MadAGASCAR

BIRD ENDEMICS , LEMURS & WILDLIFE

Dates

October 7th to 21st 2017

Tour Cost

£ 2770.- including three internal flights

Single room supplement

300.- GBP

Group size

12 plus two leaders

Tour leader

Josele J Saiz and expert local guides

Airport

London -Tana - London, via Paris

What´s included

All ground transport, all meals, services of guides and reserve entrance fees. Accommodation: Please note that the hotels that we make use of are always the best available accommodations in most areas visited. We stay in lodges and hotels with en suite facilities throughout. Standards vary from basic at Ranomafana to excellent at Périnet. Ground Transport: By mini bus and 4x4 3 people plus driver in Ifaty. Three internal flights from Tana to Fort Dauphin and from Fort Dauphin to Tulear.

What´s not included

No international air fares are included and any overnight stay that may be involved, visa cost, travel insurance, drinks and any items of a purely personal nature. Visa:All foreign visitors to the Republic of Madagascar require entry visas. For short visits (90 days or less), every visitor, regardless of nationality, can obtain a visa upon arrival at the airport in Antananarivo, provided the visitor's passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond the last day of the intended stay in Madagascar, and provided the visitor carries an airline-issued ticket or passenger receipt confirming the visitor's intention to leave Madagascar within 90 days.

Tour code

Fantastic birdwatching through amazing landscapes with nealy 100 endemic bird species including 4 endemic families. Visit to the most representative of Madagascar reserves with a selection of mamals, lemurs and chamaleons. Walking is generally leasy to moderate with day and night walks. An average level of fitness is required.

 

Important note - Accommodation in certain areas of Madagascar, including those we intend to visit, is lacking in good quality hotels. It can be difficult for groups to secure and book an allocation of rooms and the situation is compounded by the fact that hotels are notorious for overbooking. Whilst we will do everything possible to prevent this occurring, you should be aware of the situation and that things might alter at the last minute, either resulting in an accommodation change or the party becoming temporarily divided.

 

Selected species list

MADAGASCAR ENDEMIC BIRDS : Velvet Asity, Schlegel's asity, Yellow-bellied Sunbird-asity, Appert's Greenbul, Grey-crowned Greenbul, Dusky Greenbul, Long-billed Greenbul, Spectacled Greenbul, Yellow-browed Oxylabes, White-throated Oxylabes, Crossley's Babbler, Madagascar Magpie-robin, Amber Mountain Rock-thrush, Forest Rock-thrush, Littoral Rock-thrush, Madagascar Wagtail, Ward's Flycatcher, Common Newtonia, Dark Newtonia, Archbold's Newtonia, Red-tailed Newtonia, Madagascar Lark, Madagascar Swamp-warbler, Thamnornis Warbler, Lantz's Brush-warbler, Grey Emu-tail, Brown Emu-tail, Common Jery, Stripe-throated Jery, Green Jery, Wedge-tailed Jery, Rand's Warbler, Cryptic Warbler, Nuthatch Vanga, White-headed Vanga, Chabert's Vanga, Blue Vanga, Helmet Vanga, Sickle-billed Vanga, Rufous Vanga, Red-shouldered Vanga, Red-tailed Vanga, Lafresnaye's Vanga, Hook-billed Vanga, Pollen's Vanga,,Tylas Vanga, Ashy Cuckoo-shrike, Madagascar Starling, Forest Fody, Madagascar Fody, Sakalava Weaver, Nelicourvi Weaver, Madagascar Munia also Indri and several lemur.

More information

Introduction

Located off the south-eastern coast of Africa, Madagascar is the third largest island in the world. Separated from the African continent by just a few hundred miles of sea but more than a hundred million years in time, Madagascar is really a tiny continent all of its own.

In Madagascar are still more than 100 endemic birds with an impressive avifauna: four endemic families of birds (the mesites, ground-rollers, asities and the Bernieridae 'warblers'), plus two additional families (the vangas and cuckoo-rollers) that occur only on Madagascar and the nearby Comoro Islands. On this tour we go in search of the island's spectacular and unique birdlife. The roads of Madagascar in very poor condition, so two internal flights are planned to help optimise our visit. We will fly to the south west to visit the famous Berenty natural reserve with another flight taking us to the south-eastern coastline where we will visit , Ifaty and the 'spiny desert', beaches, Isalo National Park and Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park. We will also explore the lush rainforests of Ranomafana National Park, where we will spend three nights followed by a two day visit to the Perinet National Park, the conclusion of our holiday.

