DAy 1: Arriving in Madagascar
After what certainly qualifies as the most sleepless flight of my life, what a joy it was to step down the ladder at Antananarivo Airport to feel the warmth and smell the scents of tropical paradise!
To be fair, the lack of sleep was the fault of some poor soul being deported back to Nairobi, not of Kenya Airways who did everything in their power to assist us, despite the flight being totally sold out.
Anyway, onwards and upwards! On arrival, after figuring out the mind-boggling immigration maze of counters, I was greeted by the very smiley ‘Pham’ who was to be my guide for the next few days. Pham, myself and our driver ‘Lebala’, made headway getting out of the city during the rush hour traffic. These guys have the best hand-eye coordination I have ever seen, manoeuvring the 4x4 through the narrowest and busiest of streets. Time was tight, as we had to get through the rush hour traffic and make the three hour car journey to Anjozorobe before sunset. The tarred road was great for the most-part, though it was home to the odd pot-hole that could easily swallow one of the local Nguni cattle. I mostly stared out of the window at the stunning lush scenery, beautifully simple houses that reminded me of Hanoi, Vietnam, and the beautiful churches that dot the predominantly Christian-worshipping area.
The final 10km to Anjozorobe are within the forested/farmed area and the road is rough dirt (clay really). I could tell Lebala was nervous but he handled the road’s challenges like a champion. Finally arriving to my home for the night, Saha Forest Camp, we were greeted by two friendly young men that showed us the 500m or so along the edge of the rice paddies to the lodge, where dinner awaited.
Spotting three chameleons direct from the main communal verandah before my delicious 3-course meal (chocolate pancakes included) topped off a wonderful end to a rather horrendous 36 hours!