When we wake up in the morning, we hear rain on our roof: the first time to hear rain after weeks of blue skies. We realize we are in a different part of Madagascar: close to the rainforest. Indeed, it rains here more than 250 days a years. Fortunately, the rain stops while we have breakfast, and by the time we have taken a taxi brousse to the entrance of the park some 6km uphill, it is dry even on the ground. We cross the Namorona river, with some rapids, before entering the secondary rainforest. Our primary goal is to spot lemurs, and our spotter does a good job to track them - more about that in another section. We also enjoy the rainforest itself, the light filtering through the canopy, the amazing leaves with a green glow, the seeming impenetrability of the dense forest with its abundance of trees and plants.
Apart from the natural wonders, we also see a site where aboriginal people have erected stones, which are now covered in moss. Apparently, they were erected before the aboriginals decided to leave the rainforest to live somewhere else - according to our guide. After seeing three different species of lemur, we enjoy the view from a viewpoint, and then continue to hike, mostly downhill. When we cross a mountain stream, we enter the primary rainforest, which has never been touched, and therefore has bigger trees. When we come across banana plantations, we know that the primary rainforest is behind us. There are now openings in the vegetation, and when we come at the top of a ridge, we have a full view of the countryside towards the south.
From here, it is a quite steep descent towards the Namorona river, in which we find the Andriamamovoka Falls, a wide waterfall rushing down on big rocks. We stay a little while to see, and also hear, the soothing sound of water rushing down a rocky surface. A little downstream, we see a power plant, which generates power not only for Ranomafana, but also other towns in the region. The hike now becomes easy: the path is level, we walk past settlements, fields where people work the land to grow their crops, see pigs burrowing the earth in search for worms. Then, we walk past the swimming pool of Ranomafana, closed for the day and being filled with fresh water from the Namorona. We then cross that same river over a makeshift bridge, under the collapsed old bridge which was partly washed away by a tornado. Only a few hours after walking in the rainforest, we are back in the pleasant town of Ranomafana.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Ranomafana National Park (Madagascar). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Ranomafana National Park.
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