4 thoughts on “Madagascar Updates: Chapter 10

  1. Two red ruffed lemurs now live at Vakona’s Lemur Island in Andasibe, in addition to the other species that have been kept there for some time. They are not on the main island visited by tourists but are visible across a small channel of water, on a separate island where two diademed sifakas also live. The ruffed lemurs came from zoos in Germany and Switzerland.

  2. It is well worth considering the Mitsinjo forest reserve as an alternative to the better-known Andasibe National Park, whose entrance is on the opposite side of the road. The forest type and wildlife are the same in both places, and the guides are equally good (indeed many of the same guide work in both reserves). It used to be that people went to the national park in preference because the indri groups were more habituated there, but that is no longer the case: close views can now easily be had in both places. A big advantage of Mitsinjo is the lack of crowds. In the national park, visitor numbers can build up around the indri and sifaka groups, with frequently in excess of 50 observers vying for the best viewpoint, which undeniably diminishes the intimacy of the experience. In the Mitsinjo, reserve, on the other hand, you may well see no other visitors at all during your walk! Mitsinjo sends out researcher-trackers at dawn every day to stay with their two most habituated indri groups throughout the day, so for visitors finding indri there is essentially guaranteed. It should be noted, however, that several of the trails in the Mitsinjo forest are steeper than in the national park, so those with mobility issues would be best advised to choose the latter.

    • Alison Beck says:

      During our independent trip to Madagascar this month, we visited Mitsinjo in preference to the national park (cost and number of fellow observers being key in our decision), but our park guide wasn’t particularly good and we often saw things before she did. In fact the young trainee she had in tow was possibly better as she seemed more interested in the job. We did see a family of indris indris but were saddened and disappointed when we discovered they’d been attracted by a ‘spotter’ using a recording of their extraordinary call on his mobile phone! As the sound grew closer we realised it was his phone not the lemurs themselves. It seems to us that keenness to please the punters has overruled nature here. A shame. In fact, we had a far more authentic experience just by sitting on the balcony of our cabin in hotel Feon’ny Ala: we saw indris clearly in the forest just across the way, where they leaped from tree to tree for several minutes, apparently completely unaware of our presence.
      While in Andasibe I would thoroughly recommend walking into the village- not with a guide, but just by yourself. We were warmly greeted by everyone we met, bought bread and mangoes from the market, which we were then encouraged to eat sitting at a table in the shade of a tiny shop where all we’d bought was a bottle of Sprite; the charming shopkeeper even gave us a glass and plate. An hour ‘people watching’ is more rewarding to us than being herded in group tours.
      By the way, my French is appalling, but so far we’re surviving!

  3. Mantadia Lodge, a new hotel just north of Andasibe village, opened in March this year. The style is a pleasing blend of rustic and modern, with extensive use of wood giving something of the feel of a Swiss chalet to the interiors. It has 25 rooms (dbl, twin, family) with Wi-Fi, sat-TV, a private terrace with a view over the rainforest, and lounge area. In addition to the restaurant, with floor-to-ceiling windows to allow diners to enjoy the forest view, there are also two massage parlours, an infinity pool and a boutique shop. Contact mob 034 05 100 42 / 032 05 410 01; email mantadialodge@gmail.com; web http://www.mantadialodge.com

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