User Reviews – Bemaraha NP
Email amanda | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
Not the "walk in the park" that our itinerary had led us to believe!
The following is from my journal of our time in the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park:-
Locals, with produce on tables, children playing and several dogs greeted us as we all got out of our vehicles at the meeting point for hikes in the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. Wandering around, I noticed that several people were wearing or putting on harnesses with carabiners, my first thought being they were generally younger than us so presumably they were rock climbing… Returning to our vehicle, our guide handed us ours much to my surprise! I was wondering how what had been on our itinerary as a “walking tour of Grand Tsingy” had become one that needed rock climbing equipment!!
It was very hot as we started our hike, first through forest where we spotted (Von der Decken's) sifakas high up in the trees. After a while, the scenery changed as we entered a massive limestone cave where we needed to hook our carabiners onto a metal cable as we edged along a very narrow ridge and then ascended a vertical metal ladder. So far, so good. But, as we continued to climb, often having to heave ourselves up using single foot ledges and becoming more and more aware of these spectacular but jagged limestone formations that we would fall onto if we slipped/our climbing equipment let us down, the fun for me stopped. Perhaps not helped by my heavy camera equipment/backpack, I wasn’t really enjoying the challenge despite the amazing vistas once we got up high.
The descent included crossing the very wobbly suspension bridge, hooked on via the carabiners, and squeezing through low-ceilinged caves.
It was a long walk back to the car but we were rewarded by seeing Giant Couas, large colourful birds, walking amongst the trees. We both felt challenged and exhausted after the climb so declined the chance to do the same in Little Tsingy even though we were assured it was less challenging!!
To put this into context, we had had no sleep the night before (an elder had died in the local village which was 'celebrated' by loud music playing from 9pm till 5am) - and I had caught a stomach bug and, although older, we are both regular sports players so consider ourselves quite fit! So, make of my review as you will but, whatever your circumstances, this is quite a challenging hike!