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21 Days Birding Tour and Safari in Madagascar

Antananarivo, Madagascar

Comprehensive Madagascar Birdwatching Safari Tour

Madagascar is the home of meaningful bird species that have been recorded to delight birdwatchers and lay visitors alike. Join Subdesert Madagascar in this remarkable birding tour and safari and see the marvelous secrets of nature! Aside from endemic bird families, you will have an intimate encounter with the iconic ring-tailed lemurs. Madagascar is surely a destination not to be missed!

Highlights

  • Magnificent birdwatching
  • Visit to the spiny desert of Ifaty
  • Stop at Anja Community Reserve to see the ring-tailed lemurs
  • Boat trip to the island of Nosy Ve and full day at Isalo National Park
  • Sightings of the rare sunbird-asity and brown mesite in Ranomafana
  • Daily breakfast and dinner
  • 20 nights accommodation

Styles


19 activity days
Airport transfer included: Ivato International Airport
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Accommodation

During this birding tour, you will be provided comfortable accommodations for 20 nights.

Program

Day 1: Antananarivo

Meet at the Ivato International Airport (TNR) and transfer to your hotel.

Day 2: Antananarivo to Ampijoroa

After an early breakfast, have a wonderful drive or fly to the west coast of Madagascar heading to Ampijoroa, a forest station situated in the extensive deciduous forests of Ankarafantsika National Park. En route to the reserve, you may see many kinds of birds as common of squacco or flocks of black egret with their bizarre “umbrella-feeding.” Accomodation on half-board at Ampijoroa Bungalow.

Days 3 to 4: Ampijoroa

You will have two full days to explore the network of trails through the dry forest around Ampijoroa, in search of the white-breasted mesite, Coquerel's and red-capped couas, Schlegel's asity, and Van Dam’s Vanga and an impressive list of raptors, including the Madagascar sparrowhawk and the Madagascar harrier-hawk.

You will spend the afternoon birding along the edge of the adjacent Lac Ravelobe, where you can find the threatened Madagascar fish-eagle, a pair of which is resident here.

Day 5: Ampijoroa to Majunga

After a final visit at the reserve of Ankarafantsika in the morning, you will drive to Majunga.

Day 6: Majunga to Betsiboka Estuary

Today, you will embark on a boat trip up Betsiboka River Delta in search of the Madagascar sacred ibis and Bernier’s teal.

Day 7: Majunga to Tana

Today, you will make your way back to Tana and enjoy the landscape of the long valley within the green vegetation where you may see some yellow-billed kite flying around, kestrel, and so on. Overnight at the hotel in the capital.

Day 8: Tana to Tulear to Ifaty

Take a flight with Air Madagascar to Tulear. You will visit the Honko Mangrove Conservation and Education on the north of Tulear and toward to Ifaty. En route, you will encounter several marshes and wetlands, where you should find many waterbirds, ranging from shorebirds like the greater sand-plover to marsh denizens like the Baillon’s crake.

Days 9 to 10: Ifaty

Enjoy birding in the remarkable, unprotected Ifaty spiny forest which holds the subdesert mesite, long-tailed ground roller, Lafresnaye's vanga, sickle-billed vanga, and Archbold’s newtonia, among others. Visits are usually arranged early in the morning before the sunrise. Later in the morning, you will be taken into mudflats, lakes, and marshlands in the peripheries of Ifaty village for more endemics and common species of shorebirds.

Day 11: Tulear

Today, you will do a boat trip to the island of Nosy Ve, where you will look at the breeding red-tailed tropicbird. You will also visit the site for littoral rock thrush and see various other new trip birds. Be back in the afternoon and overnight in Tulear.

Day 12: Ifaty, Tulear

You will drive to St. Augustin, searching for the Madagascar sandgrouse. Visit the La Table Formation to seek the Verreaux's coua and red-shouldered vanga in the coral rang scrub. Overnight at Auberge de la Table.

Day 13: Tulear to Zombitse to Isalo

The two-hour journey will take you to Zombitse National Park, in which the protection of birds and its habitats was the reason for its creation. In the dry and deciduous forest, search for the Appert’s greenbul (tetraka), which you can only find in this forest, as well as other residents such as the giant coua and rufous vanga. Overnight at the beautiful location of Isalo.

