Madagascar Wildlife Extravaganza with Daniel Austin & Hilary Bradt 2018
Diadem sifaka is commonly seen in Andasibe-Mantadia NP (Mike Unwin)  
Longtailed ground-roller is found in Mikea National Park  
The amazing 'stunted' Grandidiers baobabs at Mikea Forest  
Parson's chameleon - largest of all Chameleons, Andasibe  
Bark-mimicking Fringed gecko (Uroplatus)  
Madagascar crested ibis, the island's heaviest forest bird  
Grand Tsingy at Ankarana! (Mike Unwin)  
Perrier's (black) sifaka, Andrafiamena  
The chimp-sized Indri is easily seen at Andasibe (Mike Unwin)  
Largest of all Chameleons, the Parson's chameleon at Andasibe  
On the 'road' to Daraina (Daniel Austin)  
Tour group in the field (courtesy Daniel Austin)  
Brookesia supercilliaris, one of the tiny Stumptailed chameleons  
Hilary Bradt, Patron of Money for Madagascar and guide-book legend  
Studying Madagascar radiated tortoise, spiny desert (Daniel Austin)  
Uroplatus 'fringed' leaf-tailed gecko, a master of camoflage  
Male crowned lemur, Ankarana  
Eastern woolly lemur, Andasibe (Mike Unwin)  
Boophis phyrrus, one of numerous tree frogs at Andasibe-Mantadia  
Easter lesser bamboo lemur at Andasibe-Mantadia  
Golden-crowned (Tattersal's) sifaka, Daraina  
Crested coua is common in deciduous forests  
One of the many striking endemic snakes of the genus Stenophis  
Tour leader Daniel Austin, co-author of various books about Madagascar  
Brickworks around Antananarivo (Mike Unwin)  
Daniel & Hilary meet Madagascar's President, London, September 2017  
Giraffe weevils are easily seen in Andasibe  
18 day tour
Including flights and transfers
Prices from
£7950

Tour Highlights

  • Lemurs and other wildlife galore!
  • Rare birds, reptiles, frogs and invertebrates
  • 'Tsingy' & caves in Ankarana, the 'Lost World'
  • Perrier's and Golden-crowned sifakas; Indri and many other lemurs
  • Rainforest, Baobabs & Spiny Desert
  • Dazzling beach and Baobabs at Salary Bay
  • Malagasy culture and history
I'm enquiring about: Madagascar Wildlife Extravaganza with Daniel Austin & Hilary Bradt 2018
I'm enquiring about: Madagascar Wildlife Extravaganza with Daniel Austin & Hilary Bradt 2018

Madagascar Wildlife Extravaganza with Daniel Austin & Hilary Bradt 2018

Madagascar

We are immensely proud to be running this special set, small group departure which includes some far-flung and seldom-explored parts of Madagascar. During the tour, we will seek a selection of the island's rarest and most endangered wildlife; experience widely varied settings, from magical rainforests and utterly bizarre 'spiny bush', to otherworldly 'tsingy' limestone pinnacle-fields and caves, and in the semi-arid south, enjoy a stint at the Mikea Forest/ Salary Bay area, famed for its 'stunted' Grandidiers baobabs and mysterious hunter-gatherer Mikea people as well as the island's most perfect beach. 

What makes this tour really special is that it will be led and accompanied by the two authors of the Bradt guide to Madagascar, now in its 12th edition and continuously in print since 1984. Daniel Austin and Hilary Bradt MBE -  the two most renowned Madagascar experts - recently presented the new edition to the President of Madagascar, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who thanked them for “ promoting Madagascar, its culture and its unique biodiversity.” With their extensive knowledge of Madagascar, the pair set out to select the most unusual and extraordinary wildlife experiences for this itinerary, taking visitors well away from the usual tourist ‘hotspots’. The black Perrier’s sifaka and the golden crowned sifaka are just two of the species very seldom seen by visitors, making this itinerary ideal for a second visit to the island by those who have already done a ‘standard’ tour. 

The tour group will be limited to a minimum of 6 and maximum of 10 participants. You will be accompanied throughout by an excellent, professional Malagasy guide. Accommodation varies from excellent and inspirational, to rustic - all locations have private, en-suite facilities. A reasonable level of fitness is required for some of the locations, such as Ankarana special reserve.  

Please note that flights are booked on an ad-hoc basis so fares are subject to change. If you would like to enquire about upgrades or using an alternative carrier, please contact us. 

