Can you believe 80% of Madagascar’s plants and animals exist only on this island? Many of you have this trip on your bucket list—now is the time to be adventurous and explore a part of the world many do not have the opportunity to visit!
Here is a quote from Andrew Solomon, a writer for Travel & Leisure. Love it!!
"There is nothing dangerous or threatening in Madagascar. On mainland African safaris you have to stay in a vehicle, because lions will eat you and hippos will trample you and rhinos and buffalo will charge. In Madagascar, the animals will only look at you with wide-eyed wonder. In most of Africa there are poisonous snakes and frightening scorpions, but in Madagascar there is nothing venomous. The Malagasy are the nicest people in the world, thrilled that you have come so far to visit. You go there for the lemurs, the island’s odd primates, who are shy and mild but untroubled by your visit, and the people are the same. There’s something miniature and unspoiled about life in Madagascar.
The world’s fourth-largest island is another Galápagos, called by some ecologists "the eighth continent." It broke off from Africa’s eastern coast some 160 million years ago and developed in isolation; 80 percent of Malagasy plants and animals are endemic, and it rivals Brazil in its biodiversity. The bizarre flora and fauna seem to be the result of a mad collaboration among Dr. Seuss, Jim Henson, and God. Humans have been here for only 2,000 years, and though they have eliminated some species, they haven’t dominated nature; there’s simply too much of it and too few of them."
This trip is for the Explorer who can handle remote travel, heat and humidity, schedule changes, and loves to travel on the unbeaten path—not being a typical tourist. Please read through the whole itinerary and Helpful Information tab above to understand what this trip entails. We’ve included private charter flights to help ease travel around the island. There are pools at the hotels to enjoy after a long day of shooting, and beverages are included! If you get along with others, want adventure, and can “go with the flow” when needed, we welcome you to join us in Madagascar!
Thursday, November 16
If flying from Johannesburg, arrive in Madagascar’s capital city, Antananarivo (also called Tana), today and transfer to a nearby hotel. Spend the day relaxing and recovering from jet lag. Overnight Relais des Plateaux or Sheraton Tana Airport (opening in November 2016)
Friday, November 17 (B, L, D)
If flying via Paris, arrive early AM today. Flight to Morondava this afternoon. When we get to a small beach town on the delta of the Morondava River on the west coast, we’ll take a little time to settle into our hotel and have lunch. Take a walk on the beach in the late afternoon to photograph the locals and birds, followed by a sunset shoot. Overnight Hotel Palissandre Côte Ouest
Saturday, November 18 (B, L, D)
Before breakfast, at sunrise, take an early morning walk on the beach to view local fisherman going out on their boats with handmade sails. Photograph locals in town and at fisherman’s wharf. Midday we have a special shoot with the local ladies dressed in their traditional clothing and faces painted with colorful mud.
Late day we'll load into 4x4s for an adventure to Baobab Alley. The giant baobab trees are an 800-year-old legacy of the dense tropical forests that once thrived here. Over the years, as the country’s population grew, the forests were steadily cut down, leaving only the baobab trees which the locals preserved for religious reasons. Overnight Hotel Palissandre Côte Ouest
Sunday, November 19 (B, L, D)
Today we’ll head out to a nearby reserve to look for chameleons and lemurs. Enjoy some free time midday to take a swim at his beautiful resort or take a walk through town. Baobab shoot tonight with optional evening light painting of these mammoth trees and star trails. Overnight Hotel Palissandre Côte Ouest
Monday, November 20 (B, L, D)
Depart Morondava this morning on our private charter to Berenty Private Reserve. The reserve is home to six species of lemur and has southern Madagascar’s largest colony of Madagascar fruit bats. The ease of observing ring-tailed lemurs and “dancing” Verreaux sifakas has turned this small protected area into one of Madagascar’s most popular destinations. Overnight Gite d’Etape (also known as Berenty Estate Guesthouse)
Tuesday, November 21 and Wednesday, November 22 (B, L, D)
We’ll spend the day wandering Berenty’s flat, broad trails and interacting with the friendly abundant wildlife. The many lemurs seem happy to pose for photos. This will certainly be one of the highlights of our Madagascar adventure. Another is visiting the flying fox roost where about 300 of these impressive animals with 1.25-meter wingspans spend their day squabbling and presumably sleeping. Overnight Gite d’Etape
Thursday, November 23 (B, L, D)
Before breakfast, we’ll spend one last morning photographing the lemurs, chameleons, birds, and spiny plants in Berenty and then board our return flight back to Tana. This is a good day to regroup and get ready for the second half of our adventure. Overnight Relais des Plateaux or Sheraton Tana Airport (opening in November 2016)
Friday, November 24 (B, L, D)
Today we’ll drive three hours by bus to the Peyrieras Madagascar Exotic Reserve. Numerous varieties of colorful butterflies and chameleons can be found here along with geckos, frogs, crocodiles, and bats. In the afternoon, we’ll continue on to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, approximately 1.5 hours. Tonight we’ll take a walk to spot nocturnal animals. Overnight Vakona Forest Lodge
Saturday, November 25 (B, L, D)
Early AM visit to Lemur Island, where four species of lemur can be found, including the bamboo lemur, black-and-white ruffed lemur, brown lemur, and the diademed sifaka. The afternoon is free for a swim or catch up on editing images. Night walk before dinner. Overnight Vakona Forest Lodge
Sunday, November 26 (B, D)
Drive to Manambato (approximately five hours) and then take a boat (1.5 hours) to Akanin’ny Nofy, the “nest of dreams,” also known as the Palmairum Reserve. We’ll explore this paradise situated on the shores of Lake Ampitabe, separated from the Indian Ocean by sand dunes. Indris, Coquerall sifakas, black-and-white ruffed lemurs, crowned lemurs, mouse lemurs, and black lemurs are the most notable inhabitants of this private reserve. Overnight Palmarium Hotel
Monday, November 27 (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we’ll head outside for a nature walk around the reserve with a local guide. Bring your camera to breakfast! Afternoon free time to hang out in the hammock on your deck or photograph around the lodge.
When night falls, we’ll take an excursion to seek out the very rare nocturnal aye-aye lemur. Overnight Palmarium Hotel
Tuesday, November 28 (B, L, D)
Breakfast followed by a nature walk with a local guide. A full day to explore the wonders of Akanin’ny Nofy. Photograph the many lemurs, frogs, snakes, chameleons, geckos, and even iguanas that reside here Sunbathe on the beach while enjoying some of the locally made rum, or take a swim in the warm waters of Lake Ampitabe. Free time to photograph around the reserve, repack, and get ready for the travel day back to Tana. Night walking tour. Overnight Palmarium Hotel
Wednesday, November 29 (B, L, D)
Early breakfast before departure at 8:00am for a three-hour boat ride and then our private charter back to Tana. Upon arrival in Tana, we’ll have lunch. In the afternoon, take the opportunity to visit a nearby outlet to buy quality vanilla and spices to take home. Also nearby is a local craft market to get last minute gifts including petrified wood items. Day room at Relais des Plateaux or Sheraton Tana Airport (opening in November 2016) for guests departing this evening via Paris or overnight for guests flying home tomorrow via Johannesburg. Farewell dinner.
Thursday, November 30 (B)
If flying via Johannesburg, depart this afternoon to arrive home on December 1st.
PLEASE NOTE: WE ARE WAITING ON FINAL CONFIRMATION FOR HOTELS FOR THIS TOUR. MANY HOTELS WILL NOT CONFIRM THIS FAR OUT. ITINERARY IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE.