Multi-Day Tour | Escorted, Group

Madagascar Wildlife Adventure (13 days)

Natural Habitat Adventures

Johannesburg, South Africa To Antananarivo, Madagascar

Madagascar Wildlife Adventure (13 days)

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
Day 1
Johannesburg, South Africa
Southern Sun O.R. Tambo Airport Dinner

Johannesburg, South Africa

Our adventure begins on arrival in Johannesburg, a 19th-century gold mining settlement that's now a cosmopolitan city of 3.6 million. Food and music are central to life in "Joburg," and its clubs and pubs are an integral part of the social fabric. Gather with our small group this evening for a welcome dinner with our Expedition Leader.
Day 2
Antananarivo, Madagascar
Vakona Forest Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

Days 2–3: Antananarivo, Madagascar / Perinet Reserve

Fly this morning to Antananarivo, where our Madagascar tour begins. We continue by road through rice paddies and rain forest to reach the Perinet Reserve, one of the two main sectors of Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. Here, we'll have our first opportunity to look for lemurs, found only in Madagascar. The country is home to approximately 100 species and subspecies of lemur, and the world’s largest, the indri, is found in this park. As exciting to hear as it is to see, this pied creature’s call sounds like a loud, eerie wailing in the trees. During the day we may also spy gray bamboo, Eastern woolly and black-and-white ruffed lemurs, as well as dancing diademed sifakas. On night walks, look for palm-sized brown mouse lemurs that awaken to skitter among the strangler figs and giant ferns. Madagascar’s premier national park is a critical component of the country’s efforts to conserve its biodiversity in the face of extensive deforestation. Besides lemurs, this threatened biome contains a thousand different orchid species that bloom during the rainy season, numerous medicinal plants, the turquoise Parson’s chameleon (one of the largest in the world), and a spiky insectivore called a tenrec, which looks like a striped hedgehog. The protected tract of rare montane rain forest is also one of the world’s top birding locales. We'll also visit Lemur Island, a small sanctuary where orphaned lemurs are thriving. Four species, including the bamboo lemur, black-and-white ruffed lemur, brown lemur and diademed sifaka, have become habituated to visitors, allowing for close encounters and excellent photo opportunities.
Day 3
Antananarivo, Madagascar
Vakona Forest Lodge None

See Day 2 for full itinerary.

Day 4
Antananarivo, Madagascar
Andasibe Hotel Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

Mantadia National Park

Today we travel farther afield to the less-visited Mantadia section of Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. Mantadia's virtually untouched primary forest is filled with magnificent buttress-rooted trees and lichen-covered trunks beneath a canopy reaching more than 100 feet high. Experience true seclusion while exploring quietly among towering tree ferns and fan-shaped traveler’s palms that shelter various endemic birds and rare reptiles. Diademed sifakas and black-and-white ruffed lemurs launch themselves from tree to tree overhead, and we'll also witness varieties of couas, bright-plumed vangas and ground rollers flitting through the forest. Mossy-green leaf-tailed geckos and short-horned chameleons are special sightings when our sharp-eyed guides point them out.

Day 5
Fianarantsoa, Madagascar
Setam Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

Days 5 & 6: Ranomafana National ParkWe return to Antananarivo by road and take a chartered flight to the hilltop town of Fianarantsoa, noted for its 19th-century colonial old town filled with colorful houses and cobbled streets. From here, we drive to Ranomafana National Park, created in 1991 following the discovery of the endangered golden bamboo lemur. Today, the park is a hub of research and discovery that is vitally important for the conservation of regional wildlife. Comprised of steep, mountainous terrain, Ranomafana's 250 square miles encompass varied habitats at a range of altitudes, from lowland rain forest to cloud forest to high plateau forest. Cliffs draped in lush vegetation and waterfalls abound in this rugged wilderness. The park is home to 12 species of lemur, including three different bamboo lemurs, 120 frog species, numerous chameleons and other reptiles, 90 butterfly species, and the fascinating but rarely seen fossa. Birds are abundant, too, with more than 100 species present, including ground-rollers, red-fronted coua and collared nightjar. A night walk may reveal brown mouse lemurs and various amphibians active after dark. The lush rain forest also harbors many different carnivorous plants.

Day 6
Fianarantsoa, Madagascar
Setam Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

See Day 5 for full itinerary.

Day 7
Isalo National Park, Madagascar
Relais de la Reine Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

Days 7 & 8: Isalo National Park

Ready your camera and enjoy your guaranteed window seat on a full-day scenic drive to southern Madagascar. Get glimpses of local life as we pass through small villages into a land in stark contrast with the eastern rain forests. Stop en route at the Anja Community Reserve for a picnic lunch and a chance to see rambunctious ring-tailed lemurs feeding in the trees or foraging on the ground. Continuing south, we enter a region of mountainous plateaus and eroded canyons reminiscent of the American Southwest, as granite outcrops rise from dry grass plains. As we reach the striking Isalo massif, we witness the fascinating flora that thrives against this Jurassic-era sandstone backdrop, including the odd-looking swollen pachypodia, or “elephant’s foot.”

