• Fly from London to Antananarivo via Paris, where we transfer to our hotel in the capital.
    • Accommodation: Antananarivo, 1-night on full board basis.
    • After breakfast at the hotel we will embark on a morning city tour of Antananarivo (Tana) to discover the local market, main streets, administrative quarter and the old town. In the afternoon, we will visit Ambohimanga Palace.
    • Madagascar's vibrant capital city is the beginning and end point of any trip to the island. Because the capital is the country's only real transport hub – fro which all roads radiate and all flights depart – you may find yourself passing through, or even spending a night here on one or more occasions. Lying in the centre of the island at an altitude of between 1,245 and 1,470 metres), the city is among the most unusual and attractive capitals – especially in early morning and late evening light – in the developing world. Built on a series of hills, many of the old buildings and narrow, cobbled streets retain an almost medieval quality. There is an incongruous juxtaposition of old and modern as zebu carts laden with produce plod slowly along the same roads as Japanese cars and buses.
    • Lying at the heart of the city is the old Upper Town dominated by the ruins of the Queen's Palace, which was destroyed by fire. The views from various vantage points are commanding: far below you can see Avenue de l'Independence, the hub of the lower part of town with the impressive old train station at its far end. The main area between the high town and the avenue (known as Isoraka) is the smarter part of the city, where many of the better quality hotels, boutiques and classy, vibrant bars and restaurants are located.
    • After breakfast transfer to the airport for a flight to Maroantsetra; the rest of the day will be spent exploring this attractive region.
    • Accommodation: Maroantsetra, 1-night on full board basis.
    • After breakfast transfer by boat to Masoala National Park, a journey of around 2½ hours. Our lodge offers simple but comfortable accommodation, with chalets or tents, all with en suite facilities. The lodge provides an opportunity to explore adjacent forest areas.
    • Accommodation: Masoala, 3-nights on full board basis.
    • We have two full days to explore this wonderful area. Within a short walk through the adjacent forest, we may find groups of red ruffed lemurs or white-fronted brown lemurs, spectacularly colourful panther chameleons and parson’s chameleons. On a variety of walks we will explore both areas immediately adjacent to the coast and further inland allowing us the opportunity to see a considerable diversity of the lowland rainforest species for which Masoala is renowned. Particular efforts will be made to track down the improbable helmet vanga and beautiful scaly ground roller and perhaps ring-tailed mongoose. Night walks in these forests provide excellent opportunities to see leaf-tailed geckos, nocturnal woolly lemurs and sportive lemurs, and a diversity of brightly coloured tree frogs and perhaps tenrecs too.
    • After an early breakfast we will travel by boat to Maroantsetra and take a morning flight to Antananarivo where we will transfer to our hotel.
    • Accommodation: Antananarivo, 2-nights on full board basis.
    • Transfer to the airport for a flight to Sambava, where we overnight.
    • Accommodation: Sambava, 1-night on full board basis.
    • We drive for an hour to Manantenina, before beginning the walk into Marojejy National Park. It takes around two hours to reach the edge of the park and a further two hours to reach our camp, which is located in a bamboo grove close to a river surrounded by forest. Camp Mantella is a basic but well-maintained camp located on the trail leading to the summit of Marojejy Peak, consisting of a hut with bunks and separate flushing toilets.
    • Accommodation: Camp Mantella, 1-night on full board basis.
    • We continue to walk further into the heart of the park, climbing for around an hour to reach Camp Marojejia, which is situated on a rocky outcrop looking across a valley to a huge rock buttress, amidst stunning primary rainforest. It is one of the most breathtaking locations imaginable for a camp. This is another basic but well-maintained camp on the trail leading to the summit of Marojejy Peak. It's a hut with bunks and separate flushing toilets.
    • Accommodation: Camp Marojejia, 2-nights on full board basis.
    • We spend the morning walking out of Marojejy back to Manantenina for lunch, before driving to Sambava and then continuing north by road to Vohemar.
    • Accommodation: Vohemar, 1-night on full board basis.
    • Early morning drive to Daraina. Meet local guides for a walk to forests near Andranotsimaty to see golden-crowned sifaka. There will also be nocturnal visits to the forests looking for aye-aye.
    • Accommodation: Daraina, 2-nights on full board basis.
    • Early morning visit to Andranotsimaty, then drive to Vohemar and onto Sambava where we take a flight to Antananarivo.
    • Accommodation: Antananarivo, 1-night on full board basis.
    • Today will drive eastward to Andasibe and to our lodge, situated next to a small lake close to the entrance to the reseve, with a wonderful view of the forest. Lemurs, including indris, can often be seen directly in front of the lodge. The thatched bungalows are basic but comfortable, while the often vibrant restaurant serves good local and Chinese-style food.
    • Accommodation: Andasibe, 3-nights on full board basis.
    • We have three full days to explore this wonderful rainforest area. On our first day priority will be to visit Andasibe and search for the fabulous indri. There’s a good chance we’ll hear their eerie wailing calls too. We may also see brown lemurs and grey bamboo lemurs, streaked tenrecs and striking birds like blue vanga. There will also be nocturnal walks where different lemurs and chameleons can be seen. The huge variety of frogs are also a feature of this reserve and are particularly evident after rain. We will continue to explore this fantastic area of pristine rain forest that offers the chance to see some rare and unusual species. Groups of indris can always be heard calling, but are more difficult to see. But another priority will be to look for stunning diademed sifaka, perhaps the most beautiful of all lemurs as well as red-bellied lemurs and secretive birds such as pitta-like and scaly ground roller.
    • In the afternoon, we transfer back to Antananarivo, where we can visit the handicraft market of La Digue.
    • A day room at the Relais des Plateaux will be provided until the late evening transfer to the airport for an overnight flight back to London via Paris.
  1. Day 21 Arrive UK

