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Digital Subscriptions > Travel Africa > October-December 16 (76) > Looking for lemurs

Looking for lemurs

The rarely visited south-eastern corner of Madagascar is a hidden utopia for wildlife lovers. With more of the world’s rarest species than you can shake a stick at, fascinating culture and a spectacular Indian Ocean coastline, there is much to discover

It’s hard to tread softly when the path is strewn with tamarind pods. As we scrunch through the gallery forest beside the Mandrare River in the still, dry heat of late morning, I wince a little with every step. We’ve travelled thousands of miles to one of the remotest corners of southern Madagascar, to learn a little about local culture and search for some of the world’s rarest species. The last thing we want to do is scare all the wildlife away.

Baobab trees in a sisal plantation near Ifotaka in the Androy region

I’m beginning to wish we’d played it safe with some easy-going birdwatching back at the lodge, cool drink in hand, when, suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I catch a fl ash of black and white. It’s long, furry, stripy and utterly unmistakable. “Ringtails!” I gasp, amazed that the local forest warden ahead of us hasn’t seen them first, then realising that he has — but has been kind enough to let us spot them for ourselves. Four round amber eyes meet mine. I’m being scrutinised by a female ring-tailed lemur with a perfect miniature of herself on her back. The pair has paused in the low crook of a tree, close enough for me to see every whisker. Other ring-tails sidle up, fl inging their tails over their shoulders like divas fluffing their feather boas. They don’t appear particularly fearful. In fact, they seem almost as interested in us as we are in them.

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About Travel Africa

Transfixed by Ethiopia • Lake Kariba • Kolmanskop, Namibia's ghost town • South Africa on a shoestring • Looking for lemurs in Madagascar • Kenya's keepers of the wild • Why Bengweulu is so bewitching • Remote Ruaha • Sail away to St Helena • Chimps in Uganda • Picture-perfect Tuli... and much more!