Boarding a ship straight out of a fairy tale of the Arabian Nights, and go on a magical journey to the discovery of a region inaccessible by land (the only road is 40 kms as the crow flies ….!). The sea is the only way to access this protected world, shifted, and quite unconventional. A mysterious and breathtaking coastal beauty who enjoys a climate of legendary softness.
We propose to balance the trip between the discovery of the maritime aspect of this unknown region, and the discovery of more earthly aspect, and more mysterious just back from the region. Throughout this trip so we will alternate a sea day (6-8 hours on the dhow with 1:00 to 1:30 diving snorkelling, and all the rest of the time on land) and one day trek (between 4 and 6 hours walking spread over a whole day). In total we will have five days of maritime-terrestrial discovery, and 3 days strongly typed land.
In all cases our “travel philosophy” will be the same; between real physical effort and contemplation, breathing several angles in the Mainland visited, watch, listen, and so quietly through encounters and feelings, give him his true form. We will look beyond our feet and we will keep all our senses.
To emphasize this cultural incursion, we will fish and hunt our fish, and sometimes we buy the villagers and fishermen encounter.
We will be opportunistic on any subject, and we will try by all means to us as close to the carrier world of dreams. Both on land and sea, our program will be malleable, and we will adapt to the unexpected, because it is first and foremost for us to make a real voyage of discovery completely off the beaten track.
We also cultivate a lifestyle that aim to demystify some of the pictures of the adventure. We will try to eat well in all circumstances, and we will grow flying carpets, cushions, tea, perfume of spices, sweet appetizers, various showers, fruit, smiles and good humor!
This example of a cruise only serves to give an idea of the constitution of a trip according to its duration. It should not be taken literally. The “scheduled” stopovers can be modified at any time by our guides according to the direction of the wind, the tides or simply the desires of each one. The goal of the game is to make you live the most beautiful trip possible in a truly wonderful world that we are still the only ones to frequent…..
6:00 am boarding the dhow. We have breakfast on our boat to make the most of the morning calm. We go the anchor around 6:45 am for about three thirty-through before going to our first dive site. It’s our first day as well, and find fish is still a necessity. So especially for your viewing pleasure as we dive snorkeling over our first corals (diving between two and five meters deep). Each takes place in its own way, we are really left, we in the bush, and the huge main island is no longer a distant landscape. Around 11 h00, we return to the South to join our first bivouac. The daily thermal wind is rising, and it is the sail (if the wind is in the right direction!) Or engine we reach our first camp. Anjiabé is a long stretch of white sand bordered by an abandoned coconut plantation. A site where the extraordinary low tides dozens of bird species live, for the most part endemic (only found in Madagascar). We have lunch on board, above a lagoon groomed blues and greens. Landing around 14:00, and after a good shower with fresh water wells in the area, stroll to discover a little more about what surrounds us and what we can expect tomorrow: a green mountain 700 meters high there, of across the bay! Aperitif in the lights of the sunset meal, talks, dreams and good night everyone!
(6:00 walk in total) Breakfast at 5:30, then at 6:30 we board of the Annex to cross a very sheltered bay 2 miles wide. 20 minutes later we landed on the beach Milorano, the starting point of our walk of the day. The goal is to make this beautiful mountain called Andranomatavina (where water is abundant). We leave to the discovery of a particularly important sacred gully for Sakalava religion is like shamanic .Protégée since ancient times by many “fady” (taboo), primary forest is remarkable. After two hours of walking, we reached the foot of the mountain surrounded by magic. Whites who viewed this highly sacred place can be counted on the fingers of two hands at most. Large mossy rocks, trees, and … leeches. What happiness! Here, the endemic plant is very close to 100%. Everything becomes extraordinary. We walk quietly in this universe by simple but splendid. We lunch at the edge of the stream, and we listen in our own way this absolutely unique forest in the world. Around 14:00 we start our walk back to Milorano where our boat awaits us. During our walk sailors changed their place of bivouac, and it is in the village of Amporaha, close, our new camp is reaching. After 5 minutes of crossing, surrounded by the lights of the sunset we land. Village meetings, shower, rest, drink and meal. We begin to get to know each feels that the trip has really begun. See you tomorrow!
Sunrise 6:00 am, breakfast and boarding for yet another day. We walk along a fringed beaches and forest more or less intact massive coast. A distinction is sometimes a hamlet, someone walking on a huge beach, the scenery is elegant, graceful even. We dive on the road in a completely different underwater world of two days before, and then around 11:00, sailing probably we reach still further south Ambatofotsy. This is a small village which has the distinction, in addition to its natural beauty, to host the royal residence and a “temple” in relics. Attention here nothing spectacular, although we are in the heart of the small Sakalava kingdom where the king reigns Mohamady which owes its name to an old Arab family history, wars, and of course kings! A territory shaped narrow ribbon of seventy kilometers in twenty. The role of the king essentially concerns the relationship between the meek ??and the sacred or small claims in the daily lives of honest people, nice, thin, shy, reserved, often spontaneous and sometimes unbridled without reservation. We land at Ambatofotsy in the early afternoon, and we set up camp in the heart of this quiet village. The shower is different again, is that the village … .. Some children, raffia, so this Malagasy light, laughter, singing weird invisible bird, the surf of the sea in the background, and this vastness, anywhere . Sunset is not far … .Contemplation … .décontraction … and the rest, as usual, almost.
