte Marie Island. Thanks to its location, Ile aux Nattes is an unspoilt paradise and a haven of peace for those who crave relaxation. In addition, it boasts many features that make it one of the region's most beautiful sights: fine sand beaches, a lush landscape and turquoise waters that are ideal for scuba diving as well as other sea-related activities. Unspoiled tropical beaches with fine white sand,  coconut and other palm trees scattered along the shore, and a turquoise lagoon protected by coral reefs inhabited by a variety of exotic marine life. If you dare to swim further, you can gaze at the coral reef with its many inhabitants, and immerge into the colorful world under the sea. The sea is turquoise blue, warm, and invites you to swim and snorkel.

In August, you can watch the humpback whales and their calves right from your bungalow.

The whole year round, Nosy Nato’s weather is warm and comfortable, and absolute quiet surrounds the island – probably that is why it is one of the most beautiful islands of Madagascar. By the way, there are no cars or motorcycles on Nosy Nato, but lots of soft sand, and the crystal clear water - is bath warm, you can only walk there – or use a pirogue.

At the southern tip of the island, there is a small lighthouse, and in the middle there is a small village. The lighthouse stands on the top of a hill, which offers a panoramic view of the long coral reef and its remarkable diving sites.

Along your walk, you can swim, or have picnic on any of the astonishing beautiful beaches anywhere. We can organize for you delicious barbecues at the beach, with fresh crayfish and fish directly from the sea.

Maybe you are able to find the group of black and white lemurs which has been settled here or even of the rarest orchids worldwide: The Queen of Madagascar (Eulophiella Roempleriana) which blooms from November to January lives in swampy areas and grows in the tops of a pandanus. The spectacular rose purple flowers are up to 10 cm. This flower is very rare preserved and cutting it down is strictly prohibited.

In short: Île aux Nattes is a tropical island, with curving white beaches and overhanging palms, a turquoise sea with waves breaking over the reef, a gentle breeze and a lush green interior. Slurp a coconut and feel like being in paradise with your feet in the sea!

Watch more photos about Île aux Nattes here.

TOAMASINA, THE MULTIFACETED CITY

Toamasina city (often still known by its French name Tamatave) it’s a convenient spot to break the journey between Antananarivo and Sainte Marie Island, or to organize a trip down the Canal des Pangalanes, or to discovery Toamasina Province. The town was developed as a resort during colonial times and these days is a popular holiday destination. Every Sunday, come rain or shine, fashionable youth gather on the seafront to promenade, flirt and ride around in high-wheeled pousses-pousses (rickshaws). Toamasina is to what Brighton is to London, or Nice is to Paris.

DID YOU KNOW? The Micheline is the oldest example in the world, of a train still in operation produced by Michelin. TransLemuriaExpress, this train will allow you to connect Antananarivo to Toamasina. An experience to live!

The city covers comfortably between the Bay Ivondro and the immense beach along the bay and the Indian Ocean. Its colonial past resurfaces through wide boulevards with ancient colonnaded buildings straight stand side by side. For travellers, it’s a pleasant place, with long, wide avenues lined with flamboyants and palm trees, a seaside promenade and a good selection of hotels and restaurants. See the past in the colonial and Creole buildings in the town center, be caught by surprise by the Place Bien-Aimée with its magnificent trees; buy vanilla in all forms: syrup, powder, in sticks or cinnamon at the local market (the visit of the local markets is compulsory for any visitor, there are two market - Bazar-Bé - "Big market" and Bazar kely - "Tiny market"); sniff the scent of drying cloves and other spices, as well as buy tons of tropical fruits: litchis, mangoes, guayavas, jackfruit, souvenirs shells or local artcraft like the one made with Ravinala leaves. Enjoy the wide avenues lined with beautiful old Flamboyant and Palm trees, stroll the boulevard along the white sandy beach from where you can see the desert island of Ile aux Prunes (Nosy Alanana). Or honor the two museums with a visit, the museum at the harbour and the university museum.

Main thoroughfare in city is Boulevard Joffre. All commercial activities are here: restaurants, tea rooms, souvenir boutiques. All you want indeed! During the day, seafront is interesting, packed of street vendors. Nice beach along Bd Ratsimilaho especially between Pointe Asti and Pointe Tanio, where have a great view of the district. But remember “bathing is strictly forbidden in the city!» (because of the sharks’ danger).

Near the town hall, outdoor dances are frequently held. Traditional Betsimisaraka dances and kwassa-kwassa shows often continue throughout the night. But despite this atmosphere, Toamasina is a vibrant and important town, a center of commerce for the east and one of the country’s major ports.

And what can be done in Toamasina yet? Enjoy these... experiences:

Take our excursion The Ivoloina Park. Face-to-Face with Endangered Species + All The Sights Toamasina. Day-night excursion. The tour starts with a visit to a small nature reserve to come eye-to-eye with twelve different species of lemurs, and also frogs, chameleons, birds, and much more. Thereafter, either on foot or by pousse-velo (tricycle), excursion to learn about the history of Toamasina and its sights, as well as about a cheerful night life of the city. Excellent restaurants and bars of course we will also make a visit, and barbecue on the waterfront.

