Blogs from Madagascar, Africa

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Africa » Madagascar » Fianarantsoa April 19th 2020

I awake in my small room, and slip out under the mosquito net that cocoons my bed. I know the layout so don't need to light a candle. My pack is ready where I left it last night, I sling it over my shoulder and disappear into the equal darkness outside. The dog is the only one in the compound that wakes, he comes out wagging his tail, I bid him farewell and exit through the corrugated iron door. The road is rocky, a mix of skewed paving slabs and mud, it hasn't been repaved since the French abandoned Fort Carnot, in fact the only remnant that is still intact is the post office sitting next to the barracks overlooking the town. My three companions meet me on the outskirts, we do not share a language, ... read more
The pre-dawn
At the crossing
Roadside Lychees

Africa » Madagascar » Antananarivo January 6th 2020

After Baobab Avenue, we drove about an hour toward Morondava, a coastal town where we would stay the night. We made a stop at the local pharmacy in town - most of us had gotten sick at some point by the end of the trip. The town was bustling, and we turned on a beach front road where dozens of small hotels were located. We finally pulled into the Hotel Sun Beach and determined which rooms were which. I got the nice end room - and we had A/C!! For the first time all week! I almost did not want to leave my cool room, but I made my way to the hotel bar where I met up with Nolavy, ordered spaghetti Bolognese and a beer before heading off to bed. The next morning, I woke ... read more
Hotel Sun Beach
Morondava airport
Hotel Sun Beach breakfast

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
Fossa
Red fronted brown lemur
Mouse lemurs


After the river cruise, we were on our way to the place that brought me here: Tsingy National Park. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and (most importantly) made up of uniquely eroded limestone formations, much of which is so sharp, you cannot walk on it except for on guided paths! Before we could get there however, we picked up a military escort in our two SUV's. Me and two other guys were teamed up with Dada, our driver, who was awesome for the next few days. The other three, our guide, their driver and the military escort were placed in the larger SUV. I did not know initially, but while we carried all the luggage in ours, we also had A/C while the other car did not. We had to get a military escort ... read more
Tsingy - Deken's sifaka lemur
Tsingy
Tsingy

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 June 12th 2019

So what the hell is a zebu, you might well ask. Well, simplistically it is a cow with a large hump near the neck. But in Madagascar it is far more than just that. The zebu is not only an emblem of Malagasy culture, it is a symbol of wealth and also punctuates rituals and the daily lives of the Malagasy people. Zebus appear in the fields, in the bush, on your dinner plate, and even on all their banknotes. It is too complicated to describe here, but the zebu plays a major role in Madagascar in each of circumcision ceremonies, major projects, weddings and even funerals, with slight differences in approach between tribes. And in a more practical sense, in agricultural activities, particularly rice growing (and this is the staple food for near all Malagasys), ... read more
The Macaco Lemur
... and with friend
All mod cons in this remote village ...


So, here I am back on my travels, accompanied once again by my regular travelling companion in remote regions, Bruce. This time we are doing the rounds of East Africa. However on this trip we are on individual tours in each region (six in all) rather than touring with a group. And as double cause for celebration, this is my 100th blog with TravelBlog, and being somewhere as unique as Madagascar, I hope you find it good reading. Our trip started with a direct flight from Sydney to Johannesburg, taking just under 14 hours in all. There is rarely anything good to report on a flight of this duration, but travelling Premium Economy with Qantas did soften the ... read more
The Black & White Riffed Lemur
... and with friend
A brightly coloured chameleon ...

Africa » Madagascar » Ambalavao March 6th 2019

Finally made it here! Happy after a long zeek of negociating to try to get yself a transport cheap enough to bring me to the south! my arrival as always was slightly dramatic, beginning with a strike at Nairobi airport, followed by sleeping on the hallaways of the airport and having to constantly question people about our chances of making it, at any point at any time that very day to Antananarivo? Well it took from 4am till departures 12 hours later to land in a never been land at Antananarivo airport by 8pm their time.... not y plan to start zith of course as I wanted to arrive during the day; but had to make do, surprisingly going through custo,ms was incredibly easy, and a lady at custos got me a ¨friend¨ of hers to ... read more
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Africa » Madagascar » Antananarivo March 13th 2018

The Day in the Life of Malagasians Rural Malagasians are up before sunrise, no electricity and no running water but the daily chores begin. The women prepared rice and fruit for breakfast for her big family. Strong Malagasian coffee was always prepared using charcoal for the fires. The school children put their school uniforms on (dark blue for private schools light blue for public schools) and helped with the younger ones. They had to start walking early as there was no public transport and school started at 8.00am. The men were out amongst the rice, corn and other vegies, later to be joined by the ladies. The 13+ boys move the Zebu for fresh grass. They all took their long narrow sticks to control the cattle. Several 16-18 year old girls were tending to their babies ... read more
Big loads (2)
Mindoanacentre Markets  (8)
Zebu on the way to market

Africa » Madagascar » Antananarivo March 12th 2018

Monday 12 March – Back to Tana The airport of Antsiranana (Diego) was basic with simple facilities. After leaving our hotel at 6.30am we waited about an hour before boarding at 8.30am and arrived in Tana on time after the 1.75 hour flight with Air Madagascar. A different driver was waiting for us at the airport and drove us to Hotel Mellis, the 3rd time we had stayed there. It’s a great hotel and very central. We went to the markets to buy some avocado and fruit for a light lunch. It was fun bartering with stall holders who couldn’t speak English and we certainly couldn’t speak Malagasy or French. The market was packed as usual and one needed to watch for pick-pockets as they are rife in this city market place. We then decided to ... read more
Antananarivo - Tana Tsimbazaza Zoo and Botanical Gardens (12)
Feeding lemurs honey at Antananarivo - Tana Tsimbazaza Zoo and Botanical Gardens (2)
Sakamanga Restaurant and Museum and Hotel in Tana (3)




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