2001 - Morombe Beach, Madagascar
21st June 2001 and Morombe on the the west coast of Madagascar was our target. After a week of driving on steadily deteriorating roads the 12 of us changed to two 4x4 vehicles to make the final part of the journey. On the route to Morombe we had stopped at Isalo National Park where the town of Ranohira was just just within the path of totality. A brief discussion took place where we decided to press on for Morombe. A wise choice it later proved as many people told us on the way back that Ranohira had been clouded out. After a two night stay in the wonderful Bamboo Club in Ifaty we set off on the morning of 20th June to reach Morombe. A nightmare 12 hour journey followed and we arrived at about 10pm tired and hungry. The only decent restaurant had run out of food so we pitched our tents in the Lord Mayor of Morombe's garden! started a fire and began cooking.
The following morning some of us rose early and watched the sun rise, a custom which we now perform on all our eclipse trips. The sky was cloudless and remained so for the whole day. We set up base outside the Baobab Hotel on the beach, raised the flag and set up our equipment.We were rewarded with a spectacular eclipse and later watched the sun set into the Mozambique channel with the moon still taking a bite out of it. Another one and a half minutes of totality added to our list. Have a look at some of our photos.
Madagascar was an astonishing place to visit. The scenery was spectacular, the people friendly and the weather amicable in June, their winter. To see the deforestation firsthand was shocking. Vast areas of this country have been destroyed and are no longer of use to anyone. Although one of the roughest trips so far it did provide us with the most spectacular eclipse of the three we have witnessed. We did a fair amount of camping in Madagascar. It was an interesting experience for those who do not normally go camping and the twelve who went there can rightly claim to have earned their badge of courage on this trip. We strongly recommend a trip to Madagascar but be prepared for rough travel over non existant roads.
1. The eclipse.
2. The Indri, the largest and loudest lemur on the planet.
3. The Bamboo Club at Ifaty. A great place to chill out and get away from the world. They don't have phones there, or roads.
4. The reptiles and chameleons.
5. The insects (which were all big!)
6. The food, which was excellent throughout. It is not often that you order fish for dinner and they go out and catch it fresh for you.
7. The wonderful Baobab trees which we incidentally encountered again on our South African trip the following year.
8. Hoby - our faithful guide, Passi, Bera, Luva and Hery (Mr. Hair) - four of our drivers, and Hely for their help.
A personal view by Brian Seales