Lemurs, Baobabs and Octopus Trees
Explore Madagascar’s nocturnal world of the forest to discover the variety of nocturnal lemurs such as mouse lemurs, white footed sportive lemur, fat-tailed dwarf lemur as well as the woolly lemur. A journey to Andasibe introduces you to the country’s gentle pace of rural life with rice fields, red brick houses and roadside stalls selling seasonal fruits and vegetables lining the route. Take a private charter Morondava in the west of the country, the center of the historic Sakalava Kingdom, known for its elaborately sculpted wooden royal tombs, frequently decorated with well-executed, often erotic, funerary carvings representing life and fertility. Experience the irresistible sunset at the stunning Avenue of the Baobabs, where the elegant tall giants and the setting sun are among island’s most iconic images. Learn about the traditional Antandroy people as your guide introduces you to the Antandroy culture and some of their customs and traditions.
While the world has been changing, we have been exploring.
Price starts at $600 Land per person, per day, double occupancy.
Day 1: Antananarivo, Madagascar/ Andasibe
Upon arrival at Ivato Airport, you are met and welcomed by your English-speaking guide, who will accompany you to your hotel in the upper town of Antananarivo. Locally called ‘Tana,’ the town has fascinating traditional architecture and a more Indonesian influence than the rest of Madagascar. Check into your hotel, a restored colonial mansion with an elegant mix of modern and traditional décor. Relax, take a dip in the pool and enjoy the lovely views over the city before dinner. Maison Gallieni (D)
Day 2: Antananarivo, Madagascar / Andasibe
After an early breakfast, your guide takes you east to Andasibe, a stunning rainforest park about a four-hour drive from the city. The park encompasses two protected areas – Perinet Special Reserve and Mantadia National Park. Perinet is world famous for its population of Indri lemurs, the largest living lemur species. The journey to Andasibe offers first-time visitors to Madagascar a gentle introduction to rural life with rice fields, red brick houses and roadside stalls selling seasonal fruits and vegetables lining the route. Check into your hotel for lunch. This afternoon enjoy a visit to Lemur Island, Vakona Lodge’s private reserve that protects habituated lemurs, including bamboo lemur, black and white ruffed lemur, brown lemur and one diademed sifaka. Take a night walk late evening in the forest surrounding the reserve with a local guide to discover the variety of nocturnal lemurs such as mouse lemurs, white footed sportive lemur, fat-tailed dwarf lemur as well as the woolly lemur. Mantadia Lodge – Bungalow Villa (B,L,D)
Day 3: Andasibe — Perinet Reserve
After breakfast, enjoy exploring the reserve with a local guide to search out the indri lemur with its barely visible tail, black and white markings and a surprised teddy–bear face. This species of lemur is one of the few animals in the world that cannot survive in captivity. A dozen of the more than 100 species of living lemurs can be found in this reserve. You may find a troop of grey bamboo lemurs, common brown lemurs, diademed sifakas and the black and white ruffed lemurs. Birdwatchers should look out for the velvet asity, the blue coua and the Nuthatch vanga and many more endemic species. Perinet is home to reptiles, invertebrates and some of Madagascar’s more than 1,000 orchid species. In the evening you may choose to go on another night walk with your local guide. Mantadia Lodge – Bungalow Villa (B,L,D)
Day 4: Andasibe / Tana / Morondava
After an early breakfast you set out on a drive back to Tana then continue directly to Morondava via a private charter. Upon arrival, you meet with your guide and transfer to your hotel. Morondava is situated in the west of the country on the delta of the river of the same name at the edge of the Mozambique Channel. This was the center of the historic Sakalava Kingdom and is known for its elaborately sculpted wooden royal tombs. These tombs are frequently decorated with well-executed, often erotic, funerary carvings representing life and fertility. The afternoon is at leisure or you can opt a tour of Morondava. In the evening you enjoy an experience that is almost irresistible – sunset at the stunning Avenue of the Baobabs. The elegant tall giants and the setting sun are breathtaking and certainly one of the islands most iconic images. Palissandre Côte Ouest (B,L,D)
Day 5: Morondava / Ifotaka
After breakfast, drive back to the airstrip in time for your private charter three-hour flight to Ifotaka. Upon arrival you are welcomed by your guide and vehicle and transferred to the camp. Settle into your tent and enjoy the majestic views over the Mandrare River. Later this afternoon you set out for a night walk in the Forest of Zenavo. This is a fantastic opportunity to see diurnal lemurs bedding down, and the nocturnal lemurs begin to wake in the eerie, prehistoric spiny forest. You may spot sifakas and sleeping white-foot sportive lemurs. Once the sun sets, you glimpse the tiny mouse lemurs, sleeping birds, chameleons, owls and now active sportive lemurs. Mandrare River Camp (B,L,D)
