Style : Group tour
Lemurs at Madagascar, East Africa

Voyage to Madagascar

Zegrahm Expeditions
5.0 . Excellent
100%
Travel Style: Array Mixed
Physical Level: All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included. Moderate
Lodging Level: You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic (2*)
16 days
From: $ 13,980 $ 874 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights (Bullets)

  • Six day tour of Madagascar where you stroll through the white sand beaches of Mauritius
  • In Zanzibar, wander through a labyrinth of serpentine alleyways in Stone Town (a world heritage site)
  • Witness 32 species of reptiles; and over 100 species of birds,
  • Enjoy superb snorkeling at Nosy Hara, a World Wildlife Fund coral marine ecoregion

Short Description

Spectacular scenery awaits throughout this Madagascar expedition with Zanzibar, Comoros, Réunion and Mauritius. Our East Africa expedition combines the rugged Comoros Islands, the colorful chameleons and pristine coral reefs of Madagascar, and the volcanic peaks of Mauritius and Réunion.

Style Group tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Lodging Level Basic (2*)
Flight & Transport Inclusions All internal ground transport
Start City Zanzibar
End City Mauritius

Itinerary

Day 1 (November 30): Arrive in Zanzibar and transfer to the Sea Cliff Resort with the rest of the day at leisure. Those arriving in the morning may choose to join a tour of Jozani Natural Forest Reserve for nature walks to search for the photogenic red colobus monkey, Skye’s monkey, duikers, and more than 40 species of birds. Gather at the hotel this evening for a welcome reception and dinner.

Day 2 (December 1): This morning tour one of Zanzibar’s many spice plantations, famous for their production of nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, pepper, and cloves. Continue to Stone Town to wander the labyrinthine alleyways lined with fascinating Moorish, Arab, Indian, and European architecture. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before embarking the Island Sky in the early afternoon.

Day 3 (December 2): Our lecturers introduce the extraordinary natural history of this region. Be on deck to watch for the dolphins often seen cruising these waters.

Day 4 (December 3): Disembark in Iconi, one of the oldest settlements on the island, and take a short drive to view the ruins of an 18th-century palace. Continue through scenic countryside to a plantation to learn about the cultivation of ylang ylang and exotic spices. The tour ends in Moroni with a visit to the small museum, the medina, and the colorful market with a wide array of fruit, spices, and handicrafts. Or hike the trails of Karthala Volcano to search for island endemics like the Comoros blue-pigeon and bulbul.

Day 5 (December 4): Mayotte is an overseas territory of France, yet geographically it remains part of the Comoros group. A drive along the scenic southern coast brings you to a museum that unlocks the secrets of ylang ylang and vanilla, and a garden stroll reveals luxuriant tropical vegetation. Or board a local ferry to Petite Terre to explore the bustling market and charming colonial architecture of Dzaoudzi. A third option offers wonderful snorkeling in a large lagoon protected by a unique double barrier reef.

Day 6 (December 5): Go ashore at Nosy Komba, a peaceful fishing village that is close to a small reserve for dimorphic black lemurs. Here you can observe the engaging, semi-tame lemurs up-close for excellent photographic opportunities. With luck, you may spot a Parson’s chameleon, one of the world’s largest. Spend the afternoon snorkeling at nearby Nosy Tanikely, a marine island reserve whose healthy reefs are frequented by turtles, reef sharks, and large schools of colorful fish.

Day 7 (December 6): The archipelago of Nosy Hara consists of 12 limestone islands with white-sand beaches, karst rock cliffs, and pristine coral reefs. Board Zodiacs to explore the fascinating geology of this region and step ashore on secluded beaches for nature walks. Spend the afternoon snorkeling to discover the amazing diversity below the waves.

