Madagascar part 4: 2nd – 6th October 2014 – Lake Kinkony and Betsiboka Bay   Leave a comment


IMG_0732 ferry

For the last part of our Madagascar trip we drove to a remote area to the south of Majunga. First we had to cross the wide Betsiboka Bay by ferry. We wondered where all the beer in the yellow crates and the huge sound system were going, it appears they were heading to the village next to where we would camp!

IMG_1055 sailboats

There were many traditional dhows crossing the bay ….

IMG_1058 ragged sail

.. although some looked like their sails needed a bit of attention.

IMG_1077 Mongoose Lemur

We made a detour to a nearby lighthouse where there was a highly visible population of Mongoose Lemurs …

IMG_1082 Crowned Sifaka

.. and a family group of Crowned Sifakas.

IMG_0770 ox cart

With no tarmacked roads, transportation in this remote region was mainly by ox-cart.

IMG_0748 river crossing

Our progress was blocked by a wide river, the cattle could swim across …

IMG_0741 crossing river

… but the ox-carts (and our Landcruisers) had to cross by pontoon …

IMG_0775 crossing river

.. pulled by a very muscular villager.

IMG_0756 Kincloy camp

Our well provisioned camp was beside the beautiful Lac Kinkony.  All seemed peaceful until night fell …

IMG_0752 Kincloy sunset

….. when very loud rap music started up in the nearby village and continued from 1800 until 0800 the next morning. It appears that a much revered local man who had lived into his 80s had just died and his body would lie in state for a week whilst the locals got drunk and partied all night in his honour. Bear in mind that there would be no refrigeration and daytime temperatures were in the mid 30s so it would be wise to approach the village from upwind.

IMG_1187 Lac Kincloy

The following morning, a bit bleary eyed due to lack of sleep, we set of in boats to investigate the bird life of this beautiful lake.

IMG_1137 lac kinckloy

Much of our time was spent searching the narrow channels between the reeds.

IMG_1195 Mad Jacana

We found the endemic Madagascar Jacana …

IMG_1179 Allen's Gallinule

… and Allen’s Gallinules (bizarrely one of these African crakes was found on Portland in Dorset a few years ago but only survived long enough for locals to twitch it) ……

IMG_1244 Sakalava Rail

… but our main target was the almost unknown Sakalava Rail, a bird that was only reliably observed five times in the 20th century but has recently been shown to be quite common at Lac Kinkony.

IMG_1202 Lac Kinkloy camp

Back for lunch and a siesta.

IMG_1203 Decken's Sifaka

Nearby woodland held the beautiful Decken’s Sifaka.

IMG_0759 Kincloy Sunset

We had another boat trip in the late afternoon then it was time to relax with a sundowner …..

IMG_1281 sunset

… before the music from the village started up all over again.

IMG_1292 Grey Mouse Lemur

Nocturnal forays near the camp proved fruitless due to the racket so we drove for several miles to find Madagascar Nightjar and this charming Grey Mouse Lemur.

IMG_0783 boarding ferry

The following day we made the long and bumpy drive back to Betsiboka Bay and boarded an even more decrepit ferry than the one we had come out on.

IMG_1356 Wt Rail

The following morning we took a boat trip from Majunga around the Bay, finding White-throated Rails in the mangroves …..

IMG_1367 Lesser Flamingo

… Lesser Flamingos ….

IMG_1370 Mad Sacred Ibis

… and the recently split Madagascar Sacred Ibis on the mud flats ….

IMG_1345 Bernier's Teal

… but our main target was the endangered Bernier’s Teal which we saw very well. We were due to fly from Majunga to the Comoros Islands but due to a Mad Air reshuffle we had to fly back to Antananarivo that afternoon for an overnight stay and fly to the Comoros the following day, something akin to flying from London to Paris to get to Glasgow. This was the problem that had necessitated the 16 hour drive described in Part 2 of this narrative.



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