Madagascar: Endemic Wildlife and Amazing Landscapes
Join Andy Williams and Will Burrard-Lucas as they guide you to the very best of Madagascar on this thirteen day photographic adventure workshop. Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island and home to an astounding 5% of the world’s plant and animal species, many of which can only be seen here. Photograph endemic lemurs, birds, reptiles and a wide variety of fauna, as well as the spectacular landscapes including ancient baobabs, the unreal beauty of the Tsingy, lush rainforests, white sand beaches, mountains, plains, and many other one-of-a-kind landscapes that will keep your shutter finger busy non-stop!
Expect to photograph and learn a lot in this workshop. You will be with like-minded photographers and travelers. Will and Andy will provide instruction in the field, and in the classroom with image reviews and critiques, and Lightroom post-processing instruction. Oh and we've timed this trip not only for the best wildlife viewing (October) but also for the new moon, which is October 9, 2018—we'll have several evenings with dark skies, so with clear skies and good weather, we'll be able do astrophotography as well!
- Small group, only ten guests with two professional photographers
- Highly experienced leaders, local guides and photographic professionals who know the best photo spots
- Private air charters—we are not using commercial air which is fraught with delays and canceled flights
We've crafted our itinerary in such a way as to cover the most ground possible and provide the largest variety of photo-ops, landscapes, and wildlife. We'll travel by “Air Muench” (private charter), we won't rely on the unreliable commercial air options which so often disrupt and inconvenience many Madagascar travelers. Our accommodations are perfectly suited to our planned photography, and they are four star or better. Everything is all-inclusive: all meals, transportation, lodging, English-speaking local guides, and of course photographic guiding and instruction by Andy and Will. This workshop is strictly limited to 10 guests.
Immediately following this workshop we have our African Wildlife Safari in Amboseli, Kenya.
October 4–17, 2018
Itinerary and General Information
October 4, 2018: Arrive in Antananarivo, Madagascar.
You will be greeted on arrival at Ivato airport by our English speaking guide, who will accompany you to your hotel in the upper town of Antananarivo. ‘Tana’—as the locals call it—has fascinating traditional architecture and a more Indonesian influence than the rest of Madagascar. Overnight at Pavillon de l’Emyrne
October 5, 2018: Tana – Andasibe
In the early afternoon, we head east to Andasibe, a stunning rainforest park, about three hours’ drive from the city, in our private 4x4s. The park consists of two protected areas, the Perinet Special Reserve, and Mantadia National Park. The journey to Andasibe offers a gentle introduction to rural life, with rice fields, redbrick houses, and roadside stalls selling seasonal fruits and vegetables lining the route. A night walk will be organized in the forest surrounding the reserve with a local guide. You will see a variety of the nocturnal lemurs: mouse lemurs, white footed sportive lemur, fat-tailed dwarf lemur, as well as the woolly lemur. Overnight at Vakona Forest Lodge.
October 6, 2018: Andasibe (Mantadia National Park)
Today we will head to Mantadia National park. We hope to find some of the lemur species in this stunning park including the Indri indri, diademed sifaka, grey bamboo lemur, red-bellied lemur, and white ruffed lemur. While the trails are slightly more difficult, the rewards are great as the forest is taller, wilder and less crowded than Perinet. We have a chance to photograph an abundance of birds, including the Scaly Ground Roller, Pitta-Like Ground Roller, and Red Breasted Coua. This is a wildlife photographer's goldmine, with many seldom seen species of mammals, reptiles and birds. We'll picnic by the Rianasoa Waterfall. When we're done, we'll hike back to the vehicle and return to the Lodge for a relaxed evening. Overnight at Vakona Forest Lodge.
October 7, 2018: Andasibe (Perinet Reserve)
We photograph in the Perinet reserve with a local guide in search of the Indri. With a barely visible tail, black and white markings and a surprised teddy–bear face, this lemur is one of the few animals in the world that cannot survive in captivity. There are another 11 species of lemur to spot as you walk through the rainforest. You may find a troop of Grey Bamboo lemurs, Common Brown lemur, or Diademed Sifaka. We'll be on the lookout for the Velvet Asity, Blue Coua and Nuthatch Vanga and many more endemic birds. Perinet is home to many reptiles, invertebrates, and some of Madagascar’s over one thousand orchid species. We will have an afternoon visit to Lemur Island, Vakona Lodge’s private reserve that protects a number of habituated lemurs. There are four species to see: the bamboo lemur, the black & white ruffed lemur, brown lemur, and one diademed sifaka. Overnight at Vakona Forest Lodge.
October 8, 2018: Andasibe - Tana – Tsingy by private charter.
After an early breakfast, we will drive to the airport for our private charter flight (1hr 20 min) to the Tsingy de Bemaraha. On arrival at Amborondia airport, we transfer by 4x4 vehicle (about one and a half hours) to our hotel, where we’ll settle in and have lunch. In the afternoon, we photograph the other-worldly pinnacles of the Petit Tsingy. There are two trail options, depending on your level of fitness. The Petit Tsingy is for those who want the less strenuous route. The Grand Tsingy will be for the adventurous. Return to the hotel for dinner. Overnight at Le Soleil des Tsingy.
October 9 & 10, 2018: The Tsingy
Note: There are two trail options, depending on your level of fitness. The Petit Tsingy is for those who want the less strenuous route. The Grand Tsingy will be for the adventurous.
