Thank you for some excellent itinerary planning. We had a fantastic time – amazing landscapes, unique flora and fauna, great guides and drivers and lovely Malagasy people.
Our guide, Stefan, for the Andasibe/Perinet trip knew his birds and pointed out a Hammerkop in flight on the road out from Tana. Saw a lovely pair of Collared nightjar in Mantadia with the local guide, Jack.
Had some laughs with guide Michel on the way to Camp Amoureux. Michel didn’t know the western birds, our driver didn’t know the birds and we had no knowledge whatsoever of the birds, so we stopped in the middle of the road with a whole flock of weavers in front of the vehicle and had no idea what we were looking at.
By the time we’d left Camp Amoureux though, with the help of the Sinclair field guide, we’d identified several couas, the hoopoe (knew that one already) and a few other species that were confirmed for us later. We’re having the Sinclair and Langrand book sent to Michel. He was a lot of fun anyway and the local guides mostly filled in any missing gaps for him.
And we saw our Fosa – yay! She was hunting Verreaux’s sifakas in the trees in Kirindy Forest. Tony had remained behind on the track to photograph some interesting bark and the fosa ran up a nearby tree chasing the sifakas we’d just left. Peter took a few pics on the run. We were sooo excited!
Isalo NP was breathtaking and Isalo Rock Lodge quite luxurious accommodation in a simply stunning location.
Spiny forests in the south-west were fascinating and Elior ensured that our local guide found us the most sought-after birds in Reniala and Ifaty NP’s. It was almost as exciting finding the Long-tailed ground-roller as it was seeing the fosa. A pair was nesting and we have pics of the nest hollow. We were fortunate also to see the Sub-desert mesite in Reniala and the Madagascar plover in the saltpans.
Although we prefer to see wildlife in its natural habitat, it was just magic feeling the tiny velvety hands of the lemurs at Lemur Island and experiencing the lightness with which they land (not like our possums – they’re elephants by comparison!). We didn’t wish to see the caged fosas, so remained on the front section of the island with the lemurs.
There was a beautiful view of the city from Lokanga and the hotel has been lovingly maintained, but it’s probably not as suitable for a family as Relais des Plateaux. The stairs are definitely a challenge for someone with dicky knees, which Jim has (not your fault – we didn’t think to mention it).
We found the extent of the poverty throughout the country both confronting and heartbreaking, but are planning to directly sponsor two little boys from Soavimbahoaka orphanage.
Africa is on our bucket list and we’ll incorporate another visit to Madagascar with that one when we get around to it.