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Madagascar

A visit where everything went wrong

date of entry 02/05/2014
mileage 882,834

capital Antananarivo

area 587.295 km²

population 22.005.222

GDP 10.545 M. US-Dollar

official language Malagasy/French

The island in the Indian Ocean was the only accessible country in Africa left for Otto to visit. It is one of the poorest countries in the world and has an unstable government. Gunther Holtorf sent Otto by container from Singapore to the port of Toamasina. He then flew to the capital Antananivaro to complete the customs formalities. But the journey was ill-fated. Firstly, there were difficulties with the papers and then Gunther Holtorf almost collided with an aeroplane on the way to the port. Finally, he was able to climb into his car and drive off. After around 500 kilometres, a truck forced him off the road and Otto rolled over. Gunther Holtorf made a supreme effort and managed to bring the battered car back to the capital. He shipped Otto to Germany and brought the trip to a premature end.
  • Otto was badly bent out of shape – this is clear from the luggage grille, which is supposed to be straight – but could be driven back to Antananivaro. There a container was waiting to take Otto back to Germany.
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  • After the customs formalities had been completed, there was nothing preventing Gunther Holtorf from making a tour of Madagascar. But around 500 kilometres north of the capital, a truck travelling in the other direction pushed Otto to the right-hand edge of the road. Otto’s wheels hit soft sand and the car got into a skid, rolled over and tipped into the ditch on the other side of the road, facing in the opposite direction to the one it had been travelling in.
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  • The truck did not stop. Fortunately, Gunther Holtorf didn’t suffer any serious injuries. People came over straight away from the nearest village to help him.
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  • But Otto was in a tricky position. He was hanging from a roadside tree over a slope and dusk was falling. Gunther Holtorf was lucky that a passing French missionary was able to send trainee priests and the village policeman to help protect the car from thieves.
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  • They spent the night with Gunther by the car.
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  • Because the country is so poor and the people’s situation is so desperate, there is a very high crime rate.
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  • Gunther Holtorf was even able to sleep for a while that night by the fire on the tarmac.
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  • The next morning he set about getting Otto back on the road.
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  • The aim was to roll the car right over and back onto its wheels.
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  • The local helpers attached the car to a rope…
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  • …cut down the tree…
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  • …and finally Otto was gently let back down onto his wheels and pulled out by a truck. Shortly afterwards, Gunther Holtorf sat in the driver’s seat and turned the ignition key. The engine started and Otto travelled under his own steam to the nearest village.
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  • There he was parked in the inner courtyard of an inn and everything was tidied up.
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  • Video: Madagascar – a journey of accidents and dangers

Otto was here before ...

Austria

date of entry 09 July 2014
mileage 884,348

Germany

date of entry 16 August 2014
mileage 884,701

Belgium

date of entry 21 August 2014
mileage 885,454

France / Monaco

date of entry 21 August 2014
mileage 885,756

United Kingdom

date of entry 22 August 2014
mileage 885,818