This itinerary is based on Air Madagascar’s current domestic schedules. Air Madagascar reserves the right to change these without notice, hence there is no guaranteed that this will be the exact itinerary we will follow. Changes may be forced upon us right until the last moment, but every effort will be make to keep the final itinerary as faithful as possible to this one proposed.

All prices are per person and include:

  • Services of the naturalist leader
  • Flights
  • Transfers
  • Accommodation
  • All meals
  • Guided activities
  • Tips

Accommodation

For this tour the best value and most appropriate accommodation at each site has been selected. As well as the quality of the rooms, facilities, restaurant and service, we have also used criteria such as location, quality of wildlife, knowledge of local guides and general ambience in making the selection.

In Antananarivo the hotel used is mid-range international standard. Accommodation in Masoala and Andasibe is more modest, yet nevertheless comfortable and situated in locations idea for our purposes. In Daraina we stay at the only hotel, which has basic rooms with modest facilities, while in Marojejy we make use of two permanent field camps, where all necessary supplies are provided.

Meals

All meals are included.

Flights

Price includes return scheduled flights London – Antananarivo – London, and domestic flights as detailed in the itinerary.

Walking

In all parks and reserves, wildlife watching is on foot. Walks will generally be short to moderate distances, with the option for longer walks for those who wish. There will be forest night walks in most locations.

Mainly moderate, potentially more difficult at times (Marojejy and Masoala). With the emphasis on watching wildlife, walks will always be a slow to modest pace, but these can still be tiring where conditions are more challenging (Marojejy, Masoala & Andasibe-Mantadia). In Daraina paths are flat and sandy, so walking it easier, however, temperatures are high.

Ground transport

Small bus or 4x4 transport for road journeys, open boat to Masoala.

Transport used during the tour is a combination of road, boat and air, and is simply a means of getting from one locality to the next. The infrastructure in Madagascar varies from moderate to poor. Internal flights with Air Madagascar are generally OK, but can be prone to delay; some roads are tarred and smooth, while others are little more than dirt tracks, so progress can be slow.

Mammals

Madagascar is a country like no other. Millions of years of isolation have led to the evolution of an array species found nowhere else. This trip offers the opportunity to some of the rarest, most beautiful, most unusual and iconic.

  • Aye aye
  • Red-ruffed lemur
  • Silky sifaka
  • Golden-crowned sifaka
  • Indri

Birds

There are several families of birds unique to the island.

  • Helmet vanga
  • Scaly ground roller
  • Short-legged ground roller

Reptiles and amphibians

Reptiles too abound – over 60% of the world’s chameleons live nowhere else.

  • Leaf-tailed gecko
  • Panther chameleon
  • Parson’s chameleon
  • Tomato frog
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