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Tropic of Capricorn, pirate bay and the sacred rites
Quad-trip Tropic of Capricorn, one-day
We discover Saint Augustin Bay, the peninsula of Sarodrano and its caves.
The Saint Augustin’s bay is located near of Tulear and benefits from a geostrategic location at the mouth of the Onilahy river. Due to its practical aspects, the region was historically a preferred location for spice traders and slavers. Sailors from all over Europe made the bay their landing zone. Nowadays, Saint Augustin is a quiet Vezo fishing village and is disturbed only by divers and submarine hunting enthusiasts.
DID YOU KNOW? Hundreds of pink flamingos live in the area all year long. They are found near the mangrove swamp that boards the mouth of the Onilahy River, and it is quite a unique picture to see in Madagascar.
ENJOY THIS… Quad-trip Tropic of Capricorn:
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Before even reaching Saint Augustin, we head to the village Miary and its Miary’s Sacred Banyan. The tree, which is protected by a wooden fence, is so large that resembles a forest itself! Miary’s banyan is repeatedly cited as the most representative of the island’s essence. If we get lucky, we will make offering and a priestess will conduct a sacred rite.
Moving along the paths, that present fascinating landscapes, we will reach the peninsula of Sarodrano. This circuit will give you the opportunity to discover the area’s underground network. You will learn more about the Sarodrano and Binabe’s caves as well as the animistic rites typical of the region. The route will conduct you through forests, beaches and underground caves, surely an interesting experience! You will discover the luxuriant vegetation where an endemic fauna took shelter. Ornithology enthusiasts will be delighted due to certain bird species being endemic of this region. The Sarodrano cave is one basin filled with clear, blue fresh water, under a rocky overhang. The path there leads up through spiny forest where wild ring-tailed lemurs and southern endemic birds can be seen. Nearby are several springs and a natural swimming pool, where bathing is fady, so do not get tempted! The source of the water comes from a place called “seven lakes”, which is 70 kilometers away.
We will visit a plantation of enormous cactuses. We will discover beautiful species Moringaceae and admire a beautiful view of the peninsula Sarodrano. Sarodrano peninsula, with a shape of an arrowhead, offers an endless white sand beach. It is a relaxing moment alongside the local Vezo-fishermen. The scenery is guaranteed, you will enjoy visiting, the swim and picnic.
Going along in the southern bush and the fish cave, we will finally arrive at St Augustin, right under the Tropic of Capricorn, into the pirate bay. Lunch in the fishing village of Saint Augustin, where you can taste the fresh ocean products.
The visit is divided into three parts: discover the village and its mangrove, the circuit Bara Hill and visiting the local rum factory. Saint Augustin is a small village, located in a bay inlaid between two huge rocky walls that plunge vertically into the waves. Here, in the perfect circle formed by the surrounding cliffs, the Onilahy River, one of the most majestic of Madagascar, flow into the sea. The wonderful bay was sought as shelter by pirates and slaves traders, and Daniel Defoe, the author of Robinson Crusoe, found inspiration in this fabulous setting for several of his writings. We cross the mangroves to discover its fauna and the lemur’s cave. Thereafter we trek up a small hill with a lot of baobabs in sight and other plants endemic to area. We visit a local rum factory. Starting from Saint Augustin, the path leads us to sugarcane fields, and eventually we arrive at the village where they make the local brew. The production process will be explained and there will be also an opportunity to taste and buy the rum.
We will return by making a hook through the peninsula of Sarodrano and the village of Ankilobe with its beach before leaving for the track that will take us back to Tulear.