Madagascar diary, day 11. August 7, 2010



Oldest Baobab of south MadagascarBaobabs in Reniala Forest Reserve

At 8:30 we have the last appointment with our guide: a visit to the "Reniala forest", also known as the "Foret des Baobabs", a 45 hectares dry forest reserve at a few minutes drive from the hotel. The reserve has nine hundred Baobab trees, all of them one species but in different shapes, among which the oldest and biggest of the south (12 m circumference, estimated at 1200 years of age). We also get an explanation about several other tree types from the dry forests, four of which are used to build the pirogue boats of the fishermen: different ratios of strength, flexibility and weight. There are also some trees with a latex that is very poisonous, and the yatropa which can be used as antidote. We also get an explanation of the local tree that looks like a complex cactus with long arms, of which the arms always point towards the south. Apparently the branches of these trees can be cut of and planted easily; this is what the local people do to build a fence. The reserve also has different bird species and spiders, and Maxim finds a small snake moving with us along the path. At the end of the tour the guides show their plantation of small Baobab trees: some that are only 2 weeks old, a whole group of 3 year old trees, and some 5 year old.

Back in the hotel after the visit, we drink a cup of coffee, and say farewell to our guide. He drives back to Toliara in the afternoon, so that he can start early tomorrow morning with the 2 days of his 950km return trip.

Fishermen in their pirogue

The afternoon is off. We take a spot at the beach, and have lunch. We read. We watch the fishermen. Maxim swims along the shore.