Madagascar to Mauritius
Experience Madagascar, a thousand-mile island boasting an impressive variety of spectacular landscapes from pristine coral reefs and coastal mangroves to virgin rain forests and native groves of Baobab trees. Geographically isolated for millions of years, nearly all of Madagascar’s animals and plants are found nowhere else on Earth, including nearly 100 varieties of lemurs. Join expert naturalists as you explore Madagascar’s numerous marine reserves and national parks from the comfort of the Hebridean Sky. Then arrive at Reunion Island, a paradisiacal French outpost, and discover its white-sand beaches and spectacular dormant volcanoes. Conclude on the island of Mauritius.
Depart on flights to Johannesburg, South Africa.
Arrive on an overnight flight to Johannesburg, where we meet your fellow travelers at a welcome reception this evening. INTERCONTINENTAL JOHANNESBURG (R)
This morning board a charter flight to Toliara on the southwest coast of Madagascar. After arriving explore the Antsokay Arboretum and learn about its fantastic collection of endemic plants. Board the Hebridean Sky this afternoon and enjoy the captain’s welcome reception this evening before dinner. HEBRIDEAN SKY (B,L,D)
Today visit the curious spiny forest region, a unique ecosystem that exists only in the southern part of Madagascar, and view the spectacular baobab trees at Reniala Private Reserve. The reserve is a paradise for birds and home to the grey mouse lemur, radiated tortoise and warty chameleon. HEBRIDEAN SKY (B,L,D)
After breakfast, depart to see the Avenue of Baobabs, an extraordinary stand of iconic massive trees, followed by free time at the market in Morondava. Or, visit the Kirindy Reserve, home to the greatest density and diversity of primates on Earth, as well as dozens of amphibian species. Look for the narrow-striped mongoose, the cat-like fossa, and seven lemur species, including the smallest known primate, the pygmy mouse lemur. HEBRIDEAN SKY (B,L,D)
During a day at sea, enjoy the on-board lecture program as the Hebridean Sky cruises along the island’s west coast. HEBRIDEAN SKY (B,L,D)
Drive to Ankarafantsika National Park, a vast reserve boasting a remarkable range of flora and fauna, for guided walks in search of wildlife. One of Madagascar’s finest parks for birdwatching, it’s home to 129 identified species, including the Van Dam’s vanga. Learn about the medicinal plants and flowers that the locals used for centuries, try to glimpse tiny mouse lemurs, and visit the breeding program established by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in 1986 to protect the critically endangered ploughshare tortoise. HEBRIDEAN SKY (B,L,D)
After a morning of cruising and on-board lectures, arrive at Nosy Tanikely’s marine reserve for an afternoon of snorkeling. Recognized for its outstanding marine biodiversity, the reserve offers some of the best snorkeling in the area, with a spectacular coral reef teeming with colorful fish and other sea creatures. HEBRIDEAN SKY (B,L,D)
Nosy Hara means “mountainous island” in Malagasy and it’s considered one of the last true paradises of Madagascar. The island offers a stunning bay, sandy beaches and the unique, sharply eroded limestone spikes known as Tsingy formations. Hike the low circular path on the island, or choose the steeper path to a sweeping viewpoint. Then relax on a beautiful beach in the afternoon. HEBRIDEAN SKY (B,L,D)
Cruise around Madagascar’s northernmost point and into Antsiranana’s glorious natural harbor for a guided tour of the town. Later climb aboard a four-wheel-drive vehicle to drive to Amber Mountain National Park for tropical rainforest walks. During our walks, see lush flora and waterfalls, look for the common crowned lemur, spot volcanic lakes, and perhaps count more than 40 varieties of butterflies. HEBRIDEAN SKY (B,L,D)
