Beauty is God 's sign
( Charles Kingsles )
Legend of the Baobab tree :
Many years ago, a big tree was very proud. It has boasted about its beauty and has done this against other plants & against God. So God has decided to punish it, He puts its top & its branches into the earth and left its roots in the air.
Adansonia (Baobab scientific name )
is a genus containing 8 species of trees,
Native to Madagascar ( having 6 species ), mainland Africa and Australia ( one species in each ). The mainland African species also occurs on Madagascar, but it is not a native of that island. The scientific name Adansonia honours Michel Adanson, a French naturalist and explorer who described Adansonia digitata ( see below : the 7 species of Baobabs ).
Adansonia (Baobab scientific name ) is a large wonderful tree,
With massive cylindrical trunks, bottle-shaped or irregularly gnarled. The baobab has 50 cm of high only after 7 years old, but it can last 500 years old and more ( 2000 years old ). The species reach heights of 5 to 30 metres ( 16 to 98 ft ) and have trunk diameters of 7 to 11 metres ( 23 to 36 ft ).
Has fibrous wood including a high water content ( up to 120 000 litres ). This water helps baobab tree to endure the harsh drought conditions in arid areas, and are deciduous, shedding their leaves during the dry season. So leaves are produced only during the wet season. The bark is smooth. The baobab sets fruits in the late dry season. The fruit is an indehiscent capsule.
The seeds are numerous, enveloping with a cream-coloured pulp which is high in vitamin C. Seeds too are high in protein & oil and may be traded for oil extraction. With its fibrous bark, people make hats, baskets, ropes, clothes, musical instrument strings. It provides a source of fiber, dye, and fuel.
Many thanks to Edward FLETCHER ( from England )
for his precious information
The 7 species of Baobabs in Madagascar are :
- 1- Adansonia grandidieri ( Brevitubae ) = Grandidier's Baobab
- 2- Adansonia suarezensis ( Brevitubae ) = Suarez Baobab, in Diego Suarez
- 3- Adansonia madagascariensis ( Longitubae ) =
Madagascar Baobab, in Anjajavy forest
- 4- Adansonia za ( Longitubae ) = Za Baobab
- 5- Adansonia rubrostipa ( Longitubae - alias Adansonia fony ) =
Fony Baobab, in Ifaty area
- 6- Adansonia perrieri ( Longitubae ) =
Perrier's Baobab, in the North of Madagascar
- 7- Adansonia digitata ( the one African species ) = African Baobab
This last species was introduced in Yemen, Oman, India, Sri Lanka, ... The only Australian species is Adansonia gibbosa alias Adansonia Gregorii = Australian Baobab.
The Baobab in Africa,
In Africa, Baobab leaves are commonly used as a leaf vegetable, ( in Malawi, in Zimbabwe, and in the Sahel area ). They are eaten both fresh and as a dry powder. In Nigeria, the leaves are locally known as kuka and are used to make kuka soup.
The Baobab fruit is nutritious and having more vitamin C than oranges. Also known as " Sour gourd " or " Monkey's bread ", the dry fruit pulp separated from seeds and fibers is eaten directly or mixed into porridge or milk or water. Sometimes the dry fruit pulp is covered in sugary coating and sold in packages as a sweet and sour candy called " buui ".
The Baobab dry pulp is either eaten fresh or used to add to gruels on cooling after cooking ( a good way of preserving the vitamin contents ). It can also be ground to make a refreshing drink. In Tanzania, it is added to aid fermentation of sugar cane for beer making.
The Baobab of Mahajanga, Madagascar,
( = Majunga, a town in the North West of Madagascar ) is an Adansonia digitata. It's the biggest tree in Madagascar with 21,70 metres of circumference. But it's not tall because it has only 10 metres of high. It can have more than 900 years old ( but only radiocarbon dating may be able to provide true age data ) and it has been planted by Arab traders who used to do this habit in the main place of the region where they passed by.
To admire Baobabs in Madagascar,
The best area is the middle West ; that is to say the region between Belo sur Tsiribihina and Andavadoaka, passing by Morondava, Ankevo, Belo sur Mer, Morombe and the natural reserves & national parcs of Andranomena & Kirindy. You can go there only by using good 4 WD vehicle.
Ravo & the Baobabs of Andavadoaka
Gilles Peltriaux's picture - Aug 2003
A healthy tree bears good fruit,
but a poor tree bears bad fruit.
A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, and
a poor tree cannot bear good fruit
( Matthew 7 : 17 - 18 )
The Kingdom of heaven is like this.
A man takes a mustard seed and sows it in his field.
