Madagascar: Lemurs! Lemurs!

The isle of Nosy Be and the nature reserves of Berenty, Isalo, Ranomafana and Perinet
Overview

overview

Madagascar, often referred to by ecologists as the eighth continent, is unlike anywhere else on the planet.  The wildlife viewing in this exotic landscape is unparalleled, the opportunities for rich cross-cultural experiences in this itinerary unique.  The peoples of Madagascar originated in India, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. This incredible synthesis of tradition, religion, and culture created a society striking in its physical beauty and remarkable in its uniformity of traditions.  On this tour, cited by major publications as a "Trip of A Lifetime", you also will visit farming and fishing villages, a vanilla plantation, and an ostrich farm.  You will see extraordinary botanical and geological landscapes and, accompanied by your experienced naturalist guide, you will have encounters with the famous Ringtail Lemurs, see the Golden Bamboo Lemurs in Ranomafana, the White Sifaka and Brown Lemurs in Isalo, and listen for the Indri Indri (Babakoto) lemur’s haunting song in Perinet.

The beauty of Madagascar is that whether your interest is primarily lemurs, chameleons, or the wildly diverse and unique birds that roost within the unusual flora, you'll visit some of the country's most renowned parks and reserves, all inhabited by a combination of all of these and many other amazing creatures. 

Optional extensions include a visit to the northeastern side of the island to search for the rare and endangered Golden-Crowned Sifaka lemur, that inhabits a small area estimated to total just over 170 square miles in 44 restricted and fragmented gallery, deciduous, and semi-evergreen forest areas centered around the town of Daraina.  This mostly white, golden-orange-crowned sifaka has large furry ears and is one of the smallest sifakas, weighing just under eight pounds and measuring 35 inches from crown to tail's end.  This lemur cannot be seen elsewhere on the island and is classified as endangered, with its limited range only newly protected since 2005.

An extension to visit to the Masoala Peninsula takes you to one of the most richly biodiverse places on Madagascar, with over half of all of the island's species of plants, mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles found here. Of the ten species of lemurs found in Masoala, four are on the red list of the International Union of the Conservation of the Nature (UICN).  Masoala is the only place on the island where the least-known of the Malagasy carnivores, the mongoose Salanoia concolor or Brown-Tailed Mongoose, has been observed since 1970. The Masoala sea is home to the humpback whale, various dolphins, the dugong and 41 types of corals.

Finally, if your time is short, but you haven't had enough lemurs on your trip, consider an extension to Ampijoroa Forest in search of the Coquerel's Sifaka and several other lemurs to add to your "lemur life list" -- enjoy!

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Tana
    Majestic baobab tree (photo by Joseph Tenne)

    Tonga Soa! Welcome to Madagascar!  Upon arrival in Antananarivo (Tana, the city of a Thousand Warriors), you will be met by your guide and transferred to the hotel.  Then it's either time to get some well-earned rest.

    Meals
    Dinner
    Lodging
    Hotel Combava (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: Tana / Orphanage, City & Lemur Park
    New friend (photo by Joseph Tenne)

    Arise rested and refreshed for your visit to the Avoko Center, a local orphanage.  Enjoy your time and interactions here, followed by a city tour, lunch and then a visit to the Lemurs Park.   Return to your hotel for the remainder of the day and evening, both yours free at leisure.

    http://www.akanyavoko.com

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hotel Combava (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: Tana / Fort Dauphin / Berenty
    Ring-Tailed Lemur and Offspring (photo by Joseph Tenne)

    You'll be transferred to the airport for the flight from Tana to Ft. Dauphin. Depart overland on a four-hour scenic drive to Berenty Reserve, a unique private nature sanctuary in the extreme southeast of Madagascar at the end of a vast mountain range near many tropical beaches. Explore the reserve, looking for lemurs and other wildlife with an experienced guide. You will also have the opportunity for an evening walk through the reserve in search of some of the nocturnal wildlife.  Overnight at a local lodge.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Berenty Lodge (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: Berenty
    Comical Verreaux's Sifaka (photo by Joseph Tenne)

    Enjoy a full day exploring the Berenty Reserve with your experienced guide on what may well rank among your best wildlife experiences ever. Established in 1936 by sisal planter Henri de Heaulme to preserve the forest, the reserve is now managed by Heaulme's son, Jean de Heaulme, but was not opened to tourists until the early 1980s.  The forest features many baobabs and over 115 plant species, many of which provide habitats for a variety of wildlife.  Large populations of ringtails and brown lemurs and the comical and cuddly Verreaux's Sifaka live here.  Berenty is also good for bird-watching, with 83 bird species, nine of which are birds of prey, including the large Madagascar buzzard.  In addition, there are 26 species of reptile, including two species of chameleon, the radiated tortoise and the rare Madagascan spider tortoise.  Time permitting, you may also visit the local cultural museum and an ostrich farm.

