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The Land of the Aye Aye

11 days from £1395pp plus international flights.

This is a holiday designed for lovers of the natural world in its many guises. Much of Madagascar's flora and fauna is unique, the island having broken away from continental Africa 65 million years ago, and on this trip you'll experience Madagascar in all her diverse glory.

You'll see a rich variety of scenery including primary forest, mangroves, tranquil lakes, steep-sided valleys, cascading waterfalls and glorious beaches. Lush vegetation, coffee and vanilla plantations, exotic orchids are all on display. As for the wildlife, you'll see more species of lemur than you can count on both hands, including the huge Indri, which you may well hear before you spot it. The Aye-Aye may well be your highlight. A small, endearing primate, it is elusive living on trees and sleeping by day, but you'll have the very chances to observe them with your expert guide. Bug-eyed chameleons, geckos masquerading as leaves, tomato-like frogs and blue-billed birds are just some of the wonders you'll witness, so be sure to take your camera with you!

You'll be travelling in a private 4x4 vehicle, with road journeys supplemented by boat rides along rivers and canals, allowing you to view daily life as you travel through the country. Several public ferry crossings will add some local colour and let you meet and travel alongside the locals. You'll be staying in a range of accommodation, most fairly simple, but all providing clean and comfortable accommodation and warm, friendly service.

Itinerary
See chameleons at close range

DAY 1: TANA TO ANDASIBE

You'll have breakfast in your hotel in Tana before being collected for the 3 hour drive to Andasibe. The route travels though lush countryside which gives way to forests and lakes. You'll stop at Pyereras Reptile Park to see farmed chameleons and other reptile species, giving you a great chance to view these amazing animals up close. You'll also have the opportunity to take a walk in the forest, where you may catch your first glimpse of a lemur. You're staying at Vakona Lodge in Andasibe tonight.
Enjoy a walk on Lemur Island

DAY 2: ANDASIBE

Following breakfast at the lodge you'll have a short drive (about 30 mins) to Mantadia National Park. This is a relatively new reserve and you'll have excellent chances of spotting lemurs and a variety of reptiles. Diademed sifakas, black and white ruffed lemurs and even indris are the lemur species you'd hope to see here. This afternoon you'll visit Lemur Island, a private reserve where habituated animals are cared for. This is an ideal opportunity to enjoy some interaction and get some great photographs of these creatures, unique to Madagascar. Later you'll head back to Vakona Lodge to freshen up before dinner. Breakfast
The indri is the largest of the lemurs

DAY 3: ANDASIBE TO AKANIN'BY NOFY

This morning you'll have a couple of hours in Andasibe National Park. Look out for exotic orchids and endemic animals including chameleons, tenrecs (a type of hedgehog) and, perhaps best of all, the indri, largest of all the lemurs. You should hear their whale-like song echoing through the forest. The journey then continues along dirt roads to Manambato, where you'll transfer to a boat to cross the Rasoabe Lake and the Pangalanes Channel. Journey's end today is Palmarium, where you'll be spending the next 2 nights. You'll have time to relax after the long journey. Breakfast
Marvel at the wonderful animals in Palmarium Reseerve

DAY 4: AKANIN'NY NOFY

Today has been left free for you to do as much, or little, as you like. Palmarium Private Park is on your doorstep, and walking here you should see several species of lemur including indri and sifaka, famous for its 'dancing' steps. You should also see plenty of reptiles and amphibians. There's also a lovely tropical garden with many specimens of orchid and other colourful flowers. Alternatively, take time out, sitting on your private terrace and enjoying views of Rasoabe Lake. Breakfast
Watch pirogues in the Pangalanes Channel

DAY 5: AKANIN'NY NOFY TO TAMATAVE AND MANOMPANA

Departing Ankanin'ny Tofy, you'll board a boat for a 3 hour ride along the picturesque Pangalanes Channel. It's fascinating to watch scenes of daily life around you, with villages on the banks and bamboo pirogues plying the channel. On arrival in Tamatave in mid-morning you'll meet your driver for the journey along the cost to Manompana. The scenery is beautiful, with palm tree-fringed bays and beaches, villages and bamboo plantations. There are no fewer than 3 ferry crossings too, before you arrive at Bon Ancrage. Breakfast     
Aye Aye