Perhaps the most famous group of creatures on the island are the lemurs, entirely confined to Madagascar and the nearby Comoro Islands. Lemurs are one of the most primitive groups of primates which have evolved into a stunning range of species ranging from the howling Indri, which greets the dawn in Périnet with its echoing calls, to the tiny nocturnal Mouse Lemurs.
Apart from the myriad of bird species, lemurs, colourful chameleons, and giant bats are just a few of the other fascinating wildlife to be seen here. Madagascar enjoys an extensive network of protected areas, most of which are open to visitors. The park fees incurred on a tour in Madagascar go towards maintaining reserves, with some economic benefits to local people ensuring that Madagascar's tourist industry provides a good incentive to conserve its valuable ecology.

Itinerary

Day 1, Oct 7 - Arrival from the UK at Antananarivo (known as Tana). Overnight Tana at Orchid Hotel, quite close to the airport.


Day 2, Oct 8- From Tana to Fort Dauphin. The schedule may vary today as we may have time for a morning visit to Tana before we head to the airport. We will explore the Lake Anousy and Tsarasoatra Reserve looking for our first endemics, such as Madagascar White-Eyes, Madagascar Little Grebe, Madagascar Kingfisher, Madagascar Pond Heron, Madagascar Coucal and Malagasy Brush-Warbler sharing habitats with egrets, herons and several species of ducks. By lunchtime we will need to be at the airport for our internal flight to Fort Dauphin. Overnight in Fort Dauphin at Hotel Croix de Sud.

 

Days 3 and 4, Oct 9,10 - Berenty Natural Reserve. From Fort Dauphin we will transfer to the Berenty private reserve, birding on the way with chances of Common Newtonia, Madagascar Bee-eater and Crested Drongo. Lunch and rest before a walk through the gallery forest where we will see our first Lemurs. Berenty is a sanctuary for thousands of Lemurs; Sifaka Lemur, Brown and Red-fronted Lemur, White-footed Sportive Lemur and Grey Mouse Lemur, amongst others. It's a paradise for birdwatchers and ornithologists with more than 100 species of birds recorded on the reserve, such as Madagascar Hawk, Lesser Vasa Parrot, Colourful Madagascar Paradise Flycatchers, Flatid Leaf-bugs and Madagascar Sandgrouse. Before dusk we will listen for Torotoroka Scops Owl. Early on the following morning we will explore the Berenty spiny forest for mammals and birds including Madagascar Sandgrouse, Madagascar Turtle-dove, the super Madagascar Hoopoe, the small Madagascar Kestrel ,White-browed Owl, Sakalaver Weaver, Common Newtonia and several species of Lemur.
A large population of reptiles is in danger of extinction due to habitat loss. They are protected here in the reserve, along with crocodiles, chameleons, snakes and lizards. Fruit Bats make their home and roost here also. We will stay for two nights at Berenty Lodge in the heart of the Berenty Reserve, 80 km from Fort Dauphin. It offers spacious and comfortable accommodation, facing the forest Malaza along the Mandrare River, where we will enjoy our stay in this remote and wild location. The restaurant offers a Malagasy and international cuisine.



Day 5, Oct 11– Berenty. Today we will fly from Fort Dauphin to Tulear, two legs, via Tana and our itinerary will be dictated by the local internal flight schedules, unknown so far ahead. Early in the morning, time permitting, we will explore the forest near the Berenty Museum. Lemurs, birds and reptiles are abundant and are easy to see - Verreaux's Sifakas, Ring-tailed Lemur, Madagascar Coucal, Souimanga Sunbird, Common Jerys, plus Sakalaver Weaver, Black Kite and Francis's Sparrowhawk. We will then drive to the airport to catch a local flight to Tulear on the south-west coast and drive to the beach town of Ifaty. If there is time upon arrival we we will look for Lafresnaye's Vanga, Archbold's Newtonia, Thamnornis and others, such as Madagascar Sparrowhawk, Madagascar Green Pigeon, Green-capped Coua, Crested Coua and Torotoroca Scops-Owl (after sunset). Overnight at Ifaty in the Hotel Victory.


