Project Description

Madagascar – marvelous nature in the kingdom of the Lemurs

3rd – 14th October 2019

Optional extension tour: Aye-aye – the world of the long-fingered Lemur

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Some of the tour highlights:

  • Many species of Lemur, mostly untimid.
  • Indri – the largest Lemur in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park.
  • The rainforest in Ranomafana National Park
  • Chameleon diversity.
  • Sunset photography in Baobab forests.
  • The Kirindy Reserve with a good chance to see the Fossas – Madagascars largest predator, and Madame Berthes Mouse-lemur – the worlds smallest primate.
  • The strange canyon landscape of Isalo National Park.
  • Many endemic geckos and other reptiles.
  • Four genera of birds endemic to Madagascar.
  • Animals in shapes and colours that don’t occur anywhere else in the world.
  • Many night walks to photograph nocturnal animals.
  • An optional extension tour to photograph the Aye-Aye (Long-fingered Lemur) and other animals up close.
  • Meet friendly people and breath-taking landscapes.
  • The tour leader will show you their best sites and provide photographic advice in a small like-minded group.
  • We support the protection of the remaining rainforests.

Madagascar seems like a mythical country. It is isolated, with ancient geology and a unique flora and fauna. There is no other place in the world with as many species of Chameleon. It is the only place in the world where Lemurs occur in the wild.

Between 80-90 % of all plants and animals on Madagascar are endemic. There are strange Baobab trees, giraffe-necked insects, frogs that resemble the poison-dart frogs of South America, the world’s smallest Chameleon – the size of a little fingernail, no poisonous snakes. Instead there are snakes with false twigs, branches and leaves on their heads, endemic genera of birds, insects camouflaged like red flowers. Yes, the list goes on!

The fantastic rainforests, amongst the oldest in the world, host the highest diversity, and we will visit several of them. We will also be photographing in ”spiny-forest” – a dry-forest dominated by Baobab trees and Octopus trees.

Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world, and a fantastic country to visit. The wildlife of Madagascar is marvelous, different and amazingly exciting.

The people are curious and interested in strangers, and the social climate is comfortable. Criminality is low and traffic is sometimes nonexistent, especially in the countryside.

We are always accompanied by local guides and trackers. Jan will host photo workshops on the tour, demonstrating techniques and photo ideas for the next day’s photography. As usual we study composition and look at each others images.

The areas we visit:

Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
Around the village of Andasibe lie a cluster of rainforest areas the wildlife of which make them some of the most fascinating areas in Madagascar. The Indri only occurs in this part of Mada-gascar. We visit the Analmazaotra part constituting 1500 ha of the National Park. Here, the Indri is the star. There are several family groups of Indris where we go.

A consistent, sad, wail-like call resounds across the forest when the Indri sings. It can go on for three minutes at a time, and several other individuals can join in to form a choir. The song is most audible in the morning and late in the afternoon. The Indri is the largest of the Lemurs. The Dia-demed Sifaka also occurs in the same area. This beautiful animal is also one of the largest Le-murs. Another species in the area is the Common Brown Lemur. We also hope to find several species of frog or the Leaf-Tailed Gecko, that is so camouflaged that it is almost impossible to make it out against a moss-clad trunk. Another species resembles a wilted leaf. There are also several species of Chameleon in the National Park, e.g. the largest species, the Panther Chame-leon. The birdlife is varied, with the Malagasy Paradise Flycatcher as the jewel in the crown. The Blue Coua and other Couas are endemic birds, the size of Jays, that follow us through the fo-rests. During the evenings we head out to photograph nocturnal Mouse Lemurs, Geckos and Chameleons.

Ranomafana National Park
This enthralling 41600 ha montane rainforest is characterized by dense vegetation and many ra-pids, such as the great Namorana River. We will go in search for several species of Lemur, e.g. the Golden Bamboo Lemur, discovered here as late as 1991. It only occurs here, and the Nation-al Park is specifically dedicated to its protection.

There are a further 11 species of Lemur in the forest, such as the equally rare and threatened Greater Bamboo Lemur, the Common Brown Lemur and the large Milne-Edwards’ Sifaka. There is also a myriad of insects, and we hope to find the outstanding Giraffe-Necked Weevil, a beetle-like weevil that has an extremely long ”giraffe-neck”. We also search for the colorful Mantella frogs, just as colorful as the Poison-Dart Frogs of South America. The rainforest hosts many endemic species, such as Asity, ground rollers, cuckoos, owls and nightjars. After dusk we photograph nocturnal frogs, mouse lemurs and chameleons.

