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Take a break from your daily grind and join this memorable safari in beautiful Madagascar. Madagascar offers a kaleidoscope of discoveries. Its rain forests are home to diademed sifakas, indri, and tenrecs and its desert landscapes abound with baobabs and pachypodia. If you are ready to discover the world's most unique biodiversity hotspot, then this holiday safari is for you.
Andasibe Hotel is situated in the forest near the entrance to Analamazoatra Reserve which is part of Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. Lodging is at 20 bungalows built along two ridgelines and backdropped by high, dense forest.
The spacious rooms are simple but stylish, with clean lines and bright accent colors. Modern comforts include en suite bathrooms with hot showers, heaters for cool winter evenings, charging outlets in every room, mini bar, satellite TV, and Wi-Fi available in the reception and restaurant areas.
Each room is individually decorated and has a small private veranda for taking in the surroundings, with the call of rare endemic birds echoing just beyond. In the central area, a bar and restaurant serve elegant cocktails, fine French-Malagasy cuisine, and international fare.
Enjoy a swim in the large outdoor pool. Kayak excursions nearby are possible, too, if time permits. After an exciting trek looking for Indri and other lemurs, you may relax with a massage available at an extra cost.
Set within a private nature reserve at the end of a peninsula jutting into the Mozambique Channel, Anjajavy Lodge offers an immersion in Malagasy nature at the edge of the sea. Yet despite its remote location, being accessible only by private airstrip, this boutique ecolodge offers all the contemporary comforts you could could wish for. A four-star establishment by European standards, Anjajavy features 24 rosewood villas, each with a private terrace facing the sea.
Each villa has a bedroom with a sitting area, breakfast table, and bathroom with separate lavatory. A small staircase provides access to the upper level with an additional small loft for lounging. An individually controlled, silent air conditioning system keeps the villa at an optimal temperature. Activities include sailing, kayaking, water skiing, and snorkeling in a nearby protected bay. A large swimming pool overlooks the ocean.
Backing the hotel is a 1,100-acre nature reserve that's home to more than 1,800 floral species, most of which are endemic to Madagascar, along with many medicinal plants. The forest also harbors much fauna including Coquerel’s sifaka, a type of lemur, which visits the resort's lush garden at tea-time each day and is frequently seen at close range.
Other wildlife often sighted include chameleons, Cuvier’s oplure, a type of iguana, the showy bird of paradise, and the Madagascar fish eagle, which hunts over the coral reef offshore.
The boutique hotel Le Royal Palissandre is one of Antananarivo's finest accommodations. Set high on a hill in the central part of the city, it features spectacular views over the capital particularly at sunset when the lengthening rays illumine the multicolored buildings below. Each of its colorfully appointed rooms has polished wood floors, a small balcony, air conditioning, satellite TV, direct-dial telephone, mini bar, and safe.
Sparkling en-suite bathrooms have both a tub and shower. Relax on the sundeck around the square-shaped swimming pool with views of the city below, or find refreshment in the gym or full-service spa. A bar and a restaurant situated at the terrace likewise offer expansive vistas as well as a peaceful space for convivial conversation over excellent Malagasy and French cuisine.
The 30-room Hotel Tamboho offers convenient proximity to Madagascar's capital while providing a haven of peace, quiet, and privacy on the green banks of a small lake not far from the city center. Hotel Tamboho combines traditional Malagasy architectural touches with modern amenities and comfort, incorporating natural materials into the design including stone, wood, iron, aluminum, and raffia.
Spacious and bright guest rooms feature light wood and bamboo flooring, air conditioning, flat-screen satellite TV, free Wi-Fi, safe, and facilities for making hot drinks. The restaurant on site offers creative Malagasy cooking and shaded terrace views across the lake, while the tea garden offers a serene setting for drinks. A heated swimming pool and massage therapy services are also available.
Constructed by local craftsmen using the local granite and sandstone found in this part of Madagascar, this family-run boutique eco lodge blends seamlessly with its natural environment. Stone pathways are carved in harmony with the rocky surroundings while guest chalets merge with the landscape. The lodge's 30 guest rooms have thick stone walls to keep them cool in this desert environment with handcrafted rosewood furnishings.
Beautifully manicured gardens and flowering trees and lawns set against a backdrop of red sandstone cliffs complement the natural beauty of the property. An inviting outdoor pool beckons after a long day of exploration while the Brigitte Spa offers enticing massages, facials, scrubs, and wraps infused with Malagasy spices and fruit extracts.
The dining room, bar, reception, and lounge have high peaked ceilings and large windows. Several outdoor patios offer the option of outdoor dining.
Setam Lodge is set on the edge of Ranomafana National Park affording beautiful vistas of the surrounding rain forest and mountains. Its 20 thatched chalet-style rooms are perched on a hillside overlooking the river below, with each having a small terrace to enjoy the view. Accommodations are simple but comfortable, with each room having an en-suite bathroom and a private veranda.
Ceilings, wardrobes, desks, and beds are all made from local pine. The hotel’s restaurant offers indoor and outdoor dining options with huge windows to ensure that you'll enjoy fine views.
Vakona Forest Lodge is a comfortable hideaway featuring 28 bungalows tucked among gardens, with a mixed forest setting adjoining Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. The cabins are basic but comfortable, with en suite bathrooms and mosquito-netted beds. The main area includes a curio shop and coffee bar, while the dining area and bar enjoy a stunning setting over a manmade lake where guests often observe carp and kingfishers.
Canoes are available for paddling on the lake. There is also an outdoor swimming pool for a refreshing dip. A host of Malagasy birds adds color and song to the garden setting. A trail-laced private park surrounds the lodge. Lemurs are often observed in the forest.
Your Madagascar tour begins in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, where you will have a welcome dinner and orientation with the expedition leader. Both Malagasy and French are spoken here, the latter a vestige of the island’s colonial heritage. Antananarivo, better known as Tana, was founded in the early 17th century as the capital of the Merina people who continue to form the majority of the metropolitan area's estimated three million inhabitants.
It remained the island's capital after Madagascar was colonized by the French in 1897. After it attained its independence in 1960, all 18 Malagasy ethnic groups, as well as residents of Chinese, Indian, European and other origins, are well represented in the diverse and vibrant city.
Early this morning, you will travel by road through rice paddies and rain forest to Perinet Reserve in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. Madagascar has more than 70 species and subspecies of lemur. The world’s largest, the indri, is found here. As exciting to hear as it is to see, this creature’s call sounds like loud, eerie wailing in the trees. During the day, you may also spy gray bamboo, Eastern wooly, and black-and-white ruffed lemurs, and dancing diademed sifakas.
After dark, the nocturnal greater dwarf and palm-sized brown mouse lemurs 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, a plethora of medicinal plants, the turquoise Parson’s chameleon, the largest in the world, and a spiky insectivore called 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. You will 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 outstanding photo opportunities.
You will return to Antananarivo by road, take a chartered flight to Fianarantsoa, and then drive to Ranomafana National Park created in 1991 following the discovery of the endangered golden bamboo lemur. Comprised of steep, mountainous terrain, the park’s 250 square miles encompass varied habitats at a range of altitudes, from lowland rainforest to cloud forest to high plateau forest. Verdant cliffs and waterfalls abound in this rugged wilderness.
The park is home to 12 species of lemur, 120 species of frogs, various chameleons and other reptiles, 90 different butterflies, more than 100 bird species, and the fascinating but rarely seen fossa. The lush rain forest also harbors many different carnivorous plants.
Your full-day scenic drive to southern Madagascar takes you into a land in stark contrast with the lush northeast. As you reach the striking Isalo massif, you will enter a region of mountainous plateau and eroded canyons reminiscent of the American Southwest, with limestone pinnacles rising from dry grass plains. Fascinating flora thrives against this Jurassic-era sandstone backdrop, including the odd-looking swollen pachypodia, or “elephant’s foot.”
Several varieties of lemur live here among the cacti, aloes, and palms, in particular, the resident ring-tailed lemur that you’ll look for at Isalo National Park. The 200,000-acre park is also home to more than 80 bird species and 33 different 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.
As the heat of the day rises, you will cool off in a secret swimming hole, the "piscine naturalle" fed by a swift stream running through a deep, ancient gorge. At night, the temperatures fall, the sunset fades, and the ebony sky beckons your gaze upward for some of the best stargazing on the planet.
You will be driven to Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park today, a rarely visited reserve on the border of two biological zones, dry deciduous tropical forest and more humid forest and savanna. The park, an island in the middle of a widely deforested region, provides crucial natural habitat for an abundant array of flora and fauna.
