9 thoughts on “Madagascar Updates: Chapter 11

  1. Gone are the days that you could hope to have the Baobab Avenue to yourself at sunset. Now, at almost any time of year, a large crowd of both Malagasy and foreign tourists descends to watch the spectacle. This can make it challenging to get good photos. But here’s a top tip: the moment the sun disappears over the horizon, the crowd will rush for their cars to head back to their hotels for dinner. If you have time and are feeling lucky, hang around a while. The most strikingly colourful skies and best backdrops for the silhouetted avenue often come around 15 to 25 minutes after the sun has set.

  2. There are fears the world’s smallest primate, Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur, might have gone extinct. The species is known only from a small area of The Menabe Antimena Protected Area, which in the last seven years alone has lost 30% of its forests to slash-and-burn clearance.
    The German Primate Centre (DPZ) has carried out long-term monitoring of Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur (Microcebus berthae), and said in a new report published in the journal Conservation Science & Practice that their monthly population monitoring failed to record any sightings or trappings of M. berthae in an 80-hectare study area since 2018, even though they used to be common there. The researchers said: “Although it is impossible to prove that M. berthae has actually gone extinct while there is still forest left, these data are alarming and suggest that it may now be the first lemur species to have gone extinct in the 21st century.”
    Co-author Matthias Markolf explained: “We might be at – or come soon to – a point where the trend of population decline in this and other species is not reversible anymore. If the habitat does not remain suitable, we cannot do anything anymore to prevent those species from extinction in the wild. The APMA is home to two other critically endangered species: the Malagasy giant jumping rat and the flat-tailed tortoise. But Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur is the most famous of the three. Markolf and his co-authors don’t discount other factors for its apparent disappearance, including changes to the climate and local population fluctuations that have affected other species of lemur. But their absence from a place in which they were previously commonly seen is worrying, and not just to the team monitoring them. “Even when the cutting and fires do not actually touch the interior forest, the overall reduction in habitat can lead to population collapse,” says Steig Johnson, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Calgary.

  3. Fiona says:

    At the time of our arrival in Bekopaka in late July, there were no chambres open for those on a backpacker budget. A camp site was opened up for us – Vue Panamorique – down a track from the main street. Foam mattresses were provided for our tent!! Amazing after 4 nights on the ground/sand. I expect other accommodation will become available as the tourist industry re-opens but this campsite was a delight at the time. Someone spotted our laundry on the guy ropes; a washing line – plus pegs – duly appeared. A very worthwhile 15 000Ar/night for the 3 of us.

  4. Fiona says:

    Independent travellers hoping to visit the forestry element of Kirindy Mite Parc Nationale from Belo sur Mer might find it best to arrange the necessary 4×4 transport while in Morondava. Although we were assured of 4×4 transport by the Parc Nationale bureau in Belo, it sadly did not appear on the morning as the only available (privately owned) vehicle had broken down. The driver was clearly as disappointed as we were…our tickets were refunded as there seemed no prospect of its repair.

  5. Fiona says:

    The Tsingy de Bemaraha Parc Nationale was not usually taking cash payments at the time of our visit in late July. The expectation was phone payment – Orange was one option as I recall. We paid 10% commission on our cash to the Responsable who, as I understand it, went to an Envola point and made an electronic payment on our behalf later that day.

  6. Fiona says:

    We were able to descend the Manambolo river from Ankavandra – truly wonderful. In Ankavandra, M Vid was our contact piroguier. It would probably have been possible to reach Ankavandra on a weekly taxi brousse (Sunday?) from Tsiromandidy but we took one to Belobaka and walked across the hills for 3 days instead, with wonderful porters/guides; M Alphonse, contactable via the tourist office in Tsiromandidy (I think – although he actually found us), helped make this possible.

  7. Opened at the start of 2020 on the Nosy Kely peninsula of Morondava, Coin des Pêcheurs is a new hotel and restaurant in a seafront spot. Contact mob 032 66 184 27; Facebook BRCDP.

  8. In October 2020, a new hotel in the Kimony Lodge & Resorts group opened under the name Eden de la Tsiribihina at Masiakampy some 30km from Miandrivazo. Spacious but rather hot rooms with terrace, en-suite shower, safe & fan. Double rooms priced at 260,000Ar. No Wi-Fi. Contact mob 034 61 205 90, 032 03 210 56, 034 49 205 62, 032 03 210 51; email info@madagascar-omee-voyage.com, info@edendelatsiribihina.com; Facebook edendelatsiribihina; web https://www.edendelatsiribihina.com/ .

  9. A baobab christened Tsitakakoike and considered to be the largest in Madagascar at 27.30m circumference lost several branches and began to collapse in early 2018. Faced with the demise of this giant, which was considered sacred to the people of nearby Andombiry village, locals set out to measure other trees in the area. In May of that year, they came upon an even more gargantuan specimen with a girth of 28.82m. It has been named Tsitakakantsa in homage to Tsitakakoike – which roughly translates as ‘a song sung on one side cannot even be heard on the other’!
    For photos of Tsitakakoike see thisiscolossal.com/2022/02/beth-moon-baobab

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