The South East of Madagascar can be approached from its southern part, the Fort-Dauphin region where the luxurious coastline sharply contrasts with the hinterland. It can also be approached from its other extremity, via road or Slow Motion Train; with the forests in the background, the Betsileo, Tanala and Antemoro landscapes will reveal themselves to the eyes. In-between lie sites, which are barely acquainted with tourism, but which amaze their visitors. The South East is the land of diversity, profusely.
HISTORY - ECOTOURISM - SEA - DISCOVERY
Local Air Madagascar flights are available. The rehabilitation of the national highway RN 13 is still pending.
Fort-Dauphin or Tolagnaro in Malagasy is located at the Southern extremity of the strangly straight eastern coast ; it nestles between two large and deep bays, at the foot of Pic Saint Louis. The easy access Pic (529 meters) provides a panoramic view of one of Madagascar’s most spectacular sites. The historical town of Fort-Dauphin was named after King Louis the 14th. It is also the departing point of the very first inhabitants of Réunion Island in 1674. Ehoala, the new port has been in operation since 2009. The depth of its main dockside (15.75 m) allows the arrival of any type of ship: container ships, freighters, tankers, large cruise ships.
35000 hectares of new Protected Areas has been established outside the mining sites. These Protected Areas are managed by local communities and contribute to the support of ecotourism, of environmental education programs, and provide training opportunities to the local populations in handicraft, apiculture and food-producing techniques.
- The Vinanibe lake, located 5 kilometers away from the airport has a Sailing Centre and accomodation facilities. Surfers highly value the place.
- The Fort des Portugais, 10 kilometers West is thought to be the oldest permanent building structure in Madagascar and was built by shipwreck survivors in the 16th century.
- The Baie de Lokaro, approximately 40 kilometers up North is an ideal site characterised by islets, creeks, river branches cutting through the aquatic vegetation ; the Ambavarano lake, the fishermen’s village Evatra caught in between the laguna and the ocean.
- Sainte Luce , 53 km up North of Fort Dauphin is a fishermen’s village , which stretches the arch of its beach she-oaks and palm-lined beaches with the forest as a background The road leading to Sainte Luce will satisfy the curiosity of flora and fauna observers, as well as that of simple nature-lovers.
PARKS AND NATURE RESERVES
- 14 kilometers in the North East of Amboasary Sud, the Berenty private Nature Reserve benefits from the proximity of the Mandrare river. The main familiar attraction to tourists there are the Lemur Catta with their ringed tails. Several other species can also be found : fruit bats, snakes, radiated tortoises and more than 90 bird species. The nearby immense sisal plantations allow visitors te learn about the processing of this fiber.
- The private Nature Reserve of Nahampoana was lethargic until the 1990s when its circuits were rearranged, solar electricity introduced and a fully ecological lodge built. Its attractions include : wild vanilla trees, orchids and the « 4 spices » which, as its leaves are being crushed, releases scents of clove, pepper, campher and musk. Nahampoana is equally weel-endowed in terms of fauna. The pirogue ride trhough the mangroves is an experience not to be missed.
- And its 5 mountains over 1500 meters is a transition point between the wet ecosystem of the East and the dry ecosystem of the South. Blocked by the mountains, the rain generously waters the East of the Park while deriving the West ! One characteristic of the Park’s fauna : the species are representative of the 4 corners of the island. Specimens include the small carnivore Eupleres Goudotti from Montagne d’Ambre and the Pyxis Arachnoides, specific of the South.
CULTURE – TRADITIONS - DISCOVERY - ECOTOURISM
For available flights, to and from Mananjary, Manakara and Farafanagana, please refer to airlines’ flight schedules. By road, the national highway RN 23 leads to Mananjary, passing the Ranomafana National Park. 49 kilometers after Ifanadiana the road meets the national highway RN 12 going south, towards Manakara, Vohipeno, Farafangana and Vangaindrano. Manakara is the last station on the Fianarantsoa-East Coast railway.
- Mananjary is located at the crossroad between the Pangalanes and the Mananjary River, which is straddled by a hanging metallic bridge. The region is an important coffee, vanilla and pepper producer. The river station at the town’s entrance is very animated, owing to the fact that fishermen, market gardeners and charcoal producers set up a market along its banks. Here, pirogues sail along a midline and are used as taxis on the Pangalanes.
- Mananjary is traditionally associated with the Sambatra, a collective circumcision ritual performed every 7 years. The next one is scheduled for 2014. It can simultaneously occur in other Antambahoaka villages, as the kind of this ethnic group makes the decisions relating to rituals.
- Manakara’s most important touristic attraction is the 163 km railway linking it to Fianarantsoa. Rescued from extinction thanks to amazing solidarity and mobilisation, the Fianarantsoa-Manakara line is considered as the “steepest”train on the planet, even in comparison to the Andes’ small local trains. It dives into a large primitive forest, moves forward along rocky cliffs, slides down along precipices, goes through 48 tunnels, cuts through a landing strip, at a speed ranging between 20 and 35 km/h. The trip lasts 12 hours, sometimes longer.
- Even though Manakara has somehow lots its charm due to the deterioration of its port, it still has much to offer. For instance, the Trou du Commissaire, 3 kilometers away from the center of town, remains a surprising discovery for tourists. It is a enclave sheltered by a coral reef, where one can safely swim.
This small town, surrounded by rice paddy fields and banana plantations on the shore of the Matitanana, is considered as the cultural capital city on Antemoro land. Royal tumbs are found in Ivato-Savana. East of the site, a massive rock wrapped in some red royal fabric represents a special spot for offerings.
109 km South of Manakara, Farafangana is the southern limit of the Pangalanes. Strategically located in a wealthy agricultural region (producing clove, pepper, rice and fruit), Farafangana often hosts cultural or traditional events, such as the pirogue race or the Batrelaky Festival.
Vangaindrano is located 75 km away from Farafangana and is the end of the national highway RN 12. The nice beach of Ampatsinakoho, 20 km away, is protected by reefs and abounds seafood. One road leads to Midongy du Sud and to the Mananara River spring, which loudly surge into natural holes.
DIVINATION AND SORABE
The South Western ethnic group, the Antemoro and more specifically the Anakara caste is famous for its divination art and the precious Arab-Malagasy manuscripts called “Sorabe”. They recollect the history of different clans, as well as prayers and magic formulas to heal diseases, break a spell, or communicate with the spirits. The “Katibo”, guardians of the Sacred Books, eagerly watch over this precious mystical and cultural heritage.
PARKS AND NATURE RESERVES
- 70 km away from Fianarantsoa, on the way to Mananjary, Ranomafana, meaning “hot water”, has for long been associated to spa. Nowadays, it evokes the forest of the East and ecotourism. Nestled in a very rainy mountain region, Ranomafana shelters 12 species of lemur and is a renowned birdwatching site (114 of the island’s bird species). Itineraries inside the parks were defined based on their potential for the observation of the fauna and flora.
- Andringitra could well be part of the Central Highlands, but its Eastern part was included in the list of the 6 humid forests of the East, classified UNESCO World Heritage sites. It is one of Madagascar’s biological hotspots, some sort of “natural laboratory” where relic and more recent species cohabit, which accounts for the originality of its flora and fauna. The Park consists of rocky granite and gneiss Mountains, several of which culminate over 2500 meters. On its western side, the Tsaranoro cliff is a worldwide recognized climbing spot.
Subscribe to our newsletter :
Members and associations
Private organization acknowledged by State, the Madagascar National Tourism Board was created in 2003. It includes all professions, regions and tourist operators and a representative of…