MADAGASCAR AUGUST 2015

Madagascar is the worlds fourth largest island , truly an amazing place which is packed with diversity and uniqueness .

We were  very fortunate to travel through part of Madagascar from the capital “Tana “( Antananarivo ) to the eastern rainforest area of Andisabe- Mantadia National Park and then return to Tana and down south and south west to Tulear on the coast . We accomplished this in 12 days . The first 6 nights we slept at a different location every night , but this enabled us to see and experience the awesome diversity that the island has to offer .

Ring-tailed Lemur

Ring-tailed Lemur , there are more than a hundred species of lemur on the island                                         (Pic Paul Grobler )

This is an account of the trip from 17 to 29th August 2015 

DAY 1  (17 August 2015 )

Our trip started in Zambia on the 17th August 2015 . We departed from Chiawa Camp after E spent 9 nights with me in the Lower Zambezi National park . The charter flight was through ProCharter  leaving Royal airtsrip at 10am in a Cessna 402 . This took us 20 minutes only as it is a fast little plane .

From Kenneth Kaunda International Airport ( Lusaka ) we waited for the Kenya Airways flight to Nairobi first leg and then second leg to Antananarivo ( Tana – the capital of Madagascar )

Upon arrival at Tana airport we were met by our driver and guide and set off for the Le Louvre Hotel which is about a 30 minute drive . We arrived at 2 AM and were eating breakast at 7h30 Am that morning in order to leave for Andisabe Hotel the same day .

DAY 2 (18 August 2015 )

We went to a bank very close to the hotel down the street to get local currency . The bank would not accept $100 .00 notes (which would be good good to know before we arrived )  , and our guide suggested we ask for small notes also for tips etc . ( We were crowded by hawkers and beggars along the short section to the bank and back )

The national currency is Ariary , which at the time we were there was trading at         $1=3, 297 Ariary

Euro 1 = 3,635 Ariary

At around 9 AM we departed for the drive to Andisabe Hotel in the east , this takes about 2 , 5 hours . The distance is about 150km .

The road is very good although windy and there is lots of evidence of Eucalyptus species growing , which were apparently bought in by the French . This is also the first time we start to see the extent of the rice cultivation in Madadagascar. This is a staple diet and some areas with high rainfall can produce 3  crops a year .

We arrive at ANDISABE HOTEL for lunch . Good food .

On the way to Andisabe we stopped at the  Peyriras Private reserve to see some lemurs and various other species in captivity , just to get a feel for the diversity of the eastern forests .

We did a short walk up th eside of a hill and managed to find the Coquerels Sifaka and Common brown lemur , very close to us as they were being fed bananas , so a good introduction and also great for photographic opportunities .

Our guide then took us back down and we went to see some chameleon’s geckos , frogs , snakes and other animals in cages . Some of these  were caught and placed outside for photo’s .

We got see Parsons Chameleon (very big )

Panther Chameleon ( very colourful )

Brookesia sp. Chameleon ( very small )

Chameleon that is horned (? species )

Satanic leaf-tailed gecko

Green gecko

Mantella frog ( bright red )

Tomato Frog ( red )

Flying fox ( large fruit bats )

Tenrec (? species )

Comet Moth ( very close , spectacular long tail )

Madagascar tree boa

Brown and white snake ( ? species )

Good opportunity to see some species close up that we would not see otherwise on our trip .

The drive to Andisabe took another 1 and a half hours and we arrived there at 14h30 in the afternoon .

Lunch at Andisabe Hotel .( Good food )

Did some birding around the hotel grounds , there is a large pool in front of the eating area and a very nice garden . Saw the following species : Madagascar crested drongo

Madagascar White-eye

Madagascar Kingfisher

Madagascar wagtail.

After lunch we went to visit the Vakona Private reserve which is about 15 minutes drive from the hotel .

I had my first close up look at the travellers palm (Ravanela madagascariensis ) which stores rain water at the base of its stem , reputed to be potable , but actually needs to be treated first .

Travellers Palm - Madagascar 2015 Aug opt

Travellers Palm ( Paul Grobler )

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