Madagascar diary, day 4. July 31, 2010

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Today we are getting up early to make our 7:30 appointment with the guide. A quick breakfast in the restaurant starts our day. The weather is as beautiful as it was yesterday: dry in the rainforest. Our day starts with a 30 minute drive to the entrance of the national park. In the park, Abraham leads us along the "Indri 2" tour that is labeled as mildly exercising. The total size of the park is 800ha, the tour takes us along a 4km trail. We get some explanations of the plants, some of which have traditional medicinal uses. The guide also points to a 1cm diameter pallisander tree of about 50cm height, which he guesses to be about 20 years old. The first lemur we come across is a sleeping nocturnal animal, a bit later we find some eating ones in a group.

There are many groups of tourists taking pictures here. A bit further down in the park, close to their territorial boundary, we come across a group of 4 indri-indri lemurs, sitting and eating high up in the trees. These are the largest living lemurs in Madagascar. Because it is such great weather, we have good occasions to take pictures. While we are watching the group, they burst out in their well-known communicative sounds.... a very loud and unforgettable experience.

Along the tour we also meet some smaller animals, a very small frog (1 cm) , a small gecko that hides in a plant, a wild bees nest, and several bird species among which the king of the jungle with its strange hairdo. We arrive back at the hotel, where we have an early lunch at 12:00. After lunch and a quick siesta we take a quiet reading afternoon, while Maxim and our guide take another trip to the lemur island. By this time it rains and pours. When Maxim comes back soaked at around 16:00, he comes with stories of the ring-tailed lemurs they visited on another island, and that he also has been able to feed some pieces of banana. The four of us drink coffee and hot chocolate. Maxim then goes for a hot shower. After some more quiet reading, a good meal in the restaurant completes the day. We go to bed early again to be fresh tomorrow, packed to leave at 8:00.

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