Ranomafana NP

Published: October 19th 2010
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Isalo to Ramonofana is a long, full day drive so we decide to set out early at 6am. Rivo must be used to that as he knows where to stop to get us breakfast in Ambalavao, and we also stop briefly to see his wife and son in Fianarantsoa. It's Andrew's birthday so we try to plan at least one activity other than driving and stay in a more luxurious room for the night, it has a door to the bathroom and hot water!! We have lunch in the hotel restaurant, Hotel Violette in Ambositra, but 3 of the main courses are not available and only one starter is. This is high season after all... We plan an evening walk which we are told will only be us, but the start point suddenly gets mobbed by a bus load of tourists. We see a mouse lemur, scuttling back and forth across a branch, not sure if they have laid bait for it but they seem to know exactly where it will be... We are pleased to see a nocturnal lemur anyway. We also see many chameleons as they are easier to find at night as they don't change colour to their surroundings when it's dark as they can't see the correct colour. If you shine a light on them they gradually adapt and change colour.
After our walk we try and find somewhere for a birthday dinner, the first stop has stopped serving already it's not even 8pm, the second place has no customers and most of the menu is unavailable. So back to our own hotel which has the same menu as at lunch time. Most of the items were sold out then but she assured us there would be food for dinner. What she forgot to tell us is that there would be no chef so we could only have what she knew how to make!! So another disastrous meal.

The next morning we meet our guide again, this time we venture off the main road and go into the park. Visitors are no longer allowed at night due to the wild cats not being afraid of humans and therefore a danger. On this walk we hope to see some more lemurs, our guide has helpers deep in the trees and undergrowth which are looking for the different types of lemurs high in the trees. We manage to see the common brown lemur, red bellied lemur, wooly lemur, golden bamboo lemur and great bamboo lemur so a good morning's sightings!

Bamboo lemurs are different to the other lemurs as they have nests where they leave their babies for protection. Others don't so they leave their baby in a tree and then tempt predators away by leaping through the trees. Fossa, the cat like predators, then climb the tree where the lemur stops, rather than the one with the baby in it.

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