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  • 1. Madagascar SaleS Manual Office Nati ON al du tOurisme de madagascar 
  • 2. Tourism madagascar map of europe Asie MozaMbique Afrique Channel Les Comores MADAGAsCAr Ile Maurice Ile de La Réunion 
  • 3. Foreword from the Minister of Culture and Tourism With time, Madagascar has progressively gained good reputation, as regards the riches, diversity and originality of its nature, its exceptional and largely endemic fauna (nearly 90% endemic); this makes the continent-isle a living treasure, with an ecosystem unique in the world, enlivened by a culture that is a happy blend of asian, Oceanic, african, arab values with a touch of european influence. this is not in the least usurped reputation. However, capitalizing such gain by offensive and efficient marketing would enhance its value, so that it would “sell” itself on the world market of products such as stays, leisure activities and ecotourism in the best conditions. the clientele indeed has greater needs, has become more and more demanding and is craving for discoveries rich in strong emotions. What’s more, “placing tourism as a leverage for sustainable development, a job-creating and environment-friendly activity” is one of the fundamental objectives of our ministry. to achieve this objective, a promotional tool designed to make the destination Madagascar more attractive and captivating is an absolutely necessary. this sales manual is meant to meet this purpose efficiently. i wish it full success in this praiseworthy enterprise. Jean-Jacques rabenirina Foreword from ONTM Chairman Madagascar, a mixture of cultures and traditions, a country of adventures, a sanctuary of nature. Words are not sufficient to describe the endemic feature of “the red island”. One of the destinations offering a wide range of tourism products, madagascar set an objective: placing tourism as a pillar for the country’s sustainable development. to tackle this challenge, madagascar’s National tourism Organization (ONtm) has created this “sales Manual for Madagascar”, as an indispensable tool for promoting malagasy tourism. Providing practical information, depicting the five great tourist regions of Madagascar, followed by a description of the tourism products and a listing of all service providers (accommodation, tour operators…), your future partners, as well as useful addresses required for certain issues, this “first” sales manual will help you organize the stays of your clients in the best possible conditions. Besides, ONtm will always see it as a privilege to provide you with information about the evolution of the constantly increasing number of services offered. i wish you all the best for your sales, Joël randriamandranto 
  • 4. Identity card l ast geological remains of what is called the gondwana continental drift, madagascar likes cultivating the mystery of its origins. the island, as some suggest it, is of divine creation: its 592 000km2 surface area strangely takes the shape of a left foot (of which the satellite isles would be the toes), as if it were the ancient footprint of a facetious giant… anchored at 400 km off the eastern coast of the african continent, madagascar is, however, a concentrate of austronesian civilisation mixed with Bantu, arab and european cultures, whose foundation, as attested by several navigators’ stories and certified by archaeo- logists, would go back as far as the first decade of the christian era. landmark of this cultural melting pot: the malagasy language, the etymology and morphology of which are common to all the country’s inhabitants, in spite of its dialectal variants. madagascar’s history is to be integrated in the great era of trading adventures which, as early as the tenth century, linked the different states and kingdoms situated along the western indian Ocean coastline, which was then considered as an internal sea. the island itself comprised several kingdoms, whose unification was completed in the 18th century under the merina monarchy of andrianampoinime- rina. then it started to have diplomatic relationships with the western world, which after all sorts of events led to its being a french colony from 1896 to 1960. since it recovered its autonomy (26 June 1960), madagascar has chosen to adopt a western style parlia- mentary democracy, and since the mid-20th century, its contemporary history has modelled itself on the modern world economic and political chronicles, the latest change being the turning to economic liberalism. at the image of its mixed population, its nature is characterised by a set of varied ecosystems, sheltering particular species which are up to 80% endemic for fauna and 90% for flora, each region having its own landscape specificities to be discovered… specific fauna, quite different from that of the neighbouring big continent for the absence of big cats. there are more than 100 000 species of inver- tebrates, among which the well-known comet, the biggest butterfly in the world; reptiles and amphibians are not forgotten: emble- matic chameleons and lizards or frogs with unexpected colours; pink flamingos, serpent-eater eagles occupy their spaces with dignity while dolphins and humpback whales are the delights of the seas. sea fauna is also to be noted and with a simple diving mask on, one can admire it in its natural element. several of these animals are threatened, such as the radiated tortoise, and are under very strict protective measures. lastly, the famous lemurs must be mentioned, whose groups shelter the last survivors of their species. among them, the indri indri, the sifaka or the tiny Microcebus Rufus. New species are still being discovered, such as the Lepilemur Seali or the Lepilemur Mitsinjonensis, the mirza Zaza or the strange aye aye. a paradise for ornithologists with 285 bird species, of which 110 are endemic. Birds usually nest in the forests, namely the eastern humid ones, and on the water sites along the coastline for great gathe- rings. an extraordinary flora still finds shelter in primary forests, among which one can count more than one thousand varieties of orchids, 38 groups of aloes of which the aloe Vaombe with its wonderful clusters of red flowers illuminating the barren surroundings. creepers, ferns, strangler fig trees highlight the tropical character of the undergrowth, and the “ravinala”, the famous traveller’s tree is a steady feature of the landscapes. there is also a multitude of medicinal plants whose inventory still remains to be made. Whether you are a tourist craving for exoticism, a sportsman on the look out for strong sensations, a scientist in search of study subjects or an intellectual curious of culture and craftsmanship, in the heart of each one of its mysteries, madagascar will meet any expectation of the most demanding of its visitors. a backbone of high summits separates madagascar into two dissymmetrical parts: the eastern coastal strip, under the influence of trade winds, where tropical forests are omnipresent; and the western side which includes two sedimentary basins with large limestone or sandstone plateaus. at either side of this dividing line, the highlands expose entangled relief often wounded by erosion. each vegetable groove, each animal mutation is a core subject for discovery or deep scientific studies. it is the kingdom of lemurs, insects and birds, of a thousand varieties of orchids, but also of medicinal plants and their numerous virtues which are still unexploited but also need to be preserved… encounters with the populations are fully satisfied with the hospitality of the inhabitants, visits to museums, hunting for ancient books at second-hand booksellers, but also with attending traditional ceremonies which are still common practice in many places. in their way, tales or prohibitions, speak of a civilisation which is changing but whose tie with the ancestors is of the utmost importance. adventure calls on you at the bend of a forgotten tomb of pirates, nests in each crack of limestone or sandstone slope to climb up, at the bottom of the numerous caves to explore and of impetuous rivers to descend. from the small sailing boats to the zebu-drawn carts, the unexpected and physical challenges are waiting for you at each instant… You will meet with exoticism, obviously synonymous of sun, sea, beaches and relaxation, along nearly 5000 km coastline. each resort is a small jewel and paradise to discover. in spite of its geoclimatic, mining and ecotourism riches, the population’s standard of living is one of the lowest in the world. although the country is undergoing urban drift, nearly 75% of its inhabitants still live in rural areas. sustainable and fair development could be achieved through enhancing the value of their natural, economic, craft and cultural environment. solidarity in tourism, protective of the environment and respectful of the people, could contribute to improving these living conditions. 
