Marvels of Madagascar

Marvels of Madagascar

From GBP £9,495


The term ‘unique’ is often an overused description in the travel world but certainly applies to the island of Madagascar. The animals, plants, landscapes and people that make up this thousand mile long island are unlike anywhere else in the world. This extraordinary country long remained obscure as a destination and is still relatively unknown amongst even the most serious of travellers. There is minimal infrastructure in many parts of the island and for those wishing to explore the island in some depth, doing so by small ship, especially one as well-suited as the MS Caledonian Sky is far preferable to exploring by any other means.

Our expedition includes eight days on the island and opportunities to explore rainforests full of wildlife including lemurs, chameleons and indigenous birdlife as well as seeing the underwater world and village life. Our days will be spent exploring ashore, often traversing over rugged terrain and walking through spectacular rainforests and each evening we will have the benefit of returning to our comfortable ship to relax and look forward to the next adventure. With the vessel’s fleet of Zodiacs for forays ashore, allowing access to the wonderful places denied to larger ships, you can enjoy encounters with fabulous endemic wildlife in this immensely rich and timeless corner of the Indian Ocean. Our onboard experts will greatly enrich your expedition and ensure that we make the most of our time on the world’s “eighth continent”.

Trip Name
Marvels of Madagascar
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition Length: 90 metres Passenger Capacity: 114 (in 57 suites) Built: 1991 / refurbished 2012 The MS Caledonian Sky accommodates a maximum of 114 passengers in 57 spacious outside suites. Many have walk-in wardrobes and some feature tub baths. There will be seven categories of suites and sixteen suites will have private balconies. For those familiar with the MS Island Sky she will feel like a second home, although there are some differences. The dining room, lounge, Lido Deck and bar are all similar. However, the ‘Club’ on the MS Caledonian Sky has been transported to the very top deck. Here, there is a library and bar which leads out on to a lovely forward deck. The ‘Club’ has wonderful views with ceiling to floor windows. If you like the MS Island Sky, we are sure you will also approve of her sister. And, of course it is important that we offer the very best of facilities. However, equally as important are the staff on board whether they are the vessel’s crew or our own expedition staff. Noble Caledonia’s reputation has been built on providing the very best in all areas. Their crew of 74 not only offer an excellent service they are also noted for their kindness and attention to detail. A well run ship with a warm atmosphere is what we are known for, and it is because most of our crew have been with us for many years that we are able to engender such an atmosphere. Your Suite Onboard there are 57 exceptionally spacious and well designed suites. The passenger accommodation is arranged over four decks and all suites have outside views. All feature a sitting room area and some have private balconies. Each affords considerable comfort with en-suite bathroom featuring a country style wash basin, hot towel rack and vanity unit with sink and walk-in shower and/or bath tub. Facilities in the suites also include walk-in or spacious wardrobes, dressing table with large mirror and stool or desk, mini-fridge, flat screen television, telephone, programmable electronic safe, hairdryer, assorted toiletries, air-conditioning and heating. Bottled water, towelling dressing gowns and slippers are also provided for your comfort. Your space The spacious and finely decorated public rooms include a large lounge where daily briefings and talks will be provided throughout the voyage and an elegant bar where a pianist plays periodically throughout the day. The bar also features a 24-hour tea and coffee station. In addition there is the Club Lounge on the Panoramic Deck which features a bar. The onboard travel library is the perfect place to relax with a book and is stocked with reference books pertaining to the places the vessel is visiting along with a selection of games and two computers with internet access. Daily newspapers and magazines are also placed in the library depending on local availability. Outside there is a rear Lido deck where meals are served in warm weather under shade. On the top deck there is a further observation and sun deck with bar service and comfortable deck furniture for sun bathing or relaxing with a book. There is also a small gymnasium onboard and hairdressers with appointments made on request. Your dining With only one sitting and a maximum of just over 100 passengers, the quality of cuisine will be of a consistent superior quality. Where possible and when it meets his high standards, our accomplished chef will obtain local produce in markets or buy the catch of the day from a passing fishing boat. Such purchases enhance the well stocked larders and bring a local touch to the varied menus. In the main elegant dining room, breakfast is served buffet-style, with certain items cooked to order and lunch and dinner is à la carte. When weather permits, breakfast, a buffet-style lunch and dinner are also served on deck. To enhance your dining experience even further a selection of wines are included with lunch and dinner. Afternoon tea is served in the lounge and tea and coffee are available 24 hours. With sufficient notice, most diets can be catered for on board. For your comfort, safety and security The vessel is equipped with the latest safety, navigation and communications equipment along with roll stabilisers to minimise the ship’s motion. The Captain and officers operate an open-bridge policy that allows passengers onto the bridge at most times with the exception of arrival and departure from port and during times of complicated navigation. Here you can check the ship’s progress by charts and learn more from the officers about your journey. There is also a dedicated channel on your television in your suite showing the routing of the vessel along with technical information and estimated times of arrival and departure from port. On board you will also find a clinic and doctor and a lift that serves all decks. Smoking on board is restricted to outside decks only. Gratuities Unlike many other cruise vessels, onboard the MS Caledonian Sky you do not need to worry about tipping staff as we have included them in your holiday price. In addition we tip all their guides and drivers along the way, thereby taking away the hassle of always having to remember to have some small change with you.


