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See Indri on your Madagascar Holidays. Holidays to Madagascar can combine beach and wildlife

Lemurs & Rainforests - RN7 route + Anakao Beach


MPA14A
14 NIGHTS
FROM £2,895
International flights quoted separately
This privately guided tour offers the chance to see 12 different lemur species & many endemic birds, combining the eastern rainforests with the well-known RN7 southern route. Visit Andasibe-Mantadia, Ranomafana, Isalo & several private reserves, then relax on Anakao beach. Ideal for special interests such as botany, birding & photography. English speaking guide, transfers, local flights & park fees included.
Madagascar rainforests and RN7 Route - includes Ranomafana National Park with Bamboo lemur
• 
Andasibe-Mantadia Rainforests
• 
Analamazaotra Indri Reserve
• 
Lemurs
• 
Chameleon
• 
Frogs
• 
Reptiles
• 
Ranomafana National Park
• 
Fianarantso
• 
Isalo National Park
• 
Anakao
• 
Andasibe-Mantadia Rainforests
• 
Analamazaotra Indri Reserve
• 
Lemurs
• 
Chameleon
• 
Frogs
• 
Reptiles
• 
Ranomafana National Park
• 
Fianarantso
• 
Isalo National Park
• 
Anakao
Day 1
You will be met at Antananarivo Airport and transferred to your hotel in the capital city of the tropical island of Madagascar.
 
Check into your hotel and relax in your warm friendly surroundings.
Day 2
Today enjoy a full day tour to the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga and the Lemur Park.
 
Leaving Antananarivo, we travel 40-minutes northeast to the fortified royal settlement (or 'rova') at Ambohimanga. Meaning 'Blue Hill', this complex of royal buildings and palaces is situated on the highest and most sacred of the twelve royal hills surrounding Antananarivo and is a World Heritage Site.
 
It is the best-preserved remains of the pre-colonial Merina Kingdom and an important source of Malagasy identity. Andrianampoinimerina was its most famous king, as he united the various Malagasy tribes into a single kingdom. The walled historic village includes the tombs of several kings and queens and remains a place of worship for pilgrims. Afterwards you will have the opportunity to visit the local village to see their lifestyle.
 
After lunch (own account) we continue to the Lemur Park, a private nature reserve located near the Katsaoka River. Here you can see many species of birds, medicinal plants, reptiles and lemurs. These include the ring tailed lemur, black and white ruffed lemur, common brown lemur, Coquerel’s sifaka, crowned sifaka, mongoose lemur and eastern lesser bamboo lemur. After about an hour at the park, we return to Antananarivo.
Day 3
Today depart from Antananarivo and travel 4-hours with your guide to the small village of Andasibe. On this scenic drive you will see local villages with their long red clay houses, rice paddies and roadside markets, which will give you a good feel for traditional Malagasy life.
 
On arrival at your lodge, enjoy a 2 to 3-hour walk in the montagne rainforest of Analamazaotra Reserve (previously called Perinet Reserve), which covers 810 hectares. This is where you come to see the magnificent black and white Indri - the largest lemur species in Madagascar, with their eerie wailing calls as they sing from the treetops and mark out their territory.
 
The path into the rainforest starts with a steep ascent up some well-made steps, followed by some relatively good paths, although a longer more gentle ascent is also available. There may be some scrambling off the path to get closer to the Indri, but there are plenty of trees to hang onto for balance.
 
You can also hope to see the beautiful orange, grey and white Diademed Sifaka as well as the Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur - although be warned that tracking lemurs in the dense canopy of this rainforest is hard work and you can realistically hope for only two or three sightings on each walk. However the excitement of finding them hiding high in the treetop canopy, and jumping from tree to tree, is a thrilling memory that will last a lifetime - so once you find a group do linger and enjoy watching their behaviour for a while.
 
In the early evening enjoy a 1-hour noctural guided walk along a road close to the Analamazaotra Reserve, so remember your headlamp. Here you can hope to see the glowing eyes of the tiny Goodman's mouse lemur, little tree frogs and sleeping chameleons.
 
