So we figured out how to get to the middle of nowhere and guess what, there are villages there. So we traveled via taxi-brousse, without bikes, to a fork in the road, got off and then walked 10 kilometers to the town of Ampefy on Lake Itasy. We spent 2 nights in very basic accommodation and went for a long walk around the lake through villages and lush farm land. Lots of local people, children and zebu carts. The guide for the next part of our journey found us using vaziha (pronounced waza) radar. Vaziha means white person, so basically he asked around town until we were tracked down.
We were picked up early in the morning on July 2nd by our guide from Remote River Expeditions, then we proceeded to travel to the middle of nowhere. Here is how we did that - a four hour ride to the west on paved road, just before the next big town we turned off on a dirt "road" and spent the next 6 hours up and down and up and down and on some majorly intense 4 wheel drive track... but there were still villages. Then we arrived to our stopping
point, hiked down a bit to a flat section and a waterfall, and camped. We hiked about 4 hours the next day and reached Ankavandra. Wild West Madagascar style, literally full of bandits. The crazy thing is that this village of around 20,000 people exists in a location so remote, quite remarkable. We camped that night on the river and had a lot of visitors, we think this was for our protection and we made it through the night. The next 4 days a and 3 nights were absolutely amazing. We headed out on July 4th in our pirogues and spent the next days enjoying the flow of the Manambolo River and the village lifestyle on its banks. The lap of the water on the sides of our boats, the boatmen singing local music and talking in their sing-song language, birds and the wind serenaded us. We saw chameleons, geckos and 2 crocodiles (one was small and dead and the other was huge and alive). Words can't really describe the experience, but this one goes down in the books as epic. Oh and our guide made us grilled zebu steak and tomato salad, paired with some 'tasty' (if your palate
prefers vinegar), Malagasy wine for 4th of July.
Our river journey ended in Bekopaka, a small village at the entrance to Tsingy de Bemaraha national park. Problem here is that most people come by package tour. And in case you haven't figured it out yet, our bikes are not with us... so we had to figure out how to get to the park without a car already arranged. So this morning with a little luck in our pockets, we headed to the park office in town and tried to bum a ride. We met a nice, solo-traveling Korean man and we scored a ride to the park! The majestic Tsingy, one needs to see to believe. Sharp peaks, cathedrals, caves, and tons of stunning rocky landscapes. I'll let the pictures do the talking. Our wifi access and power will be turned off soon... until next time.
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