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Bug-Eyed Over Lemurs!

Ranomafana: The Great Lemur Chase

Kasey-Dee Gardner

The road to RanomafanaI don’t know if we’ve woken up early because of jet lag or excitement, but the sun is just rising over Madagascar, and our trip to Ranomafana National Park is already under way. We’re on a 10-hour, windy drive with Tov, our driver, from here in Antananarivo to Ranomafana National Park.

Ranomafana was was set aside as a national park in 1991 to save the habitat of the Golden Bamboo Lemur and the Greater Bamboo Lemur, two critically endangered lemur species. So Ranomafana’s 100,000 acres are one of the best places to catch a glimpse of about a dozen lemur species.

On the way to Ranomafana

We arrive in the park at nightfall and arrange an all-day hike with a local guide, Diamondra, and his lemur-scouting apprentice, Silestra. Taking a guide is mandatory. (In any case, we’d never be able to find any lemurs on our own.)

Then we settle into our bungalow, which is already occupied by droves of mosquitoes and frogs. Our first of four hikes kicks off early in the morning, so it’s best to rest up and tuck tight under the mosquito nets, because it’s guaranteed to be a long day tomorrow looking for lemurs.

Photos: Dan Plimpton