Dec 5, 2019: Ankarana National Park

Another early start, leaving the lodge by 7:30 am. The park entrance was only about half a kilometre away, and the first thing we had to do was declare what we wanted for lunch. Anita ordered the fried chicken; I opted for vegetables and rice.

It was a hot day. At least 36 degrees. I was fine along the forest path, spotting green chameleons and enjoying the day. Antonio found some fascinating bugs there are frilly, like blossoming flowers as well as a nocturnal Sportif lemur asleep one the crook of a tree. 

The cicada were chirping mercilessly. They rub their legs together like grasshoppers and the sound resembles high voltage electricity. Or the sound I hear before fainting. Eventually I put in my phone’s ear buds to muffle that high pitch. 

We left the path to visit the lookout over the Tsingy. Unlike the Tsingy Rouge, these were grey rocks about three kilometres by one kilometre. They are sharper, and more horizontally layered. Trees grow throughout. It’s impressive. 

Back to the main path and those maddening cicada. Another couple of hundred meters down the path, we took the trail to the Pont Suspendus. There was a rocky path through the Tsingy to get to the suspension bridge. I was painfully slow, and Antonio giving me a stick to help with my balance. The path took eight years to build through the sharp rocks. Easy to tell why. The built connections where none existed smoothing materials so that walking shoes wouldn’t be ripped to pieces. The path was made obvious by the yellow of tracked soil on it.

By this time, My head was ringing almost as loudly as the cicadas and I felt horrible. I urged Anita and Antonio to cross the suspension bridge and leave me with my head lowered. 

Every now and then, I’d take time to look at the magnificence of the landscape and gauge how much my head was ringing. 

When we got out of the Tsingy, a pack of crowned lemurs crossed our path. They were timid and still. 

Walking the 3.7 kilometres back to the park entrance was uncomfortable. Worse when I stopped, bad when I was moving. At the restaurant, I took two mouthfuls of rice and put my head down. Soon, I was asleep. I woke up for a slice of pineapple; Anita had the other two. The cook seemed to take some amusement from my state. I was too far gone to care. 

Back at the lodge, I quickly fell asleep and Anita went to the park with Antonio. The visited a bat cave that didn’t smell too bad, and had a lot of vegetation onsite. The cave mouth was enormous. 

I slept for almost 12 hours, getting up only to eat half my plate of vegetables for dinner and to drink a litre of cold water. 

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Insects

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The Tsingy of Ankarana

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The suspension bridge over the Tsingy

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A crowned lemur near the edge of the tsingy

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A cave on the far side of Ankarana National Park, that Anita visited while I rested.