Madagascar: Cultural and Photography Tour (2019)

Led by: Lynn Gail and Seng Mah
Agent: Bench Africa
Tour duration: 13 days
Date: Madagascar (25 July - 6 August 2019)

Price: AUD$9,290* twin share, a single supplement of AUD$925 is available if you would like to have your own room during the tour.  Early bird booking price $8,890 ($400 discount) - expires July 15th, 2018 after which pricing reverts back to $9,290. Tour pricing is inclusive of land transport, accommodation, all entrance fees and meals.
Maximum 10 participants (6 participants required to run this tour)


Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, is very much the undiscovered country. Sitting in the deep blue waters of the Indian Ocean off the south east coast of continental Africa, Madagascar is a land steeped in human cultural history and geographical and ecological diversity, where the modern world has yet to encroach on traditional beliefs and lifestyles of the Malagasy people. Madagascar is home to flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world, such as the lemurs, rare birds and the majestic baobabs of Madagascar. It also boasts stunning landscapes that are unique to the island -- from dry forests, highland savannahs, sandstone stacks and deep rainforests. On this tour, you will meet friendly villagers, children and fishermen, who will warmly welcome you into their communities with dazzling smiles and gentle hospitality. By joining professional photographers Lynn Gail and Seng Mah, you'll embark on a journey of cultural and photographic discovery of the island and enjoy a fulfilling and rewarding travel and photography experience.


This is a tour that will appeal to the explorer, discoverer and photographer in you. It is an immersive tour that will bring you into intimate contact with the people, culture and environment of Madagascar.




Tour highlights:


Day 1

Flying out of Mauritius, you arrive at Ivato International Airport in Antananarivo, where you will be met by your guide and driver. You will board the mini bus with other guests for our drive into the highlands of Andasibe, home of Indri lemurs, chameleons and more. We overnight in Andasibe.


Day 2

You'll spend a day in Andasibe exploring the rainforest in search of the unique Indri - a species of lemur found only in the wild (as they will not survive in captivity). You'll also have ample opportunity to look for chameleons in the rainforest with your guide. After a delicious lunch at the rainforest lodge, you'll visit Lemur Island, where lemurs which have been rescued from captivity live. These lemurs are used to human contact and make for a wonderful experience of interaction with these unique inhabitants of the temperate rainforest. You will also visit a small village to meet with the Betsimisarka tribe, one of the friendliest tribes in Madagascar.


In the afternoon, you will head bush to look for the world's smallest primate, the Mouse Lemur. The location is also home to a range of frogs and chameleons, so if you're a herpetologist, this will be a heavenly experience! You'll overnight in Andasibe.


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Day 3

Today you'll travel from Andasibe to Anatanarivo, the capital of Madagascar, stopping at highland villages to spend time with the locals and to photograph daily life in rural Madagascar. You'll enjoy a most unique and thrilling ride to your hotel in Antanarivo and complete your day with some downtime in the capital.


Day 4

You bid farewell to the capital and head southwards towards Antsirabe, a town known for its colourful characters and even more colourful rickshaws. You'll enjoy a number of photographic stops en route, to view local craftsmen at work and to spend time at local markets and villages. You'll also have the opportunity to view and photograph beautiful rice terraces in the countryside en route to Antsirabe and local farmers ploughing the land with zebus. You'll overnight in Antsirabe.


Day 5

A surprise awaits you in the morning as you join the group in exploring Antsirabe via a very traditional mode of transport. It's an experience that's full of colour and brimming with photographic opportunities. Have your camera in hand and your eyes peeled for interesting street life as you experience this unique mode of traveling about town. We then leave Antsirabe and head for Ambositra, a town known for its beautiful and intricate wood carvings. You will be visiting the workshops where craftsmen cut out intricate patterns from wood using a hand-operated jigsaw. You will also attend a performance by the Betsileo people of Madagascar to gain an understanding of their complex and amazing culture. Your camera will be out all day as you photograph the culture and customs of the Malagasy people in Ambositra.


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Day 6

You will travel from Ambositra to Fianarantsoa, the capital of the Belitseo people and a world heritage site. The rest of the day is spent exploring Fianarantsoa, marvelling at the architecture and churches in the town. Best of all, you will also spend time with local children who are being looked after by the Herintsialonina Foundation, who will impress you with their English-speaking skills (they are taught English) and photogenic smiles.


