This morning at 7:30 is our appointment with the guide for a visit to Ifato National Parc and the natural swimming pool. We get up early, and enjoy our breakfast in this fantastic hotel. In Ranohira our guide arranges for a park guide, and in the mean time we buy a T-shirt at Maki company. The route to the parking lot where the walking tour begins is full of bumps, and at one point the car has to dive through the river. The start of the walk is going upwards, towards a rock that looks like a tortoise. Along the trip we get explanations of how the caves between the rock formations are being used by the local people to bury their dead, and how the dead bodies are excavated a few years after the burial and reburied later at a higher level after the festivities end.
We are very lucky on our way into the park: half way we meet a troup of ring-tailed lemurs that are also going up the mountain, but in the other direction. This gives a nice occasion to take some pictures of these animals in their natural habitat. Our local guide gives us explanations about many of the local animals (termite mounds up in the trees) trees (bearing fruits all year, only dropping them when it rains) and plants. We also see the cocoon of a wild silk worm, stick insects, and some scorpions under the rocks.
Along the 3km walk there are several natural rock formations where good local stories are told: a rock in the shape of Madagascar, a Crododile jumping out of the water, a little dog, and a skull. The geology is quite interesting: the rocks contain layers of round pebbles leaving nice layers of round holes when they loosen up. Close to the end of the walk there are more green plants as we come closer to the source. At the natural pool we take a short dive into the cold water, and then we walk back to the car along the same 3km trip. We bring our local guide to his house for lunch time, and at the hotel we drink a cup of coffee and play some chess. After lunch we read our books, and Maxim enjoys the hotel pool.
Our guide comes to pick us up at 17:00 for a visit to the "Window of Isalo"; a nice rock formation where we can enjoy the beautiful colors of sunset.