Madagascar Expedition 2021
The most complete itinerary to explore the Island of endemics, Madagascar. One of the greatest wildlife expeditions on earth. A wildlife photographer’s dream!
Max Group Size: Only 12 participants!
Departure: September 19, 2021
Madagascar, the Island of Endemics
Set like a jewel in the western Indian Ocean, the Island of Madagascar holds the World record in endemic species. New Paths Expeditions is proud to bring to you the opportunity to explore it following the most complete itinerary offered today – you will visit the center, south, west, east and north of the island- guaranteeing the greatest possible sightings of the most iconic, and some of the most elusive, wildlife species of Madagascar. The Madagascar Expedition is limited to only 12 participants, has been crafted in detail and will truly amaze wildlife enthusiasts and photographers alike.
- 90% of the Madagascar flora and fauna are endemic.
- Visit 9 protected areas (national and private) encompassing the most complete Madagascar itinerary available today.
- Observe over 20 species of Lemurs in their natural hábitat.
- Superb bird watching with plenty of native species.
- The biggest diversity of chameleons on earth.
- Outstanding wildlife photography.
- Enjoy the intimacy of a truly small group of like- minded, experienced travelers.
- Escorted by a New Paths Expeditions Senior Leader plus a Local Master Guide.
- Ideal expedition pacing using the best possible accommodations and first class transport.
Details in Brief:
Duration: 14 days in country (Plus a 5-day Extension)
Leader: ALAOY LOVA Idriss
Maximum Number of Participants: 12
Departures: September 19
Is this the right expedition for you? The Madagascar expedition involves multiple wildlife search hikes that last up to 2 hours, but cover short lengths of terrain. The trails are mostly flat and easy, though at Andasibe, some inclined terrain could be involved. Trails could be muddy.
Rides on bumpy and dusty roads are part of the expedition. The longest one being 4 hours. We use top class tourist busses (With air conditioning) and 4×4’s (With air conditioning). Bottled water is provided throughout the expedition.
There is a combination of warm weather with occasional cold fronts. At Andasibe high humidity and cool nights are expected. Short rains are a possibility as well as unexpected cold fronts. During October, the temperatures are warmer than in September.
Accommodations were selected based on their proximity to top wildlife habitats. Some could be rated as basic. Some have air conditioning and all are clean and comfortable. Do note that Camp Amoureux (1 night) is a basic camp. Hotel Colbert is the best hotel in Antananarivo and we have secured superior rooms for the expedition participants. The Hotel Colbert is a 4-star property.
Itinerary in Brief
Upon your arrival in Tana (Antananarivo) you will be met by your Expedition Leader and taken to the Palissandre Hotel. You will be able to rest and relax after your journey at this centrally located hotel, which is considered the best in town and has beautiful views of the city center, a comfortable restaurant, bars and even a spa among other amenities.
Overnight at Palissandre Hotel (D).
Day 2: Antananarivo, Lemurs’ Park and Birding for endemics
After a good breakfast, a full day of sightseeing awaits you in Tana and the surrounding areas. The beginning of the day includes a pre-departure briefing by your Senior Leader and Local Naturalist Guide. Then you will continue with a drive around the city, where you will be introduced to the points of greatest interest, and will also have a chance to see how Malagasies live in nearby villages. There are plenty of photo opportunities for you during the panoramic excursion.
You will then reach the Lemurs’ Park, which is approximately 12 miles outside Tana. This important and well-managed project is a private park where orphan lemurs are raised for an eventual release back to the wild. The park is a lush botanical setting and provides great sightings of multiple lemur species. After lunch and some rest, you will depart towards the Tsarasaotra Bird Sanctuary. Right in Tana, it is home to dozens of different species, including multiple endemics. The park provides a quiet and beautiful retreat from the city proper.
Overnight at Palissandre Hotel (B, L, D).
