How to Make the Most of Your Family Wildlife Trip to Madagascar 

Located just off the east coast of Africa, not many parents may see Madagascar as an attractive wildlife destination for children, but if you are an avid nature buff, there is plenty on offer, 

First of all,80% of the flora and fauna is endemic, meaning there is much to explore. Secondly, none of the animal species found in Madagascar are a threat to children and the national parks can be safely explored even on foot.

Family Wildlife Trip to Madagascar

Lastly, all the lodges and resorts are extremely family-friendly with dedicated play areas in some properties for kids and safe snorkeling spots all along the coastline.

That said, the tourist infrastructure is not so well developed and can often result in delayed flights and poor and bumpy roads enroute, but the friendly people and the overall travel experience, more than makes up for wonderful family wildlife holidays.

With incredible hikes for all abilities and plenty of outdoor activities, families with active children will have a blast in Madagascar. Here are some ways you can make the most of your holiday that will give your youngster a true education about the wildlife of the country.

Family travel advice in Madagascar 

Take appropriate health insurance with vaccinations and seek professional advice in order to be well prepared for any eventuality.

Madagascar is not well-off, the infrastructure is poor, and common diseases are rife but can be avoided with the right insurance and jabs.

Family Wildlife Trip to Madagascar

Best time to visit Madagascar 

For families,the perfect months to visit Madagascar are from July to December, when the climate is mild and the season dry. During this time, wildlife encounters are best with baby lemurs on display and humpback whales arriving at St Marie.

Madagascar family trip highlights 

For the ultimate family-oriented wildlife trip consider these classic places to visit which cover different varieties of lemurs, iconic landscapes, and plenty of other wildlife by the side.

Andasibe-Mantadia National Park 

The Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is one of the most accessible parks on the east coast of Madagascar and without doubt the finest.

This vast protected area is the perfect habitat for the ape-like indri, the two feet long Parson’s chameleon among others.

In this 810 acre reserve, you will come across many species of lemurs, birds and some non-venomous snakes in this virtually untouched rainforest.

Best place to stay in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is Mantadia Lodge 

Amber Mountain National Park 

This is an isolated block of rainforest located 27 km north of Diego Suarez in the far northern part of Madagascar and is regarded by many as the most scenic in the country.

Family Wildlife Trip to Madagascar

Amber Mountain National Park is known for its excellent walking trails and features include three waterfalls and four crater lakes.

Most visitors come here to see the crowned lemurs and the northern ring-tailed mongoose. For birders,the endemic species found here are Amber Mountain rock thrush, Madagascar crested ibis and the spectacled greenbul.

Best place for families to stay in Amber Mountain National Park is Nature Lodge.

Ankarana Special Reserve

The Ankarana Special Reserve lies southwest of Diego Suarez on the southern tip of Madagascar and is an incredible region of impressive caves, limestone pinnacle-fields and forests rich with wildlife.

Family Wildlife Trip to Madagascar

The subterranean rivers and streams are home to Nile crocodiles, blind cave fish,shrimps and eels. Crowned lemurs and the northern ring-tailed mongoose are easily seen during the day.

As night falls, striped covers, common tenrecs, fossa, Ankarana lemurs and northern mouse lemurs make an appearance. A two or three nights stay at the Iharana Bush Camp is highly recommended to enjoy all the attractions of this extraordinary place.

Isalo National Park 

Another extremely popular park in Madagascar is the Isalo National Park, especially known for its winding canyons and stunning sandstone formations. The park lies in the center of the desolate interior on the famous PN7 route.

Isalo has a number of easy trails, enough to keep the adults and children busy for days, particularly the hike to Piscine Naturelle,which lies 3 km away from the main parking area.

Wildlife density is a bit less than some other parks, but still one can expect to see ring-tailed lemur and Verreaux’s sifakas.Bird species found here include white-throated rail and the forest rock-thrush.

A key feature of the park is the spectacular elephant foot pachypodium, a bloated plant that can be found blooming on the sandstone cliffs in September.

Best place to stay in Isalo National Park is Le Jardin Du Roy.

Ranomafana National Park 

This upland rainforest wonderland is home to Madagascar’s most endangered animal,the greater golden bamboo lemur, which was discovered only in 1986 by Patricia Wright,a famous primatologist.

Family Wildlife Trip to Madagascar

The Ranomafana National Park has in total 11 species of lemurs, including rarities like the eastern lesser bamboo lemur. Visitor count to the park is extremely high, not only because of the playful lemurs but for the scenic and delightful forest as well.

Most of the walking trails are arduous, but kids will love the lookout point at Belle Vue, which provides breathtaking panoramic views of the park.

On a day walk one can commonly see five species of lemurs including the red-fronted brown lemur,red-bellied lemur, and black and white ruffed lemur. Birders will be delighted to see the rufous headed ground roller.

The Setam Lodge is a good place to stay in the park.

Masoala National Park 

A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest parks in Madagascar, Masoala National Park is currently only accessible by charter flight. The best time to come here is between the months of August and December when the climate is good.

The rainforest-clad uninhabited island is a place designated for lemur conservation with species commonly spotted being the vociferous white-fronted lemur and the black and white ruffed lemur.

Other activities that families can enjoy on a trip to this park are kayaking, snorkeling and boat trips to spot humpback whales in Antongil Bay.

A good place to stay here is the Masoala Forest Lodge.

Berenty Reserve and Ifotaka forest 

This is the country’s most protected area situated on the banks of the Mandrare river. The Berenty Reserve and Ifotaka forest are rich with dry woodlands and thorny bushes as far as the eye care can see.

Family Wildlife Trip to Madagascar

There is a network of broad paths where early morning walkers can spot ring-tailed lemur and the dancing Verreaux’s sifaka.

The iconic nocturnal wildlife includes white-footed sportive lemur, common tenrecs and the grey mouse lemur.

The reserve has an excellent natural history museum and a useful information center.

The best place to stay in the reserve is the Berenty Lodge.