After driving the interior of western Madagascar from Belo sur Mer to Manja, a surprisingly lively and colourful town, we continue towards the coast. Yet another ferry crossing over the Mangoky river turns out to be easier than expected, and when we reach Morombé we are back on the Mozambique Channel. Driving further south along the coast, we reach Andavadoaka at a good time - well ahead of sunset. The friendly owner even gives us his bungalow, and we are out for a walk along the coast. Just off the beach, within swimming distance, are rocky islets, one with an arch. We stand here, watching the sun sink towards the horizon, and make sure we are positioned in such a way that we see the sun reach the horizon through the opening in one of the rocks.
The next morning, we are out in time to see the sun rise behind us, and see fishermen busy with their pirogues out at sea. Most have square sails on their wooden boats. We walk along the coast, take a sandy path straight to the village. A half-moon shaped bay and beach holds a small army of pirogues. All of them are crafter by hand, and all are uniquely painted. Some have names, some don't. Kids are playing on the beach, in between the pirogues. We walk through the sandy streets of the village with its typical huts made of natural materials. Nets hanging out to dry, or being fixed. People are pumping water at a well, carrying full yellow jerrycans to their humble homes. Women are applying a mask of masonjoany bark and water to their face, to protect their skin against the sun.
After walking through small, quiet backstreets, with many short stops talking to people, seeing more women with masonjoany, or tabaky as they call it, on their faces, we walk the main street of Andavadoaka. We drove this street yesterday, and now that we walk in it, it seems impossible that cars pass through. Stalls line the sandy street, people greet us, we walk past the local bar with dancing women on its white walls. Then, we are back on the beach again. The first fishermen return from their morning catch, women are waiting with buckets and sort out the catch: small fish in one bucket, bigger fish in the others. We watch the fishing boats at sea, their tiny white sails looking fragile in the enormous blue. When we drive away, we realize we forgot to actually take a dip in the calm sea.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Andavadoaka (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Andavadoaka.
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