British couple Gemma Catlin and Aaron Gekoski are renowned photojournalists, filmmakers and travel writers. Their work features in magazines such as National Geographic Traveller, go!, Africa Geographic, Winestyle, Divesite, Men’s Health, FHM and many more. Their film work, photography and articles have been instrumental in raising awareness on the plight of endangered animals all over the world. Whilst they hail from England, their major passion is Africa; its diverse cultures, expansive plains, lively oceans and unparalleled wildlife.
This is a 14-day journey, which allows experiencing the landscapes and unique biodiversity of Madagascar. Customers will evolve in a small group, enter through different microclimates and go out to meet the lemurs in the forest. In brief, a tour that combines discovery, authenticity, fun, humanity, and a Malagasy gastronomic experience.
Day 1: Arrival in Madagascar.
You will be welcomed by our team at the international airport of Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. You will then be transferred to your hotel in the city center.
Hotel: Tamboho Hotel. A blend of Malagasy authenticity and modernity, a haven of peace and tranquility close to the busy city center of Antananarivo. This hotel – made with traditional bricks – will introduce you to typical Malagasy architecture. The hotel’s restaurant offers excellent European gastronomy with the best ingredients of the island. You will enjoy the coziness of this establishment in a Malagasy atmosphere. With a free WIFI connection, available throughout the building, Tamboho is one of the best-equipped hotels in Antananarivo Madagascar. There is heated swimming pool, a spa and a la carte treatments, Hotel Tamboho will offer you an upscale base for your stay in the capital of Madagascar.
Day 2: Antananarivo – Morondava – Kirindy Forest.
We take a flight to Morondava. Once we land in Morondava, we will be driven to the Kirindy Forest, home of the Fosa. We will have a nocturnal tour in the dry forest to spot some wildlife & practice our low light photography skills.
Hotel: Kirindy Lodge.
Day 3: Kirindy Forest – Sunset at Alley of Baobabs – Morondava.
Early in the morning, we will visit the reserve. We will then have lunch and head to the world-famous Baobab Alley to photograph the dramatic sunset over these endemic trees. We drive back to our hotel in Morondava for dinnertime.
Hotel: Palissandre Cote Ouest Resort & Spa. On the shores of the Mozambique Channel, this is the most upscale hotel in the city of Morondava. The perfect place to watch a sunset on the beach, this hotel can also serve as a base to visit the world-famous alley of Baobabs. Built with exotic materials (wood and granite stones), the hotel is equipped with a swimming pool and a restaurant-bar. Each of the 32 tastefully designed bungalows has a private terrace, a satellite TV system and hot water. Don’t forget to allocate some time to receive a treatment at the spa.
Day 4: Morondava – Miandrivazo – Antsirabe.
We leave the region of the Menabe and return to the highlands. En route, we will have the opportunity to make several stops to photograph the hilly landscapes of Madagascar’s Midwest. During the whole afternoon, we will make a few stops to enjoy the views over the rice fields, the mountains and the traditional villages of the highlands. This region is dedicated to agriculture and very often we will see villagers, with their colorful stands, stocked with products. In the afternoon, we will reach the town of Antsirabe, known for its thermal waters and rickshaws.
Hotel: Couleur Café. This beautiful Boutique Hotel has 5 private brick pavilions, tiles and is perfectly nested in a green environment. Each has its own modern (but Malagasy influenced style) and the guests are sure to find their perfect fit in this charming, comfortable and friendly guesthouse located in downtown Antsirabe. Its restaurant will definitely seduce you with its balanced menu inspired from locally-sourced quality products.
Day 5: Antsirabe – Ambositra – Fianarantsoa.
We continue our journey heading south across the highlands to reach Ambositra, the Malagasy handicrafts’ capital, located 105 km from Antsirabe. In this city known for its woodcarving Zafimaniry Art, we will visit different handcraft workshops. We will have lunch in this city, during which some folkloric dancers and musicians will perform a show. At the end of the afternoon, we arrive in Fianarantsoa. Built in the early 19th century and because of the myriad old buildings in the town, Fianarantsoa was placed by the World Monuments Fund on its Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites
Hotel: Tsara Guest House. Created by a passionate local entrepreneur who dedicated his energy to the restoration of the architectural heritage of Fianarantsoa, the Tsara Guest House is an old renovated church transformed into a small boutique hotel. This establishment also features the best restaurant in town. Located in the old city and hill dominating the city of Fianarantsoa, the beautiful Japanese inspired garden is a perfect place to sit back and relax after a long day of sightseeing. Each of the 18 rooms of Tsara Guest House is differently set up with en suite facilities.
Day 6: Visit of the tea plantations of Sahambavy & Visit of the Old City of Fianarantsoa.
We will start our day with a visit to the tea plantation, allowing us to photograph the tea pickers and the field’s landscape surrounded by mountains. Lunch will give us some time to have a small workshop to review our photographs. In the afternoon, we will return to Fianarantsoa to do some street photography and capture the city at sunset from one of its highest viewpoints. We tour the town of Fianarantsoa, which, thanks to the richness of the architecture of its old buildings, shows the different stages of colonization and evangelization of Madagascar.
Hotel: Tsara Guest House.
Day 7: Train ride from Fianarantsoa to Manakara.
