Magical Madagascar 2017

The Zoology of a Gondwanaland Island

Trip Scholar: Professor Matt Friedman

Professor of Palaeobiology, University of Oxford
Available to Alumni of Oxford and Cambridge, family and friends

13 day tour
Price from £3,195

Uninhabited by man until just 2,000 years ago, 80% of Madagascar’s species are endemic, making it uniquely possible to witness what happens when a large isolated island is left to evolve without large predators for 165 million years.

Tour highlights
A host of protected reserves and rainforests contain amazingly diverse wildlife, from impish ringtailed lemurs and ‘dancing’ sifakas to brightly-coloured chameleons, frogs and butterflies. Madagascar is one of the world’s ten biodiversity hotspots and six of the world’s eight species of Baobab tree (Adansonia) are endemic to the island. It’s also a treasure trove for palaeontologists, with a remarkable fossil record creating a ‘time capsule’ for today’s scientists to examine the island’s role in the plate tectonic history of the Southern Hemisphere. Bird lovers will find a superb array in each new habitat, with the beautiful crested coua and impressive helmet vanga to be found amongst the six endemic families of birds and more than 70 species of singing birds and parrots. Not forgetting that Madagascar also boasts superb unspoiled white sand beaches fronting its 5000km of prime Indian Ocean coastline, with a large barrier reef and hundreds of off-shore islands. Private extensions to Indian Ocean beach resorts such as the marvellous Anjajavy, a Relais & Château property, are available after the main tour.

Itinerary at a glance

Day 1 15 August (Day 1) Arrival in Antananarivo
Day 2 Antananarivo – Perinet
Day 3 Perinet
Day 4 Perinet
Day 5 Perinet – Andsirabe
Day 6 Andsirabe – Ranomafana
Day 7 Ranomafana
Day 8 Ranomafana – Isalo
Day 9 Isalo
Day 10 Isalo – Ifaty
Day 11 Ifaty
Day 12 Ifaty – Antananarivo
Day 13 Antananarivo and end of tour
Day 14 Arrival in London (Temple World flights only)

15-28 August 2017 (15 -27 August land only)
Room TypePriceSingle SupplementOptional Flight from LondonAvailability
Standard£3,1950Please enquire£850 approx.Waitlist

Optional flights
Temple World can arrange flights from London to coordinate with this tour, subject to a minimum of 10 people booking them. The cost is approximately £850 per person including taxes, and we usually use Air France via Paris. If fewer than 10 guests decide to book flights with us we will endeavour to arrange the same flights for a similar price for those who need them, but please note that the full fare may need to be paid up front in this instance. We can also arrange a group transfer to and from the airport to coincide with the flight arrival/departure time for a small extra sum.

Booking you own flights
Clients wishing to use airmiles to buy or upgrade flights, or who wish to fly from a city other than London are advised to book their own flights. The start and end point for the tour is ANTANANARIVO.  You can arrive at any time of day on 15 August but check-in at the hotel is not normally until 2pm unless you have paid for early check in (we can arrange this but the hotel often charges a full extra night). There are no activities on the first day as the majority of clients arrive on the Air France service which lands at 22.45.  Those arriving earlier are welcome to pre-book  dinner at extra cost.

On the last day in Madagascar (27 August) there are excursions in Antananarivo during the day and a farewell dinner in the evening, as many people will be leaving on very late flights. Those with earlier flights are welcome to leave earlier if needs be, or we can arrange for an extra night of accommodation if you’d rather stay on until the following day. Bags will be stored after checkout during the day. We can arrange private airport transfers or day rooms at the start and end hotels if you need them.

Very Important! Those who plan to book their own flights should not make any binding or non-refundable arrangements until their place has been confirmed in writing on the tour and Temple World has confirmed that it is a guaranteed departure.

The tour price includes
Domestic flights in Madagascar as mentioned in the itinerary, hotel accommodation in a twin or double bedded rooms with ensuite bathroom throughout, all excursions with local guides including entrance fees (except any optional excursions if mentioned), full board (except Day 1 where no meals are included), expert leader.

Not included
International flights, meals on Day 1 (15 August), travel insurance, drinks, tips to drivers & local guides, items of a personal nature.


NHS Fit for Travel advises travellers to Madagascar are usually recommended to immunise against: DiphtheriaTetanus,  Hepatitis A,  Influenza A (H1N1) and TyphoidMalaria is prevalent across the country and prophylaxis is essential. A Yellow Fever certificate is required if entering from an area with a risk of yellow  fever transmission. Please seek professional medical advice at least 8 weeks before departure. NHS Fit For Travel Website


A visa on arrival is required by all nationalities. Currently there is no fee for this but if reinstated may be in the region of £45. Please check at the time of booking.

Travel time
Minimum 13 hours, maximum 18 hours from London if flying Air France, depending on connection time in Paris.