Some of Madagascar’s finest birdwatching is found here, with a number of endemic species including the very rare Appert's tetraka that is native to this forest alone. You will also look for the giant coua, iridescent souimanga sunbird, greater and lesser vasa parrots, and lemurs.
Among the park's eight lemur species, you may see Verreaux's sifaka, red-fronted brown lemur, and the Hubbard's sportive lemur, a prize sighting found only in this park. This afternoon, you will return to Isalo to spend one more night.
You will return by a chartered flight to Antananarivo today and transfer to the Palissandre Hotel and Spa. Your accommodations enjoy a striking view of the Malagasy capital situated on a hillside overlooking famous Independence Avenue at the heart of the city.
This morning, you will board a chartered flight to the 1,360-acre coastal nature reserve of Anjajavy. Your seaside lodge fronting the cerulean waters of the Mozambique Channel is the base for exploring the dry deciduous Anjajavy forest in northwest Madagascar. This remote area, less disturbed than other regions of the country, boasts a striking number of endemic species.
You’ll look for Coquerel’s sifaka and the common brown lemur during guided forest walks as well as a wide variety of reptiles and birds including the fish eagle. The forest contains some 1,800 plant species, among whom are massive baobab trees shaped like squat bottles and rosewood trees used in the construction of the lodge.
The four-star resort, Madagascar's only member of the exclusive relais and chateaux group, is a secluded tropical paradise with accommodations in thatched rosewood 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 you may pass a few fishermen in their shows with triangular white sails or paddling wooden pirogues, you'll be largely alone along this wild coastline shaped by rocky outcrops and indented with tiny coves where untouched beaches are dotted with pale ghost crabs. You will stop on some of the islands in Moramba Bay to view huge baobab trees that stand sentinel over their lushly vegetated environs.
You may also see where old tombs of the indigenous Sakalava people are located as you wander ashore with the expedition leader. Before heading back, you'll likely have a chance to swim and snorkel in the clear turquoise water. From the lodge, you may take to a canoe to explore the mangroves or try fishing in one of the seven creeks that flow to the sea.
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 hummingbirds, green kingfisher, red fody, and lemurs. A saltwater infinity pool offers refreshment after a day of discovery.
After a relaxed breakfast at the lodge, you will fly to Antananarivo for connecting flights homeward or to South Africa for extensions.
Eric’s role as NHA’s Head Naturalist not only allows him to lead a wide range of adventures around the world, but also to play an essential role in improving existing trips and developing new ones. His illustrious career began in Alaska in 1989, where he worked as a field researcher on many of the state’s diverse animal species, including river otters, waterfowl, moose and reindeer.
Melissa holds an esteemed position as an NHA Staff Naturalist, a title she earned through her extraordinary knowledge of the natural world and her magnetic personality. Melissa was raised in southern Indiana and grew to love nature at an early age. The mountains beckoned, and she traveled to Montana where she received her BS degree from Montana State University in environmental education with special emphasis on the sciences.
Brad is a naturalist interpreter specializing in bear biology and ecology of the North Country. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks, graduating with a B.S. in wildlife biology in 1999, and since then has worked as a biological research tech on various projects throughout Alaska. He has guided numerous professional photographers, photography workshops, bear viewers and film crews on expeditions along the remote coast of Katmai National Park for the last 11 years, as well as in Churchill, Manitoba for the past six years.
NHA Staff Naturalist John Mittan was born in 1979 in South Africa, where from a very young age he was introduced to the joys of the African bush. At the age of five, he left with his family to live in Australia where his passion for the natural world and all living things continued to grow. His memories of Africa remained powerful, however, with fond recollections of camping safaris with his parents in many of South Africa’s game and coastal reserves, and he continually hankered after the African bush he had left behind.
Andrea caught the travel bug at an early age, having grown up in such diverse places such as Japan, New Zealand, and New Jersey. After earning a degree from the University of Denver, she went on to guide in the Hawaiian Islands, living in a one-room cottage overlooking the Pacific shores. Andrea began working in our Boulder office in 1994. After five years, she returned to the field to guide groups on our New Zealand, Alaska and Churchill expeditions.
This safari holiday will take place in Antananarivo, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Ranomafana National Park, Isalo National Park, Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park, and Anjajavy Reserve, Madagascar.
You have daily meals included on this safari package.
Please book your flight to arrive at Ivato International Airport (TNR). Transfer from the airport is included. Natural Habitat Adventures will pick you up from the airport.
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