Fort Dauphin - Tuléar, Day Three

Thursday, October 19, 2000

It is the hottest day so far. After darting over a long sand road, we arrived in a village called Beheloka. Most people who live here are fishermen which explains the many carefully constructed, colourfully painted pirogues. The seawater appears so clear from up close that, with the white sand underneath, it almost glows in a bright green.

Again, we passed an area with dipped shrubs but not into flour this time but into reddish makeup powder. Later on, the density of the vegetation decreased tremendously and only a few trees were left standing. Inbetween these trees, there were dirt hills. They were all over the place an finally, upon asking, I learned that they were termite hills with thousands of interior paths (the inside looks like something between a sponge and a Swiss cheese).

The baobab is a tree which can be found in many places all over Madagascar. You recognize a baobab by its stunningly big trunk and its small crown of branches on top. They look like a bottle or an arm reaching towards the sky (some people say the tree was turned upside down with the roots pointing upwards). The area we passed had a number of huge baobabs which were crucial to the survival of the locals. It rains very little in this area and in order to collect the little water coming down from the sky, the people dig holes from the crown down to the trunk so that the then hollow baobab can be utilized as a water container, i.e. the rain enters from the top and accumulates inside the tree.

A modified baobab
A modified baobab

Under a rock, we found some scorpions.