I hope you like lemurs!
That is what this day was all about. I took lots and lots of photos, and can not decide which photo looks cuter then the other. I even get to see the elusive Indri, which we heard howling yesterday whilst hiking at Mantadida, miles away.
They live in groups up to 5 members, which means once the 4th baby is born, the oldest moves on to create its own family. This takes a while, as Indri mothers only give birth to one baby every 3 years. They are territorial, hence the howling as presence and protection of their territory. They can leap at least 10 meters in a single jump.
Within the last few decades, the Indri was almost hunted to extinction. Numbers are improving, thanks to the care and preservation efforts of guides and national parks, but also private co-operations from around the world. Good news for the Indri and all other lemurs, as well as for the communities, which profit directly from tourism.
This area is also well known for a large variety of chameleon, which are harder to spot during day time due to their camouflage. A large variety of birds and even the shy Fossa finds shelter in this vast forest. The fauna is also a major draw point. From October onward native orchids start blooming, with the start of the wet season. Sadly, I will miss out this time.
Odilon had brought Ninah safely to the taxi Brousse station and rejoined Everest and myself after a coffee in a local coffee stall. I really like to wander the streets, have a good coffee and homemade fresh treats and watch people pass by. Always friendly faces. It was foggy and chilly again, not as thick as yesterday. We drove to the entrance of Parc National de Andasibe, the best known and easiest accessed park of them all in the area. Like National Park Ranomafana, it is a popular park with tourist, who flocked in bus loads. Fair enough, everyone wants to see the Indri, but pushing through people like getting of the subway to take a photo, just isn’t my thing.
I asked Everest for a different path, to get away from this busyness. He agreed and we hiked uphill, quite steep, but safe from over-fed tourist. We were lucky enough to spot a family of golden Sifaka, Everest’s favourite lemur in this dense forest. I can understand why, the reddish golden colours are striking.
Getting a good photo wasn’t easy, there was always a branch or leaves in the way. Everest kept spotting them and checked out locations to get a good photo. Ha ha, the power of a camera keeps amazing me.
Out of nowhere, we heard an Indri howling nearby. Wow, it is quite a sound. We moved on to spot them and no other tourists were around. They were high up in the tree tops, a good photo was hard to come by. When they started howling again, video was the preferred option. Quite amazing. Picture that in a thick foggy forest. It felt a bit spooky. Everest said, that I was very lucky to stand under the tree to see and hear them howling. Not many people do, he hadn’t encountered that often either. Yes, I know, I am very lucky! We left them be as other groups arrived. On our way out we spotted a Boa curled up in high grass, with striking colours.
We had lunch again at Marie’s guesthouse, great food, friendly and professional service. They already got used to our visits. What to do for the afternoon? Everest suggested ‘Lemur island’ and or the nearby, private run national reserve Mitsinjo. It was early and I asked Odilon to visit both. Everest wouldn’t join us, as both parks are privately funded. We dropped him off at National Park Head quarters.
I was just about to give him his well earned tip for a couple of fantastic days. To my surprise, he rejected the tip. He was the first guide, who wouldn’t accept my tip. Instead, he asked to send some photos over to his FB profile. He obviously liked the photos too.
Sure can do, Tsy maninona.