The first of the National Parks we visited was Ankarana, about 120 km to the west of the town of Diego Suarez. This park is home to several species of lemur as well as plenty of reptiles, some of which, like the snakes, I was not particularly eager to see. Here you can also see the unique eroded limestone towers known as ‘tsingy’.
A green lizard basking in the sun at the Visitor’s Centre on the way into the park, as though showing us what was in store.
The stone marker at the entrance to the park.
We spot our first lemur – a crested lemur. I was amazed at how long their tails were – perfect for balance of course.
And from another angle.
Deeper into the forest, we spied one curled up and watching us from the crux of a tree.
And then we came across the vast stretch of tsingi, the sharp angles and striations looking unreal in the middle of the forest.
On the right, our excellent guide, Vy, who accompanied us on all our adventures and on the left the knowledgeable Angelin,
the local guide for Ankarana and Amber Mountain, which will be the subject of the next blog.
A closer view of the tsingi.
I climbed a bit higher above a river and could really see the tsingi up close. Looks like they have been fashioned by prehistoric man carving out tools and arrowheads. But in fact, they are ancient corals uplifted from the seabed millennia ago.
In another part of the forest, Angelin showed us the flowers of the baobab tree, many of which were strewn on the forest floor.
High above, the flowers were bright against the blue sky.
Nearer to the ground were other, smaller bright flowers.
And if you kept your eyes peeled, you could spot pretty little lizards sunning themselves on rotting logs or stones.
A sandford brown lemur perched high on a tree trunk.
And another I would never have spotted on my own, this one pointed out by Angelin.
A sleepy or wary looking crested lemur with others of its family behind.
A baby clings to its mother’s back. Sorry, it’s a little out of focus, but cute anyway.
Another beautiful green lizard climbs a tree trunk.
A sandford brown lemur casually reclines on a branch high in the trees.
Even higher in the leafy canopy, another sandford brown climbs to feed on the leaves.
My favourite lemur photo of the day – two crested lemurs back to back with their tails curled over their shoulders.
And last but not least for the day, on the way back to the hotel, we were chatting casually when our eagle-eyed guide Angelin spotted a chameleon on the roadside. We climbed down and it posed for us, eyes going every which way.
A bright green and brown striped chameleon poses for us on a branch, it’s tail curled above.
The next story will be about our day in the rainforest at Amber Mountain National Park, just an hour’s drive away from Diego Suarez, so not such an arduous day of travelling. More interesting fauna and flora.