15-18 Days
Duration
3/5
Physical Rating
10
Group Size

Madagascar

23 October – 8 November, 2018

Madagascar is so different from anywhere else on the planet that it is often referred to as the eighth continent. It is a bizarre world where most of its inhabitants you may never have heard of. A land of lemurs, chameleons and truly bizarre plants including baobabs (Madagascar has six species, Africa has one!) endemic three-cornered and traveler’s palms. An island where Indri pierce the morning air with their loud and haunting cries, fossa chase lemurs through the tree tops, tenrecs and giant couas rummage in the understory and where leaf-nosed snakes and flat-tailed geckos are the masters of mimicry.

We will explore the country to the north, south, east and west, interact with the fabulous locals from a host of different tribes. Madagascar has an incredible 5 endemic bird families, more than 10,000 species of endemic plants, more than 50 endemic lemur species and 99% endemism in its frogs! We will do night walks searching for the bizarre aye-aye, wooly lemurs and tomato frogs and during the day hope to find, vangas, crocodiles, mesites, giant parson’s chameleons and bee eaters. We will interact with many lemur species including the charismatic ring-tails of the south and watch Verreaux’s sifakas as they dance comically across open ground. It remains, in our opinion, one of the most fascinating countries in the world in which to spend time on the road at eye level with day-to-day life. We have chosen this time of year to coincide with baby lemurs and peak bird nesting season. The expedition has two components, the first of 15 days for those whose time away from home may be limited. The four-day extension however is highly recommended to complete the Madagascar experience.

Pete and Reneé have led dozens of trips to this weird and wonderful island and look forward to sharing their knowledge with you.

Single accommodations are limited.

15 day itinerary per person sharing: $9900.00

15 day itinerary single supplement: $9900+$800 (Total $10,700.00)

Full 18 day day itinerary per person sharing : $12,875.00
Full 18 day Single supplement $10,700 + $2,975+ $350 (Total $14,025.00)

 

ARRIVAL/DEPARTURE LOCATION Antananarivo, Madagascar
ARRIVAL TIME 23 October, 2018
INCLUDED
Lodging at all hotels during the expedition
Meals and filtered water
All ground transportation and airport transfers
All internal Madagascar flights
Local English speaking guide to accompany us on entire trip
Additional local guides in parks
Two Focus Expeditions trip leaders
All gratuities throughout the expedition
NOT INCLUDED
Round trip international airfare to Madagascar
Entry visa for Madagascar
Travel insurance – highly recommended and can be booked via the website
Early or late check-in in Hotel Colbert, Antananarivo.
Personal expenses such as laundry, telephone, internet and alcoholic beverages.

 

Additional information

Accommodations15 day Per Person Sharing, 15 day Single Supplement, 18 day Per Person Sharing, 18 day Single Supplement,

Letters correspond to points on the map in the map tab.

A

Day 1, October 23rd: Arrive to Antananarivo

Antananarivo – Fly into Antananarivo (either from Paris on Air France, or from Johannesburg on South African Airways, or from Nairobi on Kenya Airways), the capital of Madagascar, known as “Tana” for short. From the airport, we will be driven to the venerable Hotel Colbert located in the upper town and in continuous operation since colonial times. Overnight and dinner at the Hotel Colbert.

B

Day 2, October 24th: Antananarivo to Andasibe

After breakfast we head off on the well-maintained Route Nationale 2 through the verdant Imerina countryside until we reach the World Heritage site of ‘ala atsinanana’, the eastern rainforest, about 3 hours from the capital. All the while we will pass amazing and unique scenery and witness the highly photogenic locals going about their daily business. After lunch at Andasibe Hotel, we check into our bungalows at Vakôna Forest Lodge. In the evening, we explore the Mitsinjo forest on a night walk searching for tomato frogs, tenrecs and nocturnal lemurs. Dinner and overnight at Vakôna Forest Lodge.

