Madagascar In Depth: Lemurs, Baobabs, and Stone Forests

A Wildlife and Cultural Expedition with Roger Williams


Join veteran Trip Leader Roger Williams on this extraordinary expedition to Madagascar. Known for his talent for creating comprehensive journeys to remote areas of the world, Roger has designed one of the most in-depth explorations of this magical country, which shelters exotic plants and animals found nowhere else on earth, including more than 100 species of lemur and wildly colorful chameleons. Along with Trip Leader Assistant Vy Raharinosy, who is superbly knowledgeable about the culture, history, and wildlife of his native country, Roger will bring you deep into Madagascar's incredible national parks and reserves, from surreal spiny desert ecosystems to lush rainforests—we’ll see the best the country has to offer! Highlights include Berenty Private Reserve, the best place to see “dancing” sifaka lemurs, and the Kirindy Forest, where we can search for the elusive cat-like fossa, Madagascar’s largest carnivore. Along with a choice of guided walks, we’ll meet wildlife researchers and visit reforestation projects. Want more adventure? Join a pre-trip extension to Ankarana and Amber Mountain national parks.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2, Apr 2- 3, 2022
Antananarivo, Madagascar

Arrive in Antananarivo, often called simply “Tana.” Enjoy a welcome dinner and overnight in the capital. The next day, drive through scenic countryside of terraced rice paddies to Antsirabe, a former French colonial town in the highlands.

Pallisandre Hotel
Antananarivo, Madagascar
Day 1 (1 night), Day 17 (1 night), Day 25 (1 night)
Couleur Cafe
Antsirabe, Madagascar
Day 2 (1 night)
Days 3-6, Apr 4- 7, 2022
Ranomafana National Park

This lush rainforest shelters many species of lemurs, including red-bellied, black-and-white ruffed, red-fronted brown, eastern bamboo, and Milne-Edwards’ sifaka—as well as the rare golden bamboo lemur. We’ll enjoy day and night walks as we look for lemurs, geckos, and chameleons such as the nose-horned, carpet, canopy, and Perinet chameleons. Ranomafana is also home to a multitude of bird species, including the blue coua, broad-billed roller, velvet asity, and slender-billed flufftail. On one evening here, we enjoy a private talk with a wildlife researcher.

Hotel Thermal
Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar
Days 3 to 5 (3 nights)
Tsienimparihy Lodge
Betsileo, Madagascar
Day 6 (1 night)
Days 7-8, Apr 8- 9, 2022
Isalo National Park

Heading south into the tapia woodlands and palm savannas of the high plateaus, we explore Isalo National Park, whose landscape is dominated by a Jurassic sandstone massif eroded by the elements into surreal ridges, and there are impressive gorges and canyons as well as tiny stalagmite pinnacles. The park shelters endemic plants, ring-tail, red-fronted brown, and Verreaux's Sifaka lemurs, as well as sacred Bara burial sites in the high cliffs.

Hotel Le Jardin Du Roy
Isalo National Park, Madagascar
Days 7 to 9 (3 nights)
Day 9, Apr 10, 2022
Zombitse National Park

Zombitse-Vohibasia Park is a rare example of Madagascar's dry, deciduous forest. The park acts as a transition zone between the dry and the humid forests of Madagascar and as a result has a high level of biodiversity. Baobabs and several species of orchids are common here as well as multiple types of lemurs including Verreaux´s sifaka, red-fronted brown, ring-tailed, white-footed sportive, and the Hubbard's sportive lemurs.

Hotel Le Jardin Du Roy
Isalo National Park, Madagascar
Days 7 to 9 (3 nights)
Days 10-13, Apr 11-14, 2022
Berenty Private Reserve

A small private park that preserves a third of Madagascar’s remaining tamarind forest, Berenty is a superb place to see a variety of lemurs, from friendly ring-tails to superbly acrobatic sifakas, known for their death-defying tree leaps and the sideways hops they use to get around on the ground.

Berenty Lodge
Berenty, Madagascar
Days 10 to 12 (3 nights)
La Croix du Sud
Fort Dauphin, Madagascar
Day 13 (1 night)
Days 14-16, Apr 15-17, 2022
Fort Dauphin / Morondava / Kirindy Forest

We view unique baobab trees and plant some baobab seedlings, enjoy an outrigger canoe ride to a traditional fishing village, watch the sunrise over the Avenue of the Baobabs, and discover the Kirindy Forest, a highly threatened ecosystem and habitat for the Verreaux's sifaka lemur and several endemic chameleons. It is also the most likely place to see the elusive cat-like fossa, Madagascar's largest carnivore.

Hotel Palissandre Cote Ouest
Morondava, Madagascar
Days 14 to 16 (3 nights)
Days 17-20, Apr 18-21, 2022
Tana / Andasibe National Park / Mantadia / Lemur Island

We enjoy a visit to a school outside Tana, then continue through highland countryside to the upland rainforests of Andasibe, whose montane forest has a wealth of lush fern and orchid species, fantastic birdlife, and colorful reptiles including huge Parson’s chameleons, and is also home to the famed Indri lemurs. Our hikes give us a good opportunity to become familiar with the special flora and fauna of Madagascar’s eastern rainforests, and we visit the friendly lemurs on Lemur Island.

Pallisandre Hotel
Antananarivo, Madagascar
Day 17 (1 night), Day 25 (1 night)
Mantadia Lodge
Andasibe National Park, Madagascar
Days 18 to 20 (3 nights)
Days 21-23, Apr 22-24, 2022
Panganales Canal / Palmarium Reserve

The Pangalanes Canal is a series of rivers, waterways, and lakes that runs down the east coast of Madagascar for over 400 miles and we’ll ride along a portion of the canal. Accessible only by boat, the isolation of the forested banks of the Palmarium Reserve is one of the few places where it's possible to come close to some of the least timid and tamer species on the island including the Indri and the sifaka. We take walks through rainforests watching for lemurs, birds, and other wildlife.

Palmarium Lodge
Toamasina, Madagascar
Days 21 to 22 (2 nights)
Calypso Hotel
Tamatave, Madagascar
Days 23 to 24 (2 nights)
Days 24-26, Apr 25-27, 2022
Ivolonia Park / Tamatave / Depart

We spend a day in the 10 acre sanctuary of Ivoloina Park, visit the famous bazaar in the center of Tamatave, and enjoy a Farewell Dinner in Antananarivo before departing on Day 26.

Calypso Hotel
Tamatave, Madagascar
Days 23 to 24 (2 nights)
Pallisandre Hotel
Antananarivo, Madagascar
Day 25 (1 night)



Choice of hiking options, fascinating night walks, early morning walks for birders
Visit local villages, partake in a reforestation project, and sample traditional Malagasy cuisine
Excellent opportunities to photograph Verreaux’s “dancing” sifaka lemurs, ring-tailed lemurs, and red-fronted brown lemurs
Watch the sunrise at the Avenue of Baobabs
Enjoy a pre-trip extension to Ankarana and Amber Mountain national parks


Length: 26 days
Cost From: $11,595  
Arrive: Antananarivo, Madagascar
Depart: Antananarivo, Madagascar
Lodging: 24 nights hotels and wildlife lodges
Meals: All meals included except 1 dinner as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Walking, Wildlife and Natural History, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

Easy to moderate nature walks, rugged road travel