Group Tour - Highlights Madagascar
19 nights November 2017

Are you a single traveller? Would you prefer to travel with like minded people? Are you a little apprehensive travelling to Africa?

Then join our group tour, led by Chloe* who is a registered safari guide and works from our Edinburgh office. Together with local guides let us guide you through some of Africa’s most beautiful countries.

* Chloe is a registered safari guide, having completed her FGASA level one in South Africa and a keen wildlife enthusiast. From her background in Zoology to her current travels exploring as much of Africa as she can, recently returning from an adventure in the Congo (have a look on our website for updates) she loves creatures both great and small (evidence of which lies in her favourite animals the dung beetle and elephants). Along with your local guide she will be there to host your trip making sure any questions or queries are answered both out in the bush or back in the lodges. Madagascar is a unique island full of contrasting landscapes and indigenous animals. From the well-known lemurs and valley of the baobabs to the many endemic chameleon, bird and orchid species and Stone Forest. On this trip we will explore all that this island has to offer, focusing on the wildlife we will also take time to see some of the incredible flora and unique culture of Madagascar.

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Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Fly Antananarivo, Pavillion de l’Emyrne, B&B
Day 2 Vakona Forest Lodge, 2 nights, half-board
Day 4 Maison Tanimanga, 1 night, half-board
Day 5 Setam Lodge, 2 nights, half-board
Day 7 Relais de la Reine, 2 nights, half-board
Day 9 Le Paradisier, 1 night, half-board
Day 10 Fly Fort Dauphin, Berenty Lodge 3 nights, half-board
Day 13 Fly Antananarivo, Pavillion de L’Emyme, 1 night, B&B
Day 14 Fly Morondava, Chez Maggie, 1 night, half-board
Day 15 Vazimba, 3 nights, half-board
Day 18 Chez Maggie, 1 night, half-board
Day 19 Fly Antananarivo, Le Relais des Plateaux, 1 night, B&B
Day 20 Fly home

Day 1

On arrival in Antananarivo you will meet Chloe and the rest of the group as the international flights arrive. Then as a group we will meet a driver and be transferred to Pavillon de L’Emyrne for the night.

Le Pavillon de l’Emyrne is a beautifully refurbished house in the old town of Antananarivo with lovely views of the royal hill and across the city.

There are 13 rooms all unique with furniture and antiques unearthed at the cities markets. The hotel has a small restaurant and simple spa facilities.

You will spend 1 night at the Le Pavillon de l’Emyrne on a B&B basis.

Day 2

This morning an English speaking guide will meet us at the hotel and drive us to the Andasibe–Perinet Reserve which is 145 kms away and will takes approx 4 hours. We will visit the park and have a night walk. On arrival we will check in to the Vakona Lodge where you will stay for the next 2 nights.

Vakona is a Swiss run upmarket lodge not far from the Perinet reserve. It is set on a lake and you can go for walks in the surrounding forest and they have a few semi-tame lemurs on an island reserve. The rooms are simple but comfortable, there is a lovely swimming pool and you can also go horse riding.

Within the Perinet Reserve you will walk through the rain forests in search of indigenous plants and animals, including the largest known lemur, the indri indri. Many other lemur species inhabit the forest, including the woolly, greater dwarf, brown mouse, grey bamboo, common brown, red fronted brown, black and white ruffed, crowned lemurs and the aye aye. More than a hundred species of birds occur in this special reserve, as well as chameleons, geckos and bats. The reserve also holds a world record for numbers of frog species among rainforests of comparable size. Nocturnal walks, early morning and afternoon hikes in the reserve are included. Trails are easy to walk, but can be slippery when wet. A big bonus for visitors to Perinet, is the chance to visit the nearby Mantadia National Park (much wilder, primary rainforest), where a number of rare rainforest-dependent mammals and birds that don't enter Perinet, are easily seen.

You will spend 2 nights at the Vakona Forest Lodge on a half board basis

Day 3

Today our guide will take us on a full day visit to the Andasibe National Park and the Vakona Private reserve. This is the home of several day and night active Lemur species. One of the highlight of the forest is the spectacular Indri (the largest surviving lemur with its loud morning call). As well as the Indri, you may see other species such as Common brown lemur and the colourful Diademed Sifaka. In the evening we will go for an evening walk for the tiny mouse lemur and spectacular chameleon, geckos and frogs.

Day 4

Today we will drive to Antsirabe (315km) approximately 7 hours drive passing through some amazing highlands scenery. Focusing mainly on the scenery and local people you drive through typical landscapes of the Malagasy high plateau with its rice fields, local brick houses, and small marketplaces.

Upon arrival in the town of Antsirabe we will check in to the Maison Tanimanga for the night which is a simple but comfortable 7 bedroomed guest house.

Antsirabe town began its development at the end of the 19th century when European missionaries arrived to exploit the thermal sources. It is now famous for its thermal cure centre, precious stones and the volcanic lakes. You can go for a walk along the beautiful avenues or enjoy a pousse pousse (rickshaw) ride.

