Madagascar, the world's fourth largest island where over 80% of animal and plant species are found nowhere else on Earth, encourages exploration and rewards curiosity. Truly one-of-a-kind, Madagascar features tremendous diversity of landscape and ecology – from rainforest to sandstone canyons, limestone karats to forested mountains – and offers the wildlife photographer exceptional opportunities to document unique animal behavior. Encounter lemurs (there are seventy species) that practice communal parenting and labor, and the extraordinarily vibrant colors of the panther chameleon. Join us for a photography and travel experience that does not exist anywhere else!
The itinerary below reveals more information about what parks and reserves are included, and what wildlife can be seen at each location. Scientists continue to discover new species of mammals and reptiles every year. The threat of ecological damage caused by humans in significant, however; visiting this bizarrely beautiful island to witness and experience its current natural wonder is certainly a trip we would recommend to put at the top of every wildlife photographer's bucket list.
We are very pleased that Roy Toft and Morgan Heim will be leading this workshop. Roy is a highly talented, caring, and generous teacher, who leads several small group photo tours and workshops each year, for photographers of all levels to destinations around the globe. With a background in wildlife and conservation biology, he is adept at helping others capture images of animals in the wild that that convey a sense of the animal’s character and spirit. A Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers, Roy is widely recognized as one of the leading wildlife photographers working today, published regularly in National Geographic, Smithsonian, Audubon, and other notable publications. He is also a natural "campfire comedian," keeping everyone in stitches, and an excellent host.
Morgan Heim is also a gifted professional photographer with a background in zoology and environmental journalism. She is a photojournalist and filmmaker dedicated to sharing the stories of wildlife and wild places. She views her photography as her tool to be a catalyst in conservation movements, and enjoys helping others to grow and develop their photographic talents beyond what they believed possible. Morgan also happens to be one of the most kind and conscientious people we know.
This 22-night package is designed to deliver a superb overall experience, and includes first-rate lodging, all meals, beverages (including fine wine and beer at dinners), expert guides, photographic instruction, park entry fees, ground transfers, and four flights within Madagascar during the itinerary.
Click "read more" below right for the itinerary and more information...
Our itinerary makes the most of the incredible photographic opportunities, and offers attentive hands-on photographic instruction and expert guiding throughout:
October 3 : Arrive at Ivato International Airport (TNA), which serves the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo , or “Tana.” Overnight at Hotel Colbert (D)
October 4 : Leave Hotel Colbert in the morning to drive to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. Stop at la Mandraka for photography of the falls and lunch. Overnight at Vakôna Forest Lodge (B, L, D)
October 5-6 : Photograph throughout Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, including Analamazaotra Special Reserve, which is famous as the home of the babakoto “indri” lemur, diademed sifaka, grey bamboo lemurs, and brown lemurs. Other wildlife to photograph include Parson’s chameleons, which can exceed half a meter in length, the Madagascar tree boa, and numerous birds including the Madagascar blue pigeon, the blue coua, the Nelicourvi weaver, the Madagascar paradise flycatcher, the blue vanga, and the Madagascar buzzard. Expect moderate hiking at this Park; we will probably walk a couple miles on uneven ground, but at an easy pace. Overnight at Vakôna Forest Lodge (B, L, D)
October 7 : Leave Vakôna Forest Lodge and Andasibe-Mantadia National Park in the morning. Stop at la Mandraka for photography of the falls and lunch. Return to Tana. Overnight at Relais des Plateaux Hotel (B, L, D)
October 8 : Leave Tana for 1:30pm flight to Fort Dauphin/Tolagnaro (FTU). Drive from Fort Dauphin /Tolagnaro to Berenty Reserve. Overnight at the Berenty Lodge (B, L, D)
October 9-11 : At the Berenty Reserve, you will experience three different ecosystems: the southern spiny succulent forest, the wet rainforest, and between them a transitional forest, each harboring different populations of lemurs (maki, sifaka, Microcebus and even aye-aye). Most notable among the flora is the endemic trihedral palm (Neodypsis decarii). Birds include the Madagascar hoopoe, the crested drongo, the crested coua, Verreaux’s coua, the Madagascar coucal, and the white-faced whistling duck. Overnight at the Berenty Lodge. (B, L, D)
October 12 : Leave Berenty Reserve and drive back to Fort Dauphin/Tolagnaro. Flight leaves at 2:35pm for Tana. Overnight at Relais des Plateaux Hotel (B, L, D)
October 13 : Flight leaves at 7:40am from Tana to fly to Morondava’s airport (MOQ). Drive out to Baobab Alley and then to the final destination for the day, Kirindy Mitea National Park. Overnight at Le Camp Amoureux (B, L, D)
