Africa Favorite Tips by Norali
Africa Favorites: 200 reviews and 351 photos
African Friendship: could be diverse, spicey
Favorite thing: Being from an insular territory off the East African coast, my first real chance to longstanding interactions with other peoples of Africa was in... Belgium. It was during my studies that I came to really have a glance on Arab Morrocan culture thanks to a true friend, then the Berber one. The Peul Guinean girls, this tribeswoman from Togo, the Ivory Coast guy, this other one from Bénin, this elegant Cameronese girls, I don't know any other means to meet those persons in one place than in some French-speaking European University, aside a trip through the African continent, that is.
In Belgium, you'll meet many Congolese (Zaire) communities as well as peoples from Burundi and Rwanda.
I hope one day to be able to browse some parts of this vast continent, at least for some reunions with old friends in their natural habitats... Also to experience the greatest deserts, the mysterious towns of the Eastern coast, to discover the fauna, the flora... Hippos, elephants, game reserves... The animals I long most to see are pink flamingoes.
The beach scene ? I'd say that the art of seclusion is proper to Malagasy beach scene.
Fondest memory: Memories are mostly made of the one-to-one diners (I cook or they cook) and chats with either Hinde, my Morrocan friend, either Tati, this colourful, clever friend from Gabon, or Hadiatou, this amazing Guinean friend whom I used to have some heated debates with sometimes. I felt having some affinity with Lucky as well. She is from Congo. Those were amongst the few African people I had the chance to really befriend in Belgium.
Our conversations evolved around the studies, our day-to-day lives in Belgium, as compared to our lives in our origin countries. Here and there, cultural exchanges take place during some debates. On food ~ not only we cooked, we, sensual people loved to experience the many cooking techniques and diverse ingredients we come to discover while interacting with the many peoples of this world too. On excision ~ Happens that one of my friends had to undergo this surgery in her childhood. Still vividly remember the horror on many faces, our feeling of sadness, of powerlessness as her tales unfolded. Quite automatically after "excision": on sex ~ this is a favoured subject by all! Even the gravity led by some revelation about excision will turn into some kinky jokes, a sultry mood.
Very few times, outside the studies field, we talked about macroeconomics (economics was our major). Also thanks to such conversations, I got insight on microfinance, development perspectives, business opportunities... And, most important, some used to share tips to improve personal finance too. Haven't you ever been a student ? :-)
I'm still in contact with Hinde and to hope to find track of the other three, one day.
Morroco is high on my wish list. Gabon has never been attractive to me but to meet up with this special friend again, I'll do that trip. I have to find an e-mail of her, first. Guinea? descriptions made by another Guinean person of her country are not sexy at all. Congo? Who knows ?
Ravinala, traveller's tree
Favorite thing: Do you know any other country that has a tree dedicated to travellers? *LOL* This is amongst reasons to visit Madagascar. Jk :-)))
This Ravinala tree you may see in other parts of the world originates from Madagascar.
More genuinely, a little cut in its trunk will provide you with fresh water... In the past, travellers did that. Nowadays, there are stalls or outlets with bottled water (for you, bottle cap has to be sealed).
Air Madagascar (Airmad), our national air company, has a ravinala motif as its emblem...
On my picture, Ravinala trees seem to wave a goodbye on a return from East coast city (Toamasina). Isn'it romantic?
Fondest memory: Road trips in lush forests (see my travelogues while heading to East coast for that: "Heading East") as well those in desert areas (see my "Big South Journey" albums for that).
- "Heading East" Tlogue in my Madagascar page
- "Big South Journey I, II, III" Tlogues in my Madagascar page;
- Tana-Antsirabe trip (Tlogues in my Faritanin' Antananarivo page)
Malagasy flag (Norali)
Favorite thing: Maybe interesting for your trip preparation: a website containing all Madagascar consulates and embassies.
Fondest memory: Pay attention, they usually follow the Malagasy calendar as far as holidays are concerned.
Sooo, expect them to close on March 29 and June 26 (Independence day celebration). Of course, they will be closed on Christmas, NY, Easter Monday, WhitMonday...
Foggy sunset on Antananarivo (center egion)
Favorite thing: Madagascar is an island located East of Mozambica coast. Least distance between Malagasy and Africa is about 400 km. Its size is as 18 times as much as Belgium's... or some 587 000 km?... with some 14-15 millions of inhabitants, Malagasy people.
* Antananarivo as capital city (click on its name to browse my page of my birth city).
* Up to now, 6 provinces (Faritany): Faritanin' Antananarivo; Faritanin' i Toamasina (first port city); Faritanin' i Fianarantsoa; Faritanin' Antsiranana; Faritanin' i Mahajanga (second port city); Faritanin' i Toliara ... Not to be mixed up with their main towns: Antananarivo; Toamasina; Fianarantsoa; Antsiranana; Mahajanga; Toliara cities. See my pages on them as well.
* Landscape ranges from rainforest areas to desert. Rain uses to mould the Island landscape. Dry, yellow-grass steppes and savanna in inland may turn green in rainy seasons. East coast is the most humid area as West coast is the driest. Plains alternate with hills and rocky mountains.
* Yes, I forgot!... 5000 km of beach: yellow sand, grey sand, white sand in almost all provinces...
Fondest memory: This unique and varied nature that spreads over these 6 provinces, is, however, under threaten.
Man, unaware of the Island uniqueness, used to burn steppes, forests, chop trees for profit and, therefore, exterminate endangered species... Thanks to awareness arising, efforts are made to preserve nature's future .. thus man's future.
Also a hope for the future
Mother & Baby, end October... in Tana, Madagascar
Favorite thing: Favorite Thing: Tricky question: I would say "year- round" .. hehe... Well, depends on your interests:
* Seeing reptiles - amphibians: best during rainy season January through March. Though, they are present year-round.
* Photo Safari lovers, Madagascar is a photographers paradise and is beautiful year-round. April and May are best months, after the rains, flora is green and luxuriant.
* Interested in whale-watching? Go there from July through September in the Bay of Antongila, Nosy Boraha, Lokaro.
* Lemurs: September and October when the new babies are born.
* Birders, Choose September to December (breeding season) which is the most suitable time to find them as they are more vocal. Though visits before and after this period have also proved to be good, especially in the south and the west.
* Sun, sand, snorkeling, diving and fishing: year-round.
Please note that as for weather, Southern winter, April- October, is the best time to go. Summer (November to March), also known as hurricane season, is the sticky and sometimes unbearably hot one. Yet, Madagascar experiences a wide climatic range, central highlands can still be pleasant during summer. Rainy East coast gets most of its rain between June and September.
I remember of rain in Toamasina: weather was sunny, hot and suddenly, heavy rain poured (no storm, no thunder) for, say, 10 minutes and my clothes had time to dry while I was walking in the street.
Fondest memory: Christmas mass at Anglican cathedral in Ambohimanoro - Christmas celebration
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