Several varieties of lemur live among the cacti, aloes and palms, in particular the resident ring-tailed lemur we’ll look for in Isalo National Park. The 200,000-acre park is also home to more than 80 bird species and 33 reptile species. It is the sacred homeland of the tribal Bara people, whose burial sites are marked by mounds of tiny stones placed in crevices in the rock faces. Amid the arid landscape, we come upon a swift stream running through a deep, ancient gorge. Here, there's an option to climb a series of steps to a natural pool fed by a thundering waterfall that has carved its course into the sandstone. At night, as temperatures fall, the sunset fades and the ebony sky beckons our gaze upward for some of the best stargazing on the planet.

Day 8
Isalo National Park, Madagascar
Relais de la Reine Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

See Day 7 for full itinerary.

Day 9
Isalo National Park, Madagascar
Relais de la Reine Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park / Isalo

We drive to Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park today, a little-visited reserve on the border of two biological zones, dry deciduous tropical forest and more humid forest and savanna. The park is an island in the middle of a widely deforested region, and as such, it provides crucial natural habitat for an array of flora and fauna. Some of Madagascar’s finest birdwatching is here, with a number of endemic species including the very rare Appert's tetraka native to this forest alone. We also look for the giant coua, the iridescent souimangasunbird, greater and lesser vasa parrots, Oustalet’s chameleon, and, always, lemurs. Among the park's eight lemur species, we may see Verreaux's sifaka, red-fronted brown lemur and the Hubbard's sportive lemur, a prize sighting found only in this park. Late this afternoon, return to Isalo to spend one more night.
Day 10
Anjajavy Private Reserve, Madagascar
Anjajavy Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

Days 10–12: Anjajavy Private Reserve

Board an early chartered flight to the 17,000-acre private coastal nature reserve of Anjajavy. This vast protected area with private walking trails through secluded forests and empty beaches is reached only by flying into the private airport—exclusive access that is a distinct advantage in traveling with our small group. The seaside lodge that fronts the cerulean waters of the Mozambique Channel is our base for exploring the dry deciduous Anjajavy forest of northwest Madagascar. This remote area, less disturbed than other regions of the country, hosts a striking number of endemic species. Look for Coquerel’s sifaka and the common brown lemur during guided forest walks, while night strolls may reveal gray and golden brown mouse lemurs, giant hairy crabs and a various reptiles. The forest contains some 1,800 plant species, among them massive baobab trees shaped like squat bottles and richly colored rosewood trees. The 4-star resort, Madagascar's only member of the exclusive Relais & Chateaux group, accommodates guests in thatched bungalows overlooking a private white sand beach.

Private boat excursions offer a close-up look at this remote region that's mostly uninhabited except for a couple of small fishing villages. While we may pass a few fishermen in their dhows with triangular white sails or paddling wooden pirogues, we're largely alone along this wild coastline. It's a scenic landscape of rocky outcrops and tiny indented coves with untouched beaches dotted by pale ghost crabs. We travel by boat to Moramba Bay to view eroded limestone formations protruding from the azure sea and huge baobab trees that stand sentinel over densely vegetated environs. Search the coastline for the Madagascar fish eagle, rare Madagascar sacred ibis and crested ibis. A sunset cruise through the mangroves reveals more birds, and, if we’re lucky, Madagascar flying foxes leaving their roosts at dusk. From our lodge, guests may also opt to explore the mangroves by kayak or snorkel over a coral reef from the beach. On the grounds, the "oasis" provides a garden sanctuary for a wide variety of aquatic and climbing plants, papyrus, tree ferns and palm trees that offer refuge to green kingfisher, red fody and lemurs. A saltwater infinity pool offers welcome refreshment after a day of discovery.

Day 11
Anjajavy Private Reserve, Madagascar
Anjajavy Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

See Day 10 for full itinerary.

Day 12
Anjajavy Private Reserve, Madagascar
Anjajavy Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

See Day 10 for full itinerary.

Day 13
Antananarivo, Madagascar
None Breakfast

Anjajavy / Antananarivo / Depart

After a leisurely breakfast at the lodge, fly to Antananarivo for connecting flights homeward, or on to South Africa for extensions.

Tour Features

Experience(s)

  • Adventure
  • Sightseeing
  • Wildlife & Nature

Description

A Small-Group Exploration of the Planet's Most Unique Biodiversity Hotspot

Madagascar is indeed a world apart. Its rain forests are home to diademed sifakas, indri and tenrecs, while baobabs and pachypodia punctuate its desert landscapes. Curious about those exotic-sounding names? For even the best-traveled nature lover, Madagascar offers a kaleidoscope of discoveries. It's no wonder WWF has chosen it as a priority place—more than 80 percent of the island's rare and intriguing plants and animals, including more than 100 different varieties of lemur, exist nowhere else on Earth. There is no better way than with a small group to experience this living time capsule that broke away from the super-continent more than 100 million years ago. Discover a "lost world" you never knew existed as you experience individual close-up encounters with some of the planet’s most unusual species.