After a morning of cruising and lectures, spend the afternoon exploring Nosy Mangabe, a small island reserve of virgin rain forest and home to an unusual nocturnal lemur called the aye-aye. Take Zodiacs ashore for nature walks and look for black-and-white ruffed lemurs, colorful paradise flycatchers and many other types of wildlife. HEBRIDEAN SKY (B,L,D)
Explore this national park’s coastal rainforest, dense marshes, and stands of mangroves. Search for a variety of colorful chameleons, geckos, and, of course, lemurs, including the red-ruffed lemur native to this area. Stop at Ambodiforaha village to meet with the locals and shop in the market there. HEBRIDEAN SKY (B,L,D)
The educational program continues during a final full day at sea en route to Réunion, a rain foreststudded island outpost hundreds of miles into the Indian Ocean. HEBRIDEAN SKY (B,L,D)
Visit the island of Réunion’s central highlands, a spectacular rugged landscape of active, dormant, extinct, and collapsed volcanoes. See picturesque villages that dot the verdant landscape and learn about vanilla production at a small family-run plantation. Enjoy the captain’s farewell reception this evening on board our ship before crossing to the neighboring island of Mauritius. HEBRIDEAN SKY (B,L,R,D)
After breakfast, disembark and discover the unique history of Port Louis and the island of Mauritius at the Citadel of Fort Louis and Aapravasi Ghat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the immigration depot where the modern indentured labor diaspora began. Explore Chamarel, an eye-catching region of tropical flora, hidden waterfalls, and undulating sand dunes displaying an array of colors. Then visit the Bois Cheri tea plantation for a refreshing cup of tea before departing for the airport for flights home. (B,L)
Cost and Details
The all-suite Hebridean Sky is a spacious, yet intimate, expedition vessel. After a major refurbishment in 2016 and further enhancements since, she now boasts beautifully designed public spaces that include a large lounge, elegant club and bar with piano, library, and two outdoor seating areas. All suites have an ocean view and feature a sitting room, en suite bathroom, TV, spacious wardrobes, and dressing table. An elevator services all passenger cabin decks. The Hebridean Sky’s chefs prepare quality international meals, predominantly Western-style, served at a single open seating. A friendly crew provides exceptional, personalized service, with more than a 1:2 crew-to-passenger ratio. The ship features advanced satellite navigation and communication equipment, roll stabilizers, and a fleet of Zodiac landing craft.
PROGRAM RATES (PER PERSON)
A – $12,990 Standard Suite (forward), portholes, 238 sq. ft., Amundson Deck
Single Occupancy Rate - $20,790.
B – $13,990 Standard Suite, portholes, 238 sq. ft. Amundson Deck
Single Occupancy Rate - $22,390.
C – $15,490 Superior Suite, picture window, 226-241 sq. ft. Byrd Deck
D – $16,990 Premium Suite, picture window, 221 sq. ft. Mawson Deck
E – $17,990 Corner Suite, picture window, 224 sq. ft. Mawson Deck
F – $18,990 Deluxe Balcony Suite, 221 sq. ft., 40 sq ft balcony, Scott Deck
G – $22,990 Owner's Corner Balcony Suite, 245 sq. ft., 83 sq ft balcony, Shackleton Deck
H – $24,990 Herbridean Suite, 349 sq. ft., 101 sq ft balcony, Shackleton Deck
See brochure for deck plan.
PROGRAM RATES INCLUDE All accommodations, meals, and excursions as specified in the itinerary; One night at the InterContinental Hotel in Johannesburg and 12 nights aboard Hebridean Sky • Charter flights from Johannesburg, South Africa to Toliara, Madagascar • Comprehensive program of briefings, lectures, and presentations • Transfers for all participants on group arrival and departure dates • Gratuities to shipboard personnel, porters, wait staff, guides, and drivers for all group activities • Entrance fees and port charges • Welcome and farewell wine receptions • House wine, beer, and soft drinks with all meals aboard ship • Bottled water on motorcoaches • Complete packet of pre-departure information • A team of expert naturalists • Professional tour manager throughout the program.
