Excursions and discovery
An immersion in vezo country.
While staying at HOTEL ENTREMER, there are a lot of possibilities of activities, for a week-end, a week or more, close to Belo or further away, from the farniente pleasure to the discovery of the Vezo culture.
CLOSE TO BELO
The beach on the seaside (water at 22 à 33° C depending on the season), with crystal clear waters from the Mozambique Channel, is just in front of the hotel, and a bar of polished rocks is creating a natural pool, with sand floor, very convenient to swim or bathe, even for young children.
At a few meters, dhows anchor for a stay at the village where they have been built.
An easy walk on the lagoon side offers the possibility to see those shipyards. Between the hotel and Belo’s market (15 mn), more than twenty Brittany schooners, with their two equal masts, are under construction, or, during raining season, under repair or being caulked.
Those transportation boats, carrying passengers, salt, rice or cement, are done with all the know-how transmitted, generation after generation, since the XIXth century. The boat launchings are celebrated by local feasts where the entire village joins the owner’s clan to tow the boat down to the sea, with songs and conch music.
The life of this Vezo village is very quiet and authentic, punctuated by the coming and going of the square sailed fishing pirogues, the rasping of the masikoro carts bringing coal from inland and the vondro, children’s shouting and playing with their scale models of pirogues or dhows, women made up with white and ochre face paintings.
After returning to Hotel Entremer, why not organize a beach volley game, fly kites on the desert beach or just borrow a book from the library, take a cool drink while playing cards, chess or darts or enjoy a massage.
FURTHER North, Menaky Bay.
A nice excursion on foot (1h00 by the beach or by the inland route – some springs of fresh water in a tropical landscape), by kayak (polyethylene canoes, 2.78 m long), sailing boat, or motor boat.
The inlet deepens in a mangrove where “botry” are sailing down to the « Port au sel » to load salt sacks from the salt fields.
At the bay entrance, quiet and deep water allows nice swimming, beautiful observations of seabed (snorkeling kits available at the hotel), trolling or angling fishing with nice catches possible (fishing equipment not provided).
On the opposite side of the bay, a little Vezo village has developed eco–tourism animations, to present their local way of life, culture of red seeweeds, fabrication of fishing nets, beauty masks.
FURTHER West, a strip of coral islands.
The closest island is a 1:00 cruise away with traditional pirogue: turquoise sea, white shining sand, dark blue sky. You may meet, in this recently created marine national park, the last nomad people who are fishing and drying their catches. Coral banks host a very varied fauna, to observe by snorkeling.
Sea excursions offer as well, depending on chance and appropriate season (July to October), the opportunity to observe dolphins and whales. For fishermen, the waters on the way are full of fish (trevally, kingfish, grouper, parrot fish, ignobilis…).
FURTHER South – Belo’s mangrove or Antanimanimbo Bay
To explore with kayaks (provided) or sailing pirogues, to better glide over the water between mangroves trees and come across fishing birds.
STILL FURTHER – the Reserve park (MNP) of Mitea (or Mité)
Reachable by sea (90 mn with a motorboat) or by land (2h30 with a four wheel drive vehicle, between early July and November), the site has many attractions : large and high dunes diving west down to the sea creating a long desert beach, descending eastward towards two holy lakes sheltering many different kind of birds, including Bernier ducks and pink flamingos. At the edge, a small forest with some beautiful baobab trees. Subject to the tides constraints, you can access to a nearby bay where amazing bats (flying foxes) live in the mangrove trees.
FURTHER East – Antsira salt fields and Ambararata
The two large Antsira salt fields, crossed by the track arriving from Morondava or from Tulear, are also interesting to visit (3 hours by foot for experienced walkers, with ideally a return by four-wheel drive vehicle or by carts). The salt works are still run as in the old times, by progressive overflowing basins, until the last where the salt is harvested with a crowbar or pickax. Quite a lunar view, refreshed by a nice walk in the dwarf baobabs park with many species endemic of the Menabe.
On the same track, 14 kms from the hotel, you can explore the Ambararata park (7 kms walking trail), among impressive numbers of baobabs, spurges and “Didieracées”, sheltering a large variety of birds and lemurs.
The entry tickets for the Park are sold in the village of Belo (45 000 Ar for foreigners, 2 000 Ar for native people).
We have ourselves experienced all of these proposed excursions and therefore will be able and pleased to give you the information and support of any kind you may need (local village people to contact, canoe rental, picnic to take with you or bivouac to organize, equipment we can lend as kayak, snorkeling kit …).
In our approach of fair tourism, we are in close relationship with the village, and our partners will offer you the best services at reasonable prices.