Where to start...this once in a lifetime adventure was extraordinary; diverse, different, disturbing, eye-opening, enchanting, fascinating - we'll stop at the Fs! It was a totally new experience for us and we loved every minute - even if greatly distressed by the level of habitat destruction and sometimes at odds with the very foreign culture.

Our itinerary was specially designed to discover just a small taste of what this island has to offer and to limit the travel time as much as possible; so we only visited the dry spiny forests in the south west and the lush rain forests in the east. We have hundreds of photos and this newsletter really could go on for ever but we'll just include some of our favourites here.

Madagascar Ground Roller

Madagascar Kingfisher

Red-tailed Tropicbird

Birding was surprisingly hard work - which did increase the level of satisfaction in finding them; many reptiles were seen in a sanctuary which was the only way we would get to see them but it was so worth it as they were just spectacular!

tomato frog
Tomato Frog

lizard chameleon
Cuvier's Madagascar Swift
Parson's Chameleon

And of course the lemurs!
brown lemur
Brown Lemur
lemur bamboo lemur
Diademed Sifaka
The diminutive Bamboo Lemur

The iconic Indri with its haunting call...listen HERE

and see the bizarre aye-aye HERE

The vastly different vegetation was definitely a highlight - new baobabs, many, many Euphorbias, Octopus trees, carnivorous Pitcher Plants - the list goes on!

one of the many orchid species seen

Madagascar herself was a culture shock - we had no idea what to expect, but she seemed very un-Southern African in many ways perhaps because of the French colonial past, so many idiosyncrasies linger - the delicious ones were especially welcome like baguettes and croissants at every turn! And no traffic lights in Antananarivo so mayhem traffic (mostly old Renault cars from the 70s!) that just seems to work occasionally being directed by a policeman with a "Gendarmerie" emblazoned jacket. The capital has spread out and seems built around rice paddies with the city centre having a tiny exquisite patisserie shop right next to the open-air butcher - it was an eye-opener! The people we saw were charming, very poor but with an incredible sense of community and subsistence farming (both agriculture and fishing) is a way of life for many. They have many traditions, superstitions and things that are taboo, known as fady, and we enjoyed learning about this fascinating culture so different from our own. kids

farming gold panning
gold panning


And finally the creature we most wanted to see - the tiny Giraffe-necked Weevil!

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Kuyimba Trading

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