Spotting Lemurs in Madagascar

Sorry for the delayed reporting. I had to take a day off. I’ll spare you the details, but somewhere in the supply chain that led to a sandwich I ate a couple of days ago, someone forgot to wash his hands. As a result, I had to take a solid 24 hours off from eating and blogging.

In fact, things were a little touchy for last night’s hike to spot nocturnal lemurs. We left the hotel at sundown to see what we could see. I’m glad I soldiered through because it was an action-packed evening! We spotted the Goodman’s Mouse Lemur (the second smallest lemur), the Wooly Lemur, along with several chameleons and frogs.

See the Goodman’s Mouse Lemur in there? Hidden. I have NO clue how my guide, Roger, saw him in the dark?!

The evening’s adrenaline rush came from something altogether different. You see, the nocturnal “hike” was really a walk along an unlit road with cars, motorcycles, and scooters running at full speed past us. There were a lot of guides and tourists making the trek, so we’d all be listening for someone to yell, “CAR!!” at which point we’d all jump to the side of the road. Jumping was a challenge for me given my stomach situation. Thankfully, no people were killed or injured in the making of this experience.

Healthwise, all was back to normal today, which was good because it was all lemurs, all day.

The entrance to the National Park looked mysterious at 7:30 this morning.

A morning hike through the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park yielded sightings of four more types of lemurs!

We spent a solid 15 minutes watching this group of Indri Lemurs go to the bathroom. Given my recent stomach issues, I was just envious

My local guide, Roger, was fantastic. As we entered the rainforest, we were immediately alone. We hiked a bit further and I began to ponder the remoteness of where I was. The Eastern Madagascar Rainforest is isolated from the rest of the world. It’s moments like these that make me realize just how huge our world is.

Just then, a cell phone rang. So much for seclusion.

Although I couldn’t see them — the rainforest is thick — another group was just a few feet away on another trail.

Roger was a great leader. He was sometimes hard to spot thanks to all of that camo, though.

I saw Indri Indri, Sifaka (the famous dancing lemurs), Common Brown, and Eastern Grey Bamboo lemurs. Along with the two types I spotted last night, that means I caught sight of six of the eleven species in this area. I’m told this was remarkably lucky given that it’s winter down here and the lemurs don’t come out much. As an aside, if you’re thinking of coming, September and October seem to be popular months.

Those are lemurs at the top of the picture. And, at the bottom, those are Germans.

After a quick lunch (it remains in my stomach, properly digesting), we went to a private reserve where lemurs happily hop onto tourist’s heads in exchange for fruit freely given by local guides. All in, I’m not sure how I feel about the practice – seeing wild lemurs was much more amazing – but I have to admit, this picture is much cooler.

They were soft and have the smoothest hands – like a baby’s bottom. Probably haven’t worked a day in their lives!

So, from here, I head to Nepal. It will require more than forty hours of travel time to get there from here. It turns out there are no direct flights from Antananarivo to Kathmandu. Who knew?! The good news? I like to fly!

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4 Responses

  1. christine wilhelm says:

    I love to visit the Duke Lemur Center and watch the lemurs swing through the forest of oak and popular trees. I was surprised that they like to eat honeysuckle and poison ivy.
    Do you ever try for flight comparisons? They show a 15 hr 45 m flight from Antananarivo-Mauritius Island-Mumbai-Kathmandu. Jet Airways is a Delta partner based in Mumbai and is an excellent airline. I would have added a 24 hour stop-over after the one and-a-half hour flight to the “paradise on earth” Mauritius Island and snorkeled for a day. Afterwards, I’d fly 6 hours to Mumbai and continue on to Nepal on Jet’s short 2 hr 40 m flight. Eezy-Peezy. When I was in Kathmandu, a prince was getting married and his dad, the king, had all the taxis painted bright orange with black tiger was hilarious.

    • Traveller says:

      What a cool memory! I’m sure completely Kathmandu was decked out for the wedding!

      I saw that Jet Airways flight, too. But what’s the fun in going so quickly?! Just kidding….this was one segment of a RTW ticket. Booking those tickets saves money, but means you’re stuck with whatever wacky routing they give you.

      • christine wilhelm says:

        Trans World Airlines RTW tickets used to be more flexible. In a bygone era, all one had to do was buy the ticket from Lucas Travel in Greensboro, choose which direction to fly, along the way pick countries with a TWA accessible airport and complete the trip within 12 months. I was having difficulty understanding the rhyme and reasoning of flying to Delhi instead of Mumbai (not during monsoon like this week of course) from Madagascar. I love reading your stories so this convoluted back and forth scheduling must give valuable downtime that stimulates creativity.. a silver lining!

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