Trip Report: Madagascar & Mauritius, October 18 - November 22, 1998
A Bird and Mammal Tour

David Siems, Sidney, Australia; (Birds). Steve Anyon-Smith; (Mammals)

Field Guides

Field Guide to the Birds of Madagascar by Oliver Langrand (old and expensive)

Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands by Ian Sinclair and Oliver Langrand (new and recommended)

Field Guide to the Mammals of Africa, including Madagascar by Haltenorth

The birding report by the following author is recommended for the birds and areas not covered in this report:
  Jem Babbington
  76 Knighton Road, St Judes
  Plymouth, Devon, England PL4 9DA

We also used a Lonely Planet guide (Nov 1997) and whilst it was sometimes useful the prices had changed significantly and recommended accommodation was sometimes terrible. Limited value. Suggest the guide by Hilary Bradt.


Perinet (Andasibe)14°C to 25°C
Berenty14°C to 24°C
Toliara18°C to 30°C
Ranomafana9°C to 23°C
Ampijoroa20°C to 35°C

Rain: We had 2 hours drizzle at Perinet and overnight rain at Ampijoroa


Bottled water is available everywhere in Madagascar at 4,000 to 8,000 for a 1.5l bottle. Steve used water purifiers.


Malagasy, French and some English are used, but we had very few problems in each country speaking only English.


5,000 Malagasy Francs to US$1
24 Mauritius RS to US$1
5.6 French Francs to US$1

Australian Dollars can be changed in Mauritius and Madagascar at the airports. You are only allowed to take 25,000MF out of the country and you will be checked. Money can only be changed back at the banks in Tana. We changed US$800 at the airport on arrival and this was spot on. Although we could have changed some when we came back from Perinet or Fianarantsoa to Tana (Antananarivo) so as not to carry too many Malagasy Francs. We had no problems while travelling.

Credit cards can only be used in the banks in Tana.


We used public transport in Madagascar and taxis in Mauritius. It is recommended to hire a 4WD for a shorter stay in Madagascar.


To go to Nosy Ve Island we were quoted 490 French Francs minimum

For pelagic in Mauritius, contact Mr Gerard Etienne at Hotel Aquarelle in Mahebourg for trips out past the reef. We didn't have time to use his services so we have no details except that he charges $A40 per person.


The usual check for each country. Malaria tablets MUST be taken.


Avoid Zebu steak if possible. We bought bread rolls, bananas, cheese, mangos. We had minor problems at Mora Mora and Ampijoroa probably due to Zebu steak. If you do not have transport, ask staff at Ranomafana to bring food from the village or thumb a ride there and back.


Australians need a visa (Cost $A38.00) for Madagascar available at the
  Madagascar Consulate / Air Madagascar
  Anthony Knox
  19-31 Pitt St Sydney 2000
  (Ph) 02 9252 3770, (Fax) 02 9247 8406

No visa required for Mauritius

Air Travel


Ansett/Air Mauritius: Sydney/Melbourne; Melbourne/Perth/Mauritius
Air Madagascar: Mauritius/Madagascar Return; Tana/Fort Dauphine; Fort Dauphine/Toliara; Mahajunga/Tan

Airport Tax:

Tana: 15,000MF
Fort Dauphine and Mahjunga: 10,000MF

Travel to and from Madagascar requires an overnight stop in Mauritius. If you do not wish to stay in Mauritius, there is a flight Sydney/Singapore/Madagascar.

Benny Chan of Le Shan Tours in Sydney (02) 9232-3838 organised all the air travel.

National Park Entry Permit

Perinet50,000 MF per person per three days
BerentyIncluded in cost of package $168 US per person
Ranomafana50,000 MF per person per three days
Ampijoroa20,000 MF per person per three days


All guides speak Malagasy, French and English. Prices set by ANGAP (Department of National Parks).

PerinetPatrice costs 60-80,000 MF per group for 5 hours.
Night walks 40,000MF
You are not allowed to enter the park without a guide.
BerentyThere is a package to the park of $168 US for two days and three nights, including transport, guide fees & accommodation.
Very good three course meals for lunch and dinner cost 38,000MF.
Breakfasts are ridiculously overpriced. Bring some food with you.
Mora MoraMosa has a set fee three hours morning and three hours in the afternoon for a total of 75,000MF.
RanomafanaFidi or Loret cost 80,000 MF for five hours.
Night walks are 35,000MF.
Other guides (not bird guides) start at 35,000MF
You are allowed to walk a part of the park without a guide, see the head ranger David for permission.
AmpijoroaWe had Izo for our guide 35,000MF per day and 25,000MF night walk. Charles is the head guide.

