On our way to the Iharana Bush Camp, in the north of Madagascar, we visited Ankarana National Park.
Having collected a local guide, Simon, we drove to a small car park and began walking along a flat, even track where we quickly saw a sign telling us the distance to the sinkhole was 350m. Two rivers flow into the huge circular hole and during the rainy season, it floods making it very dangerous. I kept well away from the edge, but a Dutch chap was laid on the floor hanging over the edge trying to photograph a snake at the bottom. Just behind the hole was what looked like a Greek amphitheatre cut into the rock.
We marched on, along a path through the shaded trees and saw a white flatid leaf bug or Phromnica rosea which starts life as powder, moves on to a little flower-like animal before turning into a pink coloured butterfly although it’s not a butterfly!
We then ‘saw’ the brown lemur, but it looked like a blob in the tree. Simon kept going on a recce ahead, telling us to wait on the path until he’d checked if there was anything to view. Eventually we came across the Sandford’s brown lemur, which we’d not see before.
We turned off on a path directing us to the viewing area for the tsingy (limestone pinnacles) and found a sleeping Ankarana sportive lemur which are endemic to the park: they are known as sportive as they can leap further than diurnal lemurs. Unfortunately, we only saw it with our eyes, as it disappeared into a hole before we could get the cameras ready.
The viewing platform gave us good view of the sea of tsingy with Simon telling us his story of where the name tsingy comes from. They are many and varied as all guides have their own. Suffice to say the Malagasy people do not call them tsingy so Google may be a better bet for the truth!
We retraced our steps, spotting various birds and crowned lemur both in the trees and on the ground. At the point where we’d earlier turned off for the tsingy, we took a different route back via a dry river bed, which we crossed on large stones that the torrents had deposited in the wet season.
This was a hot day, but the walking was relatively easy and we were able to tick off two more species of lemur.