The Vakôna Forest Lodge close to Andasibe provides not only accommodation, but also a tour of its private reserve. We arrived here, in east-central Madagascar, after a three-hour drive from Antananarivo. We were eager to explore the reserve and have some fun.
Day 9 on Madagascar: Vakôna Private Reserve
The rustic main lodge that hosted the restaurant sat on a small lake surrounded by beautiful gardens and many individual bungalows, the primary growth forest of Andasibe National Park serving as a spectacular backdrop.
One of the bungalows became our accommodation for a night and a base for our walks in the nearby national park.
We started our exploration of the reserve after lunch with a visit to “Lemur Island.”
This place was only a few-minutes drive from the lodge and was accessible only by canoe. It is a grouping of four man-made islands, on which a number of lemurs are prepared for return to the wild. You can only walk on one of them, and that is where a variety of lemurs (common brown, black-and-white ruffed, and gray bamboo lemur) were jumping all over us, landing on our shoulder and head, and playing with our hair.
Paddling past the second island, we spotted more common brown and diademed sifakas.
When we reached the third, our guide told us that we could expect a visit from the ring-tail lemurs. And, yes! They jumped eagerly in the canoe and licked Steve’s baseball hat enjoying the salty sweat in it.
After visiting with the lemurs, we continued walking through the reserve, seeing the crocodile farm and the famous fossa, Madagascar’s biggest carnivorous animal. It’s very rare in the wild now, but here was one safely behind a fence.
We concluded the day with a short guided night walk at the close by Mitsinjo Reserve. Walking carefully on the slippery ground under the light of our headlamps, we saw a satanic leaf-tailed gecko, a boophis tree frog, and an eastern woolly lemur.
The next day, we were ready to meet the famous Indri Indri. Stay with me for the next post about it.