15 March 2016

“I arrived at cedar house at 2.30 in the morning bag packed and ready to go; from Manchester we took a quick flight to Paris and then a 12 hour flight to Madagascar.

Neil Lewis in Madagascar

“I didn’t know what to expect and where the adventure lying ahead of me was going to take me but I knew that the four months I had spent training in the gym would help.

“As soon as we landed in Madagascar and the plane doors opened-I could feel that it was going to be a hot and humid trip. It took us a while to get through customs as we had 21 bags of luggage with us! Finally-we arrived at our hotel in Tana around 2am to get some much needed sleep.

Madagascar expedition team luggage

“The next day-we all piled into the Land Rover and set off to the base camp that was going to be our home for the next couple of weeks and was located in the middle of nowhere. What a journey!  We got stuck in mud and bounced around a lot in the back of the car but we finally made it to a clearing.

4×4 stuck in the mud

“We got out of the cars-unloaded our bags and came across our next obstacle: a river we needed to cross. How were we going to do this?

The team crossing a river
The team crossing a river

“A bloke in a hollowed out tree floated towards us and yes-that was the boat that we were going to use to cross the river. Following our boat ride-it was a hot and sticky 40 minute walk to camp but what an amazing place!

The Madagascar base camp

“It was hard work walking an hour and a half through the forest and swamp like land to the survey site on a daily basis.

The team trekking in the forests of Madagascar

“I also now hate rice after eating rice for breakfast-dinner and tea every day. I really enjoyed every minute in the forest. Chester Zoo are doing fantastic work in Mangabe with Madagasikara Voakajy working together on their conservation community projects.”