AIA Tours: cruise

Madagascar to Mauritius: Islands of the Indian Ocean

Tour Dates: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 to Friday, January 31, 2020 (17 days)

Tour Leader(s): Ian Tattersall ,

You are invited to join paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall on an extraordinary cruise from Madagascar to Mauritius aboard the elegant, 53-cabin MS Serenissima. While archaeological sites are not the focus of this AIA-sponsored program, this is a splendid opportunity to travel and learn about human origins with Dr. Tattersall, our AIA lecturer and host, who is one of the world’s leading experts on the hominid fossil record. Ian is a specialist in the biology and evolution of the primates of Madagascar, has carried out extensive fieldwork on the living lemur fauna of Madagascar, and also has done field research on the macaque monkeys of Mauritius.

Madagascar is a global treasure of nature: often called the “eighth continent,” it is the fourth-largest island in the world. It is home to 5% of the world’s plant and animal species that have developed in splendid isolation and exist nowhere else on Earth. With no fewer than six different climatic zones, the island’s array of flora and fauna includes baobab trees; more than 300 species of reptiles; and more than 200 species of birds. Madagascar’s more than 100 known species of lemur are some of the most extraordinary animals you could ever hope to see, and our AIA lecturer and host has a lemur named for him (Propithecus tattersalli)!

To maximize your time in Madagascar, this expedition begins with a private charter flight from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Toliara, Madagascar, thus avoiding the two-day crossing by ship of the Mozambique Channel. Enjoy 11 days exploring Madagascar’s numerous marine reserves and national parks. Then arrive at Réunion Island, a paradisiacal French outpost, to explore its white-sand beaches, spectacular dormant volcanoes, and vibrant Creole character. Disembark on the island of Mauritius, taking in the island’s cultural riches and geologic wonders. Choose from two optional, pre-cruise extensions in South Africa, one with a paleoanthropology focus that includes Sterkfontein Caves and is accompanied by Ian Tattersall, and the other a safari near Kruger National Park; and/or a choose a post-cruise opportunity to lengthen your stay on Mauritius.

Tour Pricing (Per Person)
Double Occupancy Cabins start at $12,990

Single Occupancy Cabins start at $14,490 (Limited availability)

We encourage you to reserve your preferred cabin now! Call 800-748-6262 or 603-756-2844, or email

Fossa, cat-like, carnivorous mammal endemic to Madagascar © operator

Mauritius - Port Louis © operator

Piton de la Fournaise volcano, Reunion island © operator

Vestige of colonial architecture in Diego Suarez © operator

Lemur © operator


Wednesday & Thursday, January 15 & 16, 2020 DEPART HOME / JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
Friday, January 17 TOLIARA, MADAGASCAR
Saturday, January 18 TOLIARA
Sunday, January 19 MORONDAVA
Monday, January 20 AT SEA
Tuesday, January 21 MAHAJANGA
Wednesday, January 22 NOSY TANIKELY
Thursday, January 23 NOSY HARA NATIONAL PARK
Friday, January 24 DIEGO SUAREZ
Saturday, January 25 NOSY MANGABE
Tuesday, January 28 AT SEA
Wednesday, January 29 PORT EST, RÉUNION ISLAND
Thursday, January 30 PORT LOUIS, MAURITIUS
Friday, January 31 ALOFT / HOME

Begin your journey with an earlier arrival in South Africa and a choice of two amazing experiences:

A memorable stay at Ngala Game Reserve, adjacent to Kruger National Park in South Africa, to search for the “Big Five” and other wildlife on game drives aboard open-top safari vehicles.
A visit to the Sterkfontein Caves and Maropeng Visitor Center in the UNESCO-listed Cradle of Humankind anthropological site near Johannesburg, joined by Dr. Ian Tattersall.

Extend your stay for further exploration of the lush rain forests and white sand beaches of Mauritius. During your three-day stay, discover Íle aux Aigrettes, one of the last sanctuaries for rare Mauritian wildlife, including the giant aldabra tortoise (below) and the ornate day gecko. Also
learn about the island’s long colonial history and enjoy snorkeling in the crystal blue water.

Further details and pricing will be sent to confirmed participants.

We encourage you to reserve your preferred cabin now! Call 800-748-6262 or 603-756-2844, or email

For complete pricing, cabin information, and a detailed itinerary, download the brochure.

For reservations or questions, please email us at (and include your full name) or call us toll-free at (800) 748-6262 (toll: 603-756-2884). To reserve your space using the online form, click here.

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