NOT INCLUDED U.S. domestic and international airfare • Passport/visa expenses • Medical expenses, immunizations, and COVID-19 testing if required at the time of travel • Travel and trip cancellation insurance • Private transfers or airport transfers outside of group arrival and departure days • Excursions that deviate from the scheduled tour options • Airline baggage charges • Meals not specified in the itinerary; dishes and beverages not part of the included meals; liquor or soft drinks except as noted • Laundry or dry cleaning • Telephone, fax, internet, and email charges • Room service • Other items of a personal nature.
We consider this to be a moderately strenuous program, at times physically demanding and busy, with considerable walking at some destinations. Daily activities can involve up to two miles of walking, unaided, over varied terrain (e.g., uneven beaches, steep and sandy trails, dirt streets, and paths in small villages). You will need to climb into and out of Zodiacs for most excursions. Please note that some locations involve wet landings. All participants should be comfortable swimming unassisted in open water. No prior snorkeling experience is necessary. Participants must be physically fit, active and in good health. As of publication, SARSCOV-2 (COVID 19) vaccinations are required for all participants as well as tour staff and shipboard crew. Up-to-date COVID-related protocols and procedures will be communicated in pre- trip documents.
Expert naturalist guides join you throughout excursions, and onboard lectures illuminate the destinations visited throughout the voyage.
Terms and Conditions
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Complete Terms and Conditions including a Statement of Responsibility will be made available to you at the time of registration, or in advance upon request. A signed “Terms & Conditions, Release from Liability, Assumption of Risk and Binding Arbitration Clause” is required from each applicant prior to participation on the tour.
U.S. domestic and international airfare is not included in the program rates. Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc., can help with airline arrangements for this trip and can be reached at 877-376-1754. You are also welcome to book your air transportation through your local travel agent, an online travel site, or the airline of your choice.
This program can accommodate 92 participants, including travelers from the Commonwealth Club of California, the World Affairs Council, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Yale Alumni Academy.
We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a worldwide membership. To learn about membership types and to purchase a membership, visit our membership page or call (415) 597-6720.
We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance, which is available for coverage of expenses in conjunction with cancellation due to illness or accident. Baggage insurance is also recommended. In the event you must cancel your participation in the travel program, trip cancellation insurance may be the only source of reimbursement. Information will be sent upon registration and can be viewed Travel Insurance Services website
A NOTE ABOUT RATES
Tour rates are based upon current fuel prices, currency values, taxes, tariffs, and a minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change. If there are significant changes, details and costs will be advised prior to departure
RESERVATIONS & PAYMENTS
A deposit of $1,000 per person is required to reserve space on this program.
Final payment is due August 7, 2023. For those who register after August 7, 2023, full payment is due upon registration.
CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS
Upon payment of the $1,000 per person deposit, all reservations are subject to the cancellation provisions set forth below and by which the passenger agrees to be bound. Cancellations shall not be in effect until they are received in writing and confirmed by Commonwealth Club Travel. Deposits are refundable (less a $250 per person admin fee) if written notice of cancellation is received within 30 days of booking; After that, deposits are 100% nonrefundable. After the final payment deadline of August 7, 2023, all payments are 100% nonrefundable, regardless of the booking date.
Cancellations after August 7, 2023: All payments are 100% non-refundable, regardless of the booking date. Trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended.
NOTE: Neither the Commonwealth Club nor the tour operator accepts liability for any airline cancellation penalties incurred with the purchase of nonrefundable tickets.
All participants should be in good health and capable of keeping up with an active group of travelers. By forwarding the deposit for passage, the passenger certifies that he/she does not have any physical or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/ herself or other passengers. SARSCOV-2 (COVID 19) vaccinations are a requirement for participation on this program. Up-to-date COVID-specific protocols and requirements for this destination will be sent to confirmed participants and are available upon request. Every reasonable effort will be made to operate the program as planned; however, should unforeseen world events and conditions require the itinerary to be altered, the tour operator reserves the right to do so for the safety and best interest of the group. Any extra expenses incurred in this situation are the responsibility of the participant.
CALIFORNIA SELLER OF TRAVEL PROGRAM CST #2088800-40; 2096889-40