Exploring the wildlife-rich island of Madagascar

Margaret Maire

18 Sep 2017

Discovering the wildlife of Madagascar

For our first night, we stayed at Relais Des Plateaux.  It was clean, comfortable, served a good breakfast and also had complimentary wifi.  After breakfast, we were met by our guide, Rova, who would be with us the entire trip, as would our driver.

Our vehicle was very comfortable, and Rova had treats and refreshments for us along the way! We spent about 4 1/2 hours en route to Andasibe Hotel.  It's not a hotel, as we would describe it, as the rooms aren't attached, but nevertheless it is very nice and we stayed there for 3 nights.  The hotel is comprised of a lobby and indoor/outdoor dining area and the food was excellent with good choices. The staff was there immediately to answer questions and serve you - they were wonderful! The wifi reception was fairly good, especially early morning and later evening.

I am an early-riser so asked Rova when I could go to the lodge and would coffee be available - he saw to it that they had coffee ready for me.....much appreciated!  I do suggest that you bring a small flashlight as the walk from the bungalows to the lodge is dark at night and early morning.  Don't worry though....it's not dangerous, just hard to see where you're going!

Our lemur adventures at Andasibe-Mantadia National Park were nothing short of amazing:  one 1-2 hour hike, another full-day hike and a night walk.  The full day hike was a bit steep in a couple of places, but the guides do help (we had Rova and a local guide with us). It’s not scary, just a little steep! 

Our night walk started on the road but often ended up in the "bush" each time our guides spotted a mouse lemur or other lemur – trekking through the forest in the dark was something else! 

Fortunately the guides had flashlights, but I didn't want one as I wanted to be able to take pictures.  Rova and Patrice just held my hand so I wouldn't trip, but again it was not dangerous, just dark, so it was safe to hold on to someone.  Carolyn didn't hold on to anyone - she's braver than me!!!

From Andasibe we drove about 3 1/2 hours to a boat landing - the last 40 minute ride was VERY bumpy!  The one-hour boat ride took us to the Palmarium Lodge, within Palmarium Reserve, where we spent 2 nights. Like Andasibe, our bungalow was clean, modern and roomy, and we loved the private deck for watching the lemurs. 

We did a couple of hikes with our guides and local guide and also did some unescorted walks as the facilities were close. 

Our guides supplied us with plenty of bananas, meaning that the lemurs ate from our hands and were confident enough to take them from us! 

If you don't want the lemurs to jump on your shoulders, don't carry bananas. Our closest encounter with the lemurs was when I held the bananas and they jumped on my head and shoulders - it truly was a lifetime experience and was absolutely remarkable! They walked down my arms and started to lean on my head. We laughed until we almost cried, as did the guides, after seeing how we reacted!

Another exciting experience was when we boated to a nearby island to photograph the famous aye-aye at night, and our last outing was by boat to tour a fishing village by the local leader.

I should mention that traveling in September was great - it hardly rained and we didn't have to deal with many bugs, only a few mosquitoes - we have more in Minnesota!

This is the second tour I've booked with National World Safaris.  The expectations were high but so were the results. 

The length of our trip was 7 nights and was very adequate for viewing and photographing the many varieties of lemurs....and there were many!

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Comments

Anita Doran

4/4/2018 9:31 PM

Great trip review, Margaret. I live in North Carolina, and have a Madagascar tour booked with NWS in October, 2018. I can hardly wait. Thanks for the flashlight tip. Did you borrow one from the guides/hotel, or did you take your own? Any other packing suggestions that weren't in the tour material? thanks! - Anita

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