Barefoot Luxury Southern Explorer

8 or 11 days to the southeast of Madagascar,

Looking for something very real, very true and very rare?

At Mandrare River Camp, luxury secluded en-suite tents afford intimate access and insight to the spiny forest, home to an abundance of unique wildlife and the fascinating Antandroy tribe. Sparkling blue seas, verdant rainforests and abundant wildlife offer a taste of serenity at Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge, where you’ll spend the last four days of this intimate and up-market safari experience in the south of Madagascar.

Barefoot Luxury Southern Explorer - Map


  • Mandrare River, wildlife viewing, bird watching, Spiny forest, Sacred Forests and tombs of Ifotaka, day and night guided walks, baobab forests, authentic tribal displays, local village and market
  • Beach at Manafiafy, walks in the rainforest, exploring deserted beaches, whale viewing (June - December), snorkelling, canoeing in the mangroves.
Day 1 Arrival in Antananarivo
Day 2 Antananarivo – Fort Dauphin
Day 3 - 5 Mandrare River Camp – morning and afternoon activities
Day 6 To Manafiafy
Day 7 - 10 Manafiafy – morning and afternoon activities
Day 11 Return to Antananarivo (via Fort Dauphin)

Note: for 8 day itinerary, spend only DAY 6-7 in Manafiafy.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Antananarivo

Upon arrival in Antananarivo (Madagascar’s capital), you will be met and welcomed by an English speaking guide, before transferring to your hotel in the city centre.

Day 2: Antananarivo – Fort Dauphin

After breakfast at your hotel, you will be transferred back to Ivato airport for your two-hour flight to Fort Dauphin, on the south-eastern coast of Madagascar.

Upon arrival you will be met by your guide and will take lunch in Fort Dauphin, before driving west towards Antandroy Spiny Forest. The three-hour journey offers a contrast of landscapes ranging from the rice paddies of the eastern seaboard over the lush tropical plateau to the drier arid region of sisal plantations and “spiny forest”. You will arrive at your luxury tented camp in the late afternoon, allowing you to settle into your accommodation and enjoy the breath-taking views across the Mandrare River.

Day 3: Mandrare River Camp – morning and afternoon activities

Enjoy a relaxed breakfast on the banks of the river, before embarking on a trip to the sacred Antandroy forest, crossing the river on foot to observe lemurs and many bird species. You will also be able to see the tombs of the Antandroy ancestors, and your guide will explain in detail about the culture of ancestor worship.

Lunch will be served at your camp, and there will be time to relax before you depart on an afternoon activity, unless you would prefer to rest at camp and enjoy the serenity of the river.

Some of the activity options include a trip to the giant sand dunes of Lake Anony, watching the sun set at the Baobabs, night walks (gallery and spiny forest), watching various species of lemurs and birds, watching traditional dancers, and a visit to the village or local school.

Day 4 - 5: Mandrare River Camp – morning and afternoon activities

These two days will be spent enjoying the various activities located at and around your luxury tented accommodation. These will be on suggestion of your guide, tailored to your interests.

Activities from the camp take place in the early mornings and late afternoons and evenings to avoid the heat of the day. There are a number of designated forest areas in close proximity to the camp, where, with permission from and being accompanied by one of the local village chiefs it is possible to explore, together with your guide, this unique and fascinating natural paradise.

Day 6: To Manafiafy

After our last breakfast by the river, we transfer by road to Fort Dauphin, arriving in time for a relaxing lunch. We then continue onwards through plantations of mango, citrus, pineapples and bananas to the ocean coast and Manafiafy.

Situated on a beautiful white sandy bay, fringed with forest covered mountains, your lodge offers barefoot luxury with wildlife and water on your doorstep. Enjoy the location of your lodge in the afternoon, as the sunsets over the bay.

Please note it is possible to fly between Mandrare River Camp and Fort Dauphin, which reduces the long road transfer. The flight requires a minimum of 2 people to operate, takes approximately 30 minutes, requires reservation in advance and costs from EUR 200 per person. Maximum 3 people per plane.

Day 7 - 10: Manafiafy – morning and afternoon activities

After breakfast you will embark on your choice of a wide range of wildlife and sporting activities, which are included in your stay.

Some of the options include:

Canoeing in the mangroves, early morning boat trips for wetland birding, day and night walks in the rainforest to see five species of lemur, snorkelling in the bay and nearby cove, whale watching from the 15ft observation tower (June to December). Boat trips to the nearby islands for a secluded picnic lunch, walks along long empty beaches, visits to the local village and school.

Optional activities, payable locally at the lodge include: massage treatments, whale watching boat trips (June to December), deep sea fishing trips. Forest walks are the main reason for visiting this part of the island and those accessible from Manafiafy are “Littoral” rain forests – shady dense vegetation with a high degree of humidity and home to several Lemurs (collared brown, woolly, brown mouse, dwarf and sportive) as well as reptiles, spiders, birds, insects and orchids. Walks can be done at any time of the day and early evening, and are always accompanied by a Manafiafy guide.

The rocks, islands and bays surrounding Manafiafy provide endless opportunities for exploring and within a short boat ride it is possible to find deserted beaches, scout for whales, or snorkel in the crystal clear water viewing corals and tropical ‘aquarium’ fish. There is always something to do at Manafiafy and each excursion provides its own reward of new experiences – most of them unique to the island of Madagascar.

Day 11: Return to Antananarivo (via Fort Dauphin)

You will drive back to Fort Dauphin and continue to the airport for your scheduled flight to Antananarivo, where you will connect with your departure flight.

Note: for 8 day itinerary, spend only DAY 6-7 in Manafiafy.

Download 8 Day Detailed Itinerary
Download 11 Day Detailed Itinerary

Day 1:

Pavillion de l'Emyrne,

Pavillion de l'Emyrne - Antananarivo

Day 2 - 5:

Mandrare River Camp,
Mandrare River

Mandrare River Camp - Mandrare River

Day 6 - 10:

Manafiafy Beach and Rainforest Lodge,

Note: for 8 day itinerary, spend only DAY 6-7 in Manafiafy

Manafiafy Beach and Rainforest Lodge - Manafiafy