Madagascar experience chapter 5 : An afternoon with lemurs, fossa and crocodiles

Following the morning with the Idri in the Andasibe national forest and our luch, we had a short rest time and went off to another lodge which also includes a private reserve with lemurs and other animals. This was an optional activity as it was not included in the tour, so 1-2 from our group did not follow.

We took our bus to get there, it was around 45 minutes from our lodge. On the way we passed through the town Andasibe , not a very big one and a little after we reached the other lodge. To get to see the lemurs you have to cross to a small island with a pirogue. It’s not a long distance and it’s very shallow. They could have built a bridge but I guess they don’t want the lemurs ‘escaping’

These lemurs’ behaviour was very different to the ‘wild’ Idri and Sifakas of the morning walk.  They are semi-domisticated which means they are accustomed to come down from the trees, get mixed up with people and get food from them. The most daring climbed up on peoples shoulders and walked around and of course star in several photos. We saw saw white-raft lemurs, browns and a very reluctant gray that stood on his branch but hesitated to follow the others and jump on human shoulders

There were also a couple of families that appeared on the other side of the island, going to water themselves. Afternoon is a good time to watch lemurs as they wake up from their midday rest and go for water and maybe something last to eat before laying for the night

After that we crossed back using the pirogues and started walking to other areas of the reserve. The first attraction was the crocodiles. Now, these crocs are the normal Nile crocodile species which means they crossed from mainland Africa relatively recently, possibly aided by the Zambezi river stream from Mozambique. I believe they are the largest carnivores in Madagascar now.

Of course when visiting adult crocodiles you cannot get very close. At this afternoon time most of them were relaxing, obviously fed and catching the last rays of the sun. A few were still in the river though. I later learned there are some crocodile farms in the island. They were much more widely dispersed and feared a lot but years of hunting has diminished their numbers and now are considered threatened in the island. There is also a population living in a freshwater cave, a unique situation

After that, we kept walking, we crossed a hanging bridge over their river territory (brr!) and kept walking. We reached another small pond with ducks and a turtle and kept walking to reach a small cage with a fossa inside. This is the largest endemic carnivore in Madagascar, looks like a large cat and it is very agile, it can climb up trees and it hunts mostly lemurs and other small fauna. However it was a little sad to see it constrained in the caged area

We then walked some more around the small lake to get bus and drive home. We arrived there a little before dark. I got some time for some photographs of the lodge area and the small shops around. Then it was time to relax in the room. My dinner was very simple because I was so full from the excellent meal : just a fruit salad from the restaurant, juice and some biscuits. I read a little from my book and was off to sleep at around 21:00 hrs. There was not much to do either and they turn off the -spotty- WiFi at 22:00. But it was necessary after such a tiring early and the early start for the next days trip : we had to wake up at 06:00 for a long trip, first back to Antananarivo and then southwards towards Antsirabe. But that is the next chapter of the story!





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