BLUE CHAMELEON VENTURES' Past Tour Members' Experiences , Pics & Comments
( You may contact many of these people to inquire about BCV tours --- see note at the bottom of this page. )
A giant leaftail gecko demonstrates its clinging ability to Christine and Cassie Roscher - a habit that terrifies some Malagasy people. If restrained in one's hand, this gecko will squirm to escape and may break its tail. If free to roam, it will typically launch itself off toward the nearest foliage as this one did a split-second after the pic was taken.
"Our trip to Madagascar was an adventure of a lifetime. It was everything I had hoped for, and certainly not short of natural wonders galore. The group was great, and Bill was a sharp and entertaining guide, I might add. Our trip to Cape Sada was unforgettable --- seeing all 4 species of tortoise in the wild was my goal, and Bill made that happen."
Chris Roscher, Los Angeles, California, USA
|"There is marvelous adventure in just stopping by the roadside and buying delicious cashews for pennies, especially when the vendors become delirious with excitement over the photos you take of them with a digital camera. These girls almost fell down laughing at their images on the camera's monitor screen." - - - Greg Dimijian, Dallas, Texas, USA||
A snack stop for locally grown, dry-roasted cashew nuts was one of many happy encounters with local people on the drive from Diego to Ambanja in the north. Greg & Mary Beth Dimijian recorded the entire trip with digital cameras during the October - November 2003 tour.
adult radiated tortoise was out seeking a drink after an early rain fell
during October - November 2003.
It proved an easy photo subject for Tom
Barrett as it ambled along near Itampolo, a
remote fishing village on the southwest coast of Madagascar.
This was Tom's second tour with Blue Chameleon Ventures; please click HERE for his longer summary of the trip.
|Eric and Chris Anderson enjoyed the merriest Christmas 2001 - New Year 2002 season as they explored Madagascar from end to end. In this scene, they had just uncovered a sleeping Dumeril's boa from under a fallen tree in the southern forest. Chris' dream trip involved seeing the widest assortment of 'herps' , especially his favorite group, the chameleons. Click HERE to read their full summary letter to me after the trip, and to see more pics of the rest of their family's adventures in paradise.|
enjoying the special graduation present --- a Christmas holiday season
tour of Madagascar --- to one of their twin boys. Here we've
just given a grasshopper to a male panther chameleon found on a creekside
branch as we were boating along a river near Maroantsetra. Our local
Malagasy guide, Hamba, is sitting in front offering the bug from his
Bringing our family to Madagascar was truly a trip of a lifetime !
|" Herping and photographing in Madagascar is the ultimate experience for those interested in the world's most unique wildlife. Bill kept the sightings coming fast and furious... just be sure to bring enough film ! " --- Paul Freed, Houston, Texas, USA||Zeroing
in on a large treefrog perched on the leaning vine at left: Finding
many of the rarer and more elusive herps was the goal of veteran
Christopher and Paul
Freed during a
special January rain forest reconnaissance of Mantadia Reserve.
|" Non Non ! Pas de passager clandestin ! Je ne ramerai de ce voyage que de superbes photos d'animaux que je n'aurai jamais imaginé approcher." --- Nathalie Fradet, France||One
of the longest geckos in the world resides on the heavily forested slopes
of Montagne d'Ambre (Amber Mountain) in northern Madagascar. The
giant leaftail gecko Uroplatus fimbriatus grows unusually
large and bulky there. Nathalie
Fradet might have
mistaken it for some kind of huge alien attaching itself to her if she
hadn't come there with BCV to specifically find such creatures.
best way to "hold" chameleons is by snapping off the branch
they're perched upon and letting them remain on it. They feel much
more secure clasping a piece of their natural habitat instead of being
held in hand. Paula
Skoog and Matjaz
Rojc can attest to
this after 'shooting' this green female Oustalet's chameleon on the branch in Paula's
first met Bill Love in Australia in 1994 where we spent a couple of weeks
in the field together. That was one of the reasons I decided to go
with him on his first Madagascar ecotour in 1995, and I will never regret
my decision! Bill is not only a very good friend, he's also a great
tour leader and excellent photographer. I learned all my field
photography techniques from him. He handles every situation
professionally, and he really cares about Madagascar! My greatest
wish is to visit the Red Island with him once again someday'' ---
a small zoological park, some of the residents had free roam of the
place. Claire Hirschkind
was trying to capture this bamboo lemur's picture as it bounced along a
railing. The problem was that it would always leap onto her back whenever
she got close enough to focus, as it sits here. It was an extremely friendly little
creature that befriended us all at the Ivoloina Zoo north of Tamatave.
we take to the water in native pirogues to explore more remote
spots. This was as we left a beachfront village on the island of
Nosy Be to reach an even smaller village with no road access. Tour
members Mike Francis
and Mark Silver
helped with the paddling between snapping scenic shots. The trip
back at dusk was especially memorable for the abundant bioluminescent
microorganisms glowing in the water by moonlight.
