What is hot?
Red sand, cactus scrub, bonsai Baobabs, prehistoric trees, top this with over 40 degrees of heat no wind no water and finally just add a cherry to it with a humidity of 100%. That’s southern Madagascar. Being a novice to this area it’s a quick learning curve. Who can teach one better than nature? The lessons have been quick intense and no failure rate allowed.
From 3.30 in the morning the bush comes alive, beetles and insects are going ballistic. Lizard’s snakes and lots of them are on the prowl. Bird life gets into full swing during the early coldish dawn hours, but the temperature is still about 25 degrees. Time is short and there is a lot to be done.
Then at about 8-30 every day the siren goes off. There are these beetles that sound like chain saws starting up and the whole bush just sounds like a chainsaw competition, a deafening sound that could drive one insane. It does not stop, but when this starts ,every other form of life around just ceases to move, this is the warning about heat on the way, take head to this warning, as on day 2 I thought I could run on for a few more hours, only to stagger around dizzy and hurling all over the place – mild heat stroke.
How long does this red zone last? Laying sweating in the shade with no respite from this heat hour after hour, unable to move. Looking out over the land, all the trees have lost their definition in the haze, as if ones eyesight is failing.
Then out of nowhere your focus returns and there are objects moving about you. The first sign that the heat is turning is the giant tortoises that begin to break cover and search for moisture in the shrubbery. Slowly nature begins to come back to life and signal it’s safe to move.