What Our Guests Say
Madagascar Cultural & Photography Tour
The Cultural Connections tour to Madagascar is a must. Every detail is taken care of leaving you to focus on taking in the amazing sights, the wonderful people, the interesting culture, and of course creating brilliant photos! Lynn and Seng are on hand to offer support and technical know-how, in a relaxed, friendly style. It was an incredible experience and I urge everyone to go.
I have recently returned from a photography tour to Mauritius and Madagascar with Lynn Gail and Seng Mah (two very experienced photographers) - a cultural experience as well as photography. The tour included a 3 day stopover in Mauritius where we got to know fellow travellers, caught local buses to the beach area and then onto towns and markets, photographing the local people and walking around the town. A full day tour of part of the island was a highlight. Then onto Madagascar for our 10 day tour. Our tour in Madagascar was guided by Diary (Dee-ar-ee) who spoke very good English and could not do enough for us, his brother (who was on leave from his work), and Twavena, our bus driver who stopped the bus at any place where a good photo could be taken and light permitted. The smile on the children’s faces when they saw us alight from the bus in the middle of nowhere was priceless. They loved having their photo taken, looking at the back of the camera to see themselves, having a giggle, getting a “Biskey” (biscuit) from us and then running off to where they came from. Highlights of the tour were many. A few being the “turning of the bones” ceremony, an engagement (similar to a wedding), zebu markets, and, of course, the lemurs and chameleons. Being also a photography tour, the expert advice given to us, I am sure, has helped us all. I would like to go back again to Madagascar, but there are many other places to explore and to also accompany these two well known photographers – Lynn Gail and Seng Mah on another adventure in the future.
When I booked with Cultural Connections to go to Madagascar, I had no fixed ideas of what to expect. As it turned out, the weeks flew by which showed that I was really enjoying myself. Lynn and Seng were consummate hosts/guides helping us refine our photography and leading us to a variety of exciting and visual locations. Over sometimes rough roads and lengthy travel times, Lynn, Seng and Diary (our guide) made every attempt to ensure that we enjoyed ourselves and the group formed new friendships that will endure well past our trip's end. Thank you Lynn and Seng for a memorable trip and some fantastic images that I am looking forward to processing.
East Arnhem Land Cultural & Photography Tour
Hi Lynn and Seng, Thank you both so much for an extraordinary experience in Arnhem land, it truly was something out of the box! Love the photo of the group, Phil makes a fabulous Art Director. I am looking forward to seeing your images on facebook and wish you both well for your next photography adventure. Cheers and thanks again Millie :-))
Thanks Lynn and Seng!!!!! Haha love that group photo....just missing Nike [the crocodile] in the background 😉 It was an awesome trip, so happy I had that experience. You two were the perfect hosts, I just wish it was for longer. I am definitely keen to do something like that again, perhaps next time will have to explore further afield at some of the homelands that haven't hosted visitors before...
When I first heard about this trip I was so excited. Then reality set in, could I afford it? Then the next thought was “Could I not?” This is a unique opportunity to experience something matchless that very few can. At Nhulunbuy (Gove) we were blessed to be able to photograph the bats leaving their roosts at sunset; thousands upon thousands silently streaming through the ever-changing colours of oranges, blues and purples seeking sustenance. Nyinyikay greeted us with the traditional welcome to country ceremony. White clay specially brought across great distances to receive and make welcome the travellers from the south and make us part of their homeland community. The children are captivating, eager to show us their world: the mangroves, stunning red bay, tiny stars hidden within shells, iridescent crabs and remarkable sunsets. Marcus, who coordinates our activities in the community, is an amazing person working for the betterment of his community and all Yolgnu peoples through song, and education. The gentleness of the women, their openness in accepting the balanda (white people), the sharing of their stories, their grief on the recent passing of a revered elder, their skills, jokes, and love for each other captivated my heart. I was surprised to find myself in tears when we had to say farewell to them. Bukadul was next the next place to weave its magic upon us. Our welcome was just as friendly, but also taken very seriously (as was Nyinyikay’s) as we become their responsibility as part of the community. We were cleansed with smoking branches. Here, they tried to teach me their language, and although not a very good student I cherish the name they gifted me and the relationships this came with. I still struggle to pronounce Watpu but am practicing (it sounds a little like Singapore…Ngapour - almost). I now have a lovely grandson Harry and my yepa (sister) Bernadette and I connect at times by phone or Facebook. Other than photos, the only souvenir I have is a shell we were taught to prepare and paint in the style of the homeland. Meeting the Yolngu people was the highlight of our cultural tour. Some of the experiences I shall cherish were collecting and eating huge oysters cooked over a fire on the beach, dancing with our new family and the opulent magnificence of the Milky Way overhead. It’s a cliché, but the morning star felt so close that you could almost reach out and touch it. Even I, a confirmed night owl was glad I left my bed for this unmissable event.
Most of us have travelled and enjoyed interesting places. Cultural Connections Photography Tours gave me the trip of a lifetime. My goal was to learn more about Aboriginal culture and about photography. We lived with the amazing Yolngu people in the remote wilderness of East Arnhem Land. Our guides and local families truly connected us with from the "Welcome to Country" ceremony which greeted us when we arrived at each homeland. We learned about their culture, values, creativity, language and spirituality. Through stories, we appreciated their special connectedness to the land, sea and sky. The professional photographic team of Lynn and Seng honed our photography skills with their coaching and guidance. Treat yourself to this once in a lifetime trip. I highly recommend Cultural Connections Tours.
In 2015 I was thrilled to be able to fulfil a lifelong dream of visiting an Indigenous community in East Arnhem Land and sharing their lives for a short time through the Cultural Connections Photography Tours. It was wonderful to be accepted in the communities and see healthy happy children attending school and proud elders sharing their many skills. Squatting on mats we were shown how pandanus leaves were taken through stages to be coloured and woven into baskets and mats and we painted shells. Everything they did tied them to the land and had significance and connection to it. Seng and Lyn were patient and excellent teachers, and the help given to me resulted in pictures I'm so pleased with. I even photographed a star studded sky! Accommodation was tented as would be expected in a wilderness area but comfortable and the cook never failed to pleasantly surprise. One of the best treats was eating fish caught by one of the men with a spear and cooked in the coals of a fire beside a magnificent seascape. Such a unique experience I recommend to anyone who has a sense of adventure and likes to get off well-worn tracks.
I recently participated in a tour to Arnhem Land with Seng, Lynn and other keen photography students both interested in photography and also the cultural aspect of the tour. I had an absolutely amazing time. What I learnt about photography with Lynn and Seng was exactly what I was looking for, and the friendly manner made it so much easier to learn. During my trip, I also found that the Indigenous people I met and learning about their culture and homelands blew me away. It was a comfortable tour and we were all well looked after. I would thoroughly recommend this trip to anyone keen to learn photography and also develop a connection with a beautiful people and their country.