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That Time I Went on a Quest to Visit the Sacrificial Crocodile Lake...

It seemed like a good idea at the time...

a happy couple with motivational t-shirts enjoying traveling to madagascar together

"What's wrong with a bit of folly?" - National Velvet

After having spent most our time pirogue sailing and seeing the National Parks, my mother and-now-husband decided we had seen enough wildlife and wanted an adventure. We hired a tuk-tuk to drive us three hours to a small village on the border of a lake with crocodiles. This lake was known as the “sacrificial lake” and apparently the locals—still to this day—believe that the crocodiles in the lake are sacred and their ancestors from long ago so to show the crocs respect they host a weekly “sacrifice.” Luckily for us, they don’t sacrifice tourists. Instead they sacrifice the local “zebu” or African cows. The crocodiles are so used to being fed by the people of the village that they regularly hang out in the sacrificial spot…and that was our mission for the day. To find this sacrificial crocodile spot.
Madagascar Women posing with us on our trek to see the crocodile lake

The Helpful women who showed us to the crocodiles...

The three of us loaded, with our guide and the driver of the tuk-tuk, into the tiny machine and zoomed off on the terrible roads for the long drive to the lake. We eventually found the village and the market place was busy with the locals trying to trade and sell their goods. Our guide asked around and we found the path leading to the crocodiles but the path was disintegrated and it was not possible to drive the tuk-tuk. We took off on foot with our guide while the tuk-tuk driver stayed behind, caught some zzz’s and bought himself and his family a couple of chickens from the market with some of the money we had paid him.
A cart pulled by 6 zebus in a Madagascar village

A cart pulled by 6 zebus a sight commonly seen in the villages.

We walked for nearly an hour or more and found three local women with their children carrying baskets on their heads. I had been practicing greeting in Malagasy and the women were delighted to try to speak to us and wanted to learn about us. Our guide translated and found out that these women were returning home after walking to the market early that morning. They had a thirty kilometer walk to the market and home! All this with baskets on their heads. I offered to carry a basket and was surprised how heavy it was. I couldn’t quite balance it on my head without using my hands, like they did, but I carried the basket for a short walk. The ladies were very helpful and showed us the spot where the sacrificial crocodiles live. They shared with our guide some information about the sacrifices and off they went to return home.

Me attempting to carry the ladies basket on my head!

Me carrying a basket on my head to help out the malagasy women in madagascar
We saw about half a dozen crocodiles hanging out there, all incredibly massive in size. It was obvious these crocs were well fed and had no interest in trying to hide in the water from us. They lazed about in the sun and we kept our distance. Our guide shared with us some stories about several tourists not believing there was crocodiles in the lake and went for a swim and were never seen again…
Ready for New Adventures Stock Image

After our spooky encounter with the crocodiles we walked back towards the village. We again put our Malagasy to good use and greeted everyone who passed. They were all delighted to try to speak to us and greeted us back proudly. Before leaving the village we had to pay a “fee” as tourists for visiting the crocodiles. It was a bit awkward but it goes to the village so we didn’t complain. We found our tuk tuk and grabbed lunch in a restaurant in the village. I had been tired of eating the horrible baguette and jam breakfast and lunch we had been fed since arriving in Madagascar—no doubt a result of the French occupation years ago—and was excited to find pizza on the menu. Top it off with some fresh juice and I was in heaven! We then climbed into the tuk-tuk with our new passengers-the chickens-and headed off back to our hotel.

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