Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Madagascar
So up in the morning early to get to the crazy car organization.. but we pick up Hidde and Fianne and off to breakfast of Laughing Cow Cheese, charcoal toasted baguette and jam with fruit and tea. Then we are told its a 1 hour drive over the same kind of stupid roads as we just left to get to the trail head for the Grand Tsingy tour. We meet our guide and he brings along a climbing harness for each of us and I wonder what kind of experience we are in for.
To make the ride a little better, we decide on some morning riding music from Queen.. starting with a rousing chorus by all the English speakers in the car of Fat Bottomed Girls.. quite a kickoff to our drive.. good thing I brought my external MP3 speaker 🙂
Finally at the trail head we have to make a pit stop before we head out on the trail. Well, the toilet here is another wooden footpad and hole situation where not too many people had been accurate. Lets just say the heat has done nothing for the deodorization of the environment.. yuck! Then back to the truck to pick up our harnesses.. yeah.. lets see.. I have two guys over 6′, 200lbs and one guy a little less than that and a woman.. I think I’ll bring THREE SMALL harness along.. those ought to fit. Well we work it all out and everything is OK.
Off we go on the trail and we are surprised to see our truck driver and his son are joining us for the walk. It turns out it is holiday time for the students and 10 year old Andrai wanted to join his dad on this trip and he is having a great time. What a happy young man full of life and smiles.. it is sooo infectious!
First we descend into some fantastic slot canyons with a cave full of bats. Then we climb up along the edge of the Tsigny’s. They are these fantastic sandstone spiky rocks that jut up out of the ground. Looking like a landscape of knives sticking point up out of the ground, the rock formations are something out of this world. I understand now how this was listed on the UNESCO world heritage site list. We continue our hike past great rifts in these rocks where water stands and beautiful lush green vegetation grows. Then it is up along cables anchored into the walls for safety to get to the amazing lookouts over the top of these grand Tsingy rocks. Truly a unique and magnificent view all around. So glad we came over all that crappy road to see this!
Well we hike down equally lovely routes, through caves and tunnels and stop and have a snack in the naturally air conditioned grotto surrounded by stone. Afterward we exit into the forest to be treated to a view of some of the brown lemurs of the area hanging around in the trees.
Finally we are tired, hot sweaty and back out of the trail at the truck and the plan is back for lunch. Then drop off crew one at their hotel then take Pat and I to ours, wait for us to shower, and take us back to Crew One’s lodge where there is a beautiful balcony restaurant to watch the sunset. We miss sunset but enjoy the local rum there flavored with ginger and cinnamon and mix it with fresh lemonade to make one seriously magnificent hot weather drink.. this is one that rivals the Shitlero!
Finally, dinner! I can’t remember what we had but it was tasty I do remember that. There were villagers dancing just outside our dinner location to over-amped music and we had several THB’s.. the effect was quite surreal and uniquely Malagasy and simply peaceful… finally its back in the truck again and back to our hotels..
Pat and I find our room to be stuffy but as the night wears on and sleeping with the door open to our bungalow, it cools down and I’m able to get some rest. Tomorrow the River Gorge and the Petite Tsingy’s.
Pictures & Video
The fun bridge 🙂