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Digital Subscriptions > Lonely Planet Traveller (UK) > April 2017 > Great Escape Plan your trip

Great Escape Plan your trip

It’s trip-of-a-lifetime stuff with our itinerary to this wildlife-rich island in the Indian Ocean. Meet your first lemurs at Kirindy, before driving along baobab-lined roads to the rock pinnacles of Tsingy. Next head east, for even closer encounters with creatures in Andasibe and a boat trip along the Pangalanes Canal.

MADAGASCAR

A crowned lemur on an island in the Pangalanes Canal system in eastern Madagascar

Plan your trip

1 Meet many species of lemur and Madagascar’s iconic baobabs in Kirindy (p44).

2 Prepare for adventure along the 8a road north, via river crossings and traditional villages (p46).

3 Next up, practise your climbing skills in the otherworldly, rocky landscape of Tsingy de Bemaraha (p48).

4 Track the elusive indri lemur and other creatures through the forests of Andasibe-Mantadia (p50).

5 Aye-aye encounters and peaceful boat trips await in the Pangalanes Canal system in the east (p52).

MAP ILLUSTRATION: ALEX VERHILLLE. PHOTOGRAPHS: JUSTIN FOULKES, KONSTANTIN GUSHCHA/ALAMY, MADACAMP.COM

HOW TO GET THERE

From the UK, you’re looking at routing via Nairobi (Kenya Airways), Paris (Air France), Johannesburg (South African Airways) or Mauritius (Air Mauritius). Expect to pay around £800 for a return to capital Antananarivo, known as Tana (kenya-airways.com). Layover times can be long, so check journey duration before hitting the ‘purchase’ button.

TANA STOPOVERS

You’re likely to have to spend at least a night in the capital. Relais des Plateaux is a good option near the airport, and has a pool and a free shuttle bus to coincide with departures (from £120; relaisdes-plateaux.com). More central is the old mansion of Le Pavillon de l’Emyrne, with wooden floors in the bedrooms and a decent restaurant (from £70; pavillondelemyrne.com).

HOW TO GET AROUND

Unless you’ve got unlimited time, public transport isn’t recommended. Your best option is to hire a car. Few rental companies allow tourists to hire a vehicle without a driver, and given the state of Madagascar’s roads, it’s not recommended anyway. Expect to pay around £500 for a 4x4 for a week (europcar.co.uk). Internal flight routes include Tana to Morondava on the west coast and to Toamasina on the east coast (airmadagascar.com and madagasikaraairways.com). Note that flight times are liable to change, often significantly; always phone the airline the day before your departure to check.

HOW LONG TO SPEND

You could easily spend a couple of months here and barely skim the surface of this vast and varied country. To follow the itinerary outlined in our feature, you’ll want to spend a minimum of 12 days, including international flight time. A more reasonable allowance would be three weeks, to allow for relaxation time between long journeys. Many people tack on time to loll on the beaches of Nosy Be to the north or Île Sainte Marie to the east. Both are accessible by domestic flight from Tana.

WHAT TO BUDGET

Staying in comfortable lodges, eating at restaurants most frequently patronised by tourists and hiring a car with a driver will set you back around £200 per day. Eating at street stalls and local cafés and staying in more ramshackle accommodation will bring your daily budget down to £30–£40.

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About Lonely Planet Traveller (UK)

In the April issue… Join us as we celebrate the 100th issue of the magazine, and look forward to the next hundred. For the occasion, we've found a unique destination for our Great Escape – Madagascar, an island that is almost a world in itself. Other features take in film directors' favourite shooting spots in Paris; the Bay Area of California on the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love; and Lisbon, a city best understood through the Portuguese emotion of 'saudade'. Plus, discover our magazine staff's most memorable moments in putting together 100 issues, and much more
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