Madagascar Trip – Group Travel | Atlas Obscura Trips
Photo Credit: Matt Dutile
Photo Credit: Matt Dutile
Photo Credit: Matt Dutile

Lemurs & Baobabs: Nature Photography in Madagascar

from $7,310 USD per person for 14 days, 13 nights
See Dates
  • 12 People Maximum
  • Moderate Activity Level
  • Photography
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Trip Overview
Overview

Nicknamed “the eighth continent,” Madagascar is home to some of the Earth’s most unique flora and fauna—from chattering, wide-eyed lemurs leaping through the rainforest to the majestic baobab trees that dot the landscape. Cameras in hand, we’ll delve into the island nation’s distinctly dazzling ecosystems, training our eyes to see interesting angles and our ears to hear the haunting, shrill call of the world’s largest lemur. In the company of a world-renowned travel photographer and a local expert in Malagasy biology, culture, and lemur behavior, we’ll paddle along a river in pirogue canoes, ascend to the top of a vast “stone forest,” and venture into the depths of the rainforest at night—all to catch a glimpse (and good snapshot) of these charismatic creatures and unique landscapes. Whether you’re a seasoned semi-professional or a budding amateur, you can expect to learn new photographic storytelling tips and techniques each day. While our focus will be photography, the true magic of the trip will come from outside of our cameras—the flash of a tail in the branches above, a chat with a group of local vendors, the stoic near-smile of a slowly passing chameleon.

Highlights
  • Wildlife found nowhere else in the world
  • Photographing the Avenue of the Baobabs
  • The Tsingy de Bemaraha’s “stone forest”
  • Photo workshops with a professional
  • Tracking the world’s largest lemur

Itinerary

Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. We expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.
Madagascar

Trip Leaders

Matt Dutile
Matt is a professional travel and lifestyle photographer, whose work has appeared in publications such as DestinAsian, Endless Vacation, National Geographic Traveler, Coastal Living, Conde Nast Traveler, Delta Sky, Islands, the New York Times, and more. He’s photographed assignments across six continents over a decade in the industry. Whether it’s finely plated Michelin-star meals in France, the crumbling pagodas and spiritual monks of Laos, or the endemic wildlife and stunning scenery of Madagascar, Matt has a passion to experience, capture, and share the world through photography. While he grew up in a small New Hampshire farm town before venturing west in search of buried treasure, as most explorers do, Matt now calls New York City home. He lives with his wife Laura and their ever expanding collection of tropical plants and dinosaur fossils.
Herilala Jonah
Herilala has been leading expeditions around his native country for over 15 years. Growing up in rural Madagascar left him with a deep love of all the lemurs, chameleons, frogs, snakes, insects, mammals, and flora that call Madagascar home. After graduating with an English degree from the University of Antananarivo, he went on to study Madagascar’s wildlife and natural history, focusing specifically on lemur behavior. He’s a passionate advocate for the island’s one-of-a-kind biodiversity and Malagasy culture, customs and food—and nothing makes him happier than sharing his home with travelers from all around the world.

Additional Info

Pricing & Single Accommodations

The total cost of this trip is $7,310. For those traveling solo, single accommodations can be provided, subject to availability, at an additional cost of $1,250. Please contact us to request a single room.

Arrival & Departure

Our trip begins with a welcome lunch at 12 p.m. and a walking tour of Antananarivo on Day 2. We recommend you arrive to Antananarivo the night before, as flights generally arrive in the afternoon from Nairobi and Johannesburg, or in the late evening from Paris. A hotel shuttle will be there to greet you and whisk you to your rooms for a night of rest before our adventures begin. Our trip concludes on the evening of Day 14. If leaving Antananarivo directly after the trip, we recommend departing either on late overnight flights (around 1–3 a.m. to Europe), or the following day around 2–4 p.m. to African connections. Alternatively, stay an additional day in Tana and depart late the following evening. If you'd like to extend your trip, we’re happy to provide suggestions for things to do and see in the city on your own.

Activity Level

Travelers should feel comfortable walking three to five miles over the course of each day across hilly and forested terrain, climbing ladders up steep rock crevasses, crossing rivers in canoes and wooden barges, and remaining on their feet for long periods of time. 

Infrastructure & Connectivity

Keep in mind that Madagascar has little to no infrastructure outside of our scheduled stops, Madagascar’s western coast is thoroughly "off the grid," and most people don’t speak English outside of the hospitality industry. Travelers should be prepared to sometimes not have access to WiFi/internet and be aware that, in rare instances, electricity may not be available. 

Photo Experience & Gear

Photographers of all levels are welcome. However, a basic understanding of aperture, iso, and shutter speed is highly encouraged to get the most out of this trip. Your guide, Matt, will be providing instruction on how to create compelling photo stories and how to ‘see’ through the lens, tailoring individual lessons and portfolio advice to each traveler's skill level. Whether you're hoping to market a collection of images as a professional, or simply excited to document your adventures with captivating images, this trip will focus on elevating your ability to create travel stories. Photo instructions and goals will be a core part of each day, and we’ll hold image reviews every few days to track our progress. Matt will also make one-on-one time for each participant to ask questions and participate in portfolio/image reviews.

You'll need to bring a DSLR/mirrorless camera. If traveling as a couple or a pair of friends, at least one of you should have a DSLR/mirrorless camera. A medium zoom lens, a long lens (focal length of at least 200mm), and a tripod are highly encouraged if you wish to capture wildlife and the night sky. Film cameras are welcome in addition to your digital camera. A full list of recommended gear will be provided once you sign up.

Travelers without an interest in photography are still welcome, and will find ample enjoyment in the amazing flora and fauna of the trip, but portions of each day will be structured around photographic opportunities.

Included
  • Accommodation throughout the trip at boutique hotels, lodges, and bungalows.
  • All meals described in the itinerary.
  • Transportation throughout the trip, including transfers to and from airports.
  • Experienced local guides to accompany you for the duration of the trip, as well as special guests throughout.
  • Admission to all proposed activities, locations, and events, including park and ranger fees.
  • A $100 donation to GERP.
  • A great group of fellow Atlas Obscura travelers, excited to explore all that Madagascar has to offer!
Excluded
  • Transportation to and from Antananarivo.
  • Pre- and post-trip accommodations.
  • Applying for a visa, if applicable.
  • Travel insurance (recommended).
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Atlas Obscura offerings, including most alcoholic beverages.
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Trip FAQ

Temperatures vary across Madagascar, but September is generally considered one of the cooler and drier winter months for the Southern Hemisphere. Temperatures can climb as high as 90°F in the afternoon (though mid-80s is most common) and drop as low as 50°F at night. In Antananarivo and the west, we’ll see plenty of bright and sunny days—but in the rainforest of Andasibe, we’ll likely encounter brief but frequent rain showers.

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Upcoming Departures

  • Sep 4–Sep 17, 2020
    from $7,310
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