Terra Incognita \"ter-a-in-kag-net-a"\ [L] (1616): unknown territory: an unexplored country.


Photo Expedition to the land that time forgot.

Sifaka, Madagascar
Sifaka, as seen on safari in Madagascar

12 days and 11 nights

Join us on a unique adventure through Madagascar, one of the most extraordinary places on Earth. Here you will find all of the world’s lemurs (some 40+ species) and over half of the world’s chameleons, in addition to more than 170 kinds of frogs. Every year scientists discover new species of plants and animals in its deserts and forests. There is no question Madagascar is a nature lover’s dream. It is also an exceptional photographic destination: many of the animals are habituated and easily approached, making for terrific photographic opportunities. Our itinerary is designed to include some of the island's highlights, with numerous different eco-systems and the greatest diversity of wildlife and photographic subjects.

Terra Incognita ECOTOURS was nominated as "Best Tour Operator" in the 2006 First Choice Responsible Tourism Awards

Group size is restricted to 16 individuals.

2015 Departure dates:
June 19 - 30 (Open to enrollment)

Cost per person is $8,699 - single supplement is $1,500

For each participant a $250 donation will be made to Simpona and the work of Dr. Erik Patel on Silky Sifakas. www.simpona.org

Madagascar Eco Tour Detailed Itinerary

Madagascar Travel MapMagical Madagascar: Photo Expedition to the land that time forgot.

This is an Ecotour that will make a difference to you, and to the areas we visit.
We will employ local people.
We will use locally owned and operated lodges and outfitters.
We will use local goods and services.

Day 1: Friday - Arrival to Antananarivo, Madagascar
You should plan to arrive in Antananarivo anytime today. There are various routings, Kenya Airways from Nairobi, Air France from Paris, Air Austral from Reunion, or South African Airways from Johannesburg. If you choose Kenya Airways, South African Airways or Air Austral they all arrive late morning or early afternoon, allowing you to settle in and enjoy a welcome dinner. You can also choose the Air France flight that departs from Charles de Gaulle this morning, but please know this flight arrives late at night and it will be after midnight before you clear customs and arrive to the Hotel Colbert. Welcome dinner this evening at the Hotel.
Overnight at the Hotel Colbert (D)

Day 2: Saturday - Antananarivo to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
This morning we depart for the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, an important area of protected rainforest, and home to the largest of the lemur species - the Indri. We will stop at the incredible La Mandraka Nature Farm en route - this private zoo has an excellent collection of native reptiles and amphibians and offers wonderful opportunities for close-up photography. Our destination is the luxurious Vakona Lodge, in a lovely setting at the edge of the forest. Dr. Erik Patel will join us on our trip to the Perinet area and this evening will give a short presentation about the conservation challenges in Madagascar and talk about his work with the endangered Silky Sifaka.
Overnight at the Vakona Lodge (B,L,D)

Sifaka as seen on safari in Madagascar
Sifaka, seen in Andasibe/Mantadia National Park (Perinet), Madagascar

Day 3: Sunday - Antananarivo to Andasibe-Mantadia Reserve
We have a full day to visit one of Madagascar's most celebrated reserves, with an early start to see the Indri and hear their haunting calls. Each animal sings with its own unique voice, so the echoes and re-echoes tell each group where every Indri is located in the forest. We track Indri through the forest, and moderate walking provides a good opportunity to experience the abundant flora and fauna of the eastern rain forest. The world's largest chameleon can be found here, together with a wonderful array of tree frogs and geckos, plus numerous colorful tropical birds. We return to the Vakona Forest Lodge for lunch. In the afternoon we will visit a private reserve located on a small island near Vakona Lodge (a.k.a. "Lemur Island") where the photographic opportunities are excellent as several lemur species are easily approached and photographed here. This evening we may take a walk to look for nocturnal lemurs - if we're lucky we may catch the eye shine of the diminutive brown mouse lemur, greater dwarf lemur, or even the avahi (or eastern woolly lemur).
Overnight at Vakona Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 4: Monday - Andasibe-Mantadia National Park to Antananarivo
This morning we visit Mantadia National Park, this area has primary rain forest and is home to many species not found at Perinet including the beautiful golden colored Diadeemed sifaka, Black-and-White ruffed lemurs as well as the Gray Bamboo lemur and the Red-fronted Brown lemur. We plan on enjoying lunch back at Vakona Forest Lodge and continue to Antananarivo in the afternoon, and this evening we say farewell to Dr. Erik Patel.
Overnight at Hotel Colbert (B,L,D)

