WildWeb owner, Paul Changuion, and his Dad, recently took the trip of a lifetime to Madagascar. If you like the idea of a ‘barefoot’ beach holiday, which includes watersports and a cultural adventure, have a read.
AMARINA BEACH HOTEL
I personally have never been to Italy, but my desire to visit it was only magnified by our brief stay at the Amerina Beach Hotel. Margarita, the hotel manager, serves up an authentic Italian holiday, in the heart of Africa.
Our brief visit included an evening of great food, wine, coffee and entertainment, followed by a boat trip out to Sacred Island. This island, rich in Madagascan culture, is untouched by modern day life as it is a burial site and buildings are prohibited. The snorkelling and diving is good and the sand-spit makes the perfect beach to chill on.
See some more of my photos from this place here.
NOSEY FANHY – NOSY BE
Nosey Fanhy is a tiny island, ideal for diving, snorkelling and relaxing. We reached the island after a short powerboat trip. My dad and I snorkelled and enjoyed photographing the birdlife on the beach.
Exploring Nosy Be
Nosy Be is a volcanic island with small natural lakes which are sacred to the local culture. We really enjoyed spending time seeing the changing landscapes and learning how the humble local people, keep a smile and carry on with their modest lives. This is the aspect of Africa that I really love.
Find more images from the day here.
LE BOUCANIERS HOTEL – NOSY SAKATIA
Le Boucaniers French Hotel
Le Boucaniers Hotel, in the town of Ambatoloaka, has a more rustic feel and offers good food and warm hospitality. After breakfast, we were off for a guided quad bike adventure.
The island has tarred main roads to the towns but so much of the local culture and subsistence farming is best seen by taking a quad bike tour.
The guys at the bike shop are very helpful and you can book them though MadigascaT.
Next we were off to Nosy Sakatia. Through personal experience, I can tell you that nothing beats an ‘owner-run’ lodge; the personal touch and service provided are on another level. This lodge is great and if you are into scuba diving, the staff are equally enthusiastic. They are also one of the few that specialise in Fluorescence night diving which opens up a whole new underwater perspective.
Gecko the Cat
Being a sailor myself, I was really excited to share my passion for the sport with my father. MadigascaT is not only a booking agency that specialises in Madagascar travel, but is also involved with the yacht charter.
We boarded the yacht at around 10 am, and our fellow passengers, Athol and Chris joined shortly afterwards.
We first headed out to the marine reserve of Nosy Tanikely. The snorkelling was excellent and we had an amazing lunch on board. The plan was then to sail on to Russian Bay, but because of strong headwinds, we decided to sail to a protected estuary which made for a peaceful anchorage, fantastic dinner and a great night’s sleep.
The next morning, we sailed out of the protected bay with the early departure of the local dhows, and caught a King Mackerel (Couta) which would make for a fine lunch later in the day.
When we arrived at the pristine beaches of Lemur Island, we were met by the national park ranger who would introduce us to the 5 species of Lemur that live on the island. These Lemur are completely habituated to humans and will even take food from your arms. After some amazing interaction, it was time for lunch and the next destination of our trip, Nosey Iranja for another swim and snorkel.
Our final night on board was in a protective bay with the sound of the local villages conversing over a night fire. Again, the assortment of seafood at dinner was remarkable.
One of my favourite things about travel in Africa is the element of adventure, especially when plans do not work out and you find yourself seeking an overnight alternative. With some confusion over the transfer time to Nosey Saba, we were unsure of the ocean crossing to the island and hence ended up spending a night on Nosey Kalakajoro. Managed and owned by a local Malagash man, we were treated to fresh fish and cold drinks. The lodge exists in conjunction with a local village, making for an authentic experience.
NOSY SABA – LUXURY
After a 1 hour boat ride we arrived at Nosey Saba lodge, an upmarket, French lodge. Given the attention to detail and the quality of the accommodation at the lodge, you really do get real value for money. We enjoyed great food and the comfort of the opulent rooms for our final day in this incredible country.
A very special thanks to Karin Murray at Airlink who has been such a wonderful client to WildWeb over the years and to Harriet from MadigascaT who really went out of her way to provide us with an experience to remember.
Airlink fly in and out of Nosy Be every Sunday, so plan a seven or fourteen-night safari if you are flying direct Johannesburg to Nosy Be.