Antananarivo and Ampefy

Waterfalls

Waterfalls

We were gonna leave earlier, but Moora Moora got the better of us. I wasn’t too keen to stay in Antananarivo, as there isn’t much to like about this city. Walking the streets with a bandana covering my face to minimise my intake on toxic fumes. The whole city is covered in pollution of all kinds. Odilon lives here and he hasn’t seen his wife, son and family for a fair while. Good enough reason to stay a night. With Ninah gone, it was Odilon’s turn to fill up our Kat Kat with goods from stalls along the way. We stopped first at Odilon’s house, where I got to meet his family and his cuddly, but Wassa shy son. His wife had gone to the markets, I didn’t get to see her. I had to go to the dentist again, as my previous filling from Morondava had come out again. That was easily fixed. He then dropped me off at Hostel Lemur Backpackers, where I stayed on my arrival in Antananarivo. I was remembered, which is always nice to hear. A relaxing atmosphere in a busy city.

I had some time and I was getting hungry and wandered the streets of Tana. I came across to a ‘Burger/steak bar’, not the usual restaurant around here. In front were a few hot rod motorcycles parked, inside a few younger men of the motorcycle club ‘dirty thirty, Madagascar’. This would be something for my brother Nobby, his fiancé and the rest of the MC Magdeburg. I was greeted friendly and had my first burger with fries on Madagascar, even served with mayo. Next to me sat a friendly Tana couple and it wasn’t long before we started chatting. The usual where are you from, what are you doing? I seemed to be friendly enough that they offered me to stay with them next time I am in Tana. People are so friendly here, keeps amazing me.

Meanwhile, more and more bikes and bikers arrived with the usual hot rod sound outside. Some really cool looking bikes. So were the bikers. They offered us a local ginger flavoured rum, and a big “Doona” made the rounds. We started chatting and I was thinking of my big brother, he would have loved to be here. A beer and another rum later, I best get on my way, I said. Do you live far? Do you need a lift? Ha ha, I had a big smile on my face and refused the offer politely. Why, I am not sure, but the hostel wasn’t far. Could have, should have, would have…!?

We drove to Ampefy in Moora Moora mode next morning. Ampefy lies some 100 km’s west of Antananarivo. It became obvious quickly that this a weekend or day getaway for the rich and famous from Tana. Plenty of show off and seen and to be seen business. I was just interested in the large waterfalls not far from here.
We checked in to our hotel and we’re going to the waterfalls after lunch. As always, plans didn’t work out. Odilon reversed out of the car park and didn’t get far. He couldn’t get in to first gear. Something was seriously wrong. I am no car mechanic, my guess is that the gearbox had it. I wasn’t overly surprised and expected that to happen earlier; the way he cracks those gears, I am just glad it’s not my 4WD. Anyhow, Odelion said, no problem, it’s the clutch. I just thought he’s dreaming. He started working on the clutch after lunch and said later, that the gearbox is gone. No kidding I thought.

His boss and a few mechanics would come tomorrow from nearby Tana and fix it. Lucky it happened here and not out whoop whoop. Another night here instead of Tana is fine by me too. We had a few beers after dinner, barrak made an appearance as well. For the first time, Odilon slept in the same room as me. This fancy hotel had no driver rooms. I offered half of the double sized bed for him to sleep.  He was tempted, but opted to sleep with ISO mat on the floor. Fair enough. That silenced his snoring a bit.

Succulents in hotel garden

Succulents in hotel garden

We had plenty of time, as his boss was supposed to arrive around 9 am, with a few mechanics in tow. Another sunny and calm day. I took a few photos of the hotels botanical garden.

Reflections of children fishing

Reflections of children fishing

A few kids were fishing at the fair sized lake, using little bamboo sticks and the tiniest of floats and hooks. A young girl had done this many, many times before, catching a few fish and patiently baiting the hook for her brother.

Young girl with her fishing catch

Young girl with her fishing catch

I was very surprised how tiny these fish were. The size of an aquarium fish, not much meat on them, if any. Better then nothing I suppose. Even Odilon gave it a go and enjoyed himself.

Net casting from a pirogue

Net casting from a pirogue

A fisherman on a pirogue threw an over-sized cast net, standing in his pirogue. A net that size is hard enough to throw it from shore, casting it from an unstable pirogue is impressive.
The mechanical squadron eventually arrived and got busy on the gear box. I just hope they checked the whole car, particularly the front wheels, which have been an issue ever since starting our voyage many weeks ago. The wheels aren’t balanced and the shaking at higher speed puts more pressure on the cranks and all other parts too.

Face painted local

Face painted local

Eventually we drove to the waterfalls. As we parked the car, we were immediately surrounded by girls selling local art. A few tour guides came over and offered their services. Why not, I thought.

Large double Waterfall

Large double Waterfall

These waterfalls dropped for about 30 meters. Quite impressive. Some kids were jumping off a cliff, about half way down.

Tranquil Waterfall

Tranquil Waterfall

After a while, our two guides led us to the second waterfall, following the river down stream. It was another hot day and shade wasn’t existent. All trees had been chopped to give way to agriculture. A little sad to see. The second cascades were in similar height, but it was tranquil here.

Local swimming with a plastic float

Local swimming with a plastic float

A young kid played in the waters, using a plastic container as a float. I was tempted to go swimming, but with my lingering infections on my feet, I didn’t dare.
I jumped in the pool at the hotel. All in all, the cascades are nice. Not worth spending two nights here. With the car fixed, something good did come out of it. And as most places, the happy faces are always worth seeing.

Local girl

Local girl

Ninah meanwhile kept calling, she seemed a bit worried about the car problem. She was well on her way via taxi Bruce from out west. It would have taken her at least 24 hours on various vehicles to get here, to Ampefy. She looked tired and exhausted, but it was great to see her again.

 

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