  • 5. CONTENT page 7 to 14 Practical information Everything what your clients need to know before their departure and what will fascilitate their stay. Island country’s five horizons page 15 to 26 Our five big regions with their geoclimatic characteristics. page 27 to 50 Tourism products Whether you are a tourist craving for exoticism, a sportsman on the look out for strong sensations, a scientist in search of study subjects or an intellectual curious of culture and craftsmanship, Madagascar will meet any expectation of the most demanding of its visitors. page 51 to 56 Tour Operators and Travel Agencies They are ready to offer you their help and assistance so that your clients will have a pleasant stay. You will find their coordinates in this section. page 57 to 74 Accommodation and Restaurants Practical information, and even more, about our hotels and restaurants. page 75 to 78 Service providers The best partners while travelling. page 79 to 82 Useful addresses Addresses which will facilitate your work. 
  • 6. Acknowledgements ONtm would like to thank: cONserVatiON iNterNatiONal (ci) for its financial support, the regional tourism Offices and all ONtm members for providing information and support, the layout and editorial staff for their outstanding work as well as all those who contributed one way or another to the elaboration of this sales manual. PHOtO credits agence photographique KiKa le Voyageur ONg fanamby alefa aqua diving madavoile & tropical diving Pawliczek, michaela authentic tour madagascar maderi tour Princess Bora lodge malagasy discovery agency (mda) PNm-aNgaP Babelon, Pierre-Yves malagasy tours Boogie Pilgrim ministère de la culture et du tourisme randrianasolo, tahiry Bohan, richard mad caméléon Boraha Village men, Pierrot Vanila Hotel Bourdon / gondwana explorer Nosy Be Quad Wildlife conservation society (Wcs) chatard, alain Nosy Be ulm conservation international cortez expéditions Office National du tourisme (ONtm) regional Offices: gauthier, gilles - Ort antananarivo golfier, michel - Ort diego suarez goto madagascar - Ort fianarantsoa groupe Hsc - Ort menabe - Ort Nosy Be Kefferstein, stéphane - Ort sainte marie - Ort tamatave - Ort tulear ______________________________________________________________________________ Project manager and design: michaela Pawliczek and tahiry randrianasolo (ONtm) layout: steve ramiaramanantsoa editorial: thompson andriamanoro and Baovola fidison Printing: mYe andohalo 
  • 7. 1. PRACTICAL INFORMATION 1 Specific purchases Driving licence Bank, credit card, currency Photos and videos Budget Tipping Time difference Recommendations to travellers Inland travels Religion International air links Seasons and weather Electricity Health Etiquette, taboos (fady) and prohibitions Public security Entry formalities Tax Working hours Telecommunications Languages Holidays, public holidays and festivals International air links Bargaining at the market 
  • 8. Specific purchases such as master card, diner’s and american express, are not very much used. travellers’ cheques are of better use in tourism activities than in everyday shopping. ARE PROHIBITED: endangered animal and plant species listed in annex i of cites (convention on international trade of fauna and flora species). BANK HEAD OFFICES: are particularly included in this category: SBM Madagascar BFV–Société Générale - lemurs (State Bank of Mauritius) 4, Rue Général Rabehevitra - dugong 1, Rue Andrianary Ratianarivo Antaninarenina Antsahavola Tel: 22 206 91 - Fax: 22 345 54 - radiated tortoise Tel: 22 266 07 - Fax: 22 666 08 - spur tortoise Banque Malgache de l’Océan - sea tortoise Union Commercial Bank (UCB) Indien (BMOI) - boa Antsahavola Place de l’Indépendance - antongil red frog etc… Tel: 22 272 62 - Fax: 22 683 56 Antaninarenina Tel: 22 346 09 - Fax: 22 346 10 - Orchids Banque Internationale Chine - euphorb, didieraceous, apocynaceous species (pachypo- Madagascar (BICM) BOA Madagascar dium) (Bank of Africa) Andraharo - authentic objects classified as national heritage (aloalo, Zafi- Tel: 22 565 68 - Fax: 23 566 68 2, Place de l’Indépendance Antaninarenina maniry shutters, ancient object and documents…). Tel: 22 202 51 - Fax: 22 213 98 ARE CONSIDERED AS PROTECTED: BNI-Crédit Agricole 74, Rue du 26 Juin 1960 Analakely - vertebrate, fish and plant fossils Tel: 22 228 00 - Fax: 22 337 49 - dinosaur bones - aepyornis eggs Budget THE