Trip report: Madagascar custom tour (November 2015) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Charley Hesse. This was a custom tour.

On this custom tour we closely followed the itinerary of the main set departure tour with Western Endemics extension. The emphasis of this trip was on maximising the number of life birds for the clients rather than overall numbers, but we did get an impressive 185 species of birds seen. Although the bias was towards birds, we were enchanted by 20 species of lemur and 6 other mammals (including tenrecs, a Malagasy carnivore and endemic rodents). We also had 36 species of reptiles, 14 species of frog, at least 37 species of butterfly! The trip was not without its challenges, including some illness, heat and humidity, bumpy roads and even some bush-whacking. Despite all the potential hurdles that Madagascar has to offer, the tour logistics went very smoothly. The drivers were professional, the food of a high standard, the majority of hotels exceeded clients expectations and most amazing of all, our internal flights on Air Madagascar left on time with us on them. The clients persevered through thick and thin, showing remarkable dedication and we found every single available endemic bird for this itinerary; a rare feat on bird tours in this country. One of the things that will stick in the memory of everybody on this tour was the standard of the local guides. Tropical Birding has long standing relationships with the very best local guides available, which gives us the edge over other tour companies operating here. The techniques used and the knowledge of these incredible people was mind-blowing.

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