Southern Madagascar Wildlife Safari
Lemurs, chameleons, and so much more!
Exotic, remote, and filled with wonder, the fabled ‘eighth continent’ is one of nature’s last strongholds, filled with more than 100 species of lemurs, half of the world’s chameleon species and more frog diversity than any other region of the planet. Yet, Madagascar’s lush rainforests and otherworldly spiny deserts contain no venomous snakes or large predators. Consequently, the island’s fauna (including its beautiful lemurs) remains extremely easy to approach and photograph.
Simply put, Madagascar is a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise.
Join us on an all-inclusive 14 day adventure through the wild places of Madagascar. Awake to the haunting call of the Indri; Madagascar’s largest lemur. Search for expertly camouflaged leaf-tailed geckos. Watch bug-eyed chameleons stalking their prey. Trek through Kirindy dry forest in search of Madame Berte’s Mouse lemur; the smallest primate in the world. Catch a glimpse of the elusive fossa; a cat-like carnivore descended from a mongoose. And, visit the Avenue of the Baobabs; Madagascar’s iconic sentinels that can live for more than 4000 yrs. Enjoy all of this and so much more, in the most exotic island on our beautiful planet.
Comfortable Lodges throughout central and southern Madagascar
A reasonable level of fitness is important. Throughout the trip, we will be hiking in Madagscar’s pristine national parks and reserves, sometimes in hilly terrain.
- 14 day tour in a comfortable 4WD group vehicle
- 13 nights accommodation in a variety of lodges and hotels (single room upgrades available)
- All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
- Park entrance fees to 10 of Madagascar’s national parks and private reserves
- Expert local english speaking guides in each park
- Malagasy, French and English speaking co-tour guide throughout the trip
- Photography advice and coaching
- Soft drinks and alcohol
Once the sun sets, Madagascar’s diurnal lemurs settle down for the night but the forest remains very much awake. Roughly half of Madagascar’s 100 lemur species are nocturnal. This includes the sportive lemurs, wooly lemurs, fork-marked lemurs, aye ayes, dwarf lemurs and the tiny mouse lemurs. Many chameleons are also much easier to see after dark.
Consequently, whenever possible we will venture into the forest at dusk to look for these secretive species. At night, the forest is cooler and the travel pace is slower, both for safety and so that we have time to look for ‘eye shine’ in the surrounding branches. Nocturnal lemurs tend to be quite curious; especially the mouse lemurs which will often remain in plain sight even when just a meter or two away.
If you have never spotlighted before and you are keen to see a broader selection of animals, you will love our night walks.
|Day 1||You will be met at the airport by an english speaking driver and taken to the Grand Hotel Urban in the centre of Antananarivo (Tana).|
|Day 2||After an early breakfast we will head to Andasibe in Madagascar’s eastern rainforest (approx. 4hrs) and settle into the lodge. During lunch we’ll have a quick briefing about what to expect in this lush region of the country. Lunch will be followed by an afternoon hike in Vohimana Reserve; a great place to find blue-nosed and parson’s chameleons, plus lemurs, bats, and other endemic species.
We will return to the lodge for dinner and then enjoy a night walk at Andasibe Orchid Garden; home to tiny nocturnal lemur species such as Goodman’s Mouse Lemurs and Furry-eared Dwarf Lemurs.
|Day 3||This morning we will head to Analamazoatra Special Reserve to seek out the world’s largest lemur; the Indri. Before you spot them, you will probably hear their haunting calls echoing across the canopy. Numerous other lemurs also live in this forest including Common Brown Lemurs and Diademed Sifakas.
After lunch you will have time to go through your images or relax in the bar and prepare for a second night walk, this time in Mitsinjo Special Reserve.
|Day 4||After breakfast this morning we will head to Mantadia National Park; a dense tract of old-growth primary forest deep within the surrounding rainforest. This mountainous hike is quite strenuous but the potential rewards could be sightings of Red-bellied Lemurs, sifakas, Black and White Ruffed Lemurs, and more. Plus wonderful jungle vistas and amphibians such as the exquisitely-colored Baron’s Mantella Frog.
