Office Trip Reports

Monica in Madagascar

Monica Kowalski, Senior Assistant to Sales, is on the adventure of a lifetime! After multiple safaris on the continent, Monica is off to the small island nation of Madagascar. Follow her journey visiting this unique destination and the national parks full of lemurs, birds and chameleons.

December 2nd

After an overnight in Tana, we were off on our adventure to Andasibe-Mantadia (the transfer is about 4 hours on a well-paved road), through landscapes filled with rice paddies – the food staple on the island.

We started with a visit to Lemur Island, a sanctuary for habituated or rescued lemurs.  So much fun!

We stayed at the newly-opened Mantadia Lodge which is nicely located just a few minutes’ drive to the gate at Andasibe National Park.

We did our first night walk, where we saw several species of chameleons, insects, frogs and a dwarf lemur!

December 3rd:

Today we did two walks, one during the day, and one at night!  Walks can be strenuous at times so be prepared, but it offers lots of fantastic lemurs.  We saw a beautiful diademed sifaka during our day light walk, as well as the indri indri!  After our return back to the lodge, we could hear the indris calling from quite a distance!

The midday siesta offered us some spectacular thunderstorms.

Started the afternoon walk in the late afternoon and found a very sleepy night jar (those eye-lashes)!

December 4th – 6th:

We made our way back to Tana, where we then flew on a private charter plane down to the dry, southeastern part of the country to Ifotaka, to arrive at our next camp, Mandrare River Camp.  The camp’s location is situated along the Mandrare River Bank and very near to the local village of Mandrare.

Here we had day and night walks in the Spiny Forest, Gallery Forest and Sacred Forest.  We also learned of customs and the culture of the local tribe, seeing the ancestral tombs and burial grounds.  The forest gave us close encounters of the many lemurs in the forests:  Verreaux sifakas, ring-tailed lemurs during the day and sportive and mouse lemurs after dark.

Besides lemurs, there many interesting plants, and don’t forget the small stuff!

Trips to the market and village allowed us to get a glimpse of the daily lives of the Antandroy tribe.

Our stay here ended with a beautiful sundowner among the mini Avenue of the Baobabs among the sisal plantations, with a lively performance of dancing and singing from the locals.

December 7th – 9th:

On our way to our next camp, we flew from Mandrare to Fort Dauphin, where we then were met by our guides and drove 2.5 hours (on rough road in some places!) to Manafiafy, our retreat on the Indian Ocean.  Our bungalows were spacious and stepped right onto the untouched beach.

Our night walk gave us sightings of chameleons, the leaf-tailed gecko, frogs and even hissing cockroaches – we didn’t stick around too long when we saw them!

We had a full day to explore the mangroves by boat, and then did a lovely hike through the forest for a scenic overlook of the ocean, followed by a terrific picnic lunch on the beach under some pandanus trees, and a swim in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.  We even managed to see a troop of red-collared brown lemurs.

We finished with a visit to the Stitch project, which provides an income to the local women as they skillfully embroider beautiful purses, pillow covers, sunglass cases and more; and then continued with a walk through the local village, learning more about the history and ways of life of this small fishing village.

We finished with the 2.5 hour ride back to Tana, driving through the local villages, waving to the children, and admiring the beautiful mountain range that spans the length of the country.

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