TRAVELLER IS FREE TO TAKE OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY Night: from Ar 8 000 - 250 g: hallmarked jewels (subject to justifying Small budget Meal: between Ar 2 000 and Ar 8 000 entry with foreign currencies, the traveller may be allowed to take as much as 1 kg) Night: between Ar 20 000 and Ar 40 000 - 2 kg of vanilla exempted from tax and duties. Average budget Meal: between Ar 8 000 and Ar 15 000 PURCHASES IN DUTY FREE SHOPS Night: between Ar 40 000 and Ar 80 000 Comfortable budget Meal: Ar 20 000 Now, it is well known, antananarivo-ivato duty free shops, with their renovated attractive lay out, are among the best-stocked and the cheapest in this zone. * Night: based on a double bedded room / Meal: per person Budgets are to be calculated according to the itineraries and types of services Bank, credit card, currency you wish. after quitting the franc Zone in the 70’s, madagascar created the malagasy franc (mgf), which until recently has remained effective after several historical devaluations. since 1st January 2005, the country has chosen to shift back to its traditional currency, the ariary (ar), which is worth 5 fmg. euro and dollars are the most used foreign currencies in madagascar. the malagasy currency in not convertible, so it is best to change according to one’s needs at banks, foreign exchange offices and a few authorized hotels. the bank sector is now fully liberalized. the network comprises 7 commercial banks which number 105 agencies nationwide. they have non stop opening hours monday through friday (except on days before public holidays when they close all operations by the end of the morning!). automatic cash dispensers are available to anyone having international credit cards. Visa card is the most generally accepted credit card. Others, 
  • 9. Flights on request 8 companies offer flight services on request: SERVICES ET TRANSPORT AERIEN AEROMARINE 15, Rue Ratsimilaho Immeuble Opticam Zone Industrielle Forello Tanjombato Antananarivo 101 Antananarivo 102 Tel: 22 230 34 - Fax: 22 345 90 Tel: 22 468 31 / 033 11 870 70 Fax: 22 468 32 1 SUN AND SEA AIR HOTEL Lot VB II 058 Malaza Tanjombato Antananarivo 102 BP 445 Hellville Nosy Be Tel: 22 467 33 - Fax: 22 467 30 Tel: 86 612 49 - Fax: 86 615 69 MADAGASCAR HELICOPTER HAZOVATO 30, Rue Ranarivelo Behoririka Zone Industrielle Forello Tanjombato Antananarivo 101 Antananarivo 102 Tel: 22 289 15 - Fax: 22 324 93 Tel: 22 489 25 - Fax: 22 489 25 madaheli@simicro.mg HFF TRAVEL AIRWAYS MADAGASCAR FLYING SERVICE Aéroport d’Ivato Zone Avions Légers Aéroport d’Ivato Antananarivo 105 Time differences Antananarivo 105 Tel: 22 582 59 - Fax: 22 583 08 Tel: 22 482 79 - Fax: 22 482 79 madagascar is gmt +3. this means: ROADS +1 from South Africa “The road to development requires the development of roads”. from Federation of Russia (zone 1) in winter, the bad condition of roads has for a long time hampered the +1 no difference in Summer development of tourism, making access to some spots difficult, from France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy or Belgium in winter +2 which results in less time available for the tourist. since 2002, and + 1 in summer 3000 km of roads have been rehabilitated, and in the near future, +6 from Eastern Brazil the objective is the rehabilitation of 14 000 km of national and from Quebec and the East Coast of the United States in +8 winter, and + 7 in summer provincial roads. from the Pacific coast of the United States in winter, +11 + 10 in summer -1 from La Reunion and Mauritius -4 from Thailand -5 from Singapour, Hong Kong, and Western Australia -6 from Japan and South Corea -9 from New Zealand Inland travels BY AIR Scheduled flights air madagascar operates one of the most dense domestic networks in the world. 435 flights per week are scheduled. One of the qualities of this scheduling is that the most important domestic stops ensure the best possible connection with international flights. Urban means of transport (Antananarivo) AIR MADAGASCAR Tel: 22 22 222- Fax: 22 237 60 in the capital, 72% of transport is by public transport, 21% by Reservations: Tel: 22 510 00 private cars, and 7% by bicycle. the fleet of cars for transport in Flight schedule: Tel: 22 222 22 ext. 1470 antananarivo comprises 7000 taxis, 4000 buses with twenty or so Welcome service : Tel: 22 441 02 seats each, serving the capital intra-muros and the suburbs. 
