Trekking holiday in Madagascar

“There's no better way to immerse yourself in the "Lost World" of Madagascar than on foot. This trip combines camping and hotels with portered multi- and single-day treks.”


Antananarivo | Ambositra | Trek in Antoetra | Visiting local villages | Ranomafana National Park | Ambalavao | Andringitra National Park | 3-day trek up Peak Boby | Anya Reserve | Lemurs | 2-day trek in Isalo National Park | Ifaty Beach

Description of Trekking holiday in Madagascar

One of the world’s most biodiverse and beautiful islands, trekking in Madagascar is most definitely one of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in natural beauty. Slow travel at its most serene and sensuous, we take in rainforests, waterfalls , cloud forests, natural swimming pools and, of course, the sights and sounds of Madagascar’s eclectic wildlife.

This holiday is not a walk in the park, however, with treks that we rate as moderate to challenging, staying in hotels for eight nights, but also hiking and camping for five nights with full porterage. They are walks in national parks however, with treks in no less than three of them: first, Ranomafana NP where hikes take you up through various ecosystems including rainforest and cloud forest to an elevation of 1000m. This is wildlife central with chances to spot various species of lemurs, reptiles, chameleons, mongooses and a vast array of birdlife. An evening walk here brings all sorts of nocturnal creatures out to play too.

Then onto Andringitra N.P, considered by many to be the island’s most magnificent and where we will spend three days trekking to Peak Boby, the highest point of the great granite Andringitra Massif. This is a journey that takes us from 650m to 2,658m, with over a hundred bird species en route that fill the luscious forests and echo around the waterfalls and even a forest of palm trees. This is three days of trekking paradise.

Isalo NP is a much more rugged experience, where our two day trek takes us through sandstone landscapes that have been eroded into dramatic ridges and canyons, with rocky spires sticking up sporadically across this magnificent terrain. As does its wildlife, with lemurs a plenty.

Visiting local communities is also a core part of this trekking holiday in Madagascar and so, in between hiking, we are welcomed into the Zafimaniry villages around Antoetra. These are the indigenous people of the Central Highlands whose wood carvings and artisan skills, including their house building ones, are protected by UNESCO as Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

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11 Apr 2020
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Our top tip:
Madagascar's highlands are surprisingly damp and chilly. Bring warm layers, especially for Peak Boby.
Trip type:
Small group tour, min. age 18. Average 4-16 people.
Activity level:
Moderate/challenging. Av. 5-8 hrs trekking, 7-15km.
8 nights simple hotels with en suite, 5 nights basic camping.
Solo travellers welcome. Single rooms available with surcharge.
Accom, transport, tour leader, local guides, porters, listed activities. Intl. flights if booked.
All breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners. Allow around £150 for extra meals, extra for drinks.
Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Trekking holiday in Madagascar

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.


Few holidays have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a trekking trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. Our tours are designed to entertain as well as inform about wildlife issues and promote animal welfare. When we visit National Parks such as Ranomafana , Andringitra and Isalo N.P, we pay park fees which contribute to the upkeep of these parks and the myriad of unique (and sometimes endangered) species which can be found there e.g. ring-tailed lemurs and baoab trees. Local guides are also employed when we enter these reserves. This creates employment and gives clients an altogether more informative, genuine experience.

Water is a really important issue with cycling trips and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. Lack of recycling is already a massive problem in India so we suggest that instead of repeatedly buying bottled water, guests should re-fill a singular bottle

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.


Accommodation and Meals:
We will be spending the most of the trip in tourist class hotels and five nights in full service camping. The vast majority of the staff is from nearby villages and they even offer accommodation for staff staying in villages further away. This industry is a great source of employment for local people, so by staying in these hotels and campsites we are providing a steady source of income for local communities. You will also find that some of the hotels have solar panels -meaning a smaller carbon footprint- whereas many work on their own electricity generators but switch them off from around 22:00 to 07:00. In terms of meals, hotels will source local produce as much as possible and clients are encouraged to explore local restaurants and markets if convenient. In Ambalavao, we can even stop at a wine farm and buy straight from the source of production. The cuisine has been strongly influenced by the French and the seafood is particularly fresh.

Local Craft and Culture:
Although this is a largely nature based trip, we incorporate as much benefit to local people as possible. One of the ways to support local people and boost the economy is to buy crafts along the roads in the smaller villages which we pass. There is some very creative Zafimaniry craftsmanship in Madagascar using recycled materials to create toys, decorate items and jewellery. For example, in Antsirabe, people sell souvenirs made from aluminium cans and in Ambostria, they use recuperated wood. The Zafimaniry people are renowned for intricate woodcarvings and this can be observed even in the decoration of village houses. Guides are careful to explain that anything made from animal parts and shells should not be purchased as this trade is detrimental to many of the wonderful species we find here.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

2 Reviews of Trekking holiday in Madagascar

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 17 Nov 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Conquering the Grand Tsingy

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for the long travelling days and the risk of an upset stomach (take supplies of Imodium and rehydration sachets). Saying that, the rewards are an abundance of wildlife and amazing landscapes that are unique and a once in a lifetime experience.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The tour did visit a local wildlife sanctuary and our tour leader did find out of the way places in small villages to purchase food and gifts.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Our Tour Leader was very knowledgeable and looked after the group very well. The trip is filled with a varied and extremely interesting itinerary that includes amazing landscapes and unique wildlife.

Reviewed on 22 Jul 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Singing around the campfire with the porters and impressive landscape in Isalo

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

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

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. Locals were used as porters and in Ifaty a local group provided entertainment in the Hotel

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent. It was very well organised, made the most of the time available (which made for a very busy schedule). I was pleasantly surprised by the varying landscape

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