Blogs from Belo sur Tsiribihina, Madagascar, Africa


Africa » Madagascar » Belo sur Tsiribihina October 21st 2023

A quote famously said by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American philosopher. To be fair our destination wasn't bad. It is just that you really had to want to get there. Our destination was the Parc National de Bemaraha and the gateway village of Bekopaka. The Parc is known for its wildlife but particularly for the once-sacred limestone pinnacles called Tsingy. In the case of the Big Tsingy the pinnacles are like stick bundles 100m high. Below are jungle oases with tarzan vines and caves with a cooling breeze. The access route was via a series of rock steps, ladders and safety lines so you can climb to the top and get a panoramic view across the eroded massif. Biero, our local Sakalava guide, moved with such elegance through the narrow gaps and across the traverses. I ... read more
Jane and Biero
At the top of the Tsingy
Jacko aka Rambo at the wheel

Africa » Madagascar » Belo sur Tsiribihina October 20th 2023

Goodbye tarmac! After a short drive towards the coast from Miandrivazo we turned off on a sandy track to transfer to a 4x4 pickup truck. That is the last tarmac we will see for 10 days. Our destination was a shallow draft river cruiser moored to a sand bank. They have the look of a faded royal barge with a top sun deck. The engine at the back is Chinese made (isn't everything) and is designed for milling rice. The petrol and cooling water are fed from plastic jerry cans. The accelerator is a piece of string. The noise when steering is deafening. It is the end of the dry season so the river is at its lowest. The captain has to carefully steer to stay in the deepest part of the river and when he ... read more
Driving the boat under the supervision of the Captain
Zebu Cart crossing the sandbank on return from the village
Jane and the crew

Africa » Madagascar » Belo sur Tsiribihina December 5th 2019

This was one of our busier and most fun days as we planned to visit Kirindy Park and Baobab Avenue at sunset, before finishing the night at the coastal town of Morondava. Kirindy National Park We arrived at the Kirindy Reserve Field Station late at night (around 7:30) for our night hike. We drove past the main entrance down a road to where we were able to access the trails a little easier. Our guide met us there, where it was actually a bit crowded, and we put our headlamps on before walking into the woods. He said there were 3 or 4 species of lemur that we expected to see. And we saw our first one pretty quickly and actually found 4 of them in the first 15 minutes: Madame Berthe's mouse lemur, pale fork-marked ... read more
Red fronted brown lemur
Mouse lemurs

Africa » Madagascar » Belo sur Tsiribihina December 2nd 2019

So, we finally made the flight and arrived in Antananarivo (Tana for short), where our guide Nolavy was waiting for us once we left the ridiculously time-consuming immigration formalities. Nolavy recommended we change our money there, about $150 - $250 USD. So, I had $160 to change. We were taken out to a pretty nice red bus that was quite comfortable, much better than our transport in Zimbabwe. We loaded up on snacks at a nearby gas station, the nicest one by far we saw the entire trip. Since we had missed a day due to our missed connection, we had had to condense our schedule, which meant a 9 hour drive to our destination. 9 hours. It started out well enough, we were chatting and getting to know each other, listening to music, enjoying the ... read more
Chameleon - first sighting
Local village
Fisherman with fresh caught prawns

Africa » Madagascar » Belo sur Tsiribihina October 3rd 2009

Today is supposed to be a long slog through to Morondava, a trip that no-one is looking forward to. We do half of the leg back to Belo with no problems and stop for a break. Unfortunately the driver then stalls the engine, and will it start again? Not a hope in hell. We try jump-starts, push-starts, the driver fiddles under the bonnet interminably. Nothing works. We grab our mattresses and lie under a nearby tree in the shade. Vehicles pass but none of them seems to have the technical know-how to fix the problem. The verdict is that the alternator is en panne, a French phrase meaning "broken" and rhyming with "Our chances of getting to Morondava in one day have just gone down the pan". The decision is made that the guide will get ... read more
Avenue de Baobab
The gang stride forth

Africa » Madagascar » Belo sur Tsiribihina September 30th 2009

Fortunately 2.5 days of increasingly uncomfortable seating in the pirogues has prepared us for what comes next - a ride on a zebu cart. Zebu are the cattle with lyre-shaped horns that originated in south Asia - they're ubiquitous in Madagascar and on Madagascan menus. We need to cover several kilometres to a village and initially we walk behind the carts on which the zebu are pulling our luggage. However at a muddy part of the track we're encouraged to jump on. Needless to say, sitting on lumpy rucksacks while being jolted over rough terrain loses its appeal quite quickly, even more so when you get spattered by the mud/shit mixture that the zebus' hooves are constantly flicking up. We pass through a small settlement where, depressingly, the adults want money in order for pictures to ... read more
Condom with instructions in Malagasy
Chalk board

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