Madagascar Wildlife: Endangered Oddities and Icons with Daniel Austin: 2022
Fosa in hunting mode  
Sickle-billed vanga (Jan Gersag, Rainbow 2018 group tour client)  
Indri, largest of the lemurs, can be seen only in Madagascar  
Black & white ruffed lemur, Palmarium Reserve  
Giraffe-necked weevil, male, Andasibe. (Craig)  
Henkle's leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus) can be seen at Andrafiamena  
Blue coua is commonly seen in Andasibe-Mantadia's rainforest  
Aye aye at Le Palmarium reserve  
Fosa at night!  
Coquerel's coua, Kirindy  
Giant jumping rat at Kirindy  
Daniel's 2018 group in Ankarana Est  
Daniel's 2018 group in Mandresy Cave, Ankarana  
Daniel's 2017 group studying Red-fronted brown lemur in Kirindy  
Grey mouse lemur in Kirindy  
Daniel's 2017 group planting Baobabs near Kirindy  
Indri and youngster, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park  
Baobab Alley in the Menabe (Daniel)  
Red-fronted brown lemur leaping in Kirindy  
Big-headed gecko, Kirindy  
Uroplatus gigantea is quite common in Fontenay Private Park  
Male Panther chameleon - the species is common in the Northern region  
Tsingy formations at Ankarana National Park  
Perrier's black sifakas, Andriafiamena (Daniel)  
20 day tour
Prices from
£8195

Tour Highlights

  • Aye ayes and Ruffed lemurs at Le Palmarium
  • Indri, Diadem Sifaka and Brown lemurs in Andasibe-Mantadia
  • All 6 endemic Malagasy Baobab species
  • Fosa, Giant Jumping rats and other rare wildlife in Kirindy
  • Leaftailed geckoes and chameleons at Montagne d'Ambre
  • Perrier's black sifakas in Andrafiamena
  • Tsingy, baobabs and wildife in Ankarana
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I'm enquiring about: Madagascar Wildlife: Endangered Oddities and Icons with Daniel Austin: 2022

Madagascar Wildlife: Endangered Oddities and Icons with Daniel Austin: 2022

Madagascar

Join Madagascar expert, tour leader and author of Bradt Guide to Madagascar; Madagascar Wildlife: A Visitor's Guide and Madagascar Highlights, Daniel Austin, on a fascinating journey to seek some of the island's most endearing, weird & wonderful and also, most endangered inhabitants.

Daniel has led small groups of wildlife enthusiasts around Madagascar with us for several years, and if his 2016, 2017 and the 2018 tour which he co-led with Hilary Bradt are anything to go by, next year’s adventures promise to be wonderful experience. 

The tour begins with a domestic flight to the west coast town of Morondava, from where you travel about 2 hours north to Kirindy and Marofandilia forests. These seasonally dry deciduous forests receive some protection in the Menabe Antimena Protected Area. Visitors come here from all over the world to look for an extraordinary assemblage of mammals, including Fosa (Fossa), the island's largest carnivore; the Endangered Giant jumping rat and various lemurs, notably our tiniest relative, Madame Berthe's mouse lemur. To reach Kirindy, you pass through the 'baobab alley', a group of Grandidier's baobabs standing like sentinels presiding over a landscape converted for pasture. Guided day and night walks are scheduled in this extraordinary area. Additionally, you will have the chance - as our previous groups have - to plant an endangered, endemic Baobab at the habitat restoration site managed by the NGO FANAMBY, which will be visited.

A quick flight from Morondava will have you back in Antananarivo, which acts as a centrally located 'hub' for those who wish to experience the country's incomparably varied ecotypes.

You then fly up to the far northern coastal town Diego Suarez, near where you walk the (easy) Baobab Trail at Montagne des Francais Reserve. There you can see two of the endemic Baobabs of the northern region. Continue just an hour southwards to Montagne d'Ambre National Park for a 2-night stay. This delightful forest block is mostly to seek its impressive nocturnal herpetofauna which includes various species of Uroplatus (Leaf-tailed geckos); chameleons and some nocturnal lemurs. 

Next up in the 'northern parks loop' is a visit to Andrafiamena Andavakoera, which makes this trip that much more special: this relatively new protected dry forest corridor has been much enjoyed by our guests to date, including Daniel's October 2018 tour group. Its tropical deciduous dry forest is home to one of the world's 25 rarest primates, the Critically Endangered Perrier's black sifaka. Visitors have the chance to see up to three of the family groups during a day walk here - a truly memorable experience, not least considering there are less than 400 of these enigmatic lemurs remaining globally.