Day 7

You will leave Fianarantsoa for Ambalavao, the last major town in the highlands of Madagascar. This trip has been scheduled to coincide with the zebu markets at Ambalavao, so that you can see the markets in full swing! It's a very colourful and lively event, with hundreds of zebus controlled by men with sticks. Lynn and Seng will be at hand to help you capture this amazing event with your camera.


Day 8

You will travel from Ambalavao to Isalo in the south of the island, a striking landscape of granite domes and grasslands. You will stop at a lemur sanctuary to admire the ring-tailed lemur, which is Madagascar's national animal. This reserve also sports exotic bird species such as the Madagascar Hoopoe, Harrier Hawk, Madagascar Bee-eater, Crested Drongo and Madagascar White-eyes. Take your long lens with you and capture these native avians in the reserve.


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Day 9

This is a full day in Isalo, beginning with a trip out to the awe-inspiring Jurassic sandstone formations at the Isalo National Park. You will enjoy a photographic walk along the Namaza trail to view the wonderful wildlife and landscapes there, and embark on a hike to the natural swimming pools with their clear waters and surrounding breathtaking scenery.


The day is also spent with the native Bara Tribe of Isalo, where you will learn about their fascinating culture, their methods of rustling zebus and their ancestor worship ceremonies. You will also visit a massif at Isalo that is known to be a hotspot to find and photograph native bird species, including the Benson Rock Thrush, the Madagascar Buzzard, Button Quail, Love Birds and Madagascar Paradise Flycatcher.


In the evening, in time for sunset, you will visit to La fenetre de Isalo, a natural sandstone window, where you will photograph the landscape at sunset and enjoy a sundowner.


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Day 10

This is a day dedicated to nature photography as you travel from Isalo to Zombitse Reserve to look for the famous Verreaux Dancing Sifaka and Hubbard's Sportive Lemur, along with a host of bird species such as the very rare terrestrial Appert's Greenbul (which can only be found in this locality).


We then continue to Ifaty, where you will photograph the colourful tombs of the Mahafaly tribe and visit local villages to see local rum making and scenes of daily life in a Vezo tribe. You will be spending 2 nights in Ifaty, which will give you plenty of time to discover and photograph this wonderful region of Madagascar.


Day 11

Your day at Ifaty kicks off with a wonderful boat ride on the Mozambique channel to a visit to the fishing village and experience and photograph life there. En route, we'll have a swimming stop, where you'll have the opportunity to dip into the clear, warm waters of the Channel. The afternoon will be spent at Reniala National Park, a delightful location for photographing the unique plant life of Madagascar, including the baobab and octopus trees. We'll pause for a sunset shoot of the iconic boababs, followed by a splendid dinner in the park itself, where you will be serenaded by local musicians and dances.


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Day 12

You'll farewell Ifaty and travel to Tulear, where you will board a plane to fly to Antananarivo. As this is your last night in Madagascar, you will enjoy a wonderful farewell dinner and be entertained by a well-known Malagasy band playing with traditional instruments.


Day 13

You bid farewell to your guides and guests as you transfer to Ivato International Airport to fly home with brilliant memories and amazing images of your time in Madagascar.


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Tour inclusions

  • In-tour photographic guidance and assistance from Lynn Gail and Seng Mah.
  • All accommodation in Madagascar.
  • All land transport and internal flights pertaining to the tour itinerary in Madagascar.
  • All meals in Madagascar (excluding alcohol).
  • Local guides and entrance fees in Madagascar.



  • Comprehensive travel insurance. All participants are required to take comprehensive travel insurance for this tour. You will need to show proof of travel insurance as a condition of participating in this tour.
  • Flights ex Perth to Madagascar.
  • Insurance for your photographic equipment while on tour.
  • Entry visa to Madagascar.
  • Photographic equipment. You will need to bring/supply your own cameras, lenses, tripods, batteries, filters, memory cards and so on.
  • Alcoholic drinks.
  • Tips.
  • All personal expenses, including laundry, wi-fi, medication, incidental meals and snacks.
  • Any transport or tips outside of the tour itinerary.


