Madagascar, Baobabs and Lemurs
- Madagascar‘s mighty Baobab trees, majestic volcanic mountains, endangered rainforests and wonderful beaches, make the island the jewel of the Indian Ocean. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has announced two expedition style sailings to Madagascar and South Africa. The sailings will take place in December 2012 and December 2013, onboard the MS Hanseatic and the Bremen. Both will include maiden port calls in Madagascar. The Hanseatic, the world’s only 5-star expedition ship and the Bremen, a 4-star plus expedition ship, per the 2012 Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships, were created to provide intensive exploration experiences in the most elegant surroundings possible.
Exotic flora and fauna unique to Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, have evolved over the millennia. More than 12,000 plant species found only in Madagascar have been documented. Lemurs, chameleons, and other creatures which exist nowhere else in the world call Madagascar’s rainforests home. The Island is noted for its secluded beaches and romantic seascapes. Unfortunately, the migration of homo sapiens from Africa and Asia, and their activities, have decimated Madagascar’s environment, and threaten the very existence of its unique ecosystem.
The Madagascar Sailings
The Hapag-Lloyd Hanseatic will make stops at six new Madagascar ports on her tropic adventure in December 2012. Ports of call will include Maroantsetra, Nosy Hara, Morondava, Nosy Ve, Toliara, and a first time stop in Mozambique, the picturesque city of Ilha Dos Portugueses.
There will be opportunities to hike in Masoala National Park and see lemurs in the rainforest, to canoe to Lokobe Nature Reserve, to travel on zodiacs to Nosy Lakandava and Nosy Hara for swimming between coral reefs and rock formations, to safari in Kariega Game Reserve in South Africa, and to visit the Addo Elephant Park there. This 16-day sailing departs from Port Louis, Mauritius on December 9, 2012, and ends in Cape Town, South Africa.
The Bremen will sail to the west coast of Madagascar in late 2013, making port in Nosy Hara, Mahajanga, Morondava and Nosy Ve. This 17-day sailing will begin on December 1st, 2013 in Port Louis, Mauritius, and end in Cape Town, South Africa.
There will be opportunities to hike in Lokobe Nature Reserve to admire gigantic Baobab trees and bird watch, to boat to Nosy Komba, also know as “lemur island,” to snorkle on Nosy Lakandava and Nosy Hara, and to visit the Zulu village of Kwabhekithunga in South Africa, and safari to view the “Big Five”, the lion, the leopard, the water buffalo, the rhinoceros and the elephant. Although most of these beasts are easy to spot, the leopard is the exception. A lone hunter who prefers to perch high in trees, he is notorious for escaping detection.
Madagascar’s Endangered Rainforests
These Hapag-Lloyd voyages are a once in a lifetime opportunity to see ecosystems which are extraordinary in their beauty, distinctive, and in Madagascar, seriously endangered. It is hoped that voyages such as these will raise awareness for the plight of Madagascar’s ecosystem, and in so doing, enable those who fight to save the rainforests of Madagascar to raise the funds necessary to succeed in their mission. To learn more about Madagascar and what you can do to help, go to wildmadagascar.org.
Happy cruising. Andrew Kruglanski, Cruisin Susan Cruise Blog.
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Photos courtesy of Wildmadagascar.org.