At September 15th, 2002 we flew to Antanarivo, the capital of Madagascar, from where we flew the following day to Maroantsetra, at the North-East coast of Madagascar. It gave us a start when we flew over an hour over completely deforested mountains, absolutely nothing was growing there. We had heard about the heavy deforestation, but that it would be so extreme, we did not expect. On television we had seen many documentaries about the beautiful rainforests of Madagascar. But the first National Park we visited, Nosy Mangabe, was a real winner, a very beautiful small island in the bay of Maroantsetra. The white-fronted brown lemur was giving us a hearty welcome when we came ashore, although from a little distance. You also saw straight ahead several kinds of lizards, especially the little phelsumas stroke us. We had a local guide, who showed us so much, he had to point us out the first leaf-tailed geckos and brookesias, we really overlooked them, they are camouflaged quite well. But a little later, we knew where to look and we found several lizards, geckos, skinks, frogs before the guide. He was amazed that we were so much interested in reptiles and amphibians, and that we often saw them before he saw them, the most tourist were only interested in the lemurs and birds. Although he had a good eye for them, he hardly knew anything about them and was hanging at our lips when we told him some more about these reptiles and amphibians. Here you find also the beautiful mantilla laevigata, we saw a quite large group (tens) together at a few square meters.
At the island you also find the black and white ruffed lemur.
After dinner (we had to cook by ourselves at a fire), we went to search the aye-aye, Madagascar’s most well-known nocturnal lemur. Unfortunately the aye-aye is almost extinct, as the local people see them as forerunners of the death and kill them straight away. But at Nosy Mangabe, an inhabited island, where we were allowed to camp, they are starting to increase steadily again. They are hard to find, other nocturnal animals you see quite often, but not the aye-aye. We finely found 2 high up in a large tree, we did not succeed in getting a good picture of them.
We just stayed 2 days at Nosy Mangabe, it was just a spot to acclimatize before we went on a heavy hike. So many animals as we saw here, and where we had all the time to take pictures, we would not have soon again. In the late afternoon we returned to Maroantsetra, where a few boys took us to a place where we could see some tomato frogs. A huge frog compared with the mantellas and other small frogs we had seen just before.