Mandrare’s Ringtails, Sifakas, Baobabs and Spiny bush. Madagascar’s greatest lowland rainforest at Masoala. Anjajavy’s extensive tropical deciduous forest with its Baobabs and rare wildlife. Top notch hospitality in remote, secluded lodges. Abundant and diverse wildlife.
DAY 1: Arrival into Antananarivo
If you are flying from the UK, depart from London Heathrow or selected other UK airports on the Air France flight to Paris CDG***. Connect with the mid morning Air France flight on to Antananarivo. Upon arrival in the late evening you are met and transferred to Relais des Plateaux to stay overnight in a superior room with breakfast included. *** This sample itinerary is based on Air France flight schedules and economy class fare, but if you prefer to use other international carriers, do let us know and we shall be happy to quote accordingly.
DAY 2: Antananarivo – Fort Dauphin – Mandrare River Camp
This morning you’ll be taken to the airport for the Madagascar Airways flight to Fort Dauphin on the far south coast. On arrival, you will be welcomed and transferred to Mandrare River Camp (5hr drive on some rough roads). Stay 3 nights in a luxury en-suite tented room. All meals, canapés, picnic lunches, drinks (mineral water, soft drinks, beer, wine and spirits) and scheduled lodge excursions are included.
DAY 3: Mandrare River Camp
Days here can be spent seeking out wildlife in extraordinary landscapes created by the spiny bush habitat, and learning about the complex culture of the people of southern Madagascar. There are a number of designated forest areas near the camp, where with permission from local village chiefs, it’s possible to explore this unique ecosystem with your guide. Also look for the various species of lemur unique to sub-arid southern Madagascar (White foot sportive, Grey mouse, Grey-brown mouse, Ringtails and the entertaining Verreaux’s Sifaka) but there are also many other animals which make walks a memorable experience. The baobab forest is surreal experience – the baobab trees, held sacred by many Malagasy, have been left standing like sentinels presiding over the landscape where the surrounding bush has been cleared to make way for sisal plantations. A day’s excursion to Lac Anony with its white sand shores and dunes, contrasting with azure blue water, is seasonally home to flamingos and to local fishermen who for generations, have fished on the lake. Another interesting excursion is to one of the local village markets. This region is far from the tourist circuits, so often villagers are just as interested and fascinated in the visitors as the visitors are in the lives of the residents. Market day is quite an event in these parts, with people coming from miles around on foot or ox-cart to bring produce and to see friends and neighbours.
DAY 4: Mandrare River Camp
Enjoy more activities around Mandrare River Camp today – and we’ll weave in a visit to the famed Berenty Private Reserve nearby, as there you’ll be able to see high concentrations of southern Malagasy wildlife, which makes it a photographer’s dream.
DAY 5: Mandrare River Camp – Fort Dauphin
You will be transferred to Fort Dauphin after lunch at camp, to stay overnight in the Talinjoo Hotel with dinner and breakfast included.
DAY 6: Fort Dauphin – Antananarivo (flight)
You will be transferred from Talinjoo Hotel to Fort Dauphin Airport to check in for the Madagascar Airways flight to Antananarivo. On arrival you will be welcomed and transferred to Relais des Plateaux to stay in a superior double room with breakfast. During the balance of the day your guide and driver will take you to the Royal Village of Ambohimanga, where you can see beautifully restored summer homes of departed Merina monarchs. This picturesque hilltop village is a spiritual centre for the Merina people. Time allowing you can also visit Banana Rova, one of the country’s best restaurants.
DAY 7: Antananarivo – Masoala National Park
Transfer to Antananarivo Airport for the twice-weekly scheduled charter flights to Maroantsetra, the access airport. Flight duration is about 90 minutes and there is no irksome check-in, as you go straight to the private lounge. On arrival, you will be welcomed and transferred to the boat pickup point. Set off on the speedboat transfer to Masoala Forest Lodge, at a beautiful, quiet beach on the wild Masoala Peninsula. On the way, about 45 minutes into the deep blue Antongil Bay, stop at Nosy Mangabe, an uninhabited reserve island which has plenty of rare wildlife including Black & white ruffed lemur, White-fronted lemurs and lots of ‘herps’ such as Leaf-tailed gecko and Climbing mantella. After a picnic lunch on the little beach, set off in the speedboat across Antongil Bay over to Masoala Forest Lodge. During this approximately two hour journey, you will be overawed by the dramatic rainforest backdrop, especially where lowland rainforest still extends unbroken to clear waters. You might see dolphins, flying fish and from July to September, Humpback whales. Once you have settled comfortably into your treehouse, meet the other guests for sundowners around a fire on the beach. After dinner, your guide meets you to discuss possible excursions for the rest of your stay here.
