September 28, 2016
This post is part of a 10 day trip with Remote River Expeditions.
We depart at 7AM as we have a long drive towards Morondava with an overnight stop at the Kirindy Forest for evening and morning walks to see the local lemurs.
The road is flat and slow, not as rough as previous roads but still plenty of slow sections.
The ferry crossing outside of Tsingy de Bemaraha is quick and easy quick. They load 1 to 3 cars on a motorized barge. Alex says they’ve only had the motor a couple of years. Before that they poled across the river.
Children by the side of the road wave but are more aggressive than we saw in the hinterland – dancing and posing, some with their hands out expecting something from the tourists.
We pass through a few villages with the same style of straw and mud wall construction that we saw in Bekopaka, very little brick.
There was some traffic in both directions but not enough to slow us down.
We reached Belo Tsiribihina at 10:30 where we stopped for lunch at the Mad Zebu before taking the ferry across the Mania River. Alex points out that this restaurant is locally owned and not the Pakistani place – the other restaurant in town.
The dining room has an open-air tropical vibe. The food is well prepared and much nicer than we’ve had since we’ve been in Madagascar. As it was only mid-morning and we weren’t very hungry we skipped the appetizers and dessert. They brought us a cherry tomato and smoked fish amuse bouche.
For mains Don had the filet de capitaine – a local fish –
and I had the queue de camoron – large fresh local shrimp.
Crossing the Mania River took the 1.5 hours Alex said it would. We didn’t have to wait long as we were the last vehicle on the ferry that was waiting when we arrived.
However it’s a slow process loading up the vehicles followed by a ride up river to reach the dock on the other side.
Quite the scene on either end – the loading and unloading of vehicles, tourists and locals hanging about, snack shops, kids playing in the water.
Past the river is more dusty, red road through the flat lands.
Alex buys two live guinea fowl for 5000 ($1.50USD) each. He sticks them in the back of the vehicle with the other supplies.
According to Alex this area has been burnt out by tribes to the south who want to cultivate the land. As we get closer to Morondava we start to see rice paddies.
We reach the Kirindy Forest just after 2PM.