Will my phone work
Madagascar uses the 900 MHz bandwidth so almost all UK phones will work there in main cities and along major roads, as long as your provider has authorised its use abroad.


Fitness Guideline

We have graded the fitness level required for participation in this tour as Moderate/Active. This is a very full itinerary, with a number of hotel moves and some long road journeys. We will be far from first world medical assistance. There are no hikes in this tour however there are some walks on steep, stepped, uneven or slippery ground (rainforest walks), and hiking poles can be useful.Whilst sightseeing we may be on the go for several hours at one time, in some places without the guarantee of somewhere to stop and rest. It is important that everyone is able to keep up with the group as we will need to keep together on walks. For these reasons we feel this tour is unsuitable for the frail, those with serious medical conditions or for anyone who uses a cane or frame to help with walking at home. If unsure, please check with us.

We know that age is not always a reliable indicator of fitness, but prospective participants over the age of 80 will be given a letter to be signed by their GP to say they are fit enough to undertake this tour.

Trip Scholar

Professor Matt Friedman
Professor Friedman has been a Lecturer in Palaeobiology in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford and tutor at St Hugh’s College since 2009. Having earned a MPhil in Zoology from Cambridge and a PhD in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Chicago, his research focuses on the evolution of biological diversity within vertebrates (backboned animals). He is particularly interested in using fossil evidence to understand the timing of major evolutionary events in the vertebrate tree of life, as well as the patterns by which modern animals came to acquire their distinctive anatomical features over geological timescales. His research has focused on a range of topics related to Madagascar, including the origin of some of its endemic fish fauna and the deep evolutionary history of the remarkable coelacanth, an ancient survivor which today inhabits the Indian Ocean off the island’s western coast. Professor Friedman is an enthusiastic and inclusive lecturer who has proved extremely popular on our previous tours to Madagascar.

Lectures during our tours
All our tours are accompanied by an academic ‘trip scholar’ as well as local guides. The local guide or guides provide the day-to-day guiding on our tours, whilst the trip lecturer will give regular lectures on his/her specialist subject throughout to provide an academic overview. Lectures/talks usually last 30-40 minutes including questions and answers (if applicable). These are generally held in the evenings before dinner and attendance is optional. We don’t usually specify before travel which days the lectures will be given (for operational reasons) but guests can expect them roughly every other day as a minimum, with some lecturers giving some kind of talk or presentation more frequently.

Many people forget that Madagascar is an Indian Ocean island and as such has similar powder white beaches and tropical marine life to that found in the Seychelles and Mauritius! The key difference is that they still maintain their distinctive Malagasy wildlife as well. Our two top recommendations for extensions after the tour are as follows:


This rustically luxurious Relais & Châteaux property idyllically located on Madagascar’s unspoiled north-west coast is nestled amidst 450 hectares of private nature reserve. Only reachable by air, private flights from Antananarivo depart on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Set on a stunning white sand beach overlooking an azure bay, the hotel backs onto dry deciduous forest which is teeming with wildlife including Coquerel’s sifaka (not seen during the main tour), mouse lemurs, the rare Madagascar fish eagle. Wildlife, birding and night walks are a highlight of a stay at Anjajavy, as is the Valley of Baobabs. Those wishing simply to relax needn’t stray from the quiet sandy beach in front of the hotel, or perhaps take a stroll to one of the beautiful small bays nearby. There is also a programme of watersports including catamarans, canoes, windsurfing and snorkelling from the hotel’s second beach. Click here to visit their website.

Constance Tsarabanjina

This is a boutique beach hotel set on a small private island 90 minutes by speedboat from Nosy Be. For a luxurious Robinson Crusoe experience, similar to those found in the Seychelles or the Maldives this property is perfect, edged all around by dazzling white sands and pristine coral reefs. Accommodation is in one of 25 thatched private cottages, and the emphasis is on barefoot luxury; service is immaculate but unobtrusive, but there’s no need to dress up. The diving is outstanding and the lodge has a full PADI dive centre for enthusiasts. They can also arrange deep sea fishing and a host of other activities from kayaks to tennis for the restless. Click here to visit their website.

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A fantastic holiday, one of my best ever. Our lecturer was excellent. He pitched his frequent impromptu and organised speeches at just the right level for those of us, the majority, who had no previous experience of Geology. Rosemary

Congenial Companions

Our small group tours are exclusively available to alumni of Oxford and Cambridge universities and their friends and family, making for a wonderful atmosphere amongst like-minded individuals.

Expert Lecturer

All our small group alumni tours are accompanied by a university lecturer as well as local guides, with illuminating lectures given throughout the tour to enrich understanding of the destination.

To reserve a place on one of our small group alumni tours, contact us for availability then send us a signed booking form and deposit.

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