From Andrafiamena, travel to Ankarana - the 'Lost World Within a Lost World' - for a two night stay. Your time here will enable for you to explore sunken deciduous forests, caves and marvel at the otherworldly scenery created by the 'tsingy' limestone pinnacle formations.   After having experienced Ankarana, travel through Sambirano country by road and then by speedboat  over to balmy Nosy Be, where you visit the Nosy Tanikely Marine Reserve, praised for its psychedelic underwater world. 

Having completed the really varied northern circuit, fly back to Antananarivo for an overnight stay. The following day, travel down the eastern escarpment, to Palmarium Private Reserve in the eastern lowlands, where the main objective is to see wild Aye ayes. These nocturnal, cat-sized lemurs epitomise all that is bizarre about Malagasy life forms. Because most of the wildlife in the privately protected tract of east coast littoral forest at Palmarium is so well habituated, the site is a wildlife photographer's dream.

Many first-time visitors to Madagascar, might think we've left the best for last: from Palmarium, journey upcountry to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park ('Perinet'), which surely is Madagascar's number 1 must see protected eastern rainforest, for its iconic and Critically Endangered Indri, Diademed sifaka and many other flagship species unique to the island's rainforest band. During the time in Andasibe-Mantadia there will be wonderful guided wildlife walks by day and by night. 

From Andasibe, an easy 4hour drive in 4-wheel drive vehicles, will have you back in Antananarivo for a farewell dinner and for those who are flying back home, a transfer to the airport for your onward flights after a most wonderful wildlife experience!

As ever, Daniel will be accompanied on this tour by ace Malagasy wildife tour guide, Harry (Hery) Rakotosalama.

Minimum group size: 6 Maximum Group size: 8  

Read more about this tour


Day 1
Day 1
02 October 2022 - Welcome to Madagascar!
Those flying Air France** into Antananarivo:
 
On arrival into Antananarivo this evening, you will be welcomed at Ivato Airport and transferred to the very comfortable Relais des Plateaux to stay overnight.
 
** If you prefer to arrange international flights on a different carrier, do let us know should you wish for us to assist.
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
       
Day 2
Day 2
03 October 2022: Antananarivo - Morondava (flight) - Kirindy Forest (drive)
This morning, transfer to Antananarivo Ivato Airport to check in for the lunch time Tsaradia flight to Morondava on the central- west coast.
 
On arrival, you will be met and transferred in 4-wheel drive vehicles north to Kirindy Forest, via the famed 'Baobab Alley'. Stay 2 nights at Relais du Kirindy, all meals included.
 
Make a night walk in Kirindy in search of its diverse nocturnal inhabitants which include the likes of Fosa (Madagascar's largest predator); the incredibly localised and endangered Giant jumping rat and nocturnal primates including Red-tailed sportive lemur, Pale fork-marked lemur and Gray mouse lemur. You will also be taken to look for our tiniest cousin, the Madame Berthe's mouse lemur, now Endangered as it is found only in the Menabe Antimena Protected Area.
Accommodation: Relais du Kirindy
       
Day 3
Day 3
04 October 2022 : Kirindy and Marofandilia Forests (Menabe Antimena Protected Area)
Today and tonight, you will be taken on guided walks in these fascinating dry forests which are home to a plethora of highly threatened animals and plants. Trails are easy and generally, wildlife viewing very rewarding.
Accommodation: Relais du Kirindy
       
Day 4
Day 4
05 October 2022: Kirindy Forest - Morondava (drive) and Morondava - Antananarivo (flight)
After a final early morning walk in the Menabe Antimena dry forests, travel back to Morondava Airport - once again passing the Baobab Alley - to check in for the midday Tsaradia flight back to Antananarivo.
 
(Photo is of one of Daniel's previous tour groups with us, planting endangered Baobab saplings at the habitat restoration site managed by the NGO Fanamby), near the 'Baobab Alley'.
 
On arrival in the capital this afternoon, transfer back to Relais des Plateaux to stay overnight.
 
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
       
Day 5
Day 5
06 October 2022: Antananarivo - Diego Suarez (flight) - Montagne d'Ambre National Park
After breakfast, transfer to Antananarivo airport for the Tsaradia flight to Diego Suarez on the far north coast.
 
On arrival, you will be taken to the dry Montagne des Francais (about 30 minutes drive from the town), to explore the Baobab Trail - here you can see two of the northern Malagasy Baobab species, the large Adansonia madagascariensis and the Endangered, much more localised Suarez baobabs. From Montagne des Francais, there are wonderful, panoramic views over the bay of Diego Suarez.
 
