Join us on a unique adventure through Madagascar, one of the most extraordinary places on Earth. Taking this tour to Madagascar, you will find all of the world’s lemurs (some 40+ species) and over half of the world’s chameleons, in addition to more than 170 kinds of frogs. Every year scientists discover new species of plants and animals in its deserts and forests.
There is no question, Madagascar is a nature lover’s dream. It is also an exceptional photographic destination: many of the animals are habituated and easily approached, making for terrific photographic opportunities. Our itinerary is designed to include some of the island's highlights, with numerous different eco-systems and the greatest diversity of wildlife and photographic subjects.
Day 1, Saturday: USA to Paris. Plan to depart the USA for Paris this afternoon/evening where you will arrive early the next morning.
Day 2, Sunday: Paris to Antananarivo, Madagascar. Board the morning flight from Charles de Gaulle airport to Antananarivo, capital city of Madagascar, affectionately known as "Tana". Upon arrival, clear customs and meet our private transfer to the Hotel Colbert. Alternatively you could also choose the Air Madagascar flight that departs Paris this evening and arrives to Madagascar early tomorrow morning. Overnight at the Hotel Colbert. Includes: (D).
Day 3, Monday: Antananarivo. Some may arrive early this morning, so we have a morning of rest and relaxation after our long flights. We begin our photo expedition after lunch and begin with a short walking tour of the capital Antananarivo. Sifaka, seen in Andasibe/Mantadia National Park (Perinet), Madagascar. Overnight at the Hotel Colbert. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4, Tuesday: Antananarivo to Andasibe-Mantadia Reserve. This morning we depart in 4x4 vehicles for the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, an important area of protected rainforest, and home to the largest of the lemur species - the Indri. We will stop at La Mandraka Nature Farm on the way, which will allow us close-up looks at many species of Chameleons as well as numerous frog, and assorted reptile species. Our destination is the luxurious Vakona Lodge, in a lovely setting at the edge of the forest. Overnight at Vakona Lodge. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5, Wednesday: Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. We have a full day to visit one of Madagascar's most celebrated reserves, with an early start to see the Indri and hear their haunting calls. Each animal sings with its own unique voice, so the echoes and re-echoes tell each group where every Indri is located in the forest. We track Indri through the forest, and moderate walking provides a good opportunity to experience the abundant flora and fauna of the eastern rain forest. The world's largest chameleon can be found here, together with a wonderful array of tree frogs and geckos, plus numerous colorful tropical birds. We return to the Vakona Forest Lodge for lunch.
This afternoon we visit Mantadia National Park, this area has primary rain forest and is home to many species not found at Perinet including the beautiful golden colored diadeemed sifaka, black-and-white ruffed lemurs as well as the gray bamboo and red-fronted brown lemur. This evening we may take a walk to look for nocturnal lemurs - if we're lucky we may catch the eyeshine of the diminutive brown mouse lemur, greater dwarf lemur, or even the avahi (or eastern woolly lemur). Overnight at Vakona Lodge. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6, Thursday: Andasibe-Mantadia National Park to Antananarivo. This morning we spend some time photographing lemurs at a private reserve located on a small island near Vakona Lodge. Several lemur species are easily approached and photographed here. We return to Antananarivo, stopping at the incredible La Mandraka Nature Farm en route. This private zoo has an excellent collection of native reptiles and amphibians and offers wonderful opportunities for close-up photography.
We plan on enjoying lunch at La Mandraka and continue to Antananarivo in the late afternoon. This evening representatives from the Durrell Wildlife Trust will join us for dinner and explain their remarkable efforts to protect a number of endangered species, including the most endangered tortoise on Earth - the ploughshare tortoise. Overnight at Hotel Colbert. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7, Friday: Antananarivo to Fort Dauphin. This morning we leave the Hotel Colbert and fly south, our destination is Fort Dauphin. Upon arrival in Fort Dauphin at the southernmost tip of Madagascar, we will take a short afternoon excursion to Reserve du Nahampoana, located on the outskirts of town within an old French botanical garden research center. Ringtails, sifakas and brown lemurs reside here in a lush garden set against a misty mountain backdrop. Parson's Chameleon, Madagascar. Overnight at Croix du Sud. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8, Saturday: Berenty Reserve. This morning we depart on a 3+ hour drive from coastal rainforest to the spiny desert. We will enjoy stops along the way to view the unique baobab trees, rare three-cornered palms and funerary art of the Malagasy burial grounds. For the next three days we will be visiting the unique Berenty Reserve - with walks along the wide, well swept paths we will definitely encounter dozens of the ring-tailed lemurs, who are very friendly and seem pleased to pose for photographs.
