Long car rides on Safari make for prime blog writing time. Though the bumpy “secondary” roads make for many spelling errors.
En route to Tsingy via caravan! We lined up just outside of a bustling village around 1:30pm today. After all the trucks checked in, we were off to Tsingy! I think there’s about 15 to 30 trucks in total escorting tourists on this long lonely road. Li said there will only be two villages on this 4 hour ride. Nothing but the vastness of Africa, open land and huge sky. We have gorgeous weather, hot and dry with a few clouds in the sky.
Before our caravan, we had time after lunch to wander around the village with Li. There were so many stands tucked in behind the streets. I loved seeing all the colorful veggies for sale. Also, I loved a little boy, no more than about 8 or 9, who after a thumbs up, grab my hand as he walked by and said in Malagasy, “come with me, baby”. Kid’s got game.
So to backtrack a bit, since I’m not writing each day. Thursday we visited Ambatolampy and watched the craftsmen make aluminum pots and other fun little things. They did this all by hand (and feet!) and used the soil mixed with clay and charcoal to create the molds. So cool. I got a handmade lemur with a long tail. Then we traveled onto to Antsirabe, which was a big city. We stayed overnight at a fancy hotel with WiFi and a supermarket attached!!!! If I spoke to you via text or FaceTime, it was likely from there. We had infused rums and juice before dinner and then ate a huge meal with a heavy French influence, oh, and a pizza too. Yum.
The next morning we traveled to Kirindy. Long drive, I’d say about 11 hours from door to door but with stops. We saw people mining and panning for gold in a river, which was pretty cool. We stopped at sunset at baobab Avenue, where a bunch of other tourists were hanging out to watch the sunset behind the huge baobab. This place was gorgeous!!!!! We will stop again another day, so we didn’t stay too long. We continued onto Kirindy National Forest along a bumpy secondary road, but with gorgeous views from the car. The landscape here in the west goes on forever and ever, with the sun setting all around you. Of course when the sun goes down, night comes immediately.
We arrived to Kirindy forest lodge welcomed by the sounds of drums, guitar, and singing. Apparently the staff and researchers were having a party. We threw our bags in our lodge, and headed out for a night walk with our guide. We saw a fossa right away! We were super excited as fossa are hard to see. We also saw mouse lemurs and other nocturnal lemurs. The landscape here is very flat and the trees sparse as they are mostly deciduous and it’s winter. When we got back, there was another fossa right outside our cabin!!!! During the night some lemurs or a fossa visited our cabin and were scratching and sniffing around outside, during the morning I saw a mouse lemur or just a mouse scurry along our bathroom ceiling. He was super cute!!!!
This morning we trekked through Kirindy with our guide and saw soooo many lemurs!!!! I liked the ones that were hopping between the trees. Some eating on the ground let us get super close. Then we were off on the road again. The secondary roads are bumpy, and we got to take a ferry across the river. I will never again complain about backing up the car on the Block Island ferry after watching Mr. Barrie drive our car onto and off of the ferry! Amanda befriended a pregnant goat who was scared shitless on the ferry, I think the owner was willing to sell the goat to Amanda. Since the ferry was flat and open, we were able to really enjoy the ride.
We are off to Tsingy now and will do two treks tomorrow in Tsingy of Betmaraha National Park. I’m super excited for this activity, the Tsingy looks like a rock playground. And I heard our hotel tonight had a pool!!!! We had a pool a few nights ago but it was definitely below 50 at night. Out west, it’s hot hot hot! Swim time!
(In case you’re curious, we booked our tour through African Safari Tours Holiday Vacations!)