With the everyday hustle and bustle of life, many of us become overwhelmed by answering our phones at all hours, or constantly checking our emails or social so that we’re never out of touch. So, if you’re looking for something out of the box from the standard spa day or wine tasting to help you relax, it might be time for you to digitally disconnect and get back to basics.
With more flights than ever, 2017 is your chance to visit Madagascar and reconnect with Mother Nature and all that she has to offer. It’s always best to bear in mind that Madagascar is a relatively untouched paradise so if you can learn to love its somewhat rustic amenities you will be rewarded with majestic sceneries and tropical nature reserves. Here are 5 of the tours, all under 10 days for you to fast track your zen and enjoy your Madagascan nature escape.
Andasibe Reserve Package – 3 Day
If you are looking to have a quick fix on your natural needs this tour is a 3-day package, which is ideal for a stopover or a long weekend for those who live a little more local. The tour starts and ends in Antananarivo (Tana) the capital city of Madagascar and gives you a small taste of the variety of orchids, canopy and endemic animals that Madagascar has to offer. When you arrive in Tana you will be taken to your accommodation after driving through the Merina villages surrounded by stunning vegetation in the rocky mountains.
Once you have the chance to settle in you will be taken on a walking tour to observe the nocturnal species. On your second day, you will be able to head back out to see more of the reserve before an afternoon at the Lemur Island at Vakona Forest Lodge. This tour is fantastic for those who are short on time but want to see some of the unique wildlife and birds Madagascar have to offer.
Southern Flamingo Package – 4 Days
The Southern Flamingo Package is the perfect add on to the larger tour of the 1000 Views of Madagascar. When you join this small-group tour you will safari through the south of Madagascar for a total of four days starting and ending in Tulear. This trip is the perfect excursion to the Tsimanampetsota National Park where you can see two daytime species of lemur, the rare Grandidies’s Mongoose, the Radiated Tortoise as well as the cave-dwelling blind fish.
The drawcard of the Tsimanmpetsota National Park of course as the package name suggests is the colony of the Greater Flamingos. The Greater Flamingo for those of us who are interested in our avian friends, are a lighter colour pink to most and are the largest of the flamingo species which the largest recorded being up to 6 feet tall.
The highlight of the trip is undeniably the island visit to Nosy Ve, a sacred and tranquil location that still holds local traditions. The island is renowned for its colony of all-year breeding Redtailed tropic birds which makes this trip a birdwatchers paradise and ornithologists the world over visit to see these birds.
The island also offers stunning white beaches and excellent snorkelling if birdwatching isn’t for you, you won’t be disappointed. The Southern Flamingo package also offers lots of additional extras during the spare time including additional snorkelling trips, game fishing and from July to September you can get up close to the Humpback Whales during their migration.
Diego & Montagne d’Ambre package – 4 Days
The Diego Montagne & Dambre Package is a four-day tour package showcasing the Montagne d’Ambre National park and Diego Bay close to Diego Suarez in the North of Madagascar. After you arrive in Diego Suarez you will be transferred through to Nature Lodge, as the name suggests this is an eco-lodge at the entrance of the park. Once you have the chance to settle in after your travels you will spend the afternoon in the park.
On your second day, you will head back to the National Park where you will need to keep your eyes peeled for the lemurs, birdlife, waterfalls as well as rare plants. For your third day, you will travel to Diego where you will spend the last night of your tour. Here your hotel is situated in the stunning bay of Diego Suarez, within a tropical garden, just 5 minutes away from the city centre. In Diego, you will have plenty of time to explore the town where white djellabas meet with multi-coloured loincloths of the women offering you a cultural experience.
Your fourth and final day will be heading home to reminisce about the incredible time you have spent on Madagascar’s shores.
Beach and Lemur Package – 8 days
The Beach and Lemur package is for those travellers who loved the sound of the Andasibe Reserve Package but you want even more time to experience what the Andasibe Nature reserve has to offer, as well as the beaches Madagascar are famous for. This tour gives you a lot of freedom and flexibility for extra excursions or the chance to do absolutely nothing in a location unlike any other.
For the B&L Package, you will start on Nosy Be ‘the scented Island’ which is surrounded by white sandy beaches, where you can take in the scents of Ylang Ylang, Frangipani, Vanilla, Cocoa, cinnamon and sugar cane. Some of the extra excursions here include visiting smaller surrounding islands such as Nosy Komba to see the semi-tame Black Lemurs as well as snorkelling or scuba diving off Nosy Sakatia. For those looking for something a little more cultural experience, you might consider a spice tour or a ride into Hell-Ville to see the bustling market all before finishing at a tiny rustic bar at Mount Passot for sundowners where you can see the views of the seven sacred crater lakes.
After leaving Nose Be you will be heading through the green and luxuriant vegetation of the east in Andasibe Reserve. This first part of the tour will take you through the humid part of the country experiencing lakes, rice fields and scarce forest stations. Spending more time in the Andasibe Reserve means that you get more exposure to the 810 ha reserve where you can search for Indri, the largest lemurs on the island, chameleons, tenrecs and bird species. You will travel on night walks to try and find those elusive nocturnal species as well as spend your remaining days at orchid gardens, Lemur Island and the Reptile & Butterfly farm. On your last day, you will head into Tana to stay at your hotel conveniently located for your flight out.
Masoala Adventure – 8 Days
The Masoala Adventure is an 8-day tour starting and ending in Antananarivo for convenient travel arrangements. After spending your first night in Tana you will be transferred back to the airport for your flight to Maroantsetra which is a charming town at the bottom of the Antongil Bay, a stunning riverine scenery.
From here you will board a boat to Masoala which is the site of a 230,000 ha national park containing one of the best and rainforests and is the largest protected area (both terrestrial and marine) in Madagascar. You will have the chance to walk through the primary forest to see the reptiles, birds, lemurs as well as the rare species of green lizard, the red owl, the tomato frog or the Serpent Eagle.
The Masoala tour is ideal for those looking for a little more adventure including swimming in the rivers, hiking, kayaking, snorkelling and a 3-hour bird watching excursion. If you visit during the months of July and September you may be lucky enough to see the Humpback Whales at the Bay of Antongil.
Like a true nature aficionado Madagascar offers you the chance to spend your days relaxing on crystal clear beaches, adventuring through nature reserves to locate endemic flora and fauna or experiencing snorkelling in turquoise waters; all under 10 days, so book your tour, don’t pack your phone charger and get to Madagascar today!