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More Ft. Dauphin Pictures
My flight to Fort Dauphin (Taolagnaro) is full and my seat mate tells me this is his first time on a "big plane" (a Boeing 737). He asks me where the parachute is located while pointing at the life vests in the safety instruction manuel. I explain to him that it is not really possible to parachute out of a commercial airliner. If something goes wrong there's nothing we can do. Once we take off it is out of our hands.

The flight takes us over mostly deforested and eroded landscape. We pass over Berenty private reserve with its sisal plantations and little section of gallery forest along side the Berenty river.

As we near Fort Dauphin we fly out over the ocean. The view is spectacular: turquoise water with waves breaking on rocks and reefs, beautiful bays, green lagoons. Fort Dauphin is nestled in a range of mountains and sits on a peninsula surround by long white sand beaches.

On landing I learn that my reservation for my hotel has disappeared so I hitch a ride on a van into town. For the most part, everything gets worked out and I check into the Hotel Dauphin, a requirement if you are staying in Fort Dauphin and plan to visit Berenty. Both Hotel Dauphin and Berenty are owned by M Jean de Heaulme and are among the most "western" (i.e. tourist-ready) accomodations in Madagascar. For me, I'm still getting used to the concept of full-time electricity and running water.

A better option may be the Hotel Kaleta which is less expensive and operates the Amboasary Sud Reserve, a nice alternative to the pricey and touristy private reserve of Berenty.

With its beaches (complete with rusting shipwrecks), beautiful bays, and atmosphere of steady decay Fort Dauphin is a charming town. Despite it's "bombed-out" atmosphere (streets in disrepair, buildings falling appart, blowing dust), Fort Dauphin is more geared toward tourism than most other towns in Madagascar. Locals are accustomed to seeing foreigners and understand that they can be a good source for income. Consequently visitors should be warned that muggings are a problem in beaches areas here. Beggars are also common in Fort Dauphin and women selling silver bracelets (for men) are especially persistent and aggressive. Watch for pickpockets as well.

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Almost all pictures on this site were taken with a Konica Minolta

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