Madagascar Two Week Wildlife Tour
November 8 - November 20£807 – £3410
Madagascar Two Week Wildlife Tour
With 80% of its species found nowhere else on earth – including birds, chameleons and of course the lemurs – Madagascar is an wildlife enthusiasts dream destination. This trip will hopefully reveal endemic mongoose like species, enormous and fierce looking fossa, tiny quick moving mouse lemurs and you will hear the eerie, whale-like songs of the world’s largest lemur.
Having parted ways with mainland Africa over 160 million years ago, most of Madagascar’s flora and fauna evolved independently from the wildlife elsewhere.
Even the Malagasy people – descended from seafarers from Borneo and Polynesia as well as East Africans – are one of a kind, a distinction that is evident in their phenomenal, French-influenced food, infectious music, and deep respect for their ancestors.
The most famous residents of the continent like island are the enigmatic lemurs; which were a kind of prototype primate, a “prosimian” – predating monkeys and apes, which began to evolve later on the African mainland. The lemurs that remained on the mainland were driven virtually to extinction by these new, more intelligent and adaptable species. In Madagascar, however, there was no such competition and the lemurs thrived, evolving into over a hundred different species.
It is important to visit Madagascar now and contribute the wonderful small scale and national level conservation projects and community run reserves. It is only by visiting these places will the local people and local governments receive enough encouragement, support and money to protect the places indefinitely.
Below is a breakdown of your itinerary and we hope to fulfill all of your Madagascan wildlife watching dreams on this trip.
Top Animals on Tour
Red Ruffed Lemur
Antananarivo / Andasibe
On your arrival into Antananarivo (Tana) airport you will be met by your local guide / driver and once the entire group is together we will head out to the first national park of the trip, Andisibe. We will depart the city and then pass through highland scenery and rice paddies. Depending on the time of arrival and therefore departure from the capital you will likely stop for lunch at a roadside café before arriving at the forest and checking in. We will unlikely have time to have an afternoon walk through the reserve in search of the lemurs and other wildlife. That will be tomorrow with morning and afternoons spent in the forest. The major highlight here is the largest extant species of lemur, the wonderful and very vocal (you are likely to hear them before you see them) indri. Also found here are red-bellied lemur, common brown lemur, lesser bamboo lemur, brown mouse lemur, greater dwarf lemur, eastern woolly lemur and aye ayes (although they are incredibly hard to see).
But today we will have an evening walk to observe the nocturnal species of lemur as well as chameleons and other wildlife that is easier to see and active after dark.
Today will be a day to visit two different forests, these areas form the Andasibe Analamazaotra – Mantadia reserve and this will be done with your expert local wildlife guide. This area is a montane forest park offering the chance to spot a variety of lemurs, reptiles and birds; including the most famous inhabitants; the Indri. But also known from here are the wonderfully coloured diademed sifaka and a range of other diurnal species. You can also arrange extra night walks with your driver / guide if you wish. There are leaf-tailed geckos, many chameleons and if you are very keen eyed the tiny brookesia chameleons can be found here.
Mantadia is a little different from Andasibe and is more humid forest covered with lians, moss, fern tress and more than hundred orchids species blooming between September and January. It is a good way to compare the subtle differences between the two forested habitats.
Andisibe / Tana / Maroantsetra
Today is a day of travelling and you will leave Andisibe early and travel back to the city of Tana and catch the afternoon flight to Maroantsetra. From here we will have new vehicles and drivers and travel to the wonderful forest of Cape Masaola National Park. Depending on the time of arrival we may be able to have a night walk here. But there is time over the next couple of days if we don’t have any time today.
Masoala National Park
These two days will be spent exploring the wonderful Masoala National Park, most likely with morning and afternoon guided walks into the forest in search of wildlife as well as night walks. We have included one night walk over these nights here, you can do more and these can be arranged and paid direct with the local guides.
