Madagascar by the numbers
As we get ready to leave the land of lemurs, here’s a look back at our travels in Madagascar:
- 16 – days we traveled around the country, five of which we spent honeymooning in the private Anjajavy reserve.
- 3818 – pictures we took, many of which are blurry, out-of-focus attempts at capturing sifakas mid-jump.
- 1450 – kilometers of route nationale we traversed, including all 100km of RN3 from Tana to Anjozorobe and the entire RN7, which stretches for nearly 1,000km from Tana to Tulear and is the only well-paved road in the south of Madagascar. This does not include the off-roading we did to access many of the places we visited.
- 30 – we don’t have a precise count, but this represents our best estimate of how many times D spontaneously burst out with the chorus to “Karma Chameleon,” only half those times when we actually saw chameleons. The fact that the song was playing in the taxi during our ride to the airport might be to blame for this. In addition to lemurs, Madagascar is famed for its reptiles. We saw half a dozen different chameleon species, ranging from pinky-sized ones to others that measured two feet from head to tail.
- 14 – varieties of lemurs we saw. This represents only a fraction of the 100+ distinct taxa, but we did a lot better if one considers just the main archetypes. The five lemur families are broken down into fifteen genera, of which we saw eight, including all the diurnal ones. In the daytime, we found indris, sifakas (white-and-brown Coquerel’s, orange-and-white diademed, and black-and-white Milne-Edwards’), true lemurs (common brown and red-fronted brown), ruffed lemurs, ring-tails, bamboo lemurs, and the nocturnal woolly lemurs. At night, we saw sportive lemurs and the diminutive mouse lemurs (there are 18 different mouse lemurs that have been identified throughout Madagascar and how to tell these tiny, shy, and sprightly creatures apart is anyone’s guess; location is usually the best indicator and we’ve been told that we saw the grey, golden brown, and rufous varieties on our several night walks in various parts of the country).
- 9 – different animals we’ve consumed. For a while, it was a dead heat between this number and the one above, but our visit to Andasibe helped put some daylight between how many exotic animals we saw in the wild vs. on our plates. Excluding fish and various kinds of seafood, we’ve been served zebu, pork, lamb, chicken, duck, quail, rabbit, bat, and frog.
- 5 – flights we’ve taken thus far, including one on an 8-seater Cessna that is the largest plane in the MTA fleet, the private airline that flies to Anjajavy. On the way back, the 8-seater was unavailable, which left us stranded in paradise for a few extra hours before returning to Tana in a private, 2-seater Cessna 206 belonging to French filmmaker Charles Gassot after it had deposited the hotel’s creator on the tiny dirt airstrip of Anjajavy International Airport.
- 3 – National Parks: we visited Andasibe, Ranomafana, and Isalo. Our hike in Tsara was in the Andringitra Mountains but did not cross into the national park. The primary forest around Anjozorobe remains unprotected though it might someday become developed enough to merit national park status.
- 2 – time zones we’ve been in, though one of them was the somewhat dubious Anjajavy time invented by the hotel barely ten years ago.
- And the most important number: this was one perfect and very memorable way to start our anniversary-moon.