Madagascar Photography Expedition 2021

EAST, WEST AND SOUTH Welcome to the “laboratory of evolution” another name for the Island of Madagascar.This Island is home to 160 endemic mammals, including 99 lemur species. 110 endemic bird species, 260 endemic reptiles, 60 endemic snakes (thankfully none of which are venomous) and 290 endemic amphibians, not to mention countless endemic insects and plants, and more chameleons than anywhere else on earth! Truly stunning, amazingly diverse, and largely unspoiled. It’s also endlessly photogenic and a wonderful setting for a photography workshop.

Throughout the trip, you’ll be guided by David Van Driessche, who will provide tutoring along the way. The photographic guidance will be tailored to your level, making the photo tour suitable for photographers of all levels. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned photographer, you can expect to sharpen your skills and come home with an incredible portfolio.

QUICK FACTS

Place – Tour Madagascar

Dates – Tour – 4-19 th of May , 2021

Photography Type -Landscape, Wildlife & Culture Photography

Leader : David Van Driessche and local naturalist guides

Group Size   Group Size: Max. 14

Level –           All Photography Levels

Photographic Highlights

  • The iconic Baobab’s at Morondava – Milky way Photography and How to create awe-inspiring astrophotography
  • Photographing the Indri, as well as Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur and Diademed Sifaka in the Andasibe area, through rice paddies, waterfalls, and tropical rainforest.
  • The five endemic bird families (the Ground Rollers, Cuckoo Roller, Mesites, Malagasy Warblers and Vangas)
  • The extraordinary, endangered Aye-aye, a long-fingered lemur and primate native to Madagascar with rodent-like teeth that perpetually grow and a special thin middle finger. It is the world’s largest nocturnal primate.
  • Following Ring-tailed Lemurs at the Isalo National Park
  • Fosa (or Fossa), Madagascar’s unique and largest carnivore, dancing Verreaux’s Sifakas and Giant Jumping Rats at Kirindy
  • A wide range of colorful and large chameleons: Furcifer  Oustalet’s, Parson’s and Panther
  • Other photogenic wildlife including tomato frogs, leaf-tailed geckos, snakes and the Comet moth in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar

Day 01: 4th of May 2021 – Your destination – ANTANANARIVO

Meeting at Ivato international airport and transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel. Small briefing and welcome word by David.

Accommodation: Residence Lapasoa or similar

 

Day 02: 5th of May 2021 – ANTANANARIVO – ANDASIBE (142 km, about 4 hours driving time, on a mostly good tarred road)

Drive to Andasibe through a landscape composed of rice paddies, waterfalls, and scarce forest stations. In Marozevo, stop at the exotic park in order to photograph a variety of chameleons, leaf-tailed geckos, tomato frogs, a variety of small Chameleons, and lizards.

Continuation to Andasibe and check-in at the hotel. Before dinner, we do a night walk at the VOIMMA reserve, a treat for reptiles and amphibian lovers. The reserve offers countless frogs along with its crystal clear river (among them Boophis Pyrrhus. Boophis Viridis and madagascariensis) and several amazing chameleons like the Furcifer wilsii, Calumma parsonil Cristi Fer, Calumma nasuta and brevicornis). This is also a place to find the unique satanic leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus) if we are lucky. Bizarre insects like the famous giraffe-necked weevil (Trachelophorus giraffae) can sometimes be spotted here. (Flash and Marco lens recommended). Overnight at the hotel.

Accommodation: Sahatandra River Hotel or similar

 

Day 03: 6th of May 2021 – ANDASIBE

After breakfast, you will have a visit of the Mantadia National Park which shelters an astonishing number of animals and many species of plants. This morning excursion with a small walk we will need a tele-lens (200mm or up) in the afternoon, you will visit the private reserve of Vakona, an island surrounded by fresh water and home to a great variety of lemur species: The common brown lemurs, bamboo lemurs, ruffed lemurs, diademed sifakas. As a photographer this will be a rare opportunity to get up close and get some stunning close-ups and head shots of the lemurs of Madagascar.

Overnight at the hotel

Accommodation: Sahatandra River Hotel or similar

 

Day 04: 7th of May 2021 – ANDASIBE – MANAMBATO – AKANIN’ NY NOFY (125 km (around 3,5h) on good road, then 7 km on dirt track, then some 1,5 hours on the boat on the canal)

After breakfast, visit of the reserve on a walk which takes around three hours, first a bit up, then mostly flat. Discover the species dwelling inside this forest like Indri Indri, the largest species of lemurs. (We need a Telephoto lens for these shots (200mm or higher).

Drive to Manambato then transfer by a motorboat to Akanin’ ny Nofy (which literally means “Nest of Dreams”). Overnight at the hotel

Accommodation: Palmarium Hotel or similar

 

Day 05: 8th of May 2021 – ANKANIN’ NY NOFY

A full day to discover this beautiful area at the clear and calm waters of the Ampitabe lake and the private Palmarium park with a big variety of lemurs on one spot. We have the chance to see 10 different lemurs species living in complete freedom, the Indri, Sifaka, Coronatus, Varecia Variegata, Propitheque to name a few. The park covers some special flora (orchids, carnivorous plant, granadilla wood, mahoganies, voyager trees…) and the most beautiful and rarest Madagascar palm trees (Dypsis, Ravenea, Orania and also Voanioala and Lemurophoenix) You can do a walk of several hours, on small trails, a little bit up and down, but not steep. When night falls, excursion by boat to spot the Aye Aye lemur, with its long middle finger (Daubentonia madagascariensis). With some extra light we will have the opportunity to make some great photos of this night creature.

