23-day Madagascar Spectacular

Birding Ecotours 23-day Madagascar Spectacular

(including Masoala Peninsula)

Madagascar! Our world’s fourth largest island is quite simply unique. Five bird families and five mammal families, which includes the fabulous lemurs, half of the known species of chameleons as well as other wildlife and innumerable plants  only to be  found here. An astonishing 120 birds are endemic – including such exotic groups as vangas, ground- rollers, cuckoo rollers, couas, asities and mesites. Lemurs vie for attention, from the tiny mouse-lemurs to the marvelous sifakas, the inquisitive Ring-tailed Lemur and the amazing Indri. Our tour visits a range of habitats; grasslands, dry deciduous woodland, the bizarre spiny Didiera forest (with its odd octopus and elephant’s-foot trees), lush eastern rainforest as well as lagoons and mudflats. The species that we will encounter range from the roadrunner-like Long-tailed Ground-roller and the stunning Pitta-like, Scaly andRufous-headed Ground-Rollers to the highly-prizedSubdesert Mesite, the unforgettable Giant Coua, the spectacular Helmet and Van Dam’s Vangas, the astounding Common Sunbird-Asity and Madagascar Crested Ibis. We invite you to join us on a special tour to an amazing island!


Day 1: Antananarivo – Andasibe

Upon arrival in Tana, our guide will meet and assist you with airport formalities and, with luck, the Madagascar Wagtail and Mascarene Martin should be seen right outside the airport. You will be transferred down to the Perinet rainforest

Overnight: Vakona Forest Lodge

Day 2: Andasibe

We have an early morning start after breakfast for Andasibe Special Reserve to look for some endemics of the area such as the Blue Vanga, the Tylas VangaRed-fronted CouaBlue CouaVelvet Asity, and Nuthatch Vanga.

Even though some time will be spent birding in Perinet, there is always enough time for the largest lemur of Madagascar namedIndri.

This afternoon, we will look at finding more difficult birds such asMadagascar Flufftail, Madagascar Rail, and Grey Emutail.

The night walk should reveal some interesting night creatures such as Long Eared Owl, Scops Owl or, on occasion, sleeping birds like the Pigmy King-fisher.

Overnight: Vakona Forest Lodge

Day 3:  Andasibe

Today, we will explore the harder Mantadia National Park, providing the opportunity to find as many ground roller species as possible such as  Scaly, Pita like, Rufous-headed, Short-legged Ground-Rollers. The main focus of this visit is to find the ground rollers but this doesn’t prevent us from seeing some beautiful birds like the Sunbird Asity, Rock Thrush, Wood Rail, and Blue Coua.

The afternoon will be free with the option of either returning to the special reserve or to visit marshes for Snipes or Swamp Warblers.

Overnight: Vakona Forest Lodge

Day 4: Andasibe – Antanaarivo- Antsirabe

We depart for Antananarivo for a quick lunch before driving directly to Antsirabe.

Overnight: Residence le Cocoonin

Day 5: Antsirabe – Ranomafama

Here we have another day of driving, but into a landscape of high Mountains and terraced rice fields. Closer to Ranomafana, we discover the beauty of the Rainforest where the bold hills of the central plateaux becomes forgotten.

Overnight: Domaine Nature

Day 6: Ranomafama

We have an early start in the morning to enter the Ranomafana National Park. Even though this visit is as tough as Mantadia, it should add further birds to your list of Rainforest species. Endemic birds are on the menu like the Pollen’s Vanga, Yellow-browed Oxylabes, Grey-headed Greenbul and Brown Emutail, as well as the stars of Ranomafana namely the Grey Eastern, Golden, Greater Bamboo lemurs.

We return to the hotel for lunch.

At mid-afternoon, we depart for a fabulous night visit, which provides the opportunity for a closer look at the Mouse lemur or the Striped Civet or the Ring-tailed Mongoose.

Overnight: Domaine Nature

Day 7: Ranomafama

We have another day to explore Vohiparara for Madagascar Snipe and Grey Emutail, with the possibility of finding Ground Rollers and even the Crested Ibis.

You will have the option of visiting the museum at the lovely Ranomafana Village as well as the thermal bath renowned for its mineral water with the power to heal all skin diseases or Rhumatism.

Overnight: Domaine Nature

Day 8: Ranomafama – Isalo

We have an early start, returning to the RN7 before heading to Isalo. On the way, we can stop at Ambalavao to visit the Antemoro people workshop that takes one back in time of the Malagasy history and Sorabe (the Arabic way of writing the Malagasy language).

After lunch here, we drive to Isalo National Park. We will look for the Benson’s Rock Thrush upon arrival at our hotel

Overnight: Relais de la Reine

Day 9: Isalo – Tulear – Ifaty

We have a very early start leaving Isalo in order to reach Zombitse National Park – the only place to see the Appert’s Greenbul.

Return to Tulear for lunch.

We have an afternoon drive to Ifaty for possible waders and similar birds.

Overnight: Paradisier

Day 10: Ifaty

We have an early start to explore the spiny forest of Ifaty for the Long-tailed Ground Roller (the only Ground Roller of the southern Madagascar.) and the amazing Sub- desert Mesite. We should also find further interesting birds such as Archbold’s Newtonia and Sickle billed Vanga.

The afternoon can be spent snorkelling before enjoying the sunset from your hotel balcony.

Overnight: Paradisier

Day 11: Ifaty – Tulear – Fort Dauphin – Berenty

Today, we return to Tulear for our flight to Fort Dauphin. Upon arrival, we head straight to Berenty – a stronghold for lemurs endemic to sub-arid southern Madagascar.

