The spiny forest that makes up a lot of the southwestern zone is quite possibly one of Madagascar’s most visually distinct habitats. The large (and small) bottle-shaped baobabs, spiny octopus trees, and other species found in Madagascar’s arid, scrubby habitat that make up the “spiny forest” are especially apparent around Ifaty (number 11 on the … Continue reading Ifaty – Madagascar – Finally, The Spiny Forest!
The following morning we headed to Berenty, a private wildlife reserve in southern Madagascar where we had reservations waiting for us in what is a very touristy destination, or well, at least as “touristy” as Madagascar can get. Lemurs are notoriously easy, along with a few birds, so we opted to spend one night to enjoy … Continue reading Madagascar – Berenty – Pied Crow vs Chameleon Showdown (One of the coolest things we’ve ever seen)
If you need to get around in a foreign country using a driver, there are two ways to go about it. You can plan ahead of time and book a driver, usually someone who has driven birders before with a phone number that ends up in subsequent trip reports. Or you can just show up at the airport and wing it. Prior … Continue reading Madagascar – Andohahela – Covered in Leeches and Eating Lychees
Birding in Madagascar is equal parts walking around neat forests and equal parts sitting in a car driving through all of the deforestation to get to those neat forests. When we finished up in Bemanevika, we headed further south to check off a few other well-known Madagascar birding sites. Next on the agenda? Ankarafantsika National … Continue reading Madagascar – Ankarafantsika, Kinkony, & Ampitsopitsoka – Good Birds and Bad Drivers
If you were to stop and think about locations in the world where it is possible to see two different species of birds with a COMBINED population of less than 100 individuals, you probably wouldn't be able to think of many. I know this because we sat down and tried to come up with another … Continue reading Madagascar – Bemanevika – The Best Day of Birding of Our Lives (SERIOUSLY.)
When visiting Madagascar, it is almost essential to hire a driver and vehicle to get around the island. Although you technically could visit everywhere via public transportation, the scarcity of rides in remote areas would involve long waits and very uncomfortable rides (remember Tsingy?) While hiring a private car can often be very expensive, when you … Continue reading Madagascar – Amber Mountain – And Chameleons and Geckos Galore!
Madagascar: A place where you walk finely stamped trails and are shown birds at staked out locations. There is so little forest remaining that the animals are confined to such small areas that birding the country has a zoo-like quality. The birds (and animals) are so used to the presence of humans that they often … Continue reading Madagascar – Andasibe – The Real Life Zoo
Ross and I had planned quite the six-month backpacking/birding extravaganza, spending four months in Indonesia and following that up with a tour around the Indian Ocean Islands. The last stop on our trip was Madagascar, a place we had definitely been looking forward to. Our goal was to spend 35 days in the country and … Continue reading Madagascar – The Tsingy Extension (AKA The WORST Car Ride of Our Lives)
Next on our agenda? Mauritius -- an island in the Indian Ocean home to some of the rarest species in the world. But getting there was a bit easier said than done! When we arrived at the airport in the Seychelles, the check in line for our next flight was basically out the door. Apparently … Continue reading Mauritius – Indian Ocean Islands – Wait, Are We Back In Hawaii??? (And wanted by the Officials?!?)
Although the World Health Organization recommended against it, the Seychelles still implemented a travel ban for anyone entering the country via Madagascar. (In case you missed it, there was a bit of a pneumonic plague situation going on.) Uh oh, I had a layover in Madagascar a few days prior! Luckily my layover in the … Continue reading The Seychelles – Indian Ocean Islands – Living the Dream