Tour overview

Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island and is one of the world’s major zoogeographic regions. This 16 day tour sets out to see those species not usually seen on a standard Madagascar itinerary. We visit areas which are not on the standard tour circuit such as Amber Mountain and Kirindy for the rare Fossa, plus a few days to get the mega-rare Madagascar Pochard at its last site. The extension goes to remote and beautiful Masoala Peninsula where we can expect the amazing Helmet Vanga, Bernier’s Vanga, Madagascar Crested Ibis, Short-legged and Scaly Ground-roller. This is an unusual one-off itinerary designed to get the very seldom seen species not usually seen on the regular tours. THIS TOUR IS ONLY RUN ON REQUEST.

Tour Accommodation
As this tour visits areas which are not usually visited by western tour groups it is not surprising that accommodation can be basic, with camping the only option at the Pochard and Sakalava Rail sites.

Tour Difficulty
A complex itinerary with numerous flights, some very long drives along poorly maintained tracks and some moderate hiking. Temperatures in the central highlands will be quite pleasant during the day but it can get rather cool when camping at night. The coastal lowlands are usually hot at this time of year. This is NOT an easy tour and participants need to be fit and able to cope with long days and uncomfortable conditions.

Included

  • 11 nights accommodation
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • Transfers once tour has started
  • Guide services of tour leader
  • Group tips & gratuities
  • Checklist

Not Included

  • Travel insurance and other emergencies
  • Visa fees and entry clearing fees
  • Flights (Domestic & International)
  • Drinks & snacks
  • Laundry
  • Items of a personal nature

Day 1 - Arrive Antananarivo

Arrive Antananarivo (Tana). Check into hotel and overnight.

Day 2 - Tana to Antsohihy

Drive from Tana to Antsohihy. The journey is approximately 630km on 630 km on quite good roads. On arrival in Antsohihy we will check into our hotel.

Day 3 - Antsohihy to Bemanevika

Drive from Antsohihy along poorly maintained unsealed tracks to Bealanana, and then 45 km on an appalling track to Bemanevika which offers us Madagascar Pochard. Also in this area are Red Owl, perhaps Slender-billed Flufftail,Madagascar Grebe, Madagascar Harrier, and Meller’s Duck. We will be camping tonight.

Day 4 - Birding Bemanevika

Further exploration of the Bemanevika area. We will be camping tonight.

Day 5 - Bemanevika to Antsohihy

Early morning birding then drive back to Antsohihy.

Day 6 - Drive to Amber Mountain National Park

Drive to Amber Mountain National Park. Here we can look for 77 species of bird, 7 species of lemur and 24 species of amphibians. Our target here is the Amber Mountain Rock Thrush, plus Amber Mountain Fork-marked Lemur, Sanford’s Brown Lemur and perhaps Crowned Lemur.

Day 7 - Amber Mountain National Park

Exploration of the Amber Mountain National Park.

Day 8 - Fly Mahajunga via Tana

In the morning we transfer to the airport and fly to Mahajunga via Tana.

Day 9 - Mahajunga to Katsepty to Lake Kinkony

Today we take a 35 minute boat trip to Katsepy from where we drive about 5 hours on rough roads to Lake Kinkony, home of the rare Sakalava Rail. We will be camping tonight.

Day 10 - Birding the Kinkony area

Full day birding the Kinkony area. We will be camping tonight.

Day 11 - Kinkony to Katsepy

Early morning transfer back to Katsepy by road and speed boat.

Day 12 - Betsiboka estuary & Tana

Morning excursion to Betsiboka estuary for Madagascar (Bernier’s) Teal and Madagascar Sacred Ibis, with returning for lunch and then taking the afternoon flight back to Tana.

Day 13 - Morondava & Kirindy Reserve

Fly to Morondava and drive to the Kirindy Reserve passing through the famous Baobab Avenue. Fossa is a big draw at Kirindy plus birds like White-throated Mesite, Giant and Coquerel’s Coua, Blue Vanga, Grey-headed Lovebird, Banded Kestrel, and Lesser Vasa Parrot.

Day 14 - Birding Kirindy area

Full day exploring the Kirindy area. Lemurs include Red-fronted Brown, Verreaux’s Sifaka, Red-tailed Sportive-Lemur, Grey and Madam Berthe’s Mouse-Lemur, and Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur.

Day 15 - Kirindy to Morondav

After some early birding we will drive back to Morondava.

Day 16 - Morning Morondava & fly Tana in afternoon

Morning birding at Morondava and take the afternoon flight back to Tana.

For those who want a shorter Madagascar Rarities tour this is a good day to finish on.

Day 17 - Sundown National Park birding

Fly to Maroantsetra and take boat over to Masaola peninsula where we will look for Helmet and Bernier’s Vangas. Other  birds in this area include Cuckoo-roller, Short-legged Ground Roller, Scaly Ground-roller and Madagascar Crested Ibis. In the evenings it is possible to look for Red-ruffed, Woolly and Dwarf lemurs and a variety of chameleons, plus Madagascar Scops Owl.

Day 18 - Birding Masoala area (1)

Exploring the Masoala area.

Day 19 - Birding Masoala area (2).

Exploring the Masoala area.

Day 20 - Travel back to Maroantsetra

Transfer back to Maroantsetra and check into hotel.

Day 21 - Tana and onward flights

Fly back to Tana and onward flights.