Madagascar, Isalo, September 18-19

Leaving behind the rainforest in Ranomafana, we enter the desert plains of Southern Madagascar. It’s a flatter, hotter landscape now, with less people and covered in yellow savannah grass. The two-storey mudbrick houses and paddy fields of the highlands change into little mud huts with straw roofs and small herds of zebus. In the middle of it is Isalo, with its red-yellow-white boulders, rock walls and canyons. The canyon floors hide streams, lush vegetation and natural pools. And also here, lemurs. On our day hike through Isalo we get to see ring-tailed lemurs and red-fronted brown lemurs. Later mainly when they try to steal our lunch, a barbecue picknick we get to enjoy at the river. Our guide tells us about the local burial rites, where after 3 years the coffin is opened, the bones are washed, wrapped in silk and then stored high up in the cliff, to be closer to heaven.
On our way to the N.P. Isalo, we stop at Réserve d’Anja to look for ring-tailed lemurs (the ones from the Madagascar movie). They are not too impressed by humans and we can get close to them. One is even sniffing at our camera. And best of all, lemur babies everywhere, cute one month old tiny lemurs clinging to their moms’ backs.
In Isalo, we stay in a very nice lodge right below a sandstone cliff, in a safari tent with an outdoor shower. So we declare this to be the destination where we spent out tenth wedding day and to ignore the fact that it was the day before in a somewhat grungy small motel room.