Read more about this tour


Day 1
Day 1
30 September 2018: Arrival in Antananarivo
Depart in the early morning (06h40) from London Heathrow (or selected other UK airports if flying from the UK) on Air France to Paris CDG where you connect with the mid-morning Air France flight to Antananarivo. On arrival this evening at 23h30 local time, obtain your visas and collect checked baggage. You will be met, assisted and transferred to the very conveniently located Hotel Relais des Plateaux to overnight.
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
   
Day 2
Day 2
01 October 2018: Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
After breakfast we depart on the easy 4 hour drive east along good, winding roads to Madagascar's number 1 'must see' protected rainforest, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. Here we stay for two nights in the comfortable Vakona Forest Lodge. We will take an introductory walk into the rainforest here.
Accommodation: Vakona Forest Lodge
       
Day 3
Day 3
02 October 2018: Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
In the early morning we'll set off into the rainforest where during the dawn chorus, diurnal wildlife is at its most active. Our main target will be to see one of the resident, habituated groups of Indri, the largest extant lemurs. We'll hear them long before we see them, though, as their siren-like vocalizations carry for up to 3km across the rainforest. Walking towards the rainforest as the morning mist lifts off the canopy and the calls of Indris emanate from it, is Malagasy magic at its best! We should see a variety of other lemurs, numerous species of rainforest-dependent birds and a wide variety of reptiles, frogs and interesting invertebrates during our time here. After dusk we will take a night walk in Analamazaotra, a rainforest concession managed by proactive NGO Association Mitsinjo. We will look for various species of nocturnal lemurs, along with many endemic reptiles and frogs. It is a good site for sought-after species such as Mossy leaf-tailed gecko and many of the Boophis tree frogs.
Accommodation: Vakona Forest Lodge
       
Day 4
Day 4
03 October 2018: Andasibe-Mantadia National Park - Antananarivo
Today we will take an excursion to Mantadia National Park, a beautiful primary rainforest about 37km from Andasibe. Here, a select band of rainforest-dependent mammals, birds and 'herps' (frogs and reptiles) not necessarily found in Andasibe, can be sought. We will look for Diadem sifaka, Red-bellied and Black & white ruffed lemurs, Eastern lesser bamboo lemur and birds including Pitta-like and Short-legged ground-rollers, Velvet asity and Nuthatch vanga. In the mid afternoon, we depart back to Antananarivo to overnight in Relais des Plateaux,
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
   
Day 5
Day 5
04 October 2018: Antananarivo - Diego Suarez - Black Lemur Camp
We transfer to Antananarivo airport for the 06:20 flight to Diego Suarez, where on arrival at 08:25, we are met and transferred by 4WD vehicles to Black Lemur Camp - this journey (about 4hrs) entails some poor roads with potholes. We take an exploratory walk in the forest of Andrafiamena-Andavakoera protected area.
Accommodation: Black Lemur Camp
         
Day 6
Day 6
05 October 2018 - Andrafiamena Andavakoera Protected area
We spend today exploring the Andrafiamena Andavakoera community-protected forest area where we will do a morning and afternoon walks to seek the resident wildlife, notably the Perrier's black sifaka, one of the world's 25 most endangered primates. To see the sought-after Black sifakas, one of the trails takes about 45 minutes up a hillside and then walk for 15- 20 minutes deeper into the forest to reach their home territories. Be sure to take footwear with ankle support and a strong grip for all the protected areas in Madagascar. Here you can expect sunny and warm-hot weather, with pleasant, cool nights. Overnight in FANAMBY's Black Lemur Camp.
Accommodation: Black Lemur Camp
         
Day 7
Day 7
06 October 2018: Black Lemur Camp - Ankarana Special Reserve
After breakfast, we drive to Ankarana Ouest to stay 2 nights in the stylish Iharana Bush Camp. We make an exploratory walk in the 'Lost World Within the Lost World'. Ankarana is, as Hilary Bradt has written, the one place in Madagascar which really has that 'WOW factor'. This 20 x 5km limestone plateau is topped with fields of razor-sharp, friable limestone pinnacles or 'tsingy' and below the ground, is an extensive network of caves, passages and subterannean rivers. Where some caves have collapsed and between canyon walls, sunken pockets of tropical deciduous forest harbour large populations of rare wildlife.
Accommodation: Iharana Bush Camp
         
Day 8
Day 8
07 October 2018: Ankarana: tsingy, sunken forests and crocodile caves
Today we shall see Grand Tsingy (pictures) and other marvellous limestone formations, as well as awe inspiring caves and sunken forests that harbour populations of rare wildlife. In the evening, we will enjoy a performance of authentic Sakalava-Boina music and dance by an all-women musician group who will visit the area for the night. The evening includes a traditional Sakalava meal.
 