C

Day 3 October 25th: Analamazaotra Reserve

Rise early to hike into the forest of Analamazaotra to see and hear the totally unforgettable indri lemurs as they wail vociferously proclaiming their territory. With expert local guides in tow there is a host of other strange Madagascan mammals, birds and reptiles that we should find. After lunch at the hotel, enjoy a visit to ‘lemur island’ on the premises of the hotel for direct interaction with some of its inhabitants. Dinner and overnight Vakôna Forest Lodge.

D

Days 4 - 6, October 26th-28th: Andasibe / Akani'ni nofy / Palmarium

Today we drive down the escarpment of the eastern mountain chain towards the coast, continuing along the same Route Nationale 2 (with a boxed lunch). About three hours out of Andasibe, we reach the colonial town of Brickaville on the coastal plain, where a 10-km track leads to the Pangalanes Canal, a waterway that parallels the coast from the harbor town of Tomasaina almost all the way down to the southern tip of the island. A boat will be waiting at the canal port of Ambila-Lemaitso to take us to Ampitabe Lake about 60km to the North, home to the Palmarium private reserve. All the way the journey will be fascinating while accompanied by continuous greetings of ‘Salud Vaza!’. We will stop many times to interact with and photograph the endearing locals and their environment in this beautiful rural landscape. Two full days to enjoy the reserve and the lake (and, why not the canal or a snorkel from the beach). The coastal forest that is the setting for the reserve boasts a wide variety of Madagascan palms, including Dypsis, Ravenea, Orania, Voanioala, Lemurophoenix and of course Ravinala – the ‘traveler’s palm’, many orchids and a host of different fauna species. From our night walks to find aye-aye, to black and white ruffed lemurs, crowned lemurs, indi, sifakas and wooly lemurs, (not forgetting chameleons, bizarre lizards, insects and new tenrecs – hedgehog-like animals) we will be kept very busy photographing, exploring on our own, interacting with local fishermen on the beach or simply communing with the lemurs – most of which are totally habituated to humans. Overnights Palmarium.

A

Day 7, October 29th: Palmarium to Antananarivo

After breakfast, we retrace our steps back by boat to Ambila-Lemaitso
then by road back up to the capital with a stop for lunch at Moramanga. Another fascinating look at Madagascar from the ground perspective with time to stop and enjoy the spectacle. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Colbert.

E

Day 8, October 30th: Antananarivo to Miandrivazo

Setting out early today, we head South on Route Nationale 7 through the Central-Highlands landscape of terraced rice paddies until reaching Antsirabe, the ‘little Switzerland’ of Madagascar. After lunch, at one of the numerous restaurants in Antsirabe, we continue west to the town of Miandrivazo at the western edge of the Central Highlands. Here we break our journey for dinner and overnight at Princesse Tsiribihina (named after one of Madagascar’s largest rivers, that runs through Miandrivazo).

F

Day 9, October 31st: Miandrivazo to Marofandilia

We continue the road trip as far as the Mozambique Channel arriving at the coastal town of Morondava in the early afternoon after a late lunch we visit the world famous Baobab Alley before arriving to the edge of the forest at Marofandilia.

G

Day 10, November 1st: Marofandillia to Kirindy

The village of Marofandilia is at the edge of Kirindy forest, where the Madagascan NGO Fanamby built its first locally owned and operated rustic lodging, “Camp Amoureux”. Your villager hosts are also the custodians of the forest, and the camp is their most important source of revenue – therefore an important incentive to preserve the area. We enjoy our first foray into the forest this morning with a knowledgeable local as our guide. For the afternoon we will visit Kirindy research station with dinner at the visitors’ center, and particular emphasis on seeing Madagascar’s top carnivore, the strange fossa. After our meal we will go on a night walk to spot the many nocturnal lemurs and other unique denizens of the west. Overnight Camp Amoureux.

