Madagascar: A gemologist’s journey (Daytime in Ranomafana)

I remember this morning awakening for the first time surrounded by mosquito netting and listening to the call of lemurs in the forest. It was amazing! This area is known for mosquitoes, especially in the evening. I was told by guides on the first trip to be sure to wear mosquito repellent during the 3-4 hour day hike in the park. But upon my return in October, the guide strongly discouraged wearing mosquito repellent. He said it damages the small plant and animal species in the park. And he insisted there was not a mosquito problem during the day. He was right…I didn’t wear any on my second trip and didn’t get a single bite….during the day. At night, it’s completely opposite. The mosquitoes are everywhere in that area at night. Dress in long clothing.

Ranomafana Park
The park is very beautiful with dense forest and lots of walking paths. It can be strenuous at times and sometimes we are taken into the brush to get a good look at lemurs. The scenery is beautiful. We see several species of lemurs in their natural habitat as well as a ring-tailed mongoose, some geckos and other small animals.

One must always hire a guide when entering the park. The current rate is 40.000 ariary, which is about $16…for up to four people for 2-3 hours I believe. The price for a Malagasy to enter the park is 1.000 ariary, for a foreigner, it is 25.000 ariary! Love it!

We were fortunate enough to see the greater bamboo lemur, which is the star of the Imax movie, Madagascar: Island of Lemurs. We also saw several others. They are beautiful and amazing creatures.

Lemurs of Ranomafana Park
There are about 105 species of lemurs, all are endemic to Madagascar (found nowhere else in the world) and many are endangered.

Of course, I have some lemur video to share with you. A Madagascar presentation wouldn’t be complete without lemur footage. This 5-minute clip shows various different lemurs in different areas around Madagascar.

This might be a good time to share with you other wildlife of Madagascar. I was surprised to learn there are no real predatory animals in Madagascar…at least predators of humans that is. And there are also no penguins, elephants, giraffes, lions etc. The only predatory animal to humans is the crocodile, if you happen to be in one of the rivers where they are found.

Wildlife in Madagascar includes geckos, big spiders, snakes, ring-tailed mongoose crocodiles, birds, lemurs & more. These spiders are huge and they are everywhere. But they are beautiful and harmless to humans. So I just enjoyed looking at them.

Animals of Madagascar

After Ranomafana, we leave to see another gorgeous lemur habitat: Anja Community Reserve!

Author: Michelle M. Rahm is a GIA-trained Graduate Gemologist and is President of Colorado’s Mile High Chapter of the GIA Alumni Association. She has been selling gemstones and jewelry online since 1997. Visit her websites and

About mrahm

Michelle holds a Graduate Gemologist Diploma, Graduate Diamonds Diploma and Graduate Colored Stones Diploma through the Gemological Institute of America's distance education program. Michelle currently serves as President of the Mile High GIA Alumni Association. She also serves on the board of the Rocky Mountain Jeweler's Association and is a member of the American Gem Trade Association.
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