DAY 6: MONOMPANA TO MANANRA

Prepare for a busy day! You'll set off after breakfast and your first stop will be at Mananara Nord National Park, which has varied terrain and prolific wildlife including some 77 species of birds and 13 species of lemurs. The journey continues by 4x4 vehicle and ferries, reaching your hotel by around dusk. The adventure doesn't stop yet, as you set out in the dark to Aye-Aye Island in search of this endangered lemur, traditionally much feared and persecuted by the local population. With its big eyes, bushy tail, dark fur and long fingers these are distinctive creatures, dwelling in trees, rarely descending to the forest floor. They sleep by day so this is the best time to observe them. Breakfast
Black indri

DAY 7: MANANARA

Today you'll have an extended visit of about 4 hours to Mananara Nord National Park. This gives you ample time to explore its diverse flora and fauna. The reserve has both land and marine parks and the scenery includes deep valleys, waterfalls, humid forests and mangroves, while offshore there are coral reefs and islands. As well as lemurs there are many rodents, amphibians and large numbers of birds. The indris found here are different from elsewhere as they are all black. The rest of the day has been left free so you can take it easy at the hotel. Breakfast
Enjoy views of Nosy Mangabe

DAY 8: MANANARA TO MAROANTSETRA

It's time to continue the journey northwards. You'll be travelling along the coast on a dirt road, so the going will be slow, but this will give you time to enjoy the superb views. You should arrive at your hotel, Relais du Masoala, in the afternoon. Situated in a coconut grove, the hotel overlooks the island reserve of Nosy Mangabe. It's a restful setting and you'll arrive in time to settle in, chatting to other guests in the lounge or on the terrace and maybe enjoying a swim in the pool. Breakfast
Follow a trail through the forest

DAY 9: MAROANTSETRA TO MASOALA

This morning you'll board a boat for the 2 hour bay crossing to Ambanizana village. Here you'll see houses constructed in time-honoured fashion using bamboo for walls and palm leaves for thatched roofs. From here you'll follow a trail on foot with a local guide, passing rice fields and on to the primary forests of Masoala National Park. The trees here are huge and the canopy may be as high as 35 metres. With luck you'll see some of the red-ruffed lemurs for which the park is known. Concluding the walk you'll be taken to your beach-front hotel, Tampolo Lodge, and can spend the afternoon swimming and snorkelling. Full board 
Keep an eye out for the tomato frog

DAY 10: MASOALA

Today you'll have a second chance to explore Masaola National Park. This is he largest of Madagascar's protected areas and, not surprisingly, it has a broad range of habitats. Your guide will help you gain a better understanding of the eco-systems here and will help you spot the diverse wildlife. As well as lemurs, the park is known for geckos, chameleons and amphibians, including the well-named tomato frog. There are a great many birds including the Madagascar serpent-eagle and the helmet vanga with its large blue beak. Again, the afternoon is free for you to relax. Full board
Kingfisher

DAY 11: MASOALA TO MAROANTSETRA AND DEPART

Having enjoyed breakfast you'll take the boat trip back across the bay to Maroantsetra, continuing by road to the airport, where this exciting adventure ends. Breakfast
Price & Dates

Guide price from (pp sharing): £1395 (ex. international flights)

Includes: 

All accommodation on a twin-share basis; meals as specified; road transport in a private 4x4 vehicle; all boats and ferries as per the itinerary; park entry fees; services of a local guide in all national parks and reserves included in the itinerary

Excludes: 

International flights and taxes; domestic flights; visas; travel insurance; meals not specified; drinks; laundry; tips; optional excursions; items of a personal nature

Getting there: This holiday starts in Tana and ends in Maroantsetra. Return flights from the UK to Antananarivo (Tana) cost from around £800 per person, depending on availability and season. We will be happy to book flights for you and can also book your domestic flight from Maroantsetra back to Tana.   

Departure dates: This is a tailor-made holiday that can be begin on the day of your choice. 

places you will see

places you will see

Andasibe Mantadia National Park - Indri
Andasibe Mantadia National Park

This is a popular tourist destination, easily accessible from Tana all year round, and a good place to spot a variety of lemurs including Indri, the world’s largest lemur.


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facts and information

Time: GMT +3 hours

Flight time: Flights from Europe to Madagascar take about 10/11 hours.

Language: Malagasy and French are Madagascar's official languages. English or German is spoken by a municipal workers and guides.A basic working knowledge of French will make communication easier.

Visas: Most nationalities require a Madagascar visa, obtainable from the High Commission in London (or on arrival into International Airport.

Health: Malaria is present in most of the country. No vaccinations are compulsory.

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