The south-eastern part of the island has very poor means for communication. Roads are almost non-existent and of very poor quality. We got to experience that.
So people in the area are fully dependent on a small railroad, actually the only operating in Madagascar. The train runs to Fianarantsoa on the highlands from the coast on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and back Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, hopefully, but you never know and can not be sure untill the train actually moves. The distane is 163 km, but that is actually not very interesting as you never know how long time it will take. There are 18 stations and every stop takes as long as it does, “mora mora” (meaning take it slow and easy). 67 bridges and 48 tunnels. Part of the track is rails from Alsace in France/Germany taken by the French after the first World War and shipped to Madagascar.
We had an easy trip and disembarked at Tolongoina after a few hours where we were picked up by four-wheel-drive cars to take us to the main road. And that was necessary! It was the worst road I have seen, it is actually an insult to all other roads to call it a road. It was a muddy track with deep pools of water and we got stuck several times. But it was a special experience. Unfortunately I had to use both hands to keep myself in the car so few pictures.
View from the train Always kids on the stations.
You can get an idea about the quality of the freight cars. The main product to be sent was bananas.
The “road”, actually a better part as I had hands free