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Day 10 - Isalo National Park

MADAGASCAR | Monday, 10 May 2010 | Views [1116]

Our day began well, we woke up bright and early to start our 6 hour trek in Isalo National Park (Isalo being the name of an endemic tree that is found here), and I got to have a real breakfast, an omelette instead of the monotonous baguette and jam breakfast offered by our previous hotels.

A man in an old beat up Peugeot took us the first few kilometers into the park grounds. I couldn’t blame our driver for having been reluctant to drive after seeing how bad the partially flooded the dirt roads are. We made it in the end and were much luckier than the tour bus that got bogged after us.

The guides do a range of circuits starting from half day to multiple day hikes including one that leads into the canyon. Our trek was over two circuits; to the natural pool, waterfall, then blue and black pools. We also managed to score an English guide, Zachlan, so I wasn’t bugging Arno every 5 mins for a translation. The walk was fairly easy (no doubt aided by my now strong-as-zebu legs) and we paused frequently for photos and information on the many focal points on the way. The pools are also safe to swim in, so we took a few breaks to dip into the crystal clear waters at each.

The landscape and even forests here are strikingly similar to Australia. Even the earth in Madagascar is red like ours. And most odd is the presence of eucalypts on the open planes which were introduced as a fast growing tree to rehabilitate the bare land.

One thing we don’t have back in Aust though is lemurs! Both the brown and ring tailed species of the area (there are other nocturnal species too) were out in full force. Zachlan led me up to a shelf above the black pool where a family of browns was feeding in trees directly over the path. Absolutely amazing. The alpha male decided I was worth investigating and demonstrated his tree hopping abilities right in front of me.

We also met with two families of ring tailed lemurs at the camping grounds where they congregate at the same time every day. One of the other guides told me they have no fear of humans and are as curious about us as we are them. That’s why they come to say hello every day!

Tips for travellers: September is lemur baby season.



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