The 10 excursions you absolutely must do in Madagascar

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Lluis Enric Mayans
@lluisenricmayans
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Madagascar, this large island in the Indian Ocean that surrounds itself with other smaller islands, is certainly known and visited above all for its tropical beaches on which to spend a relaxing holiday made of sun and sea. But are you sure that Madagascar is ideal only for this type of trip? We want to overturn the idea you have about this destination by telling you that its vast territory offers numerous parks and reserves of all kinds of incomparable beauty, which it would be a shame not to visit. Find out which are the 10 excursions you absolutely must do in Madagascar, we are sure that we will convince you!



Index

  1. Ranomafana National Park
  2. Isalo National Park
  3. Tour of Nosy Be and the islands
  4. Lokobe Forest
  5. Nosy Boraha and Nosy Nato
  6. Amber Mountain National Park
  7. Anakao and Nosy Ve
  8. Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park
  9. Tour of Antsiranana and the three bays
  10. Antananarivo tour
  11. User questions and comments
  12. Request a personalized quote

1 - Ranomafana National Park

The excursion to Ranomafana National park is the most sought after when arriving in Madagascar. The reason? The lemurs! This endangered species is widespread in Madagascar, but the Ranomafana is practically their home. A day in this large nature reserve will allow you to spot them in quantity and observe them in their natural habitat, but you will also meet many other species, such as chameleons, iguanas, birds and butterflies, walking on paths of varying length and level of difficulty, among orchids, ferns and thick vegetation.

During this excursion you walk a lot and for a long time, sometimes on not exactly comfortable paths, so it is recommended for those who have the desire and the strength to face this type of trekking to discover the local nature.
Insect repellent and comfortable shoes are all you need!



  • Cities / places concerned: Ranomafana National Park
  • duration: 2 to 6 hours
  • difficulties: average
  • Average price: starting from € 35,00

2 - Isalo National Park

This park is the oldest in all of Madagascar, made of sandstone massifs dating back to the Jurassic period, it offers unspoiled landscapes and unique panoramas. During a hike in the Isalo National Park you will encounter several rivers, streams, natural pools, waterfalls, canyons, gorges and viewpoints from which you will enjoy spectacular views, cross the savannah and discover the life of the local populations, the Bara, rice farmers and zebu breeders.

The proposals for a visit to the park are many and varied, you can in fact visit it on foot or by bike, choosing between different routes and levels of difficulty.
This excursion is also suitable for nature lovers and you will need a lot of desire to walk and comfortable shoes!

  • Cities / places concerned: Isalo National Park
  • duration: 1 to 3 hours
  • difficulties: medium / difficult
  • Average price: starting from € 40,00

3 - Tour of Nosy Be and the islands

Nosy Be is the famous Malagasy island with long white beaches and crystal clear sea, surrounded by other smaller islands, such as Nosy Tanikeli, Nosy Volona and Nosy Komba. A tour of these islands is an excursion proposed by any local travel agency and agency, during which you will visit the main points of Nosy Be such as the sacred tree, Dzamandzar, and Hell Ville, the central market of the island, you will enjoy a typical lunch on a beautiful beach, usually that of Andilana which is the best equipped with restaurants, you will practice diving to discover the coral reefs in the surrounding islands and finally you will stop on Mont Passot to admire the beautiful sunset.

This tour is much quieter than the previous ones and is suitable for everyone! You don't walk much and you mostly relax on the beach, so just wear a swimsuit, beach towel and sunscreen!



  • Cities / places concerned: Nosy Be, Nosy Tanikeli, Nosy Volona and Nosy Komba
  • duration: whole day
  • difficulties: easy
  • Average price: starting from € 70,00

4 - Forest of Lokobe

If you are in Nosy Be or you still want to visit it but you are more interested in forests than beaches, you cannot miss an excursion in the Lokobe Forest, another large Malagasy nature reserve. Also this tour is proposed by each local agency and includes a visit to the fishing village of Ambatozavavy and a subsequent trek in the forest with a canoe ride of about 45 minutes among the mangroves to discover endemic flora and fauna. During this tour you will meet lemurs, chameleons, geckos and snakes, and it will be an adventurous and naturalistic journey.

It is suitable for everyone as you walk little and relax on the boat, and children will have a lot of fun! A fundamental accessory? The camera!

  • Cities / places concerned: Nosy Be, Ambatozavavy, Lokobe Forest
  • duration: 6 hours
  • difficulties: easy
  • Average price: starting from € 50,00

5 - Nosy Boraha and Nosy Nato

These two islands, also known by the names Île Sainte-Marie and Île aux Nattes, are two islands off the east coast of Madagascar, the first being the main island and the second a minor islet.
The tour proposed by the agencies includes a visit to the largest inhabited center of Nosy Boraha, Ambodifototra, where you will visit the pirate cemetery and then you will reach the Pirates Bay with a typical boat crossing thick canals. From here you will move to the south of the island and leave for Nosy Nato, always using a typical boat and crossing crystal clear waters. Once on the island, the program is alone beautiful beaches and snorkeling to admire the coral reef.

Definitely an excursion suitable for everyone, which consists of adventure and discovery in the first part, and then ends in complete relaxation!



