Nostalgy for Volker: his first car was a R4. This was our "taxi" to the hotel Suarez. There was not much left of this car inside...
Tuk-tuk into town
Celebrating Volker's 60th birthday in a hotel and restaurant where we were the only guests
Anita from the staff. All were sooooo nice!
A main road
This lemur was moving his tail from one side to the other to a tic-tic sound
The tiniest chameleon (that's his full adult size!).
Julia imitating Jane in the jungle
Our lodge at "Nature Lodge"
A bicycle parts dealer on the market
A market on our way to the Tsingys
Our very clever and wonderful guide Raissa and our driver Patrice
The huge scorpion (ca. 10 cm long) that was in our bathroom in Lodge Ankarana
A sleeping lemur with open eyes, they typically do that so any prey think they are awake
Monday 13 May 2019: Flight Antananarivo - Diego Suarez: very warm and humid
On Volker's 60th birthday we had to get up at 5:00 and were driven to the airport at 6:00 without breakfast (our hotel Le Chat'O only serves breakfast from 6:15 on). Our flight was scheduled for 8:00 but surprinsingly, when we were at the airport, our flight was suddenly at 7:00 am. We arrived in Antsinarana/Diego Suarez at 9:00. Transfer to the hotel Suarez by a local R4 Taxi in not anymore so good shape. The staff at the hotel is really amazingly nice, we were welcomed by Anita and served a delicious breakfast. After settling in our room, we immediately went to the pool. At about 14:15 we took a taxi (a tuktuk or mototaxi 12.000 ariary one-way) with Theo. Start of our "sightseeing tour" in Diego was Place Joffre, then walk along Colbert Avenue. A drink at a corner café where many old French men sat alone or together and sexy girls passed around. Volker had a real deliciously cold coconut juice. Julia bought some vanilla and at 17:00 we took our same taxi back to the hotel. One more swim before dinner. We were the only guests in this nice hotel. So we had good white wine (very generously served by the waiter -who knew about Volker's birthday, actually everybody knew, but not Volker!). We really enjoyed the excellent dinner and then, suddenly, the lights were turned off, and ... the waiter and Anita arrived with a birthday cake! Anita gave Volker 6 Malgassy postcards as a birthday present. Everybody is sooo nice!
Tuesday 14 May 2019: Diego Suarez - Joffre Ville - National Park Montagne d'Ambre (alt 1165 m) - Joffreville (alt 684 m): 120 km: cooler in the park
Raissa, our new guide, arrived this morning and we drove 2 hours to the National Park on pretty bad road and tracks. Walk in the forest with many explanations, Raissa finding the most amazing chameleons (even the tiniest ones!) and lemurs. Walk to two beautiful cascades, first the Antankarana then the especially beautiful "Sacred One". Pick-nick at the camping in the National Park with delicious shrimps, zebu meat balls, chicken, bananas, etc. After that lunch we walked to the crater lake Mahasarika. Drive to the Nature Lodge, a beautiful place (bungalow 9) with a very good restaurant (very good dinner 127.000 ariary).
Wednesday 15 May 2019: Joffre Ville - Tsingy Rouge - Ankarana: 150 km (6 hours drive) - very hot day
Start at 8:00 with a stop at a village, which had market day on Wednesday. We bought some pens and small carnets to give to children to motivate them to go to school. Then drive to the Tsingy Rouge, i.e. red tsingy. We had picnic (with exchanged mineral water Eau Vive to cool ones by Raissa ;)) at the simple restaurant Tsingy Rouge Restaurant These are of sandstone and very soft. We then drove a place where we had pick-nick. Raissa showed me the Paraki-leaves that people chew here as a kind of druge -similar to cocoa-leaves in Peru and Bolivia. Drive to Ankarana (5 times smaller then Joffreville!) where we arrived at 17:30 at the Relais Ankarana (not nice: the mosquito nets have holes, the shower has no water pressure, no electricity -the generator was out of order. Dinner at our "hotel" with Raissa and Patrice (100.000 ariary for their food as we have half board).
Thursday 16 May 2019: Ankarana National Park: 3 km, sunny and very hot
At 7:30 we went to the Lodge Ankarana and booked a room for the second night here in Ankarana (99€), so we went back to the Relais, took our stuff and put it in our new room #11. Drive to Ankarana National Park where we walked through the forest to the Tsingy, then to the big hole with the "amphitheatre", really impressive. We saw lots of lemurs, some sleeping because night active, others playing around. We were soaked after all that (over 4 hours walking and exploring). Lunch Chez Aurélien. Bad to the Ankarana Lodge where we took a good shower, then went to the swimming pool, ordered a rhum caipirinha and a piña colada. Dinner at our hotel. After dinner, we had a big surprise in the bathroom: a big scorpion Grosphus ankarana! Volker went to get the reception man to take it away, and the poor man was really afraid. He was saying all the time: "this is a really big one, really big!"