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Madagascar Holidays Safari Tours Lemurs Wildlife Beaches Nosy Be St Marie

Lemurs, Madagascar Holiday + Reunion Island Walking: Cirques + Beach, Gilles

Madagascar (guided) + Reunion Island (self drive)
MPR10A
10 NIGHTS
FROM £2,495
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
Lemurs Madagascar Holiday Reunion Island Walking Cirques Beach Gilles

This unique wildlife trip combines viewing lemurs in the wild in the eastern rainforests of Madagascar at Andasibe-Mantadia, home to the largest lemur - the Indri, with a holiday on tropical Reunion Island, where you can enjoy walking in the 3 'cirques' (extinct volcanoes) & relaxing on the beach at St-Gilles. All park fees included, with English speaking private guide in Madagascar. Transfers can be substituted in Reunion, if you don't want to drive.

Lemurs Madagascar Holiday Reunion Island Walking Cirques Beach Gilles
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Lemurs, Madagascar Holiday
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Antananarivo
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Mantadia Rainforest
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Perinet Reserve
• 
Lemur Island
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Holiday Reunion Island, Walking
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Saint-Pierre
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Walking in Cirques
• 
Beach at Saint-Gilles
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Saint-Denis
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Lemurs, Madagascar Holiday
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Antananarivo
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Mantadia Rainforest
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Perinet Reserve
• 
Lemur Island
• 
Holiday Reunion Island, Walking
• 
Saint-Pierre
• 
Walking in Cirques
• 
Beach at Saint-Gilles
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Saint-Denis
Day 1
You will be met at Antananarivo Airport and transferred to your hotel in the capital city of the tropical island of Madagascar.
 
Check in to your hotel and relax in your warm friendly surroundings.
Day 2
Today depart from Antananarivo and travel 4-hours with your driver/guide to the small village of Andasibe. On this scenic drive you will see local villages with their long red clay houses, rice paddies and roadside markets, which will give you a good feel for traditional Malagasy life.
 
On arrival at your lodge, enjoy a 2 to 3-hour walk in the montagne rainforest of Analamazaotra Reserve (previously called the Perinet Reserve), which covers 810 hectares. This is where you come to see the magnificent black and white Indri - the largest lemur species in Madagascar, with their eerie wailing calls as they sing from the treetops and mark out their territory.
 
The path into the rainforest starts with a steep ascent up some well-made steps, followed by some relatively good paths, although a longer more gentle ascent is also available. There may be some scrambling off the path to get closer to the Indri, but there are plenty of trees to hang onto for balance.
 
You can also hope to see the beautiful orange, grey and white Diademed Sifaka as well as the Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur - although be warned that tracking lemurs in the dense canopy of this rainforest is hard work and you can realistically hope for only two or three sightings on each walk. However the excitement of finding them hiding high in the treetop canopy, and jumping from tree to tree, is a thrilling memory that will last a lifetime - so once you find a group do linger and enjoy watching their behaviour for a while. Altogether there are 12 lemur species in this park - 6 diurnal and 6 nocturnal.
 
In the early evening enjoy a 1-hour noctural guided walk along a road close to the Analamazaotra Reserve, so remember your headlamp. Here you can hope to see the glowing eyes of the tiny Goodman's mouse lemur, little tree frogs and sleeping chameleons.
Day 3
Today we drive 1-hour along a rough gravel road to the massive 16,000-hectare primary montane rainforests of Mantadia National Park.
 
The trees in these rainforests are tall and some trails are steep and muddy. There are also streams to cross using log bridges, but you should be rewarded by a view of the gorgeous Diademed Sifaka, perhaps the most beautiful of all the lemurs with its fluffy golden-orange, grey and white coat.
 
You should also see the Black-and-White Ruffed Lemurs that scream at each other across the forest and, if you are fortunate, maybe also the large Indri that is easily heard because of its impressive shrieks. This park is also a great place to see the giraffe-necked weevil, tenrec (similar to hedgehog), frogs and chameleons.
 