It's the smallest of all seeds, but when it grows up,
it's the biggest of all plants. It becomes a tree,
so that birds come and make their nests in its branches
( Jesus in Matthew 13 : 31 - 32 )
To discover Madagascar and its seven species of Baobab,
To visit another world. Madagascar and its nature, its people, its Parks and Nature Reserves. Madagascar, the kingdom of lemurs, the kingdom of baobabs and the kingdom of chameleons. With our experiences since ... 1993, we will give you excellent advice. To organise your trip and to guide you to make your trip pleasing and unforgetable. No one who visits the island is left unaffected either by the warmth and hospitality of the Malagasy people.
Through wonderful beaches, through evergreen humid forests, through montane rainforests, through baobab forests and deciduous dry forests, and through savanna and euphorbia scrub. Madagascar, a big island which lies in the Indian Ocean, eastern of Africa, is becoming a new destination for ecological tour lovers, for discovery tour lovers & for trekking tour lovers. Thank's alot for your trust.
To discover Madagascar
and its Baobabs
Madagascar, island of emotions, is a place like no other. Because of its insularity, it kept its traditions, its habits and customs, its fauna and flora with a high endemic character.
Madagascar has become very attractive for the amateur in search of new discoveries and emotions through hiking and trekking.
Being a professional Malagasy guide since 1993, I have organized and realized a heck of a lot of trips through Madagascar ; also I can make the following proposal to you.
There’s probably no better way to discover the real soul of this magnificent island than to penetrate deep inland in order to feel, touch, smell nature, to be fully submerged in Madagascar’s exuberant natural world. Of course there’ll be times 4WD vehicles and bivouacking will be necessary.
A trip to Madagascar provides an authentic nature experience for anyone seeking to experience it in a thoughtful and responsible way. Shall we see each other soon ?
Thank you for your TRUST.
D1 : Paris – Antananarivo ( Tana )
Welcoming reception at the airport and foreign exchange operation. Transfer to hotel.
D2 : Tana
A city tour of the Malagasy capital : the Artisan’s Marketplace ( possibility to shop ), the Zoological and Botanical Park ( discover here a synopsis of the local fauna and flora, a summary of the indigenous traditions and customs, a foretaste of what will lay ahead ), visit of the Upper and Lower Town of the capital as well as some interesting monuments. Your purchases can be safely stored at the hotel until departure (D17).
D3 : Tana – Morondava
Transfer to airport, flight to Morondava. Afternoon tour of the town and its markets, enjoy the spectacular sunset at the world famous Alley of the Baobabs.
D4 to D10 ( 7 days ) :
Morondava – Bekopaka – Morondava
You’ll be discovering amongst the finest landscape sceneries of Madagascar and experience some true 4x4 road conditions. You’ll be discovering the Baobabs region, the famous Tsingy of Bemaraha, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and a RAMSAR site ( area internationally recognised for its bio-and ecological interest ) ; for nature lovers and birdwatchers, this is it ! You’ll cross some typical Sakalava villages and meet its residents.
The journey includes hiking and trekking, pirogue trips on rivers and lakes, crossing mangroves and crocodile regions ( no fear of any danger, we’re not traversing a movie set ), walking through lemur inhabited forests, and of course a trek through the Tsingy.
For 3 nights we’ll be bivouacking in tents ( your OWN tent, see below for things to bring along with you ) ; the other 4 nights we stay at a hotel.
D11 : Morondava – Antsirabe
A long trip to reach the interior highlands. Discover the region known as the Malagasy Midwest, a kind of ‘No Man’s Land’; stops for pictures of Sakalava villages, volcanic massifs, etc.
D12 : Antsirabe – Tana
Visit workshops and stores of miniatures ( rickshaws, bicycles, trucks, … ), of embroideries, of precious and semi-precious stones. Discover the Central Highlands, the distinctive red lateritic houses, the numerous ricefields.
D13 : Tana – Maroantsetra
Morning transfer to the airport, flight to Maroantsetra. Afternoon free, stroll through this quiet town with its market rich in exotic fruits.
D14 to D16 ( 3 days ) :
Masoala National Park
With small power-driven boats we’ll be discovering a humid and dense primary forest environment, with some huge trees !
Please do not forget adequate rain gear, boots, mosquito repellent, swimming gear, plastic covers to protect your bags, as rains are frequent in this region. Plastic shoes may be handy for crossing shallow streams, and of course most useful : toilet paper.
Hiking and trekking through rivers and streams, waterfalls, forests with lemurs, birds, frogs, lizards. From time to time we’ll follow quasi-deserted beaches, your opportunity for a refreshing swim.
We’ll spent 3 nights bivouacking in tents ( yours! ) ; the river with its crystal clear water will be your washbasin, and nature will provide the ‘bathroom’.
With the journey in the West, we’ll spend a total of 6 nights bivouacking in tents.
D17 : Nosy Mangabe –
Maroantsetra – Tana
Return to Maroantsetra by boat, transfer to the airport, and flight to Tana. Transfer to hotel; recover your purchases, farewell dinner. Transfer to the airport for flight back to Paris.
