Madagascar | An Odd Corner of the World

Madagascar | An Odd Corner of the World

About this trip

Join Todd Gustafson to create exceptional images that capture the unique species and ecosystems that make Madagascar such a fascinating destination. Madagascar’s unique habitats support plants, insects, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals that are found nowhere else. While photographing lemurs, we hope to see at least 20 species, each one with its own unique, riveting eye color. We will also photograph a wide variety of endemic chameleons of all sizes and colors, and try to capture the moment when the chameleon’s tongue shoots out to snare its dinner! Hiking the trails through national parks is the best way to see and photograph the natural beauty of Madagascar. We will encounter a wide variety of amazing subjects on our custom itinerary that includes some of our favorite locations. Each site has been chosen for dramatic indigenous species and easy accessibility. Madagascar is truly a destination at the ends of the Earth!
OPTIONAL PRE-TRIP EXTENSION:  Begin your photographic journey with an optional pre-trip extension to view the iconic Avenue of the Baobabs, May 16-22, 2022.

Highlights

  • Explore prime lemur habitats at numerous reserves including Berenty, Akanin’ny Nofy, and Andasibe.
  • A macro enthusiast’s dream – 80% of the chameleon species in the world are indigenous to Madagascar.
  • Wildlife photography at its best – lemurs, birds, insects, amphibians, and reptiles.
  • Capture a dancing lemur making a dazzling leap with grace and ease.
  • Discover unique Madagascar – one of the most beautiful and endangered ecosystems on Earth.

Meet your leader

Todd Gustafson

Todd Gustafson is a professional nature photographer and founder of Gustafson Photo Safari. Todd grew up in Tanzania and has won numerous photography awards. His work has been featured in many international publications and museum exhibits, including a display in a permanent exhibit in the Smithsonian Institution Museum of Natural History, publications by the United Nations, and product guides for NIKON Corporation, where he works as a clinician/teacher. Todd is also a highly accomplished trumpet player and has degrees in music education and trumpet performance.

In flight

May 20, 2022

Depart the United States for Madagascar.

Antananarivo

May 21, 2022

Upon arrival at Antananarivo International Airport, clear customs and immigration, meet your local guide, and transfer to your hotel. This is a travel day and no meals are included. Please note operational days for flights to Madagascar are subject to change without prior notice and there might be need for additional hotel nights at Antananarivo at additional cost. Check in starts at 12 pm.

Overnight at Palissandre Hotel

Antananarivo

May 22, 2022

After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, we'll visit Lemur Park, where we'll have a chance to see different species of lemurs from all around Madagascar. Lunch will be at the site. We'll return to our hotel in the afternoon and have some time to rest before having dinner at our hotel. Later in the afternoon, participants including Todd, who have been on the pre-extension will join us at our hotel.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Palissandre Hotel

Andasibe

May 23, 2022

After a short briefing, drive to Andasibe through the green and luxuriant vegetation of the east. This first stop is in the humid part of the country with many primary forests and lakes. Along the way are Merina villages in the rocky mountains. Arrive at Andasibe in time for a late lunch (about 1:30 pm) and check in at Vakona Lodge. Situated in a eucalyptus plantation 4.3 miles away from the Périnet National Park Entrance, Vakona Forest Lodge is considered one of the most comfortable hotels in this area. The individual bungalows are thoughtfully scattered throughout the grounds and boast generous space, a good bathroom, electric heaters, a mini bar, and a safe. At about 5:30 pm, depart for an evening walk in the forest to look for frogs, chameleons, moths, leaf-tailed geckos, mouse lemurs, and other nocturnal animals at VOIMMA Community Reserve. The letter sequence is an abbreviation for Vondron’olona miaro mitia ala, which translates to "local people love the forest". Return to the hotel at about 8 pm for dinner.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Vakona Lodge

Andasibe

May 24, 2022

Have breakfast at the hotel followed by a drive to the Mantadia National Park, approximately 8.6 miles from the hotel. Walk within the Mantadia National Park and spot lemurs and birds. Lemur species such as the Indri, Sifaka Lemur, Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur, Grey Bamboo Lemur, Common Brown Lemur, and Red-bellied Lemur might be spotted during the visit. Also observe bird species such as couas, vangas, sunbirds, and ground-rollers. Have a picnic lunch within the park. In the afternoon, continue your time at the park before heading back to the hotel. Visit Lemur Island on the hotel property. This evening return to VOIMMA for another nocturnal walk.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Vakona Lodge

Akanin'ny Nofy

May 25, 2022

Early this morning visit Analamazaotra Reserve for the last photography opportunities in the Andasibe region (with picnic lunch). Later drive to Manambato Village and take the ferry for the transfer to Akanin’ny Nofy, which means "Nest of Dreams."

