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We find ourselves again in a very comfortable ‘camp’, at an eco tourism resort  at http://menabelo.com/

Again, electricity is rationed and there are no mains sockets in our suites: camera batteries and laptops can be charged centrally in the kitchen / reception area. The place is run by a French couple, roughly my age, who spent six months in Madagascar and then swap with another couple in the south of France for the rest of the year.

We spent an hour after breakfast watching the Malagasy sailing ships pass by until our landlady suggested taking a boat ride in a manned canoe with a miniature canoe alongside as a balancing aid.

Our camp, from our canoe

Our camp, from our canoe

They recommended following the coast until the sand dunes got higher. Climbing to the top offered a nice view over the dry forest featuring a number of Baobabs.

The first hurdle to cross was how to get into the boat. I had only bought to heavy duty trainers that I stood up in and having witnessed my father-in-law loose both legs through diabetes, I was not about to risk picking up a cut or small wound by walking barefoot onto the rocky beach into the water. The water was like bathwater – please add a bit of cold water!

After just over an hour the c 100 m high sand dunes came into view and we landed. Those who have climbed sand dunes before will know that it’s two steps up before sliding one step down. Not easy in the boiling heat, particularly when Nadia marches by, carrying a big bag with our picnic lunch and water bottles on her head! Lower centre of gravity I guess – it doesn’t always pay to be tall!

Baobab forest at the foot of the sand dune

Baobab forest at the foot of the sand dune


Nadia walked straight past me as I struugled up the sand dune!

Nadia walked straight past me as I struggled up the sand dune!

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