Accommodation - Madagascar

All prices are for twin rooms.

Andasibe (Perinet)Feon' Ny Ala Hotel and Restaurant. Rooms with en suite are 75000MF. Recommended.
BerentyReserve owned by the De Heaullme's family. Rooms have en suite. Book by writing to:
  The Manager
  Hotel le Dauphin
  Fort Dauphin
Mora MoraMora Mora Hotel. Rooms with en suite are 80,000MF.
Le MangroveLe Mangrove Hotel. Rooms have shower, separate toilet.
ToliaraHotel Chez Alain. Rooms have en suite
FianarantsoaHotel Arinofy. Rooms have en suite or amenities at end of hall for 45,000MF. Good restaurant.
RanomafanaUsed campsite organised by local village. Has roof over tent-sites and clean flush toilets and cold showers.
AmpijoroaHas a new campsite with roof over tent sites, clean squat toilets, cold showers, shop and restaurant
TanaHotel Manoir Rouge at Ivato. Rooms have en suite and are 80,000MF.

Madagascar and Mauritius

18th October

Depart Sydney/Melbourne -- Ansett Depart at 20:50. Arrive at 21:50

19th October

Depart Melbourne/Perth/Mauritius. Depart at 00:06. Arrive at 07:15
Taxi airport to Hotel Aquarelle 200 RS

Taxi to Domaine de Chasseur Nature Reserve 500RS return. Morning drop-off and afternoon pickup. We took lunch and water with us. Park Entry Fee 200RS each. Park guide (Sam) included in entry fee.

Hotel Aquarelle 420RS per room. Main meal 120RS. The main shopping area is a short walk.

20th October

Mauritius to Madagascar. Departed at 12:05
Airport taxi to taxi-brousse station east 60,000MF.

Taxi-brousse to Moramanga 12,000MF ea. We asked the taxi-brousse driver to take us to Perinet (Andasibe), cost 30,000MF each due to late arrival. Two meals and two beers cost 47,000 MF.

21st to 25th October

Hotel Feon' Ny Ala is a kilometre from the park entrance. We had breakfast at 6am and had lunch made up to take with us. We walked to the park entrance where the park guides are waiting for work. Patrice was there and we booked him for four days. To make sure of a guide you can fax a booking. Patrice took us into the park, along the road and opposite in the orchid house area. He then booked a vehicle to take us to Mantadia National Park the following morning and collect us in that afternoon. 100 000MF for vehicle hire. There is a bar at the hotel. We saw 74 birds with Patrice but more could be seen with your own vehicle.

26th October

Andasibe to Airport to catch plane to Fort Dauphine. Departed at 14:55

26th October to 28th October

Arrive at Fort Dauphin to be met by Berenty Reserve representative. Driver Felix drove us to Berenty Reserve and we arrived at dusk. Next morning we went with our guide Andreas to be shown roosting Malagasy Scops Owl and White-browed Owl and mammals in their hollows. After lunch we birded without a guide. A guided night walk for the first night but you can do that yourself the next night. Our driver took us out the next day to other areas. The Ring-tailed Lemurs are numerous, so keep your door closed to your accommodation. They will climb over you for a banana which you can acquire, by asking politely, at the restaurant. The driver will take you where required. The sandgrouse came to the river at 06:25am.

29th October

Fort Dauphine to Toliara. Departed late due to a riot between local Malagasy and Indian shopkeepers which required 80 soldiers to be flown in from Tana.

Toliara to Mora Mora Hotel 80,000MF per room arrived at 17:30 by truck taxi-brousse 5,000MF for 27km. Meals were 20,000MF for mains and dessert. The guides, Mosa and his father, Masindraka, live opposite the truck stop. When Mosa sees you, he will introduce himself to arrange the birding walk. If he is not there the hotel staff will contact him.

30th October

Left with Masindraka to look for the birds but he didn't have any luck finding them. Mosa was out with a student carrying out bird survey work. When Mosa came back he found the first bird in twenty minutes. The weather was very hot so we only did the morning walk with him. We walked around the area outside the hotel to see the Mad. Plover.

