The Wildlife of Madagascar’s Magical Forests with Oliver Smart
This expert-led small group tour focuses on the photogenic wildlife and landscapes of Madagascar’s three main forest types that make Madagascar so unlike anywhere else on Earth. Not only is the fauna and flora unique, it also full of fascinating evolutionary history. In the areas we visit, the animals are mostly habituated thus affording excellent viewing and photo-opportunities. For those who enjoy close, intimate encounters with wildlife and/or have an interest in photography, this is an ideal journey, greatly enhanced by the expert guidance.
The itinerary concentrates on three of Madagascar’s most wildlife-rich reserves and major contrasting forest habitats. We will focus on finding one of the most endangered and enchanting groups of lemurs – the acrobatic sifakas. The unique habitats visited will include the western dry deciduous tropical forests of Ankarafantsika National Park and Katsepe, the southern gallery (riverine) woodlands and bizarre spiny forests found at Berenty Reserve, and the lush eastern wet rainforests of Analamazaotra – Mantadia National Park.
There will be multiple close encounters with a wide range of lemurs including four species of sifaka; Coquerel’s, crowned, Verreaux’s and diademed. There will also be memorable sightings of the famous ring-tailed lemurs, acrobatic black-and-white ruffed lemurs, singing indris, and inquisitive brown, rufous-brown and mongoose lemurs: we also hope to see gentle bamboo lemurs and numerous species of nocturnal lemur. In addition, we should encounter a wide range of Madagascar’s spectacular herpetofauna including numerous species of chameleon, bright green day geckos, perfectly camouflaged leaf-tailed geckos, colourful endemic frogs, impressive snakes and wonderfully weird insects like the giraffe-necked weevil and flatid leaf bug. Madagascar’s birdlife is also a highlight with many endemic families and a chance to see the rare helmet vanga being a highlight. We might also encounter snuffling tenrecs (similar to our hedgehogs) in the leaf litter and observe huge flying foxes roosting in the trees.
There will be many stops along the way enabling us to experience remarkable landscapes and gain an insight into the customs, lifestyles and vibrant cultures of friendly Malagasy tribes. There will be an emphasis on photographic opportunities and tuition in addition to quiet observation of Madagascar’s special wildlife at a leisurely pace.
The tour will be jointly led by award-winning wildlife photographer, naturalist and ornithologist Oliver Smart and local wildlife expert Daniel Razafimandimby who together will help you make the most of your experience. The combination of their good humour, knowledge and wide experience in the field will help you gain maximum enjoyment and image results from this exciting adventure.
Minimum group size is 6, maximum 8 plus the two tour leaders.