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Walking in the Tsingy

2nd November 2016

On an island as unique as Madagascar, nothing I have experienced in all my travels compares to the utter uniqueness of the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park.

This incredible mineral forest is a designated World Heritage Site and stands on the western coast of Madagascar.

Tsingy is the Malagasy word for “walking on tiptoes” and the labyrinth of nearly impenetrable limestone needles certainly does justice to its name.

Travellers can choose between the Big and the Little Tsingy walk. Both are well worth the hike with the most challenging being the Big Tsingy. So it was myself and a hardy few (plus our expert local guides) that took on it on.

Almost immediately our sharp eyed guide spotted a group of rufus fronted lemurs, complete with baby, resting in the branches above us. Indeed, no less than 11 lemur species of lemur can be found in and among the Tsingy’s limestone peaks. Plus more than 100 bird species and 45 reptiles and amphibians which are all endemic to Madagascar.

As we pressed onwards, the terrain became more challenging with many sections involving scrambling up and down the rocks. Fortunately, along the whole walk there are ladders, cables, suspension bridges and secure footholds that have been expertly installed to make the journey safe. The two especially constructed viewing platforms also give an impressive panoramic view over the whole park.

About two thirds through we settled down into the ‘cathedral’ (a narrow ravine between the limestone towers) to eat our packed lunches where we were joined by a cheeky ring tailed mongoose which made every attempt at pilfering a bit from us!

As we neared the end of our walk we spotted yet more lemurs. This time, a group of four beautiful white sifakas, lying in the crook of a tree.

Shortly afterwards, we emerged out of the forest and back to our waiting four wheel drives. We were very tired, very hot and very dusty but we all wore a big smile at having completed such an amazing trek in such a unique place. What an incredible sense of achievement!

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George Bareham

Before exploring and adventuring took off, George spent many years as a musician, recording an album and gigging all over the UK. Eventually his wande…

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