Before we departed back to Tana, we bid farewell to Remi, the owner operator of Residence Madalief just outside of Antsirabe. Her and her husband run a really nice lodge just outside of town. The staff are excellent and attentive and the diners they served were absolutely delicious. It’s essentially a pit stop place but I’m sure if you had an extra day in Antsirabe the Madalief would definitely be the place to stay.
She asked if the truck was repaired and we said we hope so then she threw in a comment that left us a little uneasy for the rest of our drive. She mentioned that at one point the mechanic came and asked her for some scotch tape. She had some and also had duct tape. He wanted the duct tape! For those Canadians out there they might remember the comedy show “The Red Green Show”. He repaired everything with duct tape. I’m not sure what the tape was for but I inspected the alternator and didn’t see any so we kept our fingers crossed and off we went.
The roads were winding and hilly but weren’t too bad but the traffic was very slow. Smoke billowing trucks barely doing 5 km/hr up hill, smoke billowing Taxi bousse, Zebu carts, bicycles, you name it, the highways are littered with hazards but the real delay hit when we entered the outskirts of Tana. I had once said that the only country I wouldn’t drive in was India. After our highway experiences and driving in Tana I now think India would be a snap. The congestion in Tana is incredible and essentially indescribable. Every mode of transportation you can imaging inhabits the roads, many/most pot holed and very narrow. Apocalyptic, chaotic, smog and dust filled madness mixed with extreme poverty and desperation. Absolutely mind boggling but we made it to our B&B unscathed. I didn’t hit any zebu carts, bicycles, pousse pousse, cars, trucks, skinny chicken, goats or babies! We survived our 5 week driving journey.
We clocked in 2,489 kms but seemed it like 10X as much because we probably averaged only 50 km/hr and much less much of the time. It was a huge but rewarding challenge for myself, the driver, and Joyce, the navigator. Would we recommend self driving in Madagascar? Yes and hopefully our tales provided you with information so you’re prepared. You couldn’t self drive In madagascar only a couple of years ago, it is very challenging but also very rewarding and we wouldn’t have wanted to do it any other way.
Thank you Roadtrip Madagascar for all of your support. When we needed it most you were a phone call away and ready to assist.