You will spend 1 night at the Maison Tanimanga on a half board basis.

Day 5

This morning we will have a tour of the town and then drive (245km) to Ranomafana (approximately a 7 hour drive. Arrive at Ranomafana at the end of the day and check in to the Setam Hotel for the next 2 nights. Here we will enjoy a full days tour of the Ranomafana National Park as well as a night walk.

The Ranomafana Reserve is a National Park, established in 1991, a fragment of high altitude rainforest that first came to world attention in 1986 with the discovery of the golden bamboo lemur. The thundering white-water Namorona River dominates this spectacular upland rainforest in the south-eastern highlands. Ranomafana protects 12 species of lemur, including all three bamboo (gentle) lemurs, ruffed and red-bellied lemurs and the striking Milne-Edward’s diadem sifaka. People often see 5 or more species of lemur during a single walk in the rainforest. The vegetation is quite magnificent and bird watching is excellent at this spot, especially on early morning walks. Rare birds include the brown mesite, Henst’s goshawk, rufous-headed ground-roller and Pollen’s vanga. Reptiles and frogs abound. In the afternoon you can visit the local village and the Parks information centre and in the evening it is back to the forest to seek the nocturnal, tiny mouse lemur and the narrow striped civet.

Setam Lodge is area’s premier hotel, about 1 kilometre from the park gate. The lodge is built on the side of a hill, with great views across Ranomafana. It provides comfortable accommodation and an excellent location.

The lodge has 20 rooms arranged in 10 bungalows. Each room offers spacious accommodation equipped with a fan, en suite facilities with hot water and a private veranda to enjoy the views.

It has a large Malagasy and Oriental restaurant with huge glass windows and being set above the forested river valley offers great views of the rainforest that surrounds the lodge. There is also a beautiful breakfast veranda with comfortable garden furniture and umbrellas.

You will spend the next 2 nights at Setam Lodge on a HB basis.

Day 7

Today we will drive to Isalo National Park (approximately a 7 hour drive), stopping at Anja Private Reserve to see the ring tailed lemurs. We will stay at Le Relais De La Reine for the next 2 nights. We will also have a full day to explore the Isalo National Park.

The remarkable, desolate landscape created by the Isalo massif’s sandstone canyons, cliffs and other rock formations has become the premier hiking destination of southern Madagascar. Besides the imposing rock formations sometimes called ‘ ruiniforme’ after the French words for ‘carved’, there are some flatter areas covered in grassy vegetation, streams along which there is lush greenery and two exquisite natural pools. Within Isalo there are many scenic camp site and challenging trails, some of which can be done as day walks. Wildlife is fairly sparse compared to the other Malagasy Reserve, but some fascinating creatures are found nowhere else. The Benson’s rock thrush, one the three endemic Malagasy rock thrushes, is confined to the area. It’s also a good place to see the Réunion harrier, white-throated rail and Madagascar partridge. Ring-tailed Lemurs and Verrreaux’s sifaka are also found in the vegetation bordering the streams.

Situated on the side of a mountain at the entrance to the National Park of Isalo, 10 km from Ranohira, the hotel Le Relais De La Reine is known as the best hotel in the country. This French owned and run hotel is built with the local stone of Isalo Mountains and is designed to blend into the surrounding landscape.

The hotel has 28 spacious rooms in total with private terrace and garden. All rooms are equipped with rosewoods furniture, mosquito nets and an en suite bathroom. The food is of Malagasy and European origin and is of a high standard. The hotel also has a swimming-pool, tennis court and horse stables.

You will spend 2 nights at Le Relais De La Reine on a half board basis.

Day 8

Today we will have an excursion to the Namaza cascade and the “natural swimming-pool”, a delightful oasis within the ruinforms of Isalo. Things to see include some burial sites of the Bara people inside the rock-walls in the park, birds, snakes and frogs.

Day 9

Today we will continue west to Ifaty (approximately a 5 hour drive) with a stop on the way at the Zombitse National Park and the Arboretum of Antsokay and an afternoon in the Reniala Spiny Forest.

We will stay at Le Paradisier for the night which is a small eco lodge overlooking the Ifaty Lagoon.

You will spend 1 night at Le Paradisier on a half board basis.

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Day 10

This morning we will be transferred to Tulear airport in time to check in for the flight to Fort Dauphin. An English speaking driver/guide will meet us on arrival and transfer us to the Berenty Lodge to stay for the next 3 nights.

The Berenty Reserve s only 90 kilometres north of Fort Dauphin, a 2 hour stunning drive where you will pass from lush vegetation to the spiny bushes and baobabs, typical of the Berenty Reserve. The reserve is famous for its ring-tailed lemurs, sifakas, flying fox and its many species of fruit bat. Berenty houses 5 species of Lemur altogether, of which 3 are diurnal and you will almost certainly meet, guides are available to help you in your search and they will point out the favourite dozing places for the lemurs. If you are searching for the sifaka, there is a meadow in the reserve with a large tree in the centre, where they are often seen.

