The Eastern part of Madagascar is home to some of the most accessible and therefore visited parts of the island including the unique capital, one of the most popular national parks to see the islands iconic wildlife and a stunning tropical island escape. For those who are short of time this area of the country can easily provide a fantastic 7-10 night trip combining culture, wildlife and beaches.
The capital of Madagascar Antananarivo, often just called 'Tana' is located in the highlands at the heart of the country. It is the real hub of any trip, almost all international and domestic flights, and most roads start here, so it is almost impossible for any trip not to include at least a couple of stops in the capital. Although the capital has all the hustle and bustle like most African cities, it has a certain charm and unique quality, due to its rolling hills, paddy fields, colourful houses, grand churches, long avenues and narrow winding streets. This makes it unlike anywhere else and is well worth staying a night or two. Our pick if you are staying for a couple of nights is Lokanga Hotel , or for convenience close to the airport Relais Des Plateaux .
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is a fantastic place to experience Madagascar’s lush endemic rainforest. The highlights are two protected areas, the Perinet Special Reserve and Mantadia National Park. The journey to Andasibe offers first time visitors to Madagascar a gentle introduction to rural life with rice fields, redbrick houses and roadside stalls selling seasonal fruits and vegetables lining the route and from Antananarivo it is only a 3 hour drive.
The Perinet reserve is one of the best places to see Madagascar’s largest lemur: the Indri. With a barely visible tail, black and white markings and a surprised teddy–bear face, this Lemur is one of the few animals in the world that cannot survive in captivity. Its haunting call can be heard for up to 3km in the forest. There are another 11 species of lemur to spot as you walk through the rainforest and time here, combined with a full day in Mantadia to see virtually untouched primary rainforest and various reptiles and invertebrates, makes for a fantastic 3-4 nights wildlife viewing. Our picks for accommodation here are Vakona Lodge and Andasibe Hotel.
Ile Sainte Marie, is a beautiful island off the eastern coast of Madagascar, accessible from 'Tana' on a flight of around one hour. The best times to visit are July to October as it is an excellent spot for whale watching, where Humpback whales visit the island’s shores yearly to have their young. There are endless deserted beaches overhung by coconut palms, bays protected by vibrant coral reefs and lush vegetation. The island was also a major pirate hideout in the 18th Century, with many graves sites to prove to this. 5-7 nights here makes for a great addition to any wildlife viewing trip and our resounding pick for accommodation here is Princesse Bora Lodge .