31st October

Mora Mora to Hotel Chez Alain to Le Mangrove

Mora Mora to Toliara 5,000MF each. We missed the vehicle going to Le Mangrove so had to pay 100,000MF for a taxi for the 12km trip. Hotel Chez Alain and Le Mangrove are owned by the one family, and if you stay in both hotels travel between them is free

1st November

Le Mangrove. Walked up the hill early morning for birding. It was too windy and expensive for the boat trip to Le Nova Island 12 hour day so we missed the Littoral Rock-thrush.

2nd November

Le Mangrove at 15:00 to Hotel Chez Alain 16:15 (free). Booked Mini-bus for Ranohira Village 25,000MF each.

3rd November

Left Toliara and arrived at Ranohira at lunchtime to find all the hotels were booked out due to a festival. We saw one Reunion Harrier and one Cuckoo Falcon and no Mad. Partridge all the way to Fianarantsoa. It was very hot. So we decided to catch the next mini-bus and we were lucky to get the last bus at 40,000MF ea and arrived in Fianarantsoa late afternoon. Some parts of the road are rough but most of the road now has new bitumen. Walked up the hill to stay at the Hotel Arinofy at 17:30 and booked it for our return stay.

4th November

After two taxi owners had a punch-up to see who took us to Ranomafana National Park, we paid 12,000MF each and headed for Ranomafana in the back of a Peugeot covered in dust and fumes. On arrival we booked in at the park headquarters and erected our tents under cover. There is a place to cook food with wood supplied but no utensils. There is a small snack bar opposite for biscuits, chocolate, soft drinks and bottled water. Bread is sometimes available and can be brought up by arrangement.

5th November to 8th November

Ranomafana National Park. Jean Emilian Rifidison or "Fidi" had already been booked by four British birders so we arranged to have Loret. He took us into the park for day walks and a night walk. We hired push-bikes and Loret would arrange a utility at 5,000MF to take us up to Vohiparara for birding, and then we would ride the bikes back down the hill about 6km. We were not charged for the bikes but perhaps should have been.

9th November

Ranomafana to Fianarantsoa by taxi-brousse for 15,000MF each. Booked a place in a car at 25,000MF each for Tana next day. Walked up to the Hotel Arinofy.

10th November

Fianarantsoa to Tana. Arrived at taxi-brousse station south and caught a taxi 50,000MF to the Hotel Manoir Rouge at Ivato near the airport.

11th November

We went into Tana by mini-bus at 1,000MF each and walked around various bookshops and a supermarket. We booked our tickets for the mini-bus to Ampijoroa at taxi-brousse station north at 25,000MF each. Angap National Park Office has been stupidly relocated out of Tana.

12th November to 17th November

Tana to Ampijoroa. The minibus left at 13:30 and arrived at Ampijoroa at 22:00. The driver knew the park stop. We managed to wake a park guide who showed us the campsite, and we pitched our tents under cover. The head guide was booked so we had Izo, who turned out to be an excellent guide. Charles is the head guide.

We went the next day into the forest to see the birds and mammals we were after and then during our stay, walked the lake and other areas. B/L/D is available at the restaurant at 20,000MF to 30,000MF for two people. Three Horses Beer is 5,000MF a large cold bottle. Camping 20,000MF per person per night. Night walk 40,000MF per group. Day walks 25,000MF per group.

17th November

Ampijoroa to Mahajunga by taxi-brousse and stayed at the Hotel Kanto which turned out to be a dump so another would be better.

18th November

We had a day in forgettable Mahajunga - the town is a dump and nowhere to birdwatch.

19th November

Mahajunga to Tana

20th November

Tana to Mauritius. Departed 09:30

21st November

Mauritius to Melbourne.Departed 12:00

22nd November

Melbourne to Sydney. Departed 08:20

Cost of all Airfares: $2145. Ground Content: $1750. Total Cost: $3895

In conclusion: We found the Malagasy people friendly, helpful and with a good sense of humour, unlike some European tourists. Personal security was not a problem, and nothing went missing from campsites. Insects were not a big issue. There were mosquitos in the Toliara area and at Ampijoroa mainly at dusk and dawn only. None at Perinet and Ranomafana. Two leeches only at Perinet.

I would like to thank Steve for having the "kitty" to pay all the bills and sorting all the mammals and printing the list for the trip.