Day 8 (December 7): Disembark in Diego Suarez and board 4x4 vehicles for a scenic drive to Montagne d’Ambre National Park. Search for rare, localized crowned lemurs, as well as Sanford’s brown lemurs, striped mongoose, and a wealth of birds, including endemic Madagascar crested ibis and Amber Mountain rock-thrushes. After lunch on board, tour Diego Suarez, the capital of the French colony in the late 1800s, graced with wide streets and colonial architecture.

Day 9 (December 8): Depart overland for Ankarana National Park this morning, renowned for its dramatic landscapes: karst pinnacles, or tsingy, deep forest-filled canyons, a labyrinthine cave system, and a vast network of underground rivers. Wildlife is profuse in this park and you have excellent opportunities to encounter several lemur species, as well as birds typical of dry forest such as the white-breasted mesite and the Torotoroka scops-owl.

Day 10 (December 9): Spend the day at sea attending lectures and joining naturalists on deck to search for sea birds and marine mammals.

Day 11 (December 10): Nosy Mangabe is a haven for a variety of wildlife. Species commonly sighted include black and white ruffed and brown mouse lemurs, leaf-tailed geckos, tree frogs, and with luck, the world’s smallest vertebrate, the thumbnail-sized dwarf chameleon. Return to the ship for lunch then disembark in Maroantsetra to explore the bustling market, filled with vanilla pods, cloves, and other exotic spices as well as finely woven raffia hats and bags.

Day 12 (December 11): Masoala is the largest national park on the island. On hikes through pristine forest you are likely to encounter red-ruffed and white-headed lemurs, greater hedgehog tenrecs, and ring-tailed mongoose. The park is also home to various species of brightly colored mantella frogs, a variety of extraordinary chameleons of all sizes, and many endemic bird species including the endangered Madagascar red-owl and Madagascar serpent eagle.

Day 13 (December 12): Two tour options are available today. Those with an interest in natural history begin with a drive through lush vegetation, then board traditional dugout canoes for a leisurely cruise through a maze of mangroves, and enjoy a refreshing swim from a lovely white-sand beach. Or, choose a cultural tour that visits the Pirate Cemetery, the residence of the French colonial governor, the oldest Catholic church in Madagascar, built in 1837, and the main town Ambodifotatra.

Day 14 (December 13): Relax on deck and attend lectures that highlight our intriguing final ports of call.

Day 15 (December 14): Lush, volcanic Réunion is an overseas territory of France. Explore St. Denis, a small colonial town whose pervasive French and Creole ambiance is reflected in picturesque town squares. A breathtaking drive into the island’s dramatic mountains brings you to a volcanic crater for magnificent views. Enjoy a traditional Creole lunch, then continue on to a vanilla plantation to discover the history and the culture of this precious orchid. Birders hope to find the endemic Réunion paradise flycatcher, Réunion stonechat, and Réunion harrier.

Day 16 (December 15): Disembark the Island Sky after breakfast and set out on a tour of the island’s scenic highlights. A drive inland takes you up to, and around, the rim of an extinct volcanic crater and the Grand Bassin sacred lake. After lunch visit a magnificent waterfall which cascades over the geologically unique “seven-colored earths of Chamarel.” Birders search the indigenous forest for the endemic pink pigeon, echo parakeet, and Mauritius cuckoo-shrike. In the afternoon, transfer to the airport to board your independent homeward flight.

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 13,980
Price Per Day: $ 874 per day

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14 Zegrahm Expeditions Travel Reviews & Ratings

100%
5.0 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 14
Great 0
Average 0
Disappointing 0
Terrible 0
Value
5.0
Guide
5.0
Activities
5.0
Lodging
5.0
Transportation
5.0
Meals
5.0

Voyage to Madagascar

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Company Reviews

Highest Recommendation Possible

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Zegrahm gets my highest recommendation.

I recently returned from a 13-day Seychelles exploration and snorkel/dive adventure beginning in Zanzibar, visiting something like 9 Seychelles Atolls and islands for tons of daily snorkeling and diving, and finishing in Mahe where we departed from.

