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To the beach!

Madagascar day ten


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Early morning view, Iharana Bush Camp

We again woke up very early, soon after five. We lay chatting for a bit then decided to get up as we needed to finish packing before a 6.30 breakfast and 7.30 departure. The bush camp had grown on me a bit, but I was ready to leave and see whether our last hotel, which promised much, would live up to expectations!

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Colourful village home near the Bush Camp

It was about a four hour drive along roads of the usual mixed Malagasy standards. A few stretches of well surfaced road, but often punctuated with rough detours around roadworks, others badly potholed and yet others, perhaps the majority, merely gravel tracks.

At one point we passed through quite a large town, Ambilobe, and enjoyed watching and photographing all the activity there, including down by the wide, partly dried-up, river we crossed.

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In Ambilobe

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River activity, Ambilobe

As we neared the coast we came to a more fertile area with lots of cashew trees. Little stalls by the side of the road sold bags of the nuts, and Said pulled up at one so we could buy some. The young girl who sold them to us agreed readily to be photographed and insisted that her brother posed with her.

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Young cashew sellers

We stopped again, quite briefly and towards the end of our drive, to visit a small plantation where we saw cocoa growing as well as vanilla, cinnamon, pepper, pineapples and more. They were selling small bags of spices, so we bought some cinnamon, more to say thank you for the visit than any other reason!

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Cocoa pods

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Vanilla

To Eden Lodge

Once we arrived at the small port of Ankify Laurent ensured our luggage was transferred to the right boat for our next (and last) hotel on this trip, Eden Lodge. We said our goodbyes and thanks to him and to Said, who had looked after us so well on those roads, and were helped on to our private speedboat.

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Ankify port

The transfer to the lodge, which has no road access, took about an hour. It was a bit bumpy at times, with occasional spray, but I was glad to be shaded by the boat's tarpaulin roof.

When we arrived at Baobab Beach we were a little surprised to find we needed to wade ashore, as we hadn’t been warned that was the case. Luckily I had chosen to wear shorts that morning, but Chris had to roll up his trousers. However the water was shallow and warm, and it was only a couple of metres to the sand. We were met by the hotel manager who led us to the large open restaurant/bar/lounge area overlooking the beach and sea. There were cold towels scented with ylang-ylang and welcome drinks of mango juice.

We had a brief chat about the excursion we'd pre-booked and others that are possible here, and he explained some of the hotel’s eco policies, meal arrangements etc. Then we were shown to our tent.

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Our tent

If it was very optimistic to call our previous accommodation a bungalow, it was understating the nature of this to call it a tent. Apart from the canvas walls it was in every other respect a comfortable and large room, with nice wooden flooring underfoot where in the bush camp we had had rough boards, a large bed decorated with flowers to welcome us, a large open-air shower and bathroom area at the back and at the front a terrace with chairs, day bed and a view of the beach and sea.

We didn’t spend long settling in but instead went back to the main building to get online (available 24/7 here although only in public areas) and to have lunch. Each of three options are offered for starter, for main course and for dessert, with the same options at lunch and dinner. But we prefer a lighter lunch so just had a starter (an unusual but tasty savoury mousse of cucumber, cheese and green peppercorns) and dessert – Chris had some tropical fruits while I chose the banana fritters (figuring I’d be too full for those after a bigger dinner later!)

We then spent more time catching up online before going back to the tent to unpack a bit more. We walked a little way along the beach to the nearby fishing village, I had a paddle, took a few photos, then we settled down on our beach loungers to enjoy the view and the sounds of the sea.

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Village houses

Towards the end of the afternoon the biting insects started to make their presence known so I retreated first to our terrace and later inside the tent! We went over to the main building around 6.30 where we checked messages then ordered cocktails. My mojito was excellent but Chris’s Bloody Mary very bizarre, both in colour (pink!) and taste. The main guide and the manager both came to chat to us about excursion options, each confusingly giving slightly different and sometimes confusing information! In the end we decided to drop an island visit that had been pre-booked and instead do a boat trip on Sunday to a village market and hopefully see some more lemurs. We also decided to take advantage of two of the free guided walks on offer, one a night walk and one an early morning birdwatching one.

We enjoyed our dinner, although I found the spinach quiche starter too large and filling so struggled to finish my tuna main course. However I had no such difficulty with the caramelised pineapple dessert!

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Spinach quiche, and caramelised pineapple

We sat for a while afterwards, then as the next cohort of biting insects moved in for the kill we headed back to the tent, with some sheet lightening brightening the night sky beyond the palms. Soon after we had gone to bed this manifested itself as a terrific storm, with thunder, bright flashes of lightning and torrential rain. I lay there listening and occasionally sat up to look out through the tent's mesh door. Eventually it subsided, and I was able to sleep.

Posted by ToonSarah 19:04 Archived in Madagascar Tagged people food beach hotel river africa spices

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Comments

Hello, Sarah! Thanks for your interesting narrative and excellent photographs! It was great to find out about your experiences in the faraway Mdagaskar...

by Vic_IV

You have really sold Madagascar too me and this final stop seems to promise to be the icing on the cake.

by Yvonne Dumsday

Thank you both :) Yvonne, if you enjoyed Costa Rica I'm pretty sure you'd like Madagascar too, and the bonus is, no jet lag!

by ToonSarah

Your tent certainly looks ice and cosy.

by irenevt

It was lovely Irene!

by ToonSarah

OMGosh, I hate insects and for some reason they hate me ... mosquitos in particular. The place sounds nice though and you can never go wrong with a caramelized pineapple!

by Ils1976

The insects were really only a problem down on the beach, luckily :)

by ToonSarah

Your last accommodation looks very lovely, shame about the biting insects!

I wouldn't mind some of that pineapple dessert! :)

by hennaonthetrek

It was fabulous Henna, and as I said to Ils, the insects weren't really a big issue - we just stayed away from the beach when they were out and about (mainly late afternoon)

by ToonSarah

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