When I decided to go to Madagascar, I was asking to two friends of mine where I could enjoy a beautiful sea and a relaxing atmosphere to have some days of rest during my trip. They said - you don’t have to miss this bay and you have to go to Andrea’s guesthouse -
I was sure that this was a good choice because this could allow me to skip the north part of Madagascar rich of beautiful places but full of resorts with all kind of comforts, where charters arrive everyday during the summer, full of people that wants to live or, it’s better to say, wants to buy an African adventure…
So out of “Tulear”:http://www.lomography.com/magazine/locations/2010/02/15/toliara-madagascar in the south direction, you cross the Tropic of Capricorn and you keep on going on a dirt road with mangroves on one hand. A visit to the water cave and then you can see the narrow strip of sand of Sarodrano, a fisherman village…It’s here where Andrea lives.
There is just a camion brousse per week to get there so the best is to find a car that will bring you as close as possible. The driver stopped his car one and half km far from Sarodrano under the cliff. He took the money and had a quick dip. We started walking on the waterline with our backpacks…
It was quite hard to get there but the welcome was just perfect. Andrea is a typical Italian sea dog. He is there since 25 years and day by day he has built a very fascinating place, simple but special, bungalows without any redundant comforts, the rooms are very well furnished (shells, drawings, statues, oil lamps, candles, ‘everything’ you need). No electricity, common showers with buckets of fresh water, the toilette’s are behind the dunes. At the beginning he can look rough but he will become soon your best friend with his 25 years old stories. He is also the unofficial physician of the village so you can let him your surplus of pills and medicines. You can experience the power of eating together with other travelers like you with wonderful dishes of fresh fish and excellent French and Italian wine in a dining room that It’s almost a museum of Madagascar with old pictures, books, and so on. There is an amazing turquoise sea with emerald tints and the reef is really beautiful. It’s without any doubt a captivating destination among all those who accept the tyring effort to get here.
You need one day to go and come back, by crossing the cliff, from Sarodrano to St. Augustin. It’s better to leave early in the morning. This give you the possibility to see and enjoy fantastic landscapes (at midday the temperature can be very hot). St. Augustin is another fisherman village bigger than Sarodrano. The wonderful bay was sought as shelter by pirates and slaves traders, and Daniel Defoe, the author of Robinson Crusoe, found inspiration in this fabulous setting for several for his writings. When you arrive there you can take a pirogue and go up to a river till a lagoon of fresh water.
From Sarodrano you can also take a sailing boat to reach Anakao and Nosy Ve. Anakao is a village of Vezo fisherman that gathered together and settled on this small portion of land. Its rapid tourism development has already impacted on the people attitudes towards the visitors and the traditional authentic hospitality of the Malagasy is changing very quickly but the indolent character of the village does not show that this might occur soon.
During the austral winter, Anakao is an ideal spot to observe the dance of whales when they along the coast, near Nosy Ve, but unfortunately I didn’t see them.
From Anakao you can reach Nosy Ve, this long island plate lined with sandy beaches is now deserted. Nosy Ve is a sacred spot for the Vezo people, who annually sacrifice zebu. The main attraction of this inhabited island, 4.5 km offshore, are its 75 pairs of nesting red-tailed tropicbirds that attract ornithologists from all parts of the world, you cannot find them in another spot of the world just here. The birds allow a close approach, as they are left unmolested by local people due to a taboo. Apart of the birds’ colony, there is very good snorkeling on the pristine coral reef encircling the island, which makes the small islet a lovely day-trip. The superb white strand invites to idleness. To access the natural sanctuary of Nosy Ve an entrance fee of Ar 2000 per person is required.