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For a safari like no other, Madagascar is the place to be. The vast array of plants and animals, found nowhere else on earth is what makes Madagascar such a magical destination. You can have an authentic mix of travel, excitement, natural beauty, and romance, tailor-made with the ultimate wildlife experiences in elegant comfort. Unique wildlife, spectacularly diverse scenery, beautiful beaches, history, culture, and tradition are all waiting for your presence. Come and join in this amazing safari, so you’ll gain insight into that interesting Malagasy wilderness.
During this safari, you will stay at Monarch Hotel, Relais des Plateaux, Vakona Forest Lodge, Gîte de Berenty Lodge, Le Petit Relais, Nature Lodge, and Relais de l’Ankarana.
This boutique hotel offers twelve rooms and suites which come standard with an electronic safe, flat screen television, selected DSTV channel range, DVD player, underfloor heating, individually controlled air conditioning, internet access, heated towel rails, hairdryer, private bar, as well as tea and coffee making facilities. The rooms are immaculately furnished and equipped with fine linen and luxurious amenities and provide a refuge from the bustling surrounds with double glazed windows. The hotel is a double story facility with a staircase leading up to the second floor. Facilities include 24-hour reception, in-room dining, restaurant, and two lounges. One is a smoking cigar lounge and the other is a non smoking lobby lounge. In-house laundry service is also available.
Relais des Plateaux's facilities include a restaurant with outside and inside sitting area, a heated pool with recliners and surveillance, large bar, boutique for last minute shopping, and lounge areas. There are 19 beautifully decorated rooms in local palissandro wood with modern en-suite bathrooms (shower and separate toilet). All rooms have a working desk, couch, TV with selected satellite channels, stocked minibar, room safe, and hot / cold air conditioning. The hotel has English speaking reception and is near the 18-hole golf course.
Vakona Forest Lodge consists of bungalows with heaters (important in winter), minibar, and en-suite bathroom with hot water. A beautiful lounge plus an open plan restaurant are built around a fireplace. There is also a small souvenir shop.
Gîte de Berenty Lodge is comprised of basic bungalows with en-suite toilets and showers. There are thirteen very basic bungalows situated in a half circle near the breakfast / tea room area. Each bungalow has a ceiling fan, shower, and toilet. There is a small veranda which is perfect for observing the very gregarious lemur.
Le Petit Relais has eight bungalows, each of which offers views of the a-mile-long private golden beach extending along Tampolo Marine Park, as well as the surrounding forest. Each bungalow has two double canopied beds with mosquito nets, a sitting area, writing desk, tea and coffee making facilities, and an en-suite bathroom with separate toilet, twin basins, hairdryer, and two hot water showers (one al fresco). The lobby, bar, and dining area are right at the water’s edge, open on three sides.
Nature Lodge has 7 spacious, wooden bungalows which are tastefully decorated and are complemented by excellent food and stunning views.
Relais de l’Ankarana is very basic, with electricity provided by generator only 3 hours in the evening, and intermittent hot water. The six wooden rooms are simply furnished with double or twin beds, a small sitting area, and bathroom facilities. There is a small central building which acts as a restaurant, good panoramic views, and open sides to allow in the breeze.
You will arrive at O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB), where you will be met and transferred to Monarch Hotel. After that, you will enjoy a welcome dinner with Martin where you will discuss the adventures that awaits.
From Johannesburg, you will take a morning scheduled Air Madagascar flight to Ivato International Airport (TNR) in Antananarivo. You will arrive at midday and here, you will be met and transferred to Relais des Plateaux. You can spend the remainder of the afternoon at leisure.
After breakfast, you will be driven to the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, also known as Perinet Reserve. This drive will take approximately 4 hours with fantastic scenery enroute. After that, you will enjoy a night-time walk with a local guide in search of the nocturnal forest creatures. You will explore the forests of Perinet with a local guide, on the look out for indris as well as the other unique denizens of the area. It is also possible to see the grey bamboo lemur, red-fronted brown lemur, blue coua, velvet asity, and perhaps nuthatch vanga.
Other creatures to look for are reptiles like the Malagasy tree boa and Parson’s chameleon. The trails are not difficult to manage and most forest guides speak good English. Ardent nature enthusiasts should also stop by at one of the nearby marshes for a select band of rare endemic birds, reptiles, and frogs confined to marsh habitat.
You will spend the morning exploring this rich rainforest with a local guide including a visit to Lemur Island before returning to Antananarivo by road. After that, you can spend the evening at leisure.
You will take a morning Air Madagascar flight south to Fort Dauphin, also known as Tôlanaro, and arrive mid-morning. After that, you will be driven to the Berenty Reserve. It will take approximately 3 hours, with stops enroute to see a grove of carnivorous pitcher plants, an Antanosy graveyard, a slope covered with triangle palms in the transition zone, and finally in the spiny desert, you’ll see endemic baobabs and remote Antandroy villages. You will spend day 5 exploring the area including a night hike to learn more about the wildlife active after sunset.
