Tassia Jones in Madagascar

I am Moana: Tassia Jones shares the fantastical joy of holidaying in Madagascar

On 1st January, 2018, Journeys by Design will be launching Madagascar as a new destination to visit. Our very own Will Jones was lucky enough to spend the best part of a month there with his family in the summer, including his 14-yo daughter who, we’re pleased to say, sent an excerpt from her journal with permission to post on the website. The diary entry is about her time in Madagascar with reference to Moana, a story about a young island girl who sails out on a daring quest to save her people, but more pertinently, discovers her identity. So here it is. I am Moana. – Simon

Gazing into the horizon where the blue sky meets the crystal clear sea, the soft breeze flowing through my hair, I felt a smile grow across my face. I was truly and utterly in the Moana zone.

Despite the fact that I am now almost 15, I am still very much attached to the little girl in me and am still absolutely mad about pretty much any Disney animation. My holiday in Madagascar has really opened my eyes to the fact that I am completely hooked onto the character of Moana, an island girl who is drawn to the water but with her family always in her heart.

The sensation of drifting along the water in a beautiful dhow not really having much of a clue as to where I was going was in fact thrilling. I felt so free, without a care in the world and really like I was on an amazing voyage to…somewhere in Africa.

I come to the end of my holiday as I write this, breathing in the fresh air and hearing the waves lapping against my ears has brought me to the conclusion that being on/near the water has definitely been a very statement part of my experience.

Down at Nosy Sakatia, as I snorkelled along side the turtles (post falling off the kayak), I felt like I was flying and almost as if I was in another world. It was truly magical and unlike any other underwater experience I have ever had.

It had never really crossed my mind before but during my time in Madagascar, it really started to amaze me that there actually is a whole other world beyond the edge of the water that is so incredibly beautiful and I feel so lucky to know it is right at my fingertips, just waiting for me to explore. Over these past few weeks, I have valued my time with the African sea and made the most of this trip, as I know I won’t find swimming like this anywhere else. Where there was water, I’d swim. Where there was a reef (or frankly anything interesting underwater), I’d snorkel; where there were kayaks, I’d kayak; and where there were rocks, I’d jump!

I remember distinctly that nearly every time we were by a beach I would think to myself ‘wow, this is paradise.’ The soft white sand, the blinding rays of sun stretching across the clear blue sea, I was having to constantly remind myself that it was very much real. I will treasure this extraordinary experience with my family forever, not only as a fantastic summer but as a time I reconnected with my childhood.

In my eyes, I will always feel that in those wonderful moments of my Madagascar holiday, my Moana fantasy became closer and closer to my reality.

Tassia Jones

Madagascar beach

Subscribe to our newsletter

Travel ideas, conservation stories and the latest from our exploration team