Madagascar: 7-day Northwest (Ankarafantsika/Betsiboka Delta) Extension 2015

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Madagascar: 7-day Northwest (Ankarafantsika/Betsiboka Delta) Extension 2015

One hundred and twenty nine species of birds have been recorded in Ankarafantsika National Park, more than half of them endemic to Madagascar. They include Van Dam's Vanga,  Rufous Vanga , the elusive Banded Kestrel, and the more easily observed Madagascan Fish Eagle, which can often be seen at Ravelobe Lake. The endangered Humblot’s Heron can also be seen at Lake Ravelobe.

This pre-pre-tour extension to our Best of Madagascar: 14-day Birding and Wildlife Tour, plus extensions to the Northwest, the Masoala Peninsula, and Berenty Reserve tour can also be booked as a stand-alone tour.

Please note that the detailed itinerary below 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.

Itinerary (7 days/6 nights)

Day 1: Arrival in Antananarivo
You can arrive in Madagascar’s capital at any time today. Transfer to the hotel.
Overnight: Relais des Plateaux, Antananarivo

Day 2. Tana to Mahajanga (Majunga) to Ampijoroa (Ankarafantsika National Park)
We will leave the hotel after breakfast, take our flight to Mahajanga, and eventually drive directly to Ankarafantsika (about 4 hours’ drive), heading for the Ampijoroa dry deciduous forest. A three-night stay should allow us to spot most of the key birds of the area. En route to Ankarafantsika, we plan to stop at Lake Amboromalandy and at rice fields to try to find birds like Madagascan Jacana, Malagasy Pond Heron, Humblot’s Heron, the strange Black Heron, and others.
Time-permitting, we can spend time at Lake Ravelobe, scanning for the critically endangered Madagascan Fish Eagle and many other birds. Beware of crocodiles, please, and don’t walk too close to the lake! We then return to the rustic accommodation, checking the trees around the “lodge” for spectacular birds, including Sickle-billed Vanga, Madagascan Green Pigeon, Grey-headed Lovebird, and many others. If we’re not too tired, we might do a night walk tonight (otherwise the next evening), and this might generate Madagascan Nightjar, owls, chameleons, and nocturnal lemurs.
Overnight: Ampijoroa Forest Station, Ankarafantsika

Days 3 4. Two more nights at Ampijoroa
We have another early start to visit the various sections of Ankarafantsika. Here we need to find mega-amazing birds such as White-breasted Mesite, Van Dam's Vanga, Rufous Vanga, the incomparable and spectacular Schlegel’s Asity, Red-capped Coua, Coquerel's Coua, Crested Coua, and lemurs like the spectacular Coquerel's sifaka. One afternoon we plan to do a boat trip on the lake for species mentioned previously that might have been missed.
Overnight: Ampijoroa Forest Station, Ankarafantsika

Day 5. Ampijoroa to Mahajanga
After final “cleanup” birding in the dry forests of Ankarafantsika, we will drive back to Mahajanga (Majunga) - a very lively town with plenty of rickshaws. Then we’ll take a boat trip into the Betsiboka Delta, where we’ll bird the mangroves for rare species such as Malagasy Sacred Ibis and Bernier’s Teal, along with a host of tropical shorebirds, terns, and more. We’ll eventually fly back to Tana where we spend the night.
Overnight: Roche Rouge, Majunga

Day 6: Flight to Tana, Tsarasoatra Lake
Today we will take a flight to Tana. After arrival we will have a birding excursion to Tsarasoatra Lake and then transfer to our hotel.
Overnight: Relais des Plateaux, Antananarivo

Day 7. Flight home or beginning of the Masoala extension
Today either your international flight will leave for home or you will fly to Maroatsetra for the Masoala extension.

Please note that the accommodation on this pre-trip is rustic.

Duration:  7 days
Limit: 6 – 8
Date:  6 – 12 October 2015
Start: Antananarivo (Tana)
End: Antananarivo (Tana)

Price: €2363 per person sharing, assuming 6-8 participants
Single supplement: €315

Price includes:
Guiding fees
Entrance fees
All transport while on tour
Bottled water throughout the tour
Return flight Tana/Mahajanga (Majunga)/Tana

Price excludes:
International flights
Items of a personal nature, e.g. gifts
Personal insurance

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