Wednesday, November 14, 2007
We hit the road yesterday morning at 6am with the 4x4 and our driver Vonjy towards Majunga. I am so amazed by the good condition of the roads. Seems a little odd to me because Madagascar and bad (or non-existing) roads were synonymous to me.
The landscape in the vicinity of Tana is amazing. It must be a good time of the year because it’s been raining and the hills are green. We drove for about nine hours with a lunch stopover in Maevatanana which is supposedly the hottest place in Madagascar. It was hot indeed but it gets hotter sometimes up to the lower forties (°C). My mom sometimes donates clothes, tools, or instruments to schools so we visited one such school. In Germany, they close the schools when it’s too hot (like 32°C). I wonder if they do here, too, and if so, how hot has to get.
We continued our drive, crossing bridges and rivers, until we finally arrived at the Ankarafantsika National Park. Germans have, in cooperation with the Malagasy, built a small resort with hotel rooms and even spots to set up tents (which can be rented, too). The place as well as the sides of the road we were on all day were full of mango trees. Everybody knows mangos but few Europeans have ever had fully riped mangos fresh from the tree. They’re probably one of my favourite type of food and when they’re as ripe, orange, and juicy as this - ah! It hardly gets any better than that!
Once it was dark, we headed off into the woods for a night excursion. A few of the lemur species are nocturnal so they’re best found after dark. Our guide didn’t have problems spotting them using her flashlight until those two small red eyes would glow back from the trees. Some of them have actually just woken up from hibernation. Which is weird since in my mind, “hibernation” connects with “cold winter” which certainly doesn’t exist here. We also saw birds - Madagascar is an ornitologist’s paradise - and cockroaches at least as big as those encountered elsewhere.
We did a similar tour this morning where we saw more lemurs and birds, then headed off to Ambato Boeni where we are now.