Sights to see in Mayotte
Published 22 years ago, updated 5 years ago
Leaving your dinghy securely moored at the floating dock by the ferry terminal, it is a good one hour walk to the crater lake on Isle Pamanzi. Passing the bakery on the way for provisions, ice cream and a pit stop, you turn left through L’Abbartoir. The little village gives you a good insight into what life here is really like with a proper little Mosque, small shops and traditional lifestyle.
With directions given by some helpful hands pointing, you finally reach a dirt track featuring the finest ash as pavement. This is when you are happy to have brought a bottle of water, old shoes and a T-shirt which was due in the laundry yesterday!
Getting to the rim of the volcano gives you a stunning view over the anchorage, adjacent reefs and the green crater lake. We stumbled down the rim in a cloud of dust, walked through some lush gardens and explored the green water of the lake. Hissing and bubbling, there seems to be no fish inside, but plenty of flies breed here. That brings the birds and if you manage to be still for a while, you may see Paradise flycatchers, wax eyes, wild doves, flying foxes and many other small creatures around you.
After a small pause, we started to head back, ignoring the recommendation of better-trained friends to walk down the other side of the volcano to the beaches where the turtles lay their eggs. This decision had, of course, nothing to do with the cold beers offered at the yacht club.
Island of the Lemurs
Our best adventure in Mayotte we had not diving, which is a mediocre affair on Mayotte compared to Madagascar, but visiting the Ilot Bouzi, where Brigitte has created a safe haven for more than 200 Lemurs! The animals live free in the trees around the house, but a couple of bananas and Brigittes’ calling them by their names brings them down in a hurry. Brigitte’s vast knowledge about the animals and their fate here on Mayotte made for another fantastic feature. We were more than happy to chip in with the 10 FF fees which go towards the 100 kgs of food required for the animals daily.
Living a very modest lifestyle, Brigitte had not been off the island for 17 months, partly because she feared the attackers coming back to haunt her beloved animals. We were witness to some badly injured animals she cares for in her hospital and it makes you sad and angry to see what some local people have done. There is lots of work to do for Brigitte and her husband, who live on site in a restored military building. If you would like to see hundreds of colourful birds, great Baobab trees, some rare land turtles and of course the Lemurs, then make sure to anchor on the eastern side of Ilot Bouzi in 15 Mt over sand and rocks just 200 Mt off the beach where you see Brigittes’ house is the only one on the island. With Ilot Bouzi laying only 3 NM south of Pamanzi’s anchorage, this can well be a day trip.
Diving and fishing
We explored the reefs in the north and the east a bit as well, but the diving was a slight disappointment. Broken, dead and bleached coral in many places offered little to the fish life remaining on the reefs. However, the local dive shops with their substantial aluminium boats will bring you to the outer reefs which are reported to offer a lot better diving than we have seen.
The rugged coastline is also well worth a walk at low tide, in spite of all the rubbish found. Fishing inside the reefs brought a very little result for all yachts, and some reefs are closed as a marine reserve.
Humpback Whales are often reported inside and outside the reef between July and October, guiding their babies into shallow water. We would like to ask everybody to remain very cautious with these precious creatures. If you are not sure how to approach them, please do stay well clear of them both for the whale’s and your own safety and pleasure.
In essence, we can only recommend Mayotte as a stopover and a safe, friendly harbour offering all the facilities of civilization. Some 220 boats come here every year from all over the world and we were just too happy to be one of them!
Lilly Vedana & Tom Mueller, Yacht MIZMAE
www.mizmaesailing.de [Broken Link]