(Location: Andasibe National Park, Madagascar)
The drive from Tana to Andasibe was a little rough – lots of passing on one lane roads, and very, very, windy roads. We were both glad when the four hour drive was over and we arrived at the Vakona Forest Lodge. We were in room #1, which was conveniently located near the main area that had wifi. The food was quite good, and included safe choices such as spaghetti bolognese, as well as local dishes like zebu (beef).
The lodge is located a very bumpy hour from the primary forest. We picked up a local guide and went on a four hour hike (no real trails, though they seemed to know where they were going). The highlight of this hike was seeing the black and white ruffed lemurs, and hearing the calls of the indiri.
We skipped the afternoon hike because it was raining, but went out for a night walk and saw mouse lemurs, dwarf lemurs, wooly lemurs, and chameleons. The photography was a bit of a challenge, because the lemurs are up in the trees, and it is a rainforest, making the exposure really tricky. Oh – and they are moving. Fast. Springy, bouncy, pinballs flying around the forest.
The following day we went to the secondary forest and saw bamboo lemurs, common brown lemurs, indiri, sifaka, and a GIANT parson’s chameleon.
That afternoon they took us to lemur island. Our banana-toting guide loaded us into a canoe, and off we went. The first stop was just across the channel, and we had brown lemurs, bamboo lemurs, and black and white ruffed lemurs crawling all over us. After some photo ops, we canoed a bit further to reach the ring tails. I don’t think I’ve ever had this much fun for the cost of a bunch of bananas.
On our last day in Andasibe, we woke to light rain and decided to head back to Tana rather than do another hike. About an hour into the drive, we pulled over and the guide bought some bananas. Our next stop was an “exotic reserve”… we picked up a local guide and went on a very steep hike into the forest. At some point we were joined by another guide, who led us to where the sifakas were.
After the hike, we fed some chameleons and watched some very colourful geckos.