Day 1 - Day 1 London to Mauritius.
Fly by scheduled indirect flight.
Day 2 - Day 2 Port Louis.
Arrive today and transfer to Port Louis to embark the MS Caledonian Sky.
Day 3 - Day 3 Port Louis.
After a leisurely morning enjoy a sightseeing tour including Pamplemousse Botanical Gardens which are home to over 500 species of plants. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we sail tonight.
Day 4 - Day 4 Port Est, Reunion.
We arrive at breakfast in Reunion where we have a choice of excursions. On a full day tour we will visit the central highlands where spectacularly rugged peaks of dormant or extinct volcanoes cradle huge amphitheatres known as cirques, where mountains tower to over 10,000 feet and beautiful waterfalls plummet hundreds of feet. The rich soil and mellow climate produce a lush and verdant landscape which is dotted with villages and towns with a uniquely French atmosphere. We will enjoy views from the Nez des Boeufs and see the Piton de la Fournaise crater. After enjoying a creole lunch in a local restaurant visit the “Cite du Volcan” museum. Alternatively enjoy a morning tour to a vanilla plantation in St Andre where we learn about the history and culture of this integral part of Reunion’s heritage. We will also enjoy some free time in St Denis before returning to the MS Caledonian Sky for lunch and an afternoon at leisure before we set sail this evening.
Day 5 - Day 5 At Sea.
Enjoy a leisurely day at sea as we sail to Madagascar.
Day 6 - Days 6 & 7 Nosy Mangabe & Masoala National Park, Madagascar.
Over breakfast we arrive at Nosy Mangabe, a 520 hectare island reserve in Antongil Bay. Here we find one of the most diverse areas of virgin rainforest in Madagascar which has also been an important research centre since the mid-1960s when several aye-ayes and lemurs were released into the forest. We will use our Zodiacs to land on the beach next to the forest and will offer a series of nature walks looking at the varied trees, plants and ferns and also hope to spot chameleon, lizards and black and white ruffed lemur. For the birders, keep an eye out for Madagascar buzzard, kingfisher and paradise flycatchers. We remain in Antongil Bay overnight to visit Madagascar’s largest protected area, the Masoala National Park which comprises coastal rainforest, flooded forests and marsh and mangroves. Mammal species encountered include the red-ruffed lemur, the red-fronted brown lemur and the ring-tailed mongoose. The park is also home to various species of brightly coloured Mantella frogs and all manner of extraordinary chameleons. We will run a series of walks for all levels during our time here whilst you also have the option to swim off the beach or perhaps visit the local village.
Day 7 - Day 8 Diego Suarez.
After a morning at sea we enter dramatic Diego Suarez, a stunning natural harbour with a cosmopolitan mix of inhabitants. This afternoon choose from a city tour visiting the Commonwealth Cemetery and Place Joffre, or the Malagasy rainforest at the Mount Amber National Park. Dividing into short and long walk parties we will go in search of lemurs and chameleons as we explore the rainforest. In the towering vegetation, we may spot several species of lemurs and chameleons as well as endemic birds, including parrots.
Day 8 - Day 9 Nosy Hara.
Sail overnight around the northern tip of Madagascar where strangely shaped limestone islets dot the aquamarinecoloured sea. The expedition team will decide on the most suitable island for landing, such as Nosy Hara, with its abundant birdlife and a great beach to swim from. There will be walks through the dense woodland to observe the unusual vegetation. We will also offer a Zodiac cruise around the islands and a chance to snorkel over the coral. Tonight we enjoy some Christmas Carols in the Lounge.
Day 9 - Day 10 Nosy Tanikely.