Join the Tour

If you are interested in joining the Madagascar Cultural and Photography Tour, complete the form below. Cost of tour: AUD$9,290*. A single supplement of AUD$925 is available - please contact us with your request for more information. We require a deposit of AUD$2,100* to secure your place (non-refundable) with the balance paid in two payments at 1st February and 1st April 2019. Note that deposits are fully refunded if the tour is cancelled due to not attaining minimum numbers. Payments can be made by cheque/PayPal (incurs a fee) or direct deposit. Please contact us using the form below or telephone Lynn at 0422 427 161 (Australia) or +61 422 427 161 (International).  A detailed itinerary on this tour will be provided closer to the departure date. For full terms and conditions (including terms for cancellation and refunds), please refer to the Terms and Conditions section below. * Please note: price may be subject to change in the event of substantial shifts in the AUD to EU exchange rate.

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Tour Terms and Conditions

These tours and conditions relate to the Madagascar Cultural and Photography Tour organised by Cultural Connections Photography Tour (Lynn Anne Gail, ABN 17 208 964 786) and run by Lynn Gail and Seng Mah.


You must be at least 18 years old and have the authority to accept on your behalf our terms and conditions.


Our confirmation/invoice is acceptance of your booking and confirmation of the travel contract between you and Cultural Connections Photography Tours. Please let us know if any details in the confirmation document are incorrect within 48 hours of your booking and payment of the deposit, otherwise the details shown in the confirmation document will be presumed to be correct.


Confirmation of your booking is made upon our acceptance of the deposit (25% of the tour price). The date for settlement and final payment (60 days prior to departure) will be identified in the confirmation document/invoice. If settlement is not paid by the deadline, your booking is cancelled and the deposit retained.


For bookings made within 60 days of the tour start date, full settlement is requested upon your booking.


We reserve the right to increase or reduce the tour price, so the current price of this tour will be advised to you at the time of booking. While every effort is made to provide reliable information and display correct prices on our website, unfortunately errors do occasionally occur. In the event that an incorrect price has been entered in error, any booking made with this price will not be valid. You will be advised of the mistake at the earliest opportunity and you will have the option either to pay the correct price for the booked package or to cancel and receive a full refund of any amount you have already paid (see "Cancellations and Refunds" below).


Cancellations and Refunds
You must advise us in writing (hello@culturalconnectionstours.com) if you wish to cancel your booking. You may cancel without penalty if:
  • The tour package price increase exceeds 10% as a consequences of changes made after the price is first advertised.
  • A major change occurs to the tour itinerary and programme, such as a change in the dates of the tour, the number of days of the tour, or major changes to the destinations and locations listed in the itinerary. Note that changes in accommodation and minor changes to the programmed activities are not regarded as major changes.
The following cancellation fees apply:
  • Deposits are non-refundable. The only exception to this is if the tour is cancelled by the organisers at least 60 days before the tour date because it has not attained minimum numbers of guests in order to run, in which case deposits are fully refunded.
  • If you cancel within 59 and 40 days before departure: 50% of settlement is refunded.
  • If you cancel within 39 and 20 days before departure: 10% of settlement is refunded.
  • If you cancel less than 20 days before departure: no refund.
You will receive a cancellation invoice upon your request to cancel.


In the event that the tour itinerary changes or the tour is cancelled due to circumstances outside of our control (such as war, threat of war, riots, terrorist activities, civil disturbances, industrial disputes, natural and nuclear disasters, adverse weather conditions, hurricanes, floods, unavoidable technical issues with transport, epidemic, pandemic and similar), the organiser will hold not liability towards travellers. No compensations, payments, expenses or any sums, including the cost of securing alternative accommodation or flights will be paid by the organiser.


Health Requirements
This tour is designed for adults of all ages who are in good to reasonable health and of moderate level of fitness. Some activities on this tour will require walking and hiking for distances of up to 1 to 2 kilometres on forest trails and short steep climbs and descents.


You will need to be able to carry your own camera equipment and water during this tour.


Vaccinations will be required for this tour. You are responsible for the cost of these vaccinations and will need to show proof of vaccinations to the tour organiser prior to the start date of the tour.


You will need to disclose any medical or physical conditions that you have, which may create a risk to you or to other tour participants. The organiser assumes no responsibility for your medical care nor guarantee to meet your special dietary requirements.


You may only participate on this tour on provision of your obtaining comprehensive travel insurance for the duration covered by the dates of the tour, inclusive of departure and arrival dates.


Your Privacy
The organiser will not share with any third parties your personal data (such as your name, contact details, travel preferences and any special needs/disabilities or dietary requirements) and it will use them for the operational needs related to purchased package. We may also use your email or postal address to send you information and brochures related to our activity; should you wish to not receive these, please inform us upon booking.