After a relaxing afternoon we will head out for our final night walk in this region. This time at VOI, a community owned park with the chance of seeing Weasel Sportive Lemurs and Eastern Wooly Lemurs.
|Day 5||Today we say goodbye to the rainforest but not before a morning visit to Vakona to see some habituated local lemur species at close range, plus two introduced families of lemurs from the north of Madagascar; Rufus Brown lemurs and Red Ruffed Lemurs.
After lunch, we will relocate to Antsirabe (approx 6hrs) and enjoy a relaxing dinner.
|Day 6||This is essentially a travel day but one you will likely never forget! We will drive out of the central mountains to Morondava on the west coast of Madagascar. Just before sunset we will stop for dinner at the world famous Avenue of the Baobabs. These iconic, millenia-old trees will transfix you as the sky turns to pink around them.|
|Day 7||After breakfast at the hotel in Morondava, we will head to Kirindy National Park and enjoy a morning hike through the flat dry forest in search of Red-fronted Brown Lemurs and Verreaux’s Sifakas (aka Dancing Sifakas because of the way they hop sideways along the forest floor). Keep your eyes peeled as this is the best place in Madagascar to spot the elusive fossa; the country’s largest terrestrial predator.
After the hike we will check into the Relais du Kirindy Lodge and have lunch. Afternoons are hot in Kirindy so you will probably want to relax at the pool or grab a cool drink at the hotel bar.
|Day 8||After a second morning walk in Kirindy, we will return (via the Avenue of the Baobabs) to Morondava.|
|Day 9||Today we will travel back to Antsirabe to continue the journey south. Breakfast in Morondava, lunch on route, Dinner in Antsirabe. By now, most guests will probably be ready for slow day so enjoy it while you can!|
|Day 10||After breakfast, we will head south to Ranomafana National Park (approx 5hrs) nestled in the high rainforest. After lunch at the lodge, we will head into the mountainous park to look for the three endemic species of Bamboo Lemurs, plus Milne Edwards Sifakas, and many beautiful frogs and lizards.
After dinner at the lodge, we will head out for an easy night walk next to the park. Expect lots of chameleons including Blue-legged Chameleons and tiny Dwarf Chameleons. Plus, Rufus Mouse Lemurs and Crossley’s Dwarf Lemurs.
|Day 11||Second morning hiking through Ranomafana N.P. This stretch of rainforest is also a great place to see southern Black and White Ruffed Lemurs and Red-bellied Lemurs. The bird species here are also very colorful. Blue Vangas and Paradise Flycatchers are particularly abundant.
Lunch at the lodge followed by an early evening night walk and a late supper.
|Day 12||This morning after an early breakfast, we will continue south to Anja Park; home to rambunctious families of Ring-tailed Lemurs that live high on the rocks but head down to the forest each day to forage for food. We will also go for a hike through the forest to look for other lemurs and endemic reptiles.
After a picnic lunch, we’ll continue onward to Relais de la Reine; a beautiful lodge on the edge of Isalo National Park; surrounded by exotic spiny desert. After dinner, you are free to explore the grounds in search of chameleons and other desert species.
|Day 13||This morning we will continue southward to Zombitse National Park; home to the critically endangered but locally easy to find Zombitse Sportive Lemur. During a 2hr hike, we will also look for Verreaux’s Sifakas and Red-fronted Brown Lemurs plus some new chameleons and lizards.
By early afternoon, we will arrive at the Arboretum d’Antsokay; a small private park containing introduced flora from the dry-zone forests of Madagascar. After lunch, you are welcome to explore the gardens and the surrounding scrubland which is home to many species of lizards and frogs that you won’t have seen earlier on the trip. Once the sun sets, we will head into the arboretum for a guided night walk to look for Gray-brown Mouse Lemurs, tenrecs (Madagascan hedgehogs), and more endemic chameleons.
After our farewell group dinner, you will probably need to pack, but the surrounding forest has a lot of nocturnal critters to look for if you squeeze in a quick walk.
|Day 14||Our last breakfast together at the Arboretum. Then, after fond farewells, we will deliver you to nearby Tulear Airport in time for the morning flight to Tana (not included). Conveniently, most international flights leave in the evening, but if you would like to overnight in Tana, we can arrange extra nights for you at a comfortable hotel in the city.|