Madagascar: A gemologist’s journey (Ifaty)

Our visit to the Ilakaka alluvial sapphire deposit marked the end of the work portion of our trip. Now it’s time for few days of rest and relaxation.

Since we were parting with our drivers for a few days while they drove up to Morondava, we boarded our next form of transportation: The Clown Bus! We were packed in like sardines. It’s a good thing this was late in the trip and we all had gotten to know each other by then.

Tulear to Ifaty Madagascar
This form of crowded transportation is quite common in Madagascar. They are referred to as a taxi-busse! Our Clown Bus took us from Tulear to Nautillus Resort on the beach outside of the town called Ifaty.

The staff is great! We are greeted each evening with an amazing meal and rum punch served from a spigot in a tree. The owner is proud of his punch. The kitchen staff is always happy to see visitors. And Mr. Robinson is my favorite.

Nautillus Resort
Mr. Robinson is an herbal doctor and he makes honey out of baobab tree flowers. On my second visit to Madagascar, Mr. Robinson cured my food poisoning by giving me a tea of cooked sticks and branches of some sort. It tasted like artichoke broth…a little strange, but it cured my sour stomach over night. Then I hurt my foot and he treated it with the juice of a aloe-relative. I miss Mr. Robinson already!

The next stop is Ambolimalika…a small fishing village further north on the Mozambique Strait.

Author: Michelle M. Rahm is a GIA-trained Graduate Gemologist and is President of Colorado’s Mile High Chapter of the GIA Alumni Association. She has been selling gemstones and jewelry online since 1997. Visit her websites and

About mrahm

Michelle holds a Graduate Gemologist Diploma, Graduate Diamonds Diploma and Graduate Colored Stones Diploma through the Gemological Institute of America's distance education program. Michelle currently serves as President of the Mile High GIA Alumni Association. She also serves on the board of the Rocky Mountain Jeweler's Association and is a member of the American Gem Trade Association.
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