Andasibe National Park in eastern Madagascar, is one of the best places to see and hear the indri, the largest lemur on earth. Although we’d seen indri the day before in the “V.O.I.M.M.A. Reserve”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/travel-product/attraction-nature-reserve/193233, it had been at long range.
We met our guide, Dezy, at the park entrance who explained our route using the map board. As at V.O.I.A.A, our hike started with the same style of path made from flat granite stones. Although it looked as though we might be in for a fine day, it began raining heavily, and ponchos were donned.
We passed a fish farm, numerous huge termite mounds and three species of endemic orchids. We then took the “Indri 2 route”, crossed a long wooden bridge and started heading uphill on steps. Our first animal sighting was a group of red fronted brown lemurs high above, which we watched whilst Dezy went ahead scouting for our next sighting.
This was the indri, and although we’d gone off piste, fighting our way through dense bushes, we thought we were all on our own, but soon found ourselves surrounded by around six other groups. We soon discovered that whilst hiking, Dezy would encourage us to go ‘mora mora’ or ‘slowly slowly’ through the undergrowth as we had to keep watching out for tree roots that crossed the path and for low hanging vines. He would then get excited with a new sighting and say, ‘come quickly, quickly’. At one point, Dezy led us slightly away from the group and we had a prime view of an indri on a tree with no leaves around. We also heard the incredible wail of the indri which was amazing.
To see the Sifaka we had to climb up many steep steps, but again we went mora mora and Dezy kept stopping and telling us various tales to distract me from the climb. One of these was the story of Babakota – a small boy called Kota who climbed a tree to get honey, where he got stung by bees. His crying attracted the indri who brought him down and so now Malagasy people think the indri is the father of them – hence Babakota.
Dezy had his laser green pointing pen which was invaluable in tracing a line of where things were when they were either a long way or high up. We eventually spotted the large golden Diadem Sifaka high up and watched them eating the leaves and swinging from the trees.
It was then a long climb down putting pressure on toes and knees, but eventually we came out next to the Lac Vert, crossed a bridge and then walked along the side of the river, where we saw gum trees that had been brought over from Asia.
After walking 10km in 4.5 hours, we finished our visit by looking around an exhibition hall where we learned more about the park and the indri and sifaka.