Masoala provides an excellent opportunity to experience the unique flora and fauna of the Madagascar. There are 10 lemur species known from the park, including the flamboyant red ruffed lemur, which is native to the peninsula. Masoala harbors many other novelties, such as the Madagascar day gecko, leaf-tailed gecko, chameleons of all sizes, spectacular birds such as the helmet vanga, and rare species such as the red owl and tomato frog. Masoala is also home to the spectacular day-flying sunset moth, Chrysiridia rhipheus. The Madagascar serpent-eagle was recently rediscovered here, and exists in healthy populations only in this part of north east Madagascar.
Maroantsetra – Tana
Today we will leave the lodge and travel to the town and the airport to catch our return flight back to the capital. On arrival we will then be taken to our hotel for the night.
This morning you set off east towards the Pangalanes Canals on the east coast (5-6 hours). Once you get to the coast you will have lunch and then take a boat trip along the lagoons and network of waterways until you arrive at the private reserve of Palmarium.
The rest of the day is yours at leisure to relax and enjoy the lemurs that live (semi-wild) in the trees around the lodge (the lodge has various introduced species) or maybe pop down to the lake for a refreshing dip! At 17:30 you can book on a tour to the nearby island where there is a small population of reintroduced aye ayes (additional cost paid direct to the lodge – not very much).
The island the aye-ayes live is called Ankanin’ny Nofy and is around 1 hour boat ride from the lodge. The history of the aye-ayes here is that a number of years ago local people found 2 aye-ayes living in the forests around their village (where the island now is) and they mentioned it to the reserve. As aye-ayes are killed for superstitious reasons by many local people in Madagascar the reserve wanted to protect them. So the reserve bought the forest that the aye-ayes were living in and cut the forest off from the rest of the mainland. The island was made with a small channel (around 2-3m wide and 1-2m deep) to that local people left them alone. Since them more and more aye-ayes were found and captured from certain deaths and brought here. They had so far rescued 4 aye-ayes in addition to the two which were here originally. This population has been living free and wild since then in their own private forest. They have bred and there is now a 7th aye-aye on the island.
For tourism the aye-ayes are fed every day in the evening, coconuts and bananas (a small amount and not the total amount of food needed for them to survive) is provided so that people can see these incredible animals up close for around 1 hour before the island is deserted by all people.
This morning you will leave Palmarium and then get the boat back to the vehicle and from there begin your drive to another town called Antsirabe (5-6 hours). You will be taken to the hotel for the afternoon / evening so you can rest and freshen up.
Today you make an early start for the drive to the south (approximately 3 hours drive) in the direction of Ambalavao and a special reserve, run and managed by the local community of Anja. Here you should be able to spot troupes of ring-tailed lemurs in their natural habitat. This is the closest naturally occurring population of ring-tailed lemurs still around to the centre of the island. You will spend some time with the lemurs and also exploring the rocky escarpment here with local guides and then afterwards head back north to overnight back at the hotel in Antsirabe. There are no good accommodation options around Anja and we have a long journey tomorrow and so it is best to be staying at Antsirabe today.
Antsirabe – Kirindy Reserve
This morning you will leave the town of Antsirabe and continue westward over the upland centre of Madagascar and towards the dry scrub forests of the east and in particular Kirindy Forest Reserve (~10 hours drive). Once you arrive in Kirindy you will be taken to your accommodation and after lunch you will visit the park.
The forest full of life here, however you will probably be arriving in the evening and in time for a spotlighting walk around.
You may arrive early enough to see one of the resident fossas (in recent years a small number have taken to living around the restaurant and small camp in the park and are very easy to see.
Then after dark a local guide from the park will take you for a night walk in the forest. There are many nocturnal animals around here including gray mouse lemur, western fat-tailed dwarf lemur, Coquerel’s giant mouse lemur, red-tailed sportive lemur and the world’s smallest primate the adorable and tiny Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur. Some of these species are common and easily seen, other take more time and require a little luck and patience.
