Madagascar – September 9th

Today we drove from Bekopaka to Kirindy National Park. We drove back along the same road we came in on. The caravan with the armed guard left at 7:30 this morning. The armed guard was actually in our car today. We wanted to take a picture of him, but you’re not allowed to take pictures of government officials. 

We drove over the bumpy dusty roads and made it to the first river crossing. We crossed without incident and kept going on our drive. The guard actually fell asleep which was impressive that he could sleep with the bumpiness of the roads. 

A couple hours into the drive, we started to hear the hiss of air escaping and we knew we had a flat tire. Luckily we were in the caravan and everyone got out to help us change the tire. It was really cool to see how all of the guides/drivers helped each other out. One of them said, that they have to help each other because one day it might be their turn to need help.

Flat tire

Rado made quick work of it, and the tire was changed within 15 minutes. However, the car wouldn’t start after we got the tire changed. Luckily, it was a manual, so we did a rolling start and were on our way. 

Rado, our guide, getting the spare tire

Right before the second river crossing, we stopped for lunch and dropped off our armed guard. We breathed a sigh of relief as we made it through this territory without any robbery incidents. Lol. 

Rado also stopped to get the flat tired patched at a local shop. It was quite interesting to watch them fix the tire without any modern equipment. They basically glued a patch on the inside of the tire. It passed the water test without any bubbles, so we called it good.

Rado and the mechanic fixing the tire
Some kids gathered around as we waited for the tire to get fixed

After lunch, we arrived at the second river crossing and drove onto the ferry with perfect timing. We drove straight on the ferry when we got there, and were the last car so we left immediately. The ride across the river was longer because we had to go upstream quite a ways.

When we tried to dock, there were several ferries that were also trying to dock and a ferry that was trying to leave. The wind was blowing and the drivers didn’t have as good of control over the ferries. We ended up colliding with another one of the ferries, but at such slow speeds, there was no damage, and we were able to dock and drive on toward our destination. We got a kick out of saying we were in a boat crash though. 

After the second ferry, we had about an hour drive to our camp for the night. We arrived at Kirindy at around 3:30 pm. We checked into our bungalow and relaxed for a couple hours before our night hike.

Kirindy National Park is known for its cat-like animals called fosas. We were told to make sure all of our windows and doors were closed well tonight because the fosas will come in to look for food. They have been known to attack humans and they tend to like females for some reason.

While we were relaxing at the restaurant, what started strolling through camp but a fosa. We followed it through camp as it got a drink of water from a tub and opened some cupboards to look for food. Fosas are native to Madagascar and aren’t found anywhere else, so we were excited to see one. A second female stilled through camp a short time later. 

We did a two hour night hike and saw some more lemurs. Our guide didn’t speak much English, so it was a little hard to get information from her and the actual lemur species names are still a bit of a mystery, but we know we saw a lot of grey mouse lemurs. 

Grey mouse lemur – has a collar on for research done in the Reserve

After our night hike, we turned in for the night. Just as we were falling asleep, we heard the creek of the bathroom door. Confused, Jay turned on a light to find a grey mouse lemur in our room. The lemur had crawled in through the gap between the roof and and wall. We enjoyed watching him for awhile and eventually shoed him outside. We also had a gecko and a frog in our room so it was quite the nature experience. 

Grey mouse lemur paying us a visit in our room

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