The Red Island of Africa


January 10

Road to Bakuba::Ankilibe, Madagascar::
Road to Bakuba
Grass-roofed Hut::Ankilibe, Madagascar::
Grass-roofed Hut
Grotte De Sarodrano #1::Saint-Augustin, Madagascar::
Grotte De Sarodrano #1

We had a plan to cross the Onilahy River by ferry from Tulear and drive south before taking a loop north back to road RN7. In reality, such a trip became very questionable. This was because of the incredible heat we experienced in our Tractor. We could not imagine ourselves being constantly baked for the next three to four days. The alternative was to remain in Tulear, and take short day trips from there. Saint-Augustin was not far from Bakuba. I expected beautiful, dense mangroves and a picturesque village at the end of the 4X4 trail. I was also looking forward to have an unforgettable local boat excursion.

Grotte De Sarodrano #2::Saint-Augustin, Madagascar::
Grotte De Sarodrano #2
Road to Saint-Augustin::Ankilibe, Madagascar::
Road to Saint-Augustin
Carrying Water Container on the Head::Saint-Augustin, Madagascar::
Carrying Water Container on the Head

Along the way, we passed many villages with ordinary grass hats. The locals were friendly and often waved hello. At the end of the road laid the village of Saint-Augustin, where a group of Puritans settled back in 1645. They survived there only 18 months. Today’s village has nothing that may relate to the first European settlement.

Shore Fishing #1::Saint-Augustin, Madagascar::
Shore Fishing #1
Shore Fishing #2::Saint-Augustin, Madagascar::
Shore Fishing #2
Local Bus::Saint-Augustin, Madagascar::
Local Bus

Saint-Augustin is a fishing village on the beach. At first glance, we could see many traditional boats called pirogues. When we walked there, some residents approached us. They offered boat trips and suggested coffee in their small bar. It might have sounded interesting, if not the fact that in the midday hot sun a horrible stench wafted around.

Mouth of Onilahy River::Saint-Augustin, Madagascar::
Mouth of Onilahy River
Saint-Augistin Village::Saint-Augustin, Madagascar::
Saint-Augistin Village
Anchovy on the Beach::Saint-Augustin, Madagascar::
Anchovy on the Beach
Small Girl with Stick::Saint-Augustin, Madagascar::
Small Girl with Stick

Garbage piles in the center of the village smelled like rotten fish combined with sewage. While walking we had to be careful not to step on human waste, which was all over the ground, wherever we walked. At low tide, the unpleasant smell from the river was also noticeable. The reddish Onilahy River definitely was not very encouraging. We imagined that the river probably carries sewage from other villages upriver. In such circumstances, sailing a pirogue did not look very pleasant at all. We quickly abandoned the idea. Any meal in the village did not look too promising either. However, we spent some time talking to many children who were playing in the puddles near the river.

Local Kids::Saint-Augustin, Madagascar::
Local Kids
Onilahy River::Saint-Augustin, Madagascar::
Onilahy River
Fishing Boats in Saint-Augustin::Saint-Augustin, Madagascar::
Fishing Boats in Saint-Augustin

The first thing we did after returning to Bakuba was to plunge into the outside tub. Cold water helped to lower our body temperature. Anyway, it was a great day, full of unexpected experiences.

Cool Down in the Plunge Pool::Ankilibe, Madagascar::
Cool Down in the Plunge Pool
Take a Shower Under the Open Sky::Ankilibe, Madagascar::
Take a Shower Under the Open Sky
Go to Bed::Ankilibe, Madagascar::
Go to Bed

© 2015 Maciej Swulinski