'The Lost Continent'


Leapin lemurs!; Guided forest walks; Five different national parks and reserves; Unique flora and fauna; Meeting the friendly locals; Fascinating pre- and post-colonial history


Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (if applicable) - All pricing reflects per-person Land Only expenses, however, we can book flights from virtually every city. Please call us for an air quote.

Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Thu 21 Jul 2016Wed 03 Aug 2016 $4330
Wed 05 Oct 2016Tue 18 Oct 2016 $4330

Optional Single Supplement: $660 (number of singles limited).

Tour Overview

An island of gold-sand beaches lined with swaying palm trees, diverse topographical wonders that combine to house incredible arrays of endemic flora and fauna and friendly, traditional peoples with tribal cultures, Madagascar has all the right ingredients for an unforgettable tour destination; and this small piece of paradise doesn’t fail to live up to its potential. As we travel through scenery of mist-enshrouded virgin rainforest, rice paddies fringing low hills, deep canyons carved into peculiar shapes by erosion and Eden-like waterfall oases, we see Mother Nature at her best and come to appreciate the uniqueness of this special place. We see ruined palaces, brightly coloured houses stacked on hillsides, bustling markets and innumerable intriguing sites that detail the area’s pre- and post-colonial history -- and of course, we'll be sure to see plenty of lemurs, which can be found naturally only in Madagascar and on one or two surrounding islands. Truly a tour like no other!

Regions visited: East Africa
Countries visited: Madagascar


My overall impression of the tour was a feeling that I had gained an insight and familiarity with a place rarely visited or even spoken of. Now, when I happen to see a world map, my eye goes to that little chunk of land next to Africa, and I remember the dancing lemurs, the chameleons on our night walks, and especially the hard-working, smiling people that constitute this beautiful island.

Laura is charming, friendly and outgoing. She is good with people and always had an eye on the group dynamic. She took issues in stride without making a fuss.

Serra is a real professional. She took care of every situation with aplomb and a sense of humor. She had a challenging group dynamic to begin with but her talk to the group did the trick and things settled down. She made everyone feel special.She always checked on the slow pokes like me and saw that an alternative plan was in place. I really enjoyed my time when the manic hikers went off into the dust.Ben and Dennis (local guides) went out of their way for us. Dennis took me to the police station to get a patch for my CHP son. He also helped me find a mask I wanted. I have asthma and am generally falling apart and Dennis kept an eye out for my welfare. Lovely men - both of them.

Bravo! Endless great memories and pictures.

Full Itinerary

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Day 1 Arrive in Antananarivo
Today we arrive in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar.

Unlike most capital cities in southern Africa, Antananarivo was already a major city before the colonial era. The city was founded circa 1625 by King Andrianjaka and takes its name (the City of the Thousand) from the number of soldiers assigned to guard it.

Overnight in Antananarivo.

Meal plan: Dinner

Day 2 Antananarivo - Berenty
Today we fly to Fort Dauphin (Taolagnaro). On arrival we drive to Berenty through beautiful landscape (mountains, endemic plants, baobab, cactus, sisal). The reserve lies some 80 km to the west of Tolagnaro, amid a vast sisal plantation, and the drive there is part of the experience. For the first half of the journey the skyline is composed of rugged green mountains, and "Travellers' trees" (ravenala) dot the landscape. Near Ranopiso is a grove of the very rare three-cornered palm, Neodypsis decary.

We will first stop to visit some pitcher plants whose nearest relatives are in Asia. The yellow 'flowers' (actually modified leaves) lure insects into their sticky depths where they are digested, probably for their nitrogen content.

Before reaching the spiny forest we will stop at an Antanosy 'tomb' (actually the dead are buried elsewhere) known as the tomb of Ranonda. It was carved by the renowned sculptor Fiasia. The artistry of this unpainted wooden memorial is of a very high standard although the carvings are deteriorating in the frequently wet weather.

The following species of lemur are often seen: brown lemur, ring-tailed lemur and sifaka. The lemurs here are well-used to people. There are approximately 350 ring-tailed lemurs in Berenty, and the population has stayed remarkably stable considering that only about a quarter of the babies survive to adulthood. The young are born in September and at first cling to their mother's belly, later climbing on to her back and riding jockey-style.

