Madagascar

Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world situated off the south-east coast of Africa. Sporting a population of 22million people, the country faces many environmental challenges to save its remaining patches of forest and species of wildlife of which a lot are endangered due to human pressures. The only safe havens for the wildlife and vegetation are the National Parks and protected natural areas.

Madagascar is a very diverse country and offers a unique, mostly endemic set of flora and fauna. Therefore this tour is going to be labelled as a ‘natural history’ tour more than solely being a birding trip. Yes, an effort will be taken to locate as many endemic birds as possible, along with all the other critters the island has to offer with an emphasis on mammals and reptiles.

This is an excellent photographic destination!

Sample itinerary

14 Nights & 15 Days Madagascar Natural History & Photographic Safari

Overview:

This tour is designed to visit the most popular and easily accessible wildlife destinations showing off the best of Madagascar’s unique offerings.

Route:

Antananarivo – Andasibe-Mantadia National Park – Antananarivo – Fort Dauphin – Berenty Reserve – Ifaty – Tulear – Isalo National Park – Ranomafana National Park – Antananarivo

Top Birds:

Cuckoo Roller, Running Verreaux’s and  Blue Coua, Nelicourvi Weaver, Subdesert Mesite, Pitta-like, Short-legged, Scaly and  Long-tailed Ground Roller, Humblot’s Heron, Madagascar & White-throated Rail, Madagascar Partridge, Madagascar Plover, Madagascar Scops Owl, Collared Nightjar, Madagascar Cuckooshrike, Madagascar Sandgrouse, Forest Rock Thrush, White-throated Oxylabes, Forest Fody, Sickle-billed, Chabert’s and Blue Vanga.


Madagascar – 3 Nights & 4 Days Ankarafantsika Extension

Overview:

This tour is designed to view many of the endemic bird species including the Schlegel’s Asity and lemur species such as the Mongoose Lemur, Milne-Edwards Lemur and Western Wolly Lemur can only be found within this area.

Route:

Mahanjanga – Ampijoroa – Ankarafantsika National Park – Mahanjanga

Top Birds:

Schlegel’s Asity, Madagascar Fish Eagle, Madagascar Jacana, Red-capped and Coquerel’s Coua, Van Dam’s, Red-tailed, Chabert’s, Hook-billed, Rufous and White-headed Vanga, White-breasted Mesite, Madagascar Ibis, Madagascar Buttonquail, Frances’s Sparrowhawk and Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher


Madagascar – 3 Nights & 4 Days Anjozorobe Extension

Overview:

This tour is designed visit the Indris and Diademed Sifakas at the remote Anjozorobe National Park.

Route:

Tana – Anjozorobe National Park – Tana

Top Birds:

Pitta-like, Short –legged, and Rufous-headed Ground-roller, Madagascar Wood-rail, Madagascar Crested Ibis, Meller’s Duck, Madagascar Snipe, Slender-billed Flufftail, Red-breasted, Blue and  Red-fronted Coua, Grey Emu-tail, Brown Emu-tail, Madagascar Yellow-brow, Madagascar Blue Pigeon, Brown Mesite,   Velvet Asity, Yellow-bellied Sunbird-Asity, Common Sunbird Asity, Dark Newtonia, Crossley’s Vanga, Ward’s Flycatcher, Green Jery, White-throated Oxylabes, Spectacled Tetraca, Grey-crowned Tetraka, Cryptic Warbler, Rand’s Warbler, Forest Rockthrush, Forest Fody, Madagascar Kingfisher and Nelicourvi Weaver. 


Madagascar – 3 Nights & 4 Days Masoala Extension

Overview:

Where rainforests meet secluded beaches. The rainforests of Masola are home to the Red-ruffed Lemur White-fronted Brown Lemurs as well as the elusive nocturnal Aye-aye. Bird species such as Helmet Vanga are easily spotted here and the Velvet Asity live within the canopies of the rainforest. All species of Ground Rollers occur here except the Long-tailed Roller. The Madagascar Serpent Eagle nest in these rainforests. There is a good variety of reptiles ranging from the Brookesia to the Parson’s Chameleon, Giant leaf tailed Gecko and many a frog species. There is a marine reserve that offers good snorkelling.