  • Cities / places concerned: Nosy Boraha, Nosy Nato, Ambodifototra, Pirate Cemetery, Pirate Bay
  • duration: whole day
  • difficulties: easy
  • Average price: starting from € 45,00

6 - Amber Mountain National Park

The Amber Mountain National Park is a protected reserve of Madagascar, as this rainforest contains a high rate of endemic species and varieties of precious woods. Inside there is a volcanic lake from which various watercourses that generate countless waterfalls. During this excursion you will also get to know the Sakalava and Antankarana ethnic groups.
A special note goes to birdwatchers, who will be able to spot various species of birds in this large park.

We recommend a good insect repellent and as usual shoes suitable for trekking that can accompany you during the long walks that await you!

  • Cities / places concerned: Amber Mountains National Park
  • duration: 8 hours
  • difficulties: average
  • Average price: starting from € 70,00

7 - Anakao and Nosy Ve

A location in southern Madagascar that will leave you speechless. We leave from the village of Anakao to visit the beautiful St Augustin Bay formed by a succession of white sand beaches surrounded by one of the largest coral reefs in the world, where you can practice snorkeling and diving.
Subsequently, a boat transfer will take you to the island of Nosy Ve, a marine nature reserve where fetons, particular black and white birds with a very long tail, nest.
Finally we return to Anakao where you will admire a beautiful sunset over the sea.

A natural and relaxing excursion, suitable for all nature lovers looking for relaxation on paradisiacal beaches.

  • Cities / places concerned: Anakao, St Augustin's Bay, Nosy Ve
  • duration: all day
  • difficulties: easy
  • Average price: starting from € 70,00

8 - Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park

This park is classified by Unesco as a World Heritage Site and is better known as the stone forest. It is in fact a large massif of karst origin that extends from north to south for 100 km e the excursions proposed to visit it usually last at least 3 days.
On the first day, a 4x4 trip awaits you during which you will cross two rivers aboard special rafts that will transport vehicles and passengers and in the meantime you can observe life along the banks of the rivers.
In the next two days you will visit the park on foot accompanied by a local guide. During the visit you will walk on steep paths and cross bridges suspended in the air, therefore you need the utmost attention and agility in movements. However, the park provides the safety harness needed to carry out the excursion.

At the end of the tour you will cross the famous Baobab Avenue, a road surrounded by imposing and masterful baobabs that at sunset create incredible plays of light among their branches for breathtaking shots.
This type of tour is suitable for younger people and is not suitable for seniors and families with children. 3 days of adventure and discovery of the wild nature of Madagascar await you.

  • Cities / places concerned: Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Baobab Avenue
  • duration: 3 days
  • difficulties: difficult
  • Average price: starting from € 500,00

9 - Tour of Antsiranana and the three bays

Let's move now to the north of Madagascar, where it stands Antsiranana, also known as Diego Suarez, a town that is home to the largest natural bays in the world.
This tour will take you around the city to discover the colonial architecture and its lively markets, after which you will visit the three bays and you can relax on the beautiful white beaches typical of Madagascar or go surfing thanks to the favorable currents that create incredible waves.

Another excursion suitable for adults and children, but above all for lovers of the history of the cities and for fans of surfing and water sports. So get ready for a day of walking, sport and relaxation!

  • Cities / places concerned: Antsiranana
  • duration: all day
  • difficulties: easy
  • Average price: starting from € 55,00

10 - Tour of Antananarivo

Antananarivo is the capital of Madagascar and a complete tour relying on a local guide is the best way to discover it and visit it at its best.
The tour is divided into three parts: a visit to the center, a tour of boutiques and shops, and a visit to the old city. During the visit of the center you can admire Lake Anosy and the monument in the middle, then continue with a tour of the boutiques and shops of local artisans, finally you go to discover the old city and its royal palaces, the cathedrals and the residences of ancient noble families.

This tour is purely historical-cultural, therefore it is especially suitable for those who love to discover the cities, traditions and local cultures. So get ready for a busy day and, as always, wear comfortable shoes!

  • Cities / places concerned: Antananarivo, Lake Anosy, Old Town
  • duration: 6 hours
  • difficulties: easy
  • Average price: starting from € 60,00
  • Recommended excursion: Antananarivo like a local: Personalized guided tour from € 29,00

Travel informed: useful information

  • Inhabitants: 23.800.000
  • CapitalAntananarivo
  • Languages: Malagasy and French
  • Local currency: Ariary (€ 1,00 = 4.001 Ariary)
  • vaccinations: Yellow fever vaccine is mandatory and must be demonstrated through the certificate issued
  • Entry requirements: a passport with a residual validity of at least 6 months and an entry visa are required for stays of up to 90 days, for both tourism and business. The visa is obtained directly at the airport upon entering the country, upon payment required by local legislation.
  • Travel / health insurance: recommended.

    When to go: climate and best time

    • Weather: the climate is tropical, rainy along the west coast, arid in the south, and mild in the central areas where there are several mountain ranges. Madagascar has two seasons, rainy and dry. During the rainy season, they are frequent and abundant, while in the dry season it almost never rains. In any case, even in the wettest months the sun never fails and the sea temperature remains around 29 ° C. From December to April Madagascar can be hit by tropical cyclones - more info on climate and best time in Madagascar
    • Best time: choosing the best time to visit Madagascar depends a lot on the areas you want to go to, as it is a large island that extends from north to south. Overall, the best months to visit a bit of everything and make excursions in the midst of nature are September and October, when the heat is moderate, there are no cyclones and the rains are still scarce.
    • Period to avoid: the winter months in general, as they are the hottest, rainiest and often affected by tropical cyclones.


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