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Madagascar holidays

We have 37 Madagascar holidays to choose from. Discover this magical island isolated from the African mainland for 160 million years and home to unique wildlife and fascinating cultures. Our Madagascar holidays offer a great chance to experience the natural wonders and have authentic encounters with local people. All of our Madagascar holidays are run by people dedicated to responsible tourism, protecting the environment and supporting local communities.

Madagascar holidays
Madagascar North Coast adventure holiday
Action packed expedition through wild north east Madagascar, from £2295 (14 days) ex flights
Madagascar wildlife holiday
Explore Madagascar's lemur-rich reserves on a private tour, from £3990 - £4560 (14 days) inc UK flights
Madagascar holiday, private departure
Private adventure incl. Mada's rivers, forests & mountains, from £1595 (14 days) ex flights
Southern Madagascar holidays, Lemurs, baobabs & beaches
Taking in its most diverse environments at comfortable pace, from £1595 (11 days) ex flights
Small group holidays to Madagascar
Experience the best of this enigmatic island continent, from £2395 (17 days) ex flights
Madagascar tailor made holiday, Reef and Rainforest
An easy two-week lemur-rich rainforest & beach holiday, from £2980 - £3650 (12 days) inc UK flights
Trekking holiday in Madagascar
Explore the incredible diversity of Madagascar, from £2699 - £3349 (17 days) inc UK flights
Trekking holiday in Southern Madagascar
Amazing trek through the mountains and valleys of Madagascar, from £2195 (14 days) ex flights
Madagascar north coast nature holiday
A Nature Guided adventure to Northern Madagascar, from £1750 (12 days) ex flights
Madagascar rafting expedition
Explore a remote area of Madagascar on this unique trip, from £1950 (13 days) ex flights
Highlights of Madagascar holiday
Described as 'a living museum', from £2549 - £3099 (16 days) inc UK flights
Highlights of Madagascar holiday, tailor made
Explore the incredible wildlife of the island continent, from £1700 (12 days) ex flights
Madagascar holidays, island adventure
Endemic Wildlife, Tropical Forests & a Luxury Private Island, from £3860 (14 days) ex flights
Madagascar holidays, The lost continent
Experience the culture and wildlife of Madagascar, from £2499 - £2905 (15 days) inc UK flights
Trekking and rafting expedition in Madagascar
Unique expedition exploring the little visited regions of Madagascar, from £1595 (12 days) ex flights
Madagascar adventure holiday, canoes & camping
Exciting family adventure combining activities and nature, from £1695 (14 days) ex flights
Madagascar tailor made holiday
Rainforests, lemurs & other endemic wildlife of Madagascar, from £4150 (19 days) ex flights
Madagascar tailor made holiday, nature & wildlife
Madagascar Wildlife, lemurs, flora fauna and beaches, from £3695 (16 days) ex flights
Eastern Madagascar trekking holiday
Climb majestic mountains, dense forest, waterfalls and more, from £1495 (14 days) ex flights
Southern Madagascar holiday, forests and beaches
Luxury Madagascar private tour visiting the remote south, from £4070 - £4630 (11 days) inc UK flights
Madagascar wildlife tours
Group tour to Madagascar's most popular wildlife hotspots, from £3995 (18 days) inc UK flights
Madagasca small group holiday
Endemic species & truly incredible scenery, from £3249 - £3799 (17 days) inc UK flights
Madagascar school building project
Support an award-winning NGO building rural schools in Madagascar, from £595 (14 days) ex flights
Madagascar wildlife tour
Madagascar discovered, from £2195 (13 days) ex flights

26 reviews for Madagascar holidays4 star overall rating

These full and frank independent Madagascar holidays reviews are from travellers who have booked directly through responsibletravel.com. They are not edited by us or any of the companies we work with. Find the real story, from real travellers below.

