Moramba Bay. A fragile paradise and the kingdom of baobabs
The is a magical place. It's too wonderful. The northwest coast of Madagascar is a succession of bays with limpid waters, bordering one of the wildest regions of the great country. One of the most spectacular and less known of them is certainly the Bay of Moramba.
Bay of Maromba is part of unique and magical places where the beauty of nature is breathtaking. It is one of the most beautiful natural sites in Madagascar. It is home to a unique fauna and flora. Inaccessible and covered with vegetation, the rocky islets are a sanctuary for many endemic plant and animal species. Wet at the foot of a small islet covered with majestic baobabs, pachypodiums.... What a lovely area with its mini-lava encrusted islands, numerous baobab trees, white-black maki-maki’s (what we’re now calling lemurs these days!), parrots (noisy), eagles fishermen and egrets.
It is one of the few places where the Baobabs grow along the sea and even on the islets that dot the bay. In places the Baobabs grow out of the rock face and then turn upwards, the rock formations have to be seen to be believed, and there are rock bridges and caves all over the place.
The semi-arid vegetation of the west coast covers its banks, and the mangrove plays its role of nursery of the sea, sheltered from the predators. When the sea rises, the islets offer a maze of corals for a stroll underwater. A small corner of paradise, with some islands that resemble of the Ha Long Bay in Vietnam.
The coast which is deserted save one or two fishing villages and two private houses. The rest of the coastline is wild and untouched with beaches covered in ghost crabs, tiny coves with white sand, islands covered in lush vegetation and tall baobab trees and rocky outcrops where you may see the Madagascar fish eagle.
One of our favourite stops on the Madagascar coast is Bay of Maromba. It is a pleasant anchorage and fascinating place to explore. The bay itself is largely uninhabited and you will enjoy solitary walks on the beaches. If ever cruising along the Madagascar coast, Bay of Moramba is well worth the visit.
But this end of the world is no longer quite one. At the entrance of the bay, a hatchery of shrimps was born. A little further south in Anjajavy, a luxury hotel was built a few years ago. Opposite, a French film producer built the house of his dreams. On the heights, a plantation of cashew trees with impeccably aligned trees extends near a village. Such a site could not remain long apart from the modernity...
Deserted beaches, baobab trees perched on the sea, mangroves and wild forests: this is the paradise on earth of producer Charles Gassot. He built his guest house in the northwest of the island, away from men and closer to nature. A region to discover as an explorer. Not the shadow of a hut or a path. Kilometers of deserted beaches interrupted by a circus of twisted cliffs: the famous tsingys of Madagascar, born of erosion and the advance of the sea, which draw an ocher-colored amphitheater.
Fifteen years ago, this small community of fishermen in bay had only a few families living in shacks on the beach. It is the time when the French producer Charles Gassot discovered the peninsula: "A violent beauty, I wanted to leave everything for her." For months he flew over it, traveled on foot or In helicopter, until he decides to replay with pleasure a remake of the Savage by building his house there. Fifteen years of titanic work, life in the manner of an adventure, and scaffolding jostled more than once by storms.
Today, the colonial-style mansion seems to have stood for centuries facing the ocean, coiled up between two coves, one facing the west and the other facing the east. In the rooms open to the four winds, the blinds hide Murano chandeliers, Art Deco wash basins and Seville tiles. The gardens rustle with innumerable birds, attracted by plantations of orange trees, combavas, frangipani, cashew trees, ylang-ylangs, coconut and mango trees, protected by acacia and flamboyant alleys. Far from everything, here live in autonomy: solar panels and wind turbines for the current, vegetables and herbs from kitchen-garden for the kitchen.
From this belvedere one sees the Bay of Moramba and more to the east, the mangrove scarves that sink into the land. The house is a unique starting point to discover the north-west of Madagascar, a little-known region that has remained untouched by development and tourism. Infinite arpents of almost virgin lands to discover by boat and buggy, accompanied by strident hordes of crickets and clouds of butterflies. "I've been exploring the region for years. There is only nature, nothing else, and yet I still feel the same emotion, "confides Charles Gassot. In the heart of the dry bush awaiting the first rains, hide the massifs of primary forest that shelter peaceful families of lemurs. One crosses zebus, one spans chameleons, one meets sometimes some gleaming snakes, but never other visitors.
Only a few birds of prey and the discreet slip of boats with Latin sails disturb the silence. It is especially the kingdom of baobabs. Majestic, clinging to the limestone islets, bulging trunks and raised arms, they lean over the waves and seem to keep the entrance of mysterious caves. A fragile paradise that Charles Gassot hopes to be classified as a World Heritage Site by Unesco. More inland, it is by canoe and rowing that one crosses the first interlacing of the mangrove, thick, fat and vigorous.
A freshwater Amazon, rustling with parrots. The mangrove bushes penetrate the land, creating labyrinths with brackish waters. The mud is full of small crabs, easy to catch. From the beach, at the foot of the house, there are colonies of fishing eagles watching for marlins, swordfish or tunas which waters abound. Scuba diving and deep-sea fishing, a traditional fishing, or long-line fishing are organized on request. Sometimes, whales during the peak season of the loves pass off and let themselves follow a few hundred meters. But the real stars of the shore are the sea turtles that come to lay here every year.
Watch more photos about Bay of Moramba here.