The inland road is most interesting at the bottom end of the west eastern domain, before we cross the transitional zone into the peculiar spiny forest of the dry south islands. En route, we stop to see various interesting plants including the skyward spiny thicket, dominated by the Didieraceaes, Baobabs, the triangulate palms and the carnivorous pitcher-plants.

Overnight: Berenty Lodge

Day 12: Berenty

We’ll have all day to view lemurs and plants in Berenty. This is a small and popular reserve with well-maintained paths on flat terrain with spiny bush.

Berenty provides a rewarding birdwatching experience with several of Madagascar’s endemic species easily seen such as the following: Giant Coua, Magpie-robin, Ashy Cuckoo Shrike, Frances’s Sparowhawk, Grey-headed Lovebird, two species of Vasa Parrot, Madagascar Harrier Hawk, Scops Owl and White-browed Owl. Wildlife is everywhere – RingtailLemur, Brown Lemur and the Dancing sifaka.

A night walk should provide views of Grey Mouse lemurs andWhite-footed Sportive lemurs.
The Lodge has an interesting cultural museum, too.

Overnight: Berenty Lodge

Day 13: Berenty – Fort Dauphin – Antananarivo

After breakfast, we return to Fort-Dauphin to take our flight to Antananarivo.

Overnight: Palissandre

Day 14: Antananarivo – Majunga – Ampijoroa

We will leave the hotel after the breakfast for to take our flight to Majunga where we will drive directly to Ankarafantsika, heading for Ampijoroa dry deciduous forest. A one night stay should allow us to spot most of key birds of the area.
We will stop at the Amboromalandy Lake and rice fields to try to find birds like the Madagascar Jacana, Pound Heron, Humblot Heron, and also the funny Black Egret.

Arrival in Ampijoroa at lunch time.

The afternoon will be spent by the lake Ravelobe, scanning the surroundings of the lake to find the Fish Eagle and different kinds of Heron or EgretBeware of crocodiles and do not take the risk by walking to the edge of the lake.

We then return to the campsite to prepare for the nocturnal visit – checking the trees around our campsite for Sickle-billed Vanga, Green Pigeon, Grey-headed Love bird

A night walk should give views of birds like the Madagascar Nightjars, Scops or Barn Owls but also Chameleons and nocturnal lemurs.

Overnight: Ampijoroa

Day 15: Ampijoroa

We have another early start to visit the various sections of Ankaranfantsika. Here, we will find birds such as White-breasted Mesite, Red caped Coua, Coquerel’s Coua, Crested coua, Van Dam’s Vanga, Roufous Vanga and also lemurs like theCoquerel’s Sifaka.

The afternoon will find us once more at the lake for any bird species we may have missed as well as an opportunity to find Mongoose Lemurs that are often seen hiding among the mango tree leaves near the lake. Afterwards, we will return to the northern forest for the Schlegel Asity if necessary. Here, we will remain in the forest until late evening to spot the other species of Mouse Lemur – the Golden Brown Mouse Lemur.

Overnight: Ampijoroa

Day 16: Ampijoroa

After breakfast, you will be taken to the lake Ravelobe (Beware of crocodiles and do not take the risk to walk on the border of the lake) to spot the endangered Madagascar Fish Eagle, Humblot’s Heron, Harrier Hawk, and, if time allows, we will continue further north to look for the Schlegel Asity. After which, we return to the campsite to prepare for a nocturnal visit fromSickle-billed Vanga, Green Pigeon, Grey headed Love bird

We return to the forest for a further opportunity to see night birds such as Owls and Nightjars or sleeping birds like the Pigmy King-fisher. We may also see night lemurs like the Grey Mouse Lemur or the Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur.

Overnight: Ampijoroa

Day 17: Ampijoroa – Mahajanga

We will drive back to Mahajanga – a very lively place with plenty of rickshaws (taxi) as it is easier to get around than other towns and you will be driven to the one of the country’s biggest rivers by the name of Betsiboka. Here special birds such as White Ibis, Bernier Steel, Flamingoes, and whimbrel will be found by boat.

Overnight: Sunny Hotel

Day 18: Mahajanga – Antananarivo

You will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the airport for your flight back to Tana. On arrival, you’ll be taken to the Lake of Tsarasaotra to see water birds like Meller’s Duck and Squaco Heron many White faced whistling Ducks and Comb Duck

Overnight: Pavillon de l’Emyrne

Day 19: Antananarivo – Maroantsetra

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for the flight to Maroantsetra.

Overnight: Relais de Masoala

Day 20: Maroantsetra – Masoala

Today begins with boat transfer to Masoala National Park. This will provide the opportunity to view prominent birds such asHelmet Vanga and Bernier’s Vanga as well as various lovely birds and animals such as Dwarf Lemur, Sportive Lemur, Mouse Lemur, White-fronted Brown Lemur and, with  luck, the weird-looking animal AYE AYE.

Overnight: Chez Arol

Day 21: Masoala

Full day to explore Masoala National Park.

Overnight: Chez Arol

Day 22: Masoala – Tana

Here we will take the boat transfer back to Maroantsetra and for the return flight to Tana. Transfer

Overnight: Pavillon de L’Emyrne

Day 23: Tana – Departure

You will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the airport for your flight home. End of services.

Prices on Request

Price includes: daily full breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, cool-drinks, bottled water, accommodation, entrance fees, guiding fees, and all transport while on tour in South Africa.

Not included: Air ticket to South Africa, personal insurance, alcoholic beverages, tips, laundry and personal expenses such as gifts.

NB All Anytime Tour itineraries are essentially drafts – the final itinerary will be arrived at during discussions with the clients and tailored to the client’s individual needs and is, of course, subject to the availability of accommodation etc. and any changes in local conditions. Our aim is to arrive at an itinerary which gives you the maximum chance to see the birds [& etc.] you want to see.

October 2013

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