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Indian Ocean Cruise: Aldabra, Madagascar, and Seychelles

Discover the beautiful and biodiverse islands of the western Indian Ocean on this 16-day luxury cruise from South Africa to the Seychelles through the Scattered Islands, Madagascar, and Aldabra Atoll.

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Overview

  • Snorkel the amazing coral reefs of the Mozambique Channel, considered the second most diverse in the world.
  • Take advantage of this unique opportunity to explore the remote natural wonders of the Scattered Islands (Îles Éparses), Madagascar, Aldabra Atoll, and the Seychelles.
  • Enjoy the comforts of luxurious Le Lyrial cruise ship as you sail through paradise.

Explore the idyllic islands of the western Indian Ocean on this 16-day luxury cruise aboard Le Lyrial. From our departure point in Durban, South Africa we sail northeast through the Mozambique Channel toward the Seychelles. Our cruise starts with a visit to the Scattered Islands (Îles Éparses). Classified as a nature reserve, these remote and mostly uninhabited islands—which include Glorieuses, Juan de Nova, and Europa—offer unspoiled vegetation, long sandy beaches, lagoons of turquoise water, and vibrant coral reefs. They attract large populations of seabirds, and both Europa and Juan de Nova—which we'll visit first—host significant green sea turtle nesting colonies.

Our next stop is Nosy Komba, a beautiful small island off Madagascar’s northwest coast, known for its population of endemic black lemurs, as well as mouse lemurs and Hawk's sportive lemurs. Nosy Komba is a densely forested island ringed by volcanic rocks and surrounded by emerald blue water. In addition to lemurs, the island is home to many of the 300 bird species found in Madagascar, such as the crested drongo, Madagascar kingfisher, paradise flycatcher, and red-tailed tropicbird, as well as brightly colored panther chameleons, giant day geckos, and other reptile species for which Madagascar is globally renowned.

We'll then visit the French Glorieuses Islands off of the northern coast of Madagascar in the Mozambique Channel. These tiny, low-lying coral islands are a marine protected area and home to nesting seabirds and sea turtles, and encircling coral reefs and seagrass beds with roughly 350 documented reef fish species.

Our next stop will be at Antsiranana (Diego Suarez) on mainland Madagascar, an important port town filled with fascinating colonial history and architecture.

Finally, we’ll make several stops in the Seychelles—Aldabra and Alphonse Atolls, and La Digue—before disembarking in Mahé. A highlight will be our visit to Aldabra Atoll, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is surrounded by coral reef and home to the endemic Aldabra giant tortoise.

Trip Dates & Cost

2018: April 1–16. From $10,460 per person.* Please contact us to check availability and reserve your space.

* Trip price is for the cruise only and does not include airfare. Final pricing will vary based on cabin class selection. Special deposit terms apply.

Photos
Naturalist

Itinerary

A map of our expedition's route.Day 1: Durban, South Africa | Embark
Board Le Lyrial in the cosmopolitan city of Durban, South Africa and set sail on our adventure. You will need to arrive to Durban the day prior. As we leave Durban and cruise along the coast, enjoy views of the Valley of a Thousand Hills, undulating, soft green hills that are the ancestral land of the Zulu people.

Days 2–3: At Sea
Relax and enjoy the ship's many amenities as we enter the Mozambique Channel en route to our first port of call.

Day 4: Europa (Scattered Islands / Îles Éparses )
Located in the southern Mozambique Channel, the island of Europa is the largest and best preserved of the French Scattered Islands, once featured on an episode of The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. This ancient island of volcanic origin is covered by a blend of dense dry forest, mangrove, and the remains of a sisal plantation, and is surrounded by coral reef that is home to an impressive array of marine wildlife.

Europa is home to one the world's largest nesting colonies of green sea turtles, and is classified as an Important Bird Area because it hosts a large and diverse population of breeding seabirds and waterbirds, including Malagasy pond herons, great frigatebirds, Audubon's shearwaters, dimorphic egrets, Caspian terns, and an endemic subspecies of white-tailed tropicbird.

Day 5: At Sea
Relax and enjoy the ship's many amenities as we continue on our journey.

