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Home » Africa » Madagascar » Madagascar on a scooter | Part 6 | Belo-sur-Tsiribihina – Kirindy Village (60 km)

Madagascar on a scooter | Part 6 | Belo-sur-Tsiribihina – Kirindy Village (60 km)

Who gets it in their head to buy a second-hand scooter in the capital of Madagascar to buy? To travel more than 4.000 km over this enormous island? No one before me had ever come up with this idea. I just did it and discovered the real Madagascar. Travel with me to the Red Island and get to know the baobabs, lemurs, chameleons, snow-white beaches and above all the hospitable Malagasy: TONGA SOA. I'm sharing this from my scooter trip through Madagascar I visit Kirindy Village, about 60 kilometers from Belo-sur-Tsiribihina.

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The 'ferry' to Port Bac Tsimafana

Two days ago my scooter was carried in the pitch dark in a motorized pirogue. Now it is daylight and I see how ingeniously the Malagasy have arranged transport over water. Three elongated wooden pallets of about twenty meters are placed on six motor pirogues. Carefully I drive my scooter over the first two pallets and park it next to three off-road vehicles.

On the ferry to Port Bac Tsimafana
On the ferry to Port Bac Tsimafana

After about ten minutes the ferry reaches the other side in Port Bac Tsimafana. There, dozens of porters are busy with rice bags. Hundreds of rice bags are already waiting on the quay for a place in one of the trucks.

Crowds in Port Bac Tsimafana
Crowds in Port Bac Tsimafana

I drive my scooter ashore and along the rice bags towards a sandy path. I pass a few huts and storage sheds. A large sign along the dirt road then wishes me goodbye, have a nice day and a good journey.

See you in Tsimafana
See you in Tsimafana

The dirt road called Route National 8

In the meantime I have already experienced something in terms of roads in Madagascar, but the dirt road I am driving on now breaks all records. In some places there is no road at all. There I follow the deep tracks left by the trucks in the loose sand. Yet this sandy path is officially listed on the map of Madagascar as Route National 8 or RN8 for short. The RN8 starts on that map in Bac Port Tsimafana and ends 75 km later at the T-junction with the RN35 towards Morondava.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ROADMAP OF GOOGLE MAPS

I have to pull out all the stops to pilot my scooter through the loose sand. Driving too softly is not an option, because then I'm sure to fall on my mouth. A brisk pace of about 30 to 40 km per hour is a necessity. How can you even drive here when it's raining? In any case, an all-terrain vehicle is not an unnecessary luxury here.

A very narrow section of the RN8 towards Kirindy Village
A very narrow section of the RN8 towards Kirindy Village

After about twenty kilometers it is time for a break in the hamlet of Beroboka. Just to be sure, I check the contents of the gas tank. To my horror, the tank is already almost empty. How is that possible? This morning I had the tank filled in Belo-sur-Tsiribihina. The petrol is thus again considerably diluted with water. There is no other way.

Barrier in Beroboka
Barrier in Beroboka
Tank stop in Beroboka
Tank stop in Beroboka

In Beroboka my tank is filled with 'real petrol' from one and a half liter bottles of Eau Vive. Just to be sure, I ask if it is real petrol and not water. "See the green color," the salesman says, putting a funnel into the tank. Then he carefully pours the gasoline into it. 'In Madagascar we don't throw anything away. I always fill the empty water bottles of Eau Vive with petrol.' I'll buy an extra bottle just in case.

Be the first guest in the brand new hotel Relais du Kirindy

About five o'clock I arrive at the reception of a brand new hotel adjacent to Kirindy Village. 'Actually, we haven't officially opened yet. Construction work is in full swing, but a few rooms are already finished. So if you want to sleep here, you can.'

Hotel Relais du Kirindy under construction
Hotel Relais du Kirindy under construction

I get an extensive tour from the manager. He is very pleased with the potency. 'We are in a wonderful location. With all those beautiful baobabs and the nearby Kirindy Forest. Thousands of tourists stop here anyway to see the sacred baobab and go on safari in the park.'