Note: Tracking lemurs requires physical mobility and stamina as some trails are demanding, although your guide will be mindful of your level of fitness and adapt your route accordingly. Remember to dress appropriately when exploring the rainforest i.e. walking boots with good tread and proper rain gear, including lightweight waterproof trousers. A head torch for night walks is essential and light gardening gloves are useful to protect your hands when scrambling through the rainforest. As the climate in the mountains is much cooler than at the coast, especially at night, also pack a fleece.
Day 4
Today we drive 1-hour along a rough gravel road to the massive 16,000-hectare primary montane rainforests of Mantadia National Park.
 
The trees in these rainforests are tall and some trails are steep and muddy. There are also streams to cross using log bridges, but you should be rewarded by a view of the gorgeous Diademed Sifaka, perhaps the most beautiful of all the lemurs with its fluffy golden-orange, grey and white coat.
 
You should also see the Black-and-White Ruffed Lemurs that scream at each other across the forest and, if you are fortunate, maybe also the large Indri that is easily heard because of its impressive shrieks. This park is also a great place to see the giraffe-necked weevil, tenrec (similar to hedgehog), frogs and chameleons.
 
The indigenous flora is outstanding, with hundreds of species of orchids that blossom in October & November, many species of ferns, sacred creepers, lichens and dwarf palm trees. In total there are 12 different species of lemurs, 28 species of reptiles and over 100 bird species.
 
Afterwards enjoy a 30-minute visit to Lemur Island, where you can interact with and take close-up photos of habituated lemurs rescued from captivity and now living in the semi-wild near Vakona Lodge.
Day 5
A full day on the road today as we travel 6.5-hours to Antsirabe in the central highlands, with interesting stops along the way.
 
We visit the small city of Ambatolampy, an agricultural centre known for its aluminium factory, and also stop at the foot of the mighty Ankaratra Massif, the third highest summit on the island.
 
In the afternoon we check into to our hotel in the thermal springs city of Antsirabe, established by Norwegian missionaries and today the agricultural and industrial centre of Madagascar.
Day 6
After admiring local arts & crafts such as embroidery, sweet-making and the cutting of semi-precious stones, we leave Antsiribe and travel 7-hours to Ranomafana.
 
We pass through Ambositra, the centre of Madagascar's wood carving industry known for its master woodcarvers and furniture manufacturing, where we visit a wood carving factory. Characterised by its architecture, many houses here have ornately carved wooden balconies with geometric designs and colourful shutters.
 
We continue to Ranomafana (meaning "hot water"), a thermal spring that is home to one of Madagascar's best known national parks and check into our hotel.
Day 7
Today we visit Ranomafana National Park - a dense and humid rainforest that is one of the most important national parks in Madagascar, as it is home to 12 different species of lemurs including two of the rarest in the world - the Greater Bamboo Lemur and the Golden Bamboo Lemur that is only found in this park. Its diet of bamboo tips containing cyanide may be responsible for its golden fur.
 
Spread over 42 hectares, Ranomafana is home to 29 different mammals, including several species of viverrids and the ring tailed mongoose. Also a wide variety of butterflies, insects and reptiles such as lizards, chameleons and frogs. Ranomafana is also a birding hotspot with over 114 recorded species, most of which are endemic, but finding birds in the dense forest canopy can be tricky.
 
The largest lemur in the park is the elusive Milne-Edwards sifaka, usually found high in the treetops. You should also look out for red bellied lemurs which live in couples with their offspring, and red fronted brown lemurs which live in large groups. But be warned that some trails are very steep with many steps, and others can become extremely muddy after rain.
 
At sunset you can hope to see nocturnal species such as the microcebus red mouse lemur (the smallest primate in the world) and if you are very fortunate the fossa, a member of the civet family and the largest carnivore in Madagascar.
 
