Birding Tour Madagascar: Best of Madagascar Birds and Wildlife October 2019/2020/2021

Upcoming Tours:

(Click on + for prices & bookings)

17 - 31 October 2019

Tour Costs

Price: €4,992 / $5,888 / £4,736 per person sharing, assuming 6 – 8 participants, plus €310 for domestic flights which we will book for you.

Single Supplement: €652 / $769 / £618

* Please note that currency conversion is calculated in real-time, therefore is subject to slight change. Please refer back to the base price when making final payments.


17 - 31 October 2020

Tour Costs

Price: €5,541 / $6,536 / £5,256 per person sharing, assuming 6 – 8 participants, plus about €360 for the domestic flight, which we will book for you.

Single Supplement: €724 / $854 / £687

* Please note that currency conversion is calculated in real-time, therefore is subject to slight change. Please refer back to the base price when making final payments.

17 - 31 October 2021

Tour Costs

Price: €6,095 / $7,189 / £5,781 per person sharing, assuming 6 – 8 participants, plus about €378 for the domestic flight, which we will book for you.

Single Supplement: €796 / $939 / £755

* Please note that currency conversion is calculated in real-time, therefore is subject to slight change. Please refer back to the base price when making final payments.

Tour Details

Duration: 15 days
Group Size: 6 – 8
Spaces Available: 2
Tour Start: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End: Antananarivo (Tana)

Price includes:
Guiding fees
Entrance fees
All transport while on tour
Bottled water throughout the tour

Price excludes:
All flights
Flight back to Tana at the end of the tour
Items of a personal nature, e.g. gifts
Personal insurance

Best of Madagascar: 15-day Birding and Wildlife Tour October 2019/2020/2021


Madagascar! Our world’s fourth-largest island is, quite simply, unique. Five bird families and five mammal families (including the lemurs) are endemic to this massive island, and half the world’s chameleons, weird and wonderful endemic plant families, and tons of other wildlife can be found here. An astonishing 120 bird species are endemic – including such exotic groups as vangas, ground rollers, cuckoo roller, couas, asities, and mesites. Lemurs vie for attention, from the tiny mouse-lemurs to the marvelous sifakas and the amazing indri with its calls that resound through the forest. Our tour visits a range of habitats: grasslands, dry deciduous woodland, the bizarre spiny forest with its odd octopus trees (Didiera madagascariensis) and elephant’s foot trees (Pachypodium rosulatum), lush eastern rainforest, as well as lagoons and mudflats. The birds that we’ll look for include the roadrunner-like Long-tailed Ground Roller and the stunning Pitta-like, Scaly, and Rufous-headed Ground Rollers, as well as the highly-prized Subdesert Mesite, the unforgettable Giant Coua, the astounding Velvet Asity, and Madagascan Ibis, to name just a handful. We invite you to join us on a special tour to an amazing island!

This tour can be combined with either our Madagascar: 6-day Masoala Peninsula Pre-tour (12 – 17 October) pre-tour, or with both pre-tours, adding our Madagascar: 7-day Northwest (Ankarafantsika/Betsiboka Delta) Pre-tour (6 – 12 October), as well as with our Madagascar: 6-day Berenty Reserve Extension (31 October – 5 November) for a magnificent full-month Madagascar adventure. It can also be combined with our Namibia, Okavango (Botswana) and Victoria Falls (Zambia): 18-day Birding Adventure tour (2 – 19 November) and, following that, with our Birding Tour Zimbabwe and Mozambique (21 November – 5 December).

Please note that Madagascar is a huge island, and we also offer, in addition to the set-departure extensions listed above, remote extensions for some of Madagascar’s toughest endemics, including Madagascan Serpent EagleRed OwlMadagascan Pochard, and Sakalava Rail. Please contact us.


Itinerary (15 days/14 nights)

Day 1. Arrival in Antananarivo
Your international flight, or domestic flight if you have joined our Masoala extension, arrives in Antananarivo (shortened to “Tana” by most people). After arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel.
Overnight: Relais des Plateaux, Antananarivo

Day 2.  Drive to Andasibe, afternoon birding Analamazoatra Special Reserve
Early today we embark on a three-to-four-hour drive to Andasibe, one of Madagascar’s premier rainforest sites. Here the unforgettable call of the indri resounds through the beautiful Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. In the afternoon we will visit its Analamazoatra section. We find the indri with ease, along with other spectacularly beautiful species such as ruffed lemur. Birding is unbelievable, with four different ground rollers possible, along with two nightjars, including the bizarre Collared Nightjar at its daytime roosts. Madagascan Owl, Rainforest Scops Owl, and a suite of nocturnal lemurs and chameleons await us on a night walk in the area.
Overnight: Andasibe Hotel, Andasibe

Days 3 – 4. Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
We spend two more nights in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, birding the beautiful primary and secondary forests of the area. We spend the whole day on Day 2 and the morning of Day 3 in the Mantadia National Park section, while returning to the Analamazoatra section in the afternoon of Day 3.  We should find Velvet AsityCommon Sunbird-AsityBenson’s Rock Thrush (Forest Rock Thrush), Madagascan Flufftail, many vangas including Blue Vanga and Nuthatch Vanga, Madagascan Blue PigeonMadagascan Cuckooshrike, several endemic warblers such as Rand’s Warbler, and more. We have stakeouts for Madagascan Grebe, the rare Meller’s Duck, and Madagascan Rail. We expect our first couas, Red-fronted Coua being a likely candidate. We should also see a few new lemurs such as Ruffed Lemur. We certainly don’t ignore other non-avian wildlife and often see giraffe weevil, tree boa, and many chameleons.
Overnight: Andasibe Hotel, Andasibe

