When we last left our heroes, they were stuck in another Malagasy town…
Another long afternoon waiting while our guide and ground agent attempted to sort out our transportation options, but at least this time in an open air restaurant near the ocean, so it wasn’t too awful hot. We need to get 500 kilometers to the capitol and pick up our bus for the next part of the trip – a driving expedition of eastern rain forests. At about 3 pm our guide JJ came running in and said, “Let’s go”! Because “Air We May Not Ever Fly Again” couldn’t guarantee a flight the following day we were driving in our two SUVs all the way to Tana. Off we went on a very rural road into the waning afternoon light. Our drivers know this country and made great time. But late in the evening, in some tiny village way off the beaten path, we were stopped at a routine road block by the national police. A quick conversation ensued between our driver and the big dude with the gun. We aren’t going anywhere, the road is closed. No idea why. And we waited, and waited. Six hours smashed in a cramped car trying to catch a few winks… Finally at 3 am we were let go and drove the final two hours to the city of Antsirabe where we checked into a hotel for a couple hours sleep and some breakfast.
Then we were off again, road weary but still moving, to the capital. We got our new bus and continued on to Andasibe and two close-by national parks in the rainforest. It was nice to be back on schedule and using only ground transportation for over a week. We visited both parks – Mantadia and Analamazaotra – adding bunches of new birds and mammals. This is Ground-roller country and we finally got our first of the family, a Scaly Ground-roller. Ground-rollers are a lot like pittas of the tropics, skulkers of the deep forest. It took a while to see the bird and we only got fleeting glimpses, but it was enough. Very cool! We also saw another member of the Asity family, a Velvet Asity, which was amazingly beautiful. We got our first views of Indri, the largest living Lemur. And boy can they howl!
|Black and White Ruffed Lemur|
|Red Spotted Bright-eyed Frog|
|Green Bright-eyed Frog|
|Greater Dwarf Lemur|
|Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher|
We are heading south now to Ranomafana National Park for a few days. You can’t believe how nice it is to just be touring again…