Mapless in Madagascar

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Tiffany, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. Dr LC8

    Dr LC8 ...soon or later

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    982
    Location:
    Manchester...but from Rome!
    So which direction are you going? I have done the south. I have few place I would advice you should see...:deal

    Nic
    #21
  2. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
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    Location:
    Lands End, England (sometimes)
    I'm used to having to stretch to reach the ground, apparently the secret is to never stop!:D
    #22
  3. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    yes please Nic.

    Funny because when I told the guys in the Bike Shop I wanted to explore as much as possible, they said don't got to the south, it's not safe there anymore as people are getting killed (some random stuff about army and zebu- the African cattle- and whatever) anyway, I pointed out that if it's blokes they're unlikely to see me as a threat- a solo woman on her motorbike- and so I'm going there anyway.

    back to updating
    #23
  4. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Lands End, England (sometimes)
    The next morning, the view from my window looked something like this...

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    A typical African scene.
    I was on the shores of Lake Itasy, which is rumoured to have crocodiles in it, but this was the closest I got to seeing one

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    A photo in the hotel reception.

    I headed off to find some local waterfalls, and was directed along a small track which got increasingly narrow and full of fesh fesh (bulldust).
    I had assumed I was on the route that the bush taxis take, but there's no way that anything with four wheels used this track - and I'm sorry but I was having such a hard time riding that I didn't take any pictures at this stage. I had a couple of river crossings and then I was told I was heading the wrong way and had to go back again!
    I found more people AND a proper bridge, I MUST be on the right track now

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    I finally got to the waterfalls, very dusty and sweaty

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    but still able to smile

    It was like being at a smaller version of Victoria Falls, much smaller

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    I zoomed in with my camera at the white blob at the top to see this

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    A couple of ducks that looked like they're contemplating diving in!!

    And yes, as I turned to go, here were the bush taxis arriving on the good road

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    I just had to try and follow this road out.

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    #24
  5. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    I did come face to face with a crocodile
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    Luckily it was just in a bar, where I was having a well-earned cold [​IMG].

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    #25
  6. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Through couchsurfing.com, I'd been in touch with an American Peace Corps worker and went to visit her
    Sarah is very blonde and from Michigan - two major contrasts to being in Madagascar

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    She's been out here for 18 months and had a lot of good information to share and advice to give. We had lunch at a market restaurant and she introduced me to the drink rano'apango - boiled burnt rice water. Which although it smelt pretty bad, it tasted alright, like a strong roibusch (redbush) tea from South Africa.

    I managed to run out of fuel- schoolgirl error, I hadn't realised that the bike had been handed over with the reserve switched on. This meant I had a bit of a delay, when I pushed the bike to the nearest village and paid someone to cycle the 6kms to the next fuel stop and bring back a coke bottle of petrol. So I was unable to get to my destination that night- because there's no way I'm riding in the dark over here. I was a bit stuck for accommodation options, the only place in the small town had red light bulbs and also rented by the hour!![​IMG]

    However the owner was very nice and assured me I would be safe there rather than out on the road with the animals and the brigands!

    As I rode in through the gates, I saw what looked like a familiar sight-

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    a van identical to one I had travelled through the 'Stans with a few years ago.


    the next morning (after a very peaceful night's sleep) the owner of the establishment and his wife posed for a picture

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    I made it back to Tana, and stayed at the house of a friend of the bike shop owner (long story)
    The house was full of Enduro trophies

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    And the only reading material were motocross and Enduro magazines...in French naturally.

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    Dinner that night was provided at the house by a couple of well...reprobates is the only word to describe them, they're originally from Reunion Island and have ended up in Madagasacar. They washed it down with lots of rum, which I managed to decline.

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    It was back to the bike shop in the morning, to give back the 250cc and pick up the DR 350.
    And time to pack it

    Here I am attempting to fill the Coyote Saddle Bag

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    And here is what I put in it

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    Time to head north

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    for some adventures,

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    #26
  7. sion

    sion sigh-own

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    Location:
    Hocking Hills

    M&Ms...a definite trail essential :lol3
    #27
  8. fabriktr

    fabriktr Build it if you can.

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
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    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Subscribed. Lets ride!:clap
    #28
  9. Dr LC8

    Dr LC8 ...soon or later

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Manchester...but from Rome!
    Hi,

    Lara and I went down south reaching Morondava first and Toliara after. We were a girl and a boy on two bikes. We never ever had the impression to be in an unsafe place or to be in danger. In one occasion we also ride for over two hours in the dark between Antsirabe and Ambositra to reach the the destination.

    Obviously it is a very very rural conuntry with no facilities outside big or busy towns. There is no electricity outside big towns and people tend to drink a lot. It is very easy to find drunk man hanging around at night.
    I guess you only need to plan ahead the night before which will be your next destination knowing that there won't be any intermidiate stop. Make sure you can make it and don't forget that there are stretch of 300km without petrol stations.

