Overview

For our Madagascar Highlights birding tours, we have selected only the very best of this incredible country and offered it in a shorter package and at a more relaxed pace than our Comprehensive tours. Nonetheless, we still target all five endemic Malagasy bird families and good numbers of lemurs and other representative wildlife, making these tours ideal for travellers with limited time or less interest in targeting every single endemic bird.

Our first destination is a journey to the bird and animal-rich sites of Perinet and Mantadia National Park in the eastern rainforest zone. The unforgettable song of the Indri drifts through these forests, and we will take time out to find a family group of these, the largest lemur species. Some of the brilliant birds we will look for include several highly sought-after forest birds, including Pitta-like, Rufous-headed, Short-legged and Scaly Ground Rollers, Red-breasted, Red-fronted and Blue Couas, the stunning Velvet Asity, Cuckoo Roller, Crossley’s Babbler, Madagascar Owl, Rainforest Scops Owl, Madagascar and Collared Nightjars, Madagascar (Crested) Ibis, Madagascar Wood Rail, Nuthatch Vanga, Madagascar Blue Pigeon, Brown Emutail, White-throated Oxylabes and Nelicourvi Weaver. Other attractions in this scenically beautiful region are the vocal Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur and the elusive Diademed Sifaka, considered by many to be the world’s most beautiful lemur.

The next leg of this adventure takes us to Ifaty and Tulear for their spiny deserts and coastal habitats. Here we look for the uncommon Madagascar Plover and the beautiful Red-tailed Tropicbird along the seashores, as well as exploring the bizarre, Tolkienesque landscape of multi-stemmed succulents, squat baobab trees and thorny scrub for such spectacular endemics as Banded Kestrel, Running and Red-capped Couas, Archbold’s Newtonia, Thamnornis, Lafresnaye’s Vanga, the near mythical Subdesert Mesite, Long-tailed Ground Roller (an elusive ground dweller best located by its low, hooting call), flocks of noisy Sickle-billed Vangas, Subdesert Brush Warbler and the attractive Chabert’s Vanga.

Our final destination is Berenty, the most famous of Madagascar’s lemur reserves. This is home to no less than six lemur species and the south’s largest colony of Madagascar fruit bats (sporting 1.25-metre wingspans!). The easiness with which to observe and photograph Ring-tailed Lemurs and ‘dancing’ Verreaux Sifakas, in particular, has turned this small protected area into one of Madagascar’s prime wildlife destinations. Some of the birding highlights here could include Giant Coua strolling along the well-cleared paths, Madagascar Buttonquail scurrying through the leaf litter, Madagascar and France’s Sparrowhawks, and the smart-looking Madagascar Sandgrouse.

2023 Tour price is an estimate and will change. Tour dates could be adjusted.

Tour Facts Top Birds
Subdesert Mesite, Cuckoo Roller, Long-tailed, Pitta-like, Rufous-headed, Short-legged & Scaly Ground Roller, Red-breasted, Red-fronted, Running, Red-capped, Blue & Giant Coua, Velvet Asity, Nuthatch, Lafresnaye’s & Sickle-billed Vanga, Crossley’s Babbler, Banded Kestrel, Madagascar & France’s Sparrowhawk, Madagascar Sandgrouse, Madagascar Buttonquail, Madagascar Owl, Rainforest Scops Owl, Madagascar & Collared Nightjar, Madagascar (Crested) Ibis, Madagascar Wood Rail, Brown Emutail, White-throated Oxylabes, Archbold’s Newtonia, Thamnornis, Nelicourvi Weaver
Top Mammals
Indri, Ring-tailed & Red-bellied Lemur, Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur, Diademed & Verreaux’s Sifaka, Madagascar Flying Fox
Habitats Covered
rainforest, riparian forest, deciduous woodland, spiny desert, mudflats, wetlands
Expected Climate
cool to warm, cold evenings in highlands, no rain expected
Max Group Size
8 with 1 Rockjumper leaders & local leader
Tour Pace & Walking
slow to moderate
Accommodation
comfortable hotels and lodges
Ease of Birding
mostly unchallenging but several difficult rainforest skulkers
Number of Species Expected
120-130
Other Attractions
Spiny Desert, Berenty, weird herps & insects, coral reefs, shopping, culture
Photographic Opportunities
incredible
Tour Route Map Route Map Client Testimonials

In addition to his obvious birding skills, Gareth Robbins' ability to handle all types of situations was remarkable. He was an excellent travelling companion, and his humour made the tour so much more enjoyable. What a great tour this was. I also want to say that the entire staff did a wonderful job, like they always do. I've asked many questions and had some concerns about various aspects of tours, and the staff handles all of them so efficiently. To all of you at Rockjumper, Thanks So Much!

Excellent tour overall. Adam Walleyn is probably the best overall bird tour guide I have had the pleasure of touring with. He not only knows the birds and wildlife, but is great at handling all types of people and doing whatever he can to make the tour fun, pleasant, and productive. He was always respectful of participants, and made sure their priorities were the focus of the trip rather than his own.

Just a postscript to reiterate our appreciation for the wonderful tour around Madagascar you led. We both had a great time. Your enthusiasm and day-to-day attention to assure we all had a successful birding experience and overview of the unique biodiversity [is] not to be forgotten.

With Adam Walleyn as our guide, it was hard to imagine how the trip could have been any better. Madagascar is certainly a challenging place, but his experience and ability to help us know what to expect were invaluable. As far as seeing birds, my expectations were exceeded. A great trip.

Adam Walleyn was amazing, and we will definitely be looking into arranging a private Rockjumper tour with him in the future. Not only did he have extensive knowledge of the birds, but also the other flora and fauna, as well as some of the historical aspects of Madagascar.

Dates, Leaders and Pricing
2022 DEPARTURES
2023 DEPARTURES
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