Andasibe, Northern Madagascar & Nosy Be Tour

Our Andasibe, Northern Madagascar & Nosy Be tour offers the diverse highlights of Eastern & Northern Madagascar. It begins with Andasibe National Park in the eastern rainforests of Madagascar, as we find most clients want to see several climatic areas. Then you head north to see Diego Suarez, Amber Mountain, Ankarana National Park and Ankify.

Visit the montane forest of Amber Mountain National Park and the dramatic scenery of the Ankarana National Park with its unique limestone tsingy formations and deep caves. En route you visit charming towns and villages and get a chance to experience local Malagasy life. Afterwards you meander through lush farmland to the coastal village of Ankify. From here you take a boat across to the lovely island of Nosy Be.

Enjoy some time relaxing on the golden beach after an action packed scenic and wildlife safari. Here you can relax as well as take tours to smaller islands of Nosy Komba & Nosy Tanikely.

11 night Andasibe, Northern Madagascar & Nosy Be Tour at a Glance:

1 night Tana, Royal Palissandre Hotel, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast
2 nights Andasibe, Vakona Forest Lodge, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast
1 night Tana, Royal Palissandre Hotel or similar, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast
2 nights Joffeville near Amber Mountain NP, Nature Lodge. Dinner, Bed & Breakfast
2 nights Ankarana National Park, Ankarana Lodge, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast
3 nights Nosy Be – L’Heure Bleu or choice of other hotels, Bed & Breakfast

Optional – you may need a final night in Tana depending on your flight arrangements…

Tailor-make this Madagascar tour!

This is a very flexible tour. You can select from a variety of resorts in Nosy Be plus:

  • Change the number of nights in Nosy Be and add in some extra excursions
  • Add a night in Joffreville near Amber Mountain (recommended)
  • Take off the Andasibe option to shorten it (8 nights)

Note: Extra night in Tana
There are now direct flights from Nosy Be to Johannesburg (but only once a week, currently Sundays). So you may not need a final night back at Tana. But if you are flying back to Europe, you may need add an extra night in Tana at the end. We will include this once we know about your flight plans…

See Day by Day
Day 1

Transfer to your Tana hotel, Royal Palissandre or similar, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast

On arrival at Ivato (Antananarivo) Airport, you are met and transferred to your hotel in Tana. On your way you will see rice paddies, and a colourful patch-work of houses. Plus all the daily life in this city of about 2 million inhabitants. Tananarivians mostly live from day to day jobs. This is called “Ady Gasy”: tires repairing, selling Chinese-made products in the streets, selling scrap.

City Tour – Time Permitting
Depending on your flight time, you will start with a tour of the city. We begin in the hills above the city with a visit to Ambohimangat, one of the 12 sacred hills of Tana. This is a World heritage site as classified UNESCO. This historical place was where the King Andrianampoinimerina started to unify the different kingdoms into one Madagascar. It still holds a strong spiritual significance. People go there with offerings and ask the blessing from the holy king sprit. From the palace you have a panoramic view over Tana. We return to the city where we tour for high, low and middle parts of the city – both in elevation and in wealth.

Tana, (as the capital city of Madagascar, Antananarivo, is conveniently called) is a brightly coloured mélange of French colonial architecture, multistoried houses and narrow alleys.

Tana must have been a beautiful city at one time. Today, the city is quite often a shock to first time visitors – throngs of people, buildings in a state of decay, street urchins, hooting and belching old French cars and the lively hustle and bustle of the street markets, all combine to make Antananarivo (Tana) a bit overwhelming at first. But Tana is quite a fascinating city to explore. The city sprawls over several hills with lots of narrow houses, cobblestone streets and stone staircases linking one street to another. Each street seems lined with traders and the array of merchandise on offer in the stalls and markets is in a class of its own. With Malagasy embroidery, semi-precious stones and local crafts all jumbled up together.

Royal Palissandre Hotel
The attractive 4 star Royal Palissandre Hotel is one of the more modern of the Tana hotels. It has a pleasant hillside setting overlooking the ‘City of Thousands’. There are 46 are simply furnished but well-appointed rooms. All have air conditioning, polished wooden floors, safe, minibar, TV, Wi-Fi, telephone and full bathroom with bath and shower.

