There are supposed to be monkeys and rats in the Canyon des Makis, but it was no surprise that we saw only lemurs (brown and ringtails), mostly around the camping area (which is about 0.8km from the parking lot). The trail is well grades up to the camping area, but involves a little elementary rock hopping further up the canyon. The side trail up to the Cascade of the Nymphs has rock steps, and due to the dampness of the area, gets a little slippery. The contrast of the lush damp vegetation in the cool depths of the canyon is a stark contrast to the dry open uplands.
On can walk directly into the canyon from The 'Paradise Pool',cutting across the plateau, though the climb down into the canyon is steep.
Before we go walking in the National Park, we must go to Ranohira to pay the entry fee. It is a very rough track once off the RN7. The eroded hills face us as we drive down a valley, then up the other side to the parking lot. We are rewarded with the first chameleon of the day, in a tree just by the start of the trail.
It is a steep climb through a gap in the rugged hill, but we soon reach an elevated plateau, to an open woodland, where the fire resistant tapia tree still grows. On the cliffs to either side, are burial places of the Bara people, behind walls of stone in natural clefts and caves.
Eroded rocks, domes and pillars jut up from the plateau, stained in multicoloured lichen, the rock layers alternately grey and orange. There are stick insects and praying mantises in the Isalo bushes for which the park is named. A panorama of canyons and plains, is revealed on all sides. Below us, a clump of green shows the watercourse which is our destination.
We walk down into the cool cleft in the rock to find a broad pool, fringed by palms. It is winter, and the water is bitingly cold. A dip is mandatory anyway! There is time to thaw out and dry out on the trek back to the car park.
We stopped here between walks. I just cannot remember the name, and it is absent from my notebook.
Anyhow, there is a quite spacious dining room, with a brown tiled floor, wooden chairs and pink tablecloths. We chose the zebu brochettes, and were not disappointed.
Service was smart and the price was fair.