Madagascar Photo Adventure
Sept 28 – Oct 10, 2024
October 12 – 24, 2024
The World's Oldest Island
Experience the unforgettable uniqueness of Madagascar in all its fabled beauty on this 13 day fully-inclusive excursion. This is a photo workshop like none other. Our team provides unparalleled access to the country’s most recognizable wildlife, stunning lodges, and authentic cultural experiences during this journey. Enjoy private charter flights (1 for guests and 1 for gear) to multiple locations across this island nation, with comfortable ground transportation, the finest food available, spa services, ocean activities, and much more.
The wildlife opportunities here are innumerable. Adventurers will enjoy animal sightings found nowhere else on earth, such as Indri lemurs, the largest living lemur species, mouse lemurs, the smallest primate in the world, white-footed sportive lemur, fat-tailed dwarf lemur, woolly lemur, grey lemur, bamboo lemur, common brown lemur, diademed sifaka, black and white ruffed lemur, Goodman’s Mouse Lemur, Verreaux sifaka, Decken’s sifaka, red-fronted brown lemur, hairy crabs, tenrecs, many species of bats, lizards, geckos, an assortment of chameleons, including the world’s smallest and largest species, and with some luck and patience, a sighting of the elusive fossa- Madagascar’s only predator species.
Madagascar is known not only for its wildlife, but also its notable flora, like its many species of Baobab trees, spiny forests, and over a thousand orchid species, which we will spend time photographing at dawn, dusk, and even at night for some astrophotography images. There are ample opportunities for those macro photography lovers, including sightings of rare insects and invertebrates both day and night.
Birdwatchers will also enjoy the vast opportunities to spot and photograph astonishing birds, like the Madagascar fish eagle (Haliaeetus vociferoides), one of the rarest raptor in the world, shy crested Ibis, Madagascar sacred Ibis, velvet asity, blue coua, Nuthatch vanga, red fody, Souimanga sunbird, paradise flycatcher, sickle-billed vanga, and many more endemic species.
Throughout the workshop, you will learn how to compose compelling images, use the environmental conditions to your advantage, and master the technical aspects of photography. Whether you’re a beginner photographer or a seasoned pro, our experienced instructors provide personalized instruction and guidance to help you improve your skills and take your wildlife and landscape photography to the next level.
Our extensive trip itinerary includes visits to the most inspiring and iconic vistas and features throughout this unique region.
This workshop offers in-the-field instruction to best hone in your images and streamline your creative visions, as well as post-workshop image reviews and editing sessions to continue practicing skills and techniques learned on the workshop once you’ve returned home.
Sign up now to create lasting memories and stunning photographs that you’ll treasure for a lifetime.
I believe in order to truly enjoy your experience, and to receive the most out of a wildlife photography workshop, we must maintain small group sizes with a very high ratio of instructors to participants. I’ve limited this workshop to a maximum of 8 participants and 2 instructors so everyone has an optimal view from inside our vehicles, as well as easy loading and unloading when wildlife is spotted from the road.
This is a unique educational excursion, and by capping the group size, despite immense interest, our team ensures everyone gets the attention and one-on-one instruction they need to make once in a lifetime images.
My workshops are distinctive in that they’re fully inclusive– your tuition cost covers all expenses from the moment you arrive to the moment you depart Madagascar. We provide our guests the best possible accommodations, dining options, and unique educational opportunities in the region.
As a workshop leader, I take your trust in my expertise very seriously. I work in tandem with the respective National Park Service of any photo locations, and I always operate under the proper insurance, permits, and certifications.
You will be accompanied by Juan Pons and Jaclyn Merica during this workshop. Juan is an accomplished professional wildlife and travel photographer and photographic educator who has a deep passion for the outdoors and conservation. Jaclyn is Juan’s assistant, co-leading outdoor workshops in places like Costa Rica, Cuba, Botswana, Alaska, and Patagonia.
Juan and his team believe the best way to teach is by demonstrating, and to this end, we will be shooting alongside you, showing you our technique, and sharing our love and knowledge of wildlife and the landscape. However, our priority is always YOU, and assisting you to get the best images YOU can get.
The biggest advantage of having small groups is the flexibility they provide for customizing and adjusting our schedule to accommodate both to the unpredictable weather and the interests of the group as a whole. This allows us to cover only those topics that you are all interested in, including:
• Techniques for creating exciting and captivating wildlife images
• Best use of your equipment
• Post-processing demos to enhance the quality of your images
• Image reviews
My workshops are fairly intensive experiences, and as such, you should not expect this to be a leisurely vacation. My goal is to capture the best images we can during our time in this remarkable location. This means there will be days we begin very early and return to our lodging very late. However, we will always have breaks and lunch rest hours.
