Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Anja Community Reserve

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We didn't see Ring-tailed lemurs until we reached Anja Reserve, in southern Madagascar.  Well, we saw them in the Singapore zoo; they are one of the few lemurs that thrives in captivity, and the most common lemur found in zoos.  Anja is located at the base of this massive rock formation.  We spent a few hours there in the afternoon, after visiting Sidexam Tea’s factory, and before we reached our last destination, Isalo.

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This lemur got distracted by something mid-scratch, and just sat there with his foot in the air.  They were definitely curious about us, but were definitely wild; they kept a moderate distance on the ground, though in the trees, they were much more confident of their agility, and would jump right past us, on their way to a guava they’d spotted.

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Most of the Reserve looked like this; large jumbled rocks with trees and shrubs growing among them.  We wove around and over the rocks on a circuit path.

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We spent most of our time in this patch of trees, watching a troop bound around and over us, foraging and calling to each other.  They sounded a little plaintive to us.  Aside from the Indri Indri, they were some of the most talkative lemurs we heard.

The ticking sound is the image stabilizer in my lens—apologies.
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They are also one of the few lemurs we saw spend very much time on the ground; apparently they spend a third of their time there.

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This chameleon’s tail is pretty obvious from the side, but from above, where it’s usual predators are, it blends in very well.  We hiked on through a slot canyon at the base of the massive granite hill above Anja; it was very pretty, though there was  little visible wildlife.

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We ate lunch at the Reserve, and then drove on towards Isalo, through some rocky hills and tiered rice fields, and then down into the plains of southern Madagascar.  This was some of the most beautiful landscape we saw in our whole time there, and it’s color palate all rusty red dirt, golden grass, and brilliant green rice fields. 

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And the skies there reminded us so much of the West, vivid with clouds and tall grasses.  We were somewhere completely and utterly distant from our own countryside, and yet we felt it within us.

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The plains were strikingly beautiful in the late afternoon light, and we were treated to a spectacular sunset as we got closer to Isalo.  We knew our time in here was winding down; there would be only one more day of wildlife, and then a travel day before we flew to Egypt.  We hoped our final day would be the spectacular sunset to our time in Madagascar.

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