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 5, 2023 - Dec 20, 2023
Travelers will have the option of extending in Kruger National Park, South Africa and/or Mauritius.
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.
day 1 & 2
HOME / JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
Fly overnight to Johannesburg, where we meet your fellow travelers at a welcome reception this evening.
Morning charter flight to Madagascar (cost is included); lunch of regional specialties on arrival in Tulear; PM guided visit to Antsokay Arboretum, protecting 900 species of endemic species; embarkation & Captain’s welcome evening.
Morning exploration of Tahiry Honko, a community-based mangrove reserve, including meeting with local conservationists; walk in Reniala Reserve, run by a local NGO, to protect the oldest Baobab trees in Madagascar and the only known natural habitat for radiated tortoises; Evening cruising; lecture before dinner.
Zodiac to shore with choice of full day excursions: 1) Avenue of Baobabs walkabout with free time in Morondava market or 2) Kirindy Private Reserve to look for primates & and the shy Fossa (related to the mongoose), the top predator of Madagascar, quite easily.
During a day at sea, enjoy the on-board lecture program as the ship cruises along the island’s west coast.
Morning drive to Ankarafantsina National Park, home to half of Madagascar’s flora and fauna, for guided wildlife walks of varying lengths or a boat ride on the lake; PM Durrell Breeding Program established to protect the endangered ploughshare tortoise through community engagement.
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.
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.
This morning dock at Diego Suarez’s stunning natural harbor; Guided tour of town; 4×4 vehicles to Mount Amber Natl Park for rainforest walks & panoramic views of Bay of Diego; PM cruising with time for a lecture.
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.
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.
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.
Full day visit to Reunion Island with choice of: 1) Central Highlands and Piton de la Fournaise Crater or 2) Vanilla plantation in St. Andre and free time in port town of St. Denis; both options enjoy a Creole lunch; Captain’s farewell evening
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.
Everything you need to know about the tour
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