NOTE: There are some moderate to strenuous walks on this tour that, though optional, are an integral part of experiencing the highlights of the country. Reasonable level of physical fitness and steadiness on one's feet is important for the participant to fully and comfortably enjoy such tour activities.

Overnight at Berenty Private Reserve.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 3 Berenty Private Reserve
We have a full day to experience Berenty.

Berenty is famous for its population of ring-tailed lemurs and sifakas. Henri de Heaulme, and now his son Jean, have made this one of the best-studied 260 hectares of forest in Madagascar. Although in the arid south, its location along the river Mandrare ensures a well-watered habitat for the large variety of animals that live there. In previous years the forest itself was threatened by the rampant spread of the cactus-like 'rubber vine', Cissus quadrangularis, but this is being
vigorously tackled.

Overnight at Berenty Private Reserve.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 4 Berenty - Andasibe-Mantadia
Today we fly back to Antananarivo and the continue by road to the popular rainforest reserve of Andasibe-Mantadia. The drive over the highlands and escarpment is pleasant and the scenery is stunning. Since this is in the eastern escarpment, the climate is cooler and the rain falls mostly at night. The mist-enshrouded rainforest creates an awesome spectacle in the early morning.

This evening we will go for a walk through the Analamzaotra Special Reserve. There are at least nine species of lemur here, (including the recent discovery of the aye-aye). Our most likely encounter will be with a troop of grey bamboo lemurs which are diurnal and sometimes feed on the bamboo near the warden's house. On a nocturnal lemur hunt one should also look for mouse lemurs and the greater dwarf lemur, which hibernates during the cold season.

Overnight in Andasibe-Mantadia.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 5 Andasibe-Mantadia / Analamazaotra
Today we visit Analamazaotra Special Reserve (walks/hikes in the reserve). This reserve protects the largest of the lemur family, the indri. It stands about three feet high, with a barely visible tail, and black and white markings. You will be an observer: most people see indris in Analamazaotra Special Reserve, and if they don't see them they hear them. It is their voice that makes this lemur extra special: while other lemurs grunt, the indri "sings." It is an eerie, wailing sound somewhere between the song of a whale and a police-siren, and it carries for up to two miles as they call to each other across the forest.

In Malagasy the indri is called Babakoto. There are various legends connected with the indri, which reveals the esteem in which the local people hold them. A popular legend tells of a man who climbed a forest tree to gather wild honey and was severely stung by the bees. Losing his hold, he fell, but was caught by a huge indri which carried him on its back to safety.

This is also a good place for bird watching. There are flowering trees of a species much favoured by the Madagascar green sunbird, which has an iridescent green head and throat. There are also plenty of the cuckoo-like blue couas, blue pigeons, paradise flycatchers, two species of falcon (Newton falcon and Madagascar falcon), two species of black vasa parrot, and many others.

Overnight in Andasibe-Mantadia

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 6 Andasibe - Antsirabe
We depart for Antsirabe, founded in 1872 by Norwegian missionaries attracted by the cool climate (1500m / 4,700 ft) and the healing properties of the thermal springs. Along the crest of the island lie the central highlands, a plateau region of red soil giving the country the nickname, "the Red Island."

Antsirabe means "place of much salt," and is the agricultural and industrial centre of Madagascar. This is the centre of a rich agricultural area lying on the slopes of the island's second highest peak.

During our time in Antsirabe, we should be able to take a ponsee ponsee (rickshaw) ride and visit a gem shop to learn of all the types of gems that are found in Madagascar.

Overnight in Antsirabe.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 7 Antsirabe - Fianarantsoa
This morning we journey onward to Fianarantsoa. On our way we pass forest, open country, rice paddies modest country homes as we begin the approach to Fianarantsoa.

Fianarantsoa means 'Place of good learning'. It was founded in 1830 as the administrative capital of Betsileo and is one of the more attractive Malagasy towns. The Upper Town, with its narrow winding streets and plethora of churches, is one of our stops today. Fianarantsoa also has a wonderful market, which features a great variety of herbal medicines and dried fish brought up by train from Manakara.

