On this trip we explore this natural paradise over 8 days: kayaking the forested coastline and to deserted tropical islands, into pristine mangroves and shady rivers overhung by primary rainforest; snorkeling the coral reefs; swimming in warm tropical sea and crystal clear streams; beachcombing and exploring the rainforest for the unique wildlife.
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NB. This itinerary starts at Maroantsetra airport. Pioneer are happy to arrange accommodation and transfers to ‘book-end’ this trip.
We are met on arrival at the Maroantsetra airport and transfer to the boat for the exciting voyage across the Bay d’Antongil to the Masoala Forest Lodge. The journey takes between 1 to 2 hours, passing the island of Nosy Mangabe, with the possibility of dolphin and whale sightings in season and the thickly forested mountains as a dramatic backdrop to the destination. On arrival in paradise, we freshen up and settle into camp, with an opportunity to explore the beaches and take a swim before lunch. After lunch and a short siesta, we familiarize ourselves with the kayaks and equipment and set-off on an evening kayak down the coast, (6 km, 2 hours), to the primary forest to experience the amazing meeting of rainforest and sea and with luck hear the Red-ruffed lemurs calling. Once back in camp, we have the option of a night walk in the nearby coastal forest with the intriguing possibility of seeing some of Masoala’s secretive nocturnal wildlife such as Leaf-tailed Gecko or Dwarf and Mouse lemurs.
We awake early and take coffee and breakfast on the sea deck overlooking the beach and then we set-off on the day’s adventure. Today this is a walk down the beach in the other direction and up into the primary rainforest in search of the Red-ruffed lemurs, dwarf chameleons and other wildlife endemic to this forest.
After some hours in the dense forest with giant hardwoods and majestic tree ferns we return to camp by boat for a well-earned lunch and rest before the afternoon activity. This could be a snorkel on the nearby reefs rich in underwater diversity, or a guided sea kayak to the look-out rock at the “Secret Cove” for the sun set, with the chance of a close encounter with Bottlenose Dolphin or Green Turtle.
Dinner in the lodge.
A relaxed start and breakfast on the sea deck for today. Then departure on a guided walk through the coastal forest, in search of more birds and mammals. After a couple of hours walk, we will enjoy to swim into the crystal clear water of the cascades of the Tampolo River at the foot of the forested mountains. We will return to camp on a traditional dugout canoe paddled down the shady river. After lunch, enjoy a relaxed afternoon on the private beaches or snorkel on the coral reefs. Then we will join a guided nocturnal walk with the intriguing possibility of seeing some of the secretive nocturnal wildlife such as Leaf-tailed Gecko, Dwarf and Mouse lemurs and maybe even the elusive Aye-Aye.
After breakfast, be ready for an exploration by sea kayak or boat of the calm water and fantastic rock formations of Tampolo point. We will stop on the beach at the “Sacred Island” where we will relax or swim. Then we will kayak into a pristine mangrove and forested river, with the chance of spotting Blue-spotted stingrays in the shallow water or perhaps the Lesser bamboo lemurs crossing the river. After a picnic lunch on the beach, we will head back the camp by kayak or boat, for an evening of entertainment and high spirits with the visit of the traditional Malagasy music and dance group from the local village.We will enjoy the sundowners around the fire on the beach and have dinner in the lodge.
After breakfast on the sea deck we will board the boat for the voyage through the Tampolo Marine Reserve to the mouth of the Antalavia River. The forested coastline viewed from the boat is stunningly beautiful, with countless deserted beaches and calm blue sea.On arrival on the beach at Antalavia, we will board the dingy for the short paddle in the estuary to the cascades of the Antalavia River. Here refreshingly cool, clear water forms perfect swimming pools, over-hung by the lush forest with a chance of seeing White-fronted brown lemurs leaping through the canopy. After a picnic lunch on the beach and we will have a short rest under the trees, or we can choose to return to the camp by boat or on foot. Then we will enjoy the sundowners around the fire on the beach. The dinner will be served in the lodge.
Enjoy another bbreakfast on the sea deck before joining a short guided walk through the coastal forest trails to the rice fields and farm land of the nearby village of Ambodiforaha. This is an opportunity to experience the local Betsimisaraka culture and sustainable way of life in the rainforest. We can visit their traditional houses and kitchens and perhaps see baskets, mats or hats being woven, vanilla, cloves, coffee or rice being prepared and pop in for a quick visit to the village school, co-funded by the lodge. After lunch at the lodge, we have the option of a stroll down the beach to the Tampolo River and a peaceful pirogue trip on the cool shady river to observe the birdlife. We will enjoy the sundowners around the fire on the beach. The dinner will be served in the lodge…
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