Lavanono. A destination out of time
For Westerners, it is sometimes impossible to think that there are still regions where time has stopped. In Lavanono, you will be immersed in an environment where concrete has no place. Only a few houses are built in hard and the rest is built with all natural materials.
This place with the "left" of Lavanono and attracts "riders" of the entire region. It is also a must for travelers who venture on the mythical track of Great South between Tulear and Fort Dauphin because of its location not far from Cape Sainte Marie. The Cape Sainte Marie Special Reserve where you can admire the hundreds of turtles that live there, the southern tip of Madagascar, is only 20 km from here. Lavanono has acquired international fame because of its gorgeous waves, which attract surfers from the whole world. Lavanono is a top-quality surf- wind- kite destination. An international competition has already taken place. This place as a surfer's paradise. You may forget about crammed Indonesian and Australian beaches. No need to give way to tens of other surfers as none is around - a wave belongs just to you! Between July and November, it is also possible to admire humpback whales.
At the bottom of an immense canyon resembling a half crater overlooking the sea, created by the fall of an asteroid about 4800 years ago, over the course of geological history, formed a plateau which ended in a cliff at the foot of which is the village of Lavanono. This landscape contrasted between heights and sea is particularly mesmerizing, especially at sunset. The coastline of Lavanono offers an astonishing diversity of landscapes. Between the sandy beaches and the stretches of rocks where the waves crash, the atmosphere is simply magical. The structure of the littoral allows the offshore waves to form exceptional rollers and quite exhilarating. Enthusiasts of thrills will find their happiness here. However, since the infrastructure associated with the practice of this sport is not yet developed here, it is essential for surfers to take all the equipment and repair kits they need, a useful precaution to take advantage of this spot. Besides surfing, it is also possible to explore the ecosystem of the region. Enjoy your stay to admire the fauna and flora of the place.
Lavanono is one of the most isolated surf-spots on the planet and an adventure in itself. Lavanono had no access for the tourism for a long time. Just a few years ago the infrastructure was improved and a kind of an eco-tourism started in this southern area of the huge island country in the Indian Ocean. The area around Lavanono is well known for its biodiversity and a lot of plants and animals are endemic species. Some pro riders already visited this remote spot in the past.
Rise with the sun, enjoy 3 meals a day - pancakes with honey and tea for breakfast, Captain fish with rice for lunch and a langouste or chicken for dinner; meditate and catch some amazing waves four times a day. They are truly perfect, although such thing as perfect waves hardly exists. Smooth like a highway or a tunnel with light, gleaming in the other end! The left breaks clean and big and the trades blow from July to November, generally cross-off and 15-30 knots strong. The place belongs to surfers until 10am when the wind freshens. Around 3pm it dies off and the surfers head back in for a second session. You can also sail the Lavanono Beach break in the bay beyond the point. The waves here aren’t as big but the wind’s a little more cross-shore. Sharks on this coast are rare. The reef in Lavanono is fairly flat, covered with seaweed but Androka and Itampolo are live coral.
A wild local party kicks off soon after arrival and a short familiarization with a neighborhood. Musicians play on self-made guitars, resembling bird cages, guests are treated to local home-brew and young girls dance at the fire, shaking and bouncing their hips in a real rutting dance. On the next day the same beauties stand on the beach, where the male guests can see them, striving to catch their attention.
Finally, it is a total chill-out! Days pass by, wandering along the beach and lounging on white-sandy spots among reefs, dreaming of ice-cream... Children on broken self-made surf boards try to slide in the shallow water on some smaller waves.
Men, returning from fishing, mark the main event of the day. About ten boats leave for several kilometers to fishing places every morning around 4 o'clock and return back at sunset. Red-tinted sails in the distance are a sign for the villagers to gather on the shore. Soon the boats are tied up and the party may start! Fish are cut open and the catch is shared, and kids are tossing fish guts like snowballs. Some slimy piece will land on your foot, too...yuck!!!
Let’s hope that this jewel will not be discovered too early by the mass tourism. At the moment around 500 inhabitants are living in the little village of Lavanono. A few resorts for tourists are existing already there. The place is really isolated and remote, but definitely offers, what windsurfers are looking for: wind and clean waves. And it looks like the wind can get quite strong. Bring your 4.0m! Kitesurf equipment would be useful. Take a beat-up board for the local kids.
There is no place on earth like Madagascar – be patient and open minded and remember that all good things take time!
Other worthy places: Although the reefs of Anakao and Ifaty-Mangily have recently been discovered by surfers it’s well worth engaging. A massive turquoise Lagoon opens out before Anakao while clean, hollow left-handers break on the reefs outside at Flame Balls and Jelly Babies. With names like that, there are no surprises for guessing those reefs are sharp! The wind, mostly cross-offshore SE from the left, kicks in around midday and can build up to 30 knots.
Watch more photos about Lavanono here.