Masoala National Park Madagascar
I can see a soot-coloured black parrot circling overhead. Suddenly, something buzzes my ear. Studies in southeastern Madagascar have even suggested seeds have higher rates of germination and survival after passing through the gut of a flying fox. A hulking fishing boat named Irina sits rusting in the bay.
Exploring Madagascar’s largest national park
Exploring Madagascar’s largest national park by Malee Oot Friday, 21 December Bouncing over a line of assailing waves, our boat speeds away from the riverine town of Maroansetra, bound for Masoala National Park Madagascar lushly forested Masoala Peninsula. Nosy Mangabe clogs the horizon, a perfectly placed puff of cloud lending the hectare islet the appearance of a smouldering volcano. There are currently two ways to get to the national park — by foot or by boat.
Nearly a dozen whale species have been recorded in the sheltered waters — and every year during the austral winter, hordes of migrating humpbacks descend on the bay to mate and give birth. Endangered zebra sharks and great hammerheads frequent the natural harbour, and just like the globe-roving humpbacks, sharks also visit the bay to pup. Lemurs After Lunch After nearly two hours on the water, the motor is cut, and we drift toward our final destination — Hippo Camp Lodge.
Tucked away in a sheltered cove, the palm-roofed bungalows of the lodge are spread along the waters of the Tampolo Marine Protected Area, nestled between the ocean and the terrestrial forests of Masoala National Park.
Once the boat anchors, I wade onto a crescent of beach shaded by leafy cardinal hat trees, branches curving toward the bay. In the distance, lushly vegetated foothills meld into the ocean. I hear the siren song of glass beer bottles clinking ashore as the boat is unloaded, but our park guide Alden wants to get a quick start.
After Masoala National Park Madagascar alfresco lunch, we leave the lodge on a slender footpath paralleling the beach, meandering past a cluster of wooden houses, just steps from the ocean. Beyond the village, terraces of lime-green rice paddies spread to the edge of the forest. Alden spots a tiny tenrec ambling through the grass, her pronounced proboscis scouring the ground. We startle the hedgehog-like creature, and she skitters toward a hulking canarium tree. Inside a cleft in the trunk, she has a litter of thumb-sized offspring cloistered beneath a pile of leaves.
Instantly we are engulfed in lush vegetation. Towering palms spread like showy peacock tails, and braids of lianas dangle from the canopy. On the ground, forest crabs with bright, cherry-red legs peer out from beneath the buttressed tree roots. Alden walks with purpose. There are red-ruffed lemurs nearby. We are looking for one of the rarest primates on the planet.
Critically endangered red-ruffed lemurs are found only in the forests of northeastern Madagascar, mainly on the Masoala Peninsula. A penchant for primary forest and lofty canopy means the prosimians are primarily confined to remaining swathes of intact habitat within Masoala National Park.
As a result of their proclivity for fruit, red-ruffed lemurs fill a critical ecological role in Madagascar — seed dispersal. Somewhat surprisingly, although Madagascar is rich in avifauna, Masoala National Park Madagascar island harbours only a handful of true seed-dispersing birds — meaning lemurs fill this niche, helping to maintain forest diversity and regeneration.
As one of the largest-bodied lemurs remaining on Madagascar, red-ruffed lemurs are ecologically irreplaceable — and have a vital role — spreading sizeable seeds, those too big for smaller lemurs to ingest.
We freeze, listening for Glacier National Park To Great Falls Mt response. I scan the canopy, but all I can hear is the gushing stream up ahead on the trail. As we approach the rushing, rock-studded rivulet, Alden whoops again.
This time, I hear something. We plunge into the icy channel, wading through thigh-deep water, across the slickened Glacier National Park To Great Falls Mt stones.
Activities for everyone !
Masoala is also home to the spectacular day-flying sunset moth, Chrysiridia rhipheus. Studies in southeastern Madagascar have even suggested seeds have higher rates of germination and survival after passing through the gut of a flying fox. A shroud of smoky fog smothers the Antongil Bay.