Be ready for surprise encounters with the beautiful sifaka lemur as they "dance" across the path. Other species include flying foxes, lizards, chameleons, the endangered radiated tortoise and dozens of species of rare birds. This evening, we take a walk in search of nocturnal animals, including white-footed sportive lemurs and white-browed owls. Overnight at Gite d’Etape. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9, Sunday: Berenty Reserve. In the early morning, ring-tailed lemurs descend from the trees, often sitting all around you as you enjoy coffee. We have a full day to explore the reserve where the star attractions here are the large troops of wild ring-tailed lemurs, which are completely accustomed to people.
Also common are brown lemurs and Verreaux's sifaka - one of Madagascar's most appealing and photogenic animals. In the afternoon, we will be on hand as these desert lemurs "dance" across the path as they return to their roosts in the treetops. The photographic opportunities here are exceptional, as the wildlife is diverse and easy to see. Overnight at Gite d’Etape. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10, Monday: Berenty Reserve. Our last full day at Berenty, we can focus on trying to get good photos of the "dancing sifakas", a quest that can easily consume a whole day and many, many pictures, but is a challenge that is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face! Dance performance and bonfire this evening (weather permitting). Overnight at Gite d’Etape. Meals included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 11, Tuesday: Berenty to Tulear. Breakfast and an early return to Ft. Dauphin, arriving in time for our afternoon flight to Tulear on the southwestern coast of Madagascar. We are transferred to our hotel for the night, the Hypocamo Hotel by the sea, and enjoy a delicious fresh seafood dinner this evening at Le Jardin restaurant. Overnight at Hypocampo Hotel by the Sea. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 12, Wednesday: Tulear to Isalo National Park. After breakfast we will make a brief stop at the Arboretum d'Antasaky with its extensive array of spiny desert plants, and perhaps a lemur or two. Then we will drive inland through some gemstone mining areas to Isalo National Park, a region of extraordinary beauty and stunning geological formations.
We will enjoy a picnic lunch en route and on arrival to Isalo may take a walk and refreshing swim at the Piscine Naturelle. This evening we will try to catch the sunset through "La Fenetre" a unique geological feature, a window onto the dramatic landscape. We will spend the next two nights in this stunning area at Satrana Lodge. Overnight at Satrana Lodge. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 13, Thursday: Isalo National Park. Today we will explore the dramatic scenery of Isalo National Park, with an early morning departure for Canyon Namaza (the fit can hike from one location to the other…or the less adventurous can drive around) to begin the picturesque hike up to Cascade des Nymphs, a spectacular hidden waterfall with emerald green pool, with sightings of sifaka and red-fronted brown lemurs along the trails. On the return, enjoy a picnic lunch and extended photo session with a troop of curious ringtails. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight. Overnight at Satrana Lodge. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 14, Friday: Isalo to Antananarivo. This morning we depart early for the return drive to Tulear and the flight back to the capital, Antananarivo, where we will transfer to our reserved day rooms at Relais des Plateaux a comfortable hotel located close to the airport. We enjoy a delicious farewell dinner at Ville Vanille with local entertainment before our transfer to the airport for return flight to Paris (departing just after midnight tonight). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 15, Saturday: Arrive home.
Optional Extension to Anjajavy:
Day 15, Saturday: Antananarivo to Anjajavy. This morning we take a private charter flight to Anjajavy, a resort only accessible by air! The luxury resort consists of 25 well-appointed bungalows set in a fairly large private reserve bordering two wide deserted beaches, some mangroves, small "tsingy" karstic limestone formations, and offering many aquatic activities as well as several hiking possibilities, most notably to the neighboring Sakalava villages of Anjajavy and Ambodro Ampasy where the owners of the resort have been very supportive in building a dispensary, a primary school, and starting several micro-lending schemes.
The lodge's private nature reserve just behind the landscaped garden has a varied fauna and flora, with some remarkable endemic species such as the delightful Coquerel's sifaka, lovebirds, Cuvier's spiny iguana, abundant malachite kingfishers, pygmy kingfishers, and much more. Overnight at Anjajavy. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 16, Sunday: Anjajavy. Day at leisure to explore Anjajavy, perhaps go deep sea fishing, hiking, biking, visit to the nearby village, or just relax in the delightful lodge grounds. Overnight at Anjajavy. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 17, Monday: Anjajavy. Our last full day to relax before the flights home, and a day to reflect on the true magic of Madagascar - we can still choose form the range of activities on offer here, or just relax at the pool and enjoy afternoon tea in the "Oasis". Overnight at Anjajavy. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 18, Tuesday: Anjajavy to Antananarivo and home. Relaxed breakfast this morning and a chance to pack before our flight back to Anatananarivo. Upon arrival in Tana we will transfer to our reserved day rooms at Relais des Plateaux a comfortable hotel located close to the airport. We will be transferred to the airport for return flight to Paris (departing just after midnight tonight). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
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