Accommodation: Iharana Bush Camp
         
Day 9
Day 9
08 October 2018: Ankarana Special Reserve - Daraina
After breakfast in Iharana Bush Camp we set off on the long drive across the north of the island to Daraina, where for two nights we stay at another of FANAMBY's camps, Camp Tattersali. We will stop for a packed lunch along the journey. The flagship lemur of Daraina is the very rare and range restricted Golden-crowned sifaka, which is easy to see here. At night we will search for - among others - the elusive Aye aye.
Day 10
Day 10
09 October 2018 - Daraina
We explore the dry deciduous forests around Daraina during day and night walks with our guides. If we are fortunate we may spot the strictly nocturnal, cat-sized Aye aye here. Other species resident include Crowned lemur, the rarely seen Fork-marked lemur and many birds and reptiles. We overnight in simple bungalows at FANAMBY's Camp Tattersali.
Day 11
Day 11
10 October 2018: Daraina - Iharana/Vohemar
After a final morning walk to seek rare wildlife in Daraina we drive to the relaxed north-eastern coastal town of Vohemar to stay for a night in the charming Baie d'Iharana.
Day 12
Day 12
11 October 2018: Vohemar - Sambava
An easy day today: after a leisurely breakfast at Baie d'Iharana, we will drive southwards to Sambava, the 'vanilla capital' of Madagascar and a centre of the Betsimisaraka tribe. We will do some local sightseeing (including a stop at a vanilla plantation and processing site, as well as a visit to a Betsimisaraka village to gain an insight into the culture of the people of the north-eastern 'SAVA' region) and overnight in the Carrefour Hotel.
Day 13
Day 13
12 October 2018: Sambava - Antananarivo (flight) - Ambohimanga visit
We fly at 08:40 from Sambava back to the centrally-located capital city, where on arrival at 10:20 we are met and taken on a wonderful excursion to the Royal Village of Ambohimanga, one of the country's three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Of salutary significance to the Merina people, this picturesque hilltop village is where departed monarchs had their summer homes. Lunch at one of the country's most highly-rated restaurants, Banana Rova. We then return to the capital where we visit Is'Art - an interesting place where Malagasy artists including painters and musicians - meet, exhibit work and exchange ideas.
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
   
Day 14
Day 14
13 October 2018: Antananarivo - Tulear - Tsiandamba
We transfer to the airport for the flight to Tulear, on the arid south-west coast. (12:00 - 13:10). We have lunch in Tulear and visit the cultural museum, where very rare artifacts are housed - this dusty outback town is really interesting, being home to various Southern Malagasy tribes such as Mahafaly, Masikoro, Antandroy and Veso. From Tulear we are met and transferred an hour by road to the lovely and secluded Five Senses Lodge between Ifaty and Ankasy. This hidden gem is about a 45min drive from the remarkable Mikea National Park, an area few westerners have been to. It is also located in such a way that guests can visit Ifaty spiny forest to the south. The regions' attractions include marvellous Spiny forest with an abundance of thorny Octopus trees clawing their way up towards the sky; massive 'stunted' baobabs of the large Grandieri baobab species, and what is arguably the country'st loveliest beach offset by turquoise and aquamarine waters where a snorkelling excursion is definitely on the agenda.
Accommodation: Five Senses Lodge
       
Day 15
Day 15
14 October 2018: Mikea Forest National Park excursion
We take an excursion early in the morning into the bizarre spiny forest at Mikea National Park - terrain is flat so graded as easy. Walking around the otherworldly landscape created by the thorny Didiera trees (Octopus trees) is unforgettable. As we will venture out early, we are sure to see some of the endemic birds in the area such as Running coua, chabert and Sicklebill vanga, and after the early morning walk we return to the lodge for breakfast. We are then taken for an excursion deeper into the national park, where we can marvel at enormous specimens of the 'stunted' form of the gigantic Grandidier's baobabs: this is the same species that creates the infamous 'alley of baobabs' much further north near the town of Morondava. In the afternoon, we will visit a Vezo-Sakalava village and gain an insight into the culture of these semi-nomadic people, who trade with the mysterious and little known, hunter-gatherer Mikea people living in this area. If the head of one of the Mikea families who lives nearby is around, then we will be able to visit the family briefly. (This is never guaranteed however).
Accommodation: Five Senses Lodge
       
