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Andasibe National Park

MADAGASCAR | Friday, 25 October 2013 | Views [505]

Diadem sifaka, Mantadia Reserve

Diadem sifaka, Mantadia Reserve

The 18 kilometers of “road” to the Mantadia Reserve is a cratered disgrace.  Julian, our guide, says that tourists won’t come next year because it is so bad.  But the road to the cobalt mines is as good as any forest road in Colorado.  I wonder why the government doesn’t require the Korean and South African companies to fix this road as part of their 100-year lease.  And build a school and supply electricity to the villages.  Dumb! 

Anyhow, even though we left Grace Lodge at five we didn’t start birding until nearly seven.  The rain forest is thick and the guides find it easier to leave their clients on the trail and go off alone seeking the elusive species.  It might be an efficient plan but it left us standing in the dripping forest for up to half an hour.  Then, if we are lucky, we force-march through the bush hoping the bird is still where they last saw it.  The short-legged ground roller was.  Other times Julian and Vongy were less successful.


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   Short-legged ground roller

We put in a full eight hours birding with a break for lunch at a nearby lodge.  Our count for yesterday was seven new bird species, the stunning diadem lemur, a few more scratches and sore bums from the ride.

Today was a downer.  Connie was sick to her stomach most of the night, probably the pommes frites we shared at lunch.  She decided to soldier on and we drove on the mining road then trekked a few kilometers to a remote wetlands.  By this time the fries had gotten to me, too, but we did manage to see three new species before we threw up – I mean in – the towel and returned to the lodge without ever seeing the park’s mascot indri, the lemur’s answer to the howler monkey.

We spent our last 24 hours in Andasibe nearly comatose in bed, the thought of food farthest from our minds.  We were better this morning and headed back to Antananarivo after breakfast.

 

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