This was absolutely the best cruise/group experience I have ever had on either land or sea. Zegrahm charters the boats and I was lucky enough to be on the Ponant ship, Le Bougainville, which is very posh, with a friendly and polite staff, an amazing french chef, good food, a nice spa, you name it. My bedroom was like a small luxury hotel and each room had a balcony so you could enjoy seaside and ocean views from your bed or balcony whenever you'd like. It was lovely. I especially appreciated coming back to such a haven after long days of sunshine, beach and snorkeling.

Not only was the cruise ship and it's staff fantastic, but the Zegrahm staff were all wonderful. I sat and had dinner with many of them every day and they somehow remembered all our names (99 or so of us). They snorkeled and dove with us, pointing out fish and naming species, they went birding, they provided lectures in the mornings and evenings in their areas of expertise, because Zegrahm hires Marine Biologists, Anthropologists, and countless other individuals (with PhDs) to provide insight and lessons into the history and ecology of the places being visited and seen.

At the conclusion of the trip - I didn't want it to end. I had made several like-minded friends for travel, was invited on future trips and exchanged information with almost everyone. We were a family by the end, both staff and customers. Hugs all around as we celebrated all we had seen together and promised to keep in touch. Zegrahm fosters that type of environment when you travel with them - and it was welcoming and especially enjoyable for a solo traveler like myself.

These trips aren't cheap - but are worthwhile for all you see and do - most things you'd never be able to see on your own and certainly not with trained ecologists and marine science experts. I believe you get what you pay for. I was one of the youngest on board but there was a small group of about ten 30-40 year olds with the vast majority being probably 50-80.

This isn't a sit on the boat all day-type thing. You are going to be waking up early, going out 2-3x a day and really seeing and doing things. You almost never have down time and you are always learning, seeing, talking and doing. It's expeditionary, not sedentary. It's fun and really enriching.

The best way to know someone is doing a good job at this price point (think around $8-12k per person) is repeat customers and I met countless people who have done 6-12 of these expeditions with Zegrahm and knew the staff already. That's the absolute best recommendation you can get. I'll be booking with them again without any hesitation.

Thank you to Brad, Murph, LJ, Merel, Steven, George, George K., Robin, Pepper, Lisa, Shirley, Gemma, Chris, Boli, Marcel, and anyone else who I forgot from this amazing trip. You all did a great job and made me feel like family!
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Quality staff and good itineraries.

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Quality staff and good itineraries. Also have many voyages with no single supplement. They actually welcome solo travelers - much more welcoming than many other companies. Getting a little expensive for me, though.
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Wonderfully planned trips with guides

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Wonderfully planned trips with guides, naturalists and even zodiac drivers who are well steeped in the knowledge of the animals and area they take you. You can always depend on having an incredible time with no hitches. Zegrahm is top drawer and my favorite company with which to travel.
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That was a wonderful, unexpected addition

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The trip I took to Antarctica was AMAZING. I ran out of words to describe the sites that I was seeing on the first day! The expedition leaders were not only knowledgeable but fun. That was a wonderful, unexpected addition.
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I couldn't recommend their company and their trips enough.

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Zegrahm takes care of their guests like no other expedition company I've every traveled with before. I have been on more than 5 trips with them and will continue to come back every year. The quality of their staff and accommodations are incomparable and you truly feel like you're being taken care of every step of the way. The expeditions are exciting and informative all in one. I couldn't recommend their company and their trips enough.
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Superb

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Superb planning and execution. By far the best trip and exedition company out there.

Details

Flight & Transport Inclusions

All internal ground transport

Group Size

Intimate Group - 12 max

Trip ID#:

VoyMadZeg

What's excluded

  • All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes;
  • Transfers for independent arrivals and departures; travel insurance; passport and/or visa fees;
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages except as listed;
  • E-mail/Internet/fax/telephone charges
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