ChamEO Madagascar Expedition 2017 | Part V

Day 6-7: Exploring Andasibe and Vakona Lodge

By the time we arrived in Andasibe it was utterly dark outside but early enough for a pre-dinner herping walk with our flashlights in hand. Our bus left us on a stretch of road where we met up with our three tour guides for the evening, two men and one woman, who scanned the trees and bushes for chameleons as we walked through the rain. Soaked completely through and sans my camera (I wasn't going to risk getting my equipment wet for mediocre nighttime photos), I walked briskly the length of the road just trying not to step and kill all the little frogs on the asphalt, who were emboldened by the rain and were busy socializing underfoot. 

Dinner and bedtime followed, but the next morning we were able to appreciate the area's natural beauty. Much more misty rainforest than any of the areas we'd seen so far, it truly felt like being in the tropics now. 

ChamEO Madagascar Expedition 2017 | Part IV


Day 5: Leave Ranomafana, Head Towards Andasibe

On this morning we awoke early, despite having arrived back at the hotel room after 1 am, following our rum-and-coke-excursion along the roads of the town looking for herps. But at the crack of dawn we were up again, fed, and loaded ourselves up onto the bus. The following three photos are from the previous afternoon but I'm going to cheat a little! Eager children bathing in the river begged Evan and Melissa for their coke and sweets, and were thrilled to get something sugary as if they weren't hyper enough! Mothers internationally love us.

ChamEO Madagascar Expedition 2017 | Part III

Day 4: Ranomafana National Park and Arboretum

By now I was feeling much better; the fever was essentially gone, all that remained was a cough and some fatigue. Nothing that was going to keep me from participating in as many of the day's activities as possible! This was going to be our first serious hike through jungle so we loaded the bus early in the morning after breakfast and headed up towards the Ranomafana National Park, only a handful of miles from our hotel. 

A quick note here about the coffee in Madagascar... I don't ask for much, I really don't. I think I'm an easy traveler. However, the coffee everywhere in this country was really, honestly, pretty terrible. I certainly don't profess to know why, but after four days of drinking just the minimum amount of dark brown liquid that passed itself as coffee in order to function, I was really craving a good Cuban cafe con leche pick-me-up. So consider yourself, warned; it's not the mosquitoes and diseases that you should be worried about, it's the abysmal coffee. 

Along the road, a major highway (believe it or not), we saw drives of zebu cattle making their way in from the coast. It's a 40-day walk, and the herders make the entire journey on foot beside their animals. We didn't have a single steak or piece of beef all trip that wasn't zebu meat, and clearly it's the livestock of choice across the country. 
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