Wildlife Of Madagascar

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Run by: Rainbow Tours

Reference number: ITN-MDG012

From: £3975.00

This individual tour is ideal for wildlife enthusiasts who wish to explore one rewarding site in each of Madagascar three main ecotypes. The locations can be visited in any order, depending on your travel dates and how these fit in with domestic flight schedules.  For the eastern rainforest section, we will take you to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, home to iconic wildlife including Indri, Parson's chameleon, Coral-billed  nuthatch vanga and many more rainforest-dependent species. A visit then to Berenty Private Reserve in the sub-desert southern interior, will give you a feel for the extraordinary contrasts which are the essence of Madagascar. In terms of a wildilfe experience, Berenty never disappoints and with good reason, is often on the itineraries of keen wildlife photographers.Flagship species of the southern region which have a stronghold here include the 'dancing' Verreaux' sifaka; ringtailed lemurs, Giant coua and Madagascar hissing cockroach.  Complete your roundup of the three main ecotypes with a visit to Kirindy Forest***, part of the highly threatened Menabe Antimena Protected Area in the hot western lowlands. To get there, drive through 'Baobab Alley' and don't forget to take a flashlight, because night walks are usually very productive. Kirindy harbours some sought-after species including Fossa (the island's biggest carnivore); the endangered giant jumping rat and our smallest relative, the endangered Madame Berthe's mouse lemur.    *** Serious birders should consider substituting Kirindy with the Ankarafantsika National Park, also in the western lowlands, as Ankarafantsika is featured in most Madagascar birding itineraries and is home to all of the island's western forest-dependent endemic species. 

Itinerary

Day 1 Depart on the Air France flight from London Heathrow (or another UK airport) to Antananarivo via Paris CDG. You will be met, assisted and transferred to Relais des Plateaux to stay overnight, breakfast included.

Day 2 Your professional wildlife expert guide and your driver will collect you from your hotel. Travel east along good roads in your private 4WD to Vakona Forest Lodge in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park (about three hours by road) for a 3-night stay with breakfast and dinner included. You will be taken for an introductory guided rainforest walk to seek lemurs, endemic rainforest-dependent birds as well as fascinating reptiles and frogs. After dark, you will be taken for a guided night walk either at Mitsinjo rainforest or in a small, privately protected rainforest parcel managed by a local guide association, VOIMMA.

Day 3 Early morning guided rainforest walk in Andasibe ('Perinet'). Here, you will be looking for Indri (the largest of all the lemur), the 2ft long Parson's chameleon, Diademed sifaka and endemic birds such as the Blue coua, Madagascar blue pigeon, Lesser vasa parrot, Crossley's babbler and Nelicourvi weaver. After lunch, you might wish to visit the impressive tree nurseries of Association Mitsinjo , where some 100 species of endemic rainforest trees are being cultivated as part of a reforestation programme. Alternatively, visit Lemur Island. This evening, you could make a second night walk in Station Forestier d'Analamazaotra, administered by proactive NGO Association Mitsinjo. Here, you'll seek out the likes of Eastern woolly lemur, Sportive lemur, Furry-eared dwarf lemur and Goodman's mouse lemur. Its the best time to seek chameleons which initially reflect white in torch-light and if you are lucky you may see Mossy or Satanic leaf-tailed geckoes. You should find various species of Tree frog. Nocturnal birds resident include Madagascar long-eared owl and rare Collared nightjar.

Day 4 Visit the beautiful 10,000ha of primary forest in Mantadia National Park with your guides. This rainforest holds a collection of rare mammals and birds not necessarily found in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, including approachable groups of Diademed sifaka and the vociferous Black-and-white ruffed lemur. Rare birds abound, as do interesting reptiles and frogs. Alternatively, you might prefer to explore more of the rainforest at Andasibe.

Day 5 Today, take another guided rainforest walk in either Andasibe, or for keen birders, revisit Mantadia National Park which might reveal rarities such as Short-legged ground-roller (pictured), Gray-crowned tetraka, White-browed oxylabes and Red forest fody. Birders can also look out in rank roadside growth for species such as White-throated rail, Madagascar rail and Madagascar flufftail. In the mid- afternoon you will be driven back to Antananarivo to stay overnight at Relais des Plateaux Hotel with breakfast included.

Day 6 Transfer to the airport for the Air Madagascar flight to Morondava on the west coast. Your guide and driver will meet you and transfer you two hours north to Kirindy Forest, where you stay overnight at Relais du Kirindy, with all meals included. On the way, pass through the Alley of Giant Baobabs, where on both sides of the road, a small number of statuesque Grandidier's baobabs, still stand. Kirindy, part of the Menabe Antimena Protected Area, is one of Madagascar's three best wildlife hotspots for fauna unique to the desperately threatened and highly fragmented western deciduous dry forests. Key species that visitors come to seek, include Verreaux's sifaka, Red-fronted brown lemur and at night, a selection of nocturnal lemurs that includes the World's smallest primate, Madame Berthe's mouse lemur. Other mammal highlights include Fosa, the island's largest carnivore (Kirindy is the best place in which to seek it) and the endangered Giant jumping rat, biggest of Madagascar's endemic rodents. A wonderful range of birds which inhabit the western dry forests, occurs here. They include White-breasted mesite, Henst's goshawk, Coquerel's and Crested couas, Sicklebill and White-headed vangas, and Sakalava weaver. Reptiles abound, notably Collared iguanids, Giant hognosed snakes and Labord's and Oustalet's chameleons. Night walks are superb here with plenty of rare wildlife in evidence in Kirindy and nearby Marofandilia Forests.

Day 7 You will be taken for early morning and then, afternoon guided forest walks to explore the easy trails in Kirindy Forest, where wildlife viewing is generally excellent. Guided day and night walks in the (very) dry deciduous forests of Kirindy and Marofandilia tend to deliver a good mix of lemurs, great birds and diverse reptiles - see our separate 'Excursions' section or ask us for details. Currently, less than 5% of western Madagascar's western deciduous forests remain - they are under severe threat and in 2017/8 suffered terribly. Never before has nature-based tourism made so valuable a contribution to the forests of Menabe Antimena Protected Area.

Day 8 Morning to explore more of the delightful albeit extremely threatened deciduous dry forest of Kirindy with your guides. Transfer back to Morondava with a stop at 'Baobab Alley' (a group of Grandidier's baobabs standing in degraded land on either side of the road) where if you wish, you can plant an endemic Baobab at the NGO FANAMBY's habitat restoration project site. Overnight in Palissandre Cote Ouest with all meals included.

Day 9 Morning at leisure in Morondava - your guide and driver can take you sightseeing, time allowing, if you want to gain an insight into Menabe-Sakalava culture. Transfer to Morondava airport to check in for the flight back to Antananarivo, where you will be met and transferred to Relais des Plateaux for an overnight stay with breakfast.

Day 10 Transfer to the airport for the Air Madagascar flight to Fort Dauphin on the far South coast of the island where you will be met and driven inland along deteriorating roads to the famed Berenty Private ...

This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website

** If you see this next to a price, a specific price in your currency has not been provided, this is an estimated-only price based on a currency conversion, the price you pay may be different to that shown

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