7 February 2016

lemur free

T R A V E L || Madagascar 2015

What do you normally do when you travel somewhere? Most people would say: make a list of the things I have to see and then go see them. Whenever Madagascar is brought up as a destination, most conversations usually turn to either lemurs or vanilla, oh and that children's film [I'm sure you've heard of it] - unsurprising, given they are the most pushed images of the country. So when I say I went to Madagascar and saw zero lemurs [this was a jungle free trip], the way people react makes me smile. I've seen lemurs before, I love them to bits but sometimes other animals from Madagascar should get the spotlight, you know what I mean? The beauty of this particular destination is that it has been a relatively isolated island for around 88 million years and as a result about 90% of its plant and animal species are endemic [i.e. found nowhere else, lemurs included of course]. Evolution is fascinating, and I get it - lemurs are pretty awesome, and very cute - but let's just take a moment to hero their sidekicks.

garden dwellers. //

These three were just hanging out in our and friends' gardens; [1] hard to spot at first but this little cameleon was just hanging out on the tree branches as if it was playing hide and seek with us, [2] this little red fellow made me realise that I don't really like pigeons, would rather hang with this guy in Trafalgar square, [3] though not the most colourful that I met, this butterfly was just loving showing off its big wings amongst our flowers.

small but powerful. //

Insects are a real part of adventuring in Madagascar. Sometimes they are pretty, sometimes they are a little creepy but they all have one thing in common: they are all small. Each playing a role in their own little ecosystems, these guys just like to hang out and go about their own business. [1] the prettiest golden dragonfly I'd seen yet, [2] bright green grasshoppers are the one, [3] leaf insects just doing what they need to do in the nature, [4] red dragonflies camouflaging themselves into the red earth, [5] these moth-like creatures who love eucalyptus trees made a humming noise all day and all night to reassure us that predators were at bay.

saving champion horses. //

During my break, we visited a family friend's ranch deep in the countryside which was a pretty special place. A few years ago after discovering that champion horses were often sent to the slaughters once their racing-days were over, the owners decided to save them - re-housing the horses in Madagascar, looking after them and providing horse-loving adventurers the opportunity to explore the country on weekly / monthly guided tours with these beauties.

closer to home. //

A lot of Malagasy are fortunate enough to own a little bit of outdoor space - and whatever the size, it's not surprising to find a whole host of relatively more domesticated animals; [1] get-out-of-my-house geese are super useful for both producing delicious eggs for breakfast but also as an automatic house alarm system, [2] cows or zebu are a core part of many households providing milk but also the strength to plough the lands for that good good rice and leading carts to the market, [3] goats and turkeys have also formed strong relationships so everyone can save space for housing all the pets [4] dogs are also useful for protecting the household, but maybe not so much when they are the size of your thumb and all they care about is stealing milk from a bucket, [5] breeding ducklings so that everyone can make more eggs to sell is a no brainer, even if they think sheltering under a car is the safest chill-out zone.

tiger & tchip. //

But if you don't own a farm in the middle of the nowhere-countryside, a dog is definitely your best friend - especially if you're city-living [oh those bright lights]. These are two of my besties, just hanging out by the gate, catching some rays, waiting for their second lunch or something. Cuties.

\\ more of my Madagascar travel diaries, not all involving animals //

the red island. an introduction to red island life
i love rice. for the foodies or just pure peckish
that market life. all about shopping island style


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