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When David and I get an invitation to go hiking, we just can’t turn it down. Our friends Kimi and Trevor on Slow Flight invited us to hike to the top of Nosy Komba with them just two days after we officially arrived into Madagascar.
The morning we were due to set off, Kimi messaged us early with a link of this blog who’d hiked up to the top. They’d been lost and confused by their guide, and it sounded like a hard day of bushwhacking.
“Do you still want to go?” she said.
The village of Ampangorinana is on the north point of Nosy Komba. We found the park office and hired a guide to take us up to the top for $25,000 Ariary per person ($6.70). Our guide’s name was John, and he was GREAT!
John grabbed a few bananas and a machete and led us through the village. The first stop was along a wide road with stands on either side selling handicrafts – a lot of lemur carvings! – or embroidered cloths. The linens are beautiful and can come as a set with tablecloth and napkins.
But it wasn’t long before we met our first furry resident – the black lemur. John made a little whistle and opened up the banana.
“Stand over here.” John motioned to me. He held out a small piece of banana and I braced for impact. More gently than I expected, a soft fluffball landed on my shoulder, weighing no more than four pounds.
John handed me a banana chunk and explained about my new accessory; a black lemur.
Lemurs are primates, meaning they belong to the same order as humans and the orangutans we saw in Kumai. All lemurs are endemic to Madagascar, so this is the only country they live in the wild. The male black lemur is true to its name, but the female is more of a soft brown color.
John explained that (just like the orangutans in Kumai) the lemurs are fed by the park guides, but in fruit season the lemurs prefer to get their food elsewhere. We saw so many lemurs, even a tiny baby clinging to its mother. And best of all, we were entirely alone with our new friends.
After the lemurs had polished off our bananas it was time to move on. We followed the path and John pointed out various critters that we never would have found on our own.
We spotted SO MANY panther chameleons.
There were plenty of other interesting plants and animals to see too. There are several species of geckos, spiders, and even unusual plants!
There were several trails or turn-offs, but we took what appears to be the main trail. I don’t believe there are any cars on Nosy Komba and the footpath as pretty busy. I think it’s not uncommon to hike up and over the mountain to go between the villages. In fact, the preschool is pretty near the top! There’s also a huge boulder with a crucifixion on top and a French military cemetery.
All in all, it took us about three hours to get up to the top.
And what a treat the top was! We always joke about having ice cream at the top of a killer hike, but at the top of Nosy Komba, there was a little cafe. No ice cream – no refrigeration – but we did order lemon juices to toast the view. The top of Nosy Komba is 622 meters high, so the view over the islands was amazing!
Our way back down went a lot faster. We asked John to recommend a restaurant, and he picked a good one – Tamirin – and we treated him to lunch and beers as a tip.