Tuesday, June 28, 2011


This short trip started with a lonnnng taxi-brousse ride...16 hours to be exact through the night to Morondava, a little town on the west coast. Even though the journey was long, driving in at sunrise with the Mozambique Channel's waves hitting the long stretch of white flour-fine sandy beach for the first time made it worth the ride! After a short little jaunt from the taxi station in a deux chevaux (two horse-power) taxi, we pulled into Chez Maggie and enjoyed a nice long nap.

The beach was so peaceful, scattered with men preparing their outrigger canoes, propagule seeds from the nearby mangroves, sand dollars, &fishermen. Before dinner, we ran into an American guy named David (who worked in Antarctica with a good friend of mine and has a sister working in Korea and another living in Santa Barbara), had a fabulous dinner of fresh jumbo prawns & fish, & planned our trip to Alley of the Baobabs & Kirindy Forest.
Baobab Alley:
The baobabs are such a stunning site! We could not get enough these other-worldly trees, towering like mythical sentinels, a humbling experience to stand beneath them. Sadly, it is only for a couple hundred yards that the density is such that you are flanked on both sides by the awe-inspiring specimens. There are baobabs scattered throughout Madagascar, but the baobab forests no longer exist and even those which are left face an uncertain future due to human-induced threats.

Kirindy Forest:
A primary dry-deciduous forest with a plethora of flora and fauna! With our trusted guide, Christian, we went on two tours through the dense forest by day and one by night. We saw a myriad of magnificent creatures, among them being the feigned predator, the fossa, 5 lemur species (red-fronted, sportive brown, grey mouse, fork-marked, and the shifaka), some beautiful endemic birds, a mongoose, skink lizard, and the very rare and surprisingly cute, giant jumping rat (only found in this forest). We arrived back in Antsirabe last night after a 12 hour taxi-be ride from Morondava...the trip only takes around 7 hours in a private vehicle, but the taxi stops around 15-20 times for a combination of police checkpoints and dropping off and picking up new passengers and cargo. Our trip back was particularly entertaining as a few roosters, chickens, and a couple young turkeys were stuffed behind the rear seat, so we had periodic wake-up calls from the agitated roosters and fowl throughout the journey. Oh what a memorable trip with many more stories to share than space permits!

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