Madagascar; An Overwhelming Safari Experience
We had a truly incredible trip to both places, but it was quite overwhelming at times, both for good and bad. The pockets of Edens that we saw were gorgeous, and we were smitten by the gentle creatures inhabiting them. The guides we had throughout were terrific, very knowledgeable and passionate about their country, plus determined to make sure that everything worked well throughout our trip, with good attention to small details. All 3 hotels/facilities in Madagascar were excellent, and we were extremely grateful that we chose to stay near the airport, as the traffic in Tana was worse than we had imagined (even after reading about it).
The dismal part came from seeing both the abject poverty and also the vast extent of the foreign-owned sisal fields in the south, where we learned about the terrible working conditions for the locals. Between that, the lack of education and access to healthcare for a large portion of the population, plus the rate at population growth with limited resources, it's hard to believe that there will be many "pristine" edens left within a few decades. We had a good meeting with Prof. Ratsimbazafy, and he's extremely busy with trying to get funds to implement the recommendations of the IUCN report, so we certainly hope he's successful. Nick and I believe that the future of wild lemurs, especially those who haven't been successfully kept in captivity, is not at all certain, so we're absorbing that right now, thinking about the challenges/obstacles to ensuring their survival, and whether we could make an honest film with hope for these incredible creatures. I would love to do this.