Note: Tracking lemurs requires physical mobility as some trails are demanding, although your guide will be mindful of your level of fitness and adapt your route accordingly. Remember to dress appropriately when exploring the rainforest i.e. walking boots with good tread and proper rain gear, including lightweight waterproof trousers. A head torch for night walks is essential and light gardening gloves are useful to protect your hands when scrambling through the rainforest. Also pack a fleece, as the climate in the mountains is much cooler than at the coast especially at night.
Day 8
A full day on the road today as we travel 6-hours from Ranomafana and across the Plateau of Horombe, a rocky expanse of land known as the "Door of the South" to Ranohira
 
We make a brief stop at Fianarantsoa, a World Heritage site, for a short tour of this ancient regional capital with its Royal Palace and Lac Anosy, before continuing through the central highlands and descending into the west coast region, where the scenery changes to open savannah grasslands with zebu (cattle) herds tended by Malagasy cowboys.
 
We travel through the vineyards of the wine region of Ambalavao, a small town that is a centre for traditional paper making and where there is a large zebu market each Wednesday.
 
We also visit the community-managed Anja Private Reserve, where we may see vocal troupes of ring-tail lemurs in the forest between huge granite outcrops. The small nocturnal microcebus lemur can also be spotted here. Anja is home to some of the country’s rarest plants and many different chameleons (there are about 150 types of chameleons in the world, half of which are found in Madagascar).
 
We continue to Ranohira and arrive in the late afternoon.
Day 9
Today enjoy a full day exploring on foot the vast Isalo National Park, an eroded sandstone mountain whose rocks have been carved into many strange formations by the winds.
 
The ruiniform massif has many deep and narrow canyons and a 1-hour walk will take you to the lush palm-lined oasis of Piscine Naturelle. A 3-hour walk across deep canyons with riparian forests will take you to the Canyon des Singes.
 
The canyons of the park shelter over 55 bird species, including the red vanga, 2 species of lemur (the sifaka and the red-fronted brown lemur), geckos, chameleons and many other reptiles and amphibians. You will also see many endemic flora, including succulent plants such as pachypodium, tapia, aloes and pandanus.
 
Note: It will be hot in this dry park and some of the trails are very demanding, although your guide will be mindful of your level of fitness and adapt your route accordingly. A sunhat is essential as you will be walking in the open, but as the temperature in the mountains drops at night also take a fleece.
Day 10
Today we travel for 5-hours from Ranohira to the southern city of Tulear (now known as Toliara), travelling through the dry forests of the west and the spiny deserts of the south.
 
Our first stop is at Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park, which is one of the best place to see Verraux's sifaka in the wild.
 
We pass through the sapphire mining village of Ilakaka and along the way see giant baobab trees, whose strange bare branches look like they are planted upside down. You will also see the Mahafaly tombs - unusual funeral carvings unique to the southern region, which express the life and fertility of the deceased.
 
On arrival in Tulear, we visit the Arboretum d'Antsokay to see some of the fascinating succulent plants of the south up close, before checking into our hotel. Your driver/guide will then leave you and return to Antananarivo.
Day 11
This morning transfer 45-minutes by boat from Tulear to the coastal fishing town of Anakao.
 
Here we check into our secluded ocean lodge situated in a protected Nature Reserve on Andovoke Bay, with its dazzling turquoise, emerald and cobalt blue waters and magnificent one mile half-moon beach.
 
On the horizon you can see the waves breaking along one of the longest coral reefs in the world, as well as the nearby islands of Nosy Satrana and Nosy Ve.  Check in and relax on the beach, which is splendid by day and unforgettable at sunset.
Days 12 To 13
At leisure to relax and unwind on beautiful Anakao beach.
 
Migrating whales can be seen passing here in August and lemurs live in the nearby forest. It is also possible to visit Tsimanampetsotsa National Park with its spectacular lake and baobabs (arrange & pay locally - approx € 195 per person).
 
Please do not buy any corals from local markets, as this will encourage the further plundering of these reefs.
Day 14
This morning transfer 45-minutes by boat to Tulear Airport, for your flight to Antananarivo.
 
You will be met at Antananarivo Airport and transferred to your airport hotel.
Day 15
Transfer to Antananarivo Airport for your flight home.
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