Route:

Tana – Maroantsetra – Masoala National Park

Top Birds:

Brown Mesite, Red-breasted Coua, Helmet and Bernier’s Vanga, Red Owl, Dusky Tetraka, Red-tailed Newtonia, Scaly, Pitta-like and Short-legged Ground Roller and Madagascar Serpent Eagle

Destinations

Antananarivo

Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo, also known as Tana offers great markets, restaurants and unexpected wildlife experiences. Somewhat crazy and chaotic, driving through this city is an experience in itself. Expect subtropical highland climate with mild, dry winters and warm, rainy summers. Daily average temperatures range from 20.8 °C in December to 14.3 °C in July.

Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

Located about 150 km east of Antananarivo, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park consists mainly of primary growth forest and his home to large biodiversity teeming with rare and endemic species.  Highlights here include 15 mammal species of which 11 lemur species, the Indri being the largest and most sought after lemur, 100 species of birds, 100 orchid species, 80 species of amphibians and 50 species of reptiles, including Parson’s Chameleon, the world’s largest chameleon.

Berenty Reserve

Berenty Reserve is a small private reserve of gallery forest located in the semi-arid spiny forest in Madagascar’ far South. Famous for its scientific research on lemurs, it is home to six lemur species, 102 bird species as well as the largest colony of Madagascar Fruit Bats.

Reniala Private Reserve 

More commonly known as the spiny forest, this small reserve sports an amazing, bizarre and unique ecosystem. It is home to 2000 plant species, many of which are locally endemic, and you can look forward to seeing some spectacular Baobabs and other-worldly plants.  Of the 65 bird species that occur here, the locally endemic Long-tailed Ground-Roller is the most sought after species.

Nosy Ve

This small, uninhabited coral island lies 3km off the west coast and can be reached by boat from Anakao. Local fady (taboos) have left Nosy Ve unspoilt and provided a safe nesting ground for many red-tailed tropicbirds which allow close approach. The island is not only good for birding but provides excellent snorkelling on the reefs. Coastal birds include Red-tailed Tropicbird, Lesser Crested and Saunder’s Tern. Crab Plover and other waders such as Bar-tailed Godwit can sometimes be found.

Zombitse National Park

Together with the adjacent forests of Vohibasia, Zombitse constitutes the last – and therefore biologically significant – remnant of transition forest between the western and southern regions. This park is of particular interest to birdwatchers, being home to one of the country’s rarest endemics, Appert’s Tetraka.

Isalo National Park

Isalo National Park offers breathtaking landscapes made of canyon, gorges, craggy rocks, sandstone pinnacles and colourful mountains. Waterfalls, natural pools and streams add to the park’s beauty. The park is home to 80 bird species, 7 lemur species and 400 plant species.

Ranomafana National Park

With more than 41,600 hectares of tropical rainforest, Ranomafana is without doubt one the most spectacular National Parks of Madagascar. It is home to 115 bird species, of which 30 are locally endemic; 43 mammal species including 12 species of lemurs; 62 reptile species, including the mind-blowing Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko; 90 butterfly species; 98 frog species and 350 spider species. This is paradise for any naturalist.

Masoala 

The Masoala peninsula, located in North-east Madagascar, boasts the greatest biodiversity in all of Madagascar. Encompassing tropical rainforest, coastal forest, flooded foresT, marsh, mangrove and three marine parks this magical place teems with the most wonderful fauna and flora imaginable. It is home to 10 lemur species, including the elusive Aye-Aye; 135 butterfly species; 90 bird species, including novelties such as Helmet Vanga, Short-legged Ground-Roller, Madagascar Serpent Eagle and Madagascar Red Owl; and 60 reptile species.

Ankarafantsika

Ankarafantsika is one of the largest and last remaining sections of dense dry deciduous forest in Madagascar, filled with critically endangered and endemic species. It boasts 129 bird species, of which 75 are endemic; 8 lemur species, 45 reptile species and 800 plant species.

Anjozorobe

Located just north of Tana, Anjozorobe is especially rewarding for night walks, with regularly seen highlights being mossy and satanic leaf-tailed geckos. It is home to 80 species of birds, 11 species of lemurs, 25 species of small mammals, 550 species of plants including 75 orchid species.