My return to Madagascar – Part 3

From Islao it was a 4 hour drive to Tulear & then a 1.5 hour, only 25 km, ride along the bumpy sand road to Ifaty. I was very good & did all the hotel inspections on the way to the hotel where I was staying for the night, so by the time I arrived @ la Mira Hotel I just wanted to get in the pool & cool down. Ifaty is a beach area with hotels dotted along the coast line. It was the perfect place to rest after a vey hectic & active trip south. Most of the hotels I visited were very nice. I personally preferred la Mira & Dunes Hotels.

La Mira is owned by an elderly gentleman who had lived in the highlands of Scotland-so we had a lovely chat. The swimming pool was a godsend as a heat wave had hit the area. The food was excellent, especially for me, as this hotel had the most vegetarian options of anywhere I have been.. wonderful.. Not that I struggled anywhere for vegetarian food.. I always had choices. For non vegetarians the food inMadagascaris superb-the sea food especially is excellent. I had 2 nights in Ifaty so a full day off to relax – brilliant, & even if I say so myself was well deserved.. 😉 I really appreciated getting into the pool for the sunset..

From Ifaty I went back by road to Tulear to take the speedboat over to Anakao. I only had 1 night at the beautiful Anakao Ocean Lodge Hotel. Anakao is a coastal fishing town with the good hotels located away from the town in secluded beachfront areas. It is necessary to take the speed boat service from Tulear as by road it would take hours. I arrived at Anakao Ocean Lodge during low tide so a hotel Piroque came to cullet us from the speed boat- I have to admit I was a little daunted about the transfer from 1 to the other, but it went ok without any mishap.. When I left the following day it was high tide so the speed boat came in & got me from the beach- phew!! This is a lovely area & a good option for honeymooners, but also because of the mangrove areas it is a good spot for bird watchers.

So I head back to Tana again so I can take the L’Hotel Anjajavy’s flight in the morning. I was on the 9-seat plane & was allowed to sit next to the pilot- I assured the other passengers I would simply observe & I could see the relief on their faces.. J The views as we flew North West, past Majunga, were wonderful. However it was concerning to see the extent of the deforestation. This whole stretch from Tana to Majunga was once all forest & now you are lucky to see some small green patches.

Arriving at Anjajavy airfield the hotel manager, Cedric, was there to give us all a very warm welcome. Cold bottles of water & cool face towels were available. We then got into the 4X4 to head for the hotel, through the Mangrove area. En route it was clear to see how passionate Cedric is about the property. He made stops to explain about their re-forestation programme, which they are heavily investing time & money into.

The private reserve of Anjajavy covers 550 hectares & guests will easily see the 2 species of lemurs they have there- the brown lemur & the dancing Sifaka lemurs. There are also 2 nocturnal lemurs species – the Sportive & Mouse Lemurs. The other wildlife is also wonderful here & it is the ideal place to mix relaxation, luxury & beach with wildlife – plus the hotel has many activities on offer.

There are only 24 bungalows but the hotel has 100 staff & 20 executive staff that speak English. The service at this hotel is excellent & every guest is made to feel so welcome. Nothing is too much trouble for them & the food was amazing.

I went with Cedric & his 2 beautiful daughters on the boat trip to MorombaBay. We saw the mushroom islands & saw the absolutely massive sacred Baobab tree, which is over 1000 years old, how incredible is that?! – but please remember you are not allowed to point at with your fingers!. It was a great trip & I would recommend it to all my clients. On my last night the hotel put on a traditional dance show- with the local people & children taking part, it was wonderful & I was really sad to leave the next morning. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful end to a very busy but rewarding trip.

I had to stay in Tana for 3 nights, which is a drag but has to be done sometimes to fit in with the domestic flights. As I had an afternoon free I headed to the handicraft market- which is where I bought my obligatory pink hat & basket.. this is a shoppers paradise..

I love Madagascar, it is not currently overly commercialised or touristy. The combination of all the amazing wildlife, the flora & Fauna, the wonderful people, excellent food, stunningly beautiful beaches & a whole array of accommodation makes it a very special & unique place to visit. I wonder if I will be allowed to make another trip next year – I do still need to see the Avenue of Baobabs in the West!

If you have any questions about Madagascar or want to talk to me about the perfect itinerary to suit your preferences & interests, please do get in touch. You can call me on 01202 232335 or e-mail me on fiona@worldwideholidays.co.uk

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