Day 5: Tuesday - Antananarivo to Fort Dauphin
This morning we leave the Hotel Colbert and fly south, our destination is Fort Dauphin. Upon arrival in Fort Dauphin at the southernmost tip of Madagascar, we will take a short afternoon excursion to Reserve du Nahampoana, located on the outskirts of town within an old French botanical garden research center. Ringtails, sifakas and brown lemurs reside here in a lush garden set against a misty mountain backdrop.
Overnight at Croix du Sud (B,L,D)

Parson's Chameleon, Madagascar
Parson's Chameleon, Madagascar

Day 6: Wednesday - Berenty Reserve
This morning we depart on a 3+ hour drive from coastal rainforest to the spiny desert. We will enjoy stops along the way to view the unique baobab trees, rare three-cornered palms and funerary art of the Malagasy burial grounds. For the next three days we will be visiting the unique Berenty Reserve - with walks along the wide, well swept paths we will definitely encounter dozens of the ring-tailed lemurs, who are very friendly and seem pleased to pose for photographs. Be ready for surprise encounters with the beautiful sifaka lemur as they "dance" across the path. Other species include flying foxes, lizards, chameleons, the endangered Radiated tortoise and dozens of species of rare birds. This evening, we take a walk in search of nocturnal animals, including White-footed Sportive lemurs and White-browed owls.
Overnight at Gite d’Etape (B,L,D)

Day 7: Thursday - Berenty Reserve
In the early morning, Ring-tailed lemurs descend from the trees, often sitting all around you as you enjoy coffee. We have a full day to explore the reserve where the star attractions here are the large troops of wild Ring-tailed lemurs, which are completely accustomed to people. Also common are Brown lemurs and Verreaux's sifaka - one of Madagascar's most appealing and photogenic animals. In the afternoon, we will be on hand as these desert lemurs "dance" across the path as they return to their roosts in the treetops. The photographic opportunities here are exceptional, as the wildlife is diverse and easy to see.
Overnight at Gite d’Etape (B,L,D)

Baobab tree, Berenty Reserve, Madagascar
Baobab tree, Berenty Reserve, Madagascar

Day 8: Friday - Berenty Reserve to Antananarivo
Our last morning at Berenty, we can focus on trying to get good photos of the "dancing sifakas", a quest that can easily consume a whole day and many, many pictures, but is a challenge that is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face! Around lunchtime we will fly in a charter flight directly from the airstrip at Berenty directly back to Antananarivo. Upon arrival in Tana we should have time to stop at the handicraft market and shop for souvenirs, arriving back to the Hotel Colbert in the late afternoon. Tonight we visit La Varangue for a gourmet dinner.
Overnight at Hotel Colbert (B,L,D)

Day 9: Saturday - Antananarivo to Anjajavy
This morning we take a private charter flight to Anjajavy, a resort only accessible by air! The luxury resort consists of 25 well-appointed bungalows set in a fairly large private reserve bordering two wide deserted beaches, some mangroves, small "tsingy" karstic limestone formations, and offering many aquatic activities as well as several hiking possibilities, most notably to the neighboring Sakalava villages of Anjajavy and Ambodro Ampasy where the owners of the resort have been very supportive in building a dispensary, a primary school, and starting several micro-lending schemes. The lodge's private nature reserve just behind the landscaped garden has a varied fauna and flora, with some remarkable endemic species such as the delightful Coquerel's sifaka, lovebirds, Cuvier's spiny iguana, abundant malachite kingfishers, pygmy kingfishers, and much more.
Overnight at Anjajavy (B,L,D)

Day 10: Sunday - Anjajavy
Day at leisure to explore Anjajavy, perhaps go deep sea fishing, hiking, biking, visit to the nearby village, or just relax in the delightful lodge grounds.
Overnight at Anjajavy (B,L,D)


Day 11: Monday - Anjajavy
Our last full day to relax before the flights home, and a day to reflect on the true magic of Madagascar - we can still choose form the range of activities on offer here, or just relax at the pool and enjoy afternoon tea in the "Oasis".
Overnight at Anjajavy (B,L,D)

Day 12: Tuesday - Anjajavy to Antananarivo and home
Relaxed breakfast this morning and a chance to pack before our flight back to Antananarivo. Upon arrival in Tana we will transfer to either directly to the International Terminal, or to our reserved day rooms at Relais des Plateaux a comfortable hotel located close to the airport. Please ensure your return flights are scheduled for after 2pm. (B)


Not included:

International Air Travel - International air is not included in the price of your trip, but we would be happy to have you work with AirTreks, our preferred provider of international air arrangements. We recommend our customers work directly with AirTreks as they coordinate your international flights directly with Ecotours and enable you to arrive at your destination at the times specified for your tour. Please contact AirTreks at ecotours@airtreks.com for more information on international air travel, a no obligation cost estimate of your international flights and complete international air itinerary planning.

