
// SEPTEMBER 2017
Such stuff as dreams are made on...
Ivato
Manambato
Antsirabe
Morondava
Morondava
Belo sur Mer
Manja
Toliara
Thessaloniki
Istanbul
Mauritius
Moramanga
Manambato
Canal des Pangalanes
Behenjy
Miandrivazo

Belo sur Mer


21st of September 2017
The real challenge of the journey!!!

We filled the tank, first thing in the morning, and we also took with us a few extra jerry cans of petrol, 



before starting our very specific route to Belo sur Mer. It is an extremely dangerous and remote route, which is not even mentioned in the google maps, but fortunately enough we had downloaded the “app maps” on my mobile phone, on the first day of our arrival in Madagascar.

Driving alone, without a local driver or a guide with us, on the west coastal route from Morondava to Toliara, where there is no road really, but only a narrow sandy corridor, having to face the hostile salt marshes and the unpredictable tide, was the real challenge of the journey and what had really intrigued me! 

The first river crossing proved to be the first obstacle. A few primitive stakes were demarcating the boundaries of the suggested route. I got out of the car and walked the riverbed so as to check the depth and the stability of the ground.
At some point the water was reaching my knee, but it was much shallower in the rest of the river.



Before managing to cross the shallow river, myself on foot and Christos by car, a couple of kids had already appeared asking for cadeau (sweets), while at the same time we were approached by an adult too.

Believe it or not, the remote sandy corridor to Belo sur Mer is a toll road! If we wanted to cross their village and to see the bar lifted up, the locals would have to be paid 5000 ar. The price of the “ticket” was not negotiable!

We had to pass through 7 toll stops and to drive 88 kilometers ( within 4 hours), while the color of the ground kept changing from white to red and the sand was giving its place to mud, before managing to approach the sea and to see the first salt marshes.  
 


Most of them were dried up, with bags of salt to demarcate the area at the far end.
Those were the only points on the route with opened horizons…
 


The rest of the drive was done through secluded shrub vegetation with a few trees covering the view from time to time. The use of the GPS was proved absolutely obligatory in order not to lose our direction, since there were very few signposts all along the route.
 


Truth be told, it was a very adventurous route, since we found a bridge made of tree trunks, deep ditches, torrents and streams we had to get through and also…some roast chicken we were offered at a toll stop, 
 


before making it eventually to Belo sur Mer.

Fear and doubts...

And there came the final straw!!
We were in an area of salt marshes and due to the high tide the ground was slippery like jelly.  

While “skating” and trying to have access to a terrain where we couldn’t see any sign of tires, we thought that most likely we had managed to loose the damn route, after all.
 


Before having the chance to review the whole situation, we found ourselves to the  lagoon of Entremer.

The entrance was magnificent, since we were practically driving on a lagoon surrounded with beautiful palm trees. When high tide occurs, the water level rises and vehicles can not cross it. We followed the route which was demarcated by stakes and reached, at last, our destination.

But, while we were thinking that we were just about to finally relax within the safety of the hotel and were following the instructions of the welcoming valet, so as to secure our vehicle in the parking area, we… sank in the sand!





And that was the moment we realized that anything could happen at any time. And if an unfortunate moment would occur in the parking of the hotel, fair enough. It would be difficult, but not impossible to find a solution…With shovels and plenty of digging, yes, but still not impossible

But what would have happened if a bad moment like that had occurred at another part of our route, where we would be all alone in the wilderness, with no sign of any other car for hours?

Our good mood disappeared for a while…

Fortunately, Laurence’s (the French owner of the hotel) famous frozen Coco Rum Punch along with beers that followed afterwards, 

 


our walk on the most amazing, maybe, beach of Madagascar’s west coast, which was changing continuously with the high tide, 



the dreamy sunset,



and the romantic candlelight dinner we had at our veranda, plus the fact that we were celebrating our 32nd marriage anniversary helped us to feel nice and the good mood returned. 

But the fear and the doubts, as far as the dangerous, specific route we had chosen to cover, had nestled inside our hearts for good…

 

Country: Madagascar
Date: 2017
Route: Madagascar
Cities: Ivato, Manambato, Antsirabe, Morondava, Morondava, Belo sur Mer, Manja, Toliara
Duration: 7
Difficulty:
Population: 25.054.161
Rating:
comments
VIEW
comments
VIEW
Country: Madagascar
Date: 2017
Route: Madagascar
Cities: Ivato, Manambato, Antsirabe, Morondava, Morondava, Belo sur Mer, Manja, Toliara
Duration: 7
Difficulty:
Population: 25.054.161
Rating:
comments
VIEW
Country: Madagascar
Date: 2017
Route: Madagascar
Cities: Ivato, Manambato, Antsirabe, Morondava, Morondava, Belo sur Mer, Manja, Toliara
Duration: 7 days
Difficulty:
Population: 25.054.161
Rating:
comments
VIEW