Anjajavy, Madagascar

Photo: Anjajavy
Photo: Anjajavy

It’s been too long since your last romantic getaway. The two of you need to escape to a little bungalow, walk along a deserted beach, and dream under the stars like you used to do before life got crazy. But instead of returning to a favorite spot in the Caribbean or the South Pacific, you’re thinking about heading in the opposite direction: Africa.

Mauritius or the Seychelles sound heavenly, but for a true escape, head to Madagascar. The Grand Île isn’t known for luxury resorts, pampering spas, or European-style restaurants. Baobab trees and lemurs come to mind instead. Add a remote hotel, which roads haven’t even reached yet, for the perfect place to reconnect.

From Antananarivo, the capital, it’s an hour-and-forty-minute flight to the northwest coast. Fly over red soil, dry deciduous forests, and mangrove swamps to reach the landing strip near Anjajavy Forest. The peninsula, in between Narinda Bay and Majajamba Bay, is full of those baobab trees, Madagascar vanilla, tangled vines, and animals that are both rare and endangered. Caves and coral formations line the labrynth of mangroves. Plus the bright blue Indian Ocean is never far from sight.

Photo: Anjajavy
Photo: Anjajavy

Anjajavy L’Hotel was built 15 years ago on a beach that slowly starts to reveal itself as the tide goes out. Salt water fills the nearby pool. Papyrus, tree ferns, and aquatic plants ring the property. Hummingbirds and green kingfishers fly between the trees. Dancing lemurs come out to play during tea time. While two-story villas stand along the edge of the sand.

Your villa, made of local rosewood, has a living room, a bedroom, and a corner bathroom on the first floor. A staircase leads to an open space, which you absolutely should not use as an office, upstairs. A cool breeze, coming from the Mozambique Channel, disrupts the humidity. You can see the water—and, at night, the star-filled sky—from the hammock on the deck.

Spend the week kayaking through the mangroves, snorkeling over colorful coral, and following pathways between the creeks. Ride a catamaran to Moramba, a mythical bay with coral islands and four pairs of critically endangered Madagascan fish eagles. Eat breakfast outside by the lily pads and sample Madagascar prawns and tuna sashimi for dinner. Keep an eye out for tiavato bats hanging from the stalactite formations in the caves, as well as Madagascar tree boas and panther chameleons. Visit Anjajavy Village to see kids playing around the market on Sunday morning. Take way too many photos of the playful lemurs. Then, as you stare at the sky and dream about your future plans late at night, fall in love all over again.

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