MADAGASCAR ECOTOUR SUMMARY
You’ll hike in dense rainforests where a local guide will help you spot as many lemur species as possible, listen for the eery call of the indri, and observe the moves of the dancing sifaka. Their moves may just put yours to shame! Ready for a dance-off?
You’ll be entertained learning about lemurs and other wildlife through storytelling and other ways that are sure to enthral. What we like to call edu-tainment.
We’ll also give you an insider’s glimpse into the fascinating world of Malagasy folklore and taboos, called fady. Like how you should never eat Angonoka tortoise. Hint: Besides being endangered, it’s also bad luck. We also won’t be wearing empty baskets on our heads. It’s also fady.
This trip has been carefully and thoughtfully designed to create a responsible, eco-friendly, and conservation-oriented experience. While you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see lemurs and other endemic wildlife that allow and/or encourage/interact/touch/feed with Malagasy wildlife (e.g., lemurs, chameleons, snakes etc.). We truly have the lemurs and all of Madagascar’s unique biodiversity best interest at heart.
What’s unique about participating in this trip? You’ll be making a direct impact on lemur conservation efforts and initiatives in Madagascar! How? You will have the unique opportunity to meet and spend time with top lemur researcher and conservationist Dr Marni LaFleur from the University of California San Diego (UCSD) and Lemur Love, Inc., a U.S.-based non-profit, dedicated to lemur science, conservation, and education.
She’ll give you a rare insider’s glimpse into the life of lemurs and the threats they are facing, and how collecting lemur poop could be one of the keys to stopping the illegal lemur pet trade. You’ll also spend some time engaging in a community-based conservation initiative. We will be working alongside Dr LaFleur to conduct lemur conservation education outreach activities with local children – something that they surprisingly don’t learn in school.
Then, you’ll have the unique opportunity to create and prepare enrichment for 30 rescued wild-caught ex-pet lemurs who now live at the ONG Reniala Lemur Rescue Center. What will be their favourites? Are they clever enough to figure out the challenges that you’ve created for them? You’ll find out, as you’ll observe them enjoying the fruits of your labour.
Finally, $500 of your payment goes directly to Lemur Love, Inc. They’re an incredible nonprofit (EIN# 46-1174852) whose mission is to inspire a love for lemurs, advance knowledge and support action so Madagascar’s wildlife and people can thrive. Click here to find out more about their lemur research and conservation efforts in Madagascar and be sure to follow them on Facebook for the latest updates. This part of your trip is tax deductible if you live in the U.S. For other countries please check on the charitable giving laws specific to your country.
MADAGASCAR ECOTOUR MAP
|– A chance to look for Groves’dwarf lemur – the newest species of lemur that was recently discovered in Ranomafana National Park|
|– Visit one of the most unique places on earth – there’s nowhere else like Madagascar|
|– Observe endangered lemurs in the wild and get new dance moves from watching dancing sifakas|
|– Listen for the eerie calls of the Indri. You’ve never heard anything like this!|
|– Hike in three of Madagascar’s most beautiful national parks|
|– Meet and hang out with Dr Marni LaFleur, Assistant Professor at the University of San Diego, and Founder and Director, Lemur Love, Inc. She’ll chat about her work and conservation projects followed by a Q &A session|
|– Participate in a community-based conservation education outreach activity with local Malagasy children|
|– Create lemur enrichment at ONG Reniala Lemur Rescue Center (LRC). we will be creating lemur enrichment. Enrichment is an important/essential part of captive care- it provides stimulation and allows for new/novel items and exploration to prevent boredom and stress from captive conditions|
|– Support lemur conservation. $500 of your fee goes to Lemur Love, a US-based non-profit (501(c)(3)), thus all donations are tax-deductible for US citizens|
|– Search for mouse lemurs and other nocturnal critters on two-night walks|
|– Observe other wildlife, such as birds, colourful chameleons, frogs and if you’re really lucky, maybe even a Fossa|
- We’ll pick you up directly at Ivato Airport, the main airport in Madagascar and transfer you to your accommodation. You’ll have the rest of the day to relax before your adventure begins.
- After breakfast, we’ll first stop at Lemurs’ Park, a botanical garden and lemur reserve. It’s the only reserve in Madagascar where you can see nine species of free-roaming lemurs. You’ll get up close to lemurs. Here’s your chance for a lemur selfie – without touching them.
- Then, we’ll drive to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park (~140 km, 6-hour drive) through a landscape of rice fields, waterfalls, and forests.
