22 Jan Indian Ocean Islands Cultural Tour – 18 Nights
Day 01: Arrive Antananarivo (Madagascar)
Upon arrival at Antananarivo, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Antananarivo
Day 02: Antananarivo – Andasibe – Mantadia National Park
After breakfast we start by touring Antananarivo the capital of Madagascar, driving to the upper town to see the Queen’s palace. In the Malagasy “Rova” is the symbol of the Merina Kingdom. Sitting on the top of the tallest hill of Antananarivo, it offers a spectacular view of the administrative quarter and its surroundings. We then drive down to the Independence Avenue and the Anosy Lake. Here we get a good picture of the diverse ethnic communities, before we take a scenic drive to Marozevo. We visit the famous exotic farming centre of Mr.Pereyras where we see almost all the chameleon species of Madagascar including butterflies, lizards, snakes, bats and other interesting animals. Then we proceed to Mantadia National Park, part of the Rainforests of the Atsinanana which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Overnight in Mantadia National Park.
Day 03: Andasibe – Matadia National Park
After breakfast we will visit the two areas of the National Park. These relict forests are critically important for maintaining ongoing ecological processes necessary for the survival of Madagascar’s unique biodiversity, which reflects the island’s geological history. Having completed its separation from all other land masses more than 60 million years ago, Madagascar’s plant and animal life evolved in isolation. We look out for the Indri, the biggest lemur species in the world, which communicates though calls that can be heard as far away as 4 kms. Later we drive back to Antananarivo. Overnight in Antananarivo.
Day 04: Antananarivo-Nosy Be (Madagascar) – by flight
After breakfast we take a short flight from Antananarivo and we arrive in a completely different world, Nosy Be in the northern tip of Madagascar. Upon arrival at this small airport we are met and transferred to our hotel. Balance of the day is free at leisure to explore the town or enjoy the beach – Madagascar’s most popular beach. Overnight in Nosy Be.
Day 05: Nosy Be
After breakfast we explore Nosy Be area which is famous for its natural beauty. An interesting day ahead as we start with a day excursion of Lokobe, a typical fishing village situated in the middle of a Ylang-Ylang Plantation in the south east part of the town. From here we take a short boat trip by a Pirogue crossing to the Beach of Lokobe (only reachable by boat). Here we take an easy-guided walking tour in the tropical forest to discover the fascinating fauna and flora, while searching for lemurians, chameleons, boas and much more. A nearby fishing village gives us an opportunity to meet the local folk. Overnight in Nosy Be.
Day 06: Nosy Be – Plaisance (Mauritius)
After breakfast we leave for our next island destination which is the well-known island of Mauritius. The flight from Nosy Be will take us first to Antananarivo to connect with the international flight to Plaisance International Airport in the island of Mauritius. Upon arrival, you will be cordially welcomed and transferred to your beach hotel. Balance of the time is free at leisure. Overnight at your beach hotel.
Day 07: Mauritius
After breakfast we will cover the island of Mauritius with several stops to see local life as well as scenic views. We learn about the history of Mauritius, the variety of people and their origins, their mixed culture and languages, visiting the buildings of Aapravasi Ghat in the district of Port Louis, among the earliest explicit manifestations of what was to become a global economic system and one of the greatest migrations in history starting in 1834. We also explore the Le Morne Cultural Landscape, a rugged mountain that juts into the Indian Ocean in the southwest of Mauritius. Protected by the isolated, wooded and almost inaccessible cliffs, escaped slaves formed small settlements in the caves and on the summit of Le Morne. Overnight at your beach hotel.
Day 08: Mauritius – Rodrigues Island – by flight
After breakfast we leave for a short flight to Rodrigues Island where we you will be met and transferred to your hotel. After time for independent exploring, we are in for a treat, as we join the locals for a sumptuous dinner. Overnight on Rodrigues Island.
Day 09: Rodrigues Island
After breakfast we tour the island and discover the unique lifestyle of the island, a charming combination of simplicity, friendliness and hospitality. Rodrigues is home to several species of endemic tropical flora and fauna. Overnight on Rodrigues Island.
Day 10: Rodrigues – Victoria, Mahe’ Island, Seychelles
After breakfast board your flight from Rodrigues via Mauritus to Mahe Island, in the Seychelles. Upon arrival at Mahe Island you will be warmly received and transferred to your hotel. Balance of the day is free at leisure. Overnight in Beau Vallon.
Day 11: Mahe Island – Praslin – by flight
After breakfast board an early morning flight to Praslin. Tou will be warmly received and taken on a tour of Praslin, a very popular island. We visit the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, which has the vestiges of a natural palm forest preserved in almost its original state. The famous coco de mer, from a palm-tree once believed to grow in the depths of the sea, is the largest seed in the plant kingdom. After the tour you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight on Praslin Island.