Make sure to mention Terra Incognita Ecotours when you contact AirTreks to receive preferred pricing, and recommended travel itineraries specifically developed for your tour.

Madagascar beach
Madagascar beach

Travel Information

Thanks for choosing Madagascar with Terra Incognita Ecotours, Inc. It is our pleasure to help you plan for your upcoming ecotour. To ensure that your travel arrangements are made to your satisfaction, please take a few minutes to read through this information.

What you need to have with you on your trip:

Passport: If you are a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you will need a passport, valid for six months from the date of completion of your trip.

It is always a good idea to make a photocopy of your airline tickets and of the pages of your passport that have the number, your photograph and other pertinent information. Keep the copies separate from the originals.

Visas: Please consult the Madagascar consulate or embassy nearest you for visa requirements to enter Madagascar. If a visa is required, you are responsible for obtaining it.

Documents for children under the age of 18, not traveling with both parents: The U.S. government is increasingly requiring that minors under 18 years of age traveling alone, with grandparents, or with one parent/legal guardian only, carry a notarized document signed by both parents or by the parent/legal guardian not traveling with the child. We suggest you obtain such a document (noting the age of the child, relationship to traveling adult(s), dates of travel, and destination) to avoid potential problems. For example, in the case of divorce, the parent with legal custody must sign the permit, and the accompanying adult must carry proof of this fact. In addition, if the child’s surname differs from that of either parent, you may want to carry the child’s birth certificate.

Emergency Contact number while on your ecotour:
Call COLLECT (813) 476-2810

Practical Information

Currency: The currency of Madagascar is the Ariary (MA). The exchange rate as of March 2010 was 1 US$ = 2,120 MA. Major credit cards are generally accepted at hotels, restaurants and larger stores. U.S. dollars are accepted in Madagascar, so we suggest you carry U.S. currency in small denominations for smaller purchases such as taxis, refreshments or other miscellaneous expenses.

Health: All information we obtain regarding health precautions is received from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta at 404.332.4559 or www.cdc.gov.

Please note that Terra Incognita Ecotours, Inc., as a travel company, is in no way authorized to prescribe any inoculations or medications. We recommend that you consult your personal physician for medical advice, showing him or her the brochure that indicates the places you will be visiting. Your physician is most familiar with your personal medical history and is best qualified to determine your particular needs. It is always advisable to have physical and dental check-ups before you leave.

At the present time, no specific immunizations are required for this ecotour, although the CDC recommends the following:

Please also note

Swimming & Snorkeling: There are several opportunities to swim during the ecotour, and you could choose to snorkel in the Indian Ocean on the extension to Anjajavy. You should bring a swimsuit(s), and if you plan to snorkel we advise you to bring your own snorkeling gear (mask, fins, and snorkel) to ensure a comfortable fit, especially if you require prescription eyewear as prescription lenses will not be available locally.

We advocate the buddy system for everyone, at all times, and children less than 14 years of age should always be accompanied by an adult while snorkeling.

Time Difference: Madagascar is eight hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. During U.S. Daylight Savings Time (March through October), Madagascar is seven hours ahead of Eastern Time.

Weather: The eastern part of Madagascar receives much rain, brought onshore by southeastern trade winds, which are forced to rise and drop moisture as they meet the eastern escarpment; annual precipitation in some places exceeds 120 inches. The central plateau gets considerably less moisture, and arid areas in the south and southwest receive less than 15 inches of precipitation per year. Most of the rain falls from November to April. The coastal regions generally are hot throughout the year. The central plateau has a temperate climate, with warm summers and cool winters. The average temperature range in Antananarivo on the plateau is 16°C to 26°C (61°F to 79°F) in January and 9°C to 20°C (48°F to 68°F) in July.

Please remember that the sun’s rays are more vertical than you may be used to, so you can sunburn more easily. Be careful of the midday sun.