It has been more than two months since our last mountain expedition and I suspect that after this one our habits may change a little…
Pic Boby at 2658 meters above sea level is the highest climbable peak in Madagascar.
We spent a few days hanging out with the local lemurs kidding ourselves that we wouldn’t mind if we didn’t climb the mountain and then booked ourselves in with a local guide.
Pic Boby takes between two and six days to summit from the perimeter of the National Park can only be climbed with a local guide, porters and a chef. While this sounds ostentatious I soon realised that this was the only logical way to hike in Andringitar National Park. Many of the paths do not appear on any map or app, campsites are well hidden and if you are not fluent in Malagasy then your dinner prospects are slim to none.
The deal was sealed with far too much local rum and some vague hand waving. We would start early to avoid the heat and “walk for seven hours, then ten hours on day two and three hours on day three” I was a little twitchy at the idea of setting off without knowing the terrain but I needn’t have worried, as suspected it was mostly uphill.
To my surprise (and delight) day one included an hour and a half’s break for a freshly prepared two course lunch, complete with table cloth and stunning views. I could definitely get used to this!
The route we took was stunning and more challenging than we had expected, this and the fact that each day was punctuated by breakfast with freshly brewed coffee, a two course lunch and three course dinner just after dark made us very, very happy…
Most Malagasy people still have to walk long distances carrying heavy loads each day to collect water or tend their crops. Long story short, if a Malagasy walking guide tells you that you have ten hours of walking ahead of you, it’s probably a conservative estimate.
If you aren’t Malagasy, Nepali or a regular mountain climber, Pic Boby is still achievable but I would recommend that you split the walk into shorter days, the distance between campsites prevents an even split so three nights and four days may be the best option.
If you are travelling during winter (UK Summer) be aware that it will probably freeze at night up top. It is probably best to bring your own high-tech sleeping bags and thermarests as this level of comfort is not yet readily available in Madagascar. ..
We had an amazing time in the mountains and very much enjoyed the company of our porters and guide, we found ourselves wishing we had been able to book direct however the internet is not yet really a thing in Madagascar. Most homes outside of the cities don’t have running water let alone 24 hour electricity or a phone line.
We are in the process of making a list of places and people you should try to hang out with while you are in Madagascar. Please contact us if you need them sooner rather than later!