Madagascar tailor made holiday, Reef and Rainforest
Brilliant, eye opening, once in a lifetime experience...Seeing and hearing the Indri in Andasibe was breathtaking and our guide was brilliant. (more)Anita Chapman
This was an absolutely superb adventure, great people, amazing wildlife, stunning scenery. (more)Claudia Biedert
Excellent...Seeing lemurs in the wild was the most memorable part. (more)Hilary Wilson
From £2980 - £3650 including UK flights
Small group holidays to Madagascar
The most fantastic holiday we have experienced and totally different from any location we have been to. The tour company was first class in every respect...Be prepared for poverty, humble experiences, lack of electricity but don't let this put anyone off going to this wonderful country. (more)George Bannister
As I expected not 'comfortable' but an amazing experience (more)Jean Maclean
Seeing five out of six possible types of lemur in the first National Park we visited...Excellent. (more)Gill Berry
From £2395 excluding flights
Trekking holiday in Madagascar
Memorable parts? Singing around the campfire with the porters and impressive landscape in Isalo Tips? Dress warm for Peak Boby. Mosquitos are not a problem in July. This is a very busy itinerary, I loved it but for those wanting relaxation or time to themselves this is not the trip for you. Tana is not a great place, if you have extra days don't spend them in Tana Local benefits? Yes. Locals were used as porters and in Ifaty a local group provided entertainment in the Hotel Overall... (more)Jane Feron
From £2699 - £3349 including UK flights
Madagascar school building project
Memorable parts? Going somewhere so completely different, being looked after by friendly, funny, knowledgeable and entertaining local staff. Sharing an experience like that with total strangers who become friends for life. Meeting the kids who will directly benefit from the work you are doing. Hosting a party and dinner for the village. Cramming all of us and all our kit into a truck for hours. The list is endless. Tips? Get in touch with the other volunteers in your group before... (more)Alexis Liming
From £595 excluding flights
Madagascar wildlife tour
Absolutely excellent , very well organised by the travel company, with very few hitches considering the remoteness and difficulty of travelling around. Lovely local guide. Challenging as it was my first trip like this, with a great deal of walking in some tough terrain. Felt invigorated by being motivated by the guide to keep going (more)Jennifer pinder
Seeing a largish hognose snake slither across the path and under the balcony of the chalet I was staying at. It was the first time I've ever seen a snake in the wild...Our guide was excellent and very informative & enthusiastic. (more)Sara Page
From £2195 excluding flights
Madagascar holidays, island adventure
Madagascar proved such an outstanding destination that it almost seems unfair to single out particular highlights...Ace. We loved it from first to last. We covered a great deal of ground and saw so much for the first time. (more)Maggie Wood
The 7 hour night trek (two hours in pirogue up river each way) to look at Madagascar wildlife in the rainforest, most of which in pouring rain, with a very good guide was the highlight. (more)Ann Monk
From £3860 excluding flights
Marine conservation holiday in Madagascar
Was the best thing ive ever done in my life...and if i could afford it i would go straight back (more)Charlie Panayi
The most memorable part of the holiday was meeting people and scuba diving/snorkelling...It was fantastic! (more)Amy Hall
The whole trip was simply amazing!...Firstly the camp is set in the most beautiful place, and on a good night the stars are unbelievable. I've never seen so many! Must have seen at least 5 shooting stars a night as well as the cosmos! (more)Daniel Williams
From £1600 excluding flights
Madagascar rafting expedition
We canoed for two days, negotiated rapids and camped at night on the sandy banks beside the river. The locals were intrigued by these strange foreigners who chose to sleep in tents rather than a hotel but readily came to our rescue when our cooking pots sank to the bottom of the river! (more)Rosemary Llewellin
Most obviously just the many people we met. Everybody says it but it really is true, what a lovely lovely bunch of people to have had the privilege to meet. On the wildlife front, I think the spitting cobra trumped even the komodo dragons! (more)Hayley Fagg
From £1950 excluding flights
Trekking and rafting expedition in Madagascar
Excellent... witnessing the Indri lemurs calling to each other in the trees in front of us and rafting the river rapids were probably my top two memories (more)Kerry Abbiss
Everything, perhaps taking the freight train at 2am alongside mountains of bananas. From the point of landing to our sad farewells it was an unforgettable adventure...Unforgettable. (more)David Phillips
From £1595 excluding flights
Madagascar holidays, The lost continent
A once in a lifetime experience to a country of extremes that will change rapidly and much of the wildlife and unique plants is about to disappear for good! Go while it's still there! (more)Garry Crompton
The leader was fantastic, an enthusiastic, knowledgeable man with great people skills. He had a love of his country that shone through. It was educational and I enjoyed it very much. (more)Linda Brightwell
Seeing the lemurs and all the other wildlife and swimming in the natural rock pool. The speedboat ride to Anakao. Having a rescued lemur jump on my shoulder and lick my nose-such beautiful gentle creatures and so many more. (more)Gill Ash
From £2499 - £2905 including UK flights

Holiday Reviews

You can trust responsibletravel.com reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays. In addition, we don't run these holidays ourselves - our only interest is giving you the best independent advice.