    You will also have the option of another evening wildlife walk.  Return to your local lodge for the night.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Berenty Lodge (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: Berenty / Fort Dauphin
    Lake view

    Today you will have your last morning visit of the forest before your drive back to Fort Dauphin.  Fort Dauphin is an interesting town of about 44,000, where you will overnight.  The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore the environs.   In the afternoon, you might have time to visit the 'Jardin Saiidi Botanical Garden, in which you will find most species of Madagascar's flora, as well as lemurs, crocodiles and birds.  

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hotel Croix Sud (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: Fort Dauphin / Isalo

    After breakfast, you will be driven back to Fort Dauphin Airport for your flight to Tulear Town, where you will be met at the airport and then embark on the five-hour drive toward Isalo.  Before you undertake your drive, you might have time to visit the famous seashell market, the maritime museum or the botantical garden.  Along the way to Isalo, you'll see new scenery as you travel among the dry and spiny forests.  In the late afternoon, you'll arrive at the village of Ranohira and Isalo National Park.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hotel Rocklodge, or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: Isalo National Park
    Common Brown Lemurs (photo by Joseph Tenne)

    You will spend today hiking with your guide in Isalo National Park, known for its unique rock formations and wonderful scenery, as well as for its lemurs.  You'll walk to Canyon des Singes to see three different species of lemurs:  White Sifaka, Brown, and Ring-Tailed.  You'll also see the pools of Piscine Noire and Piscine Bleue, as well as the Cascade waterfalls.  Afterward, continue your guided walk to la Piscine Naturelle for a picnic and swim, if desired.  Along the way, the guide will also point out typical vegetation such as the tapia tree, pachypodium, aloes and more.  Note:  We recommend good walking footwear/boots for this hike.

    Returning to the village, visit the Interpretation Center, where you'll learn more about the Massif of Isalo, its geology, history, flora and fauna.  End the day by driving to Fenetre de l'Isalo for the beautiful sunset.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hotel Rocklodge (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: Isalo / Ranomafana
    Meet local people

    After breakfast, head off to Ranomafana National Park, stopping along the way in Fianarantsoa for a little shopping, as well as a bank and a post office if needed.  Also stop at Ambalavao to see the Antemoros Paper Factory, where very nice handmade paper is made.  This is a long day in the vehicle (ten hours), but there are interesting villages and people to see along the way.  About 100 years ago, the Malagasy discovered hot springs in the valley and created a spa around them.  This has become the town of Ranomafana, derived from "rano," meaning water, and "mafana," meaning heat.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Setam Lodge (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: Ranomafana National Park
    Grey Bamboo Lemur (photo by Joseph Tenne)

    Enjoy a full morning visit of Ranomafana National Park, home to 12 species of lemurs, including the newly-discovered Golden Bamboo Lemur. The park also has very interesting populations of birds, frogs, 57 types of chameleons, beautiful orchids, and numerous other exotic flora and fauna.

    Return to the hotel for lunch at midday and then back to the forest for an afternoon visit, taking a swim in the thermal pools, if desired, and visiting the park museum.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Setam Lodge (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: Ranomafana / Antsirabe
    Folkloric performer (photo by Joseph Tenne)

    After breakfast, take another short morning hike in the forest in search of lemurs and other wildlife.  In the late morning, leave for an eight-hour drive to Antsirabe, stopping in Ambohimahasoa for lunch and a short folkloric presentation.

    The afternoon driving route will take you through the highland areas characterized by their very attractive architecture. The houses are made with ornately-carved wooden balconies and brightly-colored shutters.  You'll also pass the 'col de tapia,' a type of tree which is resistant to bush fires and is home to the silkworms.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hotel Cristal, Arotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 11: Antsirabe / Perinet
    Local market (photo by Joseph Tenne)

    After breakfast, visit Antsirabe town, situated on the slopes of the nation's second highest peak, Tsiafajavona.  A stroll around its streets will bring you in contact with some fantastic little shops selling Malagasy artifacts, handicrafts, and gems. Bargaining is a definite art form here. Antsirabe is also known for its pousse-pousse, Madagascar's equivalent of the Asian rickshaw. Time permitting, take one for a fun ride!

    Afterward, drive to Perinet, stopping along the way at Ambatolampy to see a cooking-pot workshop demonstration.  Overnight at your lodge near Perinet Reserve.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Vakona Lodge (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 12: Perinet Reserve
    The highly-endangered Indri Indri Lemur (photo by Joseph Tenne)

    You will be amazed at the game-finding skills and keen eyesight of our guides as they take us on walks in the rainforests of Perinet Reserve.  As you hike through the forest, search for indigenous plants and animals, including the widely-known and highly-endangered lemur, the Indri Indri.   Known by the Malagasy as the Babakoto, the Indri Indri is one of the largest living lemurs remaining on the planet.  The Indri acquired its name when the Malagasy word 'indry,' which means 'there' or 'there it is,' was mistakenly understood to be its name and not the exclamation of the keen-eyed guide.  Many other lemur species also inhabit the forest, including the woolly, greater dwarf, brown mouse, grey bamboo, common brown, red-footed brown, black- and white-ruffed lemurs, as well as bats. This 2,000-acre reserve also holds a world record for numbers of frog species among rainforests of comparable size.