Bird List For Madacascar

Perenet - P, Berenty - B, Mora Mora - M, Le Mangrove - LM, Toliara - T, Ranohira - RA, Ranomafana - R, Ampijoroa - A, Tana - TA, Fianarantsoa - F, MJ - Mahajunga

Mad. Little Grebe           P
Reed Cormorant              A
Darter                      A
Squacco Heron               P B A
Malagas Pond Heron          P A
Cattle Egret                A
Green-backed Heron          P B A
Black Heron                 A
Dimorphic Egret             B LM A
Great Egret                 P R A
Purple Heron                P B 
Grey Heron                  LM A
Humblot's Heron             LM  A
Hamerkop                    P 
Mad. Crested Ibis           P A
White-faced Whistling Duck  A
Knob-billed Duck            B
Red-billed Teal             LM  (seen by Steve)
Mad. Cuckoo Falcon          T to RA
Yellow-billed Kite          B A
Mad. Fish Eagle             A
Mad. Harrier Hawk           P B M A
Reunion Harrier             RA to F
Henst's Goshawk             R
Mad. Sparrowhawk            P B 
Frances's Sparrowhawk       P B A
Mad. Buzzard                P B R A
Mad. Kestrel                P B M LM A
Banded Kestrel              M
Sooty Falcon                TA to A   A
Peregrine Falcon            A
Mad. Partridge              TA to A
Helmeted Guineafowl         B A
White-breasted Mesite       A
Brown Mesite                R
Subdesert Mesite            M
Mad. Button Quail           B LM A
White-throated Rail         P to TA  A
Mad. Wood Rail              P
Mad. Flufftail              P
Common Moorhen              P
Mad. Jacana                 A
Black-bellied Plover        LM
Mad. Plover                 M
Kittlitz's Plover           A
Whimbrel                    M LM
Greenshank                  B LM A
Common Sandpiper            B A
Caspian Tern                LM
Common Tern                 MJ
Mad. Sandgrouse             B A
Rock Dove                   TA
Mad. Turtle Dove            P B R A
Namaqua Dove                B LE A
Mad. Green Pigeon           P LM R A
Mad. Blue Pigeon            P R
Greater Vasa Parrot         P R A
Lesser Vasa Parrot          P B M A
Grey-headed Lovebird        B M LM R A
Mad. Lesser Cuckoo          P R A
Giant Coua                  B
Coquerel's Coua             A
Red-fronted Coua            P R
Running Coua                B M LM
Red-capped Coua             A
Crested Coua                B M A
Verreaux's Coua             LM
Blue Coua                   P R
Mad. Coucal                 P B M LM R A
Malagasy Scops-Owl          P B 
White-browed  Owl           B
Mad. Long-eared Owl         P A
Mad. Nightjar               B A
Collared Nightjar           P
Malagasy Spine-tail Swift   P B R
African Palm Swift          P R
Alpine Swift                B
African Black Swift         B
Malagasy Kingfisher         P B R A
Mad. Pygmy Kingfisher       P R A
Mad. Bee-eater              B M LM A
Broad-billed Roller         P  A
Pitta-like Ground Roller    P R
Rufous-headed Ground Roller R
Long-tailed Ground Roller   M
Cuckoo Roller               P R
Hoopoe                      M LM A
Velvet Asity                P R
Schlegel's Asity            A
Sunbird Asity               P
Mad. Bush Lark              B M LM R A
Brown-throated Sand Martin  P
Mascarene Martin            P LM R A
Mad. Wagtail                P R A
Ashy Cuckoo Shrike          P R A
Long-billed Greenbul        P R A
Spectacled Greenbul         P B R
Mad. Black Bulbul           P B M LM R A
Mad. Magpie Robin           P B M LM R A
Stonechat                   P R A
Forest Rock Thrush          P
Mad. Swamp Warbler          A
Mad. Brush Warbler          P M LM R A
Mad. Cisticola              P LM A
Grey Emutail                R
Rand's Warbler              P
Dark Newtonia               P
Common Newtonia             P B M LM R A
Archbold's Newtonia         B
Common Jery                 P B M LM R A
Green Jery                  P
Striped-throated Jery       P M R
Wedge-tailed Jery           P
Ward's Flycatcher           P
Mad. Paradise Flycatcher    P B M LM R A
White-throated Oxylabes     P R
Yellow-browed Oxylabes      R
Crossley's Babbler          R
Souimanga Sunbird           P B M LM R A
Long-billed Green Sunbird   P A
Mad. White-eye              P B M LM R A
Red-tailed Vanga            P R A
Rufous Vanga                R A
Hook-billed Vanga           P B M A
Lafresnaye's Vanga          M
Van Dam's Vanga             A
Pollen's Vanga              R
Sickle-billed Vanga         B M A
White-headed Vanga          P B M R A
Chabert's Vanga             P B M A
Blue Vanga                  P R
Nuthatch Vanga              P
Tylas Vanga                 P R
Crested Drongo              P B M LM R A
Pied Crow                   B M A
Mad. Starling               P R
Common Myna                 P
Nelicourvi Weaver           P R
Sakalava Weaver             B M LM A
Mad. Red Fody               A
Forest Fody                 P R
Mad. Mannikin               P M A