DAY 8: Masoala National Park
Awaken early for coffee and breakfast on the sea deck before setting off on the day’s adventure with your guide. Take a quick boat ride up the coast to the primary rainforest in search of the Red ruffed lemurs, Dwarf chameleons, Helmet Vangas, and other wildlife endemic to the forest. After some hours in the dense forest with the giant hardwoods and majestic tree ferns, return to camp by boat for a well – earned lunch and rest . Your afternoon activities could range from snorkelling on the nearby, highly diverse coral reefs to a sunset paddle out to a scenic outlook (and the chance of a close encounter with Green Turtles) to relaxing in a hammock underneath the beach After dinner, a guided night walk provides the only opportunity to spot some of the secretive nocturnal wildlife, such as Dwarf and Mouse lemurs, Leaf – tailed geckos, or even the elusive Aye Aye.
DAY 9: Masoala National Park
After breakfast on the sea deck, traverse the unusual rock formations of Tampolo point by kayak. Stop for a swim on the beach at the “Sacred Island” and then continue your paddle into a pristine mangrove and forested river, with the chance of spotting Blue- spotted stingrays in the shallow water or perhaps the Lesser Bamboo lemurs crossing the river. Paddle back to the lodge for lunch and spend another afternoon lounging in our beach hammocks or exploring the lodge’s various reefs. Enjoy sundowners around the fire on the beach and dinner in the lodge.
DAY 10: Masoala National Park – Antananarivo
You will be transferred by speedboat back to Maroantsetra Airport where you will be checked in quickly for the scheduled charter flight back to Antananarivo. On arrival, you’ll be welcomed and transferred back to Relais des Plateaux to stay overnight with breakfast included. We can arrange a sightseeing trip for you during the balance of the day and highly recommend for our clients to visit the Cafe de la Musee, where if you wish, you can even have a Malagasy cooking class with the renowned Chef Johary.
DAY 10: Antananarivo – Anjajavy
You’ll be transferred to Antananarivo Airport to check in for the scheduled MTA flight to Anjajavy (these operate Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings both ways). On arrival into Anjajavy’s airstrip, you will be welcomed and transferred to Anjajavy Le Lodge to stay for 5 nights in a sea-facing, airconditioned villa with all meals and some non-motorised activities included. Being here completes your experience of Madagascar’s three chief floristic zones, so you can truly appreciate their dramatic contrasts and enjoy what they have to offer in terms of biodiversity.
DAY 11: Anjajavy
Enjoy remote Anjajavy, where aside from excellent accommodation in an idyllic location, you can see plenty of wildlife, much of it unique to the highly threatened west Malagasy tropical deciduous woodlands. Among the non-motorised activities included in the rates are the following walking excursions: • Cove to cove • The Salt Wells Path • The Crab Path • The ;King’s Alley • The Sakalava path • The Tsingy Enclosure • The ‘Alley of Baobabs’ Marobozo • The Giant’s Walk • Night walks around Lodge
DAY 13: Anjajavy
More time to explore the fantastic tropical dry deciduous forest of Anjajavy Reserve, which during recent years was doubled in size and protects one of the very few remaining tracts of this highly threatened forest type on the island. The total protected area of the Reserve is 10,803ha, including 1,030ha of Private Reserve and 9,773ha of IUCN V Protected Area Harmonious Landscape). As terrain is generally flat and gentle, walks are graded as ‘Easy’ and there are good guides, who will point out rare wildlife along the way. Additionally, the area includes a healthy mangrove system in which boat excursions are on offer.
DAY 14: Anjajavy
Another day which can be spent either exploring more of the wonderful forest reserve, or perhaps relaxing on one of the sunny beaches. There’s snorkelling to be had especially around Moramba Bay, which is certainly a place all guests should visit as a day trip. Night walks too, are very interesting and rewarding – you may see (and certainly hear) vociferous Milne-Edward’s sportive lemurs, and encounter many tiny Mouse lemurs of two species – the Gray mouse lemur which is very common here, and the larger Danfoss’ mouse lemur. In spring and summer, look for Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs, which aestivate in winter.
DAY 15: Anjajavy
Your last day in this remote, secluded and wonderful place. Savour the delights of Anjajavy, where you’ll also be assured of top-notch hospitality and great food. Many of our clients who have travelled here with us, return for more visits. Contact us if you’d like to arrange optional extras, such as a Star Bed night in a discreet cove.
DAY 16: Anjajavy – Antananarivo and departure
Take the scheduled light aircraft transfer from Anjajavy back to Antananarivo, arriving at 11h00. You will be transferred to Relais des Plateaux where you have the use of a day room and can freshen up. You will then be transferred back to the airport to check in for your flight*** home after an extraordinary and wonderful trip! *** This sample itinerary and costing is based on Air France international flights (economy class seating) between UK and Antananarivo. Should you prefer to fly on another carrier, do let us know and we can tweak your itinerary accordingly.
DAY 17: Arrival home
Arrive back home with a wonderful catalogue of memories and a smorgasbord of wildlife observations and experiences to treasure.
17 nights from £11,520 – £12,530 pp
The price reflects the suggested accommodation in this itinerary. This will depend on when you travel and is subject to change. All of our Wildlife holidays are completely tailor-made to your requirements. We are happy to make recommendation to meet the quality and experience you are looking for, within your given budget.