Showcasing two of the world’s most exciting wildlife destinations, this 11-day tour delivers dazzling biodiversity. It opens with five nights in Madagascar - on a tropical island surrounded by a coral reef - before flying you to two different locations in the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, one of Africa’s most rewarding big game destinations.
Madagascar is a large but relatively unexplored island in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa. Half the size of South Africa and the fourth biggest island in the world, it rivals the Galapagos for sheer diversity of endemic species, with up to 90 percent of the fauna and flora found here thought to be unique to the island. It is most famous for its lemurs – of which there are a hundred different species – as well as six species of baobab trees found nowhere else in the world. Only about 30 000 people visit its 40 national parks every year, making it a rare destination with very low visitor numbers and extremely high biodiversity.
You will be heading from Diego Suarez to Nosy Ankao island via a helicopter transfer. Here you can snorkel straight off the beach because it is a protected marine area and the scuba diving is also excellent. There are opportunities for turtle, whale and dolphin watching as well as helicopter safaris to the mainland’s forest reserves for lemur watching. Your beachfront accommodation at Miavana Island Sanctuary takes the form of multi-bedroom villas, each complete with a well-stocked kitchenette, private swimming pool, large indoor and outdoor living spaces, and a private butler service. The resort’s spa offers a wide range of treatments and you enjoy complimentary use of bicycles and an electric buggy.
Fully recharged and refreshed, you now fly to Zambia and the South Luangwa where your five nights are divided between Chinzombo and Mchenja camps. Set on sweeping bends of the Luangwa River, both camps are well-placed for epic game viewing, especially during the long June-to-October dry peak season when animals gather at the river in considerable numbers. Game drives take you in search of wildlife and you can also explore on foot with your experienced guide, offering a different aspect to your experience. Safari accommodation is in the form of vacation villas and thatched chalets, with Chinzombo being one of the most luxurious lodges in the whole country.
The tour opens in Diego Suarez on the far northern tip of Madagascar and a helicopter transfer to Nosy Ankao, which lies off the north-eastern coast. Part of a 15 000-hectare protected marine area, the island is home to Miavana Island Sanctuary, your private home for the next five nights. Your generously proportioned villa lies just a few steps away from the beach and comes complete with its own pool and kitchenette, although of course all meals are provided as well as most drinks. Also included are various shared activities – cultural tours, boat cruises, snorkelling trips, bicycle usage and forest walks – and you have the opportunity to go lemur watching on the mainland, care of a helicopter safari. There is limited Wi-Fi and phone coverage at the resort, meaning you can truly switch off and have a ‘digital detox’ in this stimulating part of the world.
A trip back to the mainland via helicopter is highly recommended as you may be able to visit the remarkable Montagne d’ Ambre National Park. Named ‘Amber Mountain’ because of the red laterite soil and limestone pinnacles, it has incredible small game watching that includes the world’s second smallest chameleon, seven species of lemur and 77 recorded species of birds. If you are very lucky, you might see the ring-tailed mongoose and the fosa, Madagascar’s only known predator.
The nearby town of Ambanja is known for its spice and chocolate plantations, and the air is permeated with the scents of vanilla, coffee, cloves, ylang-ylang and cacao.
A helicopter transfer back to the Madagascan mainland and a flight to Zambia’s capital city of Lusaka start your day. On landing in Zambia, you are met and assisted onto the next flight – this time to the South Luangwa National Park where you check in at Chinzombo Camp for three nights. Set just outside the park, Chinzombo offers very luxurious accommodation in elegant villas with their own plunge pools and stunning views of the Luangwa River.
Done in neutral tones with copper and leather accessories, your suite has Wi-Fi, a large egg-shaped tub overlooking the lawn where antelope graze, double vanities, a sizable shower and extensive outdoor decking. After a day of travelling, you may appreciate a massage or pedicure on the privacy of your deck, listening to the cries of African fish eagles and the song of Lillian’s lovebirds coming from the surrounding bush.
You enjoy day and night drives as well as walking safaris and boat cruises if water levels on the Luangwa River are high enough. Look out for puku – a type of semi-shaggy antelope – as well as zebra, giraffe and elephants.
Then it is onto Mchenja Camp, taking its name from the ebony trees under which it shelters. A beautiful camp in a dramatic setting on the river, Mchenja lies in game-rich country and has a great reputation for spectacular big cat sightings, especially lion and leopard. You have solar-powered lighting in your sumptuous suite along with a chance to recharge batteries at main camp.
After breakfast at Mchenja, you transfer by road – a final game drive of sorts - to Mfuwe where you board a flight back to Lusaka for your onward travel or accommodation arrangements and the end of this tour.
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We travelled with Falcon Safaris in Zimbabwe and Botswana for 16 days. Falcon designed a wonderful trip with private guide to the most interesting sites in both countries. The organization of the whole trip was excellent, flights within the country, accommodation and activites. The guides were very knowledgable and told us a lot about the countries, their history, people, economy and much more. Wevisited the Great Zimbabwe Ruins, the Victoria Falls and a number of national parks in both countries.
Rhino tracking was a real adventure! We had tremendous further game drives and saw very many animals - we did the Big Five. We had much more activities than planned and enjoyed very much.We strongly recommend Falcon Safaris to everyone planning a trip to Southern Africa and East Africa.
Our Consultant Vimbai was very helpful and accommodating. We stayed at the Elephant hills hotel which was nothing short of amazing.Our activities included a helicopter flight, dinner cruise as well as a morning game drive. All the activities were absolutely amazing.
We worked with Gertrude to schedule and organize everything and she did an excellent job. I asked a lot of questions via e-mail and she answered everyone in a timely helpful manner. Our guide at Victoria Falls was also great. He met us at the airport, provided a thoughtful tour of the Falls and got us to our next guide in Botswana. Our lodgings at River View Lodge were just as described- very comfortable and excellent food. All the staff were so pleasant and helpful. If I had to do it again I would arrange a morning boat ride as well. We only did the sunset boat rides and they were the high point of our entire trip- we saw so many animals and our guide was very knowledgeable. Just a great experience. Our lodgings at Oddball's Enclave was rustic and we loved it. So great to disconnect from the world for a bit. Leo, our guide, was the best - got us out and about, saw fantastic wildlife and got back to camp safely each time. Doc manages the camp so well. This whole trip was planned and organized by Falcon Safaris and we could not have been happier.
Falcon safaris have given my the correct advice with excellent service. The only suggestion will be to work closer with the lodges to confirm bookings as soon as possible. We have booked and pay our deposit a year in advance. We have only receive our final convermation from Chobe Safari lodge a week before departure. I do realize its not within your controle but with limit alternatives and a group of 14 people it becomes an issue to find alternative accomodation if the booking was cancelled.
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