Day 8
We had our last breakfast at Tsara Camp and said bye bye to the beautiful mountains of Tsaranoro Valley. On the rough track back we enjoyed seeing villages and local people, especially kids. We stopped to give them some sugar coated peanuts and they went mental for them. Especially the big ones taking them away from the little ones.
Very sweet.

We stopped in town to get cash and then continued for a couple of hours. First we saw some more granite stones mountains, especially one massive one called the hat of the bishop which is very large and rounded. Amazing. We stopped for a picture and bumped into Nick and Sue again and took a little group photo. The scenery then became incredible, very flat like a californian road and empty with mo villages no trees, nothing. Just earth and the horizon. It’s unbelievable how Madagascar has so many different landscapes and it changes so quickly. We arrived at destination and before getting to our hotel we had lunch at Zebu Grill in Ranohira, a very tasty Zebu steak. After lunch we did the last 10km to Isalo Rock¬†Lodge, the best hotel so far – just amazing. With bungalows looking into the canyon, a massive room with bath shower and a very beautiful terrace to take in the view. We spent the afternoon chilling by the pool, sunset with a beer followed by an amazing dinner including crab salad, squid for me and lamp for Bruce and chocolate cake. All accompanied with tasty South African white wine. Life is good sometimes. Loving Madagascar so far and ready for tomorrow’s long hike.

Day 9
We woke up at 620am to get everything ready for our hike and have breakfast. We left at 730 and stopped to get water – this time we brought three because last time we finished it too quickly and two bottles of 1,5litres weren’t enough! The heat is already hitting us at 8am.
We met our guide Marchi (Marki) and started the hike over the canyon. Some incredible views although wuite a lot of people. Luckily throughout the day they spread out a bit more and we could walk alone for some parts.
All views and viewpoints were really breathtaking. We also spotted some funny elephant foot plants, a chameleon and a few stick insects. After 1,30hr walk we stopped to swim in an amazing natural pool called La Piscine Naturelle. Clear and cool water, a waterfall in the background and we managed to have a few minutes in the pool by ourselves. Just stunning and refreshing after hiking in the sunshine.
After a bit more walking over different parts of the 81000 hectares national park, we stopped for lunch and saw some ringtail lemur and the rare white lemur – the only one left in this park! Very fluffy compared to the others and a bit bigger.
We then had our sandwiches near a river although they weren’t particularly good but enough to give us some energy back.
After lunch the hike continued through a very scenic path alongside small waterfalls, green plants and beautiful ponds.
We arrived at the next natural pools, the black and the blue piscine. We decided to swim in the blue one which was smaller but with blue water and more scenographic. Great to jump in the cool fresh water after sweating under the sun to get there.
After the pool stop we started making our way down and got back to the car at 230pm. We arrived at the hotel, stopped by the pool for a while and then treated ourselves to a full body massage at 5pm. I went for the relaxing and soft type and loved it, had a very qualified masseuse while Bruce went for the hardcore strong hawaiian style massage but he had a very average masseuse and wasn’t happy and actually felt battered from the massage rather than reinvigorated. Either that or he just moaned about it anyway.
After the massage we had a shower and dressed up a bit, this beautiful place makes you want to look beautiful while walking around it. We had a romantic and tasty dinner (starter not so great but the main was an amazingly cooked grouper) and went to bed early, tomorrow last day in Isalo National Park!

Day 10
Fidi picked us up at 730am for the last hike in the park. In the town of Ranohira we stopped to get water and picked up our guide, Rakutu, an old dude with just one tooth left. He spoke good italian and strongly french accented English. We went to the Maki Canyon and walked in it to see the scenery within it. It was an old river and there is still water running through it although is very low in the dry season so it’s accessible. The path was incredible, climbing over massive stones, ascending and descending little steps sculpted in the rocks, walking next to natural waterfalls and jumping from rock to rock not to fall in the river. An unforgettable hike. Especially because on the way back Brucey fell in the water
The most difficult part of the hike required a lot of concentration to avoid falling in, and then there were a couple of easy bits in which they made a path with concrete cement and in that very easy bit Brucey fell. He was feeling to confident and started looking around without focusing on the floor and the next thing I heard was a splash and saw him jumping up from the water worried about his phone in his pocket much more than the small injuries he got.
After the walk we got back to the hotel so he could get changed, and then went for lunch at another nearby hotel called Relais de la Reine. We had a delicious zebu steak and checked out the premises of this beautiful hotel which is built over the canyon rocks and has an amazing garden full of flowers including a blooming jacaranda tree and yellow frangipane. After lunch we went back and chilled by the pool enjoying our last day in this incredible hotel. When the clouds came we left the pool and even tested the massive bath tub in our bedroom overlooking the canyon. Perfect honeymoon treat.
The last dinner at Isalo Rock Lodge was good, especially the octopus starter. We paid the bill and went to bed, another early start tomorrow with a 7hours drive to the coast.

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