This is an easy two-week tailor-made holiday in Madagascar combining stunning wildlife-rich eastern rainforests and a lovely eco-sensitive hotel at a reef-protected beach on the tropical Ile Ste Marie. The Andasibe-Mantadia National Park protects 11 species of lemur as well as many reptiles including the enormous Parson's chameleon, and most of the country's rainforest-dependent endemic birds, such as the Blue coua and Nuthatch vanga. In th 10,000ha primary rainforest of Mantadia National Park, you can see the Diademed sifaka and a select band of other rarities not necessarily found at Andasibe ('Perinet'). Night walks may reveal the localised Goodman's Mouse lemur and a host of other nocturnal denizens of the central-eastern rainforests. This area holds a world record for number of frog species among rainforests of comparable size.
End the holiday on the balmy, tropica Ile Ste Marie where Princesse Bora Lodge is also home to a research project for the protection of marine mammals and a great place to indulge in some whale-watching from July to mid September.
Day 1 Fly with Air France from London (or selected regional airports) via Paris. On arrival into Antananarivo. you will be met and transferred to the Relais de Plateaux for a one night stay. This comfortable hotel, which has one of Madagascar's best restaurants, is just 5 - 10 minutes drive from the airport so very conveniently located.
Day 2 After a leisurely breakfast, your professional wildlife expert guide and driver collect you at your hotel. You will be driven 3 and a half hours eastwards along winding tarmac roads to Vakona Lodge in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. Begin your exploration of the reserve in search of the iconic, ape-like Indri along with a plethora of other rainforest-dependent wildlife. Evening walk in the Station Forestier de Analamazaotra rainforest concession managed by proactive NGO Association Mitsinjo, for nocturnal wildlife. Stay 3 nights at Vakona Forest Lodge, breakfast, dinner included.
Day 3 Explore the primary rainforest of Mantadia National Park to seek Diademed sifaka, Black-and-white ruffed lemurs, the insectivorous tenrecs and the rainforest-dependent ground rollers. You may wish to take a picnic lunch and eat it beside a waterfall. In the afternoon you may wish to visit Lemur Island, where visitors go to get that 'lemurs on the shoulder' experience.
Day 4 Your guides will take you to explore the rainforest of Andasibe, where groups of Indri and other iconic rainforest species are readily seen along paths mostly graded as 'easy'.
Day 5 Much of the day to explore either more of Andasibe, or visit the rainforest concession of Analamazaotra across the road, administered by Association Mitsinjo which works with Money for Madagascar. Here, visitors are encouraged to plant an endemic endangered tree to offset their carbon footprints and literally give something back to Malagasy soil. (Photo below).
Day 6 You will be driven to the airport for the flight to Ile Ste Marie for a seven night stay in a double comfort bungalow at Princesse Bora Lodge, with breakfast and dinner included. Complimentary lodge activities include snorkelling, kayaking, use of bicycles, sauna, Jacuzzi and swimming pool. Activities with a surcharge include spa treatments, fishing, day excursions, rental of motorbike or quad bikes, fishing and scuba diving. 2015 rates for whale watching (payable at the hotel): 45 Euros per adult (and 23 Euros per child) for the first whale-watching excursion; 30 Euros per adult and 15 Euros per child for subsequent excursions. Transfers to idyllic Ile Aux Nattes (Nosy Nato), payable at the hotel: 12 Euros return.
Day 7 Enjoy palm-lined coves, discover the offshore islands such as lovely Ile Aux Nattes, see the legacy of pirate and French settlement, explore the coastal bush and the mangrove system, dive the wrecks, snorkel, watch village life and in season, arrange unforgettable whale watching excursions through the hotel. (Please note that whales are wild animals so sightings can never be guaranteed: officially the whale watching season is 01 July - 30 September, but global weather patterns can result in unforeseen changes so in 2016 Princesse Bora decided to stop the season mid September due to lack of sightings at that time).
Day 8 Aside from rest and relaxation time, you could explore some of the island of Ste Marie, where attractions include the world's only pirate cemetery. (aerial view pictured, 2016)
Day 9 Relax on Ile Sainte Marie or partake in various activities which can be arranged at the lodge. (Activities are payable directly).
Day 10 Day to enjoy Ile Sainte Marie.
Day 11 Enjoy the tropical island of Ste Marie. Another enjoyable day trip is one that can be arranged to Coco Bay in the north of the island (pictured). A picnic lunch can be included.
Day 12 Another day to enjoy Ste Marie, or perhaps visit nearby Ile Aux Nattes. Snorkelling around the latter is rewarding. There is plenty of small wildlife to be seen in the coastal bush on Ste Marie, notably reptiles and frogs.
Day 13 You will be transferred to the airport for the flight to Antananarivo where you will be met and transferred to Relais De Plateaux where you will have a day room.
Day 14 You will be transferred to the airport to for your flight at 01.40 back to London Heathrow via Paris, arriving in London about 13.30.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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