11 Day Island Holiday

Classic Madagascar

Holiday Includes

  • TBA

Holiday Excludes

  • TBA

Itinerary

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About This Holiday

Madagascar is a country that occupies a large island of the same name, located in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa. Described as Noah’s Ark adrift in the Indian Ocean, separated from the African mainland some 120 million years ago, it is the fourth largest island in the World (587 041km2). Only Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo are larger. A central chain of high mountains, the Hauts Plateaux, occupies more than half of the main island and is responsible for the marked differences – ethnically, climatically and scenically – between the east and west coasts. The narrow strip of lowlands on the east coast, settled from the 6th century by Polynesian seafarers, is largely covered by dense rainforests, whereas the broader west coast landscape, once covered by dry deciduous forests, is now mostly savannah. The east coast receives the monsoon and, on both coasts, the climate is wetter towards the north. The southern tip of the island is semi-desert, with great forests of cactus-like plants.

Gallery

Itinerary

Arrival Nosy Be and transfer to Tsara Kombo Lodge

ARRIVAL TRANSFER Welcome to Nosy Be! On arrival at the airport you will be met and transferred by car to Hell-Ville where you will continue to Tsara Komba Lodge by boat. (45 min transfer)
You will be spending the next 3 nights on Nosy Komba, the most beautiful island of the Nosy Be archipelago and also know as ‘Lemur Island’.

Nosy Komba, is the hyphen between Nosy Be, the famous island perfumes, and mainland Madagascar. This peak of the island is at an altitude of 622 meters, covered by dense tropical forest.
The mapof the island strangely looks like a giant turtle, it is surrounded by volcanic rocks, protecting shores from rough waters.

The island is also called Nosy Ambariovato, meaning the island surrounded by rocks. Nosy Komba is known for its many small and inhabited beaches as well as for its emerald like water. Nosy komba is a small jewel of nature, increasingly visited and becoming a mirror of its larger neighbor, Nosy Be. It is home to many Makis, a variety of lemurians also called Macaco.

Tranquillity prevails as there are no cars, neither electricity. Beauty of nature and sweetness of life make it a most attractive place to be.

Eden is more than the name of the botanical garden at Tsara Komba Lodge—it’s the very essence of this remote island paradise off the northwestern tip of Madagascar. The second biggest island of the pristine Nosy Be archipelago, and one of the most beautiful, Nosy Komba (also known as “Lemur Island”) is home to a handful of small traditional fishing villages and dotted with fragrant cacao, vanilla, and coffee plantations. The rest is pure wilderness—a playful colony of black macaco lemurs, dense tropical forest, and a kaleidoscope of marine life below the island’s glistening waters.
Like the dazzling biodiversity that coexists on this volcanic island, the tranquil hideaway of Tsara Komba works in harmony with its surroundings. An on-site nursery incubates endemic baobab trees, and the property backs onto a private indigenous nature reserve teeming with parrots, hummingbirds, and chameleons. Tucked between forest and sea, the lodge’s thatched bungalows blend into the tropical vegetation that spill down the hillside. Private terraces look out over the ocean, where dolphins skim across the horizon. Stone paths lead past bougainvillea, papaya, and flame trees to golden beaches. With no roads on the island, everyone travels by foot, boat, or dugout canoe. The pace here is as gentle as the waves lapping its shores.

Highlights

  • Relax on your private terrace and watch dolphins in the bay leap across the horizon.
  • Visit the craftsmen village of Ampangorina, where women embroider tablecloths and men make woodcarvings.
  • Stroll through the tropical Eden Garden and the indigenous nature reserve, which backs onto the property.
  • Cruise the volcanic coves of Nosy Komba in a traditional dugout canoe.
  • Go snorkeling or diving with sea turtles, rays, and tropical fish.
  • Enjoy a gourmet picnic on a deserted beach in the shade of a palm tree, or dine by candlelight on the beach or on the terrace of your private lodge overlooking the ocean.
  • Starting from the lodge, join a guide on a trek through the forest and immerse yourself in the island’s incredible biodiversity, including butterflies, tropical birds, flashy chameleons, and playful macaco lemurs.

Nosy Komba

Here on this small remote island off the coast of a larger remote island, all activities take on an air of adventure. There is much to do on the Nosy Be archipelago, and Tsara Komba is central to all of it. It is one of the only properties that offers an enriching forest experience as well as activities on the water. Navigate Nosy Komba by foot or boat—there are no roads. Walk through the tropical forest and discover a multitude of endemic species, from frolicking macaco lemurs to fragrant flowers. Find seclusion on a boat trip, visiting uninhabited islands and traditional fishing villages, and slipping through thick mangroves. Go snorkeling and diving in sapphire waters rich in marine life, and follow local guides to secret fishing spots. Explore fragrant plantations and experience authentic Malagasy life in the nearby village of Ampangorina, or simply play castaway on the golden sands that spread below the lodge.

