Wonders of Madagascar

Mauritius, Madagascar, Reunion, and Zanzibar aboard the Island Sky

Wonders of Madagascar route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $9345  
Length: 13 days
Arrive: Port Louis, Mauritius
Depart: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Lodging: 12 nights aboard 114-passenger vessel
Meals: All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore, including house wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard
Activity: Small Ship Cruising, Sea Kayaking, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History
Trip Level: 13-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours, snorkeling
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Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

The breathtaking scenery and endemic plants and wildlife of Madagascar are the centerpiece of this journey, but our voyage includes so much more. The cultural melting pot of Mauritius, Reunion’s spectacular volcanic landscapes, the picturesque archipelagos of the Comoros and Quirimbas islands, the timeless barefoot paradise of Zanzibar’s Indian Ocean beaches—they’re all part of this unforgettable adventure!

Itinerary

Days 1-2
Mauritius / Embark Island Sky / Reunion Island

Arrive in Mauritius, a cultural melting pot of an island, and embark on the Island Sky. Our first stop is Reunion Island, with its uniquely French atmosphere and lush, verdant landscape dotted with villages and towns. We explore the central highlands, where dramatic peaks of dormant or extinct volcanoes towering to more than 10,000 feet cradle huge amphitheatres known as cirques, and beautiful waterfalls plummet hundreds of feet.

Days 3-4
At Sea / Ile Sainte-Marie, Madagascar

After a day at sea, we arrive at Ile Sainte-Marie, also known as Nosy Bohara. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was a popular base for pirates who used the secluded bays to plunder ships returning from the East Indies. Today it is a lush tropical island offering sandy beaches, coral reefs, and abundant natural beauty. This morning we explore the capital of Ambodifotatra, including the pirate cemetery and the oldest church in Madagascar built in 1837. After lunch, we launch our Zodiacs and enjoy the first snorkel of our voyage.

Day 5
Nosy Mangabe

We have a full day to explore Nosy Mangabe, a 1,285-acre island reserve in Antongil Bay. Nosy Mangabe is part of Masaola National Park, which contains one of the most diverse areas of virgin rainforest in Madagascar. It has also been an important research center since the mid-1960s when several aye-ayes and lemurs were released into the forest. We use our Zodiacs to land on the beach next to the forest, and, on nature walks, observe the varied trees, plants, and ferns, hope to spot chameleon, lizards, and black-and-white ruffed lemur, and keep an eye out for Madagascar buzzard, kingfisher, and paradise flycatchers.

Day 6
Ambohitralanana, Cap Est

We arrive at Madagascar’s easternmost point, Cap Est, which lies near the lush wilderness of the Masoala Peninsula National Park. Here we have an opportunity to walk in the forest searching for wildlife including lemur, fossa, and mongoose, or snorkel in the warm waters.

Day 7
Diego Suarez

At daybreak we enter dramatic Diego Suarez, a stunning natural harbor with a cosmopolitan mix of inhabitants—Creoles, Indians, Chinese, Comorans, and Arabs. After a brief tour of the town we head to the Malagasy rainforest at Mount Amber National Park, where we search for lemurs and explore the rainforest on nature walks.

Day 8
Nosy Hara

Our last morning in Madagascar is at Nosy Hara, an archipelago of 12 uninhabited islands off the northern coast. At dawn we board Zodiacs to explore the fascinating limestone cliffs and hope to spot fish eagles and Madagascan black swifts. Later in the morning, we relocate to one of the remote beaches to either snorkel over the magnificent coral reefs or take a nature walk.

Day 9
Anjouan, Comoros

This afternoon finds us in Nzwani, better known by its French name of Anjouan. Our excursion here reveals an incredibly picturesque island with forested hillsides and rivers tumbling down to the sea.

Day 10
Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique

In the Quirimbas Archipelago, we explore Ibo, a former Portuguese island of once-elegant palatial mansions belonging to 18th century slave and ivory traders. We explore its fortress battlements, which house renowned silversmiths, or enjoy a birding walk. Ibo also serves as headquarters of Quirimbas National Park, a coastal park set aside recently with the assistance from the World Wildlife Fund.

Days 11-12
At Sea / Zanzibar, Tanzania

On Zanzibar, we soak up the timeless atmosphere of Stone Town, with its long narrow streets, bazaars, houses with overhanging balconies, and intricately carved doorways. We also have the option to explore a spice farm to see the various fruits and spices cultivated on the island.

Day 13
Zanzibar / Dar es Salaam

We disembark on Day 13 and fly home via Dar es Salaam.

Note: This cruise is not an exclusive Wilderness Travel departure. The itinerary, lecturers, and other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the ship operator.

What the Trip is Like

The trip is rated Level 1, Easiest, and is appropriate for anyone in good health who is physically active. Zodiac landing crafts are used to explore the coastline and transport passengers ashore for walks to wildlife sanctuaries, scenic nature areas, and local towns and villages. There are also ample opportunities for swimming and snorkeling. Some agility is required for getting in and out of the Zodiac landing crafts.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures

2015
Jan 19-31, 2015  Island Sky

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015

Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy

CategoriesCruise Price
Magellan Suite Forward $9,345
Magellan Standard Suite $9,995
Columbus Superior Suite $10,495
Marco Polo Premium Suite $10,825
Marco Polo Corner Suite $11,165
Erikson Deluxe Balcony Suite $11,825
Explorer Owner's Balcony Suite $12,165
Single supplement: 40% surcharge for all cabin types for single occupancy. Limited availability.

Deck Plan

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Accommodations aboard the Island Sky
  • All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore, including house wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard
  • Shore excursions
  • Use of quietvox earphones during excursions
  • Gratuities to crew and while on excursions
  • Guest speakers
  • Port taxes

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; items of a personal nature such as laundry, e-mail/Internet/fax/telephone charges.

Trip Payment Schedule*

At time of reservation: 10%
100 days prior to departure: Balance

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

More than 90 days prior to departure: 10% of trip cost
70-89 days prior to departure: 40% of trip cost
50-69 days prior to departure: 60% of trip cost
30-49 days prior to departure: 80% of trip cost
15-29 days prior to departure: 90% of trip cost
14 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Arrival & Departure Information

Arrival & Meeting Place
Aboard the Island Sky, Mauritius
Date: January 19, 2015
Flight arrival time: No later than 3:00pm
Embarkation: 4:00pm

Suggested Arrival Airport
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Airport (airport city code MRU)

Plan on arriving Mauritius on January 19, 2015 in the early afternoon. Ship embarkation begins at 4:00pm.

Departure
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Date: January 31, 2015
Disembarkation:  9:00am
Time:  Not before 1:00pm

Suggested Airport for Departure
Julius Nyerere International Airport, Tanzania (airport city code DAR)

Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for return flights.

Island Sky

One of the finest small ships in the world, the Island Sky features 57 spacious, outside-facing suites with marble-appointed bathrooms. Each suite includes a flat-screen TV with DVD player, hairdryer, individually controlled air-conditioning, and mini-fridge. High quality service and attention to detail are the order of the day aboard the Island Sky, with an on-board atmosphere more similar to a yacht than a cruise ship. Having undergone significant refurbishment in 2010, she features a large lounge, a library and bar, and an elegant dining room as well as spacious outside decks. The ship’s relatively small size lets her drop anchor in remote areas and in small ports where larger ships can’t go, and the fleet of inflatable zodiacs offers access in wonderfully remote places. Island Sky has a staff and crew of 75.