Getting lost in the dark forest

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There are many places on Madagascar you can go out and spot the wildlife after dark – but most places you just walk next on a trail or road next to a forest or national park. But here in Kirindy you actually walk inside the forest in the national park.

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We meet our guide at the hall where most of the staff have gathered around the television which is only on because they switch on the generator one hour early so the staff could actually follow the world cup which is screening one of the play off matches. It is almost dark but our guide tells us to wait a little bit longer so it will be completely dark. Since the nocturnal lemurs will not be out yet. So we wait while he have a little more of a look at the match. After a little wait we leave the television and find our driver to actually drive even deeper into the forest which is really dark by now.

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Smallest primate in the world

We drive slowly down the pitch dark road for maybe five minutes and then we are ready to walk into the forest. The car has got the lights on – but it doesn’t take long before we cannot see the lights from within the forest. Now we walk along quite trails and without a guide we clearly wouldn’t spot any lemurs – and it would probably take us a while getting back to the track and the car.

After a little walk we spot a tiny lemur – the Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur. It isn’t just a tiny lemur it is actually the smallest primate in the world. It is pretty high up in a tree but the guide’s torch is pretty good and we got decent light so we can see the lemur and try to take pictures of it.

We continue the walk in the dark and soon we spot – well the guide spot – another lemur. This time it is much bigger – it is actually the biggest nocturnal lemur in the park. It is the red-tailed sportive lemur. It is a bit shy – or it just doesn’t like the torch so it keeps hiding behind a branch and we can’t really get a good photo of the lemur even though it is much bigger than the last one.

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We continue the journey around the park and see a couple of more nocturnal lemur species up in the trees trying to get photos in the dark. Then it is time to head back towards the car on the track leading back to camp. The trails are marked but we are pretty lost and without a guide it would have taken ages to get back to the car. Fortunately the guide has spent long time learning about the national park – the wildlife and how not to get lost on the trails. So we get back to the car easily without strange turns indicating we had gotten lost. We drive back and then it is time to search for a restaurant. The search doesn’t take long since there is only one restaurant for miles around. So even though the prices are steep we eat at this place.

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