The Island of Madagascar holds the world record for endemic species, with over 90% of its wildlife endemic. 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 elusive, wildlife species of Madagascar. This trip will take you to the wildlife hotspots of the Island, providing more species diversity than any other expedition offered today. All destinations and activities have been chosen having in mind the perfect trip pacing for our explorers and to facilitate the best possible wildlife sightings and photography opportunities. Our Senior Naturalist Leader will lead you to some of Madagascar’s most popular tourist attractions.
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 14 participants!
Departure: September 02, 2023
WHAT MAKES THIS TRIP EXTRAORDINARY
- 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, including the largest and the smallest of them all.
- Superb bird watching with plenty of native species.
- The biggest diversity of chameleons on earth.
- Private flight from Berenty to Morondava.
- Double visit to Baobab avenue, including a sunset session.
- Outstanding wildlife photography.
- Enjoy the intimacy of a truly small group of like-minded, experienced travelers.
- Escorted by an NPE Senior Naturalist Leader
- Ideal expedition pacing using the best possible accommodations and first-class transport.
Nelson F – Orange. CA
If you have any questions, please let us know. We are here to help you!
Itinerary in Brief
Arrive Antananarivo (Tana)
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).
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).
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 is quite good.
Overnight at Berenty Lodge (B, L, D).
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, may be 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).
After an optional early birding tour, visit the 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)
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).
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’s regular flight.
Overnight at Palissandre Hotel & Spa (B, L).
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).
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 Vakona Lodge (B, L, D).
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 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 Vakona Lodge (B, L, D).
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).
Today, after breakfast, transfer to the airport and fly back to the U.S, or continue with the Nosy Be Extension.
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.
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.
Vakona Forest Lodge is situated on a picturesque hillside that slopes down to a lake. Surrounded by lush vegetation and filled with fresh mountain air, only the sounds of frogs and other wildlife can disturb you here.
Born and raised in Madagascar, Lova is our best «soldier» in Madagascar.
Lova has over 20 years of experience exploring the most remote sites in Madagascar and became part of NPE around 2008. Lova loves its country, and its energy and pride while showing the outstanding wildlife in Madagascar makes him one of our top-notch guides.
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