How we got to Belo sur Mer
To reach Belo sur Mer – one of the must-see destinations in Madagascar – we started from Morondava, a town on the west coast of Madagascar and the capital of the Menabe region, in the province of Toliara. With the help of our guide and driver Andry we made contact with local drivers equipped with 4X4 cars able to reach Belo on the difficult tracks of earth and sand that connect the town with the destination.
Without a 4X4 vehicle it is not even conceivable to reach Belo sur Mer. The road is rough, full of holes, with rivers and dust everywhere. Along the bumpy route there are to be forded some rivers and in the more rugged stretches of road the people of the small villages have invented toll stops! An alternative is to negotiate a passage in a motor pirogue but on this, not having experienced it, we do not know how to give you precise indications.
FROM / BY CAR / BUS / BOAT
Morondava – Belo sur Mer 4 h (100 km)
Tana – Belo sur Mer, XXX h! (830 km)
MADAGASCAR JOURNEY DIARY
As imaginable it is not so simple to be able to give news of a place so small and far from the routes of tourism as of history. We are certain that this small village lost on the coasts of western Madagascar has its history, ancient and millennial, but outside the routes of the story that we can imagine finding in books and on the web. Perhaps for this reason it deserves to be known! Experiences can be unexpected. To us, for example, it happened to sleep the first night during a funeral party (which here is called Famadihana – the “overthrow of the bones”): it lasts 48 hours of uninterrupted music, percussion, food and alcohol. It is better not to interrupt a fadi (which here means forbidden gesture: there are many such as indicating a burial with the finger …).
Where is it & how to get there
Belo sur Mer is located on the west coast of Madagascar and is a small village of fishermen, farmers and builders of wooden schooners and pirogues. The population, at the 2001 census, did not exceed 8,000 inhabitants. It can be reached from Morondava or with 4-5 hours with a 4X4 car or with a few hours – variable – with a motorized pirogue. To reach Belo sur Mer the difficulties are not few but they can easily be overcome if we still look for a corner of the world that is real and not too transformed by mass tourism.
Places not to be missed
Belo sur Mer Village
- Sand Beach spot along the coast
boat builders on the beach
Belo sur Mer overlooks the Mozambique canal and one of its attractions is the Kirindy-Mitea National Park. This area is populated by the Sakalava ethnic group and the entire coastal area of the park is an alternation of salt lagoons, beaches, mangroves and sand dunes. If you are lucky, and we have not been, you can visit some islands off Belo sur Mer by sailing with local sailing boats but the sea must be friend that day ... a lottery! Even if, as has happened to us, you have to give up the excursion by sea to the islands, just sailing from Belo under the coast and stopping on lonely and remote beaches in its surroundings repays any 4X4 or motorized pirogue. A truly magical and unspoiled place!
Where to sleep and eat
The small village of Belo sur Mer has some good facilities - basic - to base and stay. There are very familiar facilities and some good Ecolodges. Given the small place, it is worth checking first, perhaps through the contacts that have provided you with the passage. To date, none of the few facilities has fortunately raped the place with globally touristic hotels with a strong environmental impact. This news - positive for us - means that in the village you should not expect to find too many comforts or organized entertainment. Fortunately, it seems to us! We do not report anything ... search the web or arrive there and find! Belo sur Mer is still a destination Vera and little frequented in Madagascar. You will encounter unspoiled nature and local truth that is increasingly difficult to find while traveling. The opposite of Nosy Be, for instance, but not for beauty!