10 thoughts on “Madagascar Updates: Chapter 9

  1. Since a fire destroyed part of Isalo National Park a few years ago, it has become harder (though not uncommon) to see Verreaux’s sifakas there. Consequently, in recent years, more visitors have been stopping at Zombitse National Park to see this species. As a result, the sifakas at Zombitse have become more habituated, and are now much easier to see close-up.

  2. Jessica Roos says:

    In Anakao we stayed at the hotel Chez Solange, which is now called Madasurf since the owner has changed four months ago. They have basic but nice bungolows that range from about 30000 to 70000 Ar. There’s a bucket shower and every evening they supply a bucket of hot water which is made out of some kind of tree bark. They also have a nice restaurant now and the cook makes the best Pizza of Madagascar! The staff is really nice, so there’s a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

  3. Charlie Nord says:

    In Fort Dauphin, Chez Anita has bad service, oily food, rooms sometimes without hot water or any water at all. Not recommended! The owners could do much more out of this place, but they don’t appear to want to invest any effort. For eating out, Chez Georges is indeed lovely, in terms of both architecture and quality of food. Spice (La Recrea) can also be recommended as a good restaurant. In general, I must say that I wasn’t too impressed by how Fort Dauphin has “evolved” since I last visited about a decade ago.

  4. Charlie Nord says:

    In Ambovombe, I had lunch at the Oasis. The restaurant is indeed good, but it takes ages to prepare the meals. So, if you are in a hurry, it is probably best to look for one of the numerous hotelys in town, most of which have equally tasty (and cheaper) food, and being served on the spot.

  5. Charlie Nord says:

    Faux Cap is such a dung heap! I was looking for those sand dunes that are allegedly “littered with fragments of Aepyornis shell”. If the dunes and beaches are littered with anything, it’s trash of all kinds and shapes! There is no “nice stretch of beach” whatsoever. Trash piles even up within the compound of the Libertalia Beach Club, which has been completely neglected after the former vazaha owner died. His Malagasy widow resides in a shop-cum-hotely in town, clearly preferring drinking toaka gasy over managing Libertalia. Cactus, the former alternative accommodation in town, is even worse. The bungalows have been completely worn down by water, wind and salt. No owner was to be seen anywhere when I was there and people told me that the place is now closed. What can you expect in a town that even doesn’t have a mayor? Or, as one villager put it, “everything in our town is wrong, not just the cape”.

  6. Charlie Nord says:

    At Lavanono, Chez Evelyne is sufficiently nice. The still have their communal squat toilet and bucket showers, but the bungalows are quite comfy and right on the beach. The beach, by the way, is strewn with numerous interesting species of sponges. While I was there, a Chinese (pirate) vessel lay at anchor. Villagers said that it had been there for 10 days already and they were suspecting that the Chinese were either fishing illegally or hauling in huge quantities of radiated tortoises from the nearby mainland (the area of Cap Sainte Marie, as you know, still is one of the strongholds of the species). Finally, an official from the Ministry showed up and the Chinese vessel left – obviously without having been examined and without any consequences whatsoever.

  7. Charlie Nord says:

    In Itampolo, Chez Nany is a very nice place to stay! Lovely couple, lovely service, very nice food. The place has clearly improved. Now, they even have running water, so one can take a normal shower rather than a bucket shower only. There is also a toilet in each bungalow, so there are no outside latrines anymore. Highly recommended accommodation in a very nice place!

  8. Charlie Nord says:

    My favourite place to stay near Toliara is Famata Lodge, because it is basically the only lodge on the road to St. Augustine which is beautifully integrated into remaining spiny forest and nearby mangroves – whereas other lodges have almost exclusively cleared all vegetation during construction. They subsequently tried to replant some of the succulent plants. These are then of course sourced from the wild and sold to the lodges by villagers for whom selling plants has now become a non-negligible source of income. It is said locally that there is now also a Chinese guy in town who buys basically every animal that villagers bring him. While the last tortoises of the area already disappeared years ago, the focus now appears to be on iguanas and other lizards, which appear to be becoming scarce as well.

  9. Charlie Nord says:

    At Isalo National Park, repeated fires (the last big one burning through the park at the end of last year) have again reduced vegetation and diminished tree cover. Paths that were once shaded by trees (e.g. on the fringes of the Namazà Canyon) are now exposed to full sunlight and it is clearly less fun walking there than it used to be. The vegetation around the piscine naturelle is also scorched and huge amounts of sand recently swept in by Cyclone Ava also contribute to making this place a mere shadow of its former glory. Isalo Ranch still is my favourite place to stay. Architecturally well-integrated into the surrounding landscape, with bungalows largely made from local materials, providing solar-heated water and equipped with a beautiful garden of endemic plants, fruit trees and spices, this place has every right to brand itself as an ecolodge!

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