  • 10. Electricity 220 V. some places have no electric network. take battery powered appliances and take care not to leave them in nature once they are worn out. Etiquette, taboos (fady) and prohibitions the malagasy population is known for being pacifist and tolerant. they are strongly attached to their customs and practices, namely in villages and rural communities. therefore, be attentive to be respectful of Entry formalities traditions, and in particular of elderly people, or of those who are considered as people of entry and stay visas with one single entry are delivered to tourists high rank in society, and respect either by malagasy diplomatic representations and consulates, or local “fady”, taboos and prohi- at the a irport or port of disembarkation for a fee. bitions scrupulously. it is ad- Non immigrant stay visas for less than 3 months maybe extended vised to get information about at Police stations for an aggregate period not exceeding them in advance and respect 3 months. them scrupulously. for example, there are communities who do list Of reQuired dOcumeNts not like their children’s heads to - Passport still valid for 6 months minimum; be caressed. Before taking pho- - 3 copies of form to be filled in by applicant; tographs of a person or a group of people, please ask for their - 4 passport size recent photos; permission first. - 1 photocopy of an OK ticket or certificate from the travel agency; lastly, nudism is not allowed on beaches. in town, a lamba or a - in case of business trips, a written application indicating the pareo covering one’s monokini or bikini will be sufficient not to reason for the travel; shock malagasy sense of decency. - Parental permission for minors travelling on their own; - Visa fee to be paid at the time of application or photocopy of the postal order. Working hours most offices and services (post offices, banks) are open non stop from 9.30 am to 5 pm. mail and telecommunications ensure services on saturday mornings. shops are closed at lunch time (noon to 2 pm), except big stores which are open monday through saturdays from 9.30 am to 7pm, and sometimes on sunday mornings. Languages in spite of a few dialectal variants, malagasy is the national language and the one spoken by the merina (from the Highlands) was chosen as the official language. the country being a member of the great family of francophone countries, french is also maintained as the second administrative language, and although french listening comprehension and speaking have significantly declined in rural areas, it remains the language of trade in big towns. 0
  • 11. Bargaining at the market International air links Bargaining is a tradition in the country, it is always practised at the market, with street vendors, and for taxi fares. it is necessary international air links with madagascar are ensured by 6 regular to reach an agreement with the driver concerning the fare before airline companies. taking a taxi. Bargaining should always go with smiling. AIR MADAGASCAR Driving licence 31, Avenue de l’Indépendance Antananarivo 101 1 Tel: 22 222 22 / 22 510 00 / 22 441 02 - Fax: 22 337 60 links and number of flights per week it is necessary to have an international driving licence, even if - Paris-antananarivo 5 flights most cars are rented with chauffeurs. But an ordinary driving - milan-Nosy Be-antananarivo 2 flights licence will do if your stay in the country is a long one, and a - Bangkok-antananarivo 2 flights passport is enough for renting a motorcycle. - mauritius-antananarivo 8 flights - reunion-antananarivo 7 flights Photos and videos - reunion-diego suarez 2 flights - reunion-toamasina 3 flights - reunion-taolagnaro 1 flight amateurs and professionals will find basic materials in the country - Nairobi-antananarivo 2 flights (cameras, films, video cameras…), classic or digital, available in - Johannesburg-antananarivo 4 flights most photo laboratories and specialized shops in big towns. - moroni-antananarivo 2 flights Professionals must previously obtain permission from aNgaP - dzaoudzi-diego suarez 1 flight before taking photos and videos in protected areas. - dzaoudzi-mahajanga 1 flight AIR FRANCE Tour Zital, 2nd floor, Route des Hydrocarbures Ankorondrano, Antananarivo 101 Tel: 23 230 01 / 23 230 23 - Fax: 23 230 41 link and number of flights per week : Paris-antananarivo 5 flights CORSAIR 1, Rue Rainitovo Ambatomena, Antananarivo 101 - Tel: 22 633 36 link and number of flights per week : Paris-antananarivo 1 fligth AIR MAURITIUS Represented by ARIO MADAGASCAR - Lalana Solombavambahoaka Frantsay, Antsahavola, Antananarivo 101 Tel: 22 359 90 / 22 622 51 / 22 622 52 / 22 357 73 link and number of flights per week : mauritius-antananarivo 4 flights AIR AUSTRAL Represented by ARIO MADAGASCAR - Lalana Solombavambahoaka Frantsay, Antsahavola, Antananarivo 101 link and number of flights per week : - reunion-antananarivo 3 flights - reunion-Nosy Be 3 flights - reunion mahajanga 1 flight - reunion-toamasina 1 flight INTERAIR Shopping mall, Madagascar Hilton, Anosy, Antananarivo 101 Tipping Tel: 22 224 06/22 224 52 Fax: 22 624 21 link and number of flights per week : Outside tourist spots and hotels, tips are not necessary. in case Johannesburg-antananarivo 4 flights one or several people are mobilized for your service and therefore cannot perform their everyday activities, tips are indispensable The schedules above are given for information only. For additional or and the amount is left to your generosity. specific information, please ask the airline company concerned. 
