September 23 - October 10, 2023
PRE-TOUR Gorilla Trekking, Rwanda-Uganda Sept 16-22
Lost worlds in one of the planet's last bio-diverse regions
Madagascar, the world’s fourth largest island, was relatively—and fortunately—undiscovered for thousands of years. It was colonised by human settlers relatively recently, as late as 500AD. That's some 300,000 years after the first appearance of Homo sapiens in Africa. Nature evolved at its own pace and under its own rules. This seclusion allowed spectacular ecological riches to flourish, to rival The Galapagos.
“The earth is God’s bride — she feeds the living and cherishes the dead." – Malagasy Proverb.
17 Days in depth exploration. Optional: Pre-Tour Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda/Uganda.
Chance upon one of the world’s most fascinating destinations.
Away from trodden tourist circuits, our thoughtfully-conceived small-group safari uses Antananarivo as a hub to travel in three separate directions to access the best that Madagascar has to offer: unique wildlife and plants, and unforgettable landscapes. Some ecologists refer to Madagascar as the "eighth continent". However, it is not for the faint of heart. Tourism infrastructure is still limited. You will need a 'go with the flow' attitude to fully enjoy and appreciate this unique land.
Rainforests of the Atsinanana, home to rare species of primate and lemur
Impossible, impassable Tsingy, a labyrinth of limestone canyons, caves, tunnels and spires
Royal Hill of Ambohimanga, a 500-year-old burial site
Iconic Baobab Alley, home to 2800 year old giants
A cornucopia of wildlife seen nowhere else: Red-ruffed and ring-tailed lemurs, Indri, Sifakas, Aye-aye, chameleons, and birdlife
Multiple naturalist-led hikes and walks into Isalo NP, UNESCO Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve, Berenty, and more
Carefully curated itinerary to cut long road transfers and increase time in national parks
Whale shark migration in Nosy Be
Snorkeling with giant turtles around Sakatia Island
"Shila, our fearless leader, you are a dream tour organiser, always attentive, always wanting us to have the best memories. I am still processing all we experienced. Big thanks for the unforgettable adventure. So much to thank you for your spirit of generosity. Your infectious love of travel and curiosity are an inspiration." -- Jessica Bradley, Montreal, Q.C.
Optional: 7 Days Pre tour Gorilla Trekking, Rwanda-Uganda.
A once-in-a-lifetime journey trekking through the forested slopes between the border of Rwanda and Uganda in search of the world’s largest population of wild mountain gorillas. Immersed in this dramatic natural setting, you will have the incredible opportunity to savour every second quietly observing intriguing interactions between gorilla family groups, our second closest primate relatives.
More info here.
Above all, Madagascar is a nature-lover's destination. From endless jungles filled with endemic plants, rare birds, and endangered animals -- including 90% of the world's lemur population -- to the white-sand beaches of the Malagasy islands and limestone karst formations of Ankarana, the island is an explosion of nature at each turn.
Tsingy limestone canyons, alleys of ancient baobabs, volcanoes, rainforest, sleepy beaches, bio-diverse coastal regions. . . Madagascar has some of the most singular landscapes anywhere. No wonder, since nature evolved at its own pace here. We will visit several national parks and nature reserves with naturalist guides.
From inlay woodwork to basket weaving, embroidery, zebu horn and fossil jewellery, and recycled objets d'art, Madagascar's artisans have honed their skills over generations to produce unique arts and crafts . . . you guessed it, unlike those found elsewhere. We will visit Le Digue market in Antananarivo and other markets in search of artisanal treasures and workshops.
The French and Indonesians left an indelible stamp on the island, from the cuisine to architecture. Experience Antananarivo's buzz and Antsirabe's laid back thermal hot springs vibe. Sample a unique cuisine based on the island's produce.
Sleepy coastal villages
Experience quintessential barefoot luxury in the far north of the island. Long cherished for its sleepy vibe and stunning marine diversity, Nosy Be is the jumping off point for white-sandy beaches, azure waters, and the bountiful growth of the rainforest. Excursions to see migrating whale sharks and swim with giant turtles.
The cuisine of Madagascar is an intriguing blend of African, Arab and Indonesian influences. Add French influences to the mix with crops brought by early French colonizers, including vanilla, coffee, cloves and sugar cane. Malagasy cuisine is known for being quite flavourful despite being prepared in a simple manner without much spice.
Here's a taste
our guests say it best
Combines unparalleled access with social responsibility and cultural sensitivity to achieve everything one could hope for in a specialty group tour: a creatively curated itinerary, meticulous planning, flawless execution and wonderful travel companions.
“Given the chance would I travel with Shila again? Yes. She is a hands on operator, with a sense of humour and is always respectful.
Very accommodating for those would like to pursue special interest and to then rejoin the group.”
In one word, amazing.
Shila provided me an opportunity to experience the treasure that is Morocco: colors, food, history, people, handcrafts, markets, accommodations. I experienced the widest range of Moroccan life. Thank you, Shila, for giving me memories for a lifetime.