Thursday, October 12, 2000
If you have ever seen a documentary on Madagascar, there is a 95% chance that it was about lemurs, those small ring-tailed monkeys. Not all of them are ring-tailed and, in fact, the ones we saw in Ankarana were mostly plain brown. But those lemurs you usually get to see on TV can be found in the Berenty or Kaleta reserve (both are basically the same except there are more bungalows in Berenty and the entrance fee is therefore a lot higher). And that’s about it. You walk around in the forest for an hour, your guide calls the lemurs (by making some weird cries), they arrive and maybe jump on your shoulders, you take pictures, then you go home. After the exciting and interesting trip to Ankarana, I was very disappointed here, mostly because I had seen lemurs before (most of which were not fed by tourists). It reminded me more of a zoo out in nature, with no more than a see-the-famours-lemurs-and-then-go-home round trip (meanwhile-check-out-our-restaurant-and-gift-shop).
To pay a little bit less (it was nonetheless US$35), I tried to split the costs with other tourists. Peak season is over and there are hardly any tourists left so it was hard to find somebody who was interested in going to Kaleta. By chance, however, this morning, I bumped into this French guy who wanted to go there as well. He was, sorry to say that, a real jerk, especially the way he treated the Malagasy people: not a single bit of respect. I found out too late and it was the only way for me to save a buck or two.