To organize your own creative trip to Tamatave. Take our excursion The Palmerie. The Palm Oil Experience and Our favorite heart of crafts. The one at the same time you can combine creative tourism, ecotourism, cultural tourism, gastronomy etc...

Try our tour Around Toamasina. A Taste of Rural Madagascar. A challenging one-day hike – about seven hours – in the vicinity of Toamasina to learn about nature and culture in this part of Madagascar.

Do you want to relax a bit and be closer to the ocean? Take our Relaxing visit: Ile aux Prunes (Plum Island). Tamatave's best-kept secret and little paradise! When strolling along the white sandy beaches of Toamasina you cannot but spot the intriguing island a little offshore from Toamasina with its lighthouse like an admonishing finger. This beautiful little island provides an excellent opportunity for an excursion.

Do you want even more, but do not have time to make a visit to island Ile Ste Marie? Take our trip in Mahambo. Bounty Island Experience and Surf destination. A two-day trip to a seaside resort to relax, to swim, snorkeling, surf, hike, explore the village; and to visit the historic site Manda Fort in Foulpointe. But this place deserves to have you been here much longer.

Scouting a nightlife of the city. Disco. A must-see Tamatave clubbers. First, they have done on the dancefloor the fame of the nights of Tamatave for years. DJ's from Reunion or even Europeans (Dj Sim's, Dj Djekey, Danny Wild) there welcome. Second, hosts many concerts and themed evenings. A scene on which many national artists (Rossy, Jaojoby, Jerry Marcoss, Mahaleo) and international artists (Stomy Bugsy, Neiman) have performed. Casino. Place your bets! The Casino welcomes you every evening in a cozy atmosphere. An electronic roulette wheel completes the many slot machines, as well as the Pocker table. You can try your luck at Poker Hold'Em, Black Jack, Roulette and other slot machines. Games are made…

And also experience this. Horse riding. Exceptional stroll. The Domaine des Haras Masteva is a true haven of tranquility. An oasis of 7 hectares in the heart of Tamatave. The Domaine des Haras Masteva is the equestrian center of Tamatave, affiliated to the FMSE (Malagasy Federation of Equestrian Sports) and offers introductory courses in horseback riding, magnificent walks. Instructor (with FEI certification) will make you discover the pleasures of riding.

This is a brief overview of... Toamasina can give you a lot... and even more.

Watch more photos about Toamasina here.

Mahambo. Bounty Island Experience and Surf destination

A trip to a seaside resort to relax, to swim, snorkeling, surf, hike, explore the village; and to visit the historic site Manda Fort in Foulpointe. This place deserves to have you been here as long as possible. Mahambo is an extremely small paradise preserved, hemmed huge almost virgin beaches and coves but easily accessible. Many recreational sports including surfing in the company of fishermen and their sailing canoes. Ideal place to relax in peace.

ENJOY THESE... moments:

This beautiful east coast village is home to some luxuriant vegetation, beautiful beaches, very easygoing locals and some nice, fun surf. The tranquility is the main mode of the village but does get interrupted by a village party. A guitar will be playing somewhere most of the nights as song, beer & rum are part of what the locals call “The good, easy life in Mahambo”.

The bay of Mahambo is by far more solitary, wilder and more paradisiacal than Foulpointe. Here bathing is safe and fishing and diving are possible activities. If you get bored of merely laying on the sandy beach, you can go on walk excursions into the thick forest, where it should be easy to spot lemurs.

Mahambo welcomes beginners and experienced surfers. Either supervised by professionals or in solo, you can come to surf on this well-known spot for its waves and also for its reef barrier, ensuring the absence of sharks. Mahambo is far from the hustle and bustle of the city, so you will have a peaceful feeling, conducive to the practice of surfing.

Watch more photos about Mahambo. Bounty Island Experience and Surf destination here.

Look at these tours through East

11 days from 1525 € per pax (138€/day) View tour
from 1525 € per pax (138€/day)

Step into the fascinating world of lemurs, chameleons, and carnivorous plants! Madagascar, with its warm people, is often described as a mix of the intense colours of Africa and the mysteries of Asia. With unprecedented plant and animal life, it is like a continent in itself. A number of species, including the endearing indri, can only be found living naturally in Madagascar. Beaches of East coast is ideal for relaxation and activities on/under water.

View tour
16 days from 1840 € per pax (115€/day) View tour
from 1840 € per pax (115€/day)

If you have sufficient time to really experience the primary rainforest and the culture of Madagascar, and you do not mind living in a basic and remote setting for a few days, you will visit places where few others have ever travelled and where you are likely to see lemurs, chameleons and other animals endemic to Madagascar. A great adventure before ending up at sea resort Mohambo.  It will lead you through several villages where you will get acquainted with the Malagasy culture and where you will experience the hospitality of the villagers. Thus it includes culture and nature.

View tour
16 days from 1725 € per pax (108€/day) View tour
from 1725 € per pax (108€/day)

This is a very new tour to take you to the wild, where very few tourists could set foot to adventure! A great value family adventure to explore some of the more off the beaten track reserves and parks. You will have the opportunity to see lemurs, chameleons and plenty of birdlife as well as visiting small towns and communities where you will get a chance to experience real Malagasy life before ending up at the pirate island of Sainte Marie on the Indian Ocean with its clear waters, white sands, safe beaches and whale watching.

View tour

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