We will be up early and leave the hotel at before dawn with a picnic breakfast, in order to photograph sunrise over the Tsingy from a beautiful vantage point near the park entrance. We'll then have a picnic breakfast and head into the park at 6:30 am for a full day exploration of “Grand Tsingy.” The walk itself is an adventure: on tiptoe over the sharp roof of the Tsingy, crossing the high roped bridge, and meandering through pockets of dry deciduous forest. This unique site, a virtual forest of 40–50 meter high limestone peaks is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage and located about 20km from the village of Bekopaka. The Tsingy are razor sharp pinnacles produced by the erosion of limestone massifs over millions of years. The Tsingy shelters a startling array of wildlife: 11 species of lemur (including Verreaux and Decken’s sifaka and red-fronted brown lemurs), 103 species of terrestrial and aquatic birds, 15 species of bats, 22 species of amphibians and a variety of reptiles. We'll return to the Lodge for a late lunch, and around 4:00 pm we're back to the park for an evening of photographing the sunset and the Tsingy by night. We have arranged for exclusive access and have special permission to stay after hours, and we will have the park to ourselves when it closes to the general public at 4:30 pm. Picnic dinner. Overnight at Le Soleil des Tsingy.
October 11, 2018: Tsingy – Morondava
After breakfast, we board our private “Air Muench” charter flight to Morondava (45 min). Morondava is situated in the heart of Sakalava territory and is known for its elaborately sculpted wooden royal tombs. We'll settle in to our hotel, have lunch and enjoy a tour of the city before driving to the Avenue of the Baobabs for a beautiful sunset among the Adansonia grandidieri, the largest species of baobab out of the seven present in Madagascar. We will stay out past sunset, have a picnic dinner here, and shoot the baobabs with the night sky and stars above! Overnight at Palissandre Côte Ouest.
October 12, 2018: Morondava – Berenty
Not much sleep! We wake early, and take a pre-dawn drive back to the avenue of the Baobabs with a picnic breakfast. Return to Morondava by 10:00 am for our private Air Muench charter to Berenty (2hrs 30min). Berenty private reserve is one of the most famous in Madagascar. The lemurs here are largely tame and easy to photograph. Accommodation is in individual bungalows. There are approximately 500 ring-tailed lemurs in the reserve, but the stars of the show are undoubtedly the Verreaux’s Sifaka known for dancing across the forest floor. Afternoon visit of the reserve and in the evening a night walk will be organized, where you will see the white-foot sportive lemur and grey mouse lemur. Overnight at Berenty Lodge.
October 13, 2018: Berenty
Another full day of exploring the Berenty Reserve followed by a night walk. Overnight Berenty Lodge.
October 14, 2018: Mandrare River Camp
After breakfast, we have a short drive to Mandrare River Camp. Upon arrival at Camp, settle into your tent and enjoy the majestic views over the Mandrare River. After a barbeque lunch of succulent grilled meats and salads, we'll have the afternoon to relax. Around 5:00 pm we'll depart for a night walk in the Forest of Zenavo. This is a fantastic way to see diurnal lemurs bedding down, and the nocturnal lemurs begin to wake in the eerie and prehistoric Spiny Forest. You will spot Sifakas and sleeping White-foot Sportive lemurs, then once the sun has set, two mouse lemur species, sleeping birds, chameleons, owls and now active Sportive lemurs. Overnight Mandrare River Camp.
October 15, 2018 Mandrare River Camp
After a breakfast of freshly baked croissants and pain au chocolat, fresh fruits, cereals and breads, we continue to the stunning Sacred Gallery forest to the south of the Camp. Depending on the river depth, you will walk or take a boat across the Mandrare River to reach this largely deciduous forest. Inquisitive groups of ring tailed lemurs and the always entertaining Verreaux sifaka are the highlight of this excursion. We return to the Camp for lunch and a relaxed afternoon. In late afternoon, head for a walk through the Sacred Spiny forest filled with the ancestral tombs of the local Antandroy tribe, as well as an extraordinary array of flora and fauna, unique to the spiny forest. Our English speaking guide and a tracker from the local community will give us an introduction to Antandroy culture and customs. Overnight Mandrare River Camp (All Inclusive)
October 16, 2018: Mandrare River Camp
After a cup of tea or coffee head to the Spiny Forest for an early morning walk. Photograph the sunlight breaking through the octopus trees while looking out for the many endemic birds such as Crested Coua, a variety of Vangas and the Running Coua. We'll head back to the Camp for a sumptuous breakfast followed by a visit to the local market or the local village to meet the fascinating Antandroy tribe.
Lunch will be served at the Camp followed by a relaxed afternoon watching life along the river from your tent terrace. We're out again at 4:00 pm, to photograph the forests and the baobabs. Photographing the sunset across the Baobabs to the mountains beyond is a magical experience. Back at Camp, we'll enjoy our final dinner together and celebrate another great photographic adventure. Overnight Mandrare River Camp.
October 17, 2018: Mandrare River Camp – Tana - Home or Elsewhere
We'll phtoograph sunrise and have breakfast in a centuries old banyan tree on the banks of the Mandrare River. Then we take our private Air Muench charter back to Tana. We'll have lunch in a hotel near the airport and then assist you in checking in to your outbound international flight. Workshop concludes.
But wait, there's more! Stay tuned, and join us in Amboseli, Kenya for a 5-day safari photographing wildlife in this amazing part of Africa. It's a natural extension to this workshop as we will be flying in and out of Nairobi. Let us know of your interest!
- Double occupancy lodging (single available, just ask)
- All meals during the workshop
- All transportation (ground and private air charters)
- Photographic guiding and instruction from two pros
- Image reviews, critiques and post-processing instruction
- Fun, inspiration and a great time!
What’s Not Included?
Your deposit of $5,000 will hold your place in this workshop. A second payment of $5,000 will be due by February 28, 2018. Final payment of $4,500 will be due by July 1, 2018. Payments for this workshop are non-refundable and this is why we recommend trip cancelation insurance. All of Muench Workshops' other Terms and Conditions apply.