Day 6: Juan de Nova (Scattered Islands / Îles Éparses)
Located deep inside the Mozambique Channel, the unusual islet of Juan de Nova (once known as Saint Christopher) owes its existence to its coral reef, which has slowly developed over time to form an almost submerged land made of coral and sand. Home to the biggest colony of sooty terns in the Indian Ocean, this tiny strip of land is classed as a nature reserve and will not fail to enchant you with its rocky hillsides, sand dunes and translucent lagoons.

Day 7: At Sea
Relax and enjoy the ship's many amenities as we continue on our journey.

Day 8: Nosy Komba, Madagascar
Today we'll visit Nosy Komba, a small island off the northwest coast of Madagascar also known as “lemur island” because of its population of endemic black lemurs, as well as mouse lemurs and Hawk's sportive lemurs. Nosy Komba is a densely forested island ringed by volcanic rocks, small beaches, and surrounded by emerald blue water. In addition to lemurs, the island is home to many of the 300 bird species found in Madagascar, such as the crested drongo, Madagascar kingfisher, paradise flycatcher, and red-tailed tropicbird, as well as brightly colored panther chameleons, giant day geckos, and other reptile species for which Madagascar is globally renowned.

Day 9: Glorieuses Islands (Scattered Islands / Îles Éparses)
Located off of the northern coast of Madagascar in the Mozambique Channel, these tiny, low-lying coral islands are a marine protected area and home to nesting seabirds and sea turtles, and encircling coral reefs and seagrass beds with roughly 350 documented reef fish species .

Day 10: At Sea
Relax and enjoy the ship's many amenities as we continue on our journey.

Days 11–12: Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles
Located in the heart of the remote Seychelles archipelago, Aldabra Atoll is considered to be one of the last virtually untouched natural areas on Earth, and an outstanding example of a raised coral atoll. Aldabra is home to the largest remaining population of giant tortoises on Earth, the endemic Aldabra giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea ). Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Aldabra Atoll is the second largest in the world (at 155 km² ) and consists of four small coral reef islands separated by narrow passages and encircling an emerald-colored lagoon lined with mangrove and fine-sand beaches. Enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit this remote natural wonder that few people are able to visit, with time for snorkeling or optional scuba diving at this ocean paradise.

Day 13: At Sea
Relax and enjoy the ship's many amenities as we continue on our journey.

Day 14: Alphonse Island, Seychelles
Alphonse Island is a small, inhabited island with a population just over 100. This remote outpost is an important stopover for migratory birds, with more bird species recorded here than on any other islands in the Seychelles, apart from Aldabra. Its extensive white sand beaches are also home to nesting sea turtles, and the island hosts a population of giant tortoises. Exceptional snorkeling and scuba diving are available just offshore.

Day 15: La Digue, Seychelles
For centuries, the soft white sands and dramatic granite boulders have enchanted visitors to the island of La Digue, our final stop before Mahé. Experience the Old World beauty and charm of the Seychelles through a tour of this picturesque island, one of the prettiest in the Seychelles. During the scenic drive from La Passe Harbor to L'Union Estate, you will find daily life here to be punctuated by oxcarts and a relaxed pace. Upon arrival at L'Union Estate, you will see the old Creole house and coconut factory that serve as a distinct reminder of life on the island many years ago. Next, you will proceed for a visit to La Digue's beaches, considered to be among the finest in the world. Anse Source d'Argent, in particular, is both a bather's paradise and photographer's dream.

Day 16: Mahé Island, Seychelles | Disembark
Disembark this morning on Mahé, the main island of the Seychelles and home to the capital city, Victoria. Continue on your journey or return home.

Accommodations

Our expedition takes place aboard Le Lyrial, a luxurious cruise ship with 122 staterooms and suites for a maximum of 260 guests. Well-appointed cabins and suites offer a variety of layouts including king-size beds, twin beds, and adjoining cabins for families and groups, and most cabins have private balconies. Common areas include an open-air bar and sun deck, a pool, library, panoramic lounge and terrace, internet station, a fitness center and spa with massage facilities, and two restaurants.

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