Day 6, Oct 12 - Ifaty area and Spiny forest. Again an early breakfast, followed by an exciting day exploring the Ifaty road. if we are lucky we may see Red-tailed Vanga, Madagascar Black Swift, Souimanga Sunbird, Newtonia, Running Coua, Madagascar Bee-eater, Madagascar Lark, Kittlitz's Plover, and Madagascar Kingfisher. On the way we will also have chances of several waders, but we will search for the endemic Madagascar Plover as well. After lunch and its siesta we will visit Mr Mossa's spiny forest and Baobab Reserve looking for Madagascar Buttonquail and the 'star' bird of Ifaty, the rare Long-tailed Ground-roller. We will also search for birds such as Chabert's Vangas and Archbold's Newtonia. Another interesting bird here is the Banded Kestrel. Before dusk we will look for another endemic; Madagascar Nightjar. Overnight at Ifaty in the Hotel Nautilus.


Day 7, Oct 13 – Itafy, Zombitse Forest and Isalo. Before breakfast and depending on road conditions we will take two 4 x 4s to explore a spiny forest area looking for Running Coua, Sickle-billed Vanga, Red-tailed Vanga and Blue Vanga. After breakfast we will drive to Isalo with a stop for birdwatching at the Zombitse Forest. Here we pay special attention to find Abbert's Greenbul, one of the world's rarest birds, as well as France's Sparrowhawk, Reunion Harrier and Lesser Vasa Parrot, Madagascar Buzzard and the noisy Madagascar Cuckoo-roller. We will also search for Giant Coua, Rufous Vanga and Abbert's Greenbul, as well as Verreaux's Sifaka and Hubbart's Sportive Lemur and many wonderful trees, including 600-year-old Baobabs. Later we will visit the Isalo National Park, an area of jumbled sandstone pinnacles, where we will look for another endemic, Benson's Rock Thrush, as well as Madagascar Bee-eater, Madagascar Partridge, Crested Cuoa and the rare Giant Coua again. Overnight Isalo Hotel Relais de la Reine.



Days 8, Oct 14 – Isalo to Ranomafana. We will begin the day with some pre-breakfast birding looking for the endemic Benson's Rock Thrush, with other birds in the area are including African Palm Swift, Madagascar Mannikin and Souimanga Sunbird. The flora is here well represented with Elephant's Foot plant, Pachypodium rosaletum, maybe in bloom, Feather Palm (Chrysalidocarpus isaloensis), and the localised Isalo Aloe (Aloe isaloensis). We will take the long drive north towards Ranomafana, where we will stay for two nights. Ranomafana National Park, established in1986 after the discovery of the Golden Bamboo Lemur, is one of the premier ecotourism projects in Madagascar. Half the entrance fee goes to support sustainable development in the area and a training centre for naturalist guides has been established. The area is rich in lemurs and simply wonderful for birds. This is also probably the best site for the rainforest endemics. Here when the morning mists clear, we'll look for Rufous-headed and Pitta-like Ground-Rollers, Pollen's Vanga, Brown Mesite and Velvet Asity, amongst others. Overnight in Ranomafana at Cristo Hotel.

 

Day 9, Oct 15 – Ranomafana rainforest. Ranomafana lives up to its reputation for great birds and rare lemurs. After an early breakfast we will take a long walk through the rainforest behind the headquarters of Ranomafana Park, looking for Brown Mesites, Madagascar Wagtails, Chabert's Vangas, Rand's Warbler, Madagascar Starling and Madagascar Cuckoo. By the River Namorona we may find Velvet and Sunbird Asitie, Blue and Red-tailed Vanga, Brown Mesite, Nelicourva Weaver, Madagascar Cuckoo-shrike and the scarce Golden Bamboo Lemur. After lunch at a viewpoint and a rest we'll head back to the forest looking for a good naturalist's experience with Madagascar Starling, Pitta-like Ground Roller, Crossley's Babbler, Red-fronted Coua, Blue Coua, Madagascar Brush and other animal, such as Painted Frog and Short-horned Chameleon, Green Jerys,Brown Mouse Lemur, Gray Emu-tail and Fanaloka. More difficult are two endemics, the Yellow-bellied Asity and Brown Emu-tail. We may also find Yellow-browed Oxylabes and Pollen's Vanga as well as Red-bellied Lemur and Small-toothed Sportive Lemur. A walk through the Vohiparara Circuit can produce Rufous-headed Ground-Roller. Overnight in Ranomafana at Cristo Hotel.