  • 12. Recommendations Seasons and weather to travellers there are 5 climatic zones, which follow the varied physical geo- graphy of the island: there are the mild Highlands, the hot and dry western regions, the rainy and the eastern coastal regions under the - travel with light luggage, if possible; backpacks are very handy influence of trade winds, the hot and wet North, and the semi-arid especially when taking public transport: light trousers, long south. rainfalls decreases progressively from the North-east (over sleeved shirts or t-shirts, pairs of tennis or sandals; 300 m) to the south-West (less than 400 m) with several variants - Hikers must have good walking shoes; between these two extremes. the dry season or the southern winter - mosquito repellent sprays and/or creams; is from april to October, and summer is from November to march. - sunblock cream and swimsuits; if, at sea level, temperatures range from 27°c and 32°c in sum- - for bivouac lovers: swiss knives, first aid kit, flasks, water puri- mer and 22°c in winter, on the Highlands, they may go down to fying tablets, sleeping bags (camping), torches, 4°c or even less in winter nights. - cameras and/or video cameras to immortalize the highlights of your trip. Health No vaccination is required from travellers, except if they have travelled in an infected area. However, one had better take preven- tive measures against malaria, hepatitis, cholera and yellow fever. EVACUATION FOR HEALTH REASONS list Of aPPrOVed carriers: Institut Pasteur de Madagascar Tel: 22 401 64 Centre Hospitalier de Soavinandriana Tel: 22 397 51 Hôpital HJRA Anosy Tel: 22 279 79 Hôpital Joseph Raseta, Befelatanana Tel: 22 223 84 Espace Medical Tel: 22 260 97 there are also a few private clinics and emergency centres the list of which is regularly published in daily newspapers. EVACUATION FOR HEALTH REASONS list Of aPPrOVed carriers: AIR MADAGASCAR AIR HOTEL Tel: 22 222 22 - Fax: 22 337 60 Tel: 22 385 14 - Fax: 22 285 15 airmad@dts.mg air.hotel@simicro.mg Religion (Antananarivo) SERVICES ET TRANSPORT AERIEN HFF TRAVEL AIRWAYS Tel: 22 230 34 - Fax: 22 345 90 Tel: 22 582 59 opticam@opticam.net fraise@wanadoo.mg since the 19th century, strong syncretism has established madagascar as one of the great christian countries in the world. However, SUN AND SEA MADAGASCAR FLYING SERVICE Tel: 22 467 33 - Fax: 22 467 30 Tel: 22 453 66 several other religions cohabit peacefully and in antananarivo, sun_sea@wanadoo.mg mfs@dts.mg there are religious services (catholic, protestant, orthodox, muslim) in foreign languages. MADAGASCAR HELICOPTER SYLVER WINGS - Catholic: Andohalo Cathedral, Faravohitra and Ankadivato churches Tel: 22 289 15 - Fax: 22 324 93 Tel: 22 675 18 / 22 675 19 madaheli@simicro.mg assist.swtt@yahoo.fr - Reformed Protestant: International Parish of Andohalo - Adventist: Francophone Adventist church, Rue Rainandriamampandry HAZOVATO SOMACRAM - Orthodox: Dormition Church of the Mother of God, Behoririka Tel: 22 314 83 - Fax: 22 477 30 Tel: 22 265 63 - Evangelical: International Evangelical church, Behoririka somacram@wanadoo.mg AEROMARINE - Church of Jesus Christ of the Last days’ Saints: Main church at ESPACE MEDICAL Tel: 033 11 870 70 - Fax: 22 468 32 Andrainarivo Tel: 22 260 97 - Sunni Mosque: at Ambatonakanga esmed@wanadoo.mg - Khoja Mosques: at Ankorondrano and Tsaralalana - Bohra Mosques: at Anosizato and Behoririka Note: get information about companies which can operate international - Aga Khan Mosque: at Andohan’Analakely evacuations. 
  • 13. • calling from madagascar: Country code + zone code + correspondent’s number (example : +33 11 23…) PREFIXES OF BIG TOWNS : Central Tana 22 Farafangana 73 Middle West 48 1 Ambatolampy 42 Fianarantsoa 75 Nosy Be 86 Ambatondrazaka 54 Mahajanga 62 Sainte-Marie 57 Ambositra 47 Maintirano 65 Sambava 88 Manakara Antsirabe 44 Mananjary 72 Taolagnaro 92 Diego Suarez 82 Moramanga 56 Toamasina 53 Antsohihy 67 Morondava 95 Tulear 94 in antananarivo in particular, nearly each street has a cybercafé where you can go and send your e-mails. Public holidays and festivals PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN MADAGASCAR: - 1st January (New year’s day) Public security - 29 march (1947 events commemoration) - easter monday - 1st may (labour day) - ascension thursday CENTRAL POLICE STATIONS: - Whit monday Antananarivo Tel: 17 or 22 227 35 - 26 June (independence day) Toamasina (Tamatave) Tel: 62 229 29 Antsiranana (Diego Suarez) Tel: 82 220 27 - 15 august (assumption day) Fianarantsoa Tel: 75 515 01 - 1st November (all saints’ day) Toliara (Tulear) Tel: 94 410 29 - 25 december (christmas) Tax as for the educational system, terms last two or three months, whether you are in state or an 18% value added tax is included in the price of all goods in private schools. Holidays are madagascar. nearly the same, although their length slightly differs from one Telecommunications system to another (christmas, schools’ day, shrove tuesday, easter, long holidays, all saints). the fixed telephony network is managed by telma (telecom malagasy), and mobile services by celtel and OraNge. there among the island’s main festivals, are telephone booths in all big towns. two have gained worldwide fame: the donia (may-June at • calling madagascar: Nosy Be) and madajazzcar (October in anta- International code “+ 261” followed by the local correspon- nanarivo and in the provinces). dent’s number, except the “0” (example: + 261 20 22 660 85). the same for calling a mobile phone number. 
  • 14. 