We arrive this morning at the Nosy Tanikely Island Marine Reserve, an uninhabited island which offers excellent snorkelling opportunities and wonderful beaches. We will take the opportunity to either swim in the clear waters or snorkel over the corals keeping an eye out for reef fish, turtles and morays. Alternatively, our naturalists will lead guided walks on the island where we may see the resident lemurs, fruit bats and hermit crabs and enjoy fantastic views from the lighthouse on the island’s highest point. Enjoy an afternoon at sea to celebrate Christmas Day on board.
Day 10 - Day 11 Mahajanga.
Mahajanga is a major port in northwest Madagascar situated on the Betsiboka River and is our base for a full day excursion to Ankarafantsika National Park located a couple of hours drive inland. This deciduous forest is a haven for birds, lemurs and reptiles and we will explore with our guides on a choice of walks. Eight species of lemur have been observed here including the famous Microcebus, the smallest primate in the world. Meanwhile over 120 species of birds nest here and we will keep an eye out for the Madagascan fish eagle and banded kestrel whilst the 44 species of reptile include chameleon, turtles and crocodiles that live in Lake Ravelobe.
Day 11 - Day 12 At Sea.
Relax on board and enjoy our lecture programme as we continue our journey along the Madagascan coast.
Day 12 - Day 13 Morondava.
From our anchorage off the town of Morondava, we will use the Zodiacs to land on the local beach. From here we have a choice of excursions to explore the local region. A half day morning tour will visit the Avenue de Baobabs. Of the eight baobab species in the world, six are endemic to Madagascar. Here we see the Adansonia grandidieri species with a row of 20 to 25 trees which border the gravel road. Learn about the trees and their spiritual significance before returning to Morondava and exploring the local market. Alternatively, join a full day excursion to Kirindy Forest. Situated approximately a two hour drive from Morondava, we will pass the Avenue de Baobabs as we travel north. Kirindy is a 10,000 hectare, dry deciduous forest, one of the most endangered in the world where the flora and fauna includes many endemic species. Here we find three species of baobab, many birds and reptiles, eight species of lemur including the rare pale fork-marked lemur and other mammals including giant jumping rat, fosa and narrowstriped mongoose.
Day 13 - Day 14 Tulear.
Our last call in Madagascar will be Tulear on the southwest coast. Arriving at lunchtime we have a choice of activities this afternoon. Maybe drive to the Antsokay Arboretum which is entirely devoted to conservation of the plants from the southwest of Madagascar and, after more than 30 years of hard work, offers a densely kept selection of flora presenting a typical sub-arid thicket with baobabtrees towering over the smaller plants. We will see the four hectare botanical garden which comprises over 900 species of plants of which 90% are endemic to the region. Alternatively visit the Reniala Private Reserve, a small area of just 60 hectares but containing a spiny forest which is unique to South Eastern Madagascar. The park is home to 200 plant species including baobabs as well as being a paradise for birders with sightings of paradise flycatchers, Madagascan hoopoe and Madagascan crested drongo.
Day 14 - Day 15 Tulear to Johannesburg, South Africa.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our specially chartered flight to Johannesburg. Connect here with our scheduled onward flight to London.
Day 15 - Day 16 London.
Arrive today.
Day 16 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
16-12-202131-12-2021GBP £9,495Castle Standard Suite
16-12-202131-12-2021GBP £13,495Promenade Owner's Corner Suite
16-12-202131-12-2021GBP £9,795Caledonian Superior Suite
16-12-202131-12-2021GBP £9,995Promenade Premium Suite
16-12-202131-12-2021GBP £10,995Bridge Deluxe Balcony Suite
16-12-202131-12-2021GBP £11,295Promenade Prem. Balcony Suite


    • Enjoy the in-depth exploration of Madagascar. Madagascar is special in the diversity of flora and fauna and the amount of endemic species that call it home.
    • Visit a number of national parks where we hope to spot rare lemurs, unique baobabs, endemic birdlife and explore the underwater world on snorkelling trips.