Tsingy National Park

Captivating landscape

Captivating landscape

The organised 4 WD was supposed to pick us up at 10 am, I was ready to go, but waited till 2 pm for it to finally arrive! Apparently it waited in line at the river crossing to be taken over! And what a dive this Nissan ute was. No cover for the pick up? In these dusty conditions? And two, instead of one driver, two drivers arrived! Father and son it appeared, less space? I asked Ninah what was going on and that there’s no way that my luggage will be going on to the back. So, one of the drivers had to sit on the back, all the way to Bekopaka, our destination. The road reminded me of the telegraph road on Cape York in dry season; dry and dusty… just with more boabab trees and locals walking to or from there village. The best part of this trip was that I was allowed to drive. Nothing too challenging, just a lot of corrugation and some major pot holes. The car was in bad shape as it looked; clutch pumped air, gearbox not great, steering pulls to the right and suspension or diffs rattling away. I wasn’t happy Jan…

At sunset we arrived the Miharano river, to stand in queues again for the ferry. We had to drive half way thru the river in the shallows and up a steep, mobile ramp that was attached to the ferry. Eventually we arrived at our bungalow hotel and had dinner late. The setting was quite amazing though. Early to bed, for an early start.

Restaurant Malagasy style

Restaurant Malagasy style

Ninah got up at 5 am to get ‘tickets’ for Tsingy Nat park. She didn’t get back till 9 am, saying she stood in queue again for 3 hours. It is the busy season. 17 km north is Grande Tsingy a surreal landscape shaped by rocks, formed like massive swords, carved out by water and sand over the years.

Tsingy,Tsingy...

Tsingy,Tsingy…

Tsingy is Malagasy and means treading carefully, like on broken glass, as early settlers here had no shoes and walked tsingy tsingy over those rocks. No kidding, they are as sharp as they look. Eventually our guide joined us and we were on our way, but had to wait again for harness, to climb up a path, joined by ladders and steel cables attached to the rocks.

Ninah Clara abseiling, happy but tired

Ninah Clara abseiling, happy but tired

Which was quite incredible and worth the wait for sure. It really is hard to describe the landscape, the photos do a better job.

Obvious signs of time

Obvious signs of time

It was a busy day on the circuit and a lot of waiting for other groups to pass.

Tsingy crossing

Tsingy crossing

We descended into the grande cathedral, a cave, where we had lunch.

Gorge view

Gorge view

We were joined by a Marder type mammal, scattering food. We then continued through an amazing cave, crawling and climbing our way through some narrow passages. I was last as my headlamp was the brightest, even the guide looked in disbelief.

Tsingy in red

Tsingy in red

We then wandered through the meadows along some amazing scaled rocks, and some weird looking plants.

Spiky flower

Spiky flower

Seems like everything here has sharp spikes to their defence, even a tiny baobab tree version. We saw a group of Lemurs climbing up high in the trees, going to their overnight camp.

Tour guide shows the way
Tour guide shows the way

Most of us climbed up to the ‘broadway’,  another high elevated tsingy formation with amazing views and more surreal plants.

Tsingy as far as the eye can see

Tsingy as far as the eye can see

From there, down again via steel cables and a narrow bridge which was actually quite fun.

The last gorge crossing

The last gorge crossing

It was a 6 hour track in the sun and most were happy to be rejoined by driver and Kat  Kat. Wow, what a day in this unreal landscape, it surely was worth the trouble to get to here! I chatted to few Dutch people that evening at the restaurant and went to bed early.

 

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