IVHQ is offering an exciting opportunity for groups of 6 or more to tour the beautiful Islands of Madagascar on a 50-foot catamaran. While on board you’ll learn about the unique Malagasy culture, people, and wildlife (both in and out of the ocean)!
Cost: US$1065 per person for 13 nights with a minimum of 6 participants touring together.
If you’re interested in getting a group together for the Eco-Adventure Tour in Madagascar, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eco-Adventure Tours begin on the first and third Monday of every month and participants need to arrive in Nosy Be on the Sunday before the tour begins and stay overnight in Hellville. Participants will be collected from their hotels on the Monday morning by a mini bus taxi and transferred to the Oceanographic Research Institute in Nosy Be, where they will receive a short introduction to Marine Conservation by one of the institute’s leading Malagasy Marine Researchers. Thereafter, participants will tour the on-site Marine Museum. After the tour, participants will board the 50 foot catamaran and set sail for Nosy Komba Island.
Nosy Komba Island
Nosy Komba (the Island of lemurs) is a small volcanic island lying between Nosy Be and the mainland of Madagascar. The volcanic hills fold dramatically down into the water creating sandy coves. The island’s main settlement is the village of Ampangorinana, where you can stroll the winding village lanes lined with beautiful embroidered table cloths, woven baskets and wood carvings. This quiet village relies on selling these unique crafts to tourists as its income. Participants visit the small village, interact with the village residents, and possibly even encouage a game of soccer on the beach with the local children!
Participants will also have the opportunity to enjoy a cold local beverage at one of the small beach bars whilst watching the spectacular Malagasy sunset. Dinner will be served on board the boat.
After breakfast the next morning, participants will be met on the beach by a local Terrestrial Researcher who will lead a tour of the forest. Lunch will be served at one of the local beach restaurants. After lunch, the catamaran will set sail for Mamoko Island.
The catamaran will arrive at Mamoko Island in the late afternoon and anchor in the small sheltered bay. Participants can enjoy a swim in the warm tropical water before sunset, after which dinner will be served on board.
This remote island is blessed with a small pristine forest that spills out onto sandy white beaches. This island is very traditional and still has a monarchy in place, with a Queen as head of the island’s small village population. The village sustains itself through fishing and by charging a fee to visitors that tour the village. This village has a troop of lemurs that live amongst the villagers, as well as a 100 year-old tortoise.
After breakfast, participants may go ashore where they’ll meet the village elders and request permission to tour the village. The villagers will provide bananas to feed the lemurs and tortoise. Participants will then assist the island by removing their non-biodegradable rubbish. Refuse bags will be provided and lunch will be served back on board the boat.
The sheltered bay provides excellent swimming and snorkeling opportunities and participants are encouraged to explore the island’s coral reefs, taking care not to disturb the delicate reef ecosystem. The following morning the catamaran departs Mamoko and sets sail for Nosy Kisimani, a small island just off the mainland, where the day will be spent exploring islands, beaches and reefs.
After breakfast, the catamaran departs Nosy Kisimani Island and sets sail for Russian Bay. Russian Bay is a fascinating area full of mystery and intrigue. The bay’s name dates back to 1905 during the Russo-Japanese war when a Russian warship anchored there. Their orders were to attack any passing Japanese ships, but the crew took to life in Madagascar and realised that they did not wish to wage war nor to return to Russia. Their ship was hidden in the upper reaches of Russian Bay and twice emerged to trade with pirate vessels that used to frequent the Mozambique Channel. The ship eventually ran out of fuel for its boilers and sunk in the bay years later. The last Russian sailor died in 1936. The soldiers graves and the ships remains can still be seen today.
The marine life in the bay itself is spectacular, offering wonderful snorkeling and diving, especially on the reefs outside the entrance. In October to December, whales and whale sharks are commonly sighted in the bay. The moist tropical deciduous woods harbour abundant birdlife, reptiles and lemurs, and there is a choice of trails for day hikes. Upon arrival in Russian Bay, the boat anchors in front of the Russian Bay rustic beach camp.
Participants will spend three nights in reed bungalows on the beach. Daytime activities will include beach clean-ups, a visit to the village’s plantation as well as a visit to a small school a few kilometres up river. The local fishermen, in traditional pirogues, will transport participants to and from the school.
All meals will be served at the beach camp, including a beach bonfire on the second night. After dinner on the second night, the catamaran departs Russian Bay for Nosy Iranja Island, stopping at Ankazaberavina, a private marine nature reserve, where participants can snorkel with schools of surgeon fish.
The Nosy Iranja Archipelago is located 40 kilometers south of Nosy Be Island and is comprised of two islets, Nosy Iranja Be and Nosy Iranja Kely, linked together by a picturesque sandbar at low tide.
