Andasibe National Park - Day 1

Trip Start Jul 11, 2009
Trip End Jul 26, 2009

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Monday, July 13, 2009

I've added a link in the photo captions to species descriptions/photos.  The most useful site is

Monday 13th July
Set out from the Lodge at 7.30 a.m for a morning exploring the Andasibe national park which is a relatively small area of primary forest but rich in endemic species. The main attraction is the Indri but there are loads of weird and wonderful creatures and plants.  Naturally I had all the gear - goretex from top to toe - absolutely everything that was on the recommended list and loads more besides.  And what did the guides wear? See below. Did they get bitten by mosquitos and leeches? No.  Did I? Yes. Fresh meat must be tastier.    A local guide is a necessity to make sure you don't get lost and to point out what is there.My guide, Patrice, was very knowledgable.  I would have seen nothing without him. He was also fluent in at least 4 lemur languages and able to copy their calls to attract them - very handy.

The park is steep and paths are slippery - full of ancient lichen-covered trees, vines and creepers. Now I know where all the house plants I've struggled to grow over the years originated. Having seen the conditions they thrive in I am not surprised most of them die in my house   The indris are the biggest of all the lemurs and live in small family groups dominated by the females. They are the only prosimians with only vestigial tails - the rest have tails to die for. They have a plaintive territorial call - a cross between police sirens and balloons being deflated. The guides mimic their calls and if they are good enough it attracts the Indris to come and check out who is trespassing.   Patrice must have been very good as they came jumping.  This isnt about banana handouts either!

This Mossy Leaf Tail Gecko was one of my favourites  -  a camouflage to beat all    

Then there were the Sifakas - hard to photograph but this was a big group of Diademed Sifakas   For some reason they all felt the need to crap when they got near us.  I wonder why?

And then at the end of the morning a whole troupe of lesser bamboo lemurs 

and finally a huge Parson's Chameleon - amazing creatures - more info and pix at

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