- Before dinner, we’ll go for a night walk along the road in search of the mouse lemur and other nocturnal species.
- Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is a protected rainforest in eastern Madagascar. We’ll hike in the reserve and discover the species dwelling inside this forest. Here you’ll have the opportunity to observe: indri (Indri Indri), the largest of all living lemur species, diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema), greater and lesser bamboo lemurs (Hapalemur griseus) Prolemur simus), common brown lemurs (Eulemur fulvus) and Parson’s chameleon.
- We’ll hike for ~ 4 hours. It’s moderate hiking with some ascents.
- In the afternoon, we’ll visit Mintsinjo Forest where we’ll hike for ~ 2 hours. It’s a Malagasy NGO that started as a community initiative. Their focus is on conservation, nature-based tourism, and development. Before dinner, we’ll go for another night walk in search of more nocturnal creatures.
- We’ll drive back to Tana, then head south to Antsirabe. It’s the capital city of the Vakinankaratra region, in the central highlands of Madagascar. The 310 km journey takes ~ 7 hours. Antsirabe is known for its thermal springs and two crater lakes. It’s been a spa town since the late 1800s when Norwegian missionaries built a health retreat.
- We’ll visit a beautiful workshop where they make miniatures from recycled materials. This provides employment for locals.
- We’ll drive to Ranomafana National Park (240 km ~ 6 hours). We’ll break up the drive with a stop in Ambositra to see the fine woodcarvings of the Zafimaniry community.
- The Zafinmaniry’s knowledge of woodworking is on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Although their style of woodworking was once common throughout Madagascar, it’s decreased because of deforestation.
- Now, they’re the only remaining community in Madagascar who carries on the tradition. Your visit helps carry on the tradition and provides much needed employment for locals. The Zafinmaniry are also involved with reforestation projects.
- Then, we’ll continue to Ranomafana National Park, one of the most magnificent national parks in Madagascar. We’ll do a night walk here along the road searching for the nocturnal mouse lemurs. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll see the elusive fossa. Also known as the Malagasy Puma.
- Ranomafana National Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Madagascar and one of it’s most important national parks. It was created in 1991 after Dr Patricia Wright from Duke University discovered the highly endangered golden bamboo lemur.
- You’ll spend the morning hiking in the 40,000 Hectares of mountainous rainforest that makeup Ranomafana. Thirteen different lemurs call Ranomafana home, including; golden bamboo lemurs, red-bellied lemurs, black and white ruffed lemurs, Milne-Edwards’ sifaka, mouse lemurs, brown lemurs, woolly lemurs (avahi), fat-tailed dwarf lemur and aye-aye. Although you’re unlikely to see the latter two. We’ll hike for ~ 4 hours. The hiking is moderate with some ascents.
- In addition, you’ll see birds (115 species), Malagasy Ring-tailed Mongoose, chameleons, frogs, orchids and medicinal plants.
- Afterwards, you’ll visit Centre Valbio near Ranomafana. It’s a state-of-the-art research station focused on conservation in Madagascar. It receives hundreds of researchers, students and eco-tourists each year. It’s one of a kind in Madagascar.
- We’ll depart early for the town of Ranohira (~ 360 km, 7 hours). We’ll break up the drive with a stop in Ambalavao – the commercial centre of the southern Betsileo region. It’s renowned for its arts and crafts.
- From Ambalavao it’s a short drive to the Anja Community Reserve where you can observe endangered ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) in their natural habitat. Then we’ll continue to Ranohira where we’ll spend the night.
- We’ll spend the morning hiking in Isalo National Park. The park attracts hikers from all over the world to experience the sandstone massifs which form unusual rides, called runiformes. The landscape varies dramatically from sandstone massifs to canyons to oases to grasslands.
- Although wildlife is not as abundant here as in the other national parks that we’ve visited, you can still spot ring-tailed lemurs, brown lemurs, and sifakas, in addition to the nocturnal lemurs. Approximately 80 species of birds live in the park, 35 reptile species and several endemic frogs.
- The flora is the real showstopper at Isalo. More than 500 species can be found here, including several endemic plants, like elephants’ foot.
- You’ll have the afternoon at leisure to enjoy the pool and spa area at your hotel.
- Today we’re driving 267 km for about five hours. We’ll head to Tuléar, the capital of the Atsimo-Andrefana region while enjoying a landscape of dry forests, baobabs and some proudly decorated Mahafaly tombs.
