Thank you Madagassy!
Bijgewerkt: 14 jul 2019
Haaaai All, how are you doing? Are you guys missing us? 😉 We are having a great time here as we meet nice people, the weather is great and we do a lot activities to spot as many animals as possible and to learn a lot about the country. But enough about this, it is time to finish our story of Madagascar.
Because the distances are enormous and the roads can be very poor we leave early. We will be in the car all day (bleh!) which starts to be a bit of a struggle. Fortunately, we can enjoy the landscape and the people who are waving at us. Although the enjoyment is a bit less as the landscape hardly contains any trees and the waving sometimes has ulterior motives (bomba bomba + puppy eyes = give me a nice candy ... NOW!). People prefer to light the rainforest to create new agricultural land. The idea that we had of a wild and untouched nature is still there, but only 10% of its original size. Perhaps the farmers do not know better either (besides the fact that they are looking for new ground to meet their basic needs (read: food)), but the politics in Madagascar are doing nothing about it as well. They prefer to sell bribes to foreign companies that help the country even further down the drain.
It is therefore a relief when you come near Ranomafana and see one big rainforest. High mountains and a lush forest, it is one big, green roof. And under this roof live many different types of lemurs (including the golden bamboo lemur, a rare lemur that only lives here and has only recently been discovered), the fossa, more than 100 different birds, 60 different lizards, 350 different spiders , etc. Finally a place that is 'barely' affected by man.
We have planned a tour of 4 hours with another group of friendly people, 1 Dutchy and an Australian couple. Nice that all people we know here are making a world trip. We are not as original as we thought ;-).
Because we leave late, we are informed that our chance of seeing Maki's are slim. A bit disappointed we walk into the forest and hope for the best. But as soon as we walk into the forest, we are immediately treated to the most rare and endangered lemur of Madagascar, 'The Golden Bamboo Maki' <CHECK>. We are told that this is very special, as this maki normally lives in groups, but it runs around on its own and comes close to the ground (something that is exceptional).
Our guide is continuously informed by spotters. At one point he screams some words in his cell phone, that we do not understand, and throws himself into a sprint (imagine a gnome with a limp leg). Up, downhill, as fast as we can we try to keep up with him, not knowing what we're going to spot. When we arrive at a place in the middle of the forest, our friendly guide proudly points to a tree where where we see a family (Robin Hoskyns Milne Edwards) Sifaka's lazing around. A few minutes later we also spot the Black and White Roughed Lemur (which is normally not in the area where we are now) and the Brown (Belly) lemur <CHECK>.
Today we will make a pit stop at the current house of our driver, where we will also meet his wife. Once there, we find a large fence with stables behind it, a large pile of stones and an eager woman who wants to say goodbye to us. He proudly shows his land where different products are harvested. He explains to us how the cultivation of rice goes and how he can make is earnings. After drinking fresh milk and after a group photo, we continue our trip to Antasibe.
After a ride of 8 hours we arrive at Grace Lodge, a very nice lodge just outside the village of Antasibe. It consists of an old colonial house in the middle of the rainforest and there is even a swimming pool, which we certainly want to use.
In Antasibe you can find several parks, 2 of which are managed by the government and 1 by locals. In the parks you can spot the Indri Indri, the largest lemur on the island. The Indri Indri is the only lemur with a very short tail. It has a life span of about 40 to 60 years. The animal needs to eat about 30 different leaves a day to get to its daily portion ... talking about a varied diet!
With the help of our lovely reception lady Henrietta (70 years old, but still young) we get the advice to visit the park that is run by locals. One because there are less tourists, but also because the entrance fee is less. Here you pay an hour price for the guide and entrance together and you see the same thing like chameleons, the Indri Indri and various beautiful birds.
Our next stop is the Vakona private reserve where a 3 star resort with restaurant is located, but where you can also see several tame lemurs up close. After a very good lunch at the Vakona restaurant (I would like to let you know this since our lunch mainly consisted of crackers with cheese) we go with our new friend Anett on the way to the park. After a river crossing of ... 1 second ... .we are face to face with the tame Brown Lemur, also the biggest bump there is. But also the cute Bamboo Lemur can be found here as well as the Black and White Roughed Lemur. By means of bananas the animals are lured to sit on your head, shoulder or arm. And to be honest, despite the fact that the animals are used for tourism, we really like it.
After a fun day with a lot of animals, we drive back to our hotel. After that we are go out for dinner with Anett somewhere in the village. The evening was long, cozy and no Fristi was drunk ;-).
"Thank you Madagassie for seeing all the beautiful and most special animals on earth !!"
Where we go next .... haha, we do not know that yet. We have not booked a follow-up ticket and will decide on the spot at the airport.
Big hug from us xxxxx