    Madagascar is a beautiful country.

    Don't miss the fishing village on the coast around Morondava. Isalo Park it is unbeliaveble beautiful. It looks like a T-Rex will suddently appear from behind the mountain. On the opposite just a day riding away Ranomafana Park is a tropical jungle! Fantastic.

    Enjoy!

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    Nic
    #29
  10. Thom_worldwide

    Thom_worldwide Way out here

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    25
    Location:
    NoVA
    Hi Tiffany,

    I am not sure where you are on your trip – posting as you go or posting after the fact – but my family and I live in Antananarivo and I have ridden the whole west coast from Mahajanga to Tulear.

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    Baobabs

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    Sand

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    Streams

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    Rivers

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    Mud

    Weekend rides are north and east of ‘Tana.

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    Paulo and the guys at Motostore were reasonable in recommending that you be cautious in the south. It is remote and a little troubled, but beautiful. PM me and let me know when you are back in Tana. We are about 5 minutes from the Motostore.

    Cheers,

    Thom
    #30
  11. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Thanks for the recommendations and the lovely pics Nic. looks like you and Lara had a fantastic time. I;ve met another honeymoon couple, seems there are a few people who have that idea.
    #31
  12. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    Hi Thom
    Yep, I'm over here currently, posting (or at least attempting to post as I go along) here until mid-December.
    At this precise moment sat in a Bar- Idylle Beach on Ile Ste Marie
    I'll be in Tana at the weekend, as my sister, the Loud Librarian is flying in and we'll then be on the bike together for three weeks:clap:clap

    Are you around this weekend?

    Your pictures are great and I'm impressed you've ridden that west coast, I'd like to give that a try.
    cheers
    Tiffany
    #32
  13. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Lands End, England (sometimes)
    From the bustle of Tana the capital I headed East through the rolling green hills

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    to the coast and the beautiful Indian Ocean, my first morning, I woke up to this sunrise view through my bedroom window (a simple thatched hut by the beach)
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    I'm in the small town (three dirt roads) of Soaneira Ivango

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    where there are cute kids on every corner

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    I wandered around as the sun set
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    There's great street food, this is Madame Suzanne and she has established her little foodie empire under the only street light in town,
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    serving food to people wandering past and seating them on small wooden stools.
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    Assisted by her multitude of offspring.

    The local butcher shop is not for the fainthearted

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    and yep, like a lot of teenage shop assistants the world over, he's checking out his mobile phone behind the merchandise.

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    I headed north up the infamous Route National 5

    Not what most of us would recognise as a major national road, but hey, this is Madagascar

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    #33
  14. Thom_worldwide

    Thom_worldwide Way out here

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    25
    Location:
    NoVA
    Hi Tiffany,

    I'll be around this weekend. I sent you a PM with contact details.

    Safe Travels,

    Thom
    #34
  15. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Lands End, England (sometimes)
    Life is simple in Madagascar, if there's water to be crossed, there will be a floating vessel of some type (I hesitate to use the word boat)

    My favourites are the small dug-out canoes or pirogues as they're called over here. It seems to be every boatman's boast that he will not turn anyone away, leading to some very heavily laden pirogues.

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    I was broken in gently, my first one actually had an engine (of sorts)

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    the next one was two guys paddling

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    You just ride up to the edge of the water, and the rest is done for you

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    These kids were practising with baby baths (no doubt donated by a well-meaning NGO)

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    Getting Suzi in and out was at times a bit trickier than they expected as she's bigger than the average bike around here

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    The bigger vehicles don't fare much better

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    as they load more and more on
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    Until it's so full they can't take anymore, and off they putter across the river mouth with the waves from the sea breaking over their feet!!

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    I prefer to take my chances with something like this

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    The track I was following ran alongside the beach, where I was watching out for super soft patches of sand and also the ropes from the fishing nets

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    Then back in under the trees
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    To add some interest there's also some mud, sometimes a LOT of it

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    I'm sort of learning about this bike as I go

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    This is the shy fisherman who gave me a hand

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    #35
  16. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    cheers for that Thom
    #36
  17. lukeman

    lukeman Cool Hand

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Washington DC
    Wow nice pics!

    I imagine riding the 350 is a bit of a change from the big GS of your last couple reports. Staying until December, that sounds great, no need to feel rushed.

    Cheers!
    #37
  18. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Lands End, England (sometimes)
    Thanks Luke
    and yes, the Suzuki is quite a change from my old 800cc GS and from the 1200Gs that I ride as a tour guide:D

    Getting to grips with it gradually, but definitely enjoying it.
    #38
  19. Lacedaemon

    Lacedaemon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    628
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    This looks really exciting! Definitely following along.
    #39
  20. Paddygfw

    Paddygfw Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    75
    Location:
    Newfoundland
    You are a great writer:clap..ou make the hardships look enjoyable:beer .
    Loving every post:thumb
    Paddy
    #40