Madagascar

With biodiversity to rival the Galapagos Islands, towns of colonial magnificence, beautiful beaches of golden sand and a remarkable culture influenced by Europe, Africa and the East, Madagascar's rare riches are well worth discovering. Venture into national parks to experience profound moments in nature, mellow out on idyllic islands, stroll through heritage towns and spot quirky wildlife not found anywhere else on this earth - Madagascar showcases the very best of our wild, weird but oh so wonderful world.

Madagascar Tours & Travel

All our Madagascar trips

Experience Madagascar

16 days from
USD $2,930
CAD $2,970
AUD $3,085
EUR €2,085
GBP £1,845
NZD $3,655
ZAR R28,075
CHF FR2,570

Travel to Madagascar, off the east coast of Africa. Madagascar is teeming with wildlife, national parks and beachside...

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Madagascar trip reviews

Our Madagascar trips score an average of 4.5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews in the last year.

Experience Madagascar, May 2014

Experience Madagascar, April 2014

Articles on Madagascar

a top trip: experience madagascar

Posted on Thu, 11 Nov 2010 by Sue Elliot

If you want a book that ignites your pure passion for adventure, then you can’t go past Hunting Pirate Heaven, that follows the trail of old pirates to Madagascar. And [...]

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About Madagascar

At a glance

Trips Available: 1
Capital city: Antananarivo (population 1 million)
Population: 21 million
Language: French, Malagasy
Currency: MGA
Time zone: (GMT+03:00) Nairobi
Electricity: Type C (European 2-pin) Type D (Old British 3-pin) Type E (French 2-pin, female earth) Type J (Swiss 3-pin) Type K (Danish 3-pin)
Dialing code: +261

Best time to visit Madagascar

With such a unique ecosystem and environment, travelling to Madagascar at different times of the year offers a variety of challenges and benefits. September to November is considered one of the best times to visit, as these months sit right in between the cool, dry winter and the hot, rainy season. This time is also considered the best time to view birdlife. July to August offers cooler temperatures and the best chances for whale watching on the coast. January to March is cyclone season, but this is also the best time to see flowering orchids.

Madagascar weather chart

Geography and environment

Baobab trees
This iconic island nation sitting off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean is home to one of the most precious and unique natural environments in the world. Its isolated location means that a distinct variety of animal and plant species have been able to thrive without outside genetic influences. Possessing extinct volcanoes, hidden waterfalls, cool highlands, grassy plains, pristine beaches and islands, Madagascar was once completely covered in forest - but due to high levels of deforestation, most forest cover has been lost. Some tracts of rainforest do endure today, but it's estimated that the current level of forest cover is only 1-2 percent of what it once was. Despite this loss, hundreds of species of plants and trees thrive all over the island, from huge, ancient baobab trees to thorny cacti and resplendent ferns.

Top Picks

Fossa

Top 5 Strange Species of Madagascar

1. Fat-Tailed Dwarf Lemur

Known to hibernate for up to eight months of the year, this cute critter lives off fat reserves stored in its hefty tail - saved especially for these months of inactivity.

2. Aye Aye

This odd-looking lemur can be found mainly on east coast of Madagascar. While it won't win any beauty contests, it can lay claim to being the largest nocturnal primate in the world. Its unique way of finding food (knocking on trees then gnawing through the wood to access the hidden grubs) makes the aye aye similar to the woodpecker.

3. Fossa

With a cat-like body and a dog-like face, this strange beast endemic to Madagascar is actually closely related to the mongoose species. A carnivorous predator, the fossa roams forests day and night in search of prey - preferably lemurs, rodents and other small mammals.

4. Tenrec

This bizarre little species can bare resemblance to many different animals due to the unique circumstances of its evolution. Sharing ancestry with animals as diverse as elephants, sea cows and aardvarks, most tenrecs look like small hedgehogs or otters and can range in size from a tiny 4cm to a robust 39cm.

5. Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko

Home to a whole raft of interesting and unusual reptiles, Madagascar's most devilish creation has to be the satanic leaf-tailed gecko. With red eyes, a tail shaped like a leaf and a head like Lucifer, it's no wonder locals are afraid of them.

FAQs on Madagascar

Tipping isn’t mandatory, but a little generosity will be received positively especially when considering the low wages that most service workers are typically paid. Setting aside a small amount for porters, guides and drivers is wise, as is leaving spare change or rounding up the bill at restaurants.
Cyber cafes are found in some of the larger cities like Antsirabe, Fianarantsoa and Antananarivo. Smaller towns and remote areas will have far less access, so prepare to disconnect when travelling out of urban centres.
Mobile phone coverage is generally good in Madagascar's large cities and towns, but less so in rural areas and on remote islands. Ensure you have global roaming activated before leaving home if you wish to use your mobile phone.
Squat/pit toilets are the standard in Madagascar except for western-style flushable toilets that are sometimes available in large hotels and other modern buildings. Carry your own supply of soap and toilet paper, as this is rarely provided.
Short city bus ride = 300 MGA
Snack at a market = 200-500 MGA
Bottle of beer in a restaurant or bar = 4,000 MGA
Basic meal in a café or restaurant = 8,000-12,000 MGA
Drinking tap water isn't recommended in Madagascar. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water. Ask your leader where filtered water can be found, some hotels we stay in may have drinking water available. It's also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit and vegetables before eating.
Major credit cards like Visa are usually accepted by large hotels and western-style restaurants in the capital but not by smaller vendors. Ensure you have adequate cash to cover purchases not able to be made on credit.
ATMs that accept foreign cards can be found in large cities and the airport, although they're often unreliable or out of service. Be sure to carry a back-up method of payment in case ATM access becomes difficult.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Mar 29 Commemoration of the 1947 Rebellion
Apr 1 Easter Monday
May 1 Labour Day
May 9 Ascension Day
Jun 26 Independence Day
Aug 15 Assumption
Nov 1 All Saints' Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day

Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/madagascar/public-holidays
MADAGASCAR:
Australia: Yes - Visa required
Belgium: Yes - Visa required
Canada: Yes - Visa required
Germany: Ye - Visa required
Ireland: Yes - Visa required
Netherlands: Yes - Visa required
New Zealand: Yes - Visa required
South Africa: Yes - Visa required
Switzerland: Yes - Visa required
United Kingdom: Yes - Visa required
USA: Yes - Visa required
All nationalities require a visa for Madagascar. If you have an embassy in your home country you can obtain the visa prior to departure. 30 day tourist Visas are also available for most nationalities on arrival at Antananarivo airport. Currently the visa fee has been suspended. Visa and other entry and exit conditions change regularly so we recommend that you contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Madagascar for the most up to date information.

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

Madagascar Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Madagascar

1. Be considerate of Madagascar’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.

3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.

4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

5. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

6. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

7. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

8. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

9. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.

10. Madagascar is one of the world's most bio-diverse places. Let's keep it that way by not removing any flowers, leaves, coral, wood or organic materials from the island.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
The Eighth ContinentPeter Tyson
Lords and LemursAlison Jolly
AntipodeHeather E. Heying
Flashman's LadyGeorge MacDonald Fraser
The Sapphire SeaJohn B. Robinson