Looking for an ideal family location? Well, Madagascar is just the place for you! Providing opportunities for your family to experience a one in a lifetime adventure, including night and day walks in wildlife-rich forests, boat rides in lush mangroves, kayaking, birding, cultural visits to villages, desert island exploration and lazy days on the beach, Madagascar compiles all what you'll need for that perfect family getaway in one place!
We understand that family travel is all about fun and hands-on education for your children. With this in mind we’ve created some fantastic children’s activities including:
On arrival in Fort Dauphin you will be met your English speaking guide for your transfer to Mandrare River Camp. Settle into your tent and enjoy the majestic views over the Mandrare River. Afterwards, you'll enjoy a night walk in the Forest of Zenavo. This is a fantastic way to see diurnal lemurs bedding down, and the nocturnal lemurs begin to wake up in the eerie and prehistoric Spiny Forest. You will spot sifakas and sleeping white-foot sportive lemurs, then once the sun has set, two mouse lemur species, sleeping birds, chameleons, owls and sportive lemurs will now awaken.
After breakfast you will head out to the stunning Sacred Gallery Forest to the south of the camp. Depending on the river depth, you will walk or take a boat across the Mandrare River to reach this largely deciduous forest. Inquisitive groups of ring tailed lemurs and the always entertaining Verreaux sifaka are the highlight of this excursion. In late afternoon, head for a walk through the Sacred Spiny Forest filled with the ancestral tombs of the local Antandroy tribe, as well as an extraordinary array of flora and fauna, unique to the spiny forest. Your English speaking guide and a tracker from the local community will give you an introduction to Antandroy culture and customs. Your visit is followed by sundowners on the Mandrare River banks.
After a cup of tea or coffee head to the Spiny Forest for an early morning walk. Witness the sunlight break through the octopus trees while looking out for the many endemic birds such as crested coua, a variety of vangas and the running coua. Head back to camp for a sumptuous breakfast followed by a visit to the local market or the local village to meet the fascinating Antandroy tribe. In the afternoon, you will start watching life along the river from your tent terrace before departing for a sundowner amidst the baobabs. Watching the sun set and moon rise with a view across the Baobabs to the mountains beyond is a magical experience. In the evening the local village may come to perform beautiful traditional dances, accompanied by singing and music. Song and dance is at the heart of Antandroy culture and is used to accompany the major rituals and events of everyday life.
Morning drive to Fort Dauphin, where you will have lunch in a local beach restaurant. After lunch, drive to Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge. Manafiafy, also known as Sainte Luce, is a beautiful sandy bay, fringed with forest covered mountains and wildlife rich mangroves. Upon arrival, check into your bungalow before heading for a night walk in the Coastal Rainforest. Explore the last untouched block of coastal rainforest in southern Madagascar to spot some of the 5 species and 3 sub-species of lemur, over 80 bird species, over half of which are endemic, and an abundance of geckos, chameleons and other reptiles present in the forest. You’ll see nocturnal lemurs leaping through the trees, Madagascar Scops Owl, satanic leaf-tailed geckos and other masters of camouflage.
After breakfast, head to the Stitch project and local woodworking shop to interact with the local Antanosy community. Stitch was created by the NGO Azafady to provide local women with sustainable livelihoods by training them in embroidery, English and business skills. Embroidery is a traditional Malagasy skill which the women have used to make beautiful purses, belts, and more. After the visit, head to Manafiafy village. Manafiafy is a lovely Antanosy village with traditional wooden houses and pirogues lining the beachfront. Learn about the local customs and interact with the fishermen and their families. After a sumptuous 3-course lunch and a bit of a rest, head to the nearby mangrove network for birdwatching and photography. Ideal for botanists, landscape photographers and adventure seekers, this 40 km network stretches from Manafiafy to Fort Dauphin with the magnificent Anosy mountain range in the backdrop. Motorboat or kayak excursions last anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days. Today you will be exploring the mangroves by motorboat. Endemic birds include the Madagascar Malachite Kingfisher, Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher, Madagascar Harrier Hawk, Madagascar Crested Ibis and Blue Coua.
Before breakfast, head for a sunrise walk in the coastal rainforest. On this walk you will see groups of red-collared lemur foraging for food as they leap through the rainforest canopy. The red-collared lemur is endemic to south-eastern Madagascar, lives in groups of up to 20 individuals and is actives largely at dawn and dusk. This is a great time for birding, some species to see are Crested Coua, Giant Coua, Hook-billed Vanga, Lesser and Greater Vassa Parrots. Return to the Lodge for a well-deserved breakfast. Relax until your late afternoon excursion to see Madagascar’s largest bat, the Flying Fox, roosting in a nearby community forest, then filling the sky at dusk as they fly off on search of food.
After an early breakfast, drive back to Fort Dauphin.