On arrival we'll have an informal panoramic tour of the town including a walk up to a viewpoint overlooking the city. We'll have a walk though the old town and hope that the colourful market is on.

Overnight in Fianarantsoa.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 8 Fianarantsoa - Ranomafana
This morning we depart for Ranomafana.

The village of Ranomafana is situated by a river in the lush greenness of the eastern rainforest. The name Ranomafana means "hot water" and it was the waters, not the lemurs, which drew visitors in the colonial days to this place. Today the draw is the Ranomafana National Park, a fragment of high altitude rainforest that first came to world attention with the discovery of the golden bamboo lemur in 1986.

Overnight in Ranomafana.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 9 Ranomafana National Park
Today we enjoy morning and evening walks/hikes in the park. Hidden in these trees are at least 12 species of lemur: diademed (Milne-Edwards) sifaka, red-bellied lemur, red-fronted lemur, ruffed lemur and three species of bamboo lemur. At night you can add mouse lemur, avahi, lepilemur, fat-tailed dwarf lemur, and even aye-aye. Then there are more than 110 species of birds with 36 endemic; reptiles, butterflies and other insects. There is also much variety in the
vegetation and scenery, all of which can be observed from well-constructed trails.

During our walks through the park we are most likely to see red-fronted brown lemurs and perhaps the rarer red-bellied lemur. The golden bamboo lemur is less easily seen. The most memorable of the easily found lemurs is a subspecies of the diademed sifaka, Milne-Edward's sifaka. Unlike the more familiar Verreaux's sifaka which is largely white, this is dark brown with cream-coloured sides.

Overnight in Ranomafana.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 10 Ranomafana - Ambalavao - Ranohira
Today's journey takes us through Ambalavao, where we can visit the Antaimoro paper factory. Ambalavao is a little town famous for its "PapierAntemoro", a papyrus-type paper impregnated with dried flowers and sold throughout the island. We will visit a little paper factory where the locals will share about their traditional methods of producing this unique, hand-made paper.

Travel through south-central Madagascar to Ranohira on the edge of Isalo National Park. Continue our journey through the warm weather of the south amidst a different scenery. Travel through the savanna of the vast plateau of Ihorombe, before the Massif of Isalo becomes clearly visible as we approach Ranohira.

The Isalo National Park was created in 1962 to preserve the ancestral beauty of the site. Archaeological relics and funeral sanctuaries create a magical atmosphere made of strong contrasts. Lemur calls and bird chirps are heard in this green oasis along rivers filled with lush plants. While the sandy cliffs with rare ripicolous vegetation complete the picture.

Overnight at Ranohira.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 11 Isalo National Park
Today we spend exploring the Isalo National Park on foot.*

Established in 1962, the Isalo National Park protects 815 sq km of sandstone massif wildly eroded by wind and rain into bizarre ridges (known as "runiformes") featuring wild forms, impressive gorges and canyons, and tiny stalagmite pinnacles. The climate is dry tropical with warm temperatures all year around.

One of our options today is a walk to the Piscine Naturelle where a natural stone cave overlooks a crystal-clear waterfall flowing into a deep green pool surrounded by leafy pandanus trees. This tranquil pool is a virtual oasis in the heat, and offers a welcome relief after the long hike to get there.

* NOTE: Due to the nature of the terrain and the heat in this area, the walks here are more difficult on average than others on our program. By now your Tour Leader should have a good sense of overall group abilities and individual limitations and can provide advice on your suitability for today's excursions.

Overnight in Ranohira.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 12 Ranohira - Antananarivo
Today we travel to the airport at Toliara from where we fly back to the capital. Time-permitting, we may accomplish some of our Tana sightseeing today upon arrival.

Overnight in Antananarivo.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 13 Antananarivo: City Tour
Today we have a panoramic sightseeing tour of Antananarivo.

Tana will surprise you with its rice paddies, pollution, Asian looks, numerous stairs up steep hills, palaces, cobbled streets and churches. This is not Africa or Asia, Madagascar is totally unique. This is a bustling place with lots of churches, a mosque, a zoo and plenty of markets. The capital is basically built on 12 hills and steep steps lead to the main Independence Square in the town center. The architecture is a mixture of old wooden houses, modern offices and French colonial style buildings.

