There are no tigers, but the eyes of the grey brown mouse lemur and the sportive lemur are surely burning bright in your guide's torchlight. Then they scuttle away into the darkness. One can only walk in the forest in private reserves like Berenty these days (one of the reasons we chose to come).Our walk was in the spiny forest, and was suitably...more
Elsewhere I have vented my spleen at the parlous state of the Fort Dauphin - Berenty road. What I didn't mention is that it is an extremely interesting drive, both from a landscape and cultural perspective, as you advance inland from the coastal fringe into the spiny forest.One of the most interesting sites en route was the cattle market at...more
I dearly wish that we had been able to spend more time in Fort Dauphin - we only passed through for a couple of hours en route for Berenty, and the little that we saw of the scenery was stunning. In our two visits to Madagascar, it is the only truly rocky coastline that we've seen, and in fact, if you'd asked me to identify the location from the...more
Of all the interesting things that we saw along the Berenty road, by far and away the one that intrigued me most was the aggregate extraction. Maybe it's because I am originally a geologist, and more likely because I have had periperal involvement in research around the sustainability of 'sand harvesting' (the euphemism most often applied to this...more
In every village along the Fort Dauphin - Berenty road, you will come across a number of charcoal sellers: this is to be expected, as grid power has yet to reach most of the remote areas of the country (and even those areas which have been electrified experience often frequent supply outages).This presents one of the great moral challenges for...more
Conventional medicine in most parts of Africa - and particularly in the more remote regions - takes second place to traditional medicine, and Madagascar is no exception. People place greater trust in what they know, and what has served their ancestors for generations, and traditional medicine is generally more readily available, and often more...more
The road between Berenty and Fort Dauphin is not one for the fainthearted. I'd not care to use my on car to traverse it. The road may once have been sealed, but now the remnants of the asphalt, given over to potholes and canyons, testing the concentration and endurance of the driver. Even the potholes have potholes in them.
This makes for a very slow journey, the 80km taking between 3 and 4 hours to complete in dry season. This could be longer after rain where holes fill with water, hiding dangers beneath. Not to mention the joyous prospect of mud...
All that said it is a beautiful journey, passing from the remnant rainforest of the east coast, over the mountains to the red dirt spiny forest, before reaching the regimented sisal plantations around Berenty. The road passes through many small towns where markets are in progress. On either side, folk tote their purchases homeward, on foot, with the goods on their heads. By the roadside we passed the obelisk like graves of the Antanosy, looking for all the world like ranks of missiles. the height of the obelisk is an indication of the person's importance.
These little darlings were our contribution to the family Christmas tree from our first visit to Madagascar.
They are made of crudely carved wood, and the detail seems to have been applied with a hot tool to scorch the surface of the wood.
Their roughly hewn charm is so reminiscent of the harsh landscape of the spiny forest and captures the charm of the lemurs - the mother and baby are certainly ringtails, and I'm assuming that the larger one is a brown lemur.
Most tourists use Fort Dauphin (Taolagnaro) as the gateway to Berenty and then connect in via road. When you're planning your trip, an 89km journey doesn't seem too gruelling, but that's before you experience the 'road' to Berenty! 4 hours later (yes, you read right!), you will probably have a different perspective on the relationship between time...more
Waiting in airport departure lounges in the developing world can be a lengthy business, and sometimes you run short of reading material. Such was my experience in Fort Dauphin (aka Taolagnaro), and to pass the time, I was reduced to reading the customs posters displayed on the walls.What an eye opener! I can honestly say that in all my travels I...more