ONBOARD Crystal Serenity:
Day 67 Sunday March 22, 2015 At Sea Cruising the Indian Ocean
Day 68 Monday March 23, 2015 Ambodifotatra, Madagascar
If you thought Madagascar was remote, not only are you correct but you may also be interested to know that there is a place even more secluded: Sainte Marie Island, a 35-mile-long spit of land off Madagascar’s northeastern coast. Like the rest of the island nation of Madagascar, Sainte Marie boasts an incredible diversity in wildlife and a rare and wonderful absence of people. Not that there are no people at all; of course there are the locals who travel by bike across characteristically rough roads and offer fresh bananas and handcrafted textiles at the marketplace in Sainte Marie’s main town, Ambodifotatra. But in general, tourists are less commonly sighted than the humpback whales that breach these Indian Ocean waters. To best enjoy your visit, you may want to do as the locals do—hop on a bicycle and pedal your way to quiet coves and sandy, palm-shaded beaches. Or don a snorkel to explore the sea, replete with wildlife and watery home to pirate shipwrecks.
Day 69 Tuesday March 24, 2015 At Sea Cruising the Indian Ocean
Day 70 Wednesday March 25, 2015 Taolanaro, Madagascar
Founded by the French East India Company in 1643, Taolanaro (or Taolagnaro) is also known as Fort Dauphin, the name originally given to the settlement to honor the six-year-old crown prince of France, who would later become the “Sun King,” Louis XIV. What was once a small French colony is now a gateway to the Madagascar’s famed semi-tropical landscapes, beautiful beaches and surfer’s paradise of an ocean. Several ecotourism destinations reflect the locals’ passion for conservation and travelers’ interest in discovering the island’s unique fauna and flora. At the Nahampoana Reserve, you can marvel at a vast species of mammals, most prominent being (most, if not all) the species of lemurs native to the southern region of Madagascar. The reserve is also home to reptiles such as chameleons, tortoises, crocodiles to name a few, plus a wide variety of birds.
Day 71 Thursday March 26, 2015 At Sea Cruising the Indian Ocean
Day 72 Friday March 27, 2015 At Sea Cruising the Indian Ocean
Day 73 Saturday March 28, 2015 Maputo, Mozambique
Wildlife comes in a couple of different forms here: the disco, and the animals. The former can be found in one of the many restaurants and hotels that not only serve exquisite food, but also satisfy visitors’ cravings for dancing into the wee-hours. To the south of town is the Maputo Elephant Reserve, where crocodiles, hippos, jackals, antelope and nearly two hundred elephants roam over thousands of acres of rolling, green hills.
The region’s history can also be divided into two categories: times of war, and times of peace. Through much of the seventies and eighties, civil war raged, leaving Maputo a shadow of its once glorious self. But prepare to be impressed. The city has since reinvented itself, polishing its neighborhoods and image to a high shine, thus bringing back the rich and famous for stays in Maputo’s five-star accommodations, and enticing anyone who enjoys gorgeous beaches and friendly people.