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New Friendly Planet Travel destination #2: Magical Madagascar

It wasn’t magic that made our newest tour to Madagascar happen — it was you! In a survey from 2009, we asked folks who visited the Friendly Planet Travel website: “Where on Earth do you want to go next?” A whopping 6,780 people voted on 12 proposed exotic locations.

The locale that came out on top was Madagascar, with 941 votes. And after doing some additional research, it hit me why Madagascar won.

There are very few tour operators who offer guided tours of Madagascar. And the ones that do offer them at an exorbitant price. That is, until today.

After two years of planning, we’re unveiling Friendly Planet Travel’s Magical Madagascar tour. You spend 12 days touring the world’s fourth largest island, visiting Antananarivo, Toliara, Fianarantsoa, and Ambohitra. Plus, there’s an optional extension to Nosy Be Island.

Sitting off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, Madagascar’s baobab forests, virgin coastlines, misty highlands, coral islands, and its famous lemurs offer incredible sightseeing opportunities for travelers who love exploring exotic, unspoiled destinations.

You start your 12-day journey in Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar. After spending a night at the Relais des Plateaux Hotel you depart for Ifaty, a fishermen’s village located near Toliara. Spend the afternoon exploring the Reniala spiny forest. This unique ecosystem is home to more than 2000 types of plants and 65 bird species.

The following day you continue to Ranohira, northeast of Toliara. Soak in the wonders of this landscape typical to the southern part of this island, which in this area are mostly savanna and bush. Pass by several sapphire mining villages, and along the way, you notice the painted tombs of the island’s southern tribe.

Next you tour Isalo National Park for the day. This park is known for its wide variety of terrain, including massive sandstone formations, deep canyons, palm-lined oases, and grasslands. Walk to the “Piscine Naturelle,” a natural oasis consisting of a stone cave overlooking a beautiful waterfall and crystal-clear pool. Meanwhile, keep an eye out for ring-tailed lemurs, brown lemurs, and sifaka lemurs.

Afterwards, embark on a city tour of the capital of the Haute Matsiatra region, Fianarantsoa, and the cultural and intellectual center for the entire island. Home to the Betsileo tribe, some of the oldest Protestant cathedrals in Madagascar are found here.

On the heels of that tour is a city tour of Antsirabe, which is well known for its rickshaws, gemstones, and hot spring waters. Then jump on a flight to Ambohitra. Enjoy a walk through the Amber Mountain National Park, which features tropical forest, waterfalls, and volcanic lakes.

Spend your remaining day enjoying Madagascar at your own leisure, that is, unless you opt for the three-day Nosy Be Island extension. There your tour continues by boat to the marine reserve of Nosy Tanikely. Enjoy a picnic lunch and some beach time for swimming. Optional snorkeling and diving excursions are available on your own at an additional cost, and much more.

This is only a taste of the full Magical Madagascar itinerary. For the complete itinerary, visit our website. Madagascar is place a travelers told us they wanted to go and now we’re making it possible for you.

We created this tour for very small groups, so space and departure dates are limited. Our 2011 departure dates include: Sept. 14, Oct. 19, Nov. 16, and Dec. 7.

The 12-day tour of Madagascar starts at $5,699. Included in the price are roundtrip flights from New York via South African Airways (flights from other cities available on request for a little more); ground transportation and all transfers; accommodations in tourist and superior class hotels; 10 breakfasts, eight lunches, and nine dinners; professional English-speaking tour guides; comprehensive touring program including entrance fees; an optional 4-day extension to gorgeous Nosy Be Island; and more.

To kick off this new tour, we’re giving you $100 off the cost of the 12-day Magical Madagascar tour if you book before May 3. Use the coupon code 041911-100 when booking online or mention the code to your phone agent. Book the Magical Madagascar today online or call us at 1-800-555-5765 and speak to our reservations team before space runs out!

About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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