Day 6: Ifotaka
After breakfast, travel to the stunning sacred gallery forest to the south of the camp. Depending on the river depth, you may walk or take a boat across the Mandrare River to reach this largely deciduous forest. Inquisitive groups of ring-tailed lemurs and the always entertaining Verreaux sifaka are the highlight of this excursion. Return to camp for lunch and a relaxed afternoon by the pool. In late afternoon, set out on a walk through the spiny forest filled with the ancestral tombs of the local Antandroy people as well as an extraordinary array of flora and fauna that is unique to this spiny forest. Your English-speaking guide and a tracker from the local community will give you an introduction to Antandroy culture and some of the customs. Your visit is followed by sundowners on the Mandrare River banks. Mandrare River Camp (B,L,D)
Day 7: Ifotaka
After a cup of tea or coffee, return to the spiny forest for an early morning walk, and watch the sunlight paly in the branches of the octopus trees. See how many different endemic birds species you an spot such as crested coua, a variety of vangas and the running coua. Return to camp for a sumptuous breakfast followed by a visit to the local market or the local village to meet the people of the Antandroy community. Lunch is served at the camp. The afternoon is free to enjoy watching life along the river from your tent terrace. Late this afternoon, you set out for a perfect place to have sundowners amidst the staggering baobabs. Watch the sun set and moon rise with views across the baobabs to the mountains beyond. Simply magical. This evening the local village may come to perform for you. Their traditional dances are accompanied by singing and dance that is at the heart of Antandroy culture and is used at major rituals and events of everyday life. Mandrare River Camp (B,L,D)
Day 8: Ifotaka / Anjajavy
After an early breakfast, transfer to Ifotaka in time for your private charter to Anjajavy. Upon arrival you will be greeted by a hotel staff member and transferred to the lodge located within a 450 hectare nature reserve on Madagascar’s northwest coast. The lodge’s 25 duplex, rosewood villas all have private decks overlooking the ocean. Meals can be served in an enclosed oasis in the hotel grounds or on the beach. The surrounding forest is alive with lemurs, chameleons, malachite kingfishers and hummingbirds. Early this evening, your set out on a night walk to discover a variety of nocturnal lemurs. While the reserve’s show-stoppers are undoubtedly the charismatic coquerel’s sifakas, the hours of darkness also have their star performers. Weighing a mere 63 grams, danfoss mouse lemurs scamper about in the shrubbery around the reserve just after nightfall, springing from branch to branch, quick as a flash, in search of food. If you hear a strange squeal coming from the tree tops, then you have probably found a Grewcock’s sportive lemur. Other mammals to spot are the endemic tsingy tuft-tailed rat, Commerson’s leaf-nosed bat, or Madagascar’s largest predator – the rare and elusive fossa. Anjajavy Lodge – Villa (B,L,D)
Day 9: Anjajavy
This morning, go for a walk along the ‘Chemin des Crabes’ to see fabulous birdlife, striking baobabs and, of course, the famous hairy crab. Even if bird watching isn’t your thing, you can’t help but be enchanted by the kaleidoscope of colors and shapes and the chorus of voices in the morning, of the reserve’s common birds, from the vibrant red fody and Souimanga sunbird to the exotic paradise flycatcher and sickle-billed vanga. It is one of the best places to spot the regal Madagascar fish eagle, shy crested Ibis, or rare Madagascar sacred Ibis. At the end of the walk, you will visit a small cave where there are a fossilized lemur skull, stalactites and sharks’ teeth. You will return to the lodge for lunch and a leisurely afternoon. Anjajavy Lodge – Villa (B,L,D)
Day 10: Anjajavy
This morning you enjoy a long walk along the Giant’s Causeway and King’s Alley. You will discover extremely ancient baobab trees, tsingy rock formations found only in Madagascar, along with a variety of lemurs including the Coquerel’s sifakas. These remarkable animals live in family groups of up to ten individuals, and though they are perfectly adapted to life in the trees, they often descend to the ground. Unlike the famous Verreaux’s sifaka from southern Madagascar with its characteristic sideways dance, the Coquerel’s sifaka bounces across the ground like a mini kangaroo! The sifakas, along with troops of common brown lemurs, roam freely in the gardens and surrounding reserve. You will return to the lodge for lunch and a leisurely afternoon. Anjajavy Lodge – Villa (B,L,D)
Day 11: Anjajavy –Antananarivo
After breakfast, transfer to the airstrip for your morning flight to Tana by private charter. Upon arrival at Tana airport, you will be met and assisted with check-in for your outbound flight. (B)
Land only, double Occupancy: From $600 per person, per day.