Day 10, Oct 16 – Sahamalaotra Trail and Paddyfields. Last day in the rainforest with an early pre-breakfast walk through the famous Sahamalaotra Trail, with birds such as Cryptic Warbler, Pollen's, White-headed and Blue Vangas, Tylas and Wedge-tailed Jery and the chance of good views of Diademed Sifakas and Red-fronted Lemur. After breakfast we will walk along paddy fields and dykes in search of birds with excellent chances of Madagascar Snipe, Painted Snipe, Grey Emu-tail, Mascarene Martin, Madagascar Buzzard and Madagascar Cisticola, Pitta-like Ground-roller, the difficult Rufous-headed Ground-roller, Long-billed and Grey-headed Greenbuls, Pollen's Vanga, Dark Newtonia and White-throated Oxalabes. Before dusk we will try for Collared and Madagascar Nightjars before returning to the hotel. Overnight in Ranomafana at Cristo Hotel.



Day 11, Oct 17 – Journey to Antsirabe. We will bird around our hotel before to Antsirabe. Travelling north we'll stop for lunch at the village of Ambohimaha. Visit the blacksmiths' village of Ambohimaha where all Madagascar's hand-tools are made in filthy, hot smithies using charcoal furnaces with hand-operated bellows. We will stop in a woodcarving shop just outside the town where a few souvenirs can be bought bought. We continue on to Antsirabe. Overnight Antsirabe at Hotel Cristal.

 

Days 12, Oct 18 - From Antsirabe to Perinet. We will continue across the interior plateau, a land of small thatched villages and tiny terraced rice-paddies. The countryside has a distinctly Asian feel to it, perhaps not surprising considering that the Malagasy farmers who shaped the land are originally descended from Malay and Polynesian mariners. We'll continue on to the lush forests of Périnet. This is the wettest part of Madagascar, and the lush forest also contain some small lakes. We will stay overnight at a lodge just outside the National Park. Overnight in Perinet at Vakona Lodge.

 

Day 13, Oct 19 - Périnet National Park – Indris and Chamaleons. We will spend two full days in Périnet, famous for its population of Indri, the largest of the lemurs. The forest is also home to an excellent range of birds. Indris are best looked for - and listened to - about an hour after sunrise, but we also hope to walk the area at night in search of Mouse Lemurs and other species. Other lemurs include Red-bellied and Common Brown Lemurs while the forest is also home to the huge Parson's Chameleon. Early the following morning we will explore the park, where Diademed Sifaka and Eastern Woolly Lemur are easy to find. A walk along the Perinet road will give us chances to see Madagascar White-eye, Forest Fody, Madagascar Cuckoo, Rand's Warblers, Green Sunbird and Henst's Goshawk. The lémur family is also well represented in the area with Diademed Sifakas and Eastern Woolly Lemur. We will have chances to find the Nosehorned Chameleon, Périnet's smallest chameleon. A walk in the afternoon before dusk will hopefully produce Ward's Flycatchers, White-headed Vangas and Blue Pigeon, also for Eastern Wooly Lemur and Nosehorned Chamaleon. Overnight in Perinet at Vakona Lodge.


Day 14, Oct 20 - Mantadia National Park We'll visit the recently-opened Mantadia National Park, home to arguably the most beautiful of the lemurs, the Diademed Sifaka and also other mammals that occur in the park, such as Brown Lemur, Black-and-white Ruffled Lemur, Indri and Eastern Gray Bamboo Lemur, plus Lowland Streaked Tenrec. Birdlife here is important as there are several endemics, with birding including Scaly Ground-roller, Pitta-like Ground-Roller, Meller's Duck, Madagascar Flufftail, Blue Coua, Madagascar Coucal, Tylas Vanga, Dark Newtonia, Wedge-tailed Jery, Rand's Warbler, White-headed, Blue and Nuthatch Vanga, Madagascar Sunbird and Forest Fody. After lunch we will go 'owling' with chances of Madagascar Long-eared Owl and Madagascar Scops-Owl, plus some of Madagascar's spectacular frogs, such as Painted Mantella. Overnight in Perinet at Vakona Lodge.



Day 15, 16 - Oct 21,22 Back Home. If time permits, we'll have a final morning near Périnet before driving back to Tana and catching our flight home. Flight to Paris would be 01.40 hrs on October 22nd. People joining the extension to Maroantsetra will fly on Oct 22nd 06.50 Hrs.

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