Berenty to Port Dauphin

27th October 2015. Berenty to Port Dauphin, Madagascar.

Returning from Berenty to Port Dauphin….

Antananarivo, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Photography, Port Dauphin, Street photography, Travel

Some people, perhaps farms workers, on top of a truck heading in the other direction.   He was asking for water but unfortunately, by the time I worked that out, I was too slow to respond.

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Antananarivo, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Photography, Port Dauphin, Street photography, Travel

A family in their zebu cart.

I might take this opportunity to quickly summarise a book, In Search of the Red Slave, that I read prior to going to Madagascar.  It uses current on-the-ground research to validate a story first published in 1729 and ghost-written by none other than Daniel Defoe.

The protagonist, Robert Drury, was 15 and returning from India in 1703 when the ship he was in went down on the south coast of Madagascar.  The crew were rescued by a local tribe and well treated but were not free.  They decided to kidnap the local chief as a hostage and made for Port Dauphin, but didn’t make it.  They all ended up killed except for Robert Drury and a couple of other youngsters.  He was taken back to the village and made a slave.  After some years he became a respected warrior and was allowed a wife.

He wasn’t satisfied with this and escaped to a tribe to the west that he had encountered in a joint military campaign.  He was welcomed there but after a few more years he was taken in battle by another tribe further to the north.  Initially he was enslaved again but after some time became relatively free again.  Word of his survival had made it back to London and eventually he was rescued by a ship sent out to look for him.  At this stage he had effectively forgotten how to speak English.  He spent some years in London where Defoe wrote up his journal.  This was widely dismissed as fiction in the following years but this book demonstrates how details can only have been authentic.  Ironically, he became dissatisfied with life in London and returned to Madagascar – but this time not as a slave but as a slave trader.

The book is well worth reading for its account of tribal life at the time and the harshness and perils of life there today.  The area in the South where Drury lived are much further to the west, much more remote and much drier than where I visited.

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Antananarivo, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Photography, Port Dauphin, Street photography, Travel

A very overloaded taxi brousse.

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Antananarivo, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Photography, Port Dauphin, Street photography, Travel

Back at the river, where we passed by on the way out.

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Antananarivo, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Photography, Port Dauphin, Street photography, Travel

Just past the bridge and the river, we are passing through the town of Ambossary Sud.

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Antananarivo, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Photography, Port Dauphin, Street photography, Travel .

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Antananarivo, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Photography, Port Dauphin, Street photography, Travel

Obviously out of town now, passing a village.

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Antananarivo, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Photography, Port Dauphin, Street photography, Travel

Not far from Port Dauphin now and a herd of zebu on the road.

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Antananarivo, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Photography, Port Dauphin, Street photography, Travel

Inside Port Dauphin and an enterprising bicycle rider.

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A Conspiracy of Lemurs

27th October 2015. Berenty, Madagascar.

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On our last morning at Berenty, this is also my last wildlife post from Madagascar.

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Alluaudia Procera, Berenty, Chameleons, Flatid Leaf Bugs, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

Yellow-billed Kite.

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Alluaudia Procera, Berenty, Chameleons, Flatid Leaf Bugs, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

Ring-tailed lemurs.

Elephant birds would likely have roamed this region in previous centuries.  They were three metres high and weighed half a tonne and survived until at least the seventeenth century.  Much of the year they lived in the mountains but came down to the sand of the south coast to lay their eggs.

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Alluaudia Procera, Berenty, Chameleons, Flatid Leaf Bugs, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

Natural cactus garden.  Actual colours.

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Alluaudia Procera, Berenty, Chameleons, Flatid Leaf Bugs, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

They look like funghi but they’re flatid leaf bugs.  Click on the image to see them closer.

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Alluaudia Procera, Berenty, Chameleons, Flatid Leaf Bugs, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

Chameleon.  Species unidentified.

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Alluaudia Procera, Berenty, Chameleons, Flatid Leaf Bugs, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

A conspiracy of lemurs.

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Alluaudia Procera, Berenty, Chameleons, Flatid Leaf Bugs, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite .

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Alluaudia Procera, Berenty, Chameleons, Flatid Leaf Bugs, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

Octopus trees.

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Alluaudia Procera, Berenty, Chameleons, Flatid Leaf Bugs, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

Octopus trees and scrub.

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Alluaudia Procera, Berenty, Chameleons, Flatid Leaf Bugs, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

Sportive lemur.

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Alluaudia Procera, Berenty, Chameleons, Flatid Leaf Bugs, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

Baobab, probably Adansonia za.

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Alluaudia Procera, Berenty, Chameleons, Flatid Leaf Bugs, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

A clump of Alluaudia Procera or Madagascar Ocotillo, also known as Octopus Tree, showing the habitat and especially for Jeni (Skyscapes for the Soul), following a comment in an earlier post.

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Alluaudia Procera, Berenty, Chameleons, Flatid Leaf Bugs, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

A clump of the cacti common in the area.

