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Travel to Madagascar with Simone

Madagascar is an island nestled off the south-eastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. A country brimming with diverse cultures, it is renowned above all for its fauna and flora, including a remarkable array of species found nowhere else on Earth.

Ah, Morondava, home to one of the world’s most enchanting sights: towering baobab trees lining both sides of a red dusty road – the Avenue of Baobabs. Picture this: as the sun begins its early morning ascent casting pink and orange across the horizon, these ancient giants stand tall, their silhouettes against the dawn sky creating a scene straight out of a dream.

Milky Way Baobab Tree

Sights seemingly from another world are enjoyed across the country, reflecting its uniqueness.

Arriving early is key; you want to catch the moment when the sun peeks over the horizon, bathing the landscape in a warm, golden light. We arrived in the dark of the night, watching as the thousand twinkling stars faded into the blue hour.

As the morning unfolds, take your time to wander among these majestic trees, some of which are over a thousand years old. You’ll feel the weight of history in their gnarled trunks and twisted branches as locals go about their everyday lives in their shade.

Pink Hues at the Baobab Avenue

The extraordinary Avenue of Baobabs blends into the everyday world of Madagascar.

We also spent sunset at this amazing location. The ebbing light of the sun cast long shadows, mirroring the Baobabs’ distinctive silhouettes against the sky. It’s a popular spot for photographers and nature enthusiasts alike, offering a glimpse into the unique and otherworldly landscape of Madagascar, an experience that stays with you long after you’ve left its dusty roads behind.

Simone travelled to Madagascar

Seen from the air, you appreciate the old name for Baobabs – Upside-down Trees.

Facts: Did you know? Baobab trees are native to Madagascar, mainland Africa and Australia but six of the nine species of baobabs are found in Madagascar. The Avenue of Baobabs is a prominent group of Grandidier’s Baobab which are the biggest and most famous type.

Getting there: You can fly or drive: there is a short domestic flight from the capital Antananarivo (Tana) to Morondava but only twice a week – book well in advance as they fill up quickly.

Rice terraces in Madagascar

The second biggest population in Africa needs a lot of feeding: terraced farming dominates.

We hired a 4×4 vehicle with a driver and guide and went on the long road trip. Our first stop was Antsirabe where we stayed for the night and then continued the 12 hour drive to Morondava. The roads are in poor condition but despite the challenges, the landscape changes about every 100 kilometres so there is always something to look at: from stacked rice terraces to long-horned zebu pulling carts – it is an oddly rewarding journey. Just be prepared for a slow ride.

Simone travelled to Madagascar

There are still areas of unspoilt Indian Ocean coastline; the northwest has the best dive sites.

Our reward was Belo sur Mer, a picturesque coastal village located in western Madagascar and known for its vibrant fishing community and beautiful surroundings. A village built entirely of wood with its feet in the sand, Belo sur Mer is on the Mozambique Channel, offering a stunning backdrop of clear waters and sandy beaches.

We stayed at The Eco Lodge du Menabe which is located right on the ocean and offers waterfront bungalows with stunning views. All bungalows are built with traditional materials just like the village houses.

Belo Sur Mer fishing boats

As they have done for centuries, sailing boats criss-cross the ocean in front of our lodge.

In Belo sur Mer, fishing is a central part of daily life. Traditional outrigger canoes and fishing boats dot the shoreline, showcasing the village’s reliance on the sea for their sustenance and livelihood. Fishermen head out early in the morning to catch fish, which are then sold in local markets or used to feed their families.

Simone travelled to Madagascar

Traditional life merges with your travel experience, creating an immersive experience.

The village itself is characterized by its laid-back atmosphere and close-knit community. Visitors to Belo sur Mer experience authentic Malagasy culture, sample fresh seafood, and explore the natural beauty of the area. The beaches are ideal for relaxing or taking part in water activities such as snorkelling and swimming.

We got to Belo Sur Mer by car from Morondava. Again, the road wasn’t great but, typical of many rural roads in Madagascar, it was a route that immersed you in the life of the country: a scenic journey through remote and rugged landscapes, baobab trees and semi-nomadic villages where traditional Malagasy life unfolds.

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Reviews

Safari Online were extremely efficient and absolutely charming to work with.

Our 28-day itinerary took us to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. A magnificent and unforgettable adventure. Everything ran smoothly and efficiently from the flights, transfers, rides, connections, etc. Absolutely wonderful! Can’t thank them enough!

Ann and Mario (Canada)
Safari Online made our fantastic family holiday dream come true!!

Safari Online have been nothing but professional and incredible from the time we made our first enquiry to the last day of our stunning holiday. Nothing was too much trouble for Walter. We are now starting to plan our next family Safari for 2019. Guess who we will be booking with??? Safari Online we hope you are ready!!!!!

Penni (AU)
An incredibly well organised tour with no hassles whatsoever.

Safari Online understood our needs and was able to present us with sensible options to choose from. It was evident that this tour operator has knowledgable and experienced agents who can arrange a seemless tour. We were provided with a professional online itinary which was comprehensive and easy to use, knew exactely what to expect, and encountered no stumble blocks along the way.

Gwen (AU)
It was a safari of a lifetime and exceeded all of our expectations!

Our mom grew up in Central and South Africa so we had visited the continent many times. My sister and I wanted to take our teens and husbands to Africa to experience the magic. We had a limited budget but big and specific expectations and by some miracle Walter was able to manage both.

Heather (USA)
Professional, quick and top of the edge service!!!

From the very first contact we’re very happy about the respond time and quality of information from safari-online.com. Based on the received first tailor-made quote, which is a weblink with all the details about the flights, photos of the lodges etc. we knew that this is “our” partner for this trip. Our expectations were excelled!!!

Lukas (Germany)
Best trip I have ever been on. Highly recommend.

Would highly recommend. Safari online asked questions when booking and were efficient and knew exactly what we were looking for in terms of accommodation and animals were wanted to see. Gave advice on a few little extras with no pressure, which we did and am very grateful which make trip even more exciting. Would definitely recommend booking with them.

Walter has always been an excellent communicator and has supported us fully

We have been to Africa for 24 of the last 27 years so know a bit about what is involved. Walter has arranged the details for the last couple of years, and has done a superb job. He is always quick to respond and comes up with answers immediately……..no evasive tactics, always head-on!

Roger (UK)
Professional, patient, efficient and responsive. Met all our travel needs and requirements spot on

Communication was excellent – I asked A LOT of questions and did a ton of research myself and Walter was extremely patient with me and very responsive. he was straight forward and extremely professional. Tour itself was excellent – an incredible experience and one never to be forgotten. Everything was spot on.

Neena
Karina was absolutely instrumental to our safari success.

Our experience with Safari Online was excellent. After becoming very frustrated trying to search for a safari destination on our own, we turned to Karina for help and she was a lifesaver.  We had an amazing safari adventure at the lodge–the experience of a lifetime–and are so grateful for her help. We literally couldn’t have done it without her!

Chris (USA)
Very helpful good suggestions for holiday ideas always available for questions good organising

Excellent service and they supplied good suggestions for our holiday they also organised all internal flights and arranged check in for us so we had no worries while on holiday. We have had a most memorable holiday staying at wonderful places thanks to Sabrina and Safari Online. Would recommend Safari Online to organise your holiday.

Lorraine (UK)