    You will enjoy a morning rainforest walk, followed by lunch at the lodge, returning for afternoon and evening walks in Vakona Reserve.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Vakona Lodge (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 13: Perinet / Tana
    Coquerel's Sifaka Lemur (photo by Joseph Tenne)

    Take a morning walk in Mantadia Reserve after breakfast. Mantadia is a primary rainforest and home to many species not found in Perinet. This includes the diademed sifaka and ruffed lemur, and sought-after birds like the Pitta-like ground-roller, short-legged ground-roller, and forest rock thrush, among others.  Return to the lodge for lunch.

    After lunch, drive back to Tana, stopping at Madagascar Exotic, a reptile research and reproduction farm, where you'll see crocodiles, various species of chameleons, geckoes, lizards, frogs, insects, birds, fruit bats and butterflies.

    On arrival in Tana, check into your local hotel and spend the remainder of the day and evening at your leisure.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hotel Combava (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 14: Tana / Nosy Be
    Comet moth (photo by Joseph Tenne)

    This morning after breakfast, you transfer to the airport for your flight to Nosy Be, a tiny tropical island off the coast of Madagascar. Endless beaches rim turquoise lagoons, lush jungles and exotic plantations. Consider an optional late afternoon excursion to Mont Passot, the island’s highest point for a spectacular view of blue lagoons, crater lakes and lush forests. You will overnight at a local hotel on the island.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Nosy Be Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 15: Nosy Be / Nosy Komba / Nosy Tanikely
    Red-Fronted Brown Lemurs (photo by Joseph Tenne)

    Today's full-day excursion to Nosy Komba and Tanikely affords a chance to explore some of the smaller islands off Nosy Be.  Visit Nosy Komba, a small volcanic island with resident black lemurs, before sailing to Nosy Tanikely, where you'll relax on an afternoon of swimming and snorkeling at the marine reserve. This officially-protected reserve is one of the best remaining sites for snorkeling in the area. Return to your Nosy Be hotel for your overnight.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Nosy Be Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 16: Nosy Be / Tana / Onward
    Local women preparing food (photo by Joseph Tenne)

    Spend your final morning in Madagascar exploring Nosy Be or just relaxing at the resort, after which you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Tana. Time permitting, visit the souvenir market for some last-minute shopping.  Consider an optional excursion to Mont Passot ($35 pp), the island’s highest point for a spectacular view of blue lagoons, crater lakes and lush forests.  You will have a day-room reserved for you in Tana where you can freshen up, and a final farewell dinner, before transferring to the airport for your flight.

    Before returning home, consider extending your time in this magical, endangered corner of the world with a three-, five-, or eight-day extension for more lemur viewing, forest hikes and adventure.  You've come this far, why not stay a little longer?

    NOTE:  Madagascar frequently presents unique travel challenges.  In order to prevent unhappy experiences, the traveler must expect delays, itinerary and hotel changes if circumstance dictate and other obstacles such as poor roads and vehicles that have been nurtured to a long life.  Accommodations are some of the best available, but they are not without quirks and malfunctions such as lack of hot water at times. If you require more than basic food and comfort and are shaken by the unexpected, then this may not be the trip for you.  On the other hand, if you are open to adventure and are willing to accept the unexpected, then you'll experience amazing flora, exotic wildlife and unique cultures.  Given all of this, Madagascar is one of the true destinations of a lifetime.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hotel Combava (or similar) Dayroom in Tana
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Sep 17-Oct 2, 2014
Oct 9-24, 2014 Solo Female Traveler Looking for Roommate!
Apr 10-25, 2015
Sep 3-18, 2015
Sep 25-Oct 10, 2015
Oct 22-Nov 5, 2015
May 12-27, 2016
Sep 22-Oct 7, 2016
Oct 27-Nov 10, 2016
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$5,965
Smaller Group Price on Request 4 - 10 travelers: $5,965 pp
Single Supplement:
$950
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

NOTE:  Madagascar frequently presents unique travel challenges.  In order to prevent unhappy experiences, the traveler must expect delays, itinerary and hotel changes if circumstance dictate and other obstacles such as poor roads and vehicles that have been nurtured to a long life.  Accommodations are some of the best available, but they are not without quirks and malfunctions such as lack of hot water at times. If you require more than basic food and comfort and are shaken by the unexpected, then this may not be the trip for you.  On the other hand, if you are open to adventure and are willing to accept the unexpected, then you'll experience amazing flora, exotic wildlife and unique cultures.  Given all of this, Madagascar is one of the true destinations of a lifetime.

Duration:
16 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
2
Comfortable and delightful hotels and lodges
Group Size:
4-10
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
3
Comfortable and delightful hotels and lodges

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Madagascar Masoala Peninsula Extension

Duration: 6 days

Travelers will also have the option of extending their trip to include a visit to the Masoala Peninsula, the most biodiverse national park in Madagascar, with both marine and forest habitats, and over half of all species of plants, mammals, birds,... read more

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