Lots has happened since our last blog entry, internet coverage has been very poor in Madagascar!
From ramanafana we moved onto a private eco reserve where the accommodation was very basic, wood cabins with shared long drop toilets and electric for two hours a day. Run by Daniel a malagese wildlife enthusiast, he introduces us to his tamed white bellied lemur and shows us the nocturnal mouse lemurs (very cute) and chameleons that live around the lodge. Madagascar needs people like Daniel!
Next morning we hiked out into the reserve and spent an hour watching Milne's Edwards Sifakas, great fun. As we return to the lodge we meet a number of wood cutters in the forests, the forest guards don't work at the weekends and so the locals have two days to take what they can, such a shame but these people live hand to mouth.
Sunday 8 was spent travelling on what remains of the national roads to Antsirabe, there have been no roads repairs since the coup in 2009. Local kids fill the holes in the roads with stones and dirt and hope for tips from passing drivers. On the way we stop at an aluminium foundry where they cast cooking pans from scrap engine parts. No mechanisation and the workers don't even wear shoes as they pour the molten aluminium into the sand moulds. Scarry but impressive. Overnight in a nice bungalow hotel in antsirabe.
Monday 9th we drive onto Andasibe. Our car broke down as we reach Antananarivo (the capital) a stressful hour for our driver while we have lunch, but he finds the problem is just a loose connection. A long drive onto Andasibe arriving late at a very lovely lodge On the edge of the Andisabe national park.
Tuesday 10th is spent in Andasibe national park with a fantastic guide who shows us five species of lemur and kingfishers. But the best thing he managed was to get to see the wildlife before the hoards of Chinese tourists arrived on the scene with their shouting and pointing! We got to see some beautiful lemurs within just a few metres by sitting quietly and waiting, something beyond the Chinese tourists! The afternoon was spent at another park run by a community group where we see yet more lemurs. A fantastic day!
The hotel lodge has an island where some rescued lemurs live and we had very close encounters with black and white ruffed lemurs, common brown lemurs and very cute bamboo lemurs when we visited them with some bananas- we'll post some photos to show just how close! (It was one of Vanda's highlights of the trip )
The photo is of Vanda eating monkey gland flavoured crisps, strange eh? Will load lots of Madagascar photos separately.
Love C & V