Welcome to Birdquest
Birdquest’s Best of Madagascar birding tour is a fabulous way to explore this classic birdwatching and wildlife destination. You can expect to see all of the endemic Malagasy bird families plus a diverse selection of lemurs ranging from the diminutive and nocturnal mouse lemurs to the charismatic Ring-tailed Lemur and the fabulous Indri. Our tour will take us to the eastern rainforest with its wealth of vangas and Malagasy warblers, Cuckoo Roller, Scaly and Short-legged Ground Rollers and beautiful and mysterious Collared Nightjar, then to the dry forest and lakes of the northwest where Madagascan Fish Eagle, White-breasted Mesite and Schlegel’s Asity reside, and finally to the remarkable ‘spiny forest’ of the southwest with its Subdesert Mesites and Long-tailed Ground Rollers.
Saturday 3rd August —
Wednesday 14th August 2019
Isalo Extension: Monday 14th August — Thursday 17th August (4 days)
Leaders: a Birdquest leader and local bird guides
Group Size Limit: 9
Tour Category: Easy walking for the most part and mostly comfortable accommodations
Madagascar – an island continent that broke free from Africa about 100 million years ago, a world where plants and animals have been frozen in time. Seven families of mammals, six (or, depending on taxonomic interpretation, seven) families of birds and six families of plants are unique to this huge island, ninety percent of its forest species are endemic, yet today this wonderful heritage is sorely endangered by a burgeoning human population and unfettered exploitation.
Intense international interest has been generated by Madagascar’s problems and some action is now being taken to safeguard its natural treasure house, not least by the Malagasy themselves, so that there is some hope that this unique evolutionary experiment will not be lost forever. Over 1600km from north to south, Madagascar encompasses a whole range of environments. The massive escarpments of the eastern slope rise to over 2800m and, exposed to the moist trade winds from the Indian Ocean, experience high rainfall. Here are situated what remains of Madagascar’s immensely rich rainforests. These same escarpments create a vast rain shadow across the rest of the island. From the grasslands of the interior plateau the land drops slowly away to the dry deciduous woodland of the west coast and the unique spiny Didierea forest of the semi-desert south.
For the traveller it is Madagascar’s strange mixture of Asian and African cultures that most appeals. Amongst naturalists the island is best known for its fabulous lemurs, man’s most distant cousins, ranging in size from tiny mouse-lemurs to the great Indri, and these are certainly a prime attraction, but for birdwatchers more than 120 endemic species of birds, including six or seven endemic families, including the mesites, the ground rollers, the cuckoo rollers, the asities (or false sunbirds), the vangas, the newly-recognized Malagasy warblers (Bernieridae) and sometimes the couas, are of equal interest.
During this exciting tour we shall sample all of Madagascar’s principal habitats and we can expect to see the majority of Madagascar’s fascinating endemic birds, including almost all of the most spectacular species, as well as some fabulous lemurs.
From the capital Antananarivo, situated on the high plateau, we travel first to the lush eastern rainforest at Perinet where we will search for the beautiful Scaly, Short-legged and Pitta-like Ground Rollers, Madagascan Ibis, the amazing Collared Nightjar and two species of asity, as well as many other forest endemics and a superb selection of lemurs, including the famous Indri.
From Perinet we return to Antananarivo and then travel to the dry deciduous forests and lakes of Ankarafantsika in the northwest of the island. Here we will explore the haunts of Madagascar Fish Eagle, White-breasted Mesite, Red-capped and Coquerel’s Couas, Schlegel’s Asity and Van Dam’s Vanga amongst many others.
Finally we head far to the south, to Tulear on the southwestern coast of Madagascar, deep in the arid zone where the landscapes are a world away from the rainforests of the eastern part of the country. Here we shall explore the spiny Didierea forest, lagoons, coastal reefs and mudflats. Amongst the spiny forest we should enjoy close encounters with Subdesert Mesite and Long-tailed Ground Roller, two of Madagascar’s most sought-after specialities, and we will also find a host of other great birds before we take our leave of the magical ‘Grand Isle’.
During the optional extension, we shall penetrate further inland in southwestern Madagascar to the Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park and to the remote and spectacular Isalo Massif, picking up some localized endemics such as Appert’s Tetraka and Benson’s Rock Thrush as well as impressive endemics like Giant Coua. A major highlight will be our encounters with the marvellous Ring-tailed Lemur and the handsome Verreaux’s Sifaka, two of Madagascar’s signature lemurs.
Birdquest has operated tours to Madagascar since 1987.
Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels/lodges are mostly of good standard. The lodges at Perinet and Ampijoroa are fairly simple, although pleasant and comfortable. Road transport is by small coach or minibus and roads are now much improved and often good.
Walking: The walking effort is easy for the most part, but there will be a few optional harder walks.
Climate: Many days at lower altitudes will be hot, dry and sunny, but it is sometimes overcast. At higher altitudes the weather is similar but temperatures are cool to warm. It will be rather humid, especially in the east, but there is only a low chance of rain at this time of year.
Bird/Mammal Photography: Opportunities are good.
These are provisional prices
Tour Price: £3780, €4460, $4950 Antananarivo/Antananarivo. Isalo Extension: £990, €1170, $1300.
Price includes all transportation (including the Antananarivo-Tulear-Antananarivo flights), all accommodations, all meals, bottled water, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.
Single Room Supplement: £385, €454, $504. Extension: £99, €117, $130.
Single rooms may not be available at Ampijoroa for all those requesting them, as the lodge only has a small number of rooms. Anyone having to share unexpectedly will be given an appropriate refund.
Deposit: £450, €540, $590. Extension: £100, €120, $130.
Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with the tour from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to travel in advance of the tour (and spend a night in an hotel so you will feel fresh when the tour starts), or return later than the end of the tour, or make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.
Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate
Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QYtop of page
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