A

Day 11, November 2nd: Morondava to Antananarivo

Today we return to the capital visiting the imposing Baobab Alley once again but this time for a completely different perspective at sunrise. We continue to Morondava airport to catch our return flight to Tana. If time permits we can either visit the royal hill of Analamanga or soak up the atmosphere of downtown before dinner and overnight at the Hotel Colbert.

H

Day 12-13, November 3rd-4th: Antananarivo to Fort Dauphin & Berenty

After breakfast we transfer to the airport to fly South to Ft. Dauphin (a.k.a.Tolagnaro), where we will be met and driven to the private reserve of Berenty, about 3 hours away, situated at the point where the spiny dry-forest meets the lazy Mandrare river. This is home to one of Madagascar’s most iconic species, the ring-tailed lemur. We have a very busy, full day to enjoy Berenty. From dawn we will begin exploring the grounds and interacting directly with the ring-tailed lemurs which will seem to be everywhere. As it warms up Verreaux’s sifakas will become active and a highlight will be to watch them ‘dance’ across the open ground as they move between feeding trees. We will see brown lemurs, sportive lemurs and a host of birds including giant couas, Madagascar scops owls, vangas and cuckoo rollers. With luck we may even spot a radiated tortoise or two. After dinner we will head to the spiny forest of Dideraceae in search of miniscule, nocturnal, mouse lemurs.
Meals and overnight Berenty.

A

Day 14, November 5th: Berenty to Antananarivo

After breakfast and more photography we drive back to Ft. Dauphin to catch our return flight to Tana. Overnight at the Hotel Colbert.

OPTIONAL EXTENTION

We have decided to split the expedition into two parts for those whom may not be able to stay away more than the two weeks described above. The following four days however are very special and put us in contact with a host of new Madagascan species not previously seen. This is not simply an ‘add-on’ but the rounding out of our Madagascan overview. It is highly recommended to do both sections.

I

Day 15-17, November 6th-7th: Antananarivo to Ampijoroa

While some guests may be departing today those remaining will continue to the north west of the island and the stunning reserve of Ampijoroa. The journey is on one of Madagascar’s best roads which takes us across the red center of the Haut Plateaux. Two full days are spent in the reserve and immediate area. The park is a bird watcher’s paradise with 129 recorded species, 75 of them endemic to Madagascar, including the bizarre sickle-billed and Van Dam’s vangas the extremely rare Madagascar fish eagle as well as the white-breasted mesite. Eight species of lemur are also present including the charming Coquerel’s sifaka, mongoose lemurs and western woolly lemurs. We aim to see many other species including bats, lizards, boas and crocodiles. Additionally the park is home to a breeding center for rare and endangered tortoises including the strange ploughshare tortoise. Full board, Blue Vanga Lodge.

A

Day 18, November 8th: Ampijoroa to Majunga & Antananarivo

This morning we take the beautiful drive to the sea port city of Majunga, famous for a giant baobab in the city center and the many traditional sailing vessels (dhows) that ply the coast. We take a flight from Majungaa’s international airport back to the capital, Tana for dinner and our last overnight or a day room near the airport for those leaving on the late night flight to Paris.

EXPEDITION LEADERS

PETE OXFORD & RENEE BISH

Over the decades we have spent many, many months in Madagascar criss-crossing the island both as tour leaders and professional wildlife photographers. Our travels have taken us to some of the islands most remote outposts where we have been stuck many times in our 4×4, usually to be rescued by oxen pulling out the vehicle. We have spent way too many hours in ox-drawn carts with zero suspension on terrible tracks but in so doing became the first photographers to photograph all the sifaka species in the wild. In a very rewarding personal coup we were also the first to successfully document wild fossa, Madagascar’s largest carnivore. Apart from the incredible wildlife we just love interacting with the local people who are a real joy to be with. In designing the itinerary we have included what we consider the highlights that Madagascar has to offer. If you possess a true spirit of adventure we invite you to join us on this incredible expedition. Pete & Reneé

Tour Reviews

There are no reviews yet.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.