Then drive about an hour southwards to Joffreville (ascending about 800m in elevation), where climate and vegetation are remarkably different than that you will have seen earlier today. Montagne d'Ambre National Park protects an isolated rainforest-clad massif where fauna is quite different than that found in the eastern rainforest band which you will previously have seen.
 
The main focus for tonight is a nocturnal walk, because herpetofauna is particularly rich here. You will visit the privately protected forest patch in the grounds of Domain de Fontenay, where people come to seek diverse nocturnal animals, notably various species of Leaf-tailed (Uroplatus) geckos and Chameleons. With luck, Dwarf and Mouse lemurs will also be in evidence.
 
Two nights at the comfortable Nature Lodge.
Accommodation: Nature Lodge
           
Day 6
Day 6
07 October 2022: Montagne d'Ambre National Park
Today will be an easy one, spent exploring the montane forest wonderland of Montagne d'Ambre National Park. This isolated rainforest block holds a large variety of endemic vertebrates, notably many reptiles and frogs. So seeking out the 'herps' will be high on the list during day and night walks in this area. There are also substantial populations of the northern lemurs such as Crowned and Sanford's lemurs - it is the best site for the latter. Birding is rewarding; guides will keep a lookout for the likes of the locally endemic Amber Mountain rock-thrush.
 
Night walks at the private park of Domain de Fontenay nearby, are always much enjoyed - highlights here include Greater dwarf lemur; Giant and Mossy leaf-tailed gecko and many chameleons.
 
Day 7
Day 7
08 October 2022: Montagne d'Ambre National Park - Andrafiamena Andavakoera Protected Area
A half-day drive today after an early morning forest walk, will take you to the recently established Andrafiamena Andavakoera Protected Area, a corridor of tropical deciduous forest with some limestone substrate and caves.
 
For two nights, your base will be the well tended Black Lemur Camp, highly praised by our guests. (Daniel and Hilary Bradt's 2018 tour was the first tour group to visit here and they had a superb time).
 
Night walk after dinner.
Accommodation: Black Lemur Camp
                   
Day 8
Day 8
09 October 2022: Andrafiamena Andavakoera Protected Area
After an early breakfast, venture out from behind the camp up along the forest trail into the Protected Area in search of some of the Perrier's black sifakas which are protected here. Seeing these ultra-rare and localised lemurs which are one of the world's most endangered primates, is a wonderful and memorable trip highlight.
 
There are also endangered Northern sportive lemurs and various birds and reptiles to be seen. A packed lunch will be taken into the forest, so as to maximise chances of seeing the resident wildlife today.
 
In the afternoon, walk back to Black Lemur Camp and visit the nearby village; see the nursery managed by Fanamby and if you wish, plant an endemic sapling as part of the habitat restoration programme.
Accommodation: Black Lemur Camp
                   
Day 9
Day 9
10 October 2022: Andrafiamena Andavakoera - Ankarana National Park
Depart after breakfast to Ankarana Ouest, where you stay for two nights at Iharana Bush Camp, all meals included.
 
This afternoon, a guided walk will be taken for the remarkable, friable, razor sharp limestone 'tsingy' formations; resident wildlife and after dinner, a short night walk in search of nocturnal animal life is on the programme.
Accommodation: Iharana Bush Camp
                             
Day 10
Day 10
11 October 2022: Ankarana National Park
Today you will be taken into the eastern sector of Ankarana National Park, to marvel at the geological wonders packed into this 5km x 20km limestone fortress. There's also plenty of wildlife to be seen, including groups of Sanford's and Crowned lemurs; Ankarana sportive lemurs; various reptiles and birding is rewarding with the likes of Crested coua and Blue vanga being fairly commonly encountered.
 
The day begins with a 90 minute drive around the southern part of the massif, to Mahamasina Gate, from where the trail begins. (Grading today: easy). Lunch at the nearby Ankarana Lodge, will be followed by another walk in search of wildlife in this incredible place, and then the drive back to Iharana Bush Camp for dinner.
Accommodation: Iharana Bush Camp
                             
Day 11
Day 11
12 October 2022: Ankarana National Park - Ankify (drive) - Nosy Be (speedboat)
Depart after an early breakfast on the half-day drive through scenic Sambirano country (where Madagascar's high quality chocolates are made) to the north-western coastal town of Ankify. At the jetty, transfer by speedboat at noon, to Nosy Be (about 30 minutes). Stop at Nosy Tanikely Marine Reserve to enjoy lunch and snorkelling - as Daniel says, he's never snorkelled anywhere with so many turtles and octopuses as was the case around Tanikely.
 
