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Christmas in Madagascar

5th January 2018

If you are going to be away for Christmas you might as well do something completely different, this year we certainly did that.

As per the French tradition celebrations started on Christmas Eve. Staying at a lovely lodge right on the beach, we had a special dinner of lobster and turkey washed down with champagne. We pulled crackers we had brought from the UK and wore silly paper hats. Sitting on a terrace overlooking the Indian Ocean was pretty memorable but it was Christmas Day that was really special.

Up at 7am we boarded a speedboat and sitting on the front bow, sped out across the turquoise sea. This 250-mile-wide stretch of water that lies between Madagascar and Africa is known as the Mozambique Channel. Before us we could see the low waves breaking on the coral reef, which, running almost the entire length of the country, is the second largest coral reef in the world, with only the Great Barrier Reef in Australia covering a larger area.

The sky was clear with just a few wispy clouds drifting by high above. Local fishing boats bobbed around us. Made of a hollowed-out tree trunk, with thin stabilising outrigger, these rough pirogues were powered by small square sails made up of any cloth that could be found and stitched together in a colourful patchwork. Considering their size they were extremely efficient and moved at an impressive pace. After about 20 minutes we anchored up, pulled on our fins and masks and spent the next hour snorkelling above the coral, spotting amongst other species parrot fish, grouper and angelfish.

Having pulled anchor, from here we carried on to a stretch of deserted beach where a team from the hotel had set up an area for us in the shade of an old mangrove tree. Here they barbequed delicious snapper, which we ate, washed down with cold beer and more champagne. After more swimming, sunbathing and general frolicking in our isolated and beautiful location, we climbed back onto the boat and burning along, just off the coast, returned to the hotel.

Dinner was a quiet affair and we were in bed early but that didn’t matter. We all agreed Christmas 2017 would go down as one of the best ever that would certainly be remembered.

It had been a wonderful day.

Jonny Bealby

Rock singer, writer and travel entrepreneur, Jonny Bealby has streetwise savvy and miles of travel under his belt. His experiences have given him the …

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