Cape Sainte Marie, a trip to the end of the Big Island

This southern most cape of Madagascar was first named as “Cap Sainte Marie” in 1546 by the French priest and cartographer, Pedro Descellier.
Cape Sainte Marie also called "The Gate of Mozambique", offers an extraordinary panoramic view across the Mozambique Channel and the Indian Ocean. You can, while enjoying the magnificent landscapes, walk on the cliffs, into limestone caves, look for aepyornis eggs fossils in the sand dunes and visit the lighthouse.
Next to Cape St Marie, on the Mozambique Channel side, stretches 35 kilometers wide the "Bay of Lavanono". The "Cape St Marie and the Lavanono Bay" are an exceptional, unique, authentic place, a naturally preserved site in the heart of "Androy - the land of thorns". Lavanono, means long boobs! (Lava = long / nono = breast) The "nono" is a mound, "sand loaf" limestone 80 m high, which served as a geographical reference point to the seafarers since the sixteenth century. This bay of Cap St Marie / Lavanono sheltered the Portuguese galleons on their "way to India" to protect themselves from the strong Southern winds. The aepyornis / (elephant bird) and the sea and land turtles provided a welcome change in menu for the sailors until their next stopover.
From the cliffs of Cap St Marie to the north of Lavanono Bay there is a sediment plateau composed of substances from the ocean floor. Looking more closely, this place contains fossilized volcanic lava, basalt, iron, marine fauna and flora. The reason for all this unique merger in sediments became clear in 2006, when a crater of 30 km in diameter and 3810 m depth was discovered in the middle of the Indian Ocean. This impact of an asteroid about 4800 years ago caused a tsunami of estimated 180 m height. This gigantic wave shaped this plateau of Cape St Marie in Lavanono by depositing all these remains from the bottom of the ocean. At this cape, currently only a small fishing village exist.
This article was featured in Prime Magazine July 2018

Useful Information

When to go

Arid climate all year round. At Cape St. Mary, it's eternal summer. The seasons are just marked by the differences in temperature. 25 to 30° C during the austral winter (June, July, August). The rest of the year oscillates between 30 and 40° C.

How to get there

4x4 is mandatory from Fort Dauphin. The recommended tour includes Fort Dolphin, Berenty Reserve, "Anony Lake" and Lavanono, with an excursion to Cape St Mary.

Where to stay

Unfortunately there is no hotel in Cap St Marie. The closest is 1 hour away by 4x4. It is an establishment that offers ecological type infrastructure: Lavanono Lodge "Chez Gigi"

Where to eat

Have a picnic lunch and after the Cape Town visit, sit at "Chez Gigi" to taste dishes prepared mainly from fresh fish and seafood.

What to see

From June to the end of September, the presence of the humpback whales will enchant you. Cap St Marie / Bay of Lavanono, is also a good spot for water-gliding sports (surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing).