15 Family Friendly Adventures To Have In Madagascar

Madagascar is not a typical children’s travel destination, but if you have adventurous school-aged children (we don’t recommend taking kids under nine years old) it can be a fun, family friendly destination. From the weird and wild scenery and animals, to the beautiful beach resorts that have long been popular with vacationing families from France, here are 15 ideas of what to do in Madagascar with the family.

ring tailed lemur


1. Look for lemurs in Isalo National Park

One of Madagascar’s most popular parks for good reason, Islao National Park is home to wild scenery and ringtail, brown and sifaka lemurs. Take a private guided trek that is as long or short as you wish.

(Wikimedia Commons)

(Wikimedia Commons)

2. Beach time in Nosy Be

Nosy Be, an island off the northern tip of Madagascar, has long been a favorite vacation location with French families. There are a number of resorts and smaller guesthouses. It is the most family friendly spot in Madagascar.

Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve

Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve(Zigomar/WIkimedia Commons)

3. Hike the Petit Tsingy

Tsingy are cool rock formations and you can check out the Petit Tsingy with kids — unlike the larger Grand Tsingy, the trail to see these rocks is not as difficult and can be tackled by older children. Watch for lemurs on the way.

An indri lemur in Madagascar (Shutterstock)

An indri lemur in Madagascar (Shutterstock)

4. Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

This is a great park to bring the kids as it has a visitors center geared towards helping kids learn about conservation. It’s also home to the indri, which is a lemur species found only in this park.

A Male Cryptic (Blue-legged) chameleon in the rainforest of Ranomafana, Madagascar (Shutterstock)

A Male Cryptic (Blue-legged) chameleon in the rainforest of Ranomafana, Madagascar (Shutterstock)

5. Ranomafana National Parks

You can look out for Madagascar’s cool wildlife (like the chameleon pictured here) on a short guided trek in this park that is also known for its rainforest. Stop off at the visitors center to see a child friendly exhibit on Madagascar’s biodiversity.

Shutterstock / Pierre-Yves Babelon

Shutterstock / Pierre-Yves Babelon

6. Get an adrenaline buzz in Diego Suarez

Head up north to the town of Diego Suarez if you’re traveling with teenagers as there are plenty of adventure activities to be had up here — from guided ATV tours, to mountain biking, to kite surfing.

snorkeling fish


7. Snorkel the Emerald Sea

If you’re already in the Diego area, you can also do a snorkeling trip in the Emerald Sea, which lives up to its name. The snorkeling here is easy entry — you can wade in to see the fish and still be anchored by a sandbar, making it safe for kids.



8. Camp on the beach

Another family friendly activity in northern Madagascar is a camping trip to Nosa Hara, the country’s newest national park. You’ll get to sleep on the beach and go kayaking and rock climbing.

statues lake anosy

Wikimedia Commons

9. See the capital

Everyone passes through the capital of Antananarivo, where the only international airport is, so take a few days and explore (you probably have to go there anyway!)

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Baobab trees at sunset, Madagascar (Shutterstock)

10. Stroll Baobab Alley

Madagascar’s most recognized site is Ave de Baobab outside Morondava on the west coast. The area can be accessed via airplane, and any child will remember this memorable walk through majestic trees.

lemur island


11. See Lemur Island

Take the family to Lemur Island to see four kinds of lemur, which are endemic to Madagascar. On the island you’ll find bamboo lemur, black and white ruffed lemur, brown lemur and one sifaka.

(lemurbaby/Wikipedia Commons)

(lemurbaby/Wikipedia Commons)

12. Ile Saint Marie

On the East Coast, this island is another favorite beach location for French families on holiday. It’s definitely worth exploring.

(lemurbaby/Wikipedia Commons)

(lemurbaby/Wikipedia Commons)

13. Whale Watching

In June you can see humpback whales in the channel between Ile Ste Marie and the mainland of Madagascar. The channel is sheltered so it attracts mothers and calves.

Malagasy fishermen in a traditional outrigger canoe (Shutterstock)

Malagasy fishermen in a traditional outrigger canoe (Shutterstock)

14. Get on the water

In Eastern Madagascar, dugout canoes are the primary mode of transport in certain places, but doing a guided trip in one is an experience the kids won’t soon forget.

15. Sleep in the trees

Try staying in treehouse lodging (offered in various places around the country) to let your children play Robinson Crusoe in the clouds.

More from AFKTravel:

The Heart Of Madagascar: 10 Things To Do In Antananarivo

Fascinating Animals You Can Only Find In Madagascar

7 Events In Madagascar You Need To Attend

This article was originally published on April 3, 2015. 

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