The indigenous flora is outstanding, with hundreds of species of orchids that blossom in October & November, many species of ferns, sacred creepers, lichens and dwarf palm trees. In total there are 12 different species of lemurs, 28 species of reptiles and over 100 bird species.
 
Afterwards enjoy a 30-minute visit to Lemur Island, where you can interact with and take close-up photos of habituated lemurs rescued from captivity and now living in the semi-wild near Vakona Lodge.
 
Note: Tracking lemurs is done on foot. Some trails are demanding, but your guide will be mindful of your level of fitness and adapt your route accordingly. Wear walking boots with good tread and carry proper rain gear, including lightweight waterproof trousers. Gardening gloves are useful to protect your hands when scrambling through the rainforest and a head torch for night walks is essential. As the climate in the mountains is much cooler than at the coast, especially at night, also pack a fleece.
Day 4
Today transfer 4-hours to Antananarivo Airport for your onward flight.

Arrive at Reunion Airport, collect your hire car and drive 1.5-hours to Saint-Pierre in the south of the island.
 
This craggy volcanic island offers wonderful walking and mountain biking opportunities in its three magnificent 'cirques' (steep-walled bowl-shaped natural amphitheatres), formed inside Piton des Neiges - the volcano that gave birth to the island and further shaped by centuries of erosion - Salazie, Cilaos and Mafate.
 
Check into your hotel on the beautiful south coast that has beaches framed by coconut trees.
Days 5 To 6
At leisure to explore the wild south of the island - with its steep cliffs, lush vegetation and colourful Creole houses. Start with a walk along the harbour of Saint-Pierre, the largest town in the south. It has a small covered market in the town centre and a larger market each Saturday by the seaside.
 
You can visit Grand Anse beach, famous for its spectacular sunsets, but be aware that sea currents are very strong here so only swim and snorkel in the volcanic rock enclosed lagoon. You can also walk up the headland that overlooks this beach for beautiful tropical island views.
 
Other options include visiting Cirque de Cilaos and Piton de la Fournaise (Furnace Peak), the most active volcano on the island. You can also visit the Jardin des Parfums et Epices (Spice Garden) in the southeast of the island and Anse Waterfall in the east. Between the fisherman's harbour of Sainte-Rose and Saint-Philippe you can see the lava rivers that are gradually increasing the size of the island.
Day 7
Today drive 1-hour from Saint-Pierre to Saint-Gilles-Les-Baines on the west coast.
 
Check into your hotel in this town that is known for its beaches, with over 12-miles (20-kms) of golden sands, and lovely coral reefs. The town has many lively bars and restaurants clustered around Roches Noires beach.
Days 8 To 10
At leisure to relax and enjoy the lively town of Saint-Gilles-Les-Baines, which has a lovely beachfront and splendid sunsets over Roches Noires beach.
 
At the Garden of Eden botanical gardens you can see chameleons and a magnificent volcanic lava tunnel. We suggest an early morning trip to the Maido viewpoint over the Cirque of Mafate, where hiking is popular. This popular holiday town is a favourite surfing spot, but as sea currents can be very strong  you should only swim in the lagoon or at one of the protected beaches between L'Ermitage and La Saline-les-Baines.
 
In nearby Saint-Paul you can visit the fascinating Seaman’s Cemetery, where the French poet Leconte de Lisle is buried, as well as the famous pirate La Buse. Across the road you can visit the Grotte des Premiers Français - caves where the first inhabitants of the island are said to have lived. On a Friday don’t miss the local market, which is one of the nicest on the island.
 
You can also visit the Kélonia Sea Turtle research station in the nearby town of Saint-Leu, where a coral reef partly closes the bay to protect swimmers. Here you can snorkel over a coral garden that shelters numerous marine species including turtles, starfish, crustaceans and tropical fish. This is one of the best places in the world to view Humpback whales in season (June to September) and at the aquarium you can see moray eels, sharks and seahorses. Scuba diving and deep sea fishing trips are also available.
Day 11
Drive 1-hour to Reunion Airport for your flight home.