You can explore the network of paths at any time of day and in complete safety, looking out for lemurs at ground level and foraging in the trees above. The great diversity of plant species makes Berenty a particularly rewarding bird watching area.

Berenty Lodge is a 3 star property on the edge of the reserve, there are 58 rooms altogether in either bungalows or tree houses surrounded by dry and spiny forest. The lodge will assist you with trips into the forest, with or without a guide.

Immediately behind the cabins, a system of trails provides easy access to an abundance of lemurs, birds and a resident colony of Madagascar Fruit Bats. Of the lemurs, Ring-tailed are the most numerous and are unafraid, allowing delightfully close observation and photography. Red-fronted are also very common, but for many it's the Verreaux's Sifakas that steal the show. It's a delight to watch these rufous and white 'ballerinas’ as they dance across the red sandy soil and spring effortlessly through the boughs of a spiky euphorbia.

There are also chameleons, snakes and butterflies. During your stay visit the museum of the Antandroy ethnic group, people of the dry climate. You may also visit a sisal factory, and take a night walk at the Spiny Forest.

You will spend 3 nights at Berenty Lodge on a half board basis.

Days 11 & 12

We will explore the Berenty Reserve on day and night walks with local guides.

Day 13

Today we will be transferred back to the airport where we will fly back to Tana. We will be met on arrival and transferred to Pavillon de L’Emyrne for the night.

Le Pavillon de l’Emyrne is a beautifully refurbished house in the old town of Antananarivo with lovely views of the royal hill and across the city. There are 13 rooms all unique with furniture and antiques unearthed at the cities markets. The hotel has a small restaurant and simple spa facilities.

You will spend 1 night at the Le Relais des Plateaux on a B&B basis.

Day 14

Today we will be transferred to the airport for the flight to Morondava. On arrival we will be met and transferred to Chez Maggie for the night (approximately a 2 hour drive). On the way we will pass the famous ‘Allee de Baobabs’ stopping to take photos, on arrival we will take a walk in the Kirindy Forest.

Chez Maggie is a beautiful resort on the beach of Nosy Kely. The large chalets all face the beachfront and have en-suite bathrooms and air conditioning. After a long days sightseeing relax by the pool or enjoy a cold drink at the bar.

You will spend 1 night at Chez Maggie on a half-board basis.

Day 15

Today after breakfast we will drive approx. 8 hours to Bekopaka to the Tsingy de Bemaraha where we will stay at Le Grand Hotel du Tsingy for the next 3 nights. Here we will visit the Tsingy formations, take a river trip on the Manambolo and spend time in the park looking for the endemic wildlife.

Tsingy de Bemaraha is one of Madagascars largest National Parks and is famous for its dramatic scenery and Grand Tsingy rock formations. The unusual geomorphology of the Tsingy de Bemaraha World Heritage Site, which encompasses both the National Park and the adjacent Strict Nature Reserve, means that the area is home to a large number of endemic species of plants and animals. Here we may spot the rare all white Decken’s Sifika.

Le Grand Tsingy Hotel is in a great location for visiting the Tsingy de Bemaraha it is a basic yet comfortable place to stay with 23 bungalows each with their own en-suite bathroom and veranda. Here you can cool off in the pool, enjoy a drink at the bar or have delicious dinners al fresco in the hotel gardens.

You will spend 3 nights at the Le Grand Tsingy Hotel on a half-board basis.

Day 18

After breakfast we will depart on our journey back to Morondava which will take all day. On the way we will make several stops to stretch our legs and take pictures and in the evening we will stop off at the Alley of Baobabs for some great sunset pictures, we will stay the night at Chez Maggie.

You will spend 1 night at Chez Maggie on a half-board basis.

Day 19

Today we will be transferred to Morondava Airport where we fly to Antananarivo where we will be met and transferred to stay at Le Relais des Plateaux for the night.

You will spend 1 night at the Le Relais des Plateaux on a B&B basis.

Day 20

Today we will be transferred to the airport where we will say our goodbyes and check in for the international flights home.

 

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The price for this holiday will be 4,612 Euros per person based on a group of 6 or 7 people
The single supplement is an added 695 Euros per person

The internal flights are 1,200 Euros per person not included in the above price.

International flights with Air France are estimated at £900 per person (not included in the above price)

This includes:
Transfers as per the itinerary
Internal flights
All accommodation on a shared basis in twin rooms
Meals as indicated
English speaking driver/guide with vehicle as indicated
All National Park fees
Local guide fees when visiting parks/ reserves

This does not include:
International flights
Local airport taxes
Staff tips
Travel insurance
Items of a personal nature
Visas
Drinks
Meals as indicated

Please note if you are travelling alone and have requested to share with another party member of the same sex, your booking is only accepted on the understanding that should no room-mate be available you will accept single room accommodation and pay the appropriate single room supplement. The maximum group size for any group can be increased by one if the last booking taken is for a couple.

All quotes are subject to alteration due to availability at time of booking, currency fluctuations, fuel & rate increases and government action.

For more information contact us


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