Day 1 London - In flight
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your journey to London Heathrow Airport and a direct, scheduled South African Airways flight to Johannesburg.
Day 2 Johannesburg - Antananarivo
We arrive in Johannesburg and connect with our onward flight to Madagascar’s Antananarivo Airport, from where we are transferred to the Royal Palissandre Hotel (4T). Dinner is included every evening.
Day 3 Antananarivo - Antsirabe
Our first experience of this remarkable country is of its capital, Antananarivo, known by most as Tana. It enjoys a cool climate, being located in the highland area of Madagascar and we explore on a city tour before wending our way south, through landscapes filled with terraced rice fields and eroded hills, known locally as lavaka. We stop at a local market in Ambatolampy before arriving in Antsirabe, an elegant city reminiscent of Europe. A tour of the city will include visits to a number of local artisan workshops. Our hotel for the evening is the Plumeria Hotel, Antsirabe (3T+).
Day 4 Antsirabe - Ambositra - Ranomafana
The highland landscapes continue as we journey towards Ambositra; pine and eucalyptus forests are interspersed with the brick highland-style houses, decorated with ornately-carved balconies and bright shutters. View the bushfire-resistant Tapia tree, before arriving in Ambositra, popular for its wood-carving and handicraft workshops. After lunch accompanied by folkloric dancing, the scenery changes to lush green tropical forests and Ranomafana National Park - home to many beautiful waterfalls. Our base for the next two nights is the Centrest Sejour Hotel (3T) or Setam Lodge (3T).
Day 5 Ranomafana
The island’s characterful and most famous inhabitants are the subject of this morning’s quest within Ranomafana National Park - the only confirmed habitat area for the two rarest lemurs, the greater bamboo and the golden bamboo lemur. During our search we may spot twelve species in all, in addition to the many types of bird, lizard and butterfly that make their home here and also many species of moss and lichen. The name Ranomafana means hot water and this afternoon you can choose an afternoon walk, or to relax in the thermal waters.
Day 6 Ranomafana - Fianarantsoa - Ambalavao - Ranohira
Depart for Fianarantsoa the capital of the Betsiloo people, where a tour will include the highlights of the city that boasts Madagascar’s university and top schools, living up to its name ‘place of good learning’. In Ambalavao we get a close-up view of the process of making Antaimoro - the lovely papyrus-based paper containing wild flowers. If we are lucky, our visit will coincide with the weekly zebu cattle market - a lively, animated meeting of people from all over the country. We also visit Anja Park, run by the village to raise funds for the local teachers. Our arrival in Lhosy signifies the end of the highlands and we pass through the vast red-soiled savannah of Plateau de l’Horombe before reaching Ranohira - the gateway to Isalo National Park - and we spend two nights at the Satrana Lodge (3T+).
Day 7 Isalo National Park
We take a walking tour through Isalo National Park, encompassing 815 square kilometres of rugged sandstone rocks, hewn by rain and wind erosion into dramatic canyons, impressive gorges and stalagmite pinnacles. As the area is used as a burial place of the Bara people, we may spy tombs inside the rocks as we walk. Our ascent will be rewarded by spectacular views of the mountains’ changing colours and eroded shapes, plus the sifaka and brown and ring-tailed lemur may be spotted en route. Late afternoon the day is topped off with a sunset view at ‘La Fenêtre de l’Isalo’, before we return to our lodge.
Day 8 Ranohira - Tuléar - Ifaty
We visit the once small village of Ilakaka - which exploded in population upon the discovery of sapphire deposits in 1998. Traversing Zombitse National Park, we enter the dry south and pass the ‘plateaux des baobabs’ of Andranomaintso - these upside-down looking trees are an icon of Madagascar - before arriving in Tuléar for a city tour. Situated on the Tropic of Capricorn, the city was one of the main harbours of the colonial-era and is now a cosmopolitan collection of different cultures and traditions, being home to many different tribes of people. Continuing to the north, along the sandy coastal road lined with mangroves and dunes, we will see many fishing villages; in this area the men fish twice a day in their dugout canoes known as pirogues, for the women and children to collect and deliver to Tuléar. Our Lodge for the next two nights is the Hotel La Mira de Madio Rano (3T+), in Ifaty.
Day 9 Ifaty
An early morning start is required for a visit to Reniala Reserve, filled with different types of baobab and thorny bush. The reserve is also an excellent spot for bird watching, searching for some of Madagascar’s unique species. Returning to the hotel for breakfast, the remainder of the day is free to spend as you wish - perhaps on the beach, watching the fisherman earning their living.
Day 10 Ifaty - Tuléar - Antananarivo
Journeying back to Tuléar, a flight returns us to Antananarivo, where on arrival we transfer to the Royal Palissandre Hotel (4T).
Day 11 Antananarivo - Andasibe
Back in the fresh highland climate for only a few hours, our journey to Andasibe takes us into humid landscapes of rainforest and lakes, rich in plants and wildlife. We arrive and check in at Vakona Forest Lodge (3T) and later travel to the local village, to meet members of the predominant tribe of Madagascar’s east coast - the Betsimisaraka people. Before dinner, an evening walk will be a perfect opportunity to look for nocturnal animals.
Day 12 Andasibe
For wildlife lovers, today is likely to be a big highlight, as we take an excursion to the large tropical rainforest, Andasibe National Park. The park is home to nine species of lemur, including the largest - the critically-endangered indri; known for its distinctively loud call, it features in many Malagasy myths and legends. As well as the indri, there are plentiful other unique species, orchids, chameleons and many birds. Returning to the lodge, its private park is one of the best spots for photographing lemurs, with species including the bamboo and brown lemur.
Day 13 Andasibe - Antananarivo
Our journey back to Antananarivo includes a stop at Peyrieras Reptile Reserve, a small reserve home to a collection of reptiles, amphibians and butterflies and located close to a forest occupied by sifaka and common brown lemur. Continue to Ambohimanga - a sacred hill and King’s Palace (rova) - a place of immense historical, cultural, and spiritual significance and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our hotel for the night is the Royal Palissandre Hotel (4T).
Day 14 Antananarivo - In flight
Our adventure over, we transfer to Antananarivo Airport for a scheduled South African Airways flight to Johannesburg and onward flight to London.
Day 15 London
Arrival at London Heathrow where you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.