Tourism in the Indian Ocean regionThe princess Bora lodge Madagascar [Archives:2005/817/Culture]

February 18 2005
A resort in Madgascar
A resort in Madgascar
By Irena Knehtl*
For The Yemen Times
[email protected]

An idyllic island off the east coast of Madagascar is becoming one of the most sought after tourist destinations of the Indian Ocean region. Surrounded by the sea and a lagoon, there is a white sandy beach is in front of the resort, and several small islands, creeks, and mangroves. Princess Bora Lodge offers a past charged with history and poetry amidst the calm waters of a lagoon.

Owned by a Frenchman, whose family has lived there for generations, the exclusive Princess Bora Lodge consists of 15 villas, all in harmony with their natural surroundings. The Lodge is a luxury retreat on one of the tropical islands Sainte Marie, a few miles off the east coast of Madagascar. Offering a unique atmosphere, the luxury villas are charming, elegant and simple. Constructed only with local materials, they are situated in a vast garden. Each villa has its own private veranda offering Creole, Madagascan and French cuisine.

The island offers a variety of activities, such as whale watching, scuba diving, swimming, snorkeling, sport-fishing. You can discover the neighboring islands by boat, car, or by a plane owned by the Bora Lodge.

Madagscar is the world's fourth largest island after Greenland, New Guinea, and Borneo. Because of its isolation, most of its mammals, and half of its plant and birdlife do not exist anywhere else in the world. It is particularly famous for the lemurs. Located 250 miles off the south-east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, the island is around 1,000 miles in length and 360 miles in width.

The island can be divided into three main parts: the east coast, which has a narrow coastal strip adjoining the steep slopes of the north-south mountain ranges and rain forests; the central highlands, ranging from between 2500 to 9430 feet in altitude, and decorated with immense rice fields; and the West Coast, home of the baobabs and the thorny forest.

Seventeen million Malagasy people inhabit Madagascar. Exactly how and when the early Malagasy discovered and settled the island is not known. They have a dual Indonesian and African origin, attested to by their physical features, language, agricultural practices, and customs. Despite their diversity, they are united by a common language, rooted in the ancient Malayo-Polynesian, ancestor of the tongues spoken in the vast area bounded by Hawaii, the Tuamotu and Madagascar. The modern language has been enriched by words imported from Bantu, Swahili, Arabic, English and French.

The oldest road there is not yet 100 years old and tourism in Madagscar is a very young industry. But if you are looking for the unexpected and want to meet an extraordinary people, then go and discover this fascinating island! You will become attached to the country, understanding the Malagasy proverb: “They who drink the water from the Manangareza, will always return.

Special thanks go to Princess Bora lodge in Madagascar for forwarding extensive information about the resort.

* Irena Knehtl is a specialized economist and a regular contributor to Yemen Times. She writes about economic, social, and cultural issues on Yemen, and many countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe.