Pumas of Patagonia Photography & Film Making Safari

 

"Pack All Your Lenses & All Your Senses!"

No matter where else you've travelled, you won't have encountered many of the species we will photograph here in this complex island ecosystem.  Madagascar's isolation over the millennia has allowed evolution to branch and create unique mammal, reptile, insect and bird life that you just can't encounter anywhere else, as well as the unique flora they rely on to survive.  

Wild, whacky and flamboyant, the species we will photograph range from giraffe necked beetles and elegant butterflies to crazily coloured chameleons, almost invisible geckos, beautiful birds and of course the most famous stars of the show, lemur, sifaka, indri and perhaps even the elusive aye aye and fossa.  

We'll search for all these species and many more as we wind our way through the varied habitats and landscapes of Madagascar's remaining central and southern forests.

Did someone mention landscapes? We will stay amongst spectacularly chiselled rock formations, otherworldly forests sprouting from the deserts and glorious beaches along the way, ensuring we sample all the marvels Madagascar has to offer.

What's more we have the joy and freedom of exploring many of the national parks on foot, so pack all your senses and all your lenses - from macro to telephoto - and join us on a photographic odyssey through mysterious, marvellous Madagascar!

Amazing Madagascar! Photography & Film Making Safari highlights

 

  • Endemic wildlife - unique species not found anywhere else in the world

  • Explore Madagascar's National Parks on foot by night and day - ideal safari for those who love walking & wildlife!

  • Andasibe-Mantadia  - dawn chorus of the Indri, exotic chameleons

  • Ranomafana - lemurs & waterfalls

  • Anja - intimate lemur encounters

  • Isalo - spectacular landscapes, flora & rock formations

  • Zombitse - siftaka, reptiles

  • Ifaty - baobabs & spiny forest at dawn & by night; snorkel the coral reef 

  • Scheduled to ensure best photographic conditions for wildlife & landscapes

  • Always time to observe animal behaviour and create your shots

  • Great opportunities for experienced photographers looking for new species

  • Beginner-friendly atmosphere to learn new and creative techniques with experienced tutor

  • Unique opportunity to learn DSLR videography with a BBC trained wildlife film maker

  • Small group size - max 6 

  • Companions interested in wildlife welcome

FULL MADAGASCAR ITINERARY

 

Oct 11: On arrival in the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo, we have a short transfer to the bright and welcoming  San Cristobal Hotel for our overnight accommodation. 

 Oct 12: After breakfast we drive to Andasibe through the green and luxuriant vegetation of the east, a very humid part of the country with many primary forests and lakes. Along the way we will see Merina villages in the hills.  Arrive at ‘Mantadia Lodge’ in time for both an introductory walk in the afternoon, and our first night walk later on.  Easy level walks.

 

Oct 13: Early morning walk in the Special Reserve of Andasibe (Analamazaotra) to hear the haunting dawn chorus of the Indri as we seek to photograph them.  This reserve is unique with its endemic fauna and flora, and is home to a wide variety of orchids, canopy, and endemic animals including chameleons, tenrecs (charming creatures which look like a cross between a shrew and a hedgehog), and many birds.  Medium level walk. 

 

In the afternoon we switch from primates to reptiles, as we visit a highly regarded community project at Vohimana Reserve, one of the best ‘Herping’ locations in Madagascar, having over 80 species of frogs and the spectacular ‘Lanced Nose Chameleon’. Medium level walk.  Followed by a night walk

 

Oct 14: Today we visit Mantadia national park (full day with packed lunch), about 20Km north of our accommodation. This is for people who enjoy walking on more rugged trails through beautiful primary forest in search of wildlife. One of the best trails for wildlife is the northern Tsokoko circuit at 14km long; but there are alternatives. One, which takes around 2 hours, leads you through the forest to a waterfall and lake, where you can enjoy a dip.  We ‘can’ split the group up into two depending on fitness levels and interests!  Medium to Strenuous level walks.

Oct 15: Lemur Island is an opportunity to get 'up close and personal’ (yes, lemurs will jump onto your shoulders!) with up to 4 different species of these beautiful primates. It is certainly not a wild experience and we choose to do it ‘first thing in the morning’ to avoid the significant afternoon crowds.  An hour or two here is enough to interact with the Lemurs and we then resume our journey towards Antsirabe; where we will overnight at ‘Plumeria Hotel’.

 

Oct 16: Antsirabe to Ranomafana National Park. Overnight at Setam Lodge.

                                

The approximately 40,000 ha of Parc National de Ranomafana with its rain forest covered hills and abundant wildlife, has long been considered one of Madagascar’s highlights, and is one of the country’s national parks most heavily visited.  Altitudes in the park range from 800 m to 1200 m.  In addition to its densely forested hills, Ranomafana’s terrain is characterised by numerous small streams which plummet down to the beautiful Namorona River – spectacular waterfalls to photograph using the techniques of extended exposure.   Although much of the region has fallen victim to ‘slash and burn agriculture, the easternmost part of the park retains good areas of primary forest where we will go for some fairly long walks.

 

Our main focus here will be Lemurs, with the chance to see red-fronted brown lemurs, grey bamboo lemur and the rarer red-bellied lemur. In recent years, both greater bamboo lemur and golden bamboo lemur have also been seen more frequently. These are Medium to Strenuous level walks, requiring particular care as at times we need to step off the main trails in order to gain photographic opportunities.

 

 

Oct 17: Morning and afternoon visits to Ranomafana and another night walk focused on different nocturnal species.

Oct 18: Drive a few hours west to Anja and check-in to ‘Betsileo country lodge’

 

In the morning we can include a quick visit to Centre ValBio.   This Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments (ICTE) was established by Dr. Patricia Wright in 1991 to encourage and promote scientific research, training and conservation in the tropics. 

 

Anja (Anjaha) park is a small community run park, with beautiful scenery, specialist plants adapted to the dry south and several troops of ring-tailed lemurs. There is a short well-maintained trail which winds past impressive rocks, topped by waiting lemurs, to a sacred cliff with an inaccessible tomb. Because this is an ancient burial ground, hunting of lemurs was banned here. Easy level walks.

 

Arrive at  Anja in time for a brief afternoon visit with the park's habituated Ring Tailed Lemurs.

Oct 19: Morning visit to Anja and then drive west to Isalo National Park. Overnight at ‘Relais de la Reine’   

                                   

Most group tours visit Anja in the afternoon. However diurnal species, like the Ring Tailed Lemur, tend to be more active in the mornings, so having included an overnight stop in this picturesque spot, we can ensure a much more intimate experience with the lemurs this morning.  In this habitat, the lemurs are very easy to photograph and quite often come to the ground with their young babies wrapped around their waists.

 

Moving on from Anja, we hike in Isalo National Park. This huge massif has spectacular eroded sandstone elevations, thorough which we walk for about 2 hours to reach a natural  swimming pool.  Along the way we will discover vegetation like Uapaca bojeri, Pachypodium rosulatum or ‘elephant's foot’ and Aloe isaloensis, a native species of aloe endemic to Isalo.  The eroded mountains also served as a place where the Bara kept their dead before they could bury them in their actual tombs.

We reach the massif after walking for about 20 minutes, where we can stop and use our landscape photography skills to capture the spectacular views of the mountain with its beautiful colours and its strange and battered formations like ‘the tortoise’, ‘the masks’ and ‘the crocodiles’.  We will also notice small streams of water, and rivers which are marked by lines of brilliant green, feathery leaved palm Chrysalidocarpus isaloensis.  Along the way, there may be brown lemurs and ring-tailed lemurs, as well as many species of birds, lizards and snakes. We finally reach the swimming pool, with its crystal clear water - a great reward after a long and very hot walk.

 

We may also visit the Namaza Circuit; which is relatively short (around a 45 minute walk) though there is some scrambling up a leafy canyon to reach the ‘Cascade des Nymphes’. Easy to mid- level walks.

 

Oct 20: Full day visit to Isalo National Park with a focus on scenery and wildlife observation.

Oct 21: Isalo to Ifaty where we will overnight at the beautifully located ‘Les Dunes’   

                          

 Today we drive all the way to the ocean on the east side of Madagascar to reach Ifaty. However, there is plenty to visit en route starting with a stop at Zombitse Forest national park, a little 'island' of forest which remains a sanctuary for rare endemic birds, lemurs and reptiles. We have the chance to photograph Siftaka, Red-fronted lemurs and the nocturnal sportive lemur. Standing day gecko is also easy to find.  Easy level walks.

 

After Zombitse we make a stop at the internationally important, Arbortum d’Antsokay. This is not just for plant and tree lovers; this small patch of forest is very good for birds as well, and our guide will provide a fascinating insight into the diversity of species.  . Easy level walks.

 

Arrive in Ifaty and overnight at ‘Les Dunes’ 

 

Oct 22: Ifaty  

Our main focus will be to see the fast disappearing ‘Spiny Forest’ near Ifaty, with a visit to Reniala. Due to the hot temperatures in the south west, we tend to include very early morning visits and night walks in the Spiny Forest. The afternoons are mainly for relaxation or snorkelling trips out to the coral reef; .   Easy level walks.

 

Ifaty also lies on the beach, so is an  ideal place to experience the Vezo fishermen's life. It is a popular place for birdwatchers, and many excursions are possible. We highly recommend in the afternoon (when it is too hot to visit the Spiny Forest!) a snorkelling trip (pay locally) with local fishermen on their beautiful sailing boats.  Ifaty is protected by a large coral reef, which is in excellent condition and teaming with fish, making it an ideal place for diving, snorkelling and of course some underwater photography!

 

Departure Dates and Costs  

     

11-24 October 2020

Also booking 2021     

 

Availability: Now Booking   

Cost £4990 per person based on two sharing double or twin accommodation 

Single supplement available: £675

 

Inclusive of Madagascan ground transfers in a private vehicle, all reserve fees and all activities set out in itinerary, expert photography tuition, an English Speaking naturalist throughout and experienced local wildlife guides, one internal flight as per itinerary, all accommodation, B&B basis in the capital and breakfast and dinner at all other accommodation.

 

Excludes international flights to Antananarivo, lunches, drinks, personal travel insurance, gratuities

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Major airlines including KLM, Air France, Kenya Airways and South African Airways fly to Antananarivo from the UK.

Our ATOL protected partner agents Wildlife Trails will be happy to assist with your flight requirements.