EASTERN WOOLLY LEMUR
Although this species can be found in all of the protected areas listed above, good places to see it regular tourist circuit are in the Analamazaotra Special Reserve at Andasibe (=Périnet), Ranomafana National Park, and the Mandena Conservation Zone (Fort-Dauphin). A night walk along the road to the entrance of the Analamazaotra Special Reserve will often produce several sightings, as well as views of the other nocturnal lemurs. At both sites, local guides also frequently locate sleeping woolly lemurs in their daytime sleeping sites.
WESTERN WOOLLY LEMUR
Avahi occidentalis is abundant and easily seen at the AMPIJOROA FOREST STATION ANKARAFANTSIKA NATIONAL PARK, about a two-hour drive southeast of Mahajanga. It is visible there at night and also in its daytime sleeping sites, often only a couple of meters above the ground. Other areas in which it occurs are less accessible and off the regular tourist circuit.
SAMBIRANO WOOLLY LEMUR
At this time we have little advice to offer those who wish to view this species in the wild, other than to visit the Manongarivo Special Reserve. As more information becomes available regarding its presence in protected areas and other points on the tourist circuit, it is likely that reliable observation sites will emerge. Those who wish to investigate the area could do so with us. Hotel accommodations are available in Ambanja and Ankify. Another possibility might be to access the “baie de Kakamba” and the village of Marotony on the Ampasindava Peninsula by boat from Nosy Be. However, it is certainly not recommended to first time visitors to Madagascar, as no tourist facilities whatsoever are available.
BEMARAHA WOOLLY LEMUR
At this time, the only place where this species may be seen is the “Tsingy de Bemaraha” National Park and strict nature reserve.
Not only is this lemur one of the most appealing and attractive animals in Madagascar, it is also one of the easiest to see.
Two places to see Verreaux’s sifaka in large impressive stands of Didieraceae bush are at Mangatsiaka and Ihazofotsy at the edge of Parcel 2 of Andohahela National Park and in the region surrounding the Beza-Mahafaly Special Reserve some five to six hours by car east of Tulear. It can also readily be seen in the Kirindy Forest north of Morondava, where some partially habituated groups occur, and it is now routinely seen in the forested canyons of Isalo National Park as well.
The place where it is most readily seen moving bibedally on the ground –« dancing », as it were is Nahampoana Reserve at the 7 km north of Fort-Dauphin.
The best place to view this species in the wild is the Tsingy Bemaraha National Park, where it can be seen quite easily along the main tourist routes. It can also be observed in the Tsimbikibo forest northwest of Mitsinjo, about four hour’s drive from Katsepy (Garbutt, 1999).
The most accessible site for viewing the crowned sifaka is the forest at Antrema below the lighthouse north of Katsepy. This area is readily accessible by ferry (twice daily) or speedboat from Mahajanga.
A visit to katsepy requires two days and a one –night stay, and be arranged from Mahajanga. Katsepy is also a good site for the mongoose lemur (Eulemur mongoz), which is quite easy in this area.
The forests of Anjamena, on the east bank of the Mahavavy River, are also fairly easy to reach, and the prospects are good for wiewing sifakas. Getting to and from the Mahavavy River Delta requires expedition-level preparation and is now being offered by our tour organization, largely for the area’s bird life, but recent reports indicate that substantial numbers of lemurs are also observed during these trips.
The best place to see Coquerel’s sifaka is at the Ampijoroa forestry station located right along the main road that runs through Ankarafantsika National Park. This site can easily be reached from Majunga by car in about two hours, and both campsite and a hotel are present. An alternative site to see this species is the forest around the Anjajavy Hotel, north of Majunga, where sifakas can be found every day right next to the hotel’s bungalow and are fully habituated.
This sifaka is most readily seen in forest south of the town of ANTSAHAMPANO, about 10 km east of Daraina or in the Forests between Daraina and the nearby village of Andranotsimaty (Garbutt,2 002/2003 ).
Trips to the area can be arranged by our tour organization. However, it is best to go in the dry season, since the two hour drive from Vohemar to Daraina in good conditions can turn into five or six hours during the rainy season.
The diademed sifaka was once one of the most difficult lemurs to see in the wild because it occurs at such low densities. However, in recent years, the number of opportunities has increased, with the best place to see it now being Mantadia National Park. Local guides from the Association des guides d’Andasibe have habituated several groups at km 15, and finding them is usually not difficult if accompanied by these experienced guides. This site is located just 15 km north of Andasibe (=Périnet) and can be included in a visit to see the indris at Analamazaotra.
This species may also be seen in the unprotected forests of Maromiza near the Analamazaotra Special Reserve (in which it once was found, but has now been extirpated) and in Amboasary an’ala, east of Anjozorobe.
The best place to see this species is Ranomafana National Park, where it has been studied for several years and where a number of groups are habituated. Finding it is relatively easy with the help of local guides and virtually guaranteed if one devotes two days to the visit. Another excellent site to see this species is the forestry station of Ialatsara located 6 km north of Ambohimahasoa on the main road from Antananarivo to Fianarantsoa. The site has a tented camp frequented by several habituated sifaka groups that are usually easy to observe in the morning.
SILKY SIFAKA or silky simpona
This sifaka, rare and localized as it is, can be found relatively easily in Marojejy National Park. The best area in the park is the southeastern sector on the path to the summit. Visitors need to set aside three nights, the first and last of which can be spent in the camp Mantella, an excellent campsite, and the middle night higher up the mountain in more basic, rudimentary shelters. It should also be noted that there is a four –and –a-half-hour walk from Mananteniana, where vehicles are left, to the park entrance, so a reasonable level of fitness is required to view silky sifaka at this site. Additionally, silky sifaka can be seen in the northwest portion of the park in the direction of Doany.It also possible to see this species in the Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve, and especially in the Befingotra Forest. However, the animals can be found only at high elevations and are very wary. It is also possible to find this species in other parts of Anjanaharibe-Sud, but this is difficult and unreliable(R.Mittermeier,perso.obs.) Anjanaharibe-Sud is located about 15 km southwest of the town of Andapa,but once again,it is a good two to four hour hike in this reserve to reach areas where silky sifaka might be seen.
Seeing this species in the wild is a challenge, but the best opportunities appear to be in the Ankavanana region (Antobiratsy and Ankavanana forests )and the Analabe region of the Analamerana Special Reserve (S.goodman, pers.comm ; E.louis, pers.obs ; R.A.Mittermeier,pers.obs.) and along the Bobankindro River that bisects the reserve, particularly during the months of October and November (Garbutt, 1999).In fact, access to the reserve is challenging at best during the rainy season from December to April. Analamerana itself is not very difficult to reach, the turnoff being located about one hour south of Diego-Suarez on the main highway, and access to the reserve itself taking about another one to three hours depending on the final destination.
The classic site for viewing indri is the Analamazaotra Special Reserve at Andasibe (=Périnet). No trip to Madagascar is complete without a visit there to see this spectacular animal, surely one of the most attractive, appealing and unusual creatures in the animal kingdom. What is more, Andasibe is one of the most accessible sites in Madagascar, and can be easily reached by road from Antananarivo in 2-3 hours.
Ones of the best places to observe indri in the northern part of its range is the Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve, located about 15 km southwest of Andapa. Unlike the Andasibe animals, these are not yet habituated to human presence, so visitors should count on the spending several days to ensure a sighting. They are also common in the Zahamena National Park and the Zahamena Strict Nature Reserve, but these areas are much more difficult to access. The largest indris come from the Marotandrano Special Reserve, but this area is also much more difficult to reach.