Day 5. Drive to Antsirabe, birding on the way
We embark on a long and scenic road trip, breaking the journey to amazing Ranomafana National Park in the south-east of the island with one night in Madagascar’s second largest city, Antsirabe.
Overnight: Couleur Café, Antsirabe

Day 6. Transfer to Ranomafana National Park
We hope to see many of Madagascar and its neighboring islands’ common endemics en route to the national park, including species such as Madagascan WagtailMalagasy Kingfisher, Mascarene MartinMalagasy KestrelMalagasy Bulbul, and many others.
Overnight: Setam Lodge, Ranomafana

Days 7 – 8. Birding Ranomafana National Park
At the magnificent Ranomafana National Park we are in for a real treat. The rainforest here is similar to that at Andasibe, but it is a better place for several species we won’t yet have seen, such as the rare Yellow-bellied Sunbird-Asity, the recently described Cryptic Warbler, Madagascan YellowbrowGrey-crowned TetrakaPollen’s VangaGrey EmutailWedge-tailed JeryMadagascan Snipe, and numerous others. As always in a new part of the island we expect new lemurs, such as Golden Bamboo Lemur. The reptiles here include leaf-tailed gecko.
Overnight: Setam Lodge, Ranomafana

Day 9. Isalo National Park
After some final birding at Ranomafana while hoping to clean up there, we begin another scenic road trip across the island, with the possibility to stop shortly at Anja Community Reserve. Today we start heading westwards, to much drier parts. We’ll spend one night in the beautifully picturesque Isalo National Park. Here we’ll search for some more star birds, such as Benson’s Rock Thrush (Forest Rock Thrush) and the attractively-patterned Madagascan Partridge.
Overnight: Relais de la Reine, Isalo

Day 10. Transfer westwards to Ifaty, birding en route
We head towards the spiny forests of the southwest. This will be like entering a completely new world, and there is nothing else like this weird landscape anywhere in the world – Africa, although geographically close by, is nothing like Madagascar in landscape or wildlife. However, before reaching these spiny forests we first have another fascinating drive that should generate some of Madagascar’s most localized birds. On our drive westwards towards the spiny forests we stop at a unique dry deciduous forest at Zombitse National Park, inhabited by the critically endangered Appert’s TetrakaCoquerel’s Coua, the incomparable Cuckoo Roller, which we often see displaying, and various other goodies. Then we bird a coastal site further west for two incredibly localized species endemic to “coral rag scrub”, Verreaux’s Coua and Red-shouldered Vanga. We should also start finding our first of more widespread dry area birds, including Subdesert Brush Warbler and others.
Overnight: Les Dunes d’Ifaty, Ifaty

Day 11. Birding the spiny forests near Ifaty
A world away from the eastern rainforests, after much anticipation we now bird the spiny forests near Ifaty , where baobabs and Diedera trees provide an absolutely unique habitat for a host of sought-after Madagascar endemics, among them such incredible birds as Long-tailed Ground RollerSubdesert MesiteSickle-billed VangaArchbold’s NewtoniaBanded Kestrel, ThamnornisLafresnaye’s VangaRed-capped Coua (the local olivaceus subspecies, “Green-capped Coua”),  Running Coua, and others. We also visit a site for Madagascan Plover.
Overnight: Les Dunes d’Ifaty, Ifaty

Day 12. Drive from Ifaty to La Table near Toliara
Today we will explore, on our drive to Toliara, a small hill reminiscent of Table Mountain in Cape Town, here called La Table. Behind it is a small area of scrubby forest, where we will search for the now famous Red-shouldered Vanga, the last lifer Phoebe Snetsinger saw before she was killed in a car accident – while birding!, and the localized Verreaux’s Coua. We hope to locate both, as well as possibly Lafresnaye’s Vanga.
Overnight: Hotel Victory, Toliara

Day 13. Boat trip to Nosy Ve and Anakao Village
Today in the morning we do a boat trip to the island of Nosy Ve, where we look at breeding Red-tailed Tropicbird and may find Crab-plover as well as multiple terns and waders. Across the island on the mainland the small fishing village of Anakao, where we have lunch, contains our site for Littoral Rock Thrush. Here we’ll also look for Sakalava Weaver, Madagascan Buttonquail, and Subdesert Brush Warbler. We should see various other new trip birds as well.
Overnight: Hotel Victory, Toliara

Day 14. Flight to Tana, birding the city
We fly back to Tana and bird sites around the fascinating capital city for Sooty Falcon, Eleonora’s FalconMalagasy Pond Heron, and many other birds.
Overnight: Relais des Plateaux, Tana

Day 15. Departure
After some final birding in the city, either your international flight leaves Tana for home, or we will fly out to Fort Dauphin for the Berenty extension.

Please note that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides and other factors.

Download Itinerary
The best of Madagascar TRIP REPORT October 2017

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