Our first stop out of Antananarivo was Andasibe about 180 km, a 3 1/2 hour drive which turned into a 5 hour drive with a 1/2 hour lunch stop. The main road, the RN2 is the main road to Toamasina, a port city on the east coast. We expected the road to be good which it was for a short while and then bam! POTHOLES! And these potholes were deep! For crying out loud, I thought we left these behind in Zambia. The potholes combined with large trucks travelling through mountains on very winding roads made for a fun filled drive until we finally hit some good road and were able to travel up to 70 km/hr, albeit for only short distances.
Andasibe and nearby Mantadia National Park is a prime location to search for the Indri Indri which is the largest of the lemurs in Madagascar. It has a surprised expression that looks more like a gone-wrong panda than a lemur and are known for making an eerie wailing sound that can travel for kilometres. There nearly 60 “taxa” of lemurs (species, sub-species, and populations from 33 species across five families and 14 genera). I took this info from “Wildmadagascar.com” but the bottom line is there are plenty of different species of lemurs to see in Madagascar, 113 in all.
On evening of the 7th it was raining and cold. Regardless of what the weather would be the next day we decided to do a hike the next morning to search for the Indri Indri and other Lemurs that inhabit the area. There are several options. For some reason or another I’ve had a bum knee now for about three weeks. To top that off Joyce and I have been pretty well sitting on our butts for the past 7 weeks so we opted for the flattest hike in the area so we could slowly break in our atrophied muscles. We visited V.O.I.M.M.A Community Reserve for a 2 hour hike through secondary rainforest. The reserve is community run and all proceeds flow back to the local community. There are two family groups in the area comprising about five or six members each as well as others such as the wooly lemur and bamboo lemur. The weather was cold and wet with a misty rain falling during our 2 hour hike but it was great to get out and stretch our legs. We did see two Indri although high in the trees. We saw a Giraffe Weevil and Parsons Chameleon, the second largest chameleon in the world. Like any wildlife spotting trek, the luck is in the draw.
Below is a Giraffe Weevil pic I stole from the internet.
Joyce’s Weevil pic, Parsons Chameleon and the Sacred Vine, named from the red sap that flows when cut.
Below is a frame-grab from my video of the Indri Indri. Not the best but proof we saw them!