THE AYE AYE AND I

14 Days from £5,450 per adult. Prices based on flight fares at the time of costing & may vary. Please ask for a definitive quote
14 Days
Group Tour
Primate Watching
Off The Beaten Track

Join ever-popular Malagasy naturalist guide and leader Mamy Ramarolahy on this fabulous wildlife group tour which has been specially designed to maximise the chances of watching one of Madagascar’s most elusive and weirdest lemurs in the wild; the aye aye! The itinerary loosely follows the route taken by Gerald Durrell on his last wildlife collecting expedition to Madagascar, recounted in his hilarious novel, The Aye – Aye and I. The adventure starts with the little visited rainforest reserve of Farankaraina on the edge of the bay of Antongil in the north of Madagascar. At this time of year the chances of seeing aye ayes are excellent (around 70 – 80 % per night) and there is plenty of other wildlife to see here too. From here we travel to the wild Masoala Peninsula, containing Madagascar’s largest remaining area of lowland rainforest which in turn supports the greatest biodiversity found on the island. Here you will stay in one of Madagascar’s best rainforest lodges where you can hopefully enjoy watching humpback whales teaching their calves to breach, snorkel and kayak in the local marine reserve and explore the luxuriant primary rainforest in search of the spectacular red ruffed lemur and unmistakable helmet vanga.

The second location will be the very different but equally rewarding dry decidous forest of Ankarafantsika National Park (commonly known as Ampijoroa) for more special lemur encounters including one of the most beautiful, the Coquerel’s sifaka, the rare mongoose lemur and very localised golden-brown mouse lemur. Walks within the National Park may reveal the rare white-breasted mesite, Schlegel’s asity and Van Dam’s vanga and the endagered Madagascar fish eagle on Lake Ravelobe. Other highlights here will include the Ankarokaroka sandstone canyon and the Durrell Conservation Trust’s exemplary Angonoka Project.

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Itinerary

Price from £5,450 per adult. Based on sharing double / twin rooms

Day 1 - Antananarivo

Depart London. Arrive Tana. Met on arrival and transfer to your hotel.

Staying at Relais Des Plateaux. Includes In-flight Meals.

Day 2 - Farankaraina Forest Reserve

In the morning take scheduled charter flight to Maroantsetra. On arrival transfer by road to the river, from here transfer by motorised canoe (45 minutes) through rice paddies to the edge of the Farankaraina Forest Reserve. The final part of the journey involves a (45 minute - 1 hour) walk to the accommodation. Porters will be on hand to carry your luggage and will have waterproof sheets in case of rain.

In the evening take a night walk in search of the extraordinary aye aye. Your local guide here knows the favoured trees used by individual aye ayes and the chances of seeing one are excellent at this time of year.

Staying at Farankaraina Reserve Bungalow. Includes Breakfast and Dinner.

Day 3 - Farankaraina Forest Reserve

A full day to explore the reserve in search of rainforest wildlife. Diurnal lemurs frequently seen on the trails include the northern bamboo lemur and white-fronted brown lemur and birds include the blue and red-breasted couas.

The reserve is also noted for its frequent sightings of ring tailed mongoose and reptile and frog diversity which includes colourful day geckos, Madagascar ground and tree boas, mantella frogs and leaf-tailed geckos. In the evening take another night walk in search of aye ayes.

Staying at Farankaraina Reserve Bungalow. Includes All Meals.

Day 4 - Farankaraina Forest Reserve

This morning take a walk through a local village to learn about the local culture and way of life in this part of Madagascar. Your guide will also explain the medicinal uses of many of the endemic plants found here. The afternoon will be at leisure or available for more forest walks. In the evening take a final night walk to enjoy more aye aye encounters and look for other nocturnal lemurs such as Masoala woolly and sportive lemurs and mouse and dwarf lemurs.

Staying at Farankaraina Reserve Bungalow. Includes All Meals.

Day 5 - Nosy Mangabe

Morning transfer back to Maroantsetra and onwards by boat through the Bay of Antongil to Morning transfer by boat to the luxuriant island of Nosy Mangabe looking for whales again en route. The island contains rare reptiles such as Malagasy tree boas and abundant leaf-tailed geckos. Take a walk through the rainforest which may reveal the black-and-white ruffed lemur and the white-fronted brown lemur as well as the striking green backed mantella frog.

Continue to the wild Masoala Peninsula, containing Madagascar's largest remaining area of lowland rainforest. Please note that the sea can be rough.