Afterwards. you will be met and transferred to Vanila Hotel to stay two nights with all meals included.
Accommodation: Vanila Hotel
       
Day 12
Day 12
13 October 2022: Lokobe National Park, Nosy Be (boat excursion)
Today you'll be taken on an excursion by road and boat, to Lokobe National Park, which protects the last stand of original Sambirano Forest (a blend of moist deciduous and humid evergreen forest types) on Nosy Be.
 
Along the mostly easy nature trail here, you'll be able to seek endemic Black lemur, the Critically Endangered Claire's Sportive lemur and a variety of colourful herps, including Panther chameleon.
 
Lunch will be served in a picturesque site where the forest meets the sea. Return by boat to Vanila Hotel. In the afternoon, those who wish can enjoy some snorkelling off the private stretch of beach opposite Vanila Hotel on Nosy Sakatia.
Accommodation: Vanila Hotel
       
Day 13
Day 13
14 October 2022 : Nosy Be - Antananarivo (flight)
Transfer to Nosy Be Airport to check in for the Tsaradia flight back to Antananarivo.
 
Depending on the time of this flight, we will either schedule another activity on Nosy Be, or some sightseeing in Antananarivo. (This can be finalised closer to the time, taking into account personal interests within the party.
 
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
       
Day 14
Day 14
15 October 2022: Antananarivo - Le Palmarium Private Reserve (drive and motorised boat)
After breakfast, start the long drive along good, tarmac roads down the eastern escarpment to Manambato village, where you will be met and transferred by motorised boat for about an hour to Le Palmarium, to stay for 2 nights in an en-suite bungalow with all meals included.
 
After dark, enjoy the first boat excursion to see the extraordinary Aye ayes which live on a wooded islet in Lac Ampitabe.
Accommodation: Le Palmarium
               
Day 15
Day 15
16 October 2022: Le Palmarium Private Reserve
Today, explore the East coast littoral forest at Palmarium Reserve, in search of its prolific diurnal wildlife, which will be very much in evidence from time you arrive at the hotel, on the shore of Lac Ampitabe.
 
After dark, those who wish can take another boat excursion to see the habituated Aye ayes - the eye-to-brain connection with this extraordinary animal - the size of a large, overgrown house cat and strictly nocturnal - is absolutely unforgettable.
Accommodation: Le Palmarium
               
Day 16
Day 16
17 October 2022: Le Palmarium - Andasibe-Mantadia National Park ('Perinet') - drive
Depart after a leisurely breakfast on the motorised boat transfer along the Pangalanes Canal back to Manambato, where you will be met by your drivers. From Manambato, drive about 4 hours upcountry to wonderful Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, deservedly the island's most visited and popular protected example of its dense eastern rainforests.
 
Here, stay 3 nights in the comfortable Vakona Forest Lodge, all meals included.
 
An introductory walk in the forest is sure to reveal many of the life forms which attract people to this park.
 
Accommodation: Vakona Forest Lodge
           
Day 17
Day 17
18 October 2022: Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
Enjoy Andasibe this morning, where one of the highlights is seeing (and hearing) the iconic Indris, as well as Diademed sifakas.
 
Trails are graded as easy to moderate in Andasibe. Birding is marvellous, with most of the eastern rainforest-dwelling 'specials' being present. Those keen on 'herps' can seek the likes of Parson's chameleon and Mossy leaf-tailed gecko, along with colourful Day geckos and a myriad interesting invertebrates.
 
After dark, enjoy the first night walk in the area - one will be conducted in VOIMMA, a parcel cared for by a local guiding association and the other in the rainforest managed by exemplary NGO Association Mitsinjo.
Accommodation: Vakona Forest Lodge
           
Day 18
Day 18
19 October 2022: Mantadia National Park
This day will be allocated to exploring one of the trails of the nearby Mantadia National Park, which protects 10,000ha of eastern rainforest.
 
Highlights in this very beautiful rainforest include Diademed sifaka and Indri. Also present are vociferous Black and white ruffed lemurs and Red-bellied lemurs. Birding is superb, with this site being included in all birding tour itineraries.
 
After dark, the second night walk will be made, to seek more of the this mid-altitude rainforest area's nocturnal denizens.
Accommodation: Vakona Forest Lodge
           
Day 19
Day 19
20 October 2022: Return to Antananarivo (drive)
After breakfast at the lodge and a final rainforest walk, travel back to Antananarivo where there will be use of day rooms at Relais des Plateaux.
 