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Palmarium Lodge

Akanin'ny Nofy

May 26, 2022

Today visit the private Palmarium Park, also known as Akanin’ny Nofy. The park is situated on 123.5 acres on the east coast of Madagascar, along the Ampitabe Lake and the Indian Ocean, in the Pangalanes Channel. Discover the endemic flora and fauna of Madagascar, such as rare palm trees and plants like orchids and mahoganies, as well as reptiles. See if you can spot all 10 species of lemur living in the park: Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur, Black Lemur, Crowned Lemur, hybrid of Brown and Crowned Lemurs, and Coquerel’s Sifaka, to name a few. After lunch at our hotel, we will go to the beach to photograph some frogs and the local flora. After an early dinner, we will take the boat to the peninsula for a nocturnal excursion to find the Aye Aye lemurs.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Palmarium Lodge

Akanin'ny Nofy

May 27, 2022

Continue exploring the trails of Palmarium to practice photographing dancing Coquerel’s Sifakas and hybrid lemurs jumping from branch to branch. This evening after an early dinner, go on a second excursion to find the Aye-Aye lemur.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Palmarium Lodge

Antananarivo

May 28, 2022

After breakfast, transfer by boat to Manambato and drive back to Antananarivo. En route stop for a picnic lunch and visit Pereyras Nature Farm at Marozevo Andekaleka. Arrive at the hotel in Antananarivo in time for dinner.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Palissandre Hotel

Berenty

May 29, 2022

After breakfast transfer to the airport for the flight to Fort Dauphin. Upon arrival transfer to Berenty, 53 miles from Fort Dauphin. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to explore the surroundings on your own or with your guide, who will be available. Spend the next four days exploring the Berenty Reserve. The reserve is home to five species of lemurs, flying foxes (a type of large fruit bat), and 96 bird species. Berenty is famous for its lemurs because of the ease with which they may be seen here in the wild. Red-fronted Brown Lemurs occur in large numbers during the day, and both White-footed Sportive and Grey Mouse Lemurs are regularly encountered on night walks. The favorites are the Ring-tailed Lemurs and Verreaux’s Sifakas. Immediately behind the cabins, a system of trails provides easy access to the abundance of lemurs, birds, and a resident colony of Madagascar fruit bats or flying foxes. Be on the lookout for the numerous Giant Couas, as well as any species that you may have missed so far. Before dinner each night, enjoy walks within the spiny forest, where you may spot nocturnal species such as the Grey Mouse Lemur, the White-footed Sportive Lemur, chameleons, and birds. (Please note that the schedule of internal flights within Madagascar is subject to change without prior notice. Depending on final flight schedule, the final itinerary might be different.)

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Berenty Lodge

Berenty

May 30, 2022

Full day at Berenty.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Berenty Lodge

Berenty

May 31, 2022

Full day at Berenty.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Berenty Lodge

Berenty

Jun 1, 2022

Full day at Berenty.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Berenty Lodge

Berenty

Jun 2, 2022

Full day at Berenty.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Berenty Lodge

Antananarivo

Jun 3, 2022

After breakfast transfer to Fort Dauphin for the flight to Antananarivo. Dinner at a local restaurant.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Palissandre Hotel

Antananarivo

Jun 4, 2022

After an early breakfast at our hotel we will have our last excursion to Tsarasaotra-Alarobia private bird park & lake for birds-in-flight photography. After lunch at a local restaurant at Tana, explore the spice and handicraft market before returning back to our hotel to pack and get ready for our flight back home. Dinner will be at the hotel. Please note that order of activities are subject to change depending on flight times.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Palissandre Hotel - dayroom

Arrive U.S.

Jun 5, 2022

Arrival in United States.