Day 16
Day 16
15 October 2018: Ifaty Spiny bush excursion
Early morning departure to the remarkable spiny bush southwards at Ifaty - this is world renowned for its bizarre flora and also, rare birds and reptiles. Return to Five Senses afterwards. In the afternoon, those who wish can go swimming or snorkelling . In the evening, we will enjoy a performance of Veso music.
Accommodation: Five Senses Lodge
       
Day 17
Day 17
16 October 2018: Salary Bay - Tulear airport - Antananarivo (flight)
We travel back to Tulear by road to check in for the flight back to Antananarivo. On arrival, we are met and transfer to Relais des Plateaux where we have the use of day/evening rooms. We will go to the Artisans Market and also to Centre Fihavanana, which is assisted by Money for Madagascar, of which Hilary is a patron. After a farewell dinner, we will transfer to the airport to check in for the Air France flight (those flying Air France) departing after midnight to Paris CDG and on to selected UK airports.
Accommodation: Relais Des Plateaux
   
Day 18
17 October 2018: Departure
Air France flight to Paris CDG and from there connect with the Air France flight at lunch time to London Heathrow or to selected UK airports.

Pricing Information & Dates

18 day tour, from £7950 per person
Price Includes:
  • Flights
  • Accommodation
  • Transfers
  • Guide
Price Includes
* Return international Air France flights from London (or selected other UK airports) to Antananarivo via Paris CDG (economy class)
* Domestic Air Madagascar flights as per itinerary with air taxes
* All transfers and land transportation
* Services of Tour leader Daniel Austin accompanied by Hilary Bradt for tour
* Services of professional, English-speaking Malagasy guide and of drivers throughout
* Park permits and services of national park guides
* All excursions and activities as outlined
* All accommodation with all meals throughout the tour
* Bottled mineral water
Price Excludes
* Drinks (except for mineral water)
* Tips
* Items of a personal nature (travel insurance, phone calls, laundry)
* Visa (27 Euros, issued upon arrival)
Price Notes
Single room supplement: £670

Group size: minimum 6, maximum 10 participants.

TOUR DATES: 30 September - 17 October 2018

Tour Route Map

  1.   Antananarivo
  2.   Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
  3.   Andrafiamena Andavakoera
  4.   Ankarana
  5.   Daraina
  6.   Sambava
  7.   Tulear
  8.   Salary, Ankasy and Mikea National Park

Accommodation on this Tour

Black Lemur Camp
Black Lemur Camp
Andrafiamena Andavakoera, Madagascar
Black Lemur Camp In remote Andrafiamena protected area,  Black Lemur Camp is a new, no-frills property managed by proactive NGO FANAMBY. It is about 4hrs drive to the south of Diego Suarez - the......
         
Five Senses Lodge
Five Senses Lodge
Salary, Ankasy and Mikea National Park, Madagascar
Five Senses Lodge A lovely and stylish, seaside boutique ecolodge on the remote, arid south-west coast to the north of Tulear. There are only 8 rooms (standard,  family, executive and deluxe......
       
Iharana Bush Camp
Iharana Bush Camp
Ankarana, 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.
         
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.
   
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.
       

Image Gallery

Reviews


'Trip was great - tiring, but that was expected. Daniel and Harry were great, and there were enough other people on the tour that were friendly to get by 'on my own' . Hotels were super; food a bit disappointing - mostly just too much of it and not 'local' enough.

The 'ordering' of hotels was largely fortuitous, but by having a really nice one after a more rustic it helped greatly in recovery, so would strongly recommend that. Having Relais de Plateau as a 'base' was extremely useful; maybe let people know that it is VERY useful to have a bag they can leave there and return to between trips, with just a smaller bag for each of the trips out. I had little enough luggage that i had planned to have it all with me (i.e. it was within weight limits) but rethought that and left my main bag at RdP all the time. Worked really well, but my backpack was just a wee bit small for the trips. Tell people they'll best leave their main luggage and to bring a bag big enough to sustain them for 4 - 5 day trips. It was really only the boots that took me 'over' the limit, and worked around that just fine.