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Alluaudia Procera, Berenty, Chameleons, Flatid Leaf Bugs, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

Where once was spiny forest, lemurs and other wildlife, now is sisal plantations and no wildlife.  I wonder whether this is also a plantation crop grown by a foreign company with little or no benefit to the local population.

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Spiny Forest Dreaming

27th October 2015. Berenty, Madagascar.

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Berenty, Chameleons, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Travel, Wildlife

With my time in Berenty drawing to a close, I dreamt in the ethereal spiny forest.

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Berenty, Chameleons, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Travel, Wildlife

Ring-tailed lemurs eating or drawing moisture from cacti.

It’s a photograph of course and therefore completely realistic in all respects.

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Berenty, Chameleons, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Travel, Wildlife

Ringtails in front of the cacti.

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Berenty, Chameleons, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Travel, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Chameleons, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Travel, Wildlife

This is what it may look like to a chameleon….

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Berenty, Chameleons, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Travel, Wildlife

… such as this one.

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Berenty, Chameleons, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Travel, Wildlifet .

(All IR).

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Dream Lemurs

26th October 2015. Berenty, Madagascar.

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Berenty, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Travel, Wildlife

Some images of lemurs in their dream worlds.

A Verraux’s sifaka looking up.

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Berenty, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Travel, Wildlife

Ringtailed lemur on the ground.

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Berenty, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Travel, Wildlife

Verraux’s sifaka looking down.

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Berenty, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Travel, Wildlife

Ringtailed lemur.

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Berenty, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Travel, Wildlife

Ringtailed lemur hanging out.

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Berenty, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Travel, Wildlife

Verraux’s sifakas more deeply in their dream world.

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Berenty, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Travel, Wildlifet .

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Berenty, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Travel, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Travel, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Travel, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Travel, Wildlife

Very young Verraux’s sifaka.

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Berenty, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Travel, Wildlife

Ringtails.

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Berenty, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Travel, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Travel, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Infrared, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Travel, Wildlife

And a last Verraux’s sifaka looking down on us.

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(All IR)

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Sakalava Weavers and Dancing Sifakas at Berenty

26th October 2015. Berenty, Madagascar.

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

Sakalava weavers and their hanging nests (there is only one bird visible but there are others inside the nests).

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

White man’s burden?  Ringtailed lemur sitting on wooden sculpture.

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

Plants from the desert garden near the cabins.

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlifet .

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

… and also, a chameleon….

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

More dancing sifakas, this one coming straight towards me.

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

… and finally, one on a roof.

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Lemurs and others at Berenty

25th October 2015. Berenty, Madagascar.

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

We are in the middle of a nature reserve and the ring-tailed lemurs came right up to out cabin verandah in the morning.

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

The little one’s now the right way around.

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

An interesting flower in the desert garden near our room.  No doubt endemic and local.  Focus-bracketing from multiple images.

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

Sportive lemur.  There are 24 species.  This is probably a white footed sportive lemur.

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

A tiny scorpion on the side of my shoe.  Focus not the best but it shows you the scale.

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

… And here he is, in more detail.

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

Back to the ring tails….

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite .

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

… and their young….

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite .

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite .

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

Verraux’s sifakas, now.

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

A red-fronted brown lemur with five baby Aldabra tortoises.

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

There were two giant tortoise species in Madagascar prior to the arrival of humans but both species are now extinct.  Giant Aldabra tortoises, from Aldabra Atoll in the nearby Seychelles, were recently introduced to take up some of the ecological roles of the extinct species, including dispersing baobab seeds.

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

Yellow-billed Kite.

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

Pied crows.

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

Nile crocodile.  It was in a pit; you really don’t want to stroke one.  They are native to the west coast of Madagascar as well as much of Africa and have the strongest bite of any animal.

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

Madagascan fruit bats, endemic to Madagascar.  Here in numbers but still rated as vulnerable.

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

Verraux’s sifakas.

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

Red-fronted brown lemur.

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Aldabra tortoise, Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Nile crocodile, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Spiny Forest, Sportive Lemur, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife, Yellow-billed Kite

White-footed (?) sportive lemur.

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Verraux’s Sifakas in the Spiny Forest

24th October 2015. Berenty, Madagascar.

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Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

The images in this post are from an early morning walk before breakfast, between 7am and 8am.

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Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

Verraux’s Sifaka is listed as vulnerable due to habitat loss from land clearing.  Its main natural predator is the Fosa, though I presume there are no fosas here.

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Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

They live in groups of many males and females from 8 to 14 members.  Their mating period is January and February, which is the only time they display aggression.  They bear single young.

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Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

Here we see one feeding off leaves of a very spiky stem of a tree in the spiny forest.  The spiny forest covers a large semi-desert area in the south of Madagascar and we are on the edge of it here.

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Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

They are well adapted for drought conditions and can if necessary gain sufficient moisture from succulent leaves and dew.

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Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

This is a characteristic early morning poise, sitting back and soaking in the sun.

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Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

Note the extra eye below.

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Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

Young one leaping from branch to branch.

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Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

A closeup of one of the spiny trees.  Not so easy for a human to climb with bare hands and feet.

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Berenty, Landscape, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife A chick of an unknown bird species.

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