Day 3: Tana to Berenty Reserve
Today you will leave Tana on a morning flight to Fort Dauphin. Once you land, you will have a 4-hour drive over some rather challenging roads in order to get to the Berenty Reserve. You will undoubtedly be greeted once you arrive by some of the ring-tailed lemurs, which are plentiful here; some of these may well be mothers carrying their adorable young on their backs. After arriving and checking in, enjoy some free time with your Leader and Guide to photographing the multiple lemurs that roam the lodge grounds. A talk by your Local Naturalist follows. You will enjoy dinner before embarking on a night excursion in the forest.
The Berenty Reserve not only is home to 6 species of these unique primates but also to a large colony of Madagascan flying fox. Strolling through the reserve will provide you with panoramic landscapes of ancient tamarind trees and riverine forest. The rather bizarre, but extremely interesting Spiny Forest is also to be found on the reserve. Over 100 bird species can be seen here, and many of them nest at the reserve as well. You will be staying at the Berenty Lodge, which provides simple clean and comfortable chalets with air conditioning, but so designed and arranged that you never lose sight of the fact that you are right in the center of a Madagascar forest. Lemurs will be, literally, everywhere! The simple but comfortable main lodge at Berenty has a tea garden, restaurant, and bar, and the Malagasy food served it is quite good.
Overnight at Berenty Lodge (B, L, D).
Day 4: Complete Exploration of Berenty Reserve Ecosystems
A full day exploring the two ecosystems that Berenty offers. The morning’s nature hikes will provide you with plenty of opportunities to see lemurs. It is guaranteed that you will see Verreaux’s sifakas (dancing lemur) dancing from tree to tree and peering at you from around the trunks. It’s also likely that you will be able to spot some of the rarer red-fronted brown lemurs, which are also a diurnal species. At any time during your hike, you may hear the loud and distinctive calls of one of the couas, birds native to Madagascar.
The daytime is also a good time to look for chameleons, those gentle and amusing jesters of Madagascar, the Madagascan flying fox, a species of bat which hangs from the trees as they await the coming of the night to go in search of fruit, and also an impressive number of unique insects and plants.
Evening and nighttime hikes will enable you to see the animals which only come out during the hours of darkness. This is the time when the white-footed sportive lemur and the diminutive grey mouse lemur, with its large eyes and ears, maybe sighted as they come out to hunt for food. An optional visit to the Ethnographic Museum and Textile Collection is also included.
Overnight at Berenty Lodge (B, L, D).
Day 5: Kirindy Village
After an optional early birding tour, visit Berenty museum then transfer to Ifotaka airstrip for a charter flight to Morondava (about 3h30 flight). Upon arrival, late lunch at Palissandre Cote Ouest. Then, drive to Baobab avenue for sunset, before driving ahead to Kirindy (60 Km/2h).
Overnight at Relais Du Kirindy (B, L, D)
Day 6: Kirindy, Marofandilia
Most of the day will be devoted to exploring the Kirindy Forest; a private nature reserve. The Kirindy is a dry, deciduous forest and is part of one of the most severely threatened ecosystems on Madagascar. This forest is in one of the more out-of-the-way places in Madagascar and receives fewer visitors than most areas. It abounds in all sorts of life, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. Seven species of lemur make this forest their home, and it also provides sanctuary for the giant jumping rat. The fossa, Madagascar’s largest mammalian predator, is also found in Kirindy, and searching for it will be one of the day’s priorities. One of the more spectacular ground birds of Madagascar, the giant coua is also found here. This bird has bright blue skin around its eyes and a white throat shading into a roseate breast. Approximately 2 feet long, it is the largest member of the cuckoo family.
Overnight at Relais Du Kirindy (B, L, D).
Day 7: Antananarivo
After an early breakfast, drive back to Baobab avenue for photos. Lunch at Palissandre Cote Ouest, then transfer to Morondava airport for your flight back to Tana with Tsaradia regular flight.
Overnight at Palissandre Hotel & Spa (B, L).
Day 8: Tana, King’s Palace
Tana has 12 sacred hills around it, and the day excursion will take you to Ambohimanga Hill, the site of the ruins of the Palace of King Andriaanampoinimerina, built for him by his father, Andriamasinavalona. It is a humble but much interesting palace, that will allow you to understand the unique history of this fascinating country. We will also drive around farming fields, spend time with locals, and enjoy a simple but delicious lunch in a local cottage with great views of the valley.
