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 8 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 – Diego Suarez and Joffreville
After breakfast we will transfer back to Ivato Airport in time for our private charter flight to Diego Suarez. Upon arrival in Diego Suarez, we will drive to explore the three bays, an area of stunning coastal scenery and beaches. The three bays consist of the Baies du Sakalava, Pigeon and Dune. There are lovely views of the Indian Ocean and the Mozambique Channel, and along the way you will see military relics from colonial times. Then after, transfer to Joffreville. Diego Suarez is well known for its spectacular setting, overlooking a deep harbor. For centuries, it has been considered of great strategic importance. Today, Diego Suarez is an excellent gateway to the varied natural attractions of northern Madagascar. The city has long been relatively isolated from the rest of Madagascar, yet influenced by the many travelers and traders who have passed through: Arab, Chinese, Indian and Creole culture have all made their mark on this cosmopolitan city. Then in the late afternoon, we will take a night photography walk at Domaine de Fontenay private reserve. Overnight at Nature Lodge Forest Lodge.
October 6, 2018: Montagne d'Ambre
This morning we head to Montagne d’Ambre National Park for a full day visit. Established by the French in 1958, this volcanic massif and its surrounding forest are now one of the country’s best examples of ecotourism. Thousands of acres of mountain rainforest are home to extraordinary plant and animal life. Huge ferns and strangler figs flourish in the forest, while several indigenous species of lemurs, including Sanford’s lemur and the crowned lemur, are also found here. You may even see ring-tailed mongoose and fossa. Magnificent birdlife includes crested ibis, paradise flycatcher, forest rock thrush and ground-rollers. You may wish to make one of the waterfalls the destination of your trip – as you make your way to one of the dramatic falls, you can learn more about the area’s inhabitants. Overnight at Nature Lodge.
October 7, 2018: Montagne d'Amber - Ankarana
After breakfast and morning photos, we transfer to Diego airport for our 40 min flight to the airstrip of Ambilobe, where upon arrival we are met by our guides and transferred by vehicle to Iharana bush camp for lunch (1hr 30mins drive). After lunch, afternoon photography activities can be made around the lodge. Overnight at Iharana Bush Camp.
October 8, 2018: Grand Tsingy Ankarana
After breakfast, we are out for a full day visit to the Park. Ankarana is an island of Tsingy and forest, the massif is penetrated by numerous caves and canyons. Some of the largest caves have collapsed, forming isolated pockets of river-fed forest with their own perfectly protected flora and fauna. The reserve is known for its many lemur species, including crowned and Sanford’s brown lemurs. It is also a birdwatcher’s paradise with nearly 100 species. If you are lucky you may even spot fossa and tenrec. Points of interest include: Baobab forest, Ampondrabe River, the abyss where the three rivers of Ankarana disappear, Bat’s Cave, Les tourelles des Tsingy (turret shaped rock formations) and Lac Vert, a stunning crater lake. Overnight at Iharana Bush Camp.
October 9, 2018: Grand Tsingy Ankarana
Another day to explore the Grand Tsingy Ankarana.
October 10, 2018:
After breakfast drive to Ambilobe for your private charter flight to Isalo. The combination of sandstone rocks cut by deep canyons and eroded into spectacular shapes and rare endemic plants, makes Isalo one of Madagascar’s most appreciated parks. For botanists there are Pachypodium plants and locally endemic Aloe; and for lemur lovers there are sifakas, brown lemurs and ring tails. Isalo is also sacred to the Bara tribe; for hundreds of years they have used caves in the canyon walls as burial sites. Overnight at Isalo Rock Lodge.
October 11, 2018: Isalo
A full day of guided walking in the park will allow you to explore one of Madagascar's most diverse parks. Very different to the lush tropical vegetation in the east, Isalo's attraction is its vast rolling plains interspersed with stunning rock formations. Wildlife here is not as dense as in other parts of our itinerary, but look out for ring-tailed lemurs, brown lemurs, sifakas and some nocturnal lemur species hiding in dense vegetation along the streams. There are also 80 species of bird (including the rare Benson’s rock-thrush, the knob-billed duck or the crested ibis), 35 species of reptiles and several endemic frogs. A popular trail is the ‘Canyon des Singes’ which winds through the dense foliage of the forest and brilliantly colored rock formations to reach a stunning rock pool called the ‘piscine naturelle’. Overnight at Isalo Rock Lodge.
October 12, 2018: Isalo – Ifotaka – Berenty
After breakfast, we take our Private Charter flight to Ifotaka. Then drive to Berenty. Berenty Lodge is located in the spiny desert it is consisting of spacious wooden chalets with en-suite bathrooms. The lodge also has a pleasant tea garden where afternoons can be spent watching the mischievous ring tailed lemurs or dancing sifakas at play; alternatively one can visit the museum which displays the local artefacts and history of the region. 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.
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.