Explore the rare treasures of the world’s fourth largest island and the only place where the exotic lemur has its natural roots. In Madagascar you can explore the evolution of plants and animals, while enjoying the unique blend of cultures, from French traditionalism to the enchanting rituals of the Malagasy. Traverse this diverse land and all it offers: the stark, rugged beauty of the exotic south and Berenty Reserve, the strange rock formations in Isalo National Park, the untamed rainforest of Perinet, and the wildlife that calls them home. And of course, the lemurs! Become enthralled with the unusual dancing sifakas and hear the intense wailing of the largest species, the indri. The land, its culture and its lemurs, will definitely leap into your heart!
Very Active. May involve strenuous hikes, severe stair climbing, arduous activities, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.
Madagascar is an island nation located off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. The rainy season is December through March, but even during this time the rains are not constant and one can enjoy a fabulous journey. The temperatures are temperate year round – warm during the day and cooling off at night. Ideal times to visit are April through mid-November, with October being the warmest. Whales can be viewed in July & August, particularly up in the Masoala, and lemurs are viewed year-round in the many parks and reserves throughout Madagascar.
Fly overnight to Johannesburg, and connect with your flight to Antananarivo, Madagascar, where you will be met by your professional naturalist and escorted to your well-appointed hotel. While here, see Lake Anosy, the European District and the birthplace of the Malagasy state, Ambohimaga, with its enormous stone gate. Stop at Tsimbazaza, a botanical and zoological garden, home to endemic species of Malagasy flora and fauna. HOTEL COLBERT. (Meals Aloft; B,D)
Fly to Fort Dauphin, then drive to Berenty, a small private reserve of gallery forest along the Mandrake River. Early morning hikes may reveal the distinctive white fur and black face of the Verreaux’s sifaka, flying foxes clinging under the forest canopy, and in the evening, sightings of the whitefooted and grey mouse lemur. Visit the ethnographic museum and textile collection followed by a tour of the adjacent sisal plantation. Relax among the playful lemurs at your hotel’s tea garden. GITE D’ETAPE. (B,L,D Daily)
Drive back to Fort Dauphin in time for lunch and then visit the Nahampoana Private Reserve to discover its diverse tapestry of native flora and fauna. Exploration on foot or by canoe reveals beautiful natural swimming pools, dramatic waterfalls, and mysterious caves. Next day, visit Andohahela, occupying an area that transitions from lush rain forest to arid spiny forest, a place of ecological extremes. The result is a stunning diversity of wildlife uniquely adapted to its corresponding microclimate. Also visit Mangatsiaka, home to lemurs and reptiles and the beautiful dry forest of Didieraceae. Your hotel in Fort Dauphin is built in a semicircle around a lovely garden. LA CROIX DU SUD HOTEL. (B,L,D Daily)
Fly to Tulear and then drive to Isalo National Park, a dramatic landscape dominated by Jurassic period massifs. Deep canyons harbor the fire-resistant tapia tree on which the Malagasy endemic silkworm feeds; endemic succulents like the elephant’s foot and Isalo aloe highlight the park’s prehistoric character, and waterfalls create refreshing limpid pools. At the Isalo Interpretation Centre, learn about the local indigenous tribes whose mysterious burial sites are found here. Awake to the song of the native Benson’s Rock Thrush and watch the skies for the Black Kite soaring overhead. Your hotel is built into the rocks on the edge of the Park. LE JARDIN DU ROY. (B,L,D Daily)
Return to Tulear, an oasis of sandy beaches, friendly people and the third largest coral reef system in the world. Time permitting, visit the Arboretum d’Antsokay and its 900 species of endemic plants, many of which have medicinal properties. Also visit a fishing village and enjoy lunch at a seaside restaurant before flying back to Antananarivo. HOTEL COLBERT. (B,L)
Drive to Perinet Reserve, visiting en route La Mandraka Farm, a breeding facility for indigenous reptile and butterfly species. Perinet is a montane forest, home to the endangered indri indri, the largest species of lemur. In all, the reserve protects some 14 species of lemurs, 108 bird species, 51 species of reptiles, and 84 species of amphibians. Watch for amazing birds, including the Madagascar Crested Ibis and the bizarre looking Helmet Vanga. Move on to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park where the Diademed sifaka and the black-and-white ruffed lemur can often be found along steep and narrow trails. The park also features 100 species of rare orchids, beautiful waterfalls, and opportunities to explore the culture of the local people. Your lodge has a small reserve for intimate visits with troupes of black-and-white ruffed and brown lemurs. VAKONA LODGE. (B,L,D Daily)
Drive back to Antananarivo and connect with your return flights home, via Johannesburg. (B,L,Meals Aloft)
Continue your adventure with an overnight in Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city and financial center. Next day, leave the bustle of the harried city behind to discover comfortable luxury in Kruger National Park. Home to an unparalleled diversity of wildlife, Kruger provides sanctuary to approximately 300 different types of trees, 49 species of fish, 34 types of amphibian, 116 different reptilian species, 505 species of birds and 147 species of mammals. Experience the romantic tradition of safari life, replete with afternoon tea and evening brandy in one of the world’s great parks.
Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.
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