Viva La Madagascar – written by Ben a BV volunteer

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    After two days in a dorm in Madagascar and with the grand sum of 40,000 Ariary to my name I finally made it to the departure point in Tana. On arrival relief was fast replaced by excitement at the proposition of spending the next six weeks in one of the most isolated and beautiful places on the face of our planet, with around 13 of my new best friends.We planned to set off bright and early the next morning around 7:30am, however, due to various complicating circumstances; visas, cancelled flights, cramped mini-buses, and slight money troubles, myself and a few others ended up leaving at 3:30pm that afternoon. What followed was a 12 hour car trip through the fascinating, intriguing, and slightly disarming Malagasy country.
    After about three and a half hours sleep we jumped back on the bus half awake on day two of what was to become a slightly extended trip to Andavadoaka. Along the way we stopped off at a couple of national parks, where we saw some lemurs, chameleons, and some stunning panoramic views. To top it off the brave opted for the odd paddle around at some natural and rather cold swimming holes. These places were amazing; a blind man with a disposable camera and the artistic aptitude of a rock would have struggled to take a bad photo. We also encountered our first truly Malagasy meals.Finally after a long but worthwhile journey we arrived in Tulear for the next leg of our adventure. Again setting off early in the morning we all scrambled in to the camion (4×4 truck) provided for the 12 hour off road trip to our final destination in Andavadoaka. If we weren’t friends before hand we were after about ten minutes of tetris-like jostling so that everyone had about enough room to wiggle their big toes. Jungle, desert, and some horrendous camion DJ appointments eventually gave way to our first proper view of the unspoiled paradise of the Malagasy coastline.

    Finally we arrived at Andavadoaka, paradise, crystal clear water, a hearty meal, and a well deserved and very good nights sleep.