The first real wildlife excursion was to be anocturnal jaunt near to the Andasibe Hotel, but the morning journey from Tana
was punctuated by a stop at a "reserve" for reptiles. This was
predictably a mini zoo, but it has to be admitted that seeing chameleons at
very close quarters was something of a treat. They even had a couple of snakes
to keep me happy.
The real business began with the nocturnal walk -
an hour or so with the guide who was to be with us for the duration of our stay
in this area. We were all loaded up with torches, and searched through the
forest. Her skills at locating wildlife were excellent, shown by the first find
of a tiny Short-horned Chameleon perched at the end of a branch over the path.
This was quickly followed by a Boophis
Tree Frog, and then the small and nippy Goodman's Mouse Lemur. Picked up by eye
shine, it was difficult to pin down at first, but then was followed as it
zipped up and down tree trunks. Another Chameleon, a Nose-horned, followed
shortly after, pale in colour for evening wear and with tail tucked in a tight
spiral. A second species of Tree Frog was also found, although a calling
Madagascar Scops Owl was just too far into the depth of the forest for any hope
of a view. Aside from the wildlife, the still in the air, apart from the sounds
of some of the nocturnal inhabitants, such as Scops Owl, was noticeable, and
the number of stars in the light free sky seemed so many more than back home.