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Goodbye to the paradise of Eden Lodge

Madagascar day fourteen

View Madagascar 2023 on ToonSarah's travel map.

Last morning on Baobab Beach

Our last morning and although a lie-in would have been welcome, we of course woke early. We went down to breakfast where we met the manager who told us a whale had been sighted offshore (rare at this time of year). Chris hurried back to the tent to get his camera while I, already having mine with me, asked the manager to pinpoint the location for me. But it seemed the whale had dived and would surface somewhere else after quite some time. All the manager could say was, ‘he's gone’, repeated mournfully several times over.

Not a whale!

So we gave up on any idea of whale watching and had a leisurely breakfast at which the most exciting wildlife sighting was a tiny crab that scuttled across Chris's foot!

And not a lizard, but I think it looks a bit like one!

We settled our bill then returned to the tent to pack, relax a bit before the journey and have a final shower. At 11.00 we left the lodge, wading out to the larger of their two boats, as another English couple, Joanne and Simon, were leaving on the same flight.

Leaving Baobab Beach

The crossing to Nosy Be took about 40 minutes but we landed not at the port in Hellville where we’d been yesterday but on the jetty of an attractive hotel. We had enough time there for me to wash my hands which were sandy after brushing off my feet prior to putting on socks and trainers.

We were picked up by a car with driver and guide, and slightly to my surprise had separate transport to the others – we would happily have shared. The ride to the airport took about 50 minutes. We skirted Hellville, spotting the souvenir shops we had visited yesterday, before going up and across the island. I was a little surprised at how lush it looked and was fascinated by the contorted shapes of the ylang-ylang trees. We could smell their perfume in the air, but the road was too bumpy to photograph them.

We arrived at the airport and queued for some time at check-in, in the open air, while trying to fill in departure forms resting on our suitcase! Eventually we were through there, and the queues for security and passport control were much shorter.

The departure lounge had only rows of uncomfortable metal seats and a ‘Cosy Cafe’ where we bought cold drinks before settling down to wait. I’d hoped to be able to shop for some Madagascan chocolate to take home, some for my sister and some for us, but no chance of that here! It was very hot, and the uncomfortable seats only became more so with the passing time. I was glad to hear the incoming flight land and even gladder when boarding started on time.

In the departure 'lounge'

We were seated next to a friendly Dutch guy who showed us photos of the house he had recently bought on Nosy Be. It looked lovely, with a pool and stylish design, but a stark contrast to the very simple homes of most of the locals.

Nosy Be airport, with distant fire support vehicle

The fire engine

As we taxied for take-off I noticed a yellow fire engine and support vehicles appear and station themselves in front of the terminal. Thankfully they weren’t needed, and we had a smooth take-off with lovely views of the coastline below.

Take-off from Nosy Be

The food served for lunch was rather dull and the time as always passed slowly, but we were treated to some dramatic cloudscapes and a brief but lovely sunset.





We landed on time in Addis Ababa and after walking for what seemed miles went through a security check and into the departures area. As we had a six-hour layover we had decided to treat ourselves and had pre-booked the Plaza Premium lounge for the duration. This was a good move. We had somewhere more comfortable to sit, good WiFi and access to charging points, food and soft drinks included, and as a bonus they were showing Newcastle’s Champions League match against Dortmund. As it turned out that was less of a bonus than it might have been, as Newcastle lost 2-0! But we were nevertheless much more comfortable there than in the main airport area. We had some salad, some soft drinks and some cake while waiting, so that we would be able to pass on the meal on board and try to sleep instead. But however comfortable it was, time inevitably dragged, and I was glad when it was finally time to go to the gate. We had to go through another security scan to get into the gate area and were kept waiting there for some time, as we boarded late.

Once on board we were pleased with our bulkhead seats as they were a pair on their own – no neighbour to worry about disturbing if we wanted to get up in the night, and no neighbour to disturb us! We took off about 30 minutes late and as planned refused the meal that was served almost immediately. I settled down to try to sleep and was so tired by now (it was 2.00 AM) that I succeeded in sleeping more than I normally do on a flight, for much of the first five hours. Soon after I gave up trying to add to that sleep, breakfast was served.

Not too long after that we landed at Heathrow, were quickly through the e-passport gates, collected our luggage and were on the way home on the convenient (for us) Piccadilly Line. Door to door the journey had taken over 24 hours, many of them spent in airports, so we were very glad to arrive!

Posted by ToonSarah 17:12 Archived in Madagascar Tagged planes boat sunset beach flight airport clouds africa

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What a read and yep, I guess I would be glad to arrive as well after so much hours. What a trip, it was a pleasure to read it and I am already curious what 2024 will bring! :) :) :)

by Ils1976

Thank you again Ils :) 2024 will bring Mexico (soon!), Sardinia, Macedonia and the US, all being well!

by ToonSarah

Wow, what a nice selection of countries! First one I also want to go back to one day, the second one sounds amazing, the third one left me certainly craving for more, so have to go back one day as well and the last one ... what can I say, the parks er so amazing, why not travel to it! I am more than eager to read all about it. I am counting the days for my big trip to the Antarctic as well, which is hopefully going to be a trip of a lifetime. I am looking forward to it for a few years now and finely it is going to happen. :) :)

by Ils1976

I'm excited about all of them Ils, but especially Mexico (we've never been) and the US (we're going to northern California where, as you say, the parks are amazing :) And you're going to love Antarctica! I'm a bit jealous - although we've been and probably won't go back I would love the chance to take some better photos there as my camera broke and I had to use a low res cheap one bought on the ship 😠🐧

by ToonSarah

If you never been to Mexico, you are going to love it ... I did because not only of the food I am addicted too (yep, I have to be honest now), but the people are friendly, the weather is great and the culture is just amazing. I hope to go back myself one day because still so much to see and discover. Bring on the story for Cali because I think this is going to be a great trip again. I am really looking forward to my trip, I don't know if I am able to take good pictures because of my small camera without loads of zoom, but I am going to try to enjoy it to the fullest and just take things in. It is so fascinating to know that I am at a place which is so pure and I am lucky to be able to go and see it. This is surely going to be a trip of a lifetime. Hopefully one day you can return, but there is still so much to see, I sometimes wonder if I can see it all, but I am sure going to try! :) :)

by Ils1976

You should get good photos of the penguins at least - you're supposed to keep a certain distance but no one's told them that and they often come closer! And you'll get wonderful shots of the icebergs and general scenery. It's probably only birds and (if you see one) a whale that you might struggle to capture well - for everything else you'll be fine. A warning, camera batteries run down much faster in the cold so be sure to take a spare whenever you go ashore.

by ToonSarah

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