Discovering the remote Malagasy village: Belo sur Mer
I know the quote well, the one that says it’s about the journey and not the destination. In our case, the destination was as important! We’d been road tripping with our young kids for a solid 8 days and their sense of humour was rapidly waning. At this point, not even a cute lemur could lift their spirits or another round of ‘I spy.’ They’d asked us countless times, ‘How far until the beach?’ Only now their eyes would darken and they’d stare at us and ask in a slow, deliberate voice ‘How long?’ As parents, we knew that look well – the terrifying moment before a ‘crazy moment.’ That moment I dared not say, ‘Just one more day kids and we’ll be there!’
We needed a bucket, some spades, a few gin and tonics and a turquoise beach, urgently! Given the few number of days we had to explore Madagascar, we also wanted somewhere that we could finish off in one place for 4 nights, without feeling that we were missing out by being in only one place. We needed somewhere interesting, somewhere off the beaten track, somewhere beautiful and simply, we needed ‘beach!’ That, or behold the wrath of our kids!
“We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in the high winds.” – Aristotole Onassis
We decided to go to Belo sur Mer, a little fishing village 80 kilometers south of Morondava, also home to the boat builders of the famous French Schooners. Going to Belo sur Mer felt strangely familiar too, like coming home. Maybe it was knowing that as the crow flies across the Mozambican channel, was our old home in central Mozambique – as if a chunk of Africa had broken off and we’d found it floating here in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
There are 3 ways to travel to Belo sur Mer. First, by road. (Only accessible during the dry months) Second, by Pirogue (a sail-powered dug-out) which would take between 6 and 8 hours, depending on the wind. Or thirdly, by speed boat! (Only 3 hours) Since we’d successfully stuck to our (dirt cheap) budget on our road trip, we felt the more expensive ‘speed boat’ option was absolutely necessary. That we’d arrive at Belo sur Mer in style, clutching onto our sunhats as the salty wind blows through our hair and waving at the other guests who chose to travel by Pirogue!
I struck the board and cried, ‘No more; I will abroad.’What, shall I ever sight and pine? My lines and life are free; free as the road, loose as the wind, as large as store.” – Sir A.P Herbert
We were greeted by French owner and host ‘Laurence’ of the boutique ‘Hotel Entremer’ and by a group of friendly porters who’d lug up our dusty well-travelled belongings.
For 4 days, we’d recuperate here, enjoying Laurence’s superb hospitality and French home-cooking. We’d explore the beaches and village and learn about this little remote community whose lives centre around fishing, building boats and sailing. We’d swim, canoe and sleep! And every afternoon we’d watch the big old fiery sun sink into the horizon, silhouetting the fishing boats as they sailed back home.
“Now more than ever do I realise that I will never be content of a sun-drenched life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.” – Isabelle Eberhardt
In the next few weeks, I’ll be posting more about our time in Belo sur Mer and the Entremer Hotel in the next few blog posts.
Best wishes for the festive season to all my readers 🙂
“Once a year, go some place you’ve never been before.” – Dalai Lama