Madagascar

Island of all the mysteries, land of exception, an endemism in reprieve ...

In order not to hide anything, the choice of my year of License in Reunion was not insignificant, I had sworn to pass through Madagascar, only a few hours flight from Reunion Island! I wanted for nothing in the world to miss this place which abounds of creatures stranger one than the others.

We are in 2015, the end of the year is approaching, 6 months that I am in Reunion. The exams are also approaching with great pace, it is at this moment that I learn – for my biggest happiness – that the Christmas holidays in Reunion Island last 2 months (anticyclonic season obliges!). So the timing is all there, here I am every night, sending emails looking for someone lacking manpower to carry out a herpetological project on the island. Needless to say, here I am writing a mail to Devin Edmonds, a person of kindness that can not be described, a few mails later, here I am a future volunteer in Mitsinjo in the Region of Andasibe ( in the East not far from the capital).

At the beginning of December, D-Day arrives, here I am again on the road for the adventure, a little detour by Mauritius and here I am in unknown land, Antananarivo …. !

This was undoubtedly my most exotic trip. Here we are, far from European metropolises, finished in Paris, Berlin, Vienna or even Athens. Here I am in a country with a culture and way of life very different from what I am used to !

After spending two nights on the capital, I left for Andasibe. Bush taxis are truly an experience to be passed through Madagascar. The atmosphere is direct! Arrived on the spot, the next day, I meet Devin Edmonds, who talks to me about these projects, what he does on the spot (despite an English more than approximate dialogue is possible). On the same day I met Carl, a Ph.D. student in Kansas, and he was doing his thesis on the island. I’ve always heard that on a trip it’s not the destination but the road that counts, that’s exactly what happened! I had to help the Mitsinjo Reserve and eventually found myself on my way to the Adventure with Carl and his team (Shea, Kerry and Ginah) looking for frogs, snakes and chameleons in the Andasibe Region

Here we are to barouder, forests in swamps, swamps in mountains, mountains in rice fields …. We talk a lot about the Orang-Outans on the island of Borneo but seeing the indri indri in situ (outside the parks because semi-tame) it also has its small effect and all this is only the part of the iceberg . The real happiness is to share moments of life with the Malagasy, we carry out missions of several days in the forest (sometimes more than a week). Life is rudimentary but one returns to the essential values, far from our French extravagances.

Concerning the fauna, and more specifically the herpetofauna, well it must be said that despite a forest more than reduced by the anthropic activities, there is life! Sometimes you have to walk for hours, but it’s worth it. In the tropical zone, the species show amazing adaptations, gigantism, dwarfism, mimicry, aposmatism, it is in these moments that one realizes the beauty that surrounds us.

A huge thank you to Devin, Carl, Shea, Kerry and Ginah for having made me share their adventure, I write these few lines on December 15, a year ago day by day I was in Madagascar, nostalgia watch me ….

Un énorme merci à Devin, Carl, Shea, Kerry et Ginah pour m’avoir fait partager leur aventure, j’écris ces quelques lignes le 15 décembre, il y a un an jour pour jour j’étais en vadrouille à Madagascar, la nostalgie me guette ….