Total   142

Bird List For Mauritius

White-tailed Tropicbird
Little Egret
Cattle Egret
Striated Heron
Common Sandpiper
Ruddy Turnstone
Mauritius Kestrel
Rock Dove,
Common Myna
Red-whiskered Bulbul
Mauritius Bulbul
Mascarene Swiftlet
House Sparrow
Common Waxbill
Mauritius Fody
Yellow-fronted Canary
Mascarene Grey White-eye
Zebra Dove
Red Fody

Total   20

Total number of birds for trip - 162 species

Trip List Of Mammals Seen In Madagascar

21-10-98 to 17-11-98

English Name Scientific Name Seen At Max No.
IndriIndri indriPerinet21
Diademed SifakaPropithecus diadema diadema Mantadia10
Milne-Edwards Diademed SifakaPropithecus diadema edwardsiRanomafana4
Verreaux's SifakaPropithecus verreauxi verreauxi Berenty50+
Coquerel's SifakaPropithecus verreauxi coquereli Ampijoroa15
Eastern Woolly LemurAvahi lanigerPerinet and Ranomafana4
Western Wolly LemurAvahi occidentalis Ampijoroa4
Ring-tailed LemurLemur cattaBerenty 100+
B&W Ruffed LemurVarecia variegata variegata Mantadia15
Brown LemurEulemur fulvus fulvusPerinet and Ampijoroa12
Red-fronted Brown LemurEulemur fulvus rufus Berenty and Ranomafana10
Red-bellied LemurEulemur rubriventerPerinet and Ranomafana8
Mongoose LemurEulemur mongozAmpijoroa 3
Eastern Grey Bamboo LemurHapalemur griseus griseus Perinet, Mantadia and Ranomafana17
Golden Bamboo LemurHapalemur aureus Ranomafana3
Greater Bamboo LemurHapalemur simus Ranomafana3
Grey Mouse LemurMicrocebus murinus Berenty, Mora Mora and Ampijoroa5
Rufous Mouse LemurMicrocebus rufus Ranomafana8
"Unnamed" Mouse LemurMicrocebus ravelobensis Ampijoroa1
Greater Dwarf LemurCheirogaleus major Perinet and Ranomafana2
Fat-tailed Dwarf LemurCheirogaleus medius Ranomafana and Ampijoroa1
Sportive LemurLepilemur microdonPerinet and Ranomafana1
Sportive LemurLepilemur leucopus Berenty10+
Sportive LemurLepilemur edwardsi Ampijoroa4
Other Mammals
FossaCryptoprocta feroxPerinet2
Malagasy Striped CivetFossa fossana Ranomafana1
Ring-tailed MongooseGalidia elegans Ranomafana3
Lowland Streaked TenrecHemicentetes semispinosus Perinet and Ranomafana2
Greater Hedgehog TenrecSetifer setosis Perinet and Ampijoroa1
Tail-less TenrecTenrec ecaudatus Ampijoroa2
Red Forest RatNesomys rufusPerinet and Ranomafana2
Grey Long-tailed MouseMacrotarsomys ingens Ampijoroa1
Madagascar Fruit BatPteropus rufus Berenty20+
BatTadarida condyluraAmpijoroa 6
BatTadarida midasAmpijoroa 1

Total Lemurs = 21 + 3 Subspecies

Total Mammals = 32

Also: 9 chameleons, 10 snakes, and various other great reptiles! (Steve has details)

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This page served with permission of the author by Urs Geiser;; February 8, 1999