Read our review policy

Unedited reviews from other travellers

5 stars
I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
4 stars
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
3 stars
Very enjoyable
2 stars
It was OK
1 star
A bit disappointing really

Madagascar holidays travel guide


2 minute summary

Having parted ways with mainland Africa over 160 million years ago,
most of Madagascar's flora and fauna is found nowhere else on earth
,
including several species of baobabs, most of its 1,000 orchids and
– of course – the much-loved lemurs.

All destinations are unique, but Madagascar is more unique than most.
Even the Malagasy people – descended from seafarers from Borneo and Polynesia as well as East Africa – are one of a kind, a distinction that is evident in their phenomenal food, infectious music, and deep respect for their ancestors. But uniqueness comes at a cost. Over 90 percent of the island has been deforested to make way for rice fields and livestock, resulting in landslides, flooding, and the extinction of megafauna, including several giant lemurs. Political instability has resulted in this impoverished nation becoming even poorer in recent years, and ever more dependent on the diminishing forests for survival.
However, everyone who enjoys a Madagascar holiday is said to leave a piece of themselves there, having fallen in love with the landscapes, the wildlife and the warmth of the Malagasy culture. It’s well worth a visit – especially now that well-managed tourism is one of the keys to the future of Madagascar’s wildlife – and its people.

A Madagascar holiday is...

Full of local taboos - which have protected its lemurs.

A Madagascar holiday isn't...

Like going to the zoo. You need to work for your wildlife here!

What we rate & what we don't


Our best & worst of Madagascar holidays

The ultimate fusion food, Madagascar

The ultimate fusion food


The Polynesian, African and French influences have created a taste explosion. A zebu steak tops even the best organic beef, while the subtle flavours of coconut, groundnut, vanilla, ginger and local greens add depth to an enormous variety of sauces which accompany rice at every meal. Don’t miss the fruit-based sweet treats and exotic juices. [Close]
Culture in Madagascar

Culture


To describe Madagascar as a wildlife holiday destination is to dismiss one of its greatest assets: its people. Malagasy culture revolves largely around ancestor worship, and local taboos, called ‘fady’. Fady vary from village to village, and may forbid pointing at tombs, hunting certain animals, sitting in doorways during the rice sprouting season, and singing at mealtimes. [Close]
Giving something back

Giving something back


Visitors often wonder what they can do to help during their Madagascar holiday. Many fantastic charities operate here – volunteers can work in community development, construction and reforestation, for example. Alternatively, donate money or necessary items. Shop at local cafes, craft stalls and markets to support the economy directly – you’ll get so much more out of your trip, and so will the community. [Close]
River expeditions, Madagascar

River expeditions


Much of Madagascar can only be accessed by river; there are no roads, but you can canoe along the waterways for several days, camping in remote spots. Hundreds of small communities live along the banks, and you’ll see people going about their business and greeting you – this is one of the most relaxing ways to really discover Malagasy life. [Close]
Lemurs, Madagascar

Lemurs


Everybody loves lemurs. They are believed to have floated across to the island some 60 million years ago, and have now evolved into over 100 species, all unique to Madagascar. Favourites include the panda-faced ring-tailed lemur, the “dancing” sifaka and the metre-long indri, which “sings” like a whale.[Close]
Getting around on foot in Madagascar

Getting around on foot


A holiday in Madagascar offers world-class scenery: towering limestone pinnacles, waterfalls and natural pools, rainforest, highlands and semi-desert. Leaving your vehicle behind allows you to really experience these otherworldly scenes, and multi-day treks will really take you off the tourist track, into true, deserted wildernesses. [Close]
Paddling your way around