& Robbie Hamper
wanted to see the beautiful radiated tortoises of the south in the wild
as one of their main goals of the trip. Far out in the interior away
from villages at a place I know, we quickly rounded up eight specimens of
assorted sizes by looking for them hiding in the shade of thorny
'' Bill was a dedicated tour leader who never gave up in our quest for finding all the rarest and most cryptic animals! He knew where they hid by day or night, and was always eager, and very good at, seeking out whatever we most wanted to encounter in the field.'' --- Robbie Hamper, Ohio, USA
local foods is great fun. People here were offering it at the
airport as we waited for our baggage to be unloaded. Dan
have any Malagasy coins for the very inexpensive lychee nuts he wanted, so
he offered a 5000 Malagasy Franc note (= 75 cents +/-) for
"whatever that would buy". The vendor promptly accepted
and started loading up his outstretched t-shirt.
"Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to visit Madagascar for its animals. Unexpectedly, I fell in love with the people too. They were so laid back, and I made many new friends. The animal and plant life, the scenery, the smells, the music, everything was amazing and I'll never be the same. I've traveled a lot, but this was by far the greatest adventure of my life." --- Dan Rosenberg, Hong Kong
lemurs are among the most playful and friendly of Madagascar's approximately
thirty species. At Berenty Reserve in the southeast, they typically
greet us on forest trails in family groups; it doesn't hurt to have a
tempting banana in your pocket as Adrian
here. Note that two of these four adults have youngsters clinging on
"After reading David Attenborough's book Zoo Quest to Madagascar as a young bloke, I was infected with a desire to see for myself the strange lands and mysterious creatures he described. With the benefit of Bill Love's flair for organization and uncanny ability to sniff out even the most elusive of creatures (ringtails not included), I'm sure even the great Sir David would discover a thing or two with him." --- Adrian Hemens, Australia
Steele found this
elephant ear chameleon a very willing subject for accepting live
grasshoppers from his fingertips. Several individuals live in the
trees outside our lodges at Perinet Reserve, and can usually be located
and persuaded to demonstrate their long, rapid-fire tongues. This
one is taking aim, ready to zap the bug in his hand.
the wildlife is tiny and unobtrusive, like this newly hatched Oustalet's
chameleon that Jamie
Mintzer spotted in a
path-side bush with incredible luck. We typically find many kinds of
chameleons on each trip, which we often catch, photograph, and play with
|On a night walk in the forest, it's common to come upon cryptic denizens blending with the foliage or ground. They're not always easy to identify, even with my trusty field guide for reference. Here my 1996 group is trying to key out a dwarf chameleon we found asleep on a low twig. L-R: Mike Pierce, Tim Schuetze, Gigi de Vosjoli, Roger Klingenberg, our guide Bledd, Philippe de Vosjoli, and Coleman Sheehy.|
|"Siamo ancora a bocca aperta per gli animali insoliti, le persone amiche ed i paesaggi ed i modi di vivere cosi' diversi che abbiamo incontrato in sole due settimane. Non dimenticheremo mai questa esperienza e siamo "fali fali" (molto felici nella lingua locale) di non averla persa"." --- John & Silvia Cole, Italy||The
Ankarana Massif is riddled with a labyrinth of caves, some of them huge in
dimensions. Recent tour members John
& Silvia Cole
found exploring the Andrafiabe Cave system, and the various bats and other
wildlife inhabiting it intriguing. Symbolically, the opening
silhouetting them in this shot reminded us a little of the outline of
every minute is spent chasing animals; here we paused along a road in the
south's spiny forest to look at some handcrafted artwork made by these
rural families. We loaded up, buying some very unique carvings they
had made. Roger
Klingenberg and Mike
Pierce were then
treated to a rendition of the merchants' favorite songs, accompanied by the simple
wooden instruments they had also made themselves by hand.
developed an ongoing relationship with a small rural elementary school in
northwestern Madagascar, and include a stop there whenever I come to that
region with my groups. The kids love our visits because they're
anxious to show off their gorgeous local animals. The young man in
dark blue is my special pal Jaovola, who is adept at finding lizards in
particular, like this colorful adult male panther chameleon that he
brought over on a stick to show Shveta
|The food is great and varied! That's been the majority consensus of all past tour members who love to eat out. Here we're enjoying a picnic-style lunch of seafood delights caught locally and grilled right on the beach. This was my 1998 group - Gemma & Andy Major, Kim Geisler, Bob Maricic, and Don & Robbie Hamper. That's Roland, our Malagasy guide, at right.|
evening exploration of the Kirindy Forest, about 50 kilometers north of
Morondava on the central west coast, revealed this newborn Madagascar
ground boa prowling on a slow, crepuscular foray. It was barely two
feet (61 cm), silky smooth and colorful, and completely calm like all
specimens of this largest snake species have ever been when first
encountered in the field. Jennifer
& Rick Girvin, and me.
|"One of the most unique places I have ever been! The native folks and the critters were delightful. Bill provided a most educational and diverse trip that had something for everyone. Well thought out and very well orchestrated. Top notch job and I plan to do it again! I should not have waited so long to see Madagascar. " --- Rick Girvin, California, USA|
Our lodgings vary from rustic wooden bungalows to luxurious hotels carved into the rocky cliffs, depending on what's available in the regions we travel. All are comfortable and clean inside, and a genuine pleasure to return to after a long nature walk.
I have a list with email and telephone numbers of B.C.V. tour veterans from many different past trips who have all agreed to be references that you may contact. If you're seriously considering a trip with me, please email me to request this list.
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