Accommodation: Royal Palissandre Hotel
Located in: Antananarivo - Madagascar

Day 2

Scenic Road Transfer to Andasibe, 2 nights Vakona Forest Lodge, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast

You are collected by your guide and drive to the Eastern Rainforests and Andasibe. This scenic transfer takes approx 3-3½ hours on a good but winding road with picturesque scenery en route. Along the way there are lovely views of rice paddies and the unique red-bricked houses of the Merina people, the dominant culture in this region.

You have the rest of the day to explore the forests at your own leisure. From late August to March you may be able to join an optional night walk into the park to see the nocturnal lemur species and tenrecs amongst others.

Andasibe National Park

The eastern rainforests Andasibe National Park in Madagascar are a must-see on any Madagascar lemur safari. The tropical montane rainforest of Madagascar is one of the densest in the world and its floral diversity is particularly rich. A big part of that attraction is the appeal of the Indri lemurs which have their own special protected part of the Andasibe park.

The lovely Vakona Forest Lodge lies 8 kilometres from Andasibe (Périnet), between Andasibe and the Mantadia National Park. The building has been designed around an octagonal reception area (common in Malagasy architecture) with a lounge, bar and restaurant with a huge fireplace in the middle to keep the airy space warm in winter. There’s also a small library. Outside you can relax on the veranda overlooking the forest and lake or around the large central swimming pool.

Day 3

Walking in Mantadia National Park

Today you have a morning expedition to explore the rainforest with the Park’s specialist guides. You set off early for a walking tour of the Mantadia National Park. Typically this is usually a morning tour of 4-5 hours but there are longer trails on offer. But i you don’t wish to walk so far or long, there are easier trails of two hours.

Mantadia Reserve
This is much wilder than the Indri Special Reserve and has a mix of terrain, with some steeper trails, so it’s best if you are reasonably fit. The forest is much thicker and more pristine but you are rewarded with varied wildlife sightings such as the diademed sifaka (the so-called dancing lemur), the black-and-white ruffed lemur, common brown lemur, red-bellied lemur and the grey bamboo lemur.

Accommodation: Vakona Forest Lodge
Located in: Andasibe National Park - Madagascar

Day 4

Morning lemur walk, Return to Royal Palissandre Hotel or similar,  Dinner, Bed & Breakfast

We recommend taking the very early morning walk into the most accessible part of Andasibe National Park, the Indri Special Reserve to see the lemurs whilst they are most active. The 810ha ‘reserve within a reserve’ has several well-maintained forest paths, which are mostly gentle in terrain.

The Indri Perinet Special Reserve protects the largest of all the lemurs, the Indri. Standing about a metre high, with a stump for a tail, black-and-white markings and a beguilingly startled expression, the Indri looks more like a bizarre panda than a lemur. You will see them relatively easily, even if you stay on the marked trails, but for longer sightings you must scramble after them through the forest, craning up to exclaim as they execute balletic leaps from tree to tree. Their long back legs are immensely powerful, and an indri can propel itself 10 metres (30ft), executing a turn in mid-air, to grab a new tree and then gaze down benevolently at you!

Walking through the rainforest, as its distinctive siren-like calls emanate from the mist-covered canopy is one of the most memorable experiences of your Madagascar lemur safari. As well as the amazing Indri you may also see the Eastern grey bamboo lemur, red-fronted brown lemur as well as impressive reptiles like Malagasy tree boa and two foot long Parson’s chameleon. You might even be fortunate to see the giraffe-necked Weevil or the golden Mantilla frog.

After lunch (for your own account), you return to Tana in the afternoon. Depending on your flight schedule on Day 5, you stay either at the Palissandre Hotel or at one of the airport hotels, such as Relais des Plateau, if you have an early morning flight.

Accommodation: Royal Palissandre Hotel
Located in: Antananarivo - Madagascar

Day 5

Fly to Diego Suarez, Overnight Suarez Hotel, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast

Today you have a road transfer back to Ivato Airport and take the scheduled 2 hour flight from Tana to Diego Suarez in the far north. On arrival, you are transferred to your hotel.

Diego Suarez

Diego Suarez, or Antsiranana as it is also know, is Madagascar’s fifth largest town. It is the place where the first Europeans landed to the island. Traditionally rated second in beauty after Rio de Janeiro , this imposing bay is encircled by hills, with a conical ‘Pain de sucre’ (sugar loaf) mountain in the middle of one of the bays.

The port’s isolation behind its mountain barrier and its long association with non-Malagasy races has given it an unusually cosmopolitan population. This is the domain of Antakarana (meaning “those of the rocks”) people. They are usually fishermen or cattle grazers whose rulers came from the Sakalava dynasty. Their houses are usually raised on stilts.