Day 12: La Digue – Praslin
After breakfast board a traditional schooner for a brief journey to La Digue Island. The fourth largest island features spectacular formations of granite boulders. An ox-cart ride on La Digue takes us to L’Union Estate to visit copra sheds, a giant land tortoise pen and an old colonial house. Marvel at the sight of the most beautiful beach of Seychelles, Anse Source d’Argent, over a typical Creole lunch and enjoy some time to spend sunbathing or swimming before our return to Praslin. Overnight on Praslin Island.
Day 13: Praslin – Mahe Island – Reunion Island
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight to Reunion Island via Mahe Island. Upon arrival we are transferred to our hotel. Balance of the day is free at leisure. Overnight in Saint Gilles les bains.
Day 14: Reunion Island
After breakfast explore the Pitons, cirques and remparts of Reunion Island, the core of La Réunion National Park. Dominated by two towering volcanic peaks, massive walls and three cliff-rimmed cirques, the property includes a great variety of rugged terrain and impressive escarpments, forested gorges and basins creating a visually striking landscape. It is the natural habitat for a wide diversity of plants, presenting a high level of endemism. We start off with a day excursion to Cilaos, a well-known mountain resort featuring a hot spring spa. We drive via a picturesque road awed by impressive landscapes. A short walk to La Roche Merveilleuse takes us to a lookout point where we see the whole valley. We also take a visit with the native people who make famous embroideries and grow lentils. Overnight in Saint Gilles les bains.
Day 15: Reunion Island – Mayotte
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight to Dzaoudzi Mayotte. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel, situated in the south of the island, right on beautiful N’Gouja Beach. Here we can enjoy Mayotte’s beautiful flora of 18 hectares of tropical garden, as well see huge baobab trees by the beach. We can also swim amongst the turtles, play with the green monkeys and take time to enjoy the serene sea. Overnight in N’Gouja Beach.
Day 16: Mayotte
After breakfast our explorartion of Mayotte starts with a visit to see the largest Baobab tree on the Island. We will also discover the dense tropical forest in the heart of the Island, visit a Ylang-Ylang Plantation and the “Jardin Maore”, where we can watch a friendly colony of lemurs living in the garden of the hotel and get another opportunity to swim with turtles. Overnight in N’Gouja Beach.
Day 17: Mayotte – Moroni (Comoros)
After breakfast leave for a short flight to Moroni on Grand Comoro Island where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free for us to enjoy the town, featuring the history of many settlers who came to inhabit the island, including Malagasy tribes, Malay-Polynesians, Arabs, Persians and Europeans. Overnight in Moroni.
Day 18: Moroni
After breakfast experience a whole different world as we tour the Grand Comoro Island. The local culture reflects the ethnic diversity, history, politics, food, drink, arts, sports and international influences in the region. The Grand Comore island is the largest island in the Comoros nation having a population of 316,000 with an area as large as or as small as 1,148kms². The island reflects a laid back Arab town. Overnight in Moroni.
Day 19: Moroni – Depart
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your departure flight home.
Optional Extension: Desroches Island, Amirante Islands
We can also organize an extension to Desroches Island from Mahe, with a private air transfer. Along with the remaining Amirante Islands, Desroches had been a part of the Seychelles since it became a separate colony in 1909. On November 8, 1965, the United Kingdom split Desroches from the Seychelles to become part of the newly created British Indian Ocean Territory together with Farquhar, Aldabra and the Chagos Archipelago, but returned it to the Seychelles with the first two. The purpose was to allow the construction of military facilities for the mutual benefit of the United Kingdom and the United States. On June 23, 1976, Desroches was returned to Seychelles.
Day 01: Mahe – Desroches Island, Amirantes
We take a private flight to Desroches Island. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Desroches Island is an idyllic, independently owned, coral island surrounded by white sandy beaches and a protective reef. It is the ultimate island destination, with luxurious accommodation in a heavenly setting of un-spoilt beaches and lush, green forests. Conservation is paramount on Desroches, every care has been taken in the design to protect the area’s natural history and ecology. Guests at Desroches enjoy first-class accommodation, fine cuisine, world class diving and snorkeling, luxurious spa facilities and striking scenery in total privacy and opulent style. It is the ultimate, indulgent holiday experience. Overnight on Desroches Island.
Day 02: Desroches Island
Enjoy a free day at leisure. Choose to have quiet picnics on secluded beaches, sunset cruises with loved ones, mesmerizing encounters with captivating marine life and blissful pampering treatments in all the natural wonders and five-star luxury the island has to offer. Overnight on Desroches Island.
Day 03 Desroches Island – Mahe
We return by private charter flight to Mahe.