A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: JenBuckley

Day 35

Madagascar - Andasibe

semi-overcast 24 °C

Today we visited the Analamazaotra preserve part of the Analamazaotra-Mantadia National Park to try and spot the Indri Indri, the tallest lemur that looks like a teddy bear. In the morning the Indri Indri call to each other to establish their territory. The calls can be heard from several kilometers away.

We managed to spot Indri Indri, Golden lemurs, Common brown and Bamboo lemurs.

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Sadly, we then started our journey back to Antananarivo ready for our flight home tomorrow. We took a small detour in Antananarivo to visit the factory showroom for Chocolatiere Robert to get a couple of bars of Madagascan chocolate to take home.

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By the time we reached the capital it was the evening rush hour and the roads were gridlocked - it took about an hour to do half a mile. Lots of street hawkers walk up and down the traffic queues selling belts, sunglasses, children's books and car parts.

Posted by JenBuckley 09:38 Archived in Madagascar Comments (0)

Day 34

Madagascar - Andasibe

semi-overcast 24 °C

Today we visted the Mantadia National Park - although it is only 12km away it took an hour to get there (with a 4x4) as the roads are in a very poor condition - it is a mud track and very bumpy.

We saw three black and white ruffed lemurs high in the trees and a few paradise flycatcher birds. These birds are mostly orange unless it's mating season when they turn black and white.

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After a picnic lunch we started the journey back to the hotel stopping at Rianasoa and walking along the path to see the waterfall. The water forms a natural swimming pool and our local guide gave himself a quick wash while we were there.

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We took a short walk up into the hills around the hotel late afternoon whilst the sun set.

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Posted by JenBuckley 09:33 Archived in Madagascar Comments (0)

Day 33

Madagascar - Tana to Andasibe

semi-overcast 25 °C

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.

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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!

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We got the canoe back and moved onto another part of the preserve to see crocodiles, the Fosa, various birds and a boa snake.

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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)

Posted by JenBuckley 09:16 Archived in Madagascar Comments (0)

Day 32

Reunion to Madagascar

semi-overcast 24 °C

We got up this morning and realised we'd forgotten to check the flight times again! ....a hasty check showed it was 40 minutes earlier than the original time so we were running late! After a very quick breakfast we started the drive back to the airport - fortunately the roads weren't too busy and we made it in plenty of time. We got to check in about 90 minutes before the flight was due to take off and 30 minutes before check-in was due to close to find they hadn't even opened any check-in desks!

We flew to Antananarivo and were met by our guide, Ralph and our driver Eile. The hotel was about 17km from the airport, but we stopped at a handicraft market and a view point of the city on the way. We saw several large heavily laden carts being pushed by a couple of people to transport things like rice, cement and even a sofa and armchair. There were several rice paddy fields and plenty of laundry laid out to dry on the river banks.

The market was a long road with stalls to one side selling various souvenirs, mostly wood carvings, pretty stones or raffia bags, although there were a few more unusual items such as the turtles and crocodiles. We managed to find a shot glass for our collection, some vanilla and a marquetry picture of a map of Madagascar.

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From there we went up through the cobbled streets to the viewpoint.

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We are staying at Hotel Palissandre for the night before heading towards Andasibe.

Posted by JenBuckley 09:47 Archived in Madagascar Comments (0)

Day 31

Reunion - The helicopter tour

semi-overcast 27 °C

Today we had our third attempt at the helicopter trip and this time we actually got to take off.

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First we flew over the Saint Paul area and then headed towards Mafate, flying over sugar cane crops and geranium plantations. The essence is distilled and sold to the cosmetic and perfume industries.

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Mafate is the name of a former slave who hid in the mountains to escape his owner during the 18th century. This is the wildest and more isolated of the cirques (or circle of mountains) - it comprises of 10 different villages and about 700 permanent residents who use a helicopter to reach the coast, go shopping or vist the doctor.

The next cirque, Salazie has lots of waterfalls - the most famous one is called Voile de la Mariee (the bride's gown).

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Sadly the clouds started rolling in so we couldn't fly over the volcano.

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We headed towards the west coast which has 25k of coral reef and managed to spot our hotel.

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Then we headed back to the helipad.

We spent our last afternoon here on the beach - we won't be near the coast for our next island (Madagascar), so we had one last swim in the sea.

Posted by JenBuckley 07:08 Archived in Reunion Comments (0)

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