Paddling your way around


The shallow, turquoise and jade seas off Madagascar’s north coast make for idyllic kayaking experiences – particularly around Nosy Be, and Masaola Peninsula in the northeast. You can paddle from place to place, trailed by a dhow, take guided tours; cruise along mangrove swamps; and spot fantastic sea life, including dolphins and whales. [Close]
Tsingy de Bemaraha, Madagascar

Tsingy de Bemaraha


Anyone with a well-developed sense of adventure will be right at home in the Tsingy – a spectacular “forest” of tall limestone pinnacles which can be trekked through and scrambled over while wearing harnesses. Getting to the Tsingy is an odyssey in itself: an epic drive or short flight to Morondava, followed by a hike through a lemur-filled forest. [Close]
All-inclusive resorts in Madagascar

All-inclusive resorts


In a country as poor as Madagascar, every pound you spend that goes back into the local economy goes much, much further than expected. Foreign-owned, all-inclusive resorts prevent that money filtering down, so most of what you spend will never benefit the local people at all. You are enjoying a holiday in Madagascar – give something back.[Close]
Antananarivo

Antananarivo


Your Madagascar holiday is likely to start and end here, and while there are enough markets and palaces to keep you amused for a few hours, “Tana” is really not worth spending more time in than necessary. Tourists can feel hassled, prices are inflated and the characteristic, laid-back Malagasy vibe is less evident in the urban sprawl. [Close]
“Life-changing” volunteering

“Life-changing” volunteering


Volunteer organisations claiming to “change your life” are missing the point. In a country as desperately poor and undeveloped as Madagascar, the priority must be improving the situation for local people and conserving the rapidly vanishing environment – and this means hard work. Holidays disguised as voluntourism erode trust and can do more harm than good. Do your research. [Close]
The Nosy Be “bubble”

The Nosy Be “bubble”


Madagascar’s holiday “capital” is certainly a beautiful tropical island – but with its international airport, all-inclusive resorts, yacht trips and expensive restaurants, visitors to Nosy Be are likely to never experience anything of Madagascar. Step away from your sun lounger and get to know the people, landscapes and cuisine that make this country so exceptional. [Close]

Food, shopping & people


Travel like a local on your Madagascar holiday

Eating & drinking in Madagascar


Madagascar’s diverse, delicious cuisine has Malayo-Polynesian, East African and French influences.
Rice – called vary – is eaten at every meal, with an accompaniment known as Laoka. Laoka contains seafood, pork or beef, along with veg such as shredded leaves, sweet potato, nuts or maize.
Highland laoka often has a tomato-based sauce, while coastal laoka uses coconut – seasoned with clove, vanilla, mild curry or ginger.
Zebu cattle are a Malagasy status symbol. They produce a phenomenally tasty steak.
The Malagasy revere their ancestors. People live in simple wooden houses, but are buried in elaborate concrete tombs. Their remains are periodically shown around the village, and reburied in a "bone turning" ceremony.

People & language


Although Madagascar’s people speak one language and are all known as Malagasy, there are 18 main subcultures and numerous dialects. The Malagasy split broadly into two main groups: the highland people, typically of more Asian descent, and the coastal people, who look more East African. The main highland group is the Merina, who are descendants of Madagascar’s monarchs.

Greet someone in a rural area:
“Salama!”

Tell your host your meal was delicious:
“Matsiro be”

If you hear
“Tonga sao!”:
when entering a village, you are being welcomed.
 

Gifts & shopping


Wood carving is highly skilled with regional specialities, including panels, ornaments, trays and furniture. Be sure not to buy illegal hardwoods, such as rosewood and ebony.

Enjoyed the zebu? Buy a bangle, spoon or cup carved from zebu horn as a souvenir.

Raffia is native to Madagascar. It is used throughout the island to weave bags, baskets and mats.

The French encouraged a rich tradition of embroidery, including colourful, intricate tablecloths, cushion covers and purses. Take a look at Stitch Sainte Luce’s online shop for examples – the project has trained embroiderers and created employment in some of the poorest communities.

Fast facts


Euros are the most widely exchangeable currency in Madagascar, and higher value notes obtain a better exchange rate.

