This is an extraordinary cruise for those who love the natural world and all its wonders. The star is Madagascar, a thousand-mile island boasting an impressive variety of spectacular landscapes from pristine coral reefs and coastal mangroves to virgin rain forests and native groves of Baobab trees. Geographically isolated for millions of years, nearly all of Madagascar’s intriguing animals and plants are found nowhere else on Earth, including nearly 100 varieties of lemurs.
- Pricing from
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Ocean & Sea Voyages
- Departure Dates
Dec 3, 2021 - Dec 18, 2021
Post-trip Extension: Mauritius
Stay an additional three days to further explore the lush rain forests and white sand beaches of Mauritius. Learn about the long colonial history of this prosperous Indian Ocean archipelago. Discover Île aux Aigrettes, one of the last sanctuaries for rare Mauritian wildlife, such as the Aldabra giant tortoise and the ornate day gecko. Further details and pricing will be sent to confirmed participants.
Dr. Daniel Rubenstein
Professor of Zoology, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Director, Program in Environmental Studies at Princeton University. His research focuses on decision-making in animals. He studies how an individual’s foraging, mating and social behavior are influenced by its phenotype, by ecological circumstances, and by the actions of other individuals in the population. Combining theory with experiments he searches for general principles, or ‘rules’, that underlie complex patterns of behavior. On this journey, Professor Rubenstein will discuss his recent findings on the social behavior and ecology of lemurs and other African mammals, especially in relation to human-wildlife conflict and how new technologies are changing the face of African conservation.
CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS
Upon payment of the $1,000 per person deposit, all reservations are subject to the cancellation provisions set forth below and by which the passenger agrees to be bound. Cancellations shall not be in effect until they are received in writing and confirmed by Criterion Travel. Payments are 100% refundable if written notice of cancellation is received before August 30, 2021. Cancellations after August 30, 2021: All payments are 100% nonrefundable, regardless of booking date. Trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended. NOTE: Neither the National Trust for Historic Preservation nor Criterion Travel, the tour operator, accepts liability for any airline cancellation penalties incurred with the purchase of non-refundable tickets.
days Dec. 3-4
HOME / JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
Fly overnight to Johannesburg, where we meet your fellow travelers at a welcome reception this evening.
54 ON BATH HOTEL
day Dec. 5
Johannesburg / Toliara, Madagascar
This morning board a charter flight to Toliara on the southwest coast of Madagascar. After arriving explore the Antsokay Arboretum and learn about its fantastic collection of endemic plants. Board the Island Sky this afternoon and enjoy the captain’s welcome reception this evening before dinner
day Dec. 6
Today visit the curious spiny forest region, a unique ecosystem that exists only in the southern part of Madagascar, and view the spectacular baobab trees at Reniala Private Reserve. The reserve is a paradise for birds and home to the grey mouse lemur, radiated tortoise and warty chameleon.
day Dec. 7
After breakfast depart to see the Avenue of Baobabs, an extraordinary stand of the iconic massive trees, followed by free time at the market in Morondava. Or visit the Kirindy Private Reserve, home to the greatest density and diversity of primates in the world as well as dozens of amphibian species. Look for seven lemur species, the narrow-striped mongoose, the cat-like fossa and the smallest-known primate, the giant jumping rat.
day Dec. 8
During a day at sea, enjoy the on-board lecture program as the Island Sky cruises along the island’s west coast.
day Dec. 9
Drive to Ankarafantsika National Park, a vast reserve boasting a remarkable range of flora and fauna, for guided walks in search of wildlife. One of Madagascar’s finest parks for birdwatching, it’s home to 129 identified species, including the Van Dam’s vanga. Learn about the medicinal plants and flowers that the locals used for centuries, try to glimpse tiny mouse lemurs and visit the breeding program established by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in 1986 to protect the critically endangered ploughshare tortoise.
day Dec. 10
Nosy Tanikely Marine Reserve
After a morning of cruising and on-board lectures, arrive at Nosy Tanikely’s marine reserve for an afternoon of snorkeling. Recognized for its outstanding marine biodiversity, the reserve offers some of the best snorkeling in the area, with a spectacular coral reef teeming with colorful fish and other sea creatures.
day Dec. 11
Nosy Hara National Park
Nosy Hara means “mountainous island” in Malagasy and it’s considered one of the last true paradises of Madagascar. The island offers a stunning bay, sandy beaches and the unique, sharply eroded limestone spikes known as Tsingy formations. Hike the low circular path on the island, or choose the steeper path to a sweeping viewpoint. Then relax on a beautiful beach in the afternoon.
day Dec. 12
Cruise around Madagascar’s northernmost point and into Antsiranana’s glorious natural harbor a guided tour of the town. Later climb aboard a four-wheel-drive vehicle to drive to Amber Itinerary Mountain National Park for tropical rain forest walks. During our walks, see lush flora and waterfalls, look for the common crowned lemur, spot volcanic lakes and perhaps count more than 40 varieties of butterfly.
day Dec. 13
After a morning of cruising and lectures, spend the afternoon exploring Nosy Mangabe, a small island reserve of virgin rain forest and home to an unusual nocturnal lemur called the aye-aye. Take Zodiacs ashore for nature walks and look for black-and-white ruffed lemurs, colorful paradise flycatchers and many other types of wildlife.
day Dec. 14
Masoala National Park
Explore this national park’s coastal rain forest, dense marshes and stands of mangrove. Search for a variety of colorful chameleons, geckos and, of course, lemurs, including the red-ruffed lemur native to this area. Stop at Ambodiforaha village to meet with the locals and shop in the market there.
day Dec. 15
The educational program continures during a final full day at sea en route to Réunion, a rain foreststudded island outpost hundreds of miles into the Indian Ocean.
day Dec. 16
Visit the island of Réunion’s central highlands, a spectacular rugged landscape of active, dormant, extinct and collapsed volcanoes, where mountain peaks tower high above sea level. See picturesque villages that dot the verdant landscape and learn about vanilla production at a small family-run plantation. Enjoy the captain’s farewell reception and dinner this evening on board our ship before crossing to the neighboring island of Mauritius.
day Dec. 17
Port Louis, Mauritius / Disembark / Depart
After breakfast, disembark and discover the unique history of Port Louis and the island of Mauritius at the Citadel of Fort Louis and Aapravasi Ghat, a World Heritage site and the immigration depot where the modern indentured labor diaspora began. Explore Chamarel, an eye-catching region of tropical flora, hidden waterfalls, and undulating sand dunes displaying an array of colors. Then visit the Bois Cheri tea plantation for a refreshing cup of tea before departing for the airport for flights home.
day Dec. 18
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