About Us

Natural Habitat Adventures has been a leader in responsible adventure travel & ecotourism since 1985. From our world-class polar bear tours in Churchill to our small-group Galapagos cruises, from Alaska grizzly bear adventures to African safaris, our professional guides reveal the world’s most extraordinary nature sites. As Conservation Travel Partner to World Wildlife Fund and the world's first 100% carbon neutral travel company, we offer eco-conscious expeditions from Antarctica to Zambia with a multitude of adventures in between!

Insider Tip

Contact your Virtuoso Travel Advisor for insider knowledge to help enhance your experience.

Terms & Conditions

Please visit our website: http://www.nathab.com/traveler-resources/terms-and-conditions/



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Reviews and Recommendations for Natural Habitat Adventures

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HIghly recommended

By: wh


Reviewed on: 12 Oct 2013

Fabulous, fabulous trip to the Galapagos. Every detail perfect. Guides exceptional. A trip we will never forget.
Travel Advisor:  Barbara Fallon

Belize

By: Bobbie


Reviewed on: 08 Mar 2014

We had a wonderful trip to Belize with NatHab.  We stayed in gorgeous places and had the best guide anyone could hope to have. We would definitely go with NatHab again.  Everyone in our group of 10 had been on many trips with them.  This was our first, but definitely not our last.
Travel Advisor:  Michelle Bemis

Well run operation!

By: CTAH


Reviewed on: 16 Nov 2015

We were very impressed at how NatHab ran the trip. All details were covered and everything went like clockwork. Our guide, Brad, was very knowledgeable and helpful to all. He made sure everyone was well taken care of and all needs were met. We would definitely recommend NatHab!
Travel Advisor:  Debbie Kellogg

Incredible Trip & Organization

By: Torie


Reviewed on: 20 Nov 2016

Both hotels we stayed in were great. I have some allergy restrictions and all of the food provided was outstanding and they took such great care of me. My expedition leader was fantastic. He was so passionate about his job, he was friendly and funny and always went out of his way to make sure everyone was happy and safe. The most important part, the trip itself, was everything I wanted it to be. Even though it was much warmer than it was suppose to be, between the 3 days on the rover, we saw 35 bears. We even saw 3 different kinds of fox and some snowy owls. It was quite the magical experience, especially for a Floridian. The lectures after each day were also very nice. The trip was organized and fun and I'd recommend it to everyone.
Travel Advisor:  Doria Gomez

Tanzania safari

By: Franz


Reviewed on: 18 Feb 2017

Actually we worked with East African Safari Ventures which was fantastic!
Travel Advisor:  Janie Bullard

Natural Habitat Adventure

By: Carla


Reviewed on: 28 Aug 2017

This is my 2nd or 3rd trip with NatHab and there will be many more. Professional staff, kind, knowledgeable and always there to please everyone on the trip. A great group.
Travel Advisor:  Barbi Lazarow

Greenland

By: Tammy


Reviewed on: 14 Sep 2017

I can't even begin to explain how amazing this trip was. Our guides were so knowledgeable, caring and fun. I loved the staff too! It's incredible that a basecamp was set up in such a remote area. Words can't describe the experience. All I can say is, "wow"!
Travel Advisor:  Honey Mistry

NatHab is top-notch at a reasonable price.

By: Al S


Reviewed on: 21 Sep 2017

Excellent. This was my eighth NatHab tour, and i have enjoyed them all. they carefully represent the physical level required, describe the food and accommodations accurately, all the while finding the best wildlife viewing opportunities.
Travel Advisor:  Anne Johnson

Greenland

By: greenland


Reviewed on: 21 Sep 2017

Excellent! I felt very taken care of.
Travel Advisor:  Terri Netzel

Polar Bears, Churchill Manitoba.

By: Vicki & Malcolm


Reviewed on: 13 Nov 2017

Amazing, above and beyond what we'd dreamed of or expected. Tour Guide Teresa Whipple, driver Lindsay and Rover driver Michael....excellent staff for NatHab. They all are people persons, and full of knowledge, caring and great fun.
Travel Advisor:  Coleen Noble

Exceptional tour

By: rb


Reviewed on: 28 Dec 2017

The tour leader was conscientious, thorough, pleasant to deal with, and provided a great tour experience.
Travel Advisor:  Paula Kay Eastham

Secluded Botswana

By: Cathey


Reviewed on: 28 May 2018

We were very pleased with Natural Habitat Adventures ( Nat Hab). We were met at the airport in Johannesburg. From that time on we were always met and ushered through each country's system. Our accommodations met or exceeded our expectations. The meals were very good. Our expedition leader Francis was very knowledgeable about both birds and animals. He could track wild life from the vehicle while driving along, and then go off road to find it. He was friendly and helpful. Our tour coordinator Olivia was wonderful. Her cheerfulness, helpfulness and kindness were greatly enjoyed. We saw lots of animals including everything we expected to see. It was great trip.
Travel Advisor:  Nancy Hough

Borneo

By: Borneo


Reviewed on: 11 Sep 2018

Natural Habitat does an amazing job taking clients into remote areas and educating them on conservation and nature. Their leaders are amazing.
Travel Advisor:  Terri Netzel