Masoala Peninsula

mp01.jpgThe day after we returned from Nosy Mangabe our first hike started, in a caravan of 11 Dutch people and 18 local porters and guides, who were wearing our backpacks, tents and food, we hiked along the coast of the Masoala Peninsula.
A heavy expedition, we walked partly at mouldy and sloping beaches, through the rainforest, over rockeries and hundreds of tree trunks. 20-30 times a day we had to put off and to put on our hiking shoes as we had to cross many rivers and streams that went to the sea. This part of the trip was new for our travel agency, no one had done this hike before, it was only done by some of the local guides. But if they said it was only 4 hours walking it was at least 8 hours walking for us. mp02.jpgThey mostly walked barefoot, walked easily through all the streams, had no problems with the rockeries etc. This took us much more time and energy. The first day we walked 8 hours, but the second day we started already before 7.00 AM and arrived at 7 PM, than we had to set up the tents, to cook. Half way the 3rd day one man of our group gave up and went with a local guide back to a village and would try to arrange a boat back to Maroantsetra and wait there for us. The first protests of our group came, at least from half of the group, it was only hiking and hiking, we hardly had time to enjoy the beautifully surroundings. The half of the group were real hikers, Himalaya hikers, they went for the kilometres. The first chameleon was nice to see, the second already a little less and the 3rd one was not interesting anymore, this also with the other animals. mp03.jpgBut we still could stop for chameleon number 30, every chameleon, the most were panther chameleons, was still interesting, had other colours, had a different size etc. Also for the frogs and lemurs. So soon we felt behind with one or two local guides, we had some time for taking pictures but not for filming, otherwise we really felt behind. We had to gain every time at the rest of the group, so we had no time for searching the animals. Luckily some of the local guides/porters liked it that we loved to see all the animals and pointed us out a lot. Like at Nosy Mangabe, they knew almost nothing about those animals and listened eagerly to our stories, asked many questions and they searched even harder to find more and new animals for us. mp04.jpgBut frogs they could not find, although it was more, they never had looked for frogs, so we found them mostly first.
At the end of day 4 it became obvious we could not make it to reach in time our terminal point, where a boat was waiting for us to bring us back to Maroantsetra. So the hikers said, then we have to get up earlier and leave already at 6.00 AM and walk one or two hours longer for the last 2 days. We and 3 others protested, why could not one or two 2 porters go to that point and bring the boat the the place where we were camping now? It was a nature expedition not just a hiking expedition. We and some others loved to have a rest day, hanging/walking a little around the camp. Having the time to observe the animals, enjoy the nature. We were talking about splitting up the group, but our travel guide thought mp05.jpgthat also the hikers would not make it in time to the terminal point. So we stayed all, the travel guide went with a local guide to the terminal point to pick us 2 days later up with the boat, the hikers went hiking with a local guide and returned at night and we and some others stayed around the camp exploring everything around. It was great to have the time again, there was a lot to see, now we could find again the leaf tailed geckos, chameleons and lemurs by ourselves. Back at Maroantsetra we went again looking for the tomato frogs.

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