Swimming pool of hotel Relais du Kirindy
Swimming pool of hotel Relais du Kirindy

Around half past five I take a walk through the adjacent village: Kirindy Village. Suddenly I find myself again in the timeless countryside of Madagascar. This time with a magical touch. Kirindy Village is surrounded by majestic baobabs. Of those ancient giants that you will not find anywhere else in the world.

Zebus quench their thirst at the watering hole, while a villager fills jerry cans with water and puts them on a cart. A timeless image that is now being disrupted by modern times in the form of a luxury hotel with a swimming pool.

Watering hole at Kirindy Village
Watering hole at Kirindy Village
Baobabs in Kirindy Village
Baobabs in Kirindy Village

Kirindy Forest: the territory of the fossa

The new hotel was of course built on this site for a reason. Kirindy Village is in any case a regular stop for many tourists who travel from Morondava via the Allee des Baobabs to Tsingy. If they don't make a canoe trip to Miandrivazo, they even come here twice.

In addition, barely ten kilometers away is the only national park where you have a good chance of seeing Madagascar's only predator in the flesh: the fossa.

Towards Kirindy National Forest
Towards Kirindy National Forest

The manager of Relais du Kirindy reports to me. “Eric, I've booked you a spot on the night safari in Kirindy Forest. You must leave now, otherwise you will be late. And I'm gone. The first jeeps with tourists on their way to Réserve Forestière de Kirindy pass me. Like me, they plan to admire the Cryptoproctra Felix or the fossa in its natural environment.

Fossa on her way to Kirindy camp trash cans
Fossa on her way to Kirindy camp trash cans

I don't like it. All the sand on the road has become too much for my scooter again. The scooter stops abruptly two kilometers before the entrance to Kirindy Forest. There is nothing for it but to push him through the loose sand. Unfortunately or fortunately it does mean that I don't miss the night safari.

Fossa on the garbage cans of the Kirindy camp
Fossa on the garbage cans of the Kirindy camp

Kirindy's manager brings the bad news when she sees me stumbling towards me, all sweaty. 'The safari vehicles are already on their way. They couldn't wait for you.' Fortunately she is willing to help me with the repair of the scooter. 'I'll call my staff. They know how to get the scooter up and running again.'

Meanwhile I'm lucky. Two fossas report to the camp garbage cans. When the tourists return from their safaris an hour later, they are disappointed. "Not a fossa in sight," says a disappointed American. I show her the pictures of the fossas that I did see. "If only I had stayed here," she sighs.

Scooter Repair in Kirindy National Forest
Scooter Repair in Kirindy National Forest

At XNUMX a.m., a technician identified the problem. “There was way too much water in your gas. I emptied the whole tank and put in a gallon of real gas.” He shows the removed water gasoline. 'Look how much water is in it. It's a wonder your scooter has lasted this long.'

It is now half past nine and the manager is clearly concerned: 'Eric, just stay here. It's far too dangerous to drive back to your hotel now. We have room in our camp and you don't have to pay for it.' I kindly thank her for the generous offer and treat everyone to a drink. 'On your health!'

An ancient baobab in Kirindy Village
An ancient baobab in Kirindy Village

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Eric on a scooter in Uganda

Eric

What is it like to drive more than 10.000 kilometers in Madagascar on a locally bought scooter? Or on a pikipiki (scooter in Swahili) through East Africa? In more than 20 years I have visited more than 100 countries. This has resulted in a lot of priceless travel experiences, which I would like to share with you.

ERIC – OVER 100 COUNTRIES
– Currently in Kenya.
– Share unique travel experiences.
– Favorite destinations: Madagascar, Uganda, Japan, India and Colombia.

Seen a mistake? Ask? Remark? Let us know in the comments!

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Eric on a scooter in Uganda

Eric

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