7 days - June 2019
After 1000 km traveled by taxi-brousse on the RN7, we take advantage of a few days of idleness on the west coast.
Arrived at Tulear (I spare you the ride in taxi-brousse still epic), we discover a city feeling like far west. A city of dust and heat, apparently home of Europeans fugitives and escapees, the city is empty during the hottest hours of the day and we are surprised to be able to walk without any pedicabs or children approaching us!
We will not linger in this far west, the reason of us coming: Anakao, its white sand beaches, its turquoise water and its whales.
One hour by boat and by zebus cart (new public transport used in this trip and the least comfortable for sure!) are necessary to reach this Vezo village feeling like so remote from the world. The steep coast is revealed as well as the many shades of blue.
The Vezo people is a nomadic fishing people with a culture and language with Indonesian consonances. They build and use pretty sailboats to move and fish. Sailing is used for everything, sailing boat, tent during bivouacs, protection from the sun and during our triplooking for whales: picnic cloth!
In Anakao there is no access to fresh water (but there is WiFi, what a paradox) and water resources arrive by boat from Tulear. We will have a bucket shower every night with this resource so precious and what we do not know yet is that it will last for the next 15 days!
The life of the Vezo people begins with the first light of dawn, during which the fishermen go out to sea by pirogues. The trawlers present off the coast pick up everything for a few years now already which reduces the fishing of vezos unfortunately ... The arid climate makes the cultivation of vegetables or fruits almost none also ...
We observe from our balcony, the ballet of the canoes that move in the wind all morning. Balcony on which we spend a lot of time reading, resting and admiring the landscape.
At noon, it's time to go home with the few fishes captured that will be cooked or sold by the women. The village is made of more or less wobbly huts, a room that serves for everything.
There is no or just a bit of school time, very few prospects for the future, thousands of children (60% of the Malagasy population is under 20 years old) and yet they always smile! We are constantly solicited as soon as we venture on the beach or in the village.
The next day, we sail on one of these beautiful pirogues in search of whales! Ideal season, we leave at sunrise to the open sea, the wind is present and the waves huge. We feel tiny and vulnerable on our pirogue, in the open sea, that the fisherman has trouble handling! Many surfers from Reunion Island come to surf these waves, real impressive tubes.
The whale show is worth it, a dozen jumps and one that will approach a little too close to our makeshift pirogue. Then the wind falls, we must row now!
Big scares so but quickly forgotten once we put feet on Nosy Ve, small islet, refuge of straw-tail. Beautiful white birds that do not leave the islet (for some obscure reason).
A grilled fish on the beach on a makeshift barbecue, a little rice and rougail (tomato sauce), all on the canvas of our boat and we are thrilled.
A digestive walk alone in the world, the water is turquoise, the white is sand, what else do we need?
The wind has risen again and the pirogue in just fifteen minutes brings us back to the mainland.
Veloma Anakao, we reach Mangily, much easier to access and therefore more touristy. This does not come without inconvenience and we will attend a strange ballet of teenage girls offering us massages. (we refuse to imagine more but their red lipstick too red and their clothes says a lot ... Always an adult behind ...).
Here we will especially enjoy the red lands and the many baobabs. Of all shapes, all sizes. Legend has it that God created the baobab tree and that all other trees were jealous of it. The baobab became proud of this craze, and became angry and egocentric. God to punish him took it off and replant it, upside down! Hence the ridiculous branches that would in fact be its roots.
On a more scientific level, Madagascar has 9 baobab species, 7 of which are endemic to the country. Many local self-proclaimed "reserves" but we will just walk in the village and go for miles in the bush looking for these beings upside down so!
Then for tea time, it's time to face the staff of our hostel in a game of petanque. Yes football and petanque are national sports and Madagascar was world champion in petanque. Even the "you shoot or you point" are present with malagasy accents and consonances! We got smashed.
Finally at dinner, we met Pierre who told us all about his adventures around the world as a former hippie and now a looking for precious stones. Exciting !
A short week of rest (and work in idyllic spots) before facing 1000 km of tracks!
# we stayed two nights in Tulear for the organization of the trip. The Serena Hotel is recommended at 85,000 Ariary. Last hot shower that we will enjoy a lot!
# speaking of savoring, amazing pizzas at the Jardin in Tulear. A delight for 15,000 ariary.
# In Anakao we stayed in a beautiful bungalow for 160,000 ariary a night in Lalandaka. Very good meal also around 20,000 ariary. Bucket shower. Owner not the most hospitable though.
# In Mangily, we stayed at the Blue Manoah for 75,000 Ariary at night. Simple but nice and clean. Also bucket shower and very good grilled whole fish!
# to get to Anakao: 8 hours of trails or 1h of boat. 120,000ariary the round trip by boat. Departures from the Blu restaurant at 9:30. Return from Anakao at 7:30.
# day trip to see whales in Anakao and picnic in Nosy ve: 35,000 ariary per person negotiated. 60,000 if the boat has an engine.
# In Mangily, we were "harassed" to see the baobabs of the Reniata reserve. Indecent prices (clearly not the official prices) and hostile comments, we preferred to go looking for baobabs further in the village by ourselves.
# taxi-brousse: Isalo to Tulear: 25,000 ariary, 5 hours.
# taxi-brousse : Tulear to Mangily: 7,000 per person. In tuk tuk 20,000 in all. We preferred this option. The road is perfect, thank you Chinese ...
Jul 19, 2019 - 08:43 PM
Superbes paysages !
M PAUL MEROUZE
Jul 20, 2019 - 05:47 AM
Encore de très belles photos, merci de partager.