Madagascar, land of diversity - The360 Travel

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  • Thursday, December 12, 2019

    Madagascar, land of diversity

    Madagascar, land of diversity

    The island of Madagascar has so much to offer that deciding which places to visit and choosing from all possible activities is a headache. Observation of lemurs, hiking, beaches, baobabs, vanilla plantations, deserts, rainforests, diving... the choice is endless. Here is what we can admire by taking the road to the west from the capital, Antananarivo. 

    It is not uncommon to cross a weekly market when crossing villages. Crowded with people, the street becomes difficult to navigate and we do not know where to look. A chance that the standard here is to have a driver-guide. Thus, one can observe the daily chaos of the Malagasy without fear of causing an accident. It's also time to go out and get your negotiating skills moving.

    Sometimes, one wonders what is most effective between a cart pulled by zebus and a 4x4. Regardless, even if a failure occurs, it is always fascinating to look at the life around you. Whether it's vegetable vendors, children playing in the street or the different stalls made of wood or sheet metal.

    En route, we quickly realize that each region has its specialty. It's a surprise every time. In this part of the country, gold is omnipresent. Workers come from far away to hope to find this precious metal and thus be able to support their families. They must collect soil fragments, crush them in powder and then sift them to find less than one gram of gold a day.

    An interesting part of the road trip to Tsingy de Bemaraha is the ferry crossing. It is very rudimentary as a system, but how useful to cross from one bank to another. The ferry can only take four vehicles at a time, but also pedestrians, hens, goats and zebus. The trip takes about 45 minutes and we can observe fishermen using their nets.

    The avenue of baobabs is essential. Once here, we are quickly surrounded by several children who ask for candies or pencils. They also sell baobab nuts, which have a rather special taste. It is also possible to buy sculptures of all kinds made of rosewood.

    Baobabs offer a sublime show, but the reality of people living here is often less so. Villagers in the area sometimes have to walk miles to fetch water. Children and adults get their hands dirty so that everyone does not miss anything.

    Tsingy de Bemaraha, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, looks like a huge forest of stalagmites. High rocky limestone peaks form this immense and unique expanse of the country. It is possible to walk through this rocky labyrinth, below or above sharp pinnacles following the trails with a guide.

    After crossing a forest, traversing numerous caves, climbing rock walls, crossing sharp rock peaks, slipping through various crevasses, the moment of rest has finally arrived at the observation point where you can admire the immensity of the Tsingy's expanse.

    During the hike, it is possible to meet several animal species, including 11 races of lemurs. On the other hand, it is difficult to photograph because they move very fast and often stand at the treetops. We can see here a small nocturnal lemur, the Lepilemur of Bemaraha.

    A trip to Madagascar can not be concluded without a trip to the beach. After crossing the road RN 34, several options are possible. A flight to the north-west of the island makes it possible to reach Nosy Be to enjoy beaches worthy of postcards. We instead explored the village of Anakao, in the south-west of the country. In addition to relaxing, we can go to meet the vezo people and enjoy its catch of the day.

    Obviously, there is also a lot of diversity under water, so why not take the opportunity to scuba dive or snorkel. In Anakao, traditional canoes are used, adding to the charm of the activity. Note that humpback whales crisscross the waters of Anakao and Sainte-Marie Island from July to September.

    About the Author

    Alexandre Piché decided, at age 37, to go on an adventure for a year with his lover, Marie-Pier Drolet. They will visit several regions of Africa and Asia.

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