Watching rare primates leap from tree to tree or dance across your footpath is one of the many fascinating experiences to be enjoyed in Madagascar, an extraordinary island-nation that was once connected to Africa. Animals and plants long gone from Africa have survived and thrived here; in fact, four out of five of all plant and animal species in Madagascar are found nowhere else on the planet. The odd primates called lemurs put Madagascar on the travelers’ map (there are more than 50 species of lemur, even as small as a mouse), and there’s an astounding abundance of other marvels, from thousands of species of rare orchids to amazing birdlife. Our journey explores this distinctive island in depth as we visit magical nature reserves from Berenty to Andasibe (Perinet), see the “dances” of beautiful sifaka lemurs, and listen to the haunting calls of indri lemurs in treetop canopies. Join us for a once-in-a-lifetime natural history adventure!
It was a true adventure! The country was gorgeous to see and experience, the people of the country were friendly, and the experience with the lemurs was off the charts!
— James K., Murray, UT
Arrive in Antananarivo (Tana), where gaily painted houses climb the hillsides.
Fort Dauphin / Berenty Reserve / Antananarivo
We fly to Fort Dauphin and drive to Berenty Reserve, home to the unique “spiny desert” habitat. This small private park that preserves a third of Madagascar’s remaining tamarind forest and is a superb place to see friendly ring-tails and superbly acrobatic sifakas, known for their death-defying tree leaps and the sideways hops they use to get around on the ground. We return to Fort Dauphin for overnight on Day 5 and fly back to Antananarivo on Day 6.
Diego Suarez / Ankarana National Park / Amber Mountain National Park / Antananarivo
From our base in Diego Suarez, we explore Ankarana, a reserve with spectacular landscapes, including the eroded limestone towers known as “tsingy,” and many species of lemurs, including crowned lemurs, endemic to northern Madagascar. At Amber Mountain, a biologically diverse reserve whose montane rainforests offer huge green tree ferns, crystal-clear crater lakes, picturesque waterfalls, and a wealth of wildlife, we walk forested trails in search of more lemurs and a varied flora—1,000 species, a botanist's delight! We fly back to Antananarivo on Day 9.
Andasibe National Park (Perinet)
We head to Andasibe (Perinet), famed as the home of the Indri indri, a lemur whose haunting treetop song carries for miles as one troop calls to another. Their Malagasy name is babakoto, or “Father of Man.” These three-foot-tall primates are renowned treetop acrobats. Red-fronted lemurs, grey bamboo lemurs, and woolly lemurs are also found here, along with colorful reptiles including huge Parson’s chameleons. We return to Antananarivo on Day 13 and depart, or join our Isalo Extension.