Thumper…

December 31, 2014

South of Isalo

Another dodgy breakfast, dodgy by my standards I guess, probably many would be grateful for it… but not me, not today, was still not well.
Headed south for the day today, as the train wasn’t running in Fianarantsao, we were spending an extra day around here.
The aim of the trip was to go down and see some baobab trees, and we were of the understanding that it was some kind of park where you could wander through and look at them. Hmmm. Another misunderstanding due to language.

Car washing time, near TongaSoa

Car washing time, near TongaSoa

As we travelled south we came across the Zombitse Vohibasia National Park, renowned for its bird life. We stopped and had a wander through, our guides eager to show us the park wildlife. We saw a few lemurs in their natural daytime tree habitats, a few birds and a few chameleons, but overall wildlife was a little scarce. It was the wrong time of the day and the wrong time of the year we were told. What was good though, was seeing quite a few white safika lemurs, including younger ones, in the trees, just hanging around. A bit difficult to get some good shots of them though.

Baby lemur safe in the tree, Zombitse Vohibasia National Park

Baby lemur safe in the tree, Zombitse Vohibasia National Park

We continued south when in the middle of nowhere our driver pulls over and tells us to get out and look at the baobab trees. We thought this was the precursor to the park, but this was it. This was the whole point to our trip – viewing the baobab trees from the side of the road. Like I said, language difficulties…

Our destination - Baobab trees south of TongaSoa

Our destination – Baobab trees south of TongaSoa

After viewing the trees from the side of the road, we u-turned and headed back toward Isalo. We stopped at TongaSoa on the way back for lunch, convincing our driver to visit a local restaurant for lunch seeing as it was past lunch time. There’s not much on the menu at “local restaurants”, we had some dodgy chicken and rice which they charged us triple for, but at least it was something to eat.

Local food, chicken and rice

Local food, chicken and rice

TongaSoa is also known for the gems and precious stones in the area, so we drove about 50m back down the road (too dangerous to walk that far in broad daylight in this town apparently) to a gem/sapphire shop where the owners were more than happy to show us around hoping that we’d later buy.

We stopped at the visitor interpretation centre on the way back, spending a few minutes there looking around at the informative displays on the rock formations and culture of the area. It was free entry, but you could give a donation, which the caretaker admitted he kept. Never mind he probably wasn’t paid anyway and while some of the displays were looking a little tired, it was all clean and well kept and well worth a visit.

Visitor interpretation centre, Isalo, just south of Ranohira

Visitor interpretation centre, Isalo, just south of Ranohira

An early afternoon arrival back in Ranohira gave us time to wander the main street of Ranohira, which didn’t take long, and observe some of the locals, including the game of pile as many in the car as we can. Must have been about 10-15 in the old green laser which sat not much more than a few inches off the ground.

How many in the car?

How many in the car?

And just to prove I still wasn’t well, I found the first place I’d seen in Madagascar that sold ice cream and I passed.

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