Day 14: Isalo National Park

You will have full-day excursions to the Namaza cascade and the “natural swimming-pool,” a delightful oasis within the ruin forms of Isalo, easily meeting with the rock thrush, popular for his old name, Benson’s rock thrush, and the banded kestrel. Things to see include some burial sites of the Bara people inside the rock-walls in the park, birds, snakes, and frogs.

Day 15: Isalo to Ranomafana

Drive to Ranomafana. You will stop at Anja Community Reserve to spot the iconic ring-tailed lemurs. This is a typical transitional forest between the rainforest and dry deciduous forest. A seasonal lake is situated on the edge of the forest where you can spot a few species.

After a few minutes, turning off the RN7, you will have your first sight of the beautiful rainforest of Ranomafana traversed from the high to low altitude by Namorona River and its several spectacular waterfalls.

Days 16 to 17: Ranomafana

You will have two full days to explore the rainforest of Ranomafana and Vohiparara. Star attractions include the brown mesite, short-legged ground-roller, pitta-like ground roller, pygmy kingfisher, brown emutail, yellow-browed oxylabes, and forest rock-thrush. Velvet and sunbird asitys are often seen, and raptors are well represented. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 18: Ranomafana to Tana

Drive back to Tana. Overnight at the hotel.

Days 19 to 21: Tana to Andasibe

Have an early start of birdwatching. You can choose between Mantadia or Analamazaotra visit. This is one of Madagascar’s top sites for endemics local to the humid eastern rainforest band. Specials include the four rainforest-dwelling ground-rollers, Madagascar rail, Madagascar snipe, grey emutail, helmet vanga, yellow-bellied sunbird asity, short-legged ground-roller, rufous-headed ground-roller, red-fronted coua, common sunbird-asity, and nuthatch vanga.

Included excursions

You will have a boat trip up Betsiboka River Delta on the sixth day of safari and another boat trip to the island of Nosy Ve on the eleventh day. On the fourteenth day of the safari, you will also have a full-day excursion to the Namaza cascade and the “natural swimming-pool,” a delightful oasis within the ruin forms of Isalo.

Location

This safari will take place in various destinations in Madagascar, including Antananarivo, Ampijoroa Forest Station, Ifaty, Nosy Ve, Isalo National Park, Ranomafana National Park, and Andasibe-Mantadia National Park.

Isalo National Park

Isalo is located in the region of Ihorombe. The park is at 279 kilometers south of Fianaratsoa and 80 kilometers from Ihosy. Criss-crossed by rivers, it stretches out over 81,540 hectares.

The massif of Isalo is a plateau of continental sandstone dated Jurassic, strongly eroded and cut by deep canyons of many kilometers of length. The park is an extraordinary ecosystem. An endemic rupicole vegetation made of aloes, euphorbes, pachypodes, and kalanchoe grow on the exposed sandstone.

The flora of Isalo is typical of this exceptional habitat, with a local great endemic majority like the aloe isaloensis which grow on the rock of the natural pool the whole year. One can find there the Maki (lemur catta) and the small bird Le Merle de Roche de Benson (pseudocossyphus benson).

Ranomafana

This full forested park classified as a World Natural Heritage of Antsinanana in 2007 is located at 70 kilometers east of Fianaratsoa. One can find there the rare and greatly endangered species of lemurs.

The Varimbolomena or Hapalemur aureus, a diurnal lemur, is the best species of the park, along with the Grand Hapalemur, Prolemur simus, one of the most endangered species in the world. There only remain some individuals, and Ranomafana is one ideal site to see this species that was thought extinct.

The water of the Thermal Station of Ranomafana whose sulfur composition is a true therapy for some diseases takes its sources in the park. The relief is hilly, the dense forest cut by beautiful cascades. You will surely appreciate the river trips.

Food

The price includes half-board meals of breakfast and dinner daily.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • Capture photos of the sceneries and wildlife
  • Enjoy the birdwatching and other activities
  • Explore the surroundings
  • Rest in your accommodation
  • See the stunning views

What's included

  • Birdwatching tours
  • Boat trip to the island of Nosy Ve
  • Boat trip to Betsiboka River Delta
  • Full-day excursion to the Namaza cascade
  • All ground handling
  • Local flight to Tulear
  • 20 nights accommodation
  • Daily breakfast and dinner

What's not included

  • International flights

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Ivato International Airport (TNR). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Subdesert Madagascar will pick you up from the airport.

Airport: Ivato International Airport Airport transfer included: Ivato International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 100% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
21 days / 20 nights
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