North 2013

Relaxation at the dream beach


Today is a day of doing nothing. One by one at half-past nine everybody comes in for breakfast (this time with pineapple juice). Officially there is no program today. Who likes can lie down on the beach and let the sun slowly grill them. Some of them want to look for frogs near the entrance to the lodge by a stream in the forest.

As I leave the lodge together with Armin on the way to the right, an elderly man in a homemade wheelchair passes us. He can barely get up the hill, so Armin pushes him up without a word from the other person. But that doesn’t matter, the man is happy even without understanding us. On a small slope, maybe 50 meters away from the lodge, Heidi and a few others are looking for frogs. The wet stream bank and the warmth promise beautiful animals. A few meters in front of it we discover a baby panther chameleon, which just fits on my thumb. It is pink with bright lateral stripes – and quite outraged that such giants take it on. After some photos, I carefully put it back on the branch where it was found.

Furcifer pardalis
Furcifer pardalis juvenile

Martin, Thorsten and I stroll leisurely past the frog seekers and look in the bushes and trees around for more panther chameleons. It is not that easy if you do not have a guide with you. But we have time. I enjoy the silence and let my eyes wander through the green vegetation. After a short time I notice that the others are not following us at all. Thorsten had suggested to walk up to a small restaurant, whose owner he knows and where you can have a cool THB while enjoying the beautiful view. Well, now there are only three of us, but the more beautiful it becomes. The path is partly still asphalted, partly only gravel, then sandy again. We meet zebus at the roadside, some huts are standing down the slope at the beach. Beautiful white and yellow blooming flowers accompany us the whole way. Palm trees alternate with other deciduous trees and form a dense, fantastic green that forms a great contrast to the blue, slightly cloudy sky. A dream path… By the way, a very beautiful white flower is called Clitoria, which fits to its peculiar appearance.

On the way, we find another, somewhat older young panther chameleon. After it escapes between the branches, we need almost a quarter of an hour to find it again at all. Quickly it has taken refuge behind some leaves and although it is anything but green, it is hard to spot in the bushes – even though I actually saw exactly where it went! At the same roadside we discover a colourful, adult male panther chameleon, a beautiful animal. Unfortunately, this one is also a bit nervous, so that after a few photos we let him sit back in his bushes and let him go.

At some point, the path makes a gentle right turn and we come to a white stone house with a red roof, to which a steep, narrow staircase leads down. Thorsten leads the way, two large, beige dogs come running towards us. Instead of barking at us, they greet us friendly. Both look amazingly well-groomed, are neutered and wear collars. They accompany us to a small terrace behind the house. We cross a hall, on whose white walls are small benches with colorful cushions. On a small, white-covered sofa and the matching, comfortable armchair you can truly enjoy the view of the sea. The owner of the former Dauphin Bleu, now Ankify Lodge, seems to have changed, but the current one still serves guests and brings us THB and peanuts. The dogs join us and get cuddled. I eat most of the peanuts alone. The perfect day.

When at some point all the drinks are empty and it is time to go back, I find it difficult to leave. Such a beautiful, quiet place, such a heavenly day. We leave the little restaurant. As we climb the stairs, the younger of the two dogs follows us. He doesn’t react to the calls of his owner, he runs along for a few meters, invites us to play and finally has to be brought back by Thorsten. No sooner have we walked about a hundred meters than the dog has caught up with us again. It seems that not many of the passing guests play with him or occupy themselves with him. He romps around us – and Thorsten brings the dear fellow back to his home again, where he has a pretty good time in contrast to most dogs in Madagascar. A bit faster than this morning, but still very comfortable, we walk the way back to the lodge. Actually it is not that far – but this morning we must have been sneaking around looking for panther chameleons.

The beach of our hotel

Back at the lodge, everyone is quickly drawn to the beach. The current in the sea is many times stronger today than yesterday, one can hardly stand, let alone swim for long periods. I let myself drift on the saltwater, land now and then on the shallow shore and drift back into the sea. The warm water and the blue sky invite you to dream. On the beach, Gerd tries to catch the nimble crabs without letting the scissors pinch his fingers. There is a certain situation comedy about it. Eric and Daddy have borrowed narrow, blue kayaks with which they paddle a few laps on the sea. I get to try it. Without really being able to row, the small boats make it surprisingly easy and fast to move forward. It’s really fun. Eric and Dady, who both can hardly swim, dare to go quite far out, but there are enough people around who can help in case of doubt.

Daddy und Thorsten
Daddy and Thorsten

When it gets dark, I drag myself quite tired up the steps to the restaurant. What am I so tired of? That’s a good question. I was just out for a walk today. We sit a little bit in front of the counter in armchairs at low tables. Suddenly, Stefan has the idea to teach Lore and me how to play poker. Top idea – I could just as easily land on Mars. And I do not like the game either. I leave my cards to my neighbor – Thorsten can at least play poker. Sometime after dinner, everyone disappears into their bungalows. When the servants want to turn off the lights, we still sit there in pairs and talk.

My bungalow

The night still has unexpected surprises for me – but no nice ones. When I come back to my bungalow, a monstrous spider is sitting on my pillow. Hello?! Why on my pillow? Based on the measurements of my hand, the animal has a diameter of about 20 cm, including its legs. It’s not huge, but it’s too big for my taste. Unfortunately, in a slight touch of disgust panic, I don’t get the idea to simply open the door and carry the pillow and spider outside. Instead, I throw the whole thing in front of the wall on the floor. Yeah. Spider is still sitting, I dance around my bed and stretch the mosquito net. No mosquito net has ever been stretched so tight! My little day gecko, who always sat in my cocktail glass in the evening the last days and licked the honey I brought in the morning, is gone, too. Probably eaten by my eight-legged friend. Well, let’s see where the monster is tomorrow morning.

Published by Alex

Alex ist 35 Jahre alt, wohnt in der Nähe von Mainz und ist im echten Leben fernab des Urlaubs Tierarzt mit Faible für Reptilien. Sie fotografiert und reist gerne - so entstand auch dieser Blog. Nebenbei hält sie selbst Chamäleons zu Hause, schreibt an wissenschaftlichen Veröffentlichungen, betreibt ein kostenloses OnlineMagazin und erstellt Malbücher für madagassische Kinder.

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