Journey to Madagascar and South Georgia Island – Itinerary and Links to Posts

5 October to 28 November 2015

(Also see Summary and Maps).

First posts:

 

All Posts:

Mauritius (6th to 10th October)

 

Reunion (10th to 14th October)

 

Madagascar (14th to 29th October)

 

Falkland Islands (31st October to November 7th)

Temporary posts below…

South Georgia Island (7th to 21st November)

Atacama Desert (22nd to 27th November)

Journey to Madagascar and South Georgia Island – Summary and Maps

5 October to 28 November 2015

(Also see Itinerary and Links to Posts (at this stage, a forthcoming post)).

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Antarctica, Atacama, Chile, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

On 5 October, immediately after covering the Narooma Blues Festival, I am heading off westwards around the southern hemisphere for nearly two months.

From Canberra, with stop-offs in Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur, my first destination is Mauritius for three days.  From there I fly to the nearby island of Reunion for three days.  Next is a two-week wildlife tour in Madagascar, organised by Naturescapes.net.  Then I fly with stopoffs in Johannesburg, Abu Dhabi, Sao Paulo, Santiago (overnight) and Punta Arenas to the Falkland Islands for two weeks.  From there I go on a two-week cruise to South Georgia Island organised by Joshua Holko.  After returning to the Falklands, I fly via Rio Gallegos, Punta Arenas and Santiago to the Atacama Desert for a week.  Finally, after all that I return to Canberra via Sydney.

The trip started with signing up for South Georgia.  Then I realised that there was an opportunity in Madagascar that would fit in logistically and the other destinations followed in due course.

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Antarctica, Atacama, Chile, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife2

First stop is Mauritius and I have various routes planned on my car GPS.  I may abandon destinations or include others according to local advice and the logistics of travel.  Mauritius is fairly densely populated and there are lots of luxury hotels on the west coast and the north west coast.  I am avoiding those and staying in Mahebourg, the original capital.  Among my potential destinations is Ile aux Aigrettes (wildlife reserve), Morne Brabant (peninsula with history), Black River Gorges National Park, Valee des Colours (coloured sands), Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Gardens and some white sand beaches.

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Antarctica, Atacama, Chile, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

I will fly in to Sainte Pierre in the south of Reunion and fly out from Saint Denis in the north.  Reunion has much more intact wilderness than Mauritius.  I will stay in different locations on each of my four nights. Two of them are in cirques, craters of different volcanoes.  There is also another cirque with villages but no road access.  I will not have enough time to visit that one, though I intend to go to a lookout above it at dawn.  Reunion also has an active volcano, Piton de la Fournais, which has erupted twice this year so there is a small chance it may be erupting while I am there.  This might be good if I can get images, or not so good if it disrupts transport.

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Antarctica, Atacama, Chile, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

This map shows Madagascar as well as the nearby islands of Mauritius and Reunion.   Although humans have created much environmental devastation in Madagascar, it remains one of the world’s primary centres of ecological uniqueness and diversity.  This applies both for plants and animals, including boabs, lemurs and chameleons.  For more details on the schedule and some of the life we are likely to encounter, see the workshop summary on the Naturescapes site.

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Antarctica, Atacama, Chile, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

There is only one flight a week into the Falklands, from Santiago and Puntas Arenas in Chile.  There was just enough time between the Madagascar workshop and the South Georgia cruise for a week in the Falklands.  I will be spending most of that on two remote islands, Pebble Island and Sea Lion Island. This was organised for me by Falkland Island Holidays.  The Falklands are another wild location replete with wildlife in the form of sea birds and marine mammals.  I also have thirteen previous posts in the Falklands of excursions off the ship, from my Antarctic expedition in 2011.

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Antarctica, Atacama, Chile, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

 

South Georgia Island is where Shackleton travelled to from Elephant Island in a lifeboat in 1916, across 720 nautical miles of stormy seas.  They landed on the south side of the island and then had to climb over the mountains to reach the supplies in the British base on the other side.  It is a spectacular location with towering mountains, dramatic landscapes and remains of a whaling station.  There are hundreds of thousands of king penguins there, many other bird species, seals and whales.

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Antarctica, Atacama, Chile, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Finally, in the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile I expect to find a great variety of arid landscapes and wildlife including flamingos.  Those black lines on the map are national borders; Bolivia to the north-west and Argentina to the south-west.

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I will definitely have no internet access in the cruise to South Georgia and in many other places, even if I do have access, it may not work very well.  Often I may not have time to post anyway so posts are likely to be infrequent until I return.