Monday, April 22, 2013

Madagascar: Belo sur Mer and Kirindy Metea National Park

Belo sur Mer is a three to four hour pirogue ride south of Morondava.  We arranged transport the day before as we had to leave Morondava super early.  The ocean can get kind of rough later in the day, so we left at sunrise.  The ride to Belo was absolutely beautiful.  The sun rose up over the beach as we motored our way further down the coast of Madagascar.

Belo is a very very small village.  It doesn't have any actual roads and is only accessible by boat in the wet season.  Our hut was literally on the beach, less than 100 feet from an ocean inlet.  The hut area was run by a family that had chickens, goats, and a turkey or two.  The goats liked to crawl under the porches of the huts and take naps in the shade.  Electricity was limited in the whole village.  People who wanted to have lights on at night had to have large generators that were solar paneled.  Our hut had one small light that didn't work very well.  We had come well prepared though in the form of headlamps.

Since the entire village was built on a beach and was sand, I went barefoot for three days.  It was beautiful if not a little hot.  Belo is an old boat building village, where they still build boats the same way they did several hundred years ago.  They soak the lumber and shape it.  As the wood dries, it stays in the shape they created with it.  It can take months or years to create one boat.  They also create pirogues by taking huge logs and digging them out, much like a dugout canoe.

We also went to Kirindy Metea, a national park and forest south of Belo.  The forest is untouchable.  The only people that have been in the forest are those that use it for research.  The general population isn't allowed.  We walked up to the top of a sand dune to look over the forest.  We spotted a couple more baobabs, some flamingos, and a hawk that seemed incredibly interested in us.  All in all, the trip to Belo and Kirindy was nice and extraordinarily quiet.  It was nice to have a relaxing couple of days before we prepared to move to another city in Madagascar.

Our pirogue

Our pirogue captain

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