Madagascar boasts a variety of spectacular landscapes—from pristine coral reefs and coastal mangroves to rainforests and native groves of Baobab trees. Geographically isolated for millions of years, many of Madagascar’s animals and plants are found nowhere else on Earth. Our expedition begins with a private charter flight to cross the Mozambique Channel, followed by ten full days exploring Madagascar’s numerous marine reserves and national parks from the comfort of the newly-refurbished, 95-passenger Serenissima. Call at the curious Creole island of Réunion before disembarking on Mauritius.
- Pricing from
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Ocean & Sea Voyages
- Departure Dates
- Jan 15, 2020 - Jan 31, 2020
OPTIONAL PRE-CRUISE EXTENSIONS
Begin your journey with an earlier arrival in South Africa and a choice of two amazing experiences:
GREATER KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
A memorable stay at Ngala Game Reserve, adjacent to Kruger National Park in South Africa, to search for the “Big Five” and other wildlife on game drives aboard open-top safari vehicles.
CRADLE OF HUMANKIND
A visit to the Sterkfontein Caves and Maropeng Visitor Center in the UNESCO-listed Cradle of Humankind anthropological site near Johannesburg, joined by Dr. Ian Tattersall.
OPTIONAL POST-CRUISE EXTENSION
January 30 to February 2
Extend your stay for further exploration of the lush rainforests and white sand beaches of Mauritius. During your three day stay, discover Íle aux Aigrettes, one of the last sanctuaries for rare Mauritian wildlife, including the giant aldabra tortoise and the ornate day gecko. Also learn about the island’s long colonial history and enjoy snorkeling in the crystal blue water.
Further details and pricing will be sent to confirmed participants.
Dr. Ian Tattersall
He has carried out both primatological and paleontological fieldwork in countries as diverse as Madagascar, Vietnam, Suriname, Yemen, and Mauritius. Trained in archaeology and anthropology
at the University of Cambridge, and in geology and vertebrate paleontology at Yale University, Ian has
concentrated his research since the 1960s in three main areas: the analysis of the human fossil record
and its integration with evolutionary theory, the origin of human cognition, and the study of the ecology
and systematics of the lemurs of Madagascar.
- day 1 & 2
Wednesday & Thursday, January 15 & 16, 2020
HOME / JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
Depart home on international overnight flights to Johannesburg, South Africa. Meet your fellow travelers at a welcome reception this evening.
- day 3
Friday, January 17
This morning board a charter flight to Toliara, Madagascar. After arrival, explore the Arboretum d’Antsokay and learn about its fantastic collection of 500+ species of endemic plants. Board the MS Serenissima this afternoon and enjoy the Captain’s welcome evening.
- day 4
Saturday, January 18
Visit the curious spiny forest region, a unique ecosystem which only exists in the southern part of Madagascar, and see 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 5
Sunday, January 19
After breakfast depart to see the Avenue of Baobabs, an extraordinary stand of the iconic massive trees, followed by free time in Morondava market. Or, visit Kirindy Forest Reserve, home to the greatest density and diversity of primates in the world as well as dozens of amphibian and primate species. Look for eight lemur species, the narrowstriped mongoose, the cat-like fossa, and the smallest known primate, the giant jumping rat.
- day 6
Monday, January 20
Enjoy a full day at sea and the continuation of the educational program as the MS Serenissima cruises along the west coast of Madagascar.
- day 7
Tuesday, January 21
Drive to Ankarafantsika National Park, a vast reserve boasting a dense diversity of flora and fauna, for guided walks in search of wildlife. One of Madagascar’s finest parks for birdwatching, look for 129 identified species, including Van Dam’s vanga. Learn about the medicinal plants and flowers used by the locals for centuries, try to spot tiny mouse lemurs, and visit the Durrell Breeding Program, established to protect the highly endangered ploughshare tortoise.
- day 8
Wednesday, January 22
After a morning of cruising, arrive at Nosy Tanikely marine reserve for an afternoon of snorkeling. Recognized for its remarkable 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 9
Thursday, January 23
NOSY HARA NATIONAL PARK
Nosy Hara means ‘mountainous island’ in Malagasy and is 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. Enjoy time in the afternoon to relax on Nosy Hara’s beautiful beaches.
- day 10
Friday, January 24
Round Madagascar’s northernmost point and cruise into Diego Suarez’s stunning natural harbor to discover the town on a guided tour. Later, climb aboard a 4×4 vehicle to drive to Amber Mountain National Park for tropical rainforest walks. See lush flora and waterfalls, look for the common crowned lemur, spot volcanic lakes, and count more than 40 varieties of butterfly.
- day 11
Saturday, January 25
After a morning of cruising and lectures, spend the afternoon exploring Nosy Mangabe, a small island reserve of virgin rainforest, and home to a unique nocturnal lemur called the ayeaye. Take the Zodiacs ashore for nature walks and hopefully spot black and white ruffed lemurs, colorful paradise flycatchers, and many other types of wildlife.
- day 12
Sunday, January 26
MASOALA NATIONAL PARK
Explore Masoala National Park’s coastal rainforest, 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 locals and shop in the market.
- day 13
Monday, January 27
ILE SAINTE-MARIE /NOSY NATO
Enjoy a full day on Ile Sainte-Marie, a lush tropical island dotted with thatched villages. Visit the oldest church in Madagascar and the vibrant market in the capital of the island, Ambodifotara. Continue to Nosy Nato, a small island south of Ile Sainte-Marie, with curving white beaches and overhanging palms, for nature walks and snorkeling.
- day 14
Tuesday, January 28
During a final full day at sea, enjoy the conclusion of the lecture program and the onboard amenities en route to Réunion Island, a rainforested outpost hundreds of miles into the Indian Ocean.
- day 15
Wednesday, January 29
PORT EST, RÉUNION ISLAND
Visit Réunion Island’s central highlands, a spectacular rugged landscape of active, dormant, extinct, and collapsed volcanoes, where mountain peaks tower to over 10,000 feet above sea level. See picturesque villages that dot the lush and 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 MS Serenissima before crossing to the neighboring island of Mauritius.
- day 16
Thursday, January 30
PORT LOUIS, MAURITIUS
Disembark the ship this morning and discover the unique history of Port Louis and Mauritius at the La Citadel Fort and Aapravasi Ghat, the immigration depot where 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. Visit Bois Cheri tea plantation for a refreshing cup of tea before departing for the airport for flights home.
- day 17
Friday, January 31
ALOFT / HOME
Arrive in the U.S.
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