Depending on your flight arrival time, you visit the beautiful Three bays of Diego. The Sakalava Bay, the Bay of Pigeons and the Dune Bay will blow your mind. Their long white-sand beaches are wild and almost empty. The calm sea varies in color from green to turquoise. You will have a picnic lunch on site before ending your loop in Ramena fishing village. On your way back to Diego Suarez, you will enjoy the colors of the sunset on the Sugarloaf Mountain. Diego’s bay is listed among the 10 most beautiful bays in the world.

Accommodation: Nature Lodge
Located in:

Day 6

Explore Amber Mountain National Park then head to Ankarana (145km) 2 nights Relais de Ankarana

Today you head 45 minutes south from Diego (40km) passing through Joffreville, a French colonial town with some dilapidated colonial buildings and a relaxed ambience, and then to Amber Mountain.

This montane rainforest on a volcanic massif ranges in altitude from 850m to 1,475m. It has its own micro-climate with a rainfall equal to the eastern rainforests. (So it makes quite a contrast to the dry and sometimes hot Diego Suarez!

It is one of the most visitor-friendly of all the protected areas of Madagascar, with broad walking trails, lush montane forest, picturesque crater lakes, spectacular waterfalls and a comfortable climate (cool and fresh). Its name comes from the amber-coloured resin that oozes from some of its trees and is used medicinally by the local Malagasy people.

You join a local guide for a lovely walking trail to the Sacred mountain waterfall with numerous giant trees, ferns and species of orchid. Mammals that can be seen here include the Sanford’s lemur, the crowned lemur, Rufous mouse lemur and the Amber Mountain fork-marked lemur. But you can add leaf-mimic chameleons, leaf-tailed geckos, frogs, butterflies and the very illusive aye-aye to that list.

Birdwatching is also very rewarding in the Amber Mountain National Park. There are some 77 bird species to be found in this reserve including the Madagascar Crested Ibis, and the Malagasy Kingfisher. This area is also known for its many species of orchids.

In the early afternoon, you continue to Ankarana (3-4 hour drive, 145km)

Note: You can also choose to upgrade to Iharana Bush Camp (DBB)

Accommodation: Le Relais de l’Ankarana
Located in:

Optional Day

Optional Extra Day at Amber Mountain

If you have time, we strongly recommend an extra night here so that you can spend the full day in the park and then get off early to Ankarana, to more time there as well.)

This gives time to do a longer waking trail which takes in three different waterfalls including Antomboka & Sacred waterfalls which has a picturesque pool surrounded by orchids as well as plenty of lemurs and birds.

Stay overnight at Nature Lodge which lies close to the charming village of Joffreville. It is well-positioned to enjoy the surrounding area such as the Amber Mountain, Ankarana Nature Reserve and the Emerald Lake. Its setting on a small hill offers panoramic views of the Diego Suarez bay and the Mozambique Channel. There are 12 spacious thatched chalets built from local wood and bamboo, with mosquito net and spacious en suite shower room. The main lodge, set in a palm-filled garden has a light and airy restaurant and a well-designed bar with some exotic cocktails on the menu. Dinner, Bed & Breakfast

Accommodation: Nature Lodge
Located in:

Day 7

Ankarana National Park

Today you visit the strikingly different Ankarana National Park for a full day of exploration.

Ankarana National Park
The dry, deciduous Ankarana is a really spectacular, bizarre area of natural beauty. The Ankarana reserve is a limestone massif (plateau) surrounded by formidable cliffs and marvelously impressive fields of razor sharp pinnacles which are called tsingy. These are ancient corals which have been sculptured by erosion.

You explore the park on foot to look for lemurs, chameleons and of course the famous limestone tsingy. Underneath the Tsingy are miles of caves, passages and rivers, where one can find crocodiles and blind fish. Some of the largest caves have collapsed, forming isolated pockets of river-fed forest with their own perfectly protected flora and fauna such as Crowned and Sanford’s brown lemur as well as the fossa, one of Madagascar’s few carnivores, the striped civet and ring-tailed mongoose.

There’s a choice of trails from easy to more challenging. A highlight is the famous heart-raising rope bridge across one of the larger canyons.