Staying at Masoala Forest Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 6 - Masoala Peninsula

Full day guided exploration of the pristine primary rainforest in the Masoala National park with packed lunch. Search for the charismatic red-ruffed lemur, found only in this region, alongside white-fronted brown lemurs, tiny brookesia and huge Parson's chameleons, orchids, palms, epiphytes and ferns. Birds include the superb helmet vanga, elusive Bernier’s vanga and skulking short-legged and scaly ground rollers. Please note that some of the trails here are steep and you may cross a few small streams. Return to the lodge and enjoy sundowners by the fire before dinner.

Staying at Masoala Forest Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 7 - Masoala Peninsula

Enjoy another morning or full day of guided excursions to the primary rainforest to explore more of this biodiversity hotspot. Alternative options today could include an exploration of the coastal rainforest on flatter trails, kayaking through the mangroves or along the coast and snorkelling in the marine reserve. In the evening take a night walk in search of the lowland streaked tenrec, various nocturnal lemurs, scops owls, endemic frogs and maybe the rare fanaloka (Malagasy striped civet).

Staying at Masoala Forest Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 8 - Masoala Peninsula

Another full day of guided excursions to the habitats of the peninsula.

Staying at Masoala Forest Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 9 - Antananarivo

Return to Maroantsetra and perhaps search for the locally endemic and very impressive tomato frog in town. Take scheduled charter flight back to Tana.

In the afternoon visit Tsarasoatra Lake in a district of Tana for some unusual Hauts Plateaux birdwatching. Numerous dimorphic egrets and squacco herons can be found alongside large flocks of ducks and egrets and you may also see Madagascar malachite kingfishers, swamp warblers and white eyes. Return to the hotel via a tour of Tana.

Staying at Tamboho Hotel. Includes Breakfast.

Day 10 - Ankarafantsika National Park

Today transfer 8 hours to Ankarafantsika National Park (commonly known as Ampijoroa). The journey will be an interesting and varied one passing different landscapes and cultures as you head from the highland plateau into the dry deciduous forest.

In the late afternoon enjoy a visit to the park headquaters to see the stunning coquerel's sifakas roosting in the mango trees.

Staying at Blue Vanga Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 11 - Ankarafantsika National Park

Day to explore Ampijoroa. Start with a morning boat trip on the sacred lake Ravelobe for birdwatching and a chance to see the resident crocodiles and very rare Madagascar fish eagle. In the afternoon visit Durrell Conservation Trust's Angonoka project to discover the work being done to boost the population of the critically endangered ploughshare tortoise. Afternoon and evening forest walks.

Staying at Blue Vanga Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 12 - Ankarafantsika National Park

Enjoy a full day to explore Ampijoroa. Walks within the National Park may reveal more Coquerel’s sifaka, the rare mongoose lemur and roosting Milne Edwards sportive and western woolly lemurs. Birders are in for a treat with the chance of seeing the rare Schlegel’s asity, white-breasted mesite and Van Dam’s vanga in the forest.

Perhaps take an afternoon excursion to the spectacular Ankarokaroka sandstone canyon at the edge of a grassland plateau with its bizarre shapes and multi colours of red, yellow and white. Take an evening night walk in search of the very localised golden-brown mouse lemur and many reptiles and amphibians.

Staying at Blue Vanga Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 13 - Antananarivo

This morning enjoy a final excursion to the park headquaters to see the lemurs or for some birdwatching. Take a leisurely transfer back to Tana stopping for photographs and at points of interest along the journey and for lunch at a local restaurant. Day use at Relais des Plateaux hotel before your flight home.

Staying at Relais des Plateaux. Includes Breakfast and Lunch.

Day 14 - London

Depart Tana and fly to London or regional airport via Paris.

Includes In-flight Meals.

Travel Info

Are Flights Included?
Yes

Flight Info:
Fly to Antananarivo via Paris from London on Air France.

Area Specialist

Ian Loyd
specialist_ian-loyd

The Masoala Peninsula is one of the wettest regions in Madagascar, so waterproof clothing is essential and an umbrella comes in very useful too when on walks for protecting your camera and binoculars.

If you have any queries about this tour please feel free to call me directly on +44 (0)1803 866965 or...

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We had an EXCELLENT honeymoon – the preparations Reef & Rainforest made and the package put together were very well done. All guides excellent.

Ms N & Mr F, Gillingham

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Masoala Forest Lodge: -15.674081, 49.965820
Blue Vanga Lodge: -16.332208, 46.848101
Relais des Plateaux: -18.834180, 47.463010
Farankaraina Bungalows: -15.435637, 49.839778
Tamboho Hotel: -18.891703, 47.526676