  • 15. 2. ISLAND COUNTRY’S FIVE HORIZONS 2 The Central Highlands The South-West and the West Antananarivo Tulear The sacred hills Tulear to the south Itasy (RN) Tulear to Isalo and Ranohira From Antananarivo to Andasibe (RN) From Tulear to Morondava From Antananarivo to Anjozorobe (RN) Morondava and its surroundings From Antananarivo to Vakinankaratra (RN) From Belo-sur-Tsiribihina to the Tsingy From Antsirabe to Fianarantsoa The North-East and the East From Fianarantsoa to Ambalavao The SAVA The North-West Maroantsetra and the Bay of Antongil Antsiranana (Diego Suarez) From Toamasina (Tamatave) to Fenerive-East Beaches, bays and lands Sainte Marie From Antsiranana to the south The South-East Nosy Be From Mahajanga (Majunga) to the south-west The coastal towns From Mahajanga to the north Taolagnaro (Fort-Dauphin) The surroundings From Taolagnaro to the southern tip of the island 
  • 16. The Central Highlands includes the capital, antananarivo, sheltered in the central Highlands which is mild and temperate, and stretch to the south as far as ambalavao. Hills, extinct volcanoes and green scenery of groves, vineyards, terraced rice fields are its main features. Antananarivo One of the most picturesque capital in the world with its brick houses perched on the hillsides, its stairways, and its swarming small street trades. up on the hill stretches the ancient town with its freestone churches, ancient royal places, the newly renovated stately residences, and a grandiose panoramic view over the plains beneath. The sacred hills On each one of the 12 sacred hills, andrianampoinimerina established a wife of his to seal the unity of his kingdom. ilafy, Alasora, Antsahadinta…, but above all Ambohimanga which uNescO has classified as World Heritage sites. Itasy (RN1) this region of extinct volcanoes is a hundred kilometres or so from the capital. the Lake itasy, lies over 45 km2 in a lanscape of ancient craters and basaltic fields, surrounded by a constellation of 40 other smaller lakes. the lily falls, with foaming waters falling from a 23 m height. the Kasigie dominates the whole region with its stromboli cone. From Antananarivo to Andasibe (RN2) at PK 59, turning to Mantasoa, its lake, historical vestiges and its (very) good restaurants. the Gorges of the Mandraka offer a splendid panoramic view. at PK 115, Moramanga, and its “gendarmerie museum” exhibiting a collection of ancient cars, uniforms, weird catches. Andasibe, one of the most visited National Parks of the island. From Antananarivo to Anjozorobe (RN3) at 16.3km from antananarivo, turning to the sacred hill of Ambohimanga. at Anjozorobe, about 90 km to the north of the capital, is the largest fragment of the old primary forest in the Highlands. recommended for ornithology lovers. 
  • 17. 2 From Antananarivo to Vakinankaratra (RN7) at PK 68, Ambatolampy is the capital of mimosa in July-august and also that of craft manufacturing of cooking-pots and baby-foot tables. Hiking to the massif of Ankaratra (tsiafajavona, 3rd highest summit in the island). excursion to Tsinjoarivo (46 km) at the furthermost south east bounds of imerina. Antsirabe, a pretty thermal town located 170 km from the capital, combining a typical malagasy style with the tranquillity of a small european provincial town. a town with transi- tion weather because of its geographical position, antsirabe is a real hub for agri-business, textile and tobacco industry; to be visited by rickshaw. the legendary Lake Tritriva, whose water level decreases in rainy season! the Vakinankaratra is one of the regions of the Highlands where there are still a few hectares or so of primary forests where one may find lemurs. From Antsirabe to Fianarantsoa (RN7) Ambositra at PK 258. the right spot for marquetry and “savika”, a traditional and very spectacular bullfighting event. starting point for excursions to the Zafimaniry land. fianarantsoa, a city built on 3 levels with, from the top the Tanàna Ambony, the highest level and its old and very picturesque quarters classified as a protected area because of its historical and architectural interest. main town of the only province that gathers the highlights of the central plateau, the luxuriant east coast and of the immense spaces of the south. it is in the heart of a region reputed for its vineyards, tea plantations and terraced rice fields. the fianarantsoa-Manakara railway line offers very spectacular sights with at times a very acrobatic route on the cliff side. From Fianarantsoa to Ambalavao (RN7) from Vatoavo pass, view on the plains of Ambalavao studded with villages, groves and vineyards. Village of crafts (“arindrano” fabric, antemoro paper) and second zebu market in the island. Picturesque houses with terraces of varied designs. starting point for hiking to the massif of Andringitra, the highest accessible summit in Madagascar, hot spot for mountain climbing and paragliding. stop in the small reserve of Anjà along rN7 with its hundreds of affectionate lemurs, its caverns where the local people lived one century ago. 
  • 18. The North-West this coastal region, always attentive to the call of the sea, unrolls its beaches and creeks along a slack sea sprinkled with islets that seem to be at the farest edges of the world. it is not surprising that with such assets, it has pioneered the opening of madagascar to international tourism. it confirms this specific feature of the great island which is combining the exceptional beauties of the sea and the various attractive poles of interest of the land. Antsiranana (Diego Suarez) Nestling in one of the most beautiful bays of the world, the town lives with the rhythm set by its shipyards, and the legend of libertalia associated with the golden age of freebooting is still in the minds. a mosaic of peoples where white djellabas meet with the multicoloured loincloths of the women who often have beauty mask on their faces. Beaches, bays and lands ramena, “the” beach of antsiranana is 18 km from the city. the at PK 13 on the road to Orangea is ideal for funborders. the emerald sea just outside the false channel, an lagoon which is like an immense natural aquarium. the Bay of Courrier, starting point for a number of water activities (diving, fishing, bivouac)… the Mountain of the french, 8km from the town, with its caves and fortification remnants. Windsor Castle, if you come from the west, will offer you a 360° panoramic view on the Cape of Amber to the north, the mozambique channel to the west, the Bay of diego to the east and the Amber Mountain to the south. From Antsiranana to the south the Amber Mountain and the Massif of Ankarana, two hotspots for ecotourism and antakarana traditions. the lake of Anivorano, 75 km away, features crocodiles which are sacred as they are supposed to be ancestors of the ancient times. Ambilobe is where the antakarana kings reside. developers’ interests are at present focused on the Bay of the russians, just opposite Nosy Be, where they want to build new hotel infrastructures. 