The reserve is famous for it its lemur. The best time to view the lemurs is in the early morning and late afternoon when they are active. A must see whilst in Berenty is the interesting museum at the entrance of the reserve offering a detailed history of the south, the various tribes, tribal dress, and fauna / flora. The reserve has well laid out paths making for easy viewing of the resident wildlife. It is also surrounded by vast sisal plantations which offer a complete contrast to the Andohahela transitional and spiny forest that you drive through on your way to Berenty.
You will return to Fort Dauphin by road for your Air Madagascar flight back to Tana, and arrive at lunch time. After that, you can spend the remainder of the day at leisure.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for a flight to the wild northeast coast and Maroantsetra, and arrive late in the morning. Here, you will be transferred by boat to your lodge on the edge of the Masoala National Park. This area boasts the largest remaining tract of primary rainforest reaching the coast line, meeting tropical coral reefs. It is not easily accessible, with limited flight services and there is little infrastructure, therefore only a handful of tourists venture here. This region is also one of the wettest.
You will explore the naturalists’ treasure chest that is Masoala National Park with your guides. You will take guided walks into the rainforest searching for a large variety of mammals (notably red-ruffed lemur), birds including helmet and Bernier’s vangas, and reptiles such as the panther chameleon. At night, you can take a guided stroll along the shore to look for nocturnal wildlife such as woolly and mouse lemurs as well as tenrecs.
After checking out, you will return to Maroantsetra for your Air Madagascar flight back to Tana, via Toamasina, arriving mid-afternoon. You can spend the remainder of the day at leisure.
You will take a mid-morning Air Madagascar flight to Diego Suarez, now known as Antsiranana, arriving midday. After that, you will be transferred to Montagne d’Ambre National Park (Amber Mountain) and Nature Lodge. The guides will show you around the trails of Montagne d’Ambre National Park, a middle altitude rainforest that covers the highest mountains in the region like a green blanket. The climate will be perfect and the cool air will be refreshing after the heat of the lowlands.
You can enjoy excellent hikes among beautiful scenery and lush mountain forest, crater lakes, and waterfalls. The waterfalls form an ideal place to enjoy the tranquility of the forest and viewing the forest inhabitants that are attracted to the waters. You can then enjoy a refreshing swim in the natural pool at the base of Grand Cascade Waterfall. Mammals that you might encounter here include Sanford’s lemur, crowned lemur, and fork-marked lemur. Birdwatching is also very rewarding, with Madagascar crested ibis, Malagasy kingfisher, and Madagascar paradise fly-catcher occurring in the region as well as a large variety of orchids.
After checking out, you will be driven southward to the remarkable Ankarana Reserve. It is approximately 65 kilometers and the duration could be up to 3 hours due to road conditions, with an enroute visit to the Red Tsingy formations, carved by erosion. There is an opportunity to hike here and visit the emerald green Lac Vert, a natural sinkhole, and see spectacular pinnacle fields as well as interesting flora and fauna. This area is not easily accessible.
You will be returned to Arrachart Airport (DIE) for an Air Madagascar flight to Tana via Nose Bay. After that, you can spend your last evening at leisure.
After an early breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your Air Madagascar flight to Johannesburg.
During this safari in Madagascar, you will be taken to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Berenty Reserve, Masoala National Park, Montagne d’Ambre National Park (Amber Mountain), and Ankarana Reserve.
The eastern rainforest reserve of Andasibe-Mantadia is famed for its large variety of upland rainforest animals and plants. The reserve is home to brown lemurs, red-bellied lemurs, leaf-tailed gecko, naswata chameleon, and elephant chameleon. It is also one of the last strongholds of the mythical indri, the largest of all the lemurs. The territorial indri emit a haunting cry uniquely similar to the singing of whales. This reserve also claims a world record for numbers of frog species among rainforests of comparable size (810 hectares). Orchids and other epiphytes festoon the trees.
The Berenty Reserve is a spiny forest with a bewildering variety of endemic succulents. Sifakas that have a tendency to walk on their hind legs and are also known as the dancing lemur, and the ring-tailed lemurs have featured in many National Geographic and BBC documentaries. Other lemurs species here include brown lemur, two species of nocturnal mouse lemur, and white-footed sportive lemur. There is a variety of birds and reptiles local to southern Madagascar (including giant coua and white-browed owl) as well as the region’s flora, Euphorbia-Didieraceae bush. This includes baobabs and various bloated Pachypodium species and the baobab-like moringas.
The Ankarana Massif is a bizarre limestone formation that is unlike anything occurring elsewhere in the world. This hollow mountain is covered with sharp spines called Tsingy that make the surface virtually impenetrable to outsiders, hiding spectacular caves linked by possibly hundreds of kilometers of tunnels. Isolated pockets of sunken forest grow where the caves have collapsed and deep pools shelter eels and giant crocodiles.
During this safari, you will be provided with 15 breakfasts, 14 lunches, and 15 dinners with local branded drinks. At Gîte de Berenty Lodge, their bar and restaurant serve local style food incorporating seafood and the catch of the day. Meanwhile, at Le Petit Relais they serve healthy cuisine featuring fresh produce from the farm along with local seafood.
Please book your flight to O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB). Upon your arrival, you will be picked up from the airport to your hotel. This pickup is included in the price.