The Start of the Sand

I didn't linger long in Fort Dauphin, I had the long road west stretching away, a route that would take me through the Badlands - this is actually the only part of Madagascar that I had been warned about, for once everyone seemed to be in agreement, it's an area to be avoided. Ho Hum It's my only route out of FD because I'm definitely not going to go back up the muddy tracks again. I loaded up Suzi and headed off on a fine sunny day.
The track heading west took me through tropical plantations of strange looking plants - I think they might be Sisal.

To my relief, no sign of mud except some small patches like this one in the middle of a village where the local pigs were out and about enjoying themselves

and causing a hazard to traffic as they wallowed in the muddy road.

The soft deep sand took a while to get used to, and there was little other traffic- these guys were the only bike riders I met - they work for an NGO and were most surprised to see a woman riding a bike, AND coping better with the sand than they were!

Zebu were aplenty and mindful of the area’s reputation for zebu rustling and the gunmen who do it, I kept my eyes open. I was hopeful that the locals would not mistake me for a zebu rustler, but comforted myself with the thought that they’d realise I wouldn't be able to carry one far on my bike until I spotted this little guy and his mother

So very cute and so young that his umbilical cord was still attached to him

They trotted off

The zebu are a bit of a liability on the road, often they are just roaming free and have no road sense.
I might not have seen many people on this trail, but I did see quite a few animals, including this fellow

A tortoise which was a bit camera shy