- The Mahafaly are an ethnic group known to honour the dead with dramatic and lavish tombs.
- Once we’ve arrived in Tuléar, we’ll visit the Arboretum where you can see over 900 species of plants that make up a tiny spiny forest.
- Then we’ll carry on to Ifaty. It’s a seaside resort protected by a coral reef. You’ll find white sandy beaches dotted with spiny bushes. We’ll also be there during whale season so keep your eyes peeled.
- Today is your day to make a direct impact on Madagascar’s endangered lemurs and lemur conservation initiatives. It will undoubtedly be one of the trip highlights! We’ll meet and spend time with two prominent lemur researchers and conservationist Dr Marni LaFleur from the University of California, San Diego and Lemur Love.
- This is your chance to ask all those burning questions about lemurs, their behavior, ecology, the threats they are facing and what is being done to combat them, and find out how you can help make a difference!
- It’s an incredibly unique opportunity that’s being offered to Monkeys and Mountains Adventure Travel clients in partnership with Lemur Love, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization (EIN# 46-1174852) that conducts scientific research, conservation and education, and community-based initiatives in Madagascar.
- Then, we’ll visit a local primary school and work with Drs. Clarke and LaFleur on a lemur conservation education lesson and activity with local children. The Malagasy school curriculum is European based and doesn’t teach children about unique and endemic wildlife in Madagascar. Therefore, many local people don’t realize just how special the wildlife is in Madagascar.
- After lunch, it’s time to visit the ONG Reniala Lemur Rescue Center (LRC) in Mangily, in the southwestern part of Madagascar. Here, we’ll create enrichment items for the 30 rescued wild-caught ex-pet lemurs that call the LRC home.
- What is their favourite food? Are they clever enough to figure out where we’ve hidden the food? We’ll find out as we observe the lemurs.
- These type of activities seek to simulate some of the day-to-day activities and behaviours, such as searching/foraging for food, that lemurs would do in the wild. It helps to keep them physically active, mentally sharp and helps to prevent boredom.
- Afterwards, we’ll drive to Tulear.
- We’ll transfer to the airport and fly back to Tana. Depending on the time of our flight, you’ll have the rest of the day at leisure. It’s a great time to do some souvenir shopping. We’ll share our favourite spot for doing so.
- We’ll take you to the airport. Depending on when your flight is you may have some time to explore on your own. We suggest souvenir shopping if you didn’t have the chance the day before. Alternatively, you may want to visit Tana’s Rova. It’s a fortified palace on top of the highest hill in Tana. It’s under restoration but you can visit the compound and get incredible views over the city.
WHY BOOK WITH US
Laurel, the founder of Monkeys and Mountains Adventure Travel, is passionate about ecotourism. her pet peeve is greenwashing when the tourism industry says it’s “green” just because they’re observing wildlife.
Ecotourism can play an incredible role in wildlife conservation if done properly. As Madagascar has such a fragile ecosystem, this tour has been designed with extra care and with input from Lemur Love, who work in Madagascar.
In, addition, for the first time, she’ll be joining this trip! She visited Madagascar in 2017 and was in complete awe of the wildlife. It also made her painfully aware of how much still needs to be done with regards to lemur conservation and the challenges of doing so in such a poor country. That’s why she’s so excited about this trip. It makes a positive difference on both locals and lemurs.
In addition, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Primatology and a Master of Education in Adult Learning and Global Change. In combination with knowledgeable local guides, we promise to make this edu-taining for you. Learning should be fun!
In addition, by booking your tour with Monkeys and Mountains Adventure Travel, you’re helping to do your part. We work with local tour companies that make a positive impact on the communities that you’ll be visiting.
There can be a lot of anxiety when booking a trip to an unknown destination; Will anyone speak English? Am I going to see what I really want to see? Where’s the best place to see lemurs? Is it safe? Is this trip for me if I prefer animals over people?
Our goal is to make The Magic of Madagascar Ecotour: Lemurs and Other Wildlife, one of your most memorable and impactful vacations ever.
By booking with us you’ll get:
- Unlimited email support. Ask all the questions you want.
- Pre-trip fun facts about Madagascar and an introduction to lemur behaviour. This will make your time in Madagascar even more enjoyable.
- A real insight into the wildlife of Madagascar.
- Best places to observe lemurs and other wildlife in a way that doesn’t interfere with their natural behaviour
- EDU-tainment with stories of wildlife behaviour
- Confidence that we put wildlife first. We have the best interests of the animals at heart.