Overnight at the hotel

Accommodation: Palmarium Hotel or similar

 

Day 06: 9th of May 2021 – ANKANIN’ NY NOFY – MANAMBATO – ANTANANARIVO (about 1,5 h by boat on the canal, then around 272 km 7,5 to 10 h per car)

Today, you will have a transfer back to Manambato by motorboat. On arrival, you will have a road trip back to the Capital City. Overnight at the hotel

Accommodation: Au Bois Vert or similar

 

Day 07:  10th of May 2021 – ANTANANARIVO – MORONDAVA (domestic flights three to four times a week, arrival has to be adapted accordingly)

Transfer to the airport for flight to Morondava. Meeting at the airport and transfer to the city. Free afternoon and transfer at sunset for the evening and night shoot at the Avenue de Baobab. This famous stretch of dirt road, bordered by gigantic, secular baobabs on both sides, has been portrayed by countless photographers. We will try to shoot the Milky Way with the tree line up as a subject. A wide angle lens for night photography with 2.8 aperture or less + a good tripod is needed.

Overnight at the hotel

Accommodation: Renala au Sable d’or or similar

 

Day 08:  11th of May 2021 MORONDAVA – KIRINDY RESERVE – MORONDAVA (around 90 km return, 4h)

Early morning drive through the Baobab avenue, we will catch the morning light at avenue de Baobab with people and ox carts walking by. After our shoot we head to Kirindy, and visit of the Kirindy dry forest reserve on a walk of about 1,5 to 3 hours, on mostly flat trails, to see its lemurs, snakes, fossa etc. On the way back stop to admire the beauty of the famous Baobab Avenue during sunset.

NOTE: In case we did not get the Milky Way due to heavy clouds yesterday, we will have a second opportunity to try it. If we got it the first night we will go back to the hotel after the Sunset.

Overnight at the hotel.

 Accommodation: Renala au Sable d’or or similar

 

Day 09: 12th of May 2021 – MORONDAVA – ANTSIRABE (555 km about 10 hour drive)

After an early breakfast, you will be driven to Antsirabe – the “Town of Water”: so called because of its numerous thermal springs and the existence of two crater lakes. Overnight at the hotel

Accommodation: Chambres du Voyageur or similar

 

Day 10: 13th of May 2021 – ANTSIRABE – RANOMAFANA (240 Km about 6 hour-drive)

After breakfast, drive to Ranomafana. – Stop in Ambositra for the visit of some Zafimaniry handicrafts centers: woodcarving. Continuation to Ranomafana. We will also make a couple of stops to photograph the local people in their amazing red brick houses or working in the rice fields on the highland landscapes. Check in at the hotel. Night walk along the road to try to see the nocturnal species of lemurs (mouse lemurs) and perhaps fossa (the Malagasy “Puma”). Back to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel

Accommodation: Centrest Séjour or similar

 

Day 11: 14th of May 2021 – RANOMAFANA – AMBALAVAO (141 Km about 3 hour-drive)

After breakfast, visit of the some 40’000 hectares big National park with its lemurs, chameleons, spiders, frogs, varieties of orchids and medicinal plants. Only in 1986 was discovered the golden Bamboo lemurs here, and there are more than 100 species of birds. This walk takes around 3 to 4 hours, and goes mostly on trails, sometimes a bit steep up and down, and sometimes you’ll go off the paths and into the forest to spot the lemurs, it’s a bit exhausting and requires endurance and agility. After lunch, off to Ambalavao – the commercial center of the southern Betsileo region, renowned for its folks, arts and crafts – to visit the “Antemoro Paper” factory.  Overnight at the hotel.

Accommodation: Tsienimparihy Lodge or similar

 

Day 12: 15th of May 2021 – AMBALAVAO – RANOHIRA (240 Km about 4, 5 hour-drive)

Visit of some shops. This paper is a delicate, handmade, flower-decorated paper made of the fibers of the tree called “Avoha”. Another stop 12km south of Ambalavao to visit the Anja park, where you can photograph on a walk of around two hours on a little bumpy track, but not steep, some families of ring-tailed Katta lemurs in their natural surroundings. (Telephone lens of 200mm recommended) Continuation to Ranohira. Overnight at the hotel.

Accommodation: Isalo Ranch or similar

 

Day 13: 16th of May 2021 – RANOHIRA

Early morning shoot of the starkly impressive eroded sandstone ‘ruiniforms’, of the Isalo National Park. We look for amazing landscape wide angle photography of the so called Grand Canyon of Madagascar. At noon relax at our hotel and proceed with more wide-angle landscape photography at the best viewpoints. The variations of color on the rocks is what the park is particularly known for, this is because iron and mineral deposits stain the rock formations on this plethora of different colors.

Back to the hotel and overnight.

Accommodation: Isalo Ranch or similar

 

Day 14: 17th of May 2021 – RANOHIRA – TULEAR (240 Km about 4, 5 hour-drive)

After breakfast, off to Tuléar along a straight road. The landscape is composed of high bushes, thick gallery forests and some proudly decorated Mahafaly tombs.

Today we will visit the local communities to make portraits, indoor cultural scenes and village life. Depending on how long we take in the villages we can also visit of the Arboretum with many species of endemic plants when we arrive in Tulear. Overnight at the hotel.

Accommodation: Victory Hotel or similar

 

Day 15: 18th of May 2021 – TULEAR – ANTANANARIVO (domestic flight, one flight daily)

According to the flight, transfer to the airport for the flight back to the capital. Meeting at the airport and transfer to the city.

Overnight at the hotel.

Accommodation: Residence Lapasoa or similar

 

Day 16: 19th of May 2021 – ANTANANARIVO – Your Home

Visit to a handicraft market then transfer to the airport for the flight to your destination.

 

PLEASE SEE OUR VIDEO FROM THE 2019 MADAGASCAR PHOTOGRAPHY EXPEDITION