Today is a full day spent in the forests of Kirindy, you will enter in the morning and afternoon (an extra night walk are possible and payable direct to the local guide – if you wish; your driver / guide will be able to make these arrangements for you). Kirindy is a dry deciduous forest and by far the best place in the whole island to observe fossa, especially during the mating time between October and December.
It also home to seven species of lemur. The most common diurnal species are the common brown lemurs and the Verreaux’s sifakas. These long-legged lemurs, white with dark patches, leap among tree trunks high in the canopy, propelled by their powerful hind legs but continually maintaining an upright posture.
There are also many reptiles around and some dry forest specialist species of birds, including hook-billed vanga and white-fronted mesia.
You can also decide to visit the stunning and iconic Avenue of Baobabs at sunset to try and capture that iconic sunset shot. Also if you wish (and this can be discussed and arranged with the local guide if you wish.
Kirindy – Morondava – Tana
This morning is one more morning in the forest and then we will come back for breakfast before departing to the town of Morondava (2-3 hours) and we will catch our flight back to Tana. Once in Tana we will be transferred to the accommodation for the night.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport in time to catch your return flight home.
Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.
This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.
The weather in Madagascar during October – November is usually very hot and very dry, however on the east coast and around the rainforests there may be rainstorms and cooler weather. This is the very end of the dry season and so early rains can be possible on the east coast. But in general the weather will be hot and dry for the majority of the trip.
Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including all breakfasts and an amount of bottled water (approx 1ltr) available for each guest each day. We have our own private vehicle to be driven by a local guide for transfers when needed.
All our excursions including guided walks, boat trips (one night walk per reserve or national park) and park entrance fees are included; we also include all fees for our driver including fuel, accommodation, tolls and food etc.
Internal flights mentioned in the itinerary are also included – in economy class.
We recommend you bring along your own binoculars in addition to your camera as well as appropriate clothing; which should be both light and durable walking clothes as well as very warm weather clothes, such as light weight, quick-wicking shirts, shorts or trousers. As well as walking clothing such as walking socks, backpack, sun hat, scarf (for dust) etc. Broken in and comfortable, waterproof walking boots are essential. Any medication, books or other items of a personal nature is of course up to you to bring along. Oh and please bring plenty of memory cards or film for your camera.
We provide a comprehensive species list of all the vertebrates present in the areas we are visiting as well as some of the best field guides and reference books for the areas we are visiting. We have also provided thermal imaging scope (if available) so you can monitor the area after dark.
Nearly everything is included in this tour. The only things not included are international flights, travel insurance (contact us for more information one what is required from your insurance policy), as only breakfasts (excluding breakfasts in Antananarivo) are the only meals included any other food or drinks outside of these breakfasts is extra. As are any items of a personal nature such as souvenirs and tips. Any applicable departure taxes and not included (but maybe included in the cost of your flights). Please check before departure.
As we are based in Manchester we recommend flights from Manchester International Airport
We recommend KLM or Air France as a good airlines for flights to Antananarivo. One of the best websites to search for the best fares for these flights is www.odopo.co.uk; who are IATA accredited this is a link direct to their site. Please check our terms and conditions regarding booking flights.
Please contact us for more information about flights and we can provide you with a link direct to the flights from another supplier; in which case you only have to enter the passenger information and payment details. By using the above link you will leave our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for the content on the site.
Visas and Health Information
All UK passport holders and most other nationalities are required to have a visa for Madagascar. These are usually available on arrival at the airport for a fee and on completion of a form. We recommend consulting your local Madagascar embassy or consulate to obtain accurate information for your nationality.
There are no mandatory vaccinations needed to visit Madagascar, but it is recommended to be protected against Yellow Fever, polio, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, influenza, rabies, MMR and hepatitis A & B. Please consult your GP about your individual requirements for visiting Madagascar as soon as you have decided on this trip.
Reviews of this Holiday
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