How much does it cost?


Bottle of Three Horses Beer: £1.10
Zebu steak in a restaurant: £2.90
Rice dishes on the street: 75p
1kg of lychees: 25p
One zebu: £100

A brief history of Madagascar


Traditionally ruled by the Merina – highland people of Indonesian descent – Madagascar fell under French rule in the 1880s, leaving a lasting legacy on the island’s cuisine, architecture and textiles industry. After decades of discontent and rebellion, Madagascar finally gained independence in 1960. Military rule, a coup d’état, and accusations of rigged elections plagued the island, with the political elite and the army fighting it out at the top as the rest of the nation endured a lack of infrastructure, inadequate healthcare and devastating cyclones which left hundreds of thousands homeless.
Widespread and violent political unrest followed another suspected military coup. The international community imposed sanctions against Madagascar, severing trade agreements and withdrawing aid. The result on the population has been rising food prices, increasing poverty and child mortality, reduced access to education and the clearing of yet more forests, to make more space for growing food. Few outside the main cities are aware of the complexities of political events and international policy – but everyone has been severely affected by them.
Photo credits: [Ultimate food fusion: Augustine Fou] [Malagasy dancers: Azafady] [Giving something back - construction: Cleo Dane Legge, Frontierofficial] [River Expeditions: Pioneer Expeditions] [Lemurs - indri: Frank Vassen] [Getting around on foot: Tia Shah, Frontierofficial] [Paddling your way around: Pioneer Expeditions] [Antananarivo: reibai ] ["Life-changing" volunteering: Amber Goodwin, Frontierofficial ] [Eating & drinking: belgianchocolate ] [People & language: Lalaina Andriamisaina ] [Gifts & shopping: Stitch Sainte Luce] [How much does it cost (lychees): THOR]
Madagascar North Coast adventure holiday
Action packed expedition through wild north east Madagascar, from £2295 (14 days) ex flights
Madagascar tailor made holiday, Reef and Rainforest
An easy two-week lemur-rich rainforest & beach holiday, from £2980 - £3650 (12 days) inc UK flights
Trekking holiday in Madagascar
Explore the incredible diversity of Madagascar, from £2699 - £3349 (17 days) inc UK flights
Madagascar wildlife holiday
Explore Madagascar's lemur-rich reserves on a private tour, from £3990 - £4560 (14 days) inc UK flights
Madagascar holiday, private departure
Private adventure incl. Mada's rivers, forests & mountains, from £1595 (14 days) ex flights
Small group holidays to Madagascar
Experience the best of this enigmatic island continent, from £2395 (17 days) ex flights
Southern Madagascar holidays, Lemurs, baobabs & beaches
Taking in its most diverse environments at comfortable pace, from £1595 (11 days) ex flights
Madagascar holidays, island adventure
Endemic Wildlife, Tropical Forests & a Luxury Private Island, from £3860 (14 days) ex flights
Trekking and rafting expedition in Madagascar
Unique expedition exploring the little visited regions of Madagascar, from £1595 (12 days) ex flights
Highlights of Madagascar holiday, tailor made
Explore the incredible wildlife of the island continent, from £1700 (12 days) ex flights
Madagascar holidays, The lost continent
Experience the culture and wildlife of Madagascar, from £2499 - £2905 (15 days) inc UK flights
Highlights of Madagascar holiday
Described as 'a living museum', from £2549 - £3099 (16 days) inc UK flights
Madagascar rafting expedition
Explore a remote area of Madagascar on this unique trip, from £1950 (13 days) ex flights
Madagascar adventure holiday, canoes & camping
Exciting family adventure combining activities and nature, from £1695 (14 days) ex flights
Madagascar tailor made holiday
Rainforests, lemurs & other endemic wildlife of Madagascar, from £4150 (19 days) ex flights
Trekking holiday in Southern Madagascar
Amazing trek through the mountains and valleys of Madagascar, from £2195 (14 days) ex flights
Eastern Madagascar trekking holiday
Climb majestic mountains, dense forest, waterfalls and more, from £1495 (14 days) ex flights
Madagascar north coast nature holiday
A Nature Guided adventure to Northern Madagascar, from £1750 (12 days) ex flights
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