Madagascar separated from the ancient supercontinent Gondwanaland (Africa, South America, Australia, Antarctica and India combined) about 160 million years ago, facilitating the evolution of its flora and fauna in isolation from the rest of the world. As a result, this, the world’s fourth largest island (after Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo), is a biodiversity hotspot and home to some of the weirdest and rarest animals on Earth.
The island is best known for its fabulous lemurs. Thirty-three species of lemurs, across five families and 14 genera (around 50 living lemurs, including all the subspecies), ranging in size from tiny Madame Berthe’s Mouse Lemur, which averages 30 g in weight, to the tailless, baboon-sized Indri, inhabit the island. All these species are endemic to Madagascar giving the country the second highest number of primate species after Brazil.
Of the 283 bird species recorded on the island, 111 are endemic and further 22 are semi-endemic. The endemics are represented by five families: mesites, ground-rollers, cuckoo-rollers, asities and vangas. With 36 endemic genera, Madagascar has more unique genera than any other African country.
More than 90% of over 360 reptile species are endemic. The island holds more than half of the world’s chameleons (about 60 species), ranging from the gigantic Oustalet’s and Parson’s Chameleons to the smallest Pygmy Stump-tailed Chameleon. Ninety-nine percent of the frogs found on the island, are present nowhere else on Earth.
Madagascar is also a paradise for botanists. Relicts of species long extinct elsewhere still thrive on the island: massive deciduous and rainforest trees, giant tamarinds and aloes, baobabs of many sizes and shapes, orchids in a rainbow of colours or bizarre cactus-resembling Didiereaceae. Of over 12,000 species of plants, over 70% are confined only to this island. Six of the world’s eight species of baobabs and 85% of 10,000 species of orchids known to the island, are endemic.
This unique wildlife and flora is widely dispersed across a variety of ecosystems, broadly divided by the massive Hauts Plateaux in the middle of the country. A dry deciduous forest stretches along the west coast. The central highlands are a mosaic of woodland and savannah, while the eastern regions are covered in dense, humid rainforest. In the extreme south, a desert environment prevails, whereas an impenetrable wilderness of limestone sharp rocks dominates the far north.
Sadly, the island's diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife have been severely threatened by human settlement. Illegal logging, poaching and some traditional practices have left the island with only 10% of its original forest cover. Although wildlife finds now refuge in many national parks and protected areas, they are still under threat. Currently, all lemurs are endangered species and at least 3 species of birds are on the brink of extinction.
Our carefully designed itinerary will introduce you to a large proportion of the island’s different ecosystems, from the dry deciduous forest in the west to the mountain rainforest in the east, from Palm savanna in the interior of the country to Tapia woodland and ‘spiny’ desert in the arid southwest, not mentioning numerous lakes, marshes and swamps throughout the country. We will visit five of the island’s best wildlife reserves: Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park and Ranomafana National Park in the interior of the country, Ankarafantsika National Park (Ampijoroa) in the west and Mantadia National Park with Périnet (Analamazaotra) Special Reserve in the east, to explore an amazing wildlife they support. The tour is designed to introduce you to all of the endemic families of bird. You can expect to see at least 150 species of birds, over 30 species of mammals, including around 25 lemurs, and a great variety of geckos, chameleons, frogs and snakes. On the top of it all, as all ScotNature tours, we will sample island’s delightful culture and cuisine.Detailed Itinerary Booking Info
To be confirmed
To be confirmed
Ankarafantsika National Park (Ampijoroa)
Ifaty: Spiny forest
Ranomafana National Park
Perinet Reserve and Mantadia National Park
Departure from Antananarivo
The Price Includes
all accommodation on a shared basis
all excursions and transfers by vehicle
park and tour guides’ fees
The Price Does Not Include
all items of a personal nature
flight cancellation, baggage and medical insurance
drinks at the bar
scheduled return flight from Britain to Antananarivo and three internal flights. A group booking, however, is made and you will deal with a travel agent directly. Alternatively, you can make your own arrangements
all passengers must cover themselves against flight cancellation, luggage loss and medical costs for the duration of their trip
a deposit of £300 is requested with a booking form. The final payment is required by 1 August