  • 19. 2 Nosy Be Nosy Be and its coral islands… in everyone’s mind, it opens up a picture of palm trees and white sand beaches. Nosy Be is more than that. indeed its privileged geographical position accounts for this image. apart from its cultural specificity, revealed through its rituals, its fady (taboos), its sacred sites (sacred trees) and its traditional small villages (falafa) scattered all the way, Nosy Be’s historical heri- tage is extremely rich and has left its imprints on the island (the Prince’s residence, royal tombs)… some of the rituals practised by the people, the small sailing boats, the indian village… are marks which immigrants from comoros, Zanzibar in times of maritime trade in the indian Ocean left behind them. Other historical events have given their names to some sites (mount Passot, Hell Ville, Bay of the russians…). Nosy Be, is a beautiful mixture of culture and nature: the immense sea territory and its accessibility offers several possibilities for discovery and recreational activities. encounters with several species (tortoises, rays, dolphins, whales) are frequent. the destination is famous for its inoffensive whale sharks. the reef surrounding is a real aquarium. cruises by catamaran, sailing boats or traditional pirogue will be for you an opportunity to enjoy tranquillity in the immensity of the sea, beaches and desert creeks. as it is in the mozambique channel, amateurs will have the joy to fish carangue, swordfish, sea breams and other. the land offers great biodiversity. Of volcanic origin, the numerous lakes are bordered with rice fields, raffia and travellers’ trees and are a real home for crocodiles. crossing the sugar cane, ylang ylang,coffee and vanilla plantations, “Nosy Be, the island of perfumes” gives its summits and ridges for you to enjoy a panoramic view of the region. the forests, the natural reserves in the numerous islets (lokobe, sakatia, Komba), each one different from the other, will give you the opportunity to observe the endemic wildlife, its fauna (lemur macaco, chameleon, giant bats, sea eagle…) as well as its tropical flora rich in medicinal plants. lastly, Nosy Be, it’s the twinge of nostalgia at the sight of the richelieu style embroidered curtains which you have chosen with the embroiderers. Nostalgia of what the kindness of its people has given you, to the rhythm of salegy (music) and its colourful cuisine. it will conjure up in your mind like the words of a song: Nosy Be, Nosy sakatia, Nosy tanikely, Nosy Komba, Nosy iranja, Nosy mitsio…! 
  • 20. From Mahajanga (Majunga) to the south-west Mahajanga, the second port of madagascar, situated at the mouth of the Betsiboka, a town marked by remote indo-arab influence. Here are several pictures which are really loved by many: the Port of sailing boats, the rehabilitated sea front, the great baobab tree with its more than 20 m circumference, the magnificent sunsets. first destination of domestic tourism. Katsepy, at the entrance of the Bay of Bombetoka, one of the most beautiful beaches of mahajanga, the Bay of Baly, magnificent scenery which will take your breath away. The Lake Kinkony, a 15 000 ha of water in the heart of the plains of Mahavavy. From Mahajanga to the north The red Cirque (3 km), an amphitheatre shaped by erosion where the layers play with the glints of the sun. Between Ampazoana and Antsanitia is a beautiful coastline which is going to be a key element of mahajanga tourism. the Caves of Andranoboka near the mouth of the Mahajamba, are the most spectacular ones of the island. 0
  • 21. 2 The South-West and West Here is the land of these masterpieces of nature, the Tsingy of Bemaraha or the ruiniform massifs of isalo. crossing its large areas is like opening a book on several features of the malagasy culture, let alone the permanent communion with the ancestors. the southwest is also synonymous of a fabulous submarine universe with one of the longest coral barriers in the world. its vegetation, “B” standing for Baobabs and the Bush, makes it the promised land for naturalists. Tulear lying calmly between the rivers of onilahy and fiherenana, dubbed “the White” at times because of its implacable sunshine, or “tsy miroro” (the one that never sleeps) for the festive propensity, so they say, of its inhabitants. the floristic peculia- rities of its hinterland are announced by the majestic banian, “the one tree forest” of the village of Miary 9 km away, or by the Arboretum of Antsokay, 12 km from the city. Tulear to the south sarodrano 20 km away, is famous for its caverns with fresh water close to the sea. saint Augustin, a fishermen’s village nestling in a bay bordered with long limestone cliffs. Anakao, 22 km farther, its immaculate beach, lagoon, and just opposite, the islet of Nosy Ve which offers one of the most splendid diving sites in madagascar. Tsimanampesotse National Park, 40 km from anakao with its colonies of pink flamingos and blind fish. The seven sacred lakes, about sixty kilometres from tulear. Between Betioky and Ampanihy, several Mahafaly tombs, real bright coloured small mausoleums. 
  • 22. Tulear to Isalo and Ranohira (RN7) Zombitse Vohitsara and Vohimena National Parks, well known by ornithologists. ilakaka, once small anonymous, is now a mushroom village which has stemmed from the saphire fever. isalo, one of the most stunning tourist curiosities in madagascar with its relief sculpted by erosion. a number of tours may be organized, from the easiest, like the well known one to the natural swimming-pool, to the most demanding. all information available at the Park office at ranohira, where several hotels are concentrated. From Tulear to Morondava ifaty and mangily, resorts which are very much enjoyed by diving amateurs, 26 km to the north of tulear. andavadoaka, 50 km from morombe, its wild creeks and coral reefs. morombe, 284 km to the north of tulear, port of registry for small sailing boats and schooners servicing along this coastline. the mikea forest which attracts researchers, film makers or ordinary people out of curiosity to learn more about these mysterious social groups. 
