Wish I was there… Andasibe National Park

By Helen Kennedy


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Wish I was there… Andasibe National Park

Wish I was there… Andasibe National Park : Section 1

Wish I was there…

Drifting off and daydreaming about far-away lands is a favourite pastime of mine, and I’ve recently been reminiscing on a few trips to Madagascar, particularly my visits to the Andasibe National Park. It’s a place that I hold dearly in my heart and as I sit with a cup of tea, I can’t help but wish I was there… 

 

One of the best and most accessible reserves in the country, the Andasibe rainforest region is around a 4-hour drive east of the capital, Antananarivo. Every time I go to Madagascar, I find a way to fit in a visit at the start or end of my trip.  

 

 

Wish I was there… Andasibe National Park : Section 2

Early morning is the best time for exploring in Andasibe. You can hear the eerie call of the Indrithe largest species of lemur, across the forest – it sounds like whale song. Believe it or not, as a child I got a cassette tape free with a wildlife magazine (yes, I’m that old!), so I recognised it straight away the first time I heard it in the wild. For most though, its a completely unique and surprising sound. As Indri don’t survive in captivity, its almost the only place in the world you are ever likely to hear or see them. 

 

Even in lodges a few miles away the sound carries and waking up to it is a personal highlight of mine. A morning forest walk with your guides is a must and you are very likely to see the Indri as there are several habituated groups. They have long back legs to leap between the trees and you may even see them with young in the spring (Sept-Nov) which is when most people travel to the region.  

 

 

 

Wish I was there… Andasibe National Park : Section 3

Other lemur species such as Brown lemurs are commonly seen, as well as the large Diademed Sifaka, which is arguably one of the most beautiful, with its black face circled by fluffy white fur, and orange coloured limbs  they look almost teddy bear like. Another highlight for many is the chameleons, and Parsons which are the largest species, are easily seen. As slow movers they are often willing to pose for close up photos. 

 

You can easily be out in the forest until the afternoon, and by arranging a packed lunch in advance with your lodge you can enjoy a scenic picnic by the river or waterfall in the forest. As the day gets warmer, its nice to return to your lodge for a spot of relaxation. Several have swimming pools and gardens so ita great time to sit back and chill out, especially after an early morning start. You’ll also want to prepare for a night walk and get your torch ready to hunt for nocturnal species. Theres plenty to see at night, even as close as the grounds surrounding the lodges. There are also community-run protected areas where you can explore the trails with your guides. On your return, enjoy a 3-course evening meal, perhaps local Zebu steak and rice. The food is often Asian influenced, and on your travels, you will see the rice paddies, along with herds of Zebu (horned cattle) which are a typical sight in MadagascarAfter an evening gathered around the fireplace, chatting about what you have seen that day, another abundant reserve awaits your visit in the morning 

 

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