October 14 : Photography sessions around Kirindy Mitea National Park. In addition to the dry primary forest, the central Menabe also shelters a transition zone between the dense deciduous dry forest of the West, and the arid spiny thicket of the south. At least four diurnal species of lemur are found here: Verreaux’s sifaka, the brown lemur, the red-fronted lemur and the ring-tailed lemur. Other mammals include the giant jumping rat, the elusive fosa and the striped civet (Fosa fossana). Many Birds include the Madagascar crested ibis, Madagascar sparrowhawk, Henst’s goshawk, Sakalava weaver, Archbold’s newtonia, Thamnornis warbler, Lantz’s brush-warbler, Sickle-billed vanga, and the Giant coua. The most remarkable trees are the three species of baobab: Adansonia grandidieri, A. za and A. rubrostipa. Overnight at Le Camp Amoureux (B, L, D)
October 15 : Explore Belo sur Mer and drive to Bekopaka. Both are small communes. Overnight at Le Soleil des Tsingy Hotel (B, L, D)
October 16-17 : From Bekopaka, enter Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The national park is home to a vast field of fantastic “tsingy” (literally “to walk on tiptoes”) limestone formations of marine origin that date back to the mid-Jurassic (200 million years ago). The park also boasts eleven species of lemur including Decken’s sifaka and the red-fronted brown lemur, more than ninety species of birds including the elusive fish eagle, chameleons of all sizes (including the “armored” Brookesia perarmata), and over 350 plant species including baobabs, the showy Malagasy Flamboyant (Delonix regia, a.k.a. “Flame tree”) now cultivated around the world, as well as the unique wild banana native to Madagascar, Musa perrieri. Overnight at Le Soleil des Tsingy Hotel (B, L, D)
October 18 : Leave Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park and Bekopaka for Morondava. Overnight at Hôtel Palissandre Côte Ouest (B, L, D)
October 19 : Spend the day in Morondava. Overnight at Hôtel Palissandre Côte Ouest (B, L, D)
October 20 : Travel back to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. Flight departs at 9:15am to fly back to Tana and then drive to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. Overnight at Couleur Café (B, L, D)
October 21 : Drive in 4WD vehicles to the final park visit: Ranomafana National Park earlier in the day for photography sessions later in the day in the Park. Overnight at Setam Lodge (B, L, D)
October 22-23 : Explore Ranomafana National Park. The rugged topography of Ranomafana National Park owes much to the mighty Namorona River which bisects it. Habitats include lowland rainforest, marshes, and high-plateau and cloud forests. Ranomafana is home to the golden bamboo lemur (Hapalemur aureus) as well as the greater bamboo lemur and the grey bamboo lemur, the diademed sifaka, the red-fronted brown lemur, the red-bellied lemur, and the black and white ruffed lemur. Ranomafana’s birds include the pitta-like ground roller, the rufous-headed ground roller, Pollen’s vanga and the velvet asity. Reptiles include several leaf-tailed gecko species (including the “satanic”) and some brightly colored Mantella frogs. The park is also home to the Helicophanta farafangana, which, with a shell length of up to 4”, is Madagascar’s largest native land snail. In Malagasy “rano” is water and “mafana” means hot, and the park does feature hot mineral springs with possibly therapeutic thermal baths. Overnight at Setam Lodge (B, L, D)
October 24 : Leave Ranomafana National Park in 4WD vehicles to return to Tana. Overnight at Hotel Colbert (B, L, D)
October 25 : End of expedition. Fly home from Tana (TNA) today or the following day. (B)
Cost: $14,195 per person based on double-occupancy (single supplement: $1,500)
- Generous expert photographic guiding and instruction throughout by Roy Toft and Morgan Heim
- Luxury accommodations and sustainable throughout, carefully selected for optimal location, photographic opportunities, and overall quality of experience
- All meals and associated beverages (local beer, fine wine, standard cocktails, soft drinks, bottled water)
- Four group flights within Madagascar (four total), all ground transfers
- International flights
- Travel insurance
- Personal items
- "Top-shelf" brand alcoholic beverages
Payment schedule: 25% deposit required upon booking, an additional 25% payment due by May 5th, and balance due by July 4th, 2017.
For more information, please contact Justin or Sara at email@example.com or 202-558-9596.
- VISA: A passport with at least six months of validity remaining is required, in addition to a visa; please visit the website for the Embassy of Madagascar in Washington, DC for further information.
- TRAVEL INSURANCE: Not required but recommended; Travelguard.com is excellent.
- INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS: We recommend arriving one day early in case of flight delays and to adjust to the time difference. There are many flight options to Ivato International Airport (TNA) in Tana from Paris, France and Johannesburg, South Africa. Please contact us for further recommendations.
- VACCINATIONS: In general there are no requirements; however, when traveling to Madagascar from an area infected with yellow fever or cholera, a vaccination certificate is required. Malaria and Hepatitis A vaccinations are recommended by the Embassy of Madagascar in Washington, DC.
- GRATUITIES: Baseline tips are included. Our guides and lodge staff work very hard to make our experience the best it can be, and Visionary Wild budgets for a healthy group tip in recognition of their services. Guests are encouraged to tip additionally if they would like to recognize exceptional service.