Overnight at Palissandre Hotel & Spa (B, L, D).
Day 9: Chameleons and The Cloud Forest of Madagascar
Drive 3 hours to Andasibe, along the way stop at Peyreiras Reserve, where you will be able to observe and photograph a great number of the endemic reptiles and amphibians of Madagascar.
Arrive in Berenty and lodge at the beautiful Eulophiella Hotel, at night time enjoy walking the forest.
Overnight at Eulophiella Lodge (B, L, D).
Day 10: Andasibe National Park
Your Senior Leader will take you on an exploration of the Andasibe National Park. Even though you will certainly meet lemurs of all kinds here – the bamboo lemur, the brown lemur, and the black & white lemur, the main objective of the day will be to spot the indri indri, the largest lemur of them all. The trails to spot the indri are beautiful, and other than the lemurs, they provide great birding opportunities, superb reptile sightings, and magnificent botanizing. After lunch visit to the Vakona Private Reserve, a section of the property dedicated to providing shelter to lemurs that were displaced by the loss of their habitat, mainly by mining activities.
Overnight at Eulophiella Lodge (B, L, D).
Day 11: Tana
After breakfast, we will drive to Tana, then you will be taken to Palissandre Hotel. Enjoy a farewell dinner with Valiha music. You may decide to fly tonight, or the next day. Your hotel overnight is included.
Overnight at Palissandre Hotel & Spa (B, L).
Day 12: Fly home
Today, after breakfast, transfer to the airport and fly back to the U.S, or continue with the Nosy Be Extension.
Nosy Be Northern Island Extension
Details in Brief
Duration: 5 days in country
Leader: Local Naturalist Guide
Maximum Number of Participants: 12
Itinerary in Brief:
Day 14: Fly to Nosy Be
Today, fly from Antananarivo to Nosy Be Island, located on the northwest coast of Madagascar. Nosy Be is considered a natural paradise of beautiful beaches, supreme natural diversity -both on the ground and underwater, and welcoming locals. (B,L,D)
Day 15: Lokobe Natural Reserve
Lokobe is considered one of the most beautiful and well managed Natural Parks in Madagascar. Spend a full day exploring it in search of unique wildlife, including the endemic Black Lemur and the Panther Chameleon. (B, L, D)
Day 16: Snorkel at Tanikely Marine Reserve
In the morning, take a boat ride to Tanikely Marine Reserve, consider the greatest one in Madagascar, and enjoy top-class snorkeling in the Indian Ocean.
Enjoy the afternoon relaxing while enjoying Malagasy hospitality at the hotel (B, L, D)
Day 17: Fly to Antananarivo
After breakfast fly to Antananarivo and check-in at the Palissandre Hotel. (B, L)
Day 18: Fly back home
Breakfast is included for your convenience. Transfer to the airport and fly back home.
The Madagascar Expedition has been crafted in detail, following the ideal pacing for the destination. However, unpredictable circumstances such as weather, flight delays or cancellations, labor strikes, road conditions, traffic, hotel overbookings, and other factors may force adjusting the program on-site. These events or realities are out of our control and an inherent risk when traveling, especially on expeditions to this kind of remote destinations. Your Expedition Leader might also decide to alter the program in case opportunities to improve the cultural or wildlife experiences are found. Please note that the expedition leader and hotels could change without notice due to unforeseen circumstances. No refunds will be given for program changes beyond the control of New Paths Expeditions.
PALISSANDRE HOTEL & SPA
Located on a hillside, in the center of Antananarivo, Palissandre is a 4-star hotel and is a perfect base to discover Antananarivo. It features an outdoor pool, a spa and a restaurant with a terrace offering panoramic city views. Free WiFi access is available. The rooms are particularly small (16m2) and are equipped with a TV, telephone, mini-bar and air conditioning. You can enjoy city and pool views from the room. The restaurant serves local and French cuisine. Guests can enjoy drinks, cocktails, and snacks.
Built in harmony with the environment, but without renouncing comfort, Berenty Lodge rooms feature air conditioning, ceiling fans, and hot running water. The Berenty not only provides you with good lodging but gives you the chance to observe Lemurs right outside your door and very close access to two distinct types of forest.