Those who wish can be taken to a shopping gallery for some handicraft and souvenir shopping.
 
Farewell dinner at the Relais des Plateaux.
 
Participants flying out on Air France will be transferred to the airport to check in for the flight departing after midnight to Paris CDG.
 
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
       
Day 20
Day 20
21 October 2022: Departure (reluctantly!)
Flight from Antananarivo or selected other UK airports (the fare used for this price is Air France, but we are very pleased to quote on other carriers).
 
* Those using other international carriers and not doing tour extensions will overnight at Relais des Plateaux.

Pricing Information & Dates

20 day tour, from £8195 per person
Itinerary Dates From Price
02 Oct 2022
-
21 Oct 2022
£8195
Price Includes
Return economy class international flights from London Heathrow (or selected other UK airports) to Antananarivo
Domestic Tsaradia/Air Madagascar flights
Airport taxes
Airport facilitation
Services of tour leader Daniel Austin throughout the tour
Services of experienced Malagasy guide throughout the tour
Services of drivers
Services of reserve/ national park guides.
National Park permits
All transfers and transportation in comfortable, private, 4-wheel drive vehicles
Activities and excursions as detailed
All accommodation as outlined
All meals
Mineral water
Price Excludes
Madagascar visa (35 euro, issued on arrival)
Drinks
Items of a personal nature (tips, phone calls, laundry, travel insurance)
Price Notes
Single Room Supplement: £650

Group size: minimum 6 - maximum 8

Should you prefer to arrange your own international flights, please deduct £900 from the price per person as that is the equivalent of the Air France fare our tour price is based on.
If you wish to upgrade from Economy to Business (or if available, Premium Economy) on your international flights, call us for details.

Tour Route Map

  1.   Antananarivo
  2.   Kirindy Forest
  3.   Montagne d’Ambre National Park
  4.   Andrafiamena Andavakoera
  5.   Ankarana National Park
  6.   Nosy Be, the Mitsio and Radama islands
  7.   Pangalanes Canal
  8.   Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

Accommodation on this Tour

Black Lemur Camp
Black Lemur Camp
Andrafiamena Andavakoera, Madagascar
Black Lemur Camp In remote Parc Andrafiamena Andavakoera,  Black Lemur Camp is a recently opened property (2016); no-frills but comfortable and managed by proactive NGO Fanamby.It is about 4hrs......
                   
Iharana Bush Camp
Iharana Bush Camp
Ankarana National Park, Madagascar
Situated about 16 km from the town of Ambilobe, Iharana Bush Camp has eight bungalows with en suite facilities (showers not bath tub). The design reflects a unique crossover between traditional Malagasy and African styling.
                             
Le Palmarium
Le Palmarium
Pangalanes Canal, Madagascar
Le Palmarium About an hour by motorised boat from Manambato village (which in turn is about 4 hours drive east of Andasibe) or 2h30min from Port Fluvial, Tamatave, this simple, relaxed and no-frills......
               
Nature Lodge
Nature Lodge
Montagne d’Ambre National Park, Madagascar
Nature Lodge offers good accommodation just outside Joffreville, only 15 minutes drive from the upland rainforest of Montagne d’Ambre National Park. The lodge has twelve rectangular, thatched chalets with private facilities and hot water.
           
Relais Des Plateaux
Relais Des Plateaux
Antananarivo, Madagascar
Relais Des Plateaux is positioned on the outskirts of Antananarivo and is just a ten minute drive away from the airport. Rooms are large and comfortable with air-conditioning and mini-bar. The hotel has a large outdoor heated pool and a spacious new restaurant.
       
Relais du Kirindy
Relais du Kirindy
Kirindy Forest, Madagascar
Comfortable, no-frills accommodation with swimming pool, half an hour's drive from Kirindy Forest.
       
Vakona Forest Lodge
Vakona Forest Lodge
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Madagascar
This is a family-run property and the best hotel in the area. It has 28 comfortable rooms and bungalows, a pool and stables in a eucalyptus plantation and private reserve 7km from the entrance to Perinet. The lodge is 140 km from the capital, about 3 hours by tarred road.
           
Vanila Hotel
Vanila Hotel
Nosy Be, the Mitsio and Radama islands, Madagascar
Vanila Hotel is a welcoming beachfront hotel run by the father-and-son team of Jean-Louis and Damien Salles and is one of the nicest on Nosy Be. It has good facilities and is an excellent base for scuba diving, sailing and deep-sea fishing.
       

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