January 1, 2015


Filed under: Trips — pearsey @ 12:01 am
Tags: , , ,

“Left Isalo National Park today, as good as it was, was glad to see the back of it. The scenery was good, it was spectacular rocks, but all I did was see them from a distance. No real chance to get up close and explore, or take time to enjoy it, always rushing around, but with time to spare at the end of the day…” went my diary entry for my 7th day in Madagascar. I must admit it was the first trip I’d ever counted down the end to, and while there were some extra contributing factors such as the driver not speaking much English, no tour guide, the guide in the national park, I’m sure it also had a bit to do with not being that well for most of it so far, as well as being robbed just as I was leaving Uganda and just wanting to get home.

Having said that, I was still in a place I was unlikely to visit again, so I still wanted to do and enjoy as much as I could and the people (most of them) were fairly friendly and usually did whatever they could to help.

Isalo Motel

Isalo Motel

Leaving the Isalo Motel was kinda funny. We’d done well to avoid anybody helping us with our luggage – we were both a bit protective with our luggage since our little incident… and well – both our bags were light, especially mine so it was pretty easy to carry ourselves – why tip somebody to do something we didn’t want. So a couple of boys at the motel had obviously found out who was checking out and what room and had been waiting outside our room for around an hour. We figured there was no way we could avoid them carrying our bags, although we were going to give it a go. We had no hope! As soon as we came out, our bags were taken from us and they were off to the car. We hadn’t quite co-ordinated our tipping though, and as the boys ran off like the cats who’d got the cream, we realised both of us had ended up giving them something!

Bishops Hat

Bishops Hat

The drive to Ranomafana saw us leave behind the open rocky plains of the south and come back to the highland area with more lush vegetation. The main road between Tana and Isalo is bitumen all the way, it’s windy and slow going, but scenic and the backbone of the communities it weaves past. The sides of the road are hives of activity, with people walking their produce to market, roadside stalls selling everything from toy baskets and hats to honey, statues, crickets and fruit, endless streams of people just walking around, cattle being taken to market and even oxen (or bulls) pulling carts full off stuff. It provides an interesting glimpse into life in Madagascar and the everyday difficulties faced by the people.



We came back via the Anja Park where I picked up some tinned crocodile as a delicacy food gift for those at work. On our return to the park we got to see the real crocodiles – seems we missed them first time round!

Namorona River waterfall provided the highlight of the day. The road followed the river, but then out of nowhere came this spectacular waterfall. It was like a breath of fresh air, a flowing stream after the dryness of the desert like landscape. It looked to be a smallish stream, but still made a decent noise going over the rocks. Around about here the landscape turned to lush tropical rainforests. You can’t help but wonder how much of the surrounding countryside has been cleared and destroyed over the years in order to allow humans to continue to exist and multiply. At least the small pockets that become National Parks are protected.

Waterfall, Namorona River, Ranomafana National Park

Waterfall, Namorona River, Ranomafana National Park

There were a few places we stopped on the road into Ranomafana from the main highway number 7 – the waterfall mentioned above, a bit further on where we could see the river running down more of a gorge and a few little water trickles from tributary streams on the opposite side of the road (the left hand side as we drove in) which were tucked away just off the road side.

Looking at the road from a little stream, Ranomafana National Park

Looking at the road from a little stream, Ranomafana National Park

Our accommodation was the Ihary hotel, right on the river in the middle of town. Our cabin was rather tight, just squeezing our luggage in around the beds. The bathroom was good and functional, but the electrical wiring was a little odd! We got there later in the day, but had just enough time to go for a fairly quick walk around town and watch the people crossing the river right outside our room. The water was cold and flowing quickly, so it was quite impressive the way they could cross the river and keep their balance with everything they were carrying.

Namorona River crossing from Ihary Hotel, Ranomafana

Namorona River crossing from Ihary Hotel, Ranomafana


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