Madagascar – With only six days and the determination to see and do all that I could between Tanarive, the East Coast and back again. I booked a morning of trekking in the Andasibe Mantadia National Park, known for its montane forests, rare orchids, waterfalls, birds and variety of lemur.
Given its close proximity to Tana, this is one of the country’s most popular parks to visit for a night or two, or even as a day trip. It is also where you come if you’d like to hear the call of the very special Indri indri.
On arrival at the reserve there are various activities and route options available, ranging from two to five hours. I recommend that you take a guide, they are excellent and know where the lemur can be found (-useful!), the names of the indigenous trees and birds as well as insightful facts about the way of life in this part of the country.
A guide can be booked on arrival where numerous wait and offer assorted language options. My guide Anja was local, knew much about the area and delighted me with her anecdotes and passion. An entrance permit fee is paid directly to the park, with a separate payment for the guide. Its a good arrangement.
Most visitors spend one or two nights in Andasibe, with the option of taking etiher day and night tours. However for me it was just the one night with only the morning to enjoy in the park. It did not disappoint.
One of the signboards indicating a route option, in this case a shorter one with focus on the Indri.
Walking through the natural montane forest.
Some of the herbs growing there, all with medicinal qualities and still used in traditional healing.
These are the the remains of a fish farm, ruined in a cyclone about ten years ago. After all the fish swam away and the buildings were broken down, it wasn’t rebuild and has mostly gone back to nature.
Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher in the distance.
Lac Vert in the park with its sheltered lookout point.
Reflections in the water and evidence of an old bridge.
Little lizard seen along the way.
The elusive Indri indri chomping on leaves up in the tree line.
As far as the sounds of Africa go, I have added the Indri’s song to my favourites, together with the roar of a lion, cry of a fish eagle and laugh of the hyena. They all resonate strongly with my sense of belonging.
We trekked along shaded pathways, always listening for a branch to crack, movement above, any indication of where the lemur were. Here they were wild and nature would be determined which we would see.
Kingfisher, paradise flycatchers, lizard, chameleons, ants and termite mounds, blue coua, beetles and snails.
My morning offered a great sense of achievement as Anja and I listed the lemur species that we had seen – Eastern Lesser Bamboo Lemur, Common Brown Lemur, Black and White Ruffed Lemur, Woolly lemur, Sifaka and the much admired Indri.
Strong message this, as seen on boards at the look out points. “Vevre en Liberte” – these animals do belong in the wild.
The more I speak about my time in Madagascar and specifically the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, the more I am recommended to others. However I am confident that on my itinerary there couldn’t have been a better option and I delighted in what I experienced. I hope to return to visit some of the others too.
When out hiking, always take the time to look up.
Notes: Andasibe can be cold and I recommend a rain jacket and comfortable walking shoes as you will want to venture off the paths to get best views of the Lemur. Also a thing to bear in mind is that searching for lemur involves much walking around with your face pointed to the sky, something that hadn’t occurred. The rewards are plentiful, but I did trip my own feet a few times. But then, I do that anyway …