Sightseeing around Nosy Bé.
Our hotel room was right on the beach of Ambatoloaka. This was where Bossi was moored and where we first went on board. The room and bathroom was very basic with only a cold water shower, which wasn’t too bad, considering it was quite hot. They both needed a lick of paint and some maintenance, but we would survive, as it was only for one night. There was no seat on the toilet either! But the beach made up for it.
Time to explore Nosy Bé. We negotiated with a taxi driver to drive us around the island. First we went to the ylang ylang factory where they make perfume essence. When driving around the island we noticed the ylang ylang trees that are bent and pruned for easy access to pick the flowers to make the essence. It’s balmy fragrance wafting past our noses – I can understand why it is the basis of most perfumes. There are plantations of coffee, cocoa, vanilla and sugar cane as well. Heady fragrances to lure the senses.
We then went to a viewing spot where we could see some of the eleven volcanic lakes on the island. We looked down towards more islands and bays. What a spectacular view! We could do a full 360 degrees. After driving around, taking in all the sights of Nosy Bé we decided it was time for another swim, which would be the last of our trip. The next day we would head to Antananarivo.
With a heavy sigh we took off from Nosy Bé.
Last stop: Antananarivo
Flying into Antananarivo , we saw the rice paddies again. It was far cooler in Antananarivo or ‘Tana’ for short.Not as tropical as the coastal regions and night time temperatures can be quite cold. Luckily though it was not too cold.
After much solitude on the yacht and the deserted islands it was a shock to be around so many people after such seclusion! And we were in traffic again. Nosy Bé had limited traffic and vehicles and all the other islands we visited were explored on foot as they were so small. We visited the market and saw some unusual curios, but we had done most of our shopping on Nosy Komba & Nosy Bé and it was far cheaper there, anyway.
We saw the Queen’s place on top of the hill and after having done sufficient sightseeing we went to the Tsimbazaza Zoo. It is a zoo and botanical garden, the only zoo of its kind in Madagascar, complete with a little museum. This gave us a little more insight into Madagascar. We don’t have any photos of this and I am sure it is because we ran out of film for the camera – yes, this is before the digital era!
Our trip and holiday had come to an end. This had truly been another trip of a lifetime, made more special by the fact that the four of us as a family could enjoy it together. It was a totally new experience for all of us. No luxurious hotel rooms but the time on board Bossi was magical and it was great to be able to move around like we did. No matter where else we have been or will go, this trip will hold a very special and dear place in our hearts.