Today we were driven from Tana, east on the N2. Our destination, Andasibe is about 145 km from the capital and the drive took over 3 hours. The N2 is the best road in Madagascar - in places it's a standard tarmaced road, but other sections contain large potholes and as we progressed over the mountains was littered with broken down lorries.
We saw lots of people walking to Church, dressed in their Sunday best and clutching their bible. There were also lots of fruit and veg stalls and we stopped to buy bananas. There was a coffee bean tree growing on the roadside. Once we'd moved into the eucalyptus forest, we saw lots of charcoal for sale. Most Madagascans use charcoal or wood for cooking their food as there is no electricity in many villages.
We stopped at the Madagascar Exotic Farm to see geckos, chameleons and a few other animals such as the Madagascan Flying Fox (Fruit Bat), a Comete Moth (the largest butterfly in Madagascar - slightly bigger than my hand) and a tomato frog.
We stopped for lunch along the way and eventually arrived at the Vakona Forest Preserve. We're staying at the Vakona Forest Lodge.
We dropped our cases in the room and then went to 'Lemur island' - We crossed the water (about 10m wide and 30cm deep) in a canoe. As soon as we started walking along the path we were greeted by the black and white ruffed lemurs, quickly followed by the common brown lemur. The Bamboo lemurs are shy and stayed in the trees and bushes. Rob had the bananas in an open mesh pocket of his rucksack and was soon swamped by lemurs helping themselves!
We got the canoe back and moved onto another part of the preserve to see crocodiles, the Fosa, various birds and a boa snake.
This evening we were driven to the Analamazaotra preserve for a night walk to see the nocturnal lemurs and chameleons. We saw a few chameleons, a tenrec (hedgehog) and a mouse lemur (their eyes glow in the torchlight)