Tana does not have much in the way of "tourist attractions" per se, but we will take in the highlights, including the Rova, the shell of the Royal Palace built in 1864 for Queen Ranavalona II by the Scotsman, James Cameron. Everything that was wooden burned in 1996, but the imposing stone fortress of a shell still stands.

We will also head out of town to Ambohimanga, a traditional fortified royal settlement (rova), located approximately 24 kilometers north of the city. The hill and the rova that stands on top are considered the most significant symbol of the cultural identity of the Merina people and the most important and best-preserved monument of the precolonial Kingdom of Madagascar and its precursor, the Kingdom of Imerina. The walled historic village includes residences and burial sites of several key monarchs.

Balance of the day at leisure for independent exploration or relaxation.

Overnight in Antananarivo.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 14 Departure
Departure from Antananarivo.

NOTE: Ever-changing air schedules from Antananarivo may necessitate an extra overnight at the end of the tour which has NOT been included in tour pricing. Land only passengers please confirm dates with Adventures Abroad BEFORE booking your flights.


Meal plan: Breakfast

Tour Map

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.

Hotel List

The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.

Hotel du Louvre

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Antananarivo
Country: Madagascar

The historic Louvre building was built in 1930, and the building has been nicely preserved in the style of the
... The corridors and rooms are decorated with old photographs and posters of Air France & Air Madagascar. The hotel has 60 air-conditioned rooms with all the luxuries of a 3-star hotel, A Wifi connection allows you to surf freely from your room.

Read More.

Vakona Forest Lodge

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Andasibe-Mantadia
Country: Madagascar

The design of the bungalows has been conceived in the respect of the local Malagasy architecture. Each of the double
... has its own terrace with an outside little living room, bathroom with warm water, individual toilets, a personal safety deposit box and mini-bar.

Read More.

Berenty Lodge

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Berenty
Country: Madagascar

Since 1937, this has been a private reserve in the ancient tamarind forest of the Mandradre River, now of world
... and also featuring an Atandroy museum. Since that day, lemurs living here have mostly lost their fear of man, and are easier to observe. Rooms and bungalows are equipped with a fan and mosquito nets.
Room amenities: Fan, private bathroom with shower, hot and cold water, mosquito nets.

Read More.

Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►


Breakfast and dinner daily (local restaurants and hotels/lodges). All transport, accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for driver-guides, restaurant staff, porters. Airport transfers for land & air customers and for early arriving / late departing land & air customers who book their extra hotel nights through us.


Tour Leader gratuities, lunches(box / picnic lunches from lodges available for purchase), drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), international (if applicable) and domestic air taxes, visa fees, and any excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on shopping, and visas.

Seasonality and Weather

Dry season: Apr-Oct. The south and west regions are hot and dry. Monsoons bring storms and cyclones to the east and north from Dec-Mar. The mountains, including Antananarivo, are warm and stormy from Nov-Apr and dry, cool and windy the rest of the year.

Transport and Travel Conditions

24-30 seat bus, perhaps smaller if groups size warrants. Roads are generally not good, some are just plain bad. Though all efforts are made to ensure that vehicles are in excellent condition, punctures and weather may cause delays and require patience.

The #3 difficulty rating on this tour: In order to fully enjoy and experience what Madagascar has to offer, one must be prepared to hike over uneven terrain, perhaps with mud and rocks and roots and heat. The lodge properties we use are also very spread out and the distance from main building to guest rooms may be considerable. There are also plenty of stairs throughout. Of course we do not "force" anyone to participate in activities listed in our itinerary; however, if one chooses to skip walks, one will miss most of what the country has to offer the visitor.


Hotels and lodges have hot water, electricity (maybe part-time), mosquito netting, dining areas, bar, sometimes swimming pools. Remote lodges are not air-conditioned though many are at higher elevations where heat is not a factor. Hotel porter service is available throughout (see 'Inclusions'). Single rooms are limited and likely smaller than twins. Many lodges are quite spread out and you will need to be able to walk up to 10 minutes from public areas to your room.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader throughout, drivers, local guides at various locations.

Group Size

10-21 (plus Tour Leader)



TOUR STARTAntananarivo

TOUR ENDAntananarivo