(6:00 walk in total) Sunrise 5:30 am, and after a good breakfast, we head Ambariojeby, big town unreachable by road, but representing a major agricultural basin in the region. At the beginning of our walk we went around a large pool of mangroves before tackling some hills discovering a promising landscape. The region is semi mountainous, interspersed with raphières (raffia palms together), shrub forests, small villages, fields and stories. We are surrounded by red and green, but we walk on a major trail used for centuries by locals. We meet people, guinea fowl, lemurs, zebu, smells, sights, and our reading of this watermark Sakalava life still stuff a little more. We arrived late morning in this world is grown under large shade trees, coffee, pepper, vanilla, orange, and we walk in the middle of rice, cassava, groundnuts, of bananas, and sugarcane. Lunch outside the village, surrounded by a few curious children: they never see a foreigner, and our presence surprised everyone here. We leave this country quiet around 14:00 because we did two and a half hours before finding our coconuts. We have the full head, a little tired too. But a drink is welcome with its accompanying delicacies. The nocturnal lemurs make a lot of noise, but it does not surprise us anymore. Today we talk, we talk about tomorrow, we speak … .Good night everyone!
Up as usual, and around 8:00 we are back on our dhow just waiting to move forward. Today we go to the largest island of the archipelago of Radamas: Nosy Berafia. After two hours of crossing we dive on the edge of this island just off our bivouac point of the day. Fishing, spearfishing and swimming before returning to the small lagoon Maroentendry. This small village is our door to approach this vast island well Malagasy red. But beyond this earth so characteristic Nosy Berafia is a hilly island and semi woody, long and narrow, with little height (150 m maximum). Since the beginning of the century, the French and the Indo-Pakistani led large agricultural projects on this fertile land. Economic failures of Madagascar and its sidelining of international trade eventually blunting these beautiful development companies, and Berafia returned to what it was: a beautiful island, and the absolute focus of the local Sakalava religion . We disembark in the early afternoon. Lounging, short walks talks and swims occupy us until sunset before enjoying the rest of our day’s catch. Good dreams under the stars, and good morning! …. As they say in Malagasy.
(4:00 walk in total) Sunrise around 5:00 am to make the most of the mild weather in the morning. We are in the north of the island and walk south. Quartz is at ground level, sometimes even clear amethysts appear .Des fruit-eating bats in the tens, even the day of small quail tubby few meters in front of our feet, while green pigeons which oddly sing, and our endless guinea fowl which fly like pheasants. We meet life in all its forms before arriving at the foot of the sacred town Mahabo. Here are buried the kings, princes and princesses of the royal lined concerned. Very few whites were able to visit this place, too, we have some guidelines to follow to avoid disturbing this highly sacred place. Mango trees are centuries old, and some old men also appear. We are at the top of Berafia, and the view is breathtaking … it’s beautiful. We have lunch at the seaside just below before moving westward “Magazin” which is not a course. It must mean an old colonial term for equipment storage sheds and other agricultural products. An hour’s walk amid the scent of ylang-ylang, pepper and vanilla other more or less abandoned before overlook the sea where our dhow ahead. We contemplate the landscape of Africa up the former home of the director of concession counter; perfumes prewar perfume from another time as evidenced by the very eve carcass of a tractor breathless. After visiting the village, we return to our dhow to reach the shortest and the sea, our camp north of the island. Shower, bathe, drink, relaxing, fun and talks occupy us all until our eyes close, each at our own pace. See you tomorrow!
After the usual breakfast and loading the dhow, we leave our lagoon for diving in the area while waiting for our time … .. Our time will be that of the tide, as the day’s stage is at the end of a network mangrove completely dry at low tide. We will travel the approximately thirty miles that separate us from the mouth of Kotongony mid-tide. We manage our activities diving, fishing, and relaxation based on these requirements. Kotsongony is a hamlet, said a place that allows us to access the land on this side lined with mangroves. The arrival is gorgeous, totally timeless. A kind of natural port on the gross state around which we go up our camp. We will stay two days or so, depending on the tides, because our goal is both to discover a new universe, and meet lemurs with blue eyes (not yet clearly identified and discovered in 2003, these animals are very calm only lemurs with blue eyes. They are really blue sky, which gives them a very surreal look.) We are not a reserve, and our encounter with these very special lemurs take depending on the day and season between 1hour and four hours of wandering in this generous bush. The Sakalaves here are the heart of the local shamanic tradition,. You never see white here, never administration either, too remote, too many reefs at the mouth, too many hills behind, not enough roads … .. We spend our time to breathe it all, and can also fish, swim in a course generous freshwater observe the life of the village, or just admire the scenery from around the world. We are in the deepest basin Radamas, and you should take advantage!