CROIX DU SUD HOTEL
A modern and comfortable small hotel, the Croix du Sud supplies you with clean rooms that include a TV, air conditioning, ceiling fans and hot running water. All rooms look to a small central garden. WiFi is available in the lobby.
RELAIS DE PLATEAUX
This small hotel has been selected due to its close to the airport location. Rooms are comfortable, with air conditioning, hot running water, minibar, kettle for tea or coffee and a hairdryer. A full-service restaurant and dining room are in the hotel, as well as a bar. Rooms also come with a minibar, kettle for tea or coffee and hairdryer.
RELAIS DU KIRINDY
The Kirindy Forest has very limited accommodations and this new hotel is a gamechanger. Accommodation consists of 20 simple, neat, en-suite bungalows, constructed out of wood and other natural materials. Windows are netted with gauze. The lodge has a spacious, open-air restaurant where meals served incorporate Malagasy and European-styled dishes and a swimming pool. It’s by far the best option in Kirindy, the most threatened habitat of Madagascar.
Eulophiella Lodge is close to Andasibe National Park. The setting is beautiful, with grounds interspersed with palms, windy stone paths and little wooden bridges and each of the bungalows are spaced out for privacy. Eulophiella Lodge provides all the peace and tranquillity you could want when exploring the Madagascan rainforest.
RAVINTSARA WELLNESS HOTEL
The Ravintsara Wellness Hotel has 20 bungalows (sea and garden view) and all are equipped with air- conditioning, fan, safe, minibar, flat screen TV with satellite channels, Internet, telephone, king size bed, and a desk. The comfortable bathrooms are equipped with double sinks, a jacuzzi, and a shower as well as a separate toilet.
Domestic Air Prices may change without prior notice due to airlines’ policies.
The extension needs 4 guests to depart.
NPE Club members are eligible for a 5% discount. Please contact us for details.
Included in Land Cost:
- Services of New Paths Expeditions in-house support team.
- 24/7 services of a Senior Expedition Leader during the expedition.
- 24/7 services of a Malagasy Naturalist Guide.
- Services of English-speaking local guides.
- All ground transportation (including airport transfers)
- Accommodations as noted.
- All sightseeing, entrance fees, excursions, and visits as noted.
- Group photography fees.
- Meals as noted.
- Bottled water at included meals, transfers and tours.
- Services of transfer assistants, drivers, and local staff.
- Gratuities for luggage porters, transfer assistants and restaurant staff.
- International and domestic flights.
- Passport and visa fees.
- Excess baggage charges.
- Gratuities for Local Master Guide, Driver and Expedition Leader (may be added to your final invoice, if desired).
- Personal expenses and incidentals, such as, but not limited to, phone calls, e-mail, and laundry.
- Trip cancellation, travel delay, and baggage loss insurance.
- Charges incurred as a result of delays beyond the control of New Paths Expeditions.
Deposits and final payments:
In order to guarantee your space on the Madagascar Expedition, a deposit of $1,500 is required at the time of booking.
The remaining cost will be charged 120 before the expedition begins.
Using these funds, New Paths Expeditions will make a deposit of 30% of the cost of your domestic air tickets to guarantee your seats in the needed flights. Please note that even though New Paths Expeditions will make the mentioned deposit, the domestic air tickets are not included and their cost will be added to your final invoice. In case you cancel your expedition, due to airline policies, we will not be able to refund the cost of the tickets, nor we will be able to transfer them to another expedition participant.
Download the Complete Expedition Details
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Jack N. Douglas-CO
“Our three expeditions with you were spectacular! We’ve just never had such wonderful travel experiences as with New Paths. We will get around praising you!”
Harriet T. Saugerties-NY
“NPE always provides excellent expedition guiding services where ever in the world we go. They attend to every detail, and NPE always has surprising added elements that are delightful. The best!”
Charlene P. La Jolla-CA
“Well planned, good local guides, top expedition leader. The trip far exceeded all expeditions.”
Frederic K. Orange-CA