|First glimpse of Madagascar|
|View of Sinfonia - lens misted up due to high humidity|
|New harbour built by Rio Tinto|
I do not think I would have been able to get Hennie on deck that early if it was not that the competition of the company he works for had a big ilmenite mine there and was actually responsible for building the port where we would dock. In the past passengers were ferried by means of dinghies to the shore, but thanks to Rio Tinto we could now disembark with dry feet on the newly built ore export port.
|Bay of Galleons|
|Market in Fort Dauphin|
|Baguettes - previously a french colony|
Madagascar, though rich in biodiversity, is quite a poor country with approximately 90% of its 22 million inhabitants living on less than 2 dollars a day. The arrival of the cruise boats is thus a big event and you could see the cars streaming to the port to do business as we were still trying to manoeuver into the single berth. Lots of people became impromptu guides for the day.
|T-bone for anyone?|
|King Julien - ring tail lemur|
Afterwards we paid a visit to a botanical garden - a virtual Garden of Eden. Beautiful! The variety of fauna and flora was spectacular and also saw some of the flesh-eating plants that are endemic to the area. We were lucky to see two different types of lemurs, out of the more than 100 different species, including King Julien XIII of the Madagascar Movie fame (ring tail lemur). The beaches of southern Madagascar are not called the Cote d’Azur of the south for nothing. The finest sand draws you to the clear blue warm water of the Indian Ocean at the Bay of the Galleons. After a quick stop to buy vanilla pods we were on our way back to the boat for an afternoon nap and necessary "charging of the batteries" for the New Year's party(ies).
|Get the party going|
|Food, glorious food|
|No, he has not yet drank anything!|
|Count-down to NY!|
|24h00 - 2013 in Madagascar|
|01h00 - 2013 in South Africa|
Disembarkation was a picture of efficiency, and because we have booked a shuttle to the airport, we were issued light blue labels for our luggage, thus allowing us to be some of the first people off the ship. By 08h00 the morning we were already at the airport, and met sis and family for brunch before catching the flight home! It was fun, but “been there, done that!”.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!