Madagascar – Sainte-Marie – Green

Located further east to Madagascar’s main island, the island of Sainte-Marie (Nosy Bohara in local language) is a little gem. The spectacular landing next to the Indian Ocean provides awesome bird-view glimpses over the island. 

Sainte-Marie is only about 50 km by 5 km large – a confetti floating in the Indian Ocean. Yet, the island distills a distinctive appeal. For instance, we often read about draughts, devastating deforestation and rampant insecurity affecting Madagascar. I made of Sainte-Marie my second home. Hereafter a panoramic view over the southern part of the island, where my family and I live for a part of the year.

Sainte-Marie’s special appeal draws upon various elements including its ecosystem, the local culture and lifestyle, as well as the mighty but generous and charming Indian Ocean. Those fundamentals will be explored separately in three posts entitled respectively: (i) Green, (ii) Island life and (iii) Ocean life.


Sainte-Marie island is very green, and was probably even more so in the past. In the landscape, the green colour diffracts into various characters:

  • Luxuriant green: The abundance and density of the local vegetation is typical of a tropical island. Luxuriant green charms my eyes and feeds my mind with high spirit.
  • Shifting green: Following their lifecycle, trees, plants, vegetables and fruits often turn from green to other colours. Observing shifting green is one of my visual delights.
  • Regenerating green: Even in a tropical climate, vegetation ages, recovers, dies and restart a new lifecycle. Regenerating green helps me recalling the fragility of our life. 
  • Feeding green: Albeit not a farming land, Sainte-Marie island grows substantial amounts of crops, vegetables and fruits. Feeding green enriches my daily food diet.
  • Protecting green: The local vegetation is transformed into a many different construction materials. Protecting green keeps me dry and safe. 
  • Invading green: If not maintained properly, tropical vegetation can be invasive and harmful. To keep invading green at bay is part of my daily tasks. 
  • Objecting green: Vegetation can also be non-green, which adds nicely to the rich colour palette of the island. Tracking objecting green is part of my photographic endeavour.

The series of pictures hereafter illustrates all the aforementioned characters in different ways. You should best first visit visually and emotionally all pictures to gain an overall image of Sainte-Marie’s vegetation and to connect with its natural identity. 

In a second stage, you might conduct a more analytical reading of the visual material, based on the typology presented above. Keep in mind that a single frame can depicts sometimes more than one green character. Enjoy the visit! 


By Bertrand

Trotting the globe with vision, values and humour