Things to Do: The following experiences are included in the cost of your stay.

  • Nature Walks
    Stroll through the Eden Garden, a botanical garden where hummingbirds and parrots flutter among some 200 endemic species of tropical plants; and discover the Baobab Nursery, which incubates unusual baobab species and spiny succulents.
  • Exploration by Sea
    Set out to discover the island’s coves by pirogue, a traditional dugout canoe. Or, borrowing equipment from the lodge, snorkel just offshore or try your hand at bottom fishing.
  • Recreation
    The lodge is equipped for many outdoor games and activities. Play beach volleyball, racquetball, and badminton, fly a kite or fling a Frisbee, or unwind over board games in the main lodge.

Optional Activities and Experiences: The following experiences, as well as excursions by 4×4 or bicycle or with a private guide are offered at an additional cost.

  • Half-Day Island Tour
    Cruise along the shore of Nosy Komba on a motorized wood boat. Stop at a traditional village market and encounter black lemurs in the wild.
  • Pirogue Tour
    Accompanied by a local guide, cruise the coves of Nosy Komba by pirogue canoe. Get out at Tam-Tam village, famous for the outrigger canoes made here, and the craftsmen’s village of Ampangorina, where locals create beautiful tablecloths, lace, masks, necklaces, and wood carvings.
  • Fishing
    Whether you want to take to the open sea to troll for your catch, or try your hand at palangrotte fishing with a line and hook, the lodge offers a variety of fishing experiences. Catch (and release) swordfish, marlin, Jack Crevalle fish, African red snapper, king mackerel, dogtooth tuna, wahoo, dolphinfish, and barracudas.
  • Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
    Beginners as well as experienced divers and snorkelers are spoiled for choices in the Mozambique Channel surrounding the Nosy Be archipelago. Swim past corals, moray eels, and perhaps a giant grouper at shipwreck sites. Encounter kingfish, barracudas, tree-like black corals, and spotted eagle rays at Jo Langouste Point, where tens of thousands of fish can be seen during one dive, or at the Tanikely underwater reserve, a paradise of marine biodiversity. In November, swim alongside manta rays at Manta Point. Half-day and full-day outings are available.
  • Whale-Watching Trip
    Join a knowledgeable guide on a boat trip through the bay in pursuit of whales and whale sharks (August through December). Or head to Russian Bay for a wildlife cruise, and explore beaches where sea turtles nest.
  • Trekking Tour
    Follow the lodge’s naturalist guide on trek through Nosy Komba’s forest. As you ascend rain forest trails to the island’s volcanic peak, discover endemic flora and fauna—including the island’s famous black lemurs, chameleons, and butterflies—and learn about medicinal plants that grow in the wild here. Stop for a guided visit to Ampangorina village, then return to the lodge via pirogue canoe.
  • Plantation Tour
    Breathe in the aroma of fresh pepper, pink berries, lemongrass, and ylang-ylang—the main ingredient in Chanel No. 5—on a guided tour of historic Millot Plantation, and immerse yourself in the renowned chocolatier’s decadent world of cocoa. Sit down to a delicious lunch in the old farmhouse.
  • Island Day Trips
    Set out with a guide on a variety of island outings to explore the mangroves, beaches and reefs of nearby islands. On Nosy Iranja learn about the hawksbill turtles that nest here—inspiring the island’s nickname, Turtle Island. Visit a fishing village on Nosy Mamoko, and canoe up a river lined with mangroves. Go snorkeling and watch for the panther chameleon on Nosy Faly; or spend a day discovering the larger island of Nosy Be, home to a sacred tree, a sugar refinery and rum distillery, and a lively traditional market. Find fragrant vanilla and ylang-ylang amid the wild blooms on Nosy Sakatia, the “orchid island.”
  • Lokobe Tour
    Join a naturalist guide on a half-day exploration of the Lokobé nature reserve. Encounter its 42 species such as boa constrictors, Asian paradise flycatchers, and malachite kingfishers.
  • Mitsio Archipelago Tour
    Discover the laid-back fishing villages of this cluster of pristine islands fringed by vibrant coral reefs. At La Grande Mitsio, marvel at huge basalt columns that look like organ pipes protruding into the sea.
  • Spa Treatments
    From the privacy of your lodge balcony, relax with a rejuvenating massage using essential Madagascan oils or enjoy a manicure or pedicure.
  • Cooking Class with the Chef
    Join chef Tina Harry in the kitchen and learn his secrets to cooking with Malagasy flavors and spices.
  • Helicopter Flight-seeing
    Soar over the archipelago in a helicopter, taking in spectacular aerial views of islands, lakes, and turquoise seas.

Food and Drink

At the main lodge at the top of the hill, Divine House Restaurant takes the crown as one of Madagascar’s finest restaurants. Adopting the slow food ethos, chef Tina Harry relies on wild and organic local ingredients to superb dishes that draw together Malagasy and French flavors. The menu changes daily, depending on what he picks up at the markets, what’s ripe in the kitchen garden, and what the fishermen bring in on their pirogues. Guests choose between three-course and nine-course à la carte menus; specialties range from barracuda pancakes and swordfish steak to lacquered duck and decadent desserts laced with Madagascan vanilla and cocoa. Vegan and vegetarian meals can be arranged.

The refined dishes served here are rivaled only by the views across the bay, with mainland Madagascar and the Tsaratanana Mountains in the distance. The rich cuisine is paired with a fine selection of French and South African wine, and the bar whips up a legendary coconut rum punch—an ideal way to toast the sunset over the bay from the lodge terrace.
In addition to the Divine House Restaurant and lodge terrace, guests can choose to dine in the privacy of their own room or on the beach or beach deck. Gourmet picnics can be arranged off site. Meal times are flexible.

 

Arrival in Victoria Falls

Flight from Maun to Victoria Falls airport, met and transferred to hotel for 3 night stay

Sunset Cruise

Explore the Zambezi River on board an eco-friendly, modern boat offering a luxury cruise experience with all the trimmings. Just stepping aboard the Zambezi Explorer you start to relax. The staff are professional yet with good humour and genuine warmth, the food is of the highest quality and the scenery is nothing short of spectacular.

As for the boat itself, the Zambezi Explorer is a stylish, custom-built vessel with three decks. The lower two decks are the restaurant, while the upper Signature Deck is the VIP lounge and bar (it costs a bit more but is well worth the experience). The Zambezi Explorer runs exclusively on solar energy, so the engine whispers along quietly without disturbing the wildlife or sense of peace.

The Zambezi Explorer offers daily cruises including sunrise breakfasts, lunches, dinners and – the most popular of all – the sunset cruise. Glide upstream keeping an eye out for pods of hippo and the occasional herd of elephant bathing in the river. Then drift back down, toasting the brilliant red sunset as waiters serve cocktails and delicious canapés.

Guided tour of falls

A tour around the Victoria Falls affords not only a view of one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World but information about their creation and geology, the unique eco-system of the rainforest, daring exploits of colonial explorers and magical tales of local legend under the constant spray from the “The Smoke that Thunders”.

Dinner at the Boma

This Boma is located on the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge grounds and a wonderful experience

An evening filled with entertainment from Amakwezi traditional dancers to a local story teller and a fortune teller. Don’t rush off after dinner, as you can join in the drumming extravaganza from 21h00, which is always a highlight of the evening.

The Boma specialises in a superb selection of traditional Zimbabwean dishes and is renowned for its warthog fillet. Tuck into a four-course meal of mouth watering starters from the kitchen, soup from the campfire, a substantial barbeque buffet served on cast iron plates with a selection of salads, followed by a choice of delicious desserts. Everyone’s tastes are catered for, and whilst the adventurous are enticed with local delicacies such as Mopani worms and game stews, those wishing to enjoy beef, pork, fish and chicken or a variety of vegetarian meals are welcome to do so.

ANDASIBE

After breakfast, we take a morning visit to the Special Reserve of Andasibe, where you will discover the many species dwelling in the forest. In particular, your guide will search for the Indri, the largest lemur on the island.

This reserve contains one of the highest density of primates of any forest in the world. Its dense forests support one of the largest and least disturbed populations of crowned lemurs. Sanford’s brown lemur, perrier’s black lemur, northern sportive lemur and dwarf lemurs, ringtailed mongoose, fossa, tenrecs and Madagascar striped civet are also a common sight. Almost 100 bird species, 50 reptiles (including some endemic and threatened snakes and geckos) and 10 frogs cohabit in the Park. Inside the spectacular and huge labyrinth of caves 14 bat species, local endemic blind shrimps and the world’s only known cave-living crocodiles are waiting for your visit

ANDASIBE -ANTANANARIVO

  • Today you will visit Lemur Island at Vakona Forest Lodge to meet the resident lemurs up close.
  • We head back to Antananarivo, about 3 hour drive.
  • The capital of Madagascar is also called the ‘City of Thousands’ and it is where the first King started to unify the different kingdoms of the island. Embark on a short city orientational tour. Arrive at your hotel in the late afternoon.