Accommodation: Le Relais de l’Ankarana
Located in:

Day 8

Drive to Ankify for boat transfer to Nosy Be (180km, 3-4 hours then 45 mins boat)

Today you set off after breakfast and continue south. This 3 hour drive is magnificent through the most fertile land of Madagascar. Drive past orchards of mangos and rows of palm trees as well as ylang ylang, vanilla and cocoa plantations. See how local villages cultivate cocoa, spices (vanilla, pepper, bay rose) and perfume plants (ylang ylang and patchouli) on large plantations. We pass to Ambilobe with its picturesque market.

You arrive at the small fishing village of Ankify which is also the main harbour access Nosy Be.

Here you catch an early afternoon boat transfer across to Nosy Be. On arrival you are transferred to your hotel.

Nosy Be Island

Nosy Be is the largest and best known of several beautiful, seductive islands off the north-west coast of Madagascar. This ‘Perfumed Isle’, as Nosy Be is known, offers lovely sandy beaches and a lush interior alive with the smells of vanilla, ylang-ylang and coffee.The climate is excellent with warm temperatures throughout the year and brief showers in the rainy summer season which are usually at night. More on Nosy Be.

The shallow beaches of Nosy Be are not ideal for serious swimming or snorkeling as the water stays shallow far out to sea, but all hotels have pools and snorkeling and diving excursions can be made to smaller islands with wonderful coral life such as Nosy Komba and Nosy Tanikely.

Choice of Hotels 

This sample tour price is based on L’Heure Hotel in the South-west of the island, a mid-range hotel on a beautiful long beach. But there are plenty of other options ranging from Tsara Kombo to Sakatia Lodge.

Days 9 to 11

Relaxing on Nosy Be, Bed & Breakfast

You can opt for relaxing on the beach or around the hotel pool or you can take one of the many optional tours. We have included the tour to Nosy Komba and Nosy Tanikely (but it can be taken out if you prefer)

Day 9

Visit to Nosy Komba and Nosy Tanikely

Close to Nosy Be lie the small mountainous islands of Nosy Komba and Nosy Tanikely. These can be visited jointly as a day excursion from Nosy Be.

Nosy Komba is a beautiful rocky island where lush rainforest-covered hills drop steeply into the surrounding azure waters. It is known for its ring-tailed lemurs, brown lemurs and black lemurs. The lemurs at Nosy Komba are very tame, providing very good photo opportunities. The bustling island markets are full of embroidered white lace, colourful sarongs and wooden carvings. This is quite a touristy experience but the lace table-cloths are beautiful and a reminder of Madagascar.

After visiting the lemur sanctuary, you head to Nosy Tanikely which is a marine reserve, with coral reefs offering wonderful opportunities for snorkeling and diving. Here you enjoy a picnic lunch on the beach with time set aside for swimming and snorkeling on the reef. You see an amazing variety of marine life – coral, starfish, anemones, every colour and shape of fish even turtles sometimes


Optional Tour (extra cost) to Lokobe Reserve

Lokobe Special Reserve is a small rainforest reserve in the south of the island known for its brown lemurs as well as the smallest chameleon in the world.

This is quite the experience! You are transferred to Ambatozavavy village where you take a pirogue (dugout canoe) for a boat cruise over to the Lokobe reserve. You spend the morning walking in the tropical rainforest of the reserve spotting the lemurs, chameleons, geckos and even snakes. Situated on the eastern side of the island of Nosy Be, the reserve of Lokobe is the remnant of the indigenous tropical forest of the island. There are 42 species of birds as well as the black lemurs “maccacco maccacco” which is only found in this area. 35 species of reptiles have been seen, seven of which are chameleons.

You return by pirogue to the traditional Malagasy village for lunch. One of the highlights is this lunch in the traditional village where you see the lives of local people first hand. En route back to your hotel, you can stop in town to visit the local markets and shops.

Day 12 - Possible night in Tana

Fly back to Tana

Today you are transferred back to Nosy Be airport. End of Services for price below

Note: There are now direct flights from Nosy Be to Johannesburg (but only once a week, currently on Sundays). So you may not need a final night back at Tana.

But if you are flying back to Europe, you’ll probably have to add an extra night in Tana at the end. We will include this once we know about your flight plans…

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International flights into Madagascar, domestic flights – typical prices are shown but a confirmed price is given on the quote, optional tours, all services & meals not specified, drinks, visa costs and items of a personal nature eg. tips, curios
Other meals, items of a personal nature, gratuities
Best time to go:
All year round but best to avoid the cyclone months of mid January to mid March
Minimum number:
2 pax
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