A New Women’s Group in Torotorofotsy

One of the main challenges linking tourism to sustainable development in the Andasibe community is finding ways to ensure more than just your local guide benefit from a visit.

That’s why this past month we have been working with Project Manondroala and the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation to launch the new Association Vehivavy Menalamba-Torotorofotsy, a women’s group dedicated to making local artisinal handicrafts for the Andasibe tourist market.03The group of 25 women have been working with us and the Finns to learn ways to make original handicrafts that are of a high-quality for visiting tourists. Although there are a number of small markets that sell souvenirs in the area, currently almost all are made elsewhere in Madagascar and brought to Andasibe for resale.04With this new organization the group works collectively, with all profits going back to the cooperative and directly to individual artisans. The official launch of the association and the inauguration of the women’s showroom took place on November 10th 2015. No visit to Torotorofotsy should be had without passing by to have a look!01

 

Top 5 Andasibe Experiences

1) Meet the Indri

Madagascar’s largest lemur, the Indri (Indri indri) is the reason Analamazaotra forest of Andasibe was originally set aside as a reserve more than 40 years ago. Their big black and white furry forms are easily viewed in both Andasibe National Park and Mitsinjo’s Analamazaotra Forest Station.

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In our forest we have two groups habituated to humans, and on lucky mornings it’s possible to get within a meter of wild Indri. It’s a truly intimate experience not to be missed.

2) Take a Dip in the Lac Sacré

A 60 minute drive north of Andasibe is Mantadia National Park. While there are a number of popular “piscine naturelle” in the protected areas around Madagascar, the cascade and pool in Mantadia is just what will want after having hiked the rugged terrain of this less visited and more adventurous part of the Andasibe-Mantadia complex.

A visit to the cascade in Mantadia National Park, a 60 minute drive north of Andasibe.

A visit to the cascade in Mantadia National Park, a 60 minute drive north of Andasibe.

3) Night Hike in Rainforest

While almost all visitors to Andasibe make a morning trek through the forest, many miss out on the numerous nocturnal creatures that are hidden during the day and only emerge after dark.

Mitsinjo offers night hikes through rainforest for nocturnal wildlife viewing. With luck, you’ll have a chance to observe the locally-endemic Goodman’s Mouse Lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara). Common encounters also include the Greater Dwarf Lemur (Cheirogaleus major), Leaf-tailed Geckos (Uroplatus sikorae and U. phantasticus), and an impressive sample of Andasibe’s amphibian diversity such as the common tree frogs Boophis viridis and Boophis pyrrhus.

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4) Tour the Village

Don’t miss out on an afternoon stroll through Andasibe village. The town has a population of around 5,000 people, with around 12,000 living in the surrounding Commune. Market is centrally located and busiest on Saturdays. There is even an internet café with WiFi and four computers should you get the urge to send photos to some of your friends back home!

A walk through Andasibe village will introduce you to the people and culture not experienced in the forest.

A walk through Andasibe village will introduce you to the people and culture not experienced in the forest.

5) Plant a Tree

It’s not just about taking the experience away but also giving back. Association Mitsinjo offers a chance for visitors to contribute to conservation in Andasibe by going on our “Reforestation Circuit” which lasts a few hours and tours not only Analamazaotra Forest Station, but also our tree nurseries and recently reforested habitat.

At the end of the circuit, you can also plant your own tree if you like. We hope you can come back and visit when it has grown.

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Meet a Guide – Roger RAZAFITSIRESY

Roger with a group of tourists in Andasibe National Park

Roger with a group of tourists in Andasibe National Park

Born in Andasibe in 1983, Roger has been a Mitsinjo member since 2004. Before then he was a student, but grew up in Andasibe and has always been familiar with the local flora and fauna. He began working as a guide with our Association in 2006.

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Since working with Mitsinjo he has participated in a number of our projects, including assisting visiting researchers in studies as diverse as:

  • Behavioral monitoring of the Hairy-eared Dwarf Lemur (Allocebus tricotus)
  • Forest mapping with Project Manondroala
  • An ecological survey of the Diademed Sifaka (Propithecus diadema) in Andasibe National Park
Roger on the road to Andasibe eyeing a mixed flock of vangas

Roger on the road to Andasibe eyeing a mixed flock of vangas

One of Roger’s specialties is the birds of Andasibe. He is skilled in finding even the most difficult-to-see species, such as the Helmut Vanga, Pygmy Kingfisher, Scopes Owl, Crested Ibis, Madagascar Wood and White-throated Rail, and even the Pitta-like Ground Roller. He worked with a German ornithologist in 2012 to lead and participate in a training course for guides regarding the birds of Andasibe and their natural history.

The Helmet Vanga is one of Andasibe's most iconic birds but difficult to find without a trained guide. This photo was taken by Roger near Eulophiella Lodge.

The Helmet Vanga is one of Andasibe’s most iconic birds but difficult to find without a trained guide. This photo was taken by Roger near Eulophiella Lodge.

Before your visit, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Mitsinjo to work with Roger. He can also be reached directly at rogerandasibe (at) gmail (dot) com or by telephone at +261 33 02 568 44 and +261 34 06 566 86