TOPO Hiking

On the Tsaranoro trail, Stage 2

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Stage 2 of the trek on the Tsaranoro trail kicks up a notch in terms of distance and elevation gain! Even though the sun wasn't out for us, we enjoyed a varied route through the Namoly valley and then along the southern flanks of the Andringitra massif, finally reaching camp 3 below Imarivolanitra peak. Rather than making the direct ascent to camp 3, the idea was to discover part of the Imaitso circuit in a stretch of humid forest before following the ridges along the massif's walls. We concentrated our efforts on the 700m of ascent in the forest, hoping to catch a glimpse of 1 or 2 lemurs perched on the large tangled trunks along the way. We finally reach a plateau at an altitude of over 2000m to reach camp 3 in the park, beneath an immense grey and orange cliff, the starting point for the ascent of the next day's peak. The site is ideally placed, with pretty little shelters of stone, wood and straw for shelter. Let's hope for clear skies for stage 3...

Technical summary

Type ✦ Hiking

Location ✦ Namoly Valley

Region ✦ Ambalavao

Country ✦ Madagascar

Length ✦ 17kms

Vertical drop ✦ 500m

Altitude ✦ +2500m

Difficulty ✦ MD

Duration ✦ 5h to 6h

Interest ✦ ★★

Access to the place

From Amabalamandray, accessible by 4×4 or on foot from Sendrisoa, 26 km south of Ambalavao. See post stage 1.

Map & topo

Stage 2 is shown in purple on the map.

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 2'

From the MNP gite, take the main track leading to the village of Ambalamanandray, which you must cross.

Course

The gradient is therefore greater, but the distance is equivalent to that of the 1st stage. The route is signposted every 50 m, as is the case throughout the park, on all official circuits. As this time we're actually in the national park, a park guide is required to move around the massif. And you also have to pay 45,000 ariarys a day to enter the park. All this can be managed by the agency providing the logistics for the 4-day treks (see Madamax website).


Part 1: Namoly Valley

5 km of wide tracks and small paths to gradually descend to the valley floor. We pass through magnificent little villages where the children greet us with both curiosity and a little fear. We also cross rice paddies to finally reach the end of the valley and attack the slopes of the rampart, where a large forest forms the ridge to be crossed. Allow around 1h30 for 730m of ascent +.


Part 2: the rainforest

9 km of gentle climbing at first, then increasingly steep. We start off on the Imaitso circuit trail, then leave it fairly quickly to tackle the path up to the ridge. PM marker at 00m. Not of exceptional interest, it's more of an effort. In sunny weather, the lemurs might be out and about, but not today. Allow around 1h45.


Part 3: the ridges

From the top, you come out onto a long, wide dome of vegetation where a wide path has been cleared through the scrub. The terrain is undulating, with small but short depressions to cross. A view that's probably beautiful, but not today, when we're waiting for a few rays to take a photo. 12.5 km to the source of the Marositry River, with a possible lunch break. Allow 1h30 more. PM 5350m.


Part 4: the plateau

One last climb and we pass a shoulder that gives access to the high plateau at 2000m where camp 3 is located. Here, you can see the Andringitra mountain range. A much higher mountain landscape. 4 km further. PM 8900m. Arrival at camp at around 2100m altitude.


Bivouac

Camp 3 comprises 2 traditional stone shelters with straw roofs for cooking and accommodation for porters and guides. A camping area is located just above...

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