Kindindy Forest Reserve
This forest is unique in many ways. It is a fine example of western Madagascar’s dry forests, with enormous Baobab trees. These forests get very little precipitation during the year, but are still home to many endemic interesting animals. This is the best chance to see and photograph Ma-dagascar’s largest predator – the Fossa. It is like a mix between a cat and a large Polecat. This nocturnal hunter is a continuous threat to the Lemurs that are it’s prey. The forest is home to the large beautiful Sifaka and six other lemurs, including the World’s smallest primate – Madame Berthes Mouse Lemur, that weighs only 32 grammes. Other species include the Giant Coua and Giant Jumping-rats

This is not just a tour for the most dedicated nature photographers, but also for those who want to experience some of the world’s finest natural environments and wildlife up close.

Travel facts

Dates
3rd – 14th October 2019

Price
  
4 450 € (Euro)
(Registration fee 890 €)*

Extension tour
Make your trip to Madagaskar even more spectacular by also joining our extension tour Aye-aye – the world of the long-fingered Lemur
Read more…

Tour leader
Jan Pedersen

Number of participants
Min 6
Max 8

Last date to register
31st July 2019

Price includes
Share in twin room and meals according to itinerary. Domestic flight to Morondava, all entrance fees, all safaris, local guides, photo workshops, local transports (bus), transfer to and from Antananarivo airport. Accommodation in hotels, camps and lodges of middle standard.

Single room fee
500 €

Price does not include
Flights in and out of Antananarivo airport, visa, tips, camera fees, insurance, cancellation insurance, beverages, meals that are not specified in itinerary, phone and internet charges, personal items.

Airport
Antananarivo International Airport. The tour starts and ends here.

Travel in Madagaskar
To travel in Madagaskar is a very complicated logistic process. The infrastructure have a very low standard since this is one of the most poor countries in the world. The roads are few and of poor quality. The domestic flights are very expensive and sometimes very unpredictable, therefore must the flight times on day 2 been taken with some reservations since delays might occur which leads to changes in our itinerary.

Photo equipment
A wide range of subjects will be available to us, from landscapes to smaller mammals, birds, reptiles, insects and amphibies. Therefore it is good to bring everything from wide-angle to telephoto lenses. Lenses from 70-200 mm up to 500 mm are excellent for the wildlife that we will encounter. To increase focal length you can use a teleconverter.
We will have lots of opportunities for macro photography so bring a macro lens if possible.
A good torch or head lamp, with neutral light, and a flash is of importance for night-, insects-, and chameleon photography.
If you have two camera bodies, bring both in order not to have to change lenses as much.

During our walks in the rainforest it´s important to have a good protection for camera and lenses since it wet in the forest and rain showers may appear.

Tripods are heavy to carry in the rainforest. A monopod might be an alternative. A tripod is not a must for this tour unless you want to try and photograph the star sky.

Clothing
The climate at Madagaskar are tropical which means hot days and nights. Mornings in the mountains might be chilly. Days will warm, temperatures above 30 degrees C is common and it is humid almost all of the time. Even though we are not in Madagaskar during the rain season is it important and useful to have proper rain gear, best when photographing is a rain poncho. It is good to bring clothes that dry easy. Sturdy walking boots is a must for the feets in the rainforest. Bring sandals or lighter shoes to wear at lodges and while traveling.

Group and language
Our tours are open to all nationalities, so the group may be international. Our tour leaders speak Swedish and English.

*Terms of payment
Registration fee to be paid on registration. Remaining fees to be paid latest 60 days before the tour starts.

Additional information
Contact your insurance company about insurance, including cancellation insurance. Contact your doctor about vaccination requirements.

Terms and conditions

Itinerary

Day 1 (3/10) (Dinner)
Arrival at Antananarivo. Transfer to hotel.

Day 2 (4/10) (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
Domestic flight to Morondava by the sea on the west coast. From here we go by minibus about an hour north to Ifaty where the ”spiny forest” occurs. If we arrive late there will be a night walk in the forest and possibly an early morning walk. As the lodge is by the sea, it is possible to have a swim.