An early morning wake-up will enable us to arrive at the old station to embark on the Railway Line Fianarantsoa Cote Est, dating from the early twentieth century. Across the landscaped tropical rainforest, the train makes several stops in all the villages it’s crossing. Each stop provides the opportunity to witness the frenzy generated by the arrival of a train. Great portrait photographs of the villagers will surely be the result of that day.
Day 8: Manakara to Ranomafana.
We will drive to the rainforest of Ranomafana. Upon arrival, we get ready for a nighttime visit along the national road. We will seek out nocturnal lemurs, such as the microcebe and other chameleons.
Hotel: SETAM Lodge. Set on the edge of Ranomafana National Park, affording beautiful views of the surrounding rainforest and mountains. Almost completely surrounded by the rainforest, each of its 22 chalet-style rooms is perched on a hillside overlooking the river below. Accommodation is comfortable, and each room has an en-suite bathroom and a private veranda. The hotel’s restaurant offers indoor and outdoor dining options, and huge windows to ensure that the views are enjoyed regardless of where diners choose to sit. Although the menu options are limited, the food here never disappoints.
Day 9: Ranomafana National Park: Wildlife photography in the rainforest.
From the early hours of the morning, we will hike in the rainforest to track lemurs and at the same time see various species of plants, trees, insects and reptiles. Photographing in the forest presents interesting challenges since natural light is not abundant and animals are moving unpredictably. We will also see various landscapes, which includes waterfalls and rivers, deep in the forest. After this hike and our lunch, we will have time to visit the area and the village within walking distance of our hotel. We will also have time to organize a small session to review our photographs, exchange ideas and tips between participants and get further guidance from our lead photographer.
Hotel: SETAM Lodge.
Day 10: Ranomafana – Ambalavao – Ranohira ( Isalo ).
After breakfast, we continue our road trip with the majestic Andringitra in the background. We leave the highlands of Madagascar and enter a new microclimate: the dry bush and semi desert of southern Madagascar. We will visit the Anja Reserve, managed by the local community of villagers. This reserve is home to many unique species of lemurs including the very famous ring tailed lemur. We will transfer you to your hotel in the rock formations of Isalo.
Hotel: Isalo Rock Lodge. Nested in one of the most stunning landscape of Madagascar this modern and luxurious hotel has 60 beautifully decorated rooms, a superb restaurant-lounge-bar and a swimming pool. Each room has a large glass door which leads to a private terrace overlooking the Isalo National Park. The existence of such an upscale establishment in this location will surprise you. Surrounded by the limestone rock formation, a natural swimming pool is also on the property and can be reached within a 10-minute walk.
Day 11: Isalo – Visiting Isalo National Park.
We will hike through the canyons and oases of Isalo and its lunar landscape to reach some waterfalls. This environment was formed during the Jurassic age: the unique flora has evolved, adapting to the existing conditions. During that hike, we will see different species of lemurs, including the world-famous ring tailed lemur. After the canyons, we will go to different places to see a panoramic view of the landscape. We will have several opportunities to take a dip or simply admire the natural swimming pools and waterfalls. By late afternoon, we will contemplate sunset over the famous window of Isalo.
Hotel: Isalo Rock Lodge.
Day 12: Ranohira – Toliara – Boat transfer to Anakao.
We have a very early start to drive to the coastal city of Toliara. On our way, we will cross one the numerous villages formed by the sapphire rush. We reach the port of Toliara in time for our speedboat transfer to Anakao. Anakao is a small fishermen village located 45km south and only easily accessible by boat. We will reach our hotel before lunchtime. Forget crowded places and be seduced by the beautiful Andovoke bay: a kilometre and a half white sand beach with turquoise waters. Clearly visible on the horizon are the breakers that smash against one of the longest coral reefs in the world. We will have time in the afternoon to conduct a photography session to review our work under the guidance of our lead photographer.
Hotel: Anakao Ocean Lodge & Spa. When you arrive by sea from the Mozambique Channel, Anakao Ocean Lodge & Spa stands out in the middle of a splendid half-moon bay like a small precious gem. The knowledgeable use of local materials, such as hand-worked white stone and fine wood, offers the most unthinkable maximum comfort at this latitude of Madagascar. The hotel has a spa and the restaurant serves some delicious Malagasy and Italian inspired seafood dishes.
Day 13: Close up bird photography in Nosy Ve & Visit of Vezo Fishermen village.
Not far away, the beautiful island of Nosy Ve emerges from the reef. We will take a boat to get to this small inhabited island where we will be able to see many birds endemic to Madagascar. After a short stroll on the island, we will spend the remaining time on one of the beaches surrounding this island. For once in your life, you may feel like being Robinson Crusoe! We will then walk to and visit the nearby Vezo Fishermen village or simply enjoy a magical place, which by fortunate circumstances, has remained an uncontaminated corner away from the more chaotic mass tourism routes.
Day 14: Transfer to Toliara, fly back to Antananarivo.
From Anakao, you will be transferred back to the port of Toliara. We will drive you to the airport to fly back to Antananarivo. We will organize a wrap up session with a sundowner offered by your hosts before everyone leaves the country on that same day or the following day.
Also see tour packages in:
Africa Madagascar Nature & Wildlife Wildlife Viewing Photography and Videography
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