Travelogue Madagascar – Roadtrip east (part 2)

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train trecks madagascar After spending a few days in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo, also called Tana for short, as part of our honeymoon (read all about the start of our adventure here) my husband D and I were looking forward to move further east to visit a national park to see some wildlife and then hang around at the beach. We had the rest of the trip arranged through a local agency and were happy with their service, although I unfortunately can’t remember the agency’s name (it’s very possible that it was one of the two listed in the lonely planet guidebook). We were quite budget conscious as the wedding had already taken care of what there was of our meekly savings. So we did not travel in a climate controlled jeep and stop at luxury resorts – although that’s not our style anyways. roadtrip east madagascar We had a friendly driver who talked a bit about the things we saw while driving through the unknown country. The photos you see here were mostly shot out of a driving car with my cell phone from back then (iPhone 3?) so they’re not the best shots ever. I hope you get a good impression of what that part of the country looks like nonetheless (so pretty, right?). D and I had a great time and got some madagascan music from the driver to take home with us. We stopped at Andasibe which is a small town surrounded by national parks and consists wholly of two streets surrounded by hotels and some restaurants. We moved into a bungalow with a balcony that basically opened up into the trees of the park (lets call it a jungle since it sounds more exciting ;). Then we were off to the jungle (ehm, the national park) to have a look at Madagascar’s unique wildlife. You basically wander around with your guide and he points out all the different lemurs etc to you. We saw so many of them but my photos aren’t all that good as I didn’t have a decent camera back then. They’re so cute, but you really need someone to point them out to you as they blend really well into the trees. It was cool that we had the guide to ourselves. This way we only met other people when we would find ourselves all looking at the same family of indri (a lemur species, see photo below). As the guides communicate with each other this would happen occasionally but it was never a huge amount of people. lemur 1 The indri are hanging out high up in the trees and you can see them eating and interacting up there. One time we saw an indri baby who was hyperactively jumping back and forth from tree to tree (so cute). Until – brace yourselves – it missed! And fell down to land really close to the left of us. The indri all began screaming and one of the adults came scrambling down (practically right in front of us), got up on two legs, scooped up the baby and started swinging through the trees away from us as the rest followed. It must have only taken a couple of seconds and I can remember the whole group just standing there speechless. I don’t know if the baby was okay. Weirdly I felt kinda bad for watching them in the first place. Not that we were intruding on them (since they were really high up and we were all really quiet) and one of the reasons to go to Madagascar is certainly to see the wildlife, but in that moment they felt so incredibly human and I felt somewhat voyeuristic. Nonetheless I enjoyed our hike very much and thought that the whole park was operated very well. It always felt like this was the animal’s natural habitat and humans just happened to pass by which is something I really liked. The animals were the first priority as they should be. At night we went with a whole group and some flashlights (or cell phone flashlights) to do a walking tour around town and observe the night-active wildlife. The next morning we were awoken by the (extremely loud) inri wail and continued our tour. national park madagascar indri We drove further east until we hit the coast. We were happy to stop at a beach hotel for the night and left early the next morning to Tamatave from where we would take a ferry to the Île Sainte Marie for some relaxation (more about that in the last part of this series – coming soon). beach east madagascar all photos by happyelsewhere


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