Blogs from Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar, Africa

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Saturday 3 March – Ambositra and Ranomafana The city of Antsirabe is large and busy, with population numbers unknown because there has been no census since the 1990s. It could be 2 million?? It seemed that every 3rd lady was carrying a baby or looking after a toddler or 3 so who knows. I have read that the average number of children Malagasian women now have has dropped to 4.6! Before we left the city we visited a miniature bicycle and vehicle manufacturing place. A man showed us how the bicycles were made. Fascinating and very intricate. The wheels were made from aluminium cans, spokes from fishing line, tyres from plastic tubing, brake cable from wire etc. We were then taken into a room full of embroidery with cotton fabric from France and embroidery thread from ... read more
Countryside SE of Antsirabe (3)
Advantista - tabl football loved by Malagasians
Antsirabe city Railway Station

Africa » Madagascar » Ranomafana National Park November 5th 2014

From the Indian Ocean coast, we climb back up into the central mountains and head for Ranomafana. This National Park is renowned for its lemurs, some species here were only discovered 20 years ago. Today we, too, are able to walk, well clamber, around the mountainous rainforest playing explorer. We discover giant brown lemurs high in trees; red bellied lemurs climbing down to look at us; and a golden bamboo lemur drinking from a stream. It is hard to remember that these are critically endangered. - we are seeing perhaps 10% of their entire populations. Then it is on to our second trek, to climb Pic Boby, Madagascar's second highest peak at 2,658 metres (8640 feet). We need a rugged 4x4 to get us to the start but our rugged 4x4 breaks down in the village ... read more
Second cook
On top of the island
Ring tailed lemurs

Africa » Madagascar » Ranomafana National Park October 9th 2014

“Ou est la lemur, monsieur?” “First we view the plants as they do not move”, Laurie, with his good honest bloke’s name, tells us in a thick Malagasy accent. This local guide has lived in Ranomafana all his life, grown up in the bush and a lemur whisperer of sorts like his side kick Tahi Starting out yet again at the fresh hour of 6am, leaving by 7am, we were taken 10km up the hill to the reserve entrance. Here, a massive female pray mantis posed on a bright leaf, no doubt about to devour her male mate in gratitude for his role. The scenery was dense rainforest, and the humidity was as thick as Laurie’s accent First came the plants, the diabetes cure, the geckos and the constant calls in the forest of the much ... read more
I like to move it move it!
Ambalavao zebu market children
With Fidi, on way to base camp for Mt Boby

Africa » Madagascar » Ranomafana National Park January 3rd 2012

We must be gluttons for punishment. After wrapping up a blissful few days of lazing about in Morondava - taking a gander at some baobabs and lemurs, walking along the quiet beach, eating fantastic seafood, etc. – we were preparing to take ANOTHER taxi-brousse back into interior Madagascar. I think we rationalized it by saying “at least we aren’t going all the way back to Tana – we are just going to Antsirabe…” In theory, the journey should have taken ten hours. However, almost from the moment we started, we knew that this was going to take a bit longer – and was going to be even more uncomfortable than our first epic taxi-brousse journey. We had hardly left the station when we began stopping what seemed to be every 100 meters or so to either ... read more
Pre-Departure Snack
Loading the Motorcyle..Yes, the Motorcycle!
Heading to Market...I think...


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 ... read more
Hotel room balcony view
Mouse lemur!!
Photo 3

Africa » Madagascar » Ranomafana National Park October 10th 2009

Two fairly short taxi-brousse rides see me arrive in the village of Ranomafana to the east of Fianar. This is the gateway to the National Park of the same name, created when the golden bamboo lemur first became known to (Western) biologists in 1986. I search for some touristy hotels as these will offer the best chances of getting lifts to/from the park entrance (6.5 km away) but the WLP shows its age again and no-one recognises any of the names I'm looking for. I end up at the Catholic Mission, being briefly attacked by a duck along the way, and meet a nun whose French is such a model of slowness and clarity that I almost weep with the joy of total comprehension. For whatever reason, the mission runs a number of clean and comfortable ... read more
Frog
Gecko close-up
Leaves




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