I wimped out of going to the Grand Tsingy - just not really fit enough and getting hurt at the beginning was not in anyone's interest, but had a couple of great 'lower' walks and saw loads. Overall saw loads of animals, especially lemurs. Luckily Daniel and a few of the guides were interested in 'nonmammals' so pretty good on the bug and herp front as well. Most of the other tourists were pretty focussed on lemurs, esp babies, and photographing them. Which was grand, but i like a good bug as well!

Trip was a good complement to the first one, both together really worked well. Still sorry to have missed the Tsingy, would so have liked to at least seen it, but that wasn't possible; but that was entirely my fault/decision. Other people that were probably even less fit and agile than me went and were fine. However, i've seen a couple of their pictures and am pretty happy with my decision not to go!

Berenty was HOT!  But loads of great wildlife which more than compensated for me. But maybe be careful sending 'old or infirm' there in the hottest season. Weather overall was great - a few days of rain, but seldom enough to matter, we only lost one night walk adn by then were all so tired it was ok. And you really need it drizzly in the rainforest for atmosphere.

It was hard going - pretty full on and very tiring. But if it had been more relaxed that could have led to frustration as well. Very hard to get that balance right as an individual, and almost impossible for you to organise it for a mixed group. So overall probably about the right 'intensity'.

The second trip to Andasibe, Kirindy and Avenue des Baobabs was not a problem. Very depressing - lots of slash and burn going on; got some pics which i'm using to prepare some materials on Madagascar for EcoSchools here. Second trip provided loads more info for that - and loads of depressing mental images as well as pictures to make me feel even sorrier for the country and its people and problems. And worry greatly on how to solve them.

A bit of illness by a couple people on the trip made it unpleasant for them, but really no disabling illness or any injuries - not bad going for 10 people over 2 weeks, most in 'advanced years' in fairly rough terrain. I was actually pleasantly surprised there were no bigger problems.

That's about all i can think of at present. Not sure there's much there to help, but some thoughts anyway. Must get back to pictures.....'

Dr Christie
December 14, 2017

'It was a fabulous trip Derek, thank you.

Daniel was lovely, Harry Fantastic!   Best guide ever.  Local guides were all very good too, 

We were all moved by the poverty in such a beautiful country, and the cheerfulness of the people, and as for the wildlife ......... 

We all love Lemurs now!

Best wishes and Season's Greetings'.

Ms Evans
December 13, 2017

'This [video of Daniel Austin's Wildlife Extravaganza October 2017 tour]  is brilliant! Many of the animals I thought I saw, but missing so much detail. And such spectacular scenery. And Daniel, thanks for your exhaustive list and very memorable group photos.

Thanks especially to all of you for the great company. I am now back in Paris, where the chill and short days of winter are setting in. Our trip in Madagascar already seems like an incredible dream, brightened by that amazing and authentic country.

My best to all,  Tony'

Mr Kleitz
November 10, 2017

'Overall holiday satisfaction: excellent. A gem of an itinerary and lots of luck. 

Camp Mantella at Marojejy had the best cooking of the trip and facilities are fine (for a Yorkshireman!): comfort and facilities good; service, locations and meals all excellent. 

Le Soleil des Tsingy: excellent comfort, location, service and facilities. Food good. Very opulant. 

Camp Amoureux: very comfortable furniture and friendly staff.

Andasibe Hotel:  excellent comfort, service and location. Meals and facilities good. Enormous rooms and luxury facilities. 

Daniel Austin was a patient tour leader with a leaning towards herps (reptiles and frogs) and Harry, the ground agent leader was excellent in enabling connections, checking bookings, monitoring our health as well as ensuring we had a chance for our favourite beasts through communication with the local guides. We were very lucky to see so many things but Harry's hard work may account for Mr Luck. As a 4th visit to Madagascar I can say it was a remarkable trip'

 

Mr Armitage
November 9, 2017

'Ankarafantsika was great and we saw all the main species including Van Dam's Vanga.... Sending you two photos (Aye aye and Fosa) which are self explanatory.

I have published a 33 minute presentation of photos and video on YouTube.

For those who have the time and inclination to watch it

David'

Mr Huntbatch
November 9, 2017

'I am missing the Malagasy forest walks already. It [Daniel Austin's Madagascar Wildlife Tour October 2017] was an amazing adventure for me...real discovery and conquering that have such exhilaration feeling. I enjoyed every day of the tour.

Thank you for organising all the logistics so well making it seemed effortlessly, and your deep knowledge making every encounter informative and interesting.

Yes I hope I can return one day.

All the best,

Van'

 

 

Ms Le
October 30, 2017
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