On this workshop, you will fly into and depart from Antananarivo (Tana), Madagascar (Airport code TNR). You should expect to receive important instructions from my team with details to secure your flights 6 months prior to the workshop.
Then, about 2-3 months prior to the workshop, you will start hearing from me and my team on a regular basis. I will provide you with a Workshop Information Packet with all relevant details, as well as go over more details regarding the workshop to get you inspired and thinking about the images you want to capture during the trip. These provided documents will list all recommended clothing, equipment, and even discounts for gear you may want to acquire for this excursion.
My assistant, Jaclyn, and I are always available to answer any questions you may have leading up to the excursion- simply call or email and we can help you as best we can.
Additionally, we will schedule a Zoom meeting 6-8 weeks prior to the start of our workshop. There, you can meet your fellow workshop participants, ask any questions before traveling, receive insights and recommendations for reference books, and much more.
Tuition for the workshop is $23,995.00 USD for double occupancy per person.
If you would like to enjoy private accommodation during the workshop, that can be arranged for an additional supplement of $2,995.00 USD.
If you would like to reserve your spot on this workshop, you can do so with a $7995.00 USD deposit. The balance of the workshop fee ($16,000.00 USD), is due 120 days prior to the first day of the workshop.
If you are in need of a special payment arrangement, please reach out and we are happy to work with you.
• All lodging and meals
• All private charter flights within Madagascar
• All private ground transportation
• All snacks and water during daily outings
• Non-alcoholic beverages during the workshop
• All permits, fees, and gratuities
• In-the-field instruction
• Image reviews and post-processing sessions
• Creative inspiration and group camaraderie
• An unforgettable experience
• Air travel to and from Antananarivo, Madagascar
• Any applicable items of a personal nature, such as laundry services and additional alcoholic beverages
• Relevant visa fees to Madagascar from applicable countries
• Travel, Medical, and Trip Cancellation Insurance (highly recommended)
• Anything else specifically not listed as included
• You are responsible for making your own flight arrangements to and from Madagascar. We will assist you with flight arrivals and departures prior to your booking. Please do not book your flight reservations until you receive instructions from our team.
• Deposit is fully refundable up until 120 days prior to the start of the workshop, NO REFUNDS are permitted less than 120 days prior to the start of the workshop.
• Make sure to check the Terms and Conditions for all my workshops.
We highly recommend Travel Insurance from a reputable insurance company. I have partnered with Squaremouth, a website that allows you to compare multiple travel policies from multiple providers to choose the best one for you based on your needs and costs. Check them out here: https://www.squaremouth.com/
When photographing wildlife and nature, the key is to remain flexible and open to adjustments in order to maximize our daily itinerary as needed to observe the behavior of the wildlife and lighting conditions.
An example workshop itinerary is as follows:
Day 1 – 2: Arrival to Antananarivo and Andasibe
Our group arrives to Ivato Airport and transfers to overnight accommodations to rest before the adventure truly begins.
On Day 2, we head east to the high plateau region of Andasibe and its beautiful rainforest park in search of Indri lemurs, the largest living species of lemur, and one of many species we search for for during our photo adventure.
We pass the region’s rice fields, redbrick houses, and roadside fruit stands on the way and stop for photo opportunities en route.
Once settled into our hotel, the group explores the surrounding forest for some of the 7 groups of Indri lemur that live in the 700 hectare reserve.
After dinner, clients can finish the day with an evening walk to see a variety of nocturnal lemurs: mouse lemurs, white-footed sportive lemur, fat-tailed dwarf lemur, and woolly lemur.
Day 3: Experiencing Perinet
After breakfast, we return to the forest park in search if the Indri indri. With a barely visible tail, black and white markings, and a surprised teddy-bear face, this fascinating lemur is one of the few animals in the world that cannot survive in captivity.
There are another 11 species of lemur to spot in this rainforest, like grey lemurs, bamboo lemurs, common brown lemur, diademed sifaka, and the black and white ruffed lemur, as well as many reptiles, invertebrates, and some of Madagascar’s orchid species.
Birdwatchers should keep an eye out for the velvet amity, blue coua, Nuthatch vanga, and more endemic species.
Clients can opt for another night walk in the Mitsinjo forest, in hopes to see Goodman’s Mouse Lemur, Parson’s Chameleons, Uroplatus geckos, and more.
Day 4: Transfer to Tsingy de Bemaraha
Early this morning, we transport back to Antananarivo, known as Tana, to connect with our private charter flight to Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. Upon arrival in Amborondia, our local guide will transfer us by 4X4 vehicle to your hotel located in proximity to the otherworldly pinnacles of the Petit Tsingy.
Our group has the opportunity to spot some of the 53 bird species and 6 lemur species that make their home here, and take in the fabulous views of the surrounding area from our gorgeous lodging.
After a long day of travel, we enjoy dinner and an early night to prepare for another day in Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park.
Day 5: Exploring the “Grand Tsingy”
On this morning, we leave early to explore the “Grand Tsingy” for one final full day of photographing. This unique site, a virtual forest of 50 meter high limestone peaks, is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is an absolute must for any wildlife and landscape photographers to visit.
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 the red-fronted brown lemurs), 103 species of terrestrial and aquatic birds, 15 species of bats, 22 species of amphibians, and a variety of reptiles.
Day 6: On to Morondava Region
After breakfast, we make our way via private charter flight to Morondava, situated in the heart of Sakalava territory. The town is known for its elaborately sculpted wooden royal tombs. These tombs are frequently decorated with intricate funerary carvings representing life and fertility.
We drive to a privately managed forest known as the best place in Madagascar to see the elusive fossa. It is also home to the Madagascar Giant Jumping Rat, endemic to this forest, and 8 lemur species, including Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur.
Birdwatchers have opportunity to spot 70 bird species, within the dry deciduous forest and towering baobab trees, including the rare White-Breasted Mesite. Three out of the island’s seven baobab species are found here. In the late afternoon, we then drive to the “Allée des Baobabs” to enjoy the gorgeous sunset.
Day 7: Capturing Baobabs Day and Night
On Day 7, we plan a very early return visit to the “Allée des Baobabs” for a sunrise photoshoot before we transfer to the airport for a private charter flight to our next location, Ifotaka.
Upon arrival to the south of the island, the group transfers to a rustic lodging with majestic views of the Mandrare River.
In the evening, participants can opt for a night walk in the Forest of Zenavo. This is a fantastic way to see diurnal lemurs bedding down for the night, while the nocturnal lemurs begin to awaken in the prehistoric spiny forest.
Clients have opportunities to spot sifakas and sleeping white-foot sportive lemurs, as well as two mouse lemur species, sleeping birds, chameleons, and owls.
Day 8: The Spectacular Spiny Forest
On this day, we head to the Spiny Forest for an early morning walk. Witness the sunlight break through these striking trees while scouting for the many endemic birds in the area.
After breakfast, we venture to the stunning, and, according to local customs, sacred gallery forest south of our camp. We 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.
Late in the day, 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. There, our local guide and a tracker will give you an introduction to the Antandroy culture and customs, concluded by a sundowner along the river.
Day 9: Immerse In the Antandroy Community
Wake up early on this day to witness the sunlight break through the octopus trees while looking out for the extensive wildlife.
We then visit to the local market or the local village to interface with the Antandroy community.
Lunch is served at the camp with the locals followed by a much deserved afternoon of rest along the river from your tent terrace. In the evening, we will depart for a sundowner amidst the baobabs. Watching the sun set and moon rise with a view across the baobabs to the mountains beyond is a magical experience.
After dark, the local village will treat us to a performance of traditional dances accompanied by singing and music. Song and dance is at the heart of Antandroy culture and is used to accompany the major rituals and events of everyday life. It’s a truly unique cultural experience to be welcomed into.
Day 10: Arrival to Anjajavy’s Coast
On Day 10, we proceed to another private charter flight to Anjajavy. Upon arrival, we find our lodge located within a 450 hectare nature reserve on Madagascar’s northwest coast. The surrounding forest is home to lemurs, chameleons, giant land tortoise, Cockerel sifakas, malachite kingfishers, and hummingbirds.
In the evening, our group departs for a night walk in the reserve to spot a variety of nocturnal lemurs, like the danfoss mouse lemurs, weighing a mere 63 grams, Grewcock’s sportive lemur, tsingy tuft-tailed rat, Commerson’s leaf-nosed bat, and Madagascar’s largest predator – the rare and elusive fossa.
Day 11: Capturing the ‘Chemin des Crabes’
On this morning, we depart for a walk along the ‘Chemin des Crabes’ to see the famous hairy crab.
Birdwatchers can spot anything from the vibrant red fody and Souimanga sunbird to the exotic paradise flycatcher and sickle-billed vanga.
With help from our local guide and naturalist, this area is one of the best places to spot the critically endangered Madagascar fish eagle, shy crested Ibis, or rare Madagascar sacred Ibis. At the end of the walk, we visit a small cave to view a fossilized lemur skull, stalactites, and sharks’ teeth. We then return to the lodge for lunch and a leisurely afternoon and evening at the beach.
Day 12: Meandering Moramba Bay
On this morning, we visit Moramba Bay, with its centuries-old marine baobabs and gorgeous sandy beaches. We search once again for the regal Madagascar fish eagle.
If the water is clear, guests can also enjoy some snorkeling and relaxation after a fun and intensive trip. This will be our final night for group dinners and night walks.
Day 13: Departure Home
On this final day, the group transfers to one final private charter flight back to Tana, and then on to Ivato airport for international flights back home.