It may be that, depending on tide times and their ratio, we are forced to leave in the afternoon Kotsongony this eighth day. In this case, we’ll go sleep somewhere else climbing camp “quickly” flush night. In short, we will adapt and it will not change things in our program of activities.
Today we go back far north (about 5 hours of navigation) to reach a kind of Madagascar fiord quiet as a lake, lined with small orange sand beaches, dominated by dense primary forest. This fiord then plunges deep into a maze of mangroves to finish River at the foot of mountains covered in rainforest. We set up our camp, this time at the entrance to the estuary, and then, if the tide allows, we go more or less deeply an inlet … water becomes increasingly thin amid this tangle of mangroves surreal … life, though intense, is discreet … here, almost everything is nurseries, everything is strange, fragile! We meet two hours later our camp in the raking light of dusk. The landscape is golden, light is almost too beautiful, she bewitches us … It seems that all these green and the roses are edible. The evening will find us for the last time on this trip about with sweetness and harmony, and we contemplate what the bay looks for centuries: dhows, schooners, adventurers and pirates who come to hide the vagaries of the sea. fragile Small fires at night, distant laughter, smells of smoke, silence, feeling that little has changed. … The feeling that we are no longer quite the same either.
Today, up quiet a bit later than usual. But the journey is not over because we have a few hours ahead of us before joining Nosy Be. We did not really have to hunt and fish for our fish today, and we will mostly try to visit a particularly beautiful and accessible coral site. We took the opportunity to the fullest, and those who want to stretch their legs on a nice beach can. Aperitifs, tapas, memories and laughs accompany our meal before sitting comfortably on our rugs and cushions we raise our sails. The song of the ropes, the magnificent scenery, the creaking pulleys under the huge yard, heavy cotton sails … .Tout magically take us back to the dawn of time … for a few more hours. Quietly pushed by this delicious thermal wind, we reach Nosy Be in the lights of the sunset to 17 h 00.
Je pense que ces quelques jours à bord de la Pirogue est un de nos meilleurs souvenirs de notre voyage à Madagascar!
Merci de nous avoir fait vivre cette expérience, hors du temps.
Nous ferions bien un retour dans le temps pour y retourner!
Nous avons partagé l’adresse à nos amis réunionnais qui projettent de venir vous voir, sans doute après les éléctions!
Voici quelques photos que vous pouvez bien sur partager si le coeur vous en dit!
Amélie Benjamin et les 3 artistes
Bonjour à toute l’équipe Alefa,
Encore un dernier mot après notre atterrissage (avec le mal de terre) et quelques jours pour ne plus tanguer et reprendre le cours de notre existence… Pour vous redire quel plaisir on a eu à vivre cette expérience, mais aussi faire un coucou tout particulier à Nicolas, puisque le hasard ne nous a pas permis de nous croiser ; Non que j’aie eu spécialement envie de jouer aux vieux combattants et se remémorer notre « plouf », mais pour lui dire combien j’admire la manière dont il mène sa(ses) barque(s) depuis toutes ces années. J’ai retrouvé les sensations ébauchées il y a 23 ans et dont j’avais gardé une frustration de n’avoir pu les vivre pleinement. C’est exceptionnel d’avoir maintenu un tel niveau de passion, de responsabilité, de générosité et d’énergie dans ce que vous offrez, tant à nous qu’aux femmes et hommes qui nous accueillent dans leur environnement. On sent cette formule magique dans l’esprit de l’équipage aussi, alors encore bravo à vous deux Dom et Nicolas. On est très heureux d’avoir inauguré cette nouvelle saison, on a senti l’équipage également joyeux et super motivé.
Après toutes ces épreuves et vos efforts pour maintenir cette super entreprise à flot, on vous souhaite une belle réussite, que ça continue encore et encore…
Mary & François (dit katakata lahy)
Aussi, un grand salut à l’ancien combattant Bruno que j’ai revu avec plaisir et émotion…
Semaine extraordinaire !
Semaine de rencontres, découvertes, partage, émerveillement, rires, fous-rires avec un équipage en or!
Un énorme merci à Jacky de nous avoir si bien chouchoutés.
Un grand merci à Simon de nous avoir autant régalés.
Un grand merci à Zozo de nous avoir fait beaucoup rire.
Un grand merci à Jamil pour son côté pince sans rire et les super poissons pêchés.
Un grand merci à Stéphane d’avoir été au petit soin pour nous.
Un grand merci à Claude de nous avoir si bien fait naviguer.
Nous avons la chance d’avoir déjà beaucoup voyagé … et, très peu souvent, nous avons eu la chance de ne croiser aucun touriste durant 5 jours et être autant dans le partage.
Nous gardons très précieusement tous ces souvenirs en tête.
Bravo et merci à vous et Alefa pour ce que vous faites.
Charlotte & Olivier
A Dominique , notre bonne organisatrice
Rate indicated / pers / day
Half-price for the children
*Alefa commits to reducing the tariff to 135 € / day / person dhow if others join the circuit.
Rate indicated / pers / day
Half-price for the children
*Alefa commits to reducing the tariff to 108 € / day / person canoe if others join the circuit.