On a recent visit to Madagascar, our Marketing Executive Suzie enjoyed a whirlwind week coming close to exotic wild species, experiencing local life and soaking up the stunning scenery. Here, she talks us through five of her favourite pictures from her trip.
1. The piercing call of the indri lemur
Madagascar’s lemurs are inevitably the star attraction of any trip to the country; you’re sure to see your fair share. For me, it was the indri lemur that was most exciting to spot. We set off early in the morning and ventured into Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. Our aim was to track down the indris as early as possible, so we would be in prime position when they began their morning call. The call of the indri is a bewitching song, quite unlike anything I had heard before. Standing in the forest, looking up at the indris high above in the treetops, as they swing from branch to branch and bring the forest to life with their electrifying calls, was truly enchanting.
2. Wildlife walk after dark
Heading out on a night walk was another wildlife highlight for me. Under the cover of darkness, we walked down a road along the edge of Zahamena National Park with our guide. It was pitch-black, and we could barely make out one another’s faces. How, I wondered, were we to stand a chance of spotting any of the much-anticipated wild species we had been told lurked in this neck of the woods? I needn’t have worried, our guide had what seemed like super-human powers, and by nonchalantly shining his torch and scanning the trees as we walked, he would pick out the flash of a lemur’s eye as it caught the light, and tiny frogs, barely larger than a thumbnail, sitting some 10 metres away on a leaf of the same colour. His skills were nothing short of incredible, and picking out this beautifully vibrant chameleon in the darkness was the icing on the cake.
3. Rural life
Aside from Madagascar’s wildlife, getting close to the local culture was one of the things that I enjoyed so much about my trip. Having left Anasibe and headed towards Antnanarivo, we made a stop about 20 kilometres from the city, where we embarked on a hike between two charming local villages. Starting in Ambanitsena, we walked along Le Chemin des Ecoliers to the next village, Ambohimalaza. The journey took us through beautiful scenic landscapes, through rolling hills and vast fields punctuated by only a few houses along the way. It was great to get away from the usual tourist trail and see what life is like in the rural parts of Madagascar.
4. An alternative city tour
While in the capital city of Antananarivo, we asked our guide to show us the secret side of the city; we wanted to venture away from the Queen’s Palace and experience the authentic city life. We whiled away a good couple of hours climbing up and down the city’s hilly backstreets, admiring the colourful colonial buildings and exchanging greetings with the locals who all seemed happy to see us. These two children were out playing in the street, running up the hilly cobbles with impressive speed, but jumped at the chance to stop and pose for a photo, arm-in-arm, when they saw I had my camera out.
5. Drifting along the Pangalanes Canal
In stark contrast from the colourful chaos of Anantanarivo was my boat journey along the Pangalanes Canal. Transporting us from Akanin’ny Nofy to Tamatave, Madagascar’s main commercial port, the journey took about two hours and was a peaceful and very scenic way to travel. I loved sitting up on the front of the boat, soaking up the surrounding scenery of lush green forest and peaceful waters and observing local fishermen and villagers going about their daily lives. This made a pleasant change from the somewhat bumpy rides we had become used to on Madagascar’s roads, and was not just a transfer but a highlight of the trip.