Cost estimation PER PERSON :
for a couple : 2535 euros
for 4 persons : 1870 euros
for 8 persons : 1700 euros
Price is all inclusive, except for :
Your international flight, visa, personal insurance, personal purchases and expenses, tips, luggage porter at airports and hotels, drinks
You’ll settle all bills locally as we progress through the journey, i.e. in Euros and local currencies.
TO BRING ALONG WITH YOU :
Your own tent, pegs, mattress, sleeping bags ; anti-mosquito spray and cream, pocket torch and spare batteries, head torch if possible, swimsuits, light clothes, but also some warm clothes for the highlands, cameras, small padlocks for your luggage ; your personal medicines such as general antibiotics, anti-diarrhoea, antiseptics, e,g, Betadine, compresses and cotton, ointment for sprains, lip cream or gel ; protect yourself against malaria, e.g. follow a treatment. Sun cream ; sun glasses, walking shoes or closed sports shoes, plastic sandals to walk through streams, binoculars if necessary, old clothes ( children’s and adults’ ) to give here and there during the trip ( also biros, colour pencils, old dolls, teddy-bears, small balloons, etc. ) ; Swiss knife, k-way or windcheater, hat or cap, toilet paper, cigarette lighter to burn toilet paper, etc. AND cash money = Euros.
Loving Baobabs ( Morondava area )
The West area of Madagascar
has a dry climate and is characterised by wide plains, uninhabitated beaches, rolling hills and deciduous forests. The lack of roads is one of the attractions and is ideal for walkers. The tourism infrastructure is the least developed of the island. The West is a must for adventure travellers.
The two biggest towns in this area are MAHAJANGA which is the most beautiful town in Madagascar ( as for me, a town with full of charm and with the kindest people of the country ) and MORONDAVA. Both are coastal towns and both are the Sakalava kingdoms, the first for the Sakalava of Boina and the second for the Sakalava of Menabe. I've spent my childhood in Mahajanga, so I know the town very well. Hubert & Marie-Colette Dupuis were very satisfied of their trip in this big town ( where you can see the biggest baobab of Madagascar ) in 2008. Morondava is a strategic centre for visits to the baobab forests, to the famous Avenue of Baobabs and to the famous Tsingy of Bemaraha.
For more information, you can write to the following people. They have alot of experiences about travel and big travel. I have had the opportunity to meet them, I was their tour guide during their trip in Madagascar. Thanks alot to them to permit me to put their names and adresses on this web site. Don't hesitate to contact them and thank you so much :
This last person ( Erik Segers ) has written in « LinkedIn » :
If you want to discover Madagascar, Ravo is your man to organise your trip from A to Z. Thanks to his deep knowledge and boundless enthusiasm we had a truly first class visit of this wonderful island. Without a doubt, I do recommend, wholeheartedly.
Another person says, always in « LinkedIn » :
Ravo did concoct us a customised journey to discover Madagascar. He listened to our wishes, gave us many suggestions before and during the tour. He’s very skilled and can adapt to all sorts of clients. We sincerely recommend to all those who would love to discover this big island to contact this outstanding guide ( Isabelle Burcheri - Canada )
Clients' Testimonies after their trips in Madagascar :
Ravo is a real professional guide, in a country where professionalism is sometimes lacking. He is good at planning a trip, and always seizes an opportunity when there is one. An example : once our small group of eight made a short train journey, just to get the feel of train travel in Mada - as the locals call Madagascar -. It was interesting to see how the arrival of the train shook up the quiet lives of the villagers who came to the station to sell their goods and to watch and be part of the conundrum. After the train journey our two drivers with their SUVs were to come and pick us up. As it happened, they were not there when we got out of the train. Flat tyre ? engine trouble ? out of petrol ? Who knows. To make good use of the time we had to wait, Ravo took us to a nearby health centre. We could see with our own eyes how this centre was lacking in even basic medical equipment. Ravo also seized the opportunity to explain us how heath care works ( or doesn't work ) in Mada, and what the different levels of health care consist of. Ravo is a very congenial man who is always friendly and who never loses his temper. I can recommend him to any possible visitor of the splendid Isle of Madagascar.
René Weemaels ( English teacher )
Laarheide 282 - 1650 Beersel - Belgium
With 8 friends we toured for 3 weeks Madagascar from west to east. Ravo had organised the trip from A to Z and considering all the imponderables of travelling in Africa, it all turned out just great. What we particularly appreciated : his good humour and his resourcefulness under any circumstance. Just one example, the 8 of us being of unequal fitness, he always managed to find us several guides to walk us on different tracks through the various parks ( Tsingy, Isalo, Andringitra ) such that all of us would equally enjoy the journey, and we did. What to say more : try out Ravo, you won’t regret it, on the contrary, you’ll have not only a lifetime memory of a stunning country but a new ‘friend’. Colette Billiard and Erik Segers ( Belgium )
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