Palissandre Hotel & Spa

Palissandre Hotel and Spa gets its name from Palissandre, a type of rosewood which abounds throughout the hotel, adding an elegant and polished feel to the rooms. It is located in the centre of Antananarivo, ideally placed to savour the sights of the ‘Place of 1000 Warriors’. It is recognised as one of the finest establishments in the city and its Spa offers an array of treatments, along with free access to the Hammam, gymnasium and the swimming pool.

Accommodation consists of 46 airconditioned rooms, some with sweeping views of the city and its everyday hustle and bustle. Each room has an electronic safe, direct phone line, satellite TV, minibar, hairdryer and a well-appointed bathroom. La Table des Hautes Terres provides top-class cuisine, enjoy hearty breakfasts and light lunches on the breezy terrace and try home-made rum at L’Amphore Bar.

From the rosewood that adorns the rooms to the decadent Spa centre, the Palissandre really does have that polished feel which sets it apart from most other hotels in Antananarivo. Its location could not be better, perched on the hillside right in the heart of the ‘Place of 1000 Warriors’..

 

 

ANTANANARIVO  – Fort Dauphin – Mandrare River Camp

After breakfast at your hotel, you will be transferred back to Ivato Airport for your 2 hour flight to Fort Dauphin. (sample flight MD 714 at 07.40 and arrival 09.30) Upon arrival you will be met by your guide and will take lunch in Fort Dauphin, before driving west towards Antandroy Spiny Forest. (about 4 hour drive)

You will arrive at your luxury tented camp in the late afternoon, allowing you to settle into your accommodation and enjoy the breath-taking views across the Mandrare River. Stay for 3 nights

Set on the banks of the Mandrare River this tented camp is a fantastic base to explore the surrounding forests and mountains. With ample wildlife living in these areas it is possible that you won’t have to leave the comfort of your tent to spot one of Madagascar’s endemic creatures.

Mandrare River Camp is set on the banks of the Manampanihy River in the Ifotaka Community Forest. You’ll receive a warm welcome and friendly service from the staff, and the atmosphere is relaxed. In the early morning you can watch the changing light as the sun rises over the river directly in front of your tent, while at night you can gaze up at the star-filled sky, with this being one of the best spots for stargazing in Africa. With its small number of tents and secluded location, the camp is incredibly peaceful and makes a simple but authentic place from which to explore the island’s diverse wildlife and unique indigenous culture.

Accommodation is in just a small number of simple canvas tents, which are spread out beneath tamarind trees and offer views of the river and distant mountains. Practical and comfortable, they each feature hand-carved wooden furniture including a four-poster bed with mosquito net, a wardrobe and a dressing table, as well as an en suite bathroom with shower and toilet. Furnished private terraces provide outdoor space in which to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings, and 24 hour solar lighting and hot water ensure a comfortable stay despite the rural location.Meals are served communally by the river, often accompanied by local children singing. Breakfasts consist of freshly baked bread, pastries, locally-made preserves, cereals and fresh fruit juices. At lunch you can enjoy barbecues with fresh salads, while in the evening dinner is a three-course meal that uses fresh Malagasy ingredients prepared in a French style. The camp offers imported wines and spirits alongside soft drinks.

Activities at the camp are focused on exploring the area’s diverse wildlife, either on foot or in a 4×4. The experienced guides have an excellent knowledge of the local flora and fauna found in the forest, which is home to lemurs, an array of birdlife, baobab trees and octopus trees. You can also visit local markets and villages, including meeting the nomadic Antadroy tribe and observing traditional dances.

Mandrare River Camp

  • Enjoy a relaxed breakfast on the bans of the river, before embarking on a trip to the sacred Antandroy forest, crossing the river on foot to observe lemurs and many bird species. You will also be able to see the tombs of the Antandroy ancestors and your guide will explain in detail about the culture of ancestor worship.
  • enjoy various activities locates at and around your luxury tented accommodation. These will be on suggestion of your guide, tailored to your interests

Mandrare River Camp – Fort Dauphin -ANTANANARIVO 

  • You will drive back to Fort Dauphin (about 4 hour drive) and continue to the airport for your scheduled flight to Antananarivo, (sample flight MD 717 13.15 and arrival at 16.55) Check into Palissandre Hotel for overnight .

ANTANANARIVO  departure

  • Today you will continue to the airport for your scheduled flight departure

END OF ARRANGEMENTS