So after a very long day we arrive at Ranomafana & Setam Lodge. All the accommodation in this area is fairly basic, but is comfortable, clean & has private facilities. The real draw to this area is the National Park & the wildlife. On my trek- in reality a walk for me, I saw heaps of lemurs – there are 12 species here & I was lucky enough to see the Golden bamboo Lemur.
When we arrived at the view point where we were expecting to have a stunning view anyway was made all the more fantastic to have about 20 lemurs in the trees really close to us. Some seemed really interested in us & seemed to be studying me! – maybe it was my pink cagoule. The paths here were good & even though its not very flat terrain the steps were in excellent condition. I managed so that means its ok ;). Apart from my private guide there was also a Pisteur- who goes off ahead of us to locate the lemurs & then through whistle communication tells the guide where we need to head. What a brilliant idea & it works extremely well.
I also did all the hotel / lodge inspections. I personally liked Setam Lodge as it was closer to the National park & seemed to fit in with the natural environment. However if clients want to be in the small town so as to be able to eat in local restaurants then there are other options. There can be availability problems, especially during high season so we also offer accommodation in nearby Fianarantsoa, which is a much larger town.
Next we are heading for Isalo – which was a big highlight of my trip. However en route I stopped at Ambalavao to visit the winery, see the silk being produced & visited the paper factory- which was more interesting that it sounds- honestly! We then carried on so that I could visit Anja Park- which is a local project that helps fund 4 villages. We did arrive quite late so it was a rush to see the Ringtail lemurs before they headed off to bed. But we saw then & some were lying out on the big rock catching the sum- it was wonderful to see. Then we watched then head off around these huge rocks to the places they sleep. It was worth visiting this area but I would suggest that you need a stopover to make the most of it. I stayed at Varangue de Betsileo, which was lovely & had amazing views of the rocky mountains.
Another stop en route to Islao was to the camps located in the Andringitra area. Camp Catta and Tsar Camp. It is quite a journey a long very bad road to these properties, but once
After a very long day I arrive at Islao– well its actually called Ranohira. Islao is the name of the rocky mountain range. The scenery here is stunning & totally different to the national park areas I have visited before. It really is the rocky mountain area of Madagascar. The National Park is massive so 2 nights is definitely needed & even 3 would be better – depending on how much walking / hiking clients want to do. In the area there are some amazing places to stay. I stayed at Setrana Lodge- which have luxury tents, with a brick built bathroom attached. This was a beautiful place to stay & I was very happy.. I also visited the other hotels including Islao Rock Lodge which was stunning & extremely comfortable. The sister hotels Relais de la Reine & Jardin de Roy were also extremely nice. there this is a fabulous place for adventurous clients wanting to go on long hikes, mountain climb etc.
I of course only had the 1 night here but so wished I could have stayed longer.