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The Long Drop Run 

The island of Nosy Be is blessed with some beautiful nature trails, giving you the opportunity to see unique wildlife in fabulous settings. However, tracks through undisturbed rainforest and along unspoilt beaches pale in comparison to a short trail just outside Frontier’s camp in Ambalahonko.

Affectionately referred to as the ‘long drop run’ it is a short path running approximately 100m from mangroves up to a densely wooded hillside. Access is simple and a wooden boardwalk means that naturalists have an excellent view in all directions. At the start of the trail hundreds of tiny fiddler crabs retreat into their burrows at your approach.

If you’re lucky a pretty snake may be observed gliding through the mangroves and up to three Canis Familiaris may also make an appearance.  As you begin to climb the hill keep an eye out for Hemidactylus geckos and Panther Chamelons. Don’t let the pungent aroma put you off it is part of what makes the ‘long drop run’ so special. Birders will also be delighted with what the trail has to offer Crested Drongos are a common site as are Paradise Flycatchers, Brush Warblers and gorgeous iridescent Sunbirds.

However it is at night when the ‘long drop run’ really comes alive Scops owls call from the trees bats wheel about your head armour plated fishscale geckos take advantage of the plentiful flies and spotted lemurs leap from branch to branch within meters. Surely the ‘long drop run’ must be mentioned in the same breath as Yellowstone, the Serengeti or the Great Barrier Reef. And although it is sometimes unavoidable try not to take its name too literally. A leisurely stroll often reveals more than a desperate dash.

By Will - Madagascar Forest Conservation

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