Day 3 – 4 (5-6/10) (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
Early in the morning we go to the Kirindy reserve, a western dry forest reserve with enormous Baobab trees. Two days of exciting day and night photography await, with all the lemurs and interesting wildlife that occurs here. We hope to see the elusive Fossa – the largest predator – that often occurs near the camp. In addition there are Sifakas, Night-lemurs, Giant Jumping-rats and many interesting reptiles and birds.

Day 5 (7/10) (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
After an early start we spend the day heading east to reach the city of Antsirabe, ten hours by bus.

Day 6 (8/10) (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
We go to Ranomafana via Fianrantsoa, the capitol of the Betsileo people, and center for the Cat-holic Church in the country. We have a photo-stop at the local marketplace. We arrive in Rano-mafana in the afternoon. About 4.5 hours by bus. On arriving we follow a road through the area to photograph nocturnal frogs, Mouse Lemurs and chameleons.

Day 7 (9/10) (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
A whole day in Ranomafana National Park with a guide and local trackers. Midday breaks for lunch and a short rest. This enthralling montane rainforest is characterized by dense vegetation and many rapids, such as the great Namorana river. We will go in search for several species of Lemur, e.g. the Golden Bamboo Lemur, discovered here as late as 1991. It only occurs here, and the National Park is specifically dedicated to its protection.There are also other Lemurs, such as the equally rare and threatened Greater Bamboo Lemur, the Common Brown Lemur and the large Milne-Edwards’ Sifaka. There is also a myriad of insects, and we hope to find the outstan-ding Giraffe-Necked Weevil, a beetle-like weevil that has an extremely long ”giraffe-neck”. We also search for the colorful Mantella frogs, just as colorful as the Poison-Dart Frogs of South Ame-rica. After dinner we head out again, for a night-photo trip, in search of Mouse Lemurs, nocturnal frogs and chameleons.

Day 8 (10/10) (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
We head north to Antsirabe. Along the way there will be several opportunities to photograph the landscape on Hauts Plateaux. There are typical Madagascan whattle and daub villages and a landscape with plenty of rice terraces, people at work and picturesque villages. Evening arrival at Antsirabe, one of the largest towns on Madagascar. It was founded by Norwegian missionaries in the 1800’s and is located about 1500 m above sea level. About 6 hours busride.

Day 9 (11/10) (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
After breakfast we head north, passing the outskirts of Antananarivo, then turning east towards Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, one of Madagascars finest montane rainforest areas. Before leaving Antsirabe there is time to photograph town life. Streetlife is characterized by pousse-pousse (Rickshaws drawn on foot, often bare-foot). In the evening we arrive at the rainforest and head out to look for nocturnal Mouse Lemurs, Geckos and sleeping chameleons.

Day 10 (12/10) (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
We get up early and spend the whole day in the rainforest with our knowledgable guides and trackers, with a short break for lunch at a restaurant. Today our main attraction is the meter tall Indri, the world’s largest Lemur. The Diademed Sifaka also occurs in the same area. This beautiful animal is also one of the largest Lemurs. Another species in the area is the Common Brown Lemur. We also hope to find several species of frog or the Leaf-Tailed Gecko, that is so camou-flaged that it is almost impossible to make it out against a moss-clad trunk. The Blue Coua and other Couas are endemic birds, the size of Jays, that follow us through the forests. During the evenings we head out to photograph nocturnal Mouse Lemurs, Geckos and Chameleons. After dinner there will be more night-photography.

Day 11 (13/10) (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
In the morning we visit the private reserve at Vakona Lodge. It is an island with Lemurs. We will get close to Common Brown Lemurs, Bamboo Lemurs, Varis and maybe the Diademed Sifaka. They might even be so close that they climb on us!

Then, the group and tour splits in two. Those who have chosen the extension tour: Aye-aye – the world of the long-fingered Lemur, continue east to the Aye-aye reserve, at Akanin’ny nosy to-gether with the tour leader. The main tour continues west for about three hours through a lands-cape of rice terraces, small villages and mountain ridges to the capitol Antananarivo, where our agent will meet the group. Farewell dinner in the evening.

Day 12 (14/10) (Breakfast – Lunch)
After breakfast we go through Antananarivo to a large crafts market. Then lunch and transfer to airport for flights home.

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Madagascar - marvelous nature in the kingdom of the Lemurs 3rd -14th October 2019

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