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Madagascar

Tour Code: MDG01

A 23-day wildlife holiday in search of the unusual birds, plants and mammals of the forests of Madagascar.

23 days from £6195(inc flights) Land Only Price: £5395 SRS: £895


Madagascar has been isolated from mainland Africa for 165 million years. This isolation has allowed evolution to take its own unique course and today over 80% of all Malagasy wildlife is endemic, occurring nowhere else on Earth. This comprehensive tour gives a broad overview of Madagascar’s habitats and wildlife including the lush rainforests of the east, the bizarre baobab-dotted 'Spiny Deserts' of the south-west and the dry deciduous forests of the north-west. This is a general wildlife holiday that will introduce you to a fascinating world of the weird and wonderful, including singing lemurs, beautiful endemic birds, wonderfully camouflaged geckos and a truly unique and fascinating country.

  • The most comprehensive wildlife tour to Madagascar
  • Encounter lemurs… from the largest, the Indri, to the smallest, the Mouse Lemurs
  • Hear the plaintive dawn chorus of the Indris at Perinet
  • Experience day and night walks in pristine rainforests and bizarre spiny desert
  • Endemic birds – including Ground Rollers, Mesites and Vangas
  • A unique and bizarre wildlife found nowhere else on Earth
  • Chameleons, Leaf-tailed Geckos and other reptiles
  • Small group size: 12, plus the best expert local guides and British Naturetrek naturalist
  • Spectacular scenery

Food

All included in the price.

Accommodation

The best hotels and lodges available (some of these are fairly basic), most with private facilities.

Verreaux’s Sifaka (Paul Stanbury)

Verreaux’s Sifaka (Paul Stanbury)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Tana

Day 2 Antsirabe

Day 3/5 Ranomafana

Day 6/7 Isalo

Day 8/9 Ifaty

Day 10 Anakao

Day 11 Toliara

Day 12 Fort Dauphin

Day 13/14 Berenty

Day 15 Tana

Day 16/17 Ampijoroa

Day 18 Mahajanga

Day 19/21 Andasibe

Day 22 Depart Tana at midnight

Day 23 Arrive London

Rufous Mouse Lemur (Paul Stanbury)

Madagascar lies off the coast of east Africa, across the Mozambique Channel, and straddles the Tropic of Capricorn. Separated from the African mainland for some 165 million years, the island has developed in its own ecological niche and today possesses a unique and extremely diverse natural history. About 80% of its plants, 40% of its birds and virtually all of the mammals, reptiles and amphibians occur nowhere else in the world. It harbours 34 known species of chameleon (whereas Africa has only nine!), 30 lemurs (primates unique to Madagascar) and seven baobabs (Africa has only one). Even now, new species are still being discovered as biological survey work continues. Its exceptional biodiversity and the disturbingly fast pace of environmental destruction make Madagascar a world conservation priority.

Madagascar enjoys an extensive network of protected areas, most of which are open to visitors. Park fees go towards maintaining reserves, with some economic benefits to local people ensuring that Madagascar’s tourist industry provides a good incentive to conserve its valuable ecology.

Our holiday begins with a flight to Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo, known colloquially as ‘Tana’. From here we head south through the terraced hillsides of the Hauts Plateau to the lush highland rainforests of Ranomafana National Park, spending one night in Antsirabe en route. Ranomafana is one of Madagascar’s most recently designated national parks. Here we hope to see our first lemur species ranging in size from the large Milne-Edwards' Sifaka to the tiny Rufous Mouse Lemur. If fortunate we may even glimpse a Golden Bamboo Lemur, a species endemic to the park discovered in 1986. We are also ensured of a wide variety of exciting birds which we hope will include Yellow-bellied Sunbird-asity, Rufous-headed Ground-roller, Brown Mesite and Crossley’s Vanga.

We next head south-west, across typical high plateau scenery of rice paddies, villages and smooth granite mountains, known as ‘Inselbergs’s. We will visit Isalo National Park, an eroded karstic limestone massif. Here we will find several species of the bizarre EM>Pachypodium/EM> (lit. ‘thick foot’) plants as well as Forest Rock Thrush.

Moving on, we drive to the coastal town of Tulear (Toliara) and then complete our journey to Anakao by sea, passing the largest barrier reef in the Indian Ocean en route. We will spend one night at the traditional ‘vezo’ fishing village of Anakao, from where we will visit the nearby island of Nosy Ve. Here we can snorkel amongst the corals and visit a colony of graceful Red-tailed Tropicbirds, along with various terns and waders, which may include Crab-plover.

Returning to Tulear, we head north to Ifaty, our base for the next two nights whilst we explore Madagascar’s dry south-western domain, rich in plant-life and with the highest proportion of endemic plant families in the country. From our comfortable beach-front hotel we will explore the famous Malagasy Spiny Forest, characterised by the cactus-like trees of the Didiereaceae family, where we will search for the elusive Sub-desert Mesite and the stunning Long-tailed Ground-roller, arguably the most beautiful of Madagascar’s many endemic birds.

Next we will take the short flight to Fort Dauphin on Madagascar’s south-eastern tip and drive to Berenty, its most famous lemur reserve. Here we will stay for two nights allowing us plenty of time to enjoy the resident troops of Ring-tailed Lemurs and the opportunity to see the celebrated ‘dancing lemurs’, the Sifakas of Berenty, which come down to the ground to cross in crab-like hops between the trees. Berenty is also home to a wide variety of other wildlife and during our stay we will be on the look out for birds such as Madagascan Cuckoo-hawk and Madagascan Sparrowhawk and reptiles such as EM>Oustaleti /EM>and EM>Lateralis/EM> Chameleons and perhaps the large Ground Boa.

Next we fly north to the coastal town of Mahajanga, from where we transfer to Ampijoroa Forestry Station, part of the larger Ankarafantsika Nature Reserve, for a 2-night stay. The reserve protects some of Madagascar’s very best western dry forests and is home to the Coquerel’s Sifaka, a beautiful silky-white and chestnut lemur, together with Mongoose Lemur, Western Avahi and the rare Golden-brown Mouse Lemur. Birds are equally plentiful and include Van Dam’s Vanga, Schlegel’s Asity, White-breasted Mesite and the critically endangered Madagascan Fish Eagle.

We end our holiday with three nights at Andasibe (also known as Perinet) and the unforgettable experience of entering the forests at dawn to hear the eerie cries of the Indri, the largest and most vocal of the lemurs. We also hope to see this beautiful animal during our stay, along with Diademed Sifaka, Grey Bamboo Lemur and Red-bellied Lemur. Birdlife is equally abundant and should include Madagascan Pygmy Kingfisher, Red-fronted Coua, Madagascan Wood Rail and Scaly Ground-roller. All these are a supporting cast, however, for they cannot hope to compete with the sound of the Indri at dawn, a fitting finale to our tour and an experience to remember as we drive back to Tana to catch our flight home.

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Verreaux’s Sifaka (Paul Stanbury)Collared Nightjars (Paul Stanbury)Short-horned Chameleon (Paul Stanbury)Lowland Streaked Tenrec (Paul Stanbury)Diademed Sifaka (Paul Stanbury)Indri (Paul Stanbury)Giant Coua (Paul Stanbury)‘Dancing’ lemurs (Paul Stanbury)Ring-tailed Lemurs (Paul Stanbury)Sub-desert Mesite (Paul Stanbury)Long-tailed Ground Roller (Paul Stanbury)Bottle Baobab (Paul Stanbury)Red-tailed Tropicbird (Paul Stanbury)Vezo fishing village (Paul Stanbury)The ‘taxi’ arrives (Paul Stanbury)Red-tailed Sportive Lemur (Paul Stanbury)Highland scenery (Paul Stanbury)Sandstone massif (Paul Stanbury)Giraffe-necked Weevil (Paul Stanbury)Comet Moth (Paul Stanbury)Fanaloka (Paul Stanbury)Rufous Mouse Lemur (Paul Stanbury)Female Red-bellied Lemur (Paul Stanbury)Red-fronted Brown Lemur (Paul Stanbury)The highland rainforests (Paul Stanbury)Antananarivo (Paul Stanbury)
Mr & Mrs H.
Scotland
Cathy did an excellent job of managing the differing interests of the troupe and we had the best local guide I have ever encountered, both guides were efficient, knowledgeable and fun to travel with.
D.S.
South Yorkshire
The trip leader was excellent showing good general knowledge of all species.
R.B.
East Sussex
Overall an excellent holiday. Andy is a very good, hard working guide.
J.M.
Germany
The accommodation was generally of very high quality…the local guide (Desire Rajery) was extremely good at spotting wildlife. He was also very efficient at organising the trip and was very helpful. The British guide was always cheerful, kind, helpful and enthusiastic. Good knowledge or local wildlife.
I.C.
London
A brilliant and challenging tour. Dave Mallon was exceptional. Naturetrek is lucky to have someone of his calibre.
C.W.
Lincolnshire
All local guides had superb level of knowledge of flora and fauna. Utterly brilliant trip.
M.W.
Lincolnshire
Thoroughly enjoyed first holiday with Naturetrek. Would definitely be prepared to go elsewhere with the company. Excellent leader in Dr. David Mallon, could not have wished for better. His depth of knowledge was fantastic! Wonderful experience.
K.W.
West Yorkshire
Cliff and Dave were both excellent leaders and made the holiday very enjoyable - thank you both!
A.F.
Surrey
Difficult to further improve.
M. & J.S.
Berkshire
...the two-day stay at Ampijoroa was an excellent idea.
D.C.
Kent
(we) enjoyed yet another first class Naturetrek holiday. Everything ran well and we were lucky with the weather. Cliff Waller is to be thanked... leading us so well and for being such a pleasant companion.
A.H.
Hampshire
I had a brilliant time in Madagascar.
J.G.
Gloucestershire
We have had a fascinating time exploring Madagascar - thanks for another lovely holiday!!
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Tue 24th October 2017 - Wed 15th November 2017

FULL

£6195

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £5395 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tue 9th October 2018 - Wed 31st October 2018

YES

£6995

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £6095 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Madagascar

Detailed tour map

Can I help You?

Kerrie Porteous
Operations Manager

Email Kerrie

01962 733051

Tour Focus

BirdsMammals

Tour Reviews

Cathy did an excellent job of managing the differing interests of the troupe and we had the best local guide I have ever encountered, both guides were efficient, knowledgeable and fun to travel with.
Mr & Mrs H., Scotland