Nosy Iranja Be is the biggest island with an area of approximately 30 hectares. Nosy Iranje Be is home to a delightful abandoned lighthouse designed by the famous Gustav Eiffel, who also designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The island has a small village inhabited by local fishermen. Participants can tour the village and climb to the lighthouse’s lantern for spectacular views.
Nosy Iranja Kely is approximately 17 hectares and is characterised by large white sandy beaches that are important breeding sites for the Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles. The lush vegetation is home to a diversity of bird life and giant Coconut Crabs. In early 2000, a 4-star hotel was built on Nosy Iranja Kely, with 24 lodges spread over the small island. The hotel has initiated ecotourism activities through the observation of nesting marine turtles, mainly in the south and along the east coast of the island. The human activities related to the presence of the hotel brought disturbance to the marine turtles activities in the east side of the island as the hotels lights at night reduced the nesting marine turtles. However, in the south of the island, activities are carried out to preserve the integrity of the site and protect it against poachers. Nosy Iranja is also a pristine area for snorkeling and swimming. After lunch on board, participants set sail for the Baramahamay River.
The Baramahamay River is characterised by verdant hills behind sunny, white beaches. The villages are known for their blacksmiths and boat builders. One small village is known for its wild honey, which can be purchased from young entrepreneurs who sell the bottles of honey as well as crabs from their little pirogues. There’s also a good chance of seeing the very rare Madagascar fish eagle here. The village has a small primary school, with more than 50 children in attendance and participants are encouraged to donate much-needed books and writing materials to this school. After a beach clean-up and tour of the local village, participants may choose to support the local small beach bar and enjoy a drink as the sun sets. Participants will spend two days at the Baramahamay River and thereafter depart for the Lokoke Nature Reserve.
Lokoke Nature Reserve
Spend two days at the Lokobe Forest beach camp participating in forest field trips. Lokobe Nature Reserve is located in the south-eastern part of the island of Nosy Be. It is Nosy Be’s only protected area covering approximately 7.4 kilometers squared and is one of the rare localities where the primary Sambirano Forest still exists. Protection of this ancient forest stems back as far as 1927. This humid medium altitude evergreen forest is the natural habitat of the endangered black lemur, the gray-backed sportive lemur and mouse lemur. Lokobe is also home to the Madagascar pygmy kingfisher, panther-chameleons, endemic frogs and snakes. Lokobe Nature Reserve is the last stop on the tour and participants will be transferred back to Hellville after lunch on Sunday.
Included in Tour
- Hotel or airport transfers to and from the boat
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner whilst on board and at camp - all meals are traditional Malagasy style meals
- Bottled drinking water on board
- 8 Nights aboard a 50 foot catamaran
- 2 Nights at Lokobe Nature Reserve rustic beach camp
- 3 Nights at Russian Bay rustic beach camp
- Oceanographic Research Institute Museum entry fee
- Lunch at Nosy Komba on Day 2 (meal only)
- Nosy Komba forest entry fee
- Mamoko Island village tour fee
- Russian Bay pirogue transport fee for school visit
- Russian Bay plantation tour fee
- Nosy Iranja lighthouse entry fee
Not Included in Tour
- Hotel costs
- Cooldrinks and alcoholic beverages
- Travel / medical insurance
What to Bring
- Swimming costume
- Snorkelling equipment
- Sunscreen and hat
- Hiking shoes/trainers or sneakers
- Beach sandals
- Personal items
- Summer clothing
- Light sweater/jacket for cooler evenings
- Insect repellent
- When visiting the lemurs, please wear a t-shirt or wrap if wearing sunscreen. There is evidence to suggest that sunscreen worn by tourists adversely affects Lemurs causing loss of hair and skin irritation.
- All coral reefs in Madagascar are precious, please avoid standing or pulling on the delicate coral when snorkeling.
- No littering, especially on the beaches or at sea. Please help conserve these pristine beaches by removing any non- biodegradable materials such as plastic bags and bottles.
- Please respect the Malagasy cultural traditions. The Malagasy are a conservative nation and as you will be spending considerable time in their villages, it is requested that participants ask permission before taking photographs and respect their restricted areas. Please also dress conservatively when visiting the villages.
- Please note that the beach area on the west side of Mamoko Island is a restricted area as the islanders believe this to be a resting place for their ancestors. It is requested that participants adhere to this restriction.
If you’re interested in organizing an Eco-Adventure Tour for 6 or more people, email email@example.com, or to find out about the volunteering opportunities available with IVHQ in Madagascar, visit our Volunteer in Madagascar page.