  • 23. 2 Morondava and its surrounding Morondava immortalized by the scene of the pirogues returning ashore at sunset. Historical town of the menabe sakalava kingdom. sakalava and Vezo funeral art, subject of all sorts of interpretations to date. The Baobab lane, the most photogra- phed spot in madagascar. The Baobab in love and the Host Village of Mangily, the sakalava tombs are among the sights close to this lane. the special reserve of Andranomena is appealing to visitors in many ways: exceptional fauna and flora, lakes and birds. the protected area of central menabe stretching over 100 000 ha of dense dry forest of deciduous plants, Kirindy and Ambadira, 24 000 ha of mangroves and 1000 ha of humid zones, of which the Lake Bedo. it is reputed for the riches of its animal species representative of the region. Belo-sur-Mer is better known for building schooners after the model of a Breton sailor. among other things, the spot offers you the National Park Kirindy Mitea, an area of transition between the dry and the sub-arid climate of the south; it is an area recognized for the endemism of its lemurs, birds, baobabs… From Belo-sur-Tsiribihina to the Tsingy Belo, terminus of the descent of the Tsiribihina started at Miandrivazo, a place also associated with the fitampoha, the royal relics bathing ceremony. the fabulous spot of the Tsingy of Bemaraha, “forest” of bluish karstic peaks which sprung up from the sea millions of years ago. this spot which has been classified as World Heritage by uNescO offers one of the most spectacular scenery in the great island. 
  • 24. The North-East and East rosewood coast or Vanilla coast? the whole region, the greenest of the island, seems almost embarrassed to choose between its various blessings, what with its forest tree species, the spices which have built madagascar’s reputation worldwide, natural sanctuaries which have been so far preserved from mass tourism… even the antarctic whales never forget to honour their rendez-vous with its waters year after year after having traveled more than 5000 km. The SAVA World capital of vanilla, also a hotspot for ecotourism with the reserves and National Parks of Anjanaharibe, Marojejy and Masoala. the Takhtajania, a plant which already existed 120 million years ago, was disco- vered here. Vohémar, founded in the 9th century by waves of arab immigrants traded with countries as remote as Persia and china. sambava, in the heart of the “green triangle”, great producer of vanilla and coffee, famous for its coco plantations stretching over 60 km along the coast. Andapa, curled up in a green basin is the rice granary of the saVa. Antalaha, formerly a fishermen’s village, has become a very attractive little town, with its traditional shipbuilding and its gem cutting business. Maroantsetra and the Bay of Antongil The Bay of Antongil, with 2000 km2 surface area is the most important spawning area of whales in the southeast of the indian Ocean. Maroantsetra at the bottom of the bay, a small enclave where the greenness of forests meets with the scent of vanilla and cloves. Nosy Mangabe and Masoala, the largest protected area, terrestrial and marine, in madagascar. From Toamasina (Tamatave) to Fenerive-East Toamasina, second town of the country and its main outlet to the sea. contrast between colonial style buildings and huts made with local materials, between shadowy avenues bordered with palm trees or flamboyants and sandy alleys. foulpointe (61 km), a lagoon for sheer pleasure at week-ends, a few vestiges of which the fort Hova (19th century) and the pirates’ cemetery. Mahambo, a village typical of the east coast with its roofs of ravinala leaves, whose future prospects seem to be shaped by a surfboard… fenerive-east is 16 km from mahambo, formerly a trade counter, it is at present the centre of clove, vanilla, pepper and coffee plantations. 
  • 25. 2 Sainte Marie real sanctuary of nature with its primitive forests, its flower species, cascades and sea beds, humpback whales from June to september. Ambodifotatra, the main town, a “street-village” with its historical monuments among which the citadel of the compagnie des indes and the oldest church in madagascar (1859). to the north, the pointe des Cocotiers, Ambodiatafana and its succession of natural swimming-pools, the sacred site of pointe Albrand. to the west, Lounkitsy, the largest bay of sainte marie with its rock barrier. to the east, a barrier of coral reefs form a natural aquarium. to the south, the ilôts aux sables, a set of 3 coral islets, and l’ile aux Nattes, sainte marie’s jewel with its tips, bays and emerald lagoon. 
  • 26. The South-East land of contrasts, the south-east is at the conjunction of climates which granted it with very different landscapes and vegetation which, however, cohabit in perfect harmony. its indented coastline of exceptional beauty matches perfectly with the hinterland where the word discovery has its full meaning. it is easily understandable that for centuries this riviera has attracted visitors, somehow like the nepenthes, a very pretty flower which is unique to the region… The towns along the coastline Nosy Varika, starting point of sports expeditions to the falls of sakaleona, the highest ones in madagascar. Mananjary, at the junction of the pangalanes Canal and the river mananjary. Place where starts the superb excursion on the Pangalanes canal towards toamasina passing by Mahela, Nosy Varika, Mahanoro (after mahanoro, drive along the beautiful road to toamasina). Manakara, terminus of the spectacular travel by train from fianarantsoa. splendid region lavish with exotic plants and fruits, very pleasant trip on the pangalanes Canal lined with villages of crayfish fishermen. Vohipeno, cultural capital of the antemoro land, where the arabico-malagasy manuscripts called sorabe are kept, and a key centre of divinatory science… farafangana, rich in agricultural produce is the motherland of the antefasy people. starting point for the reserve of manombo. Vangaindrano, an antesaka town, at the southern edge of the 400 km of coastline of the province of fianarantsoa, a starting point for the Lake Masianaka which is sacred for the antesaka. also a starting point to the National Park of Midongy du sud. for those with an adventurous spirit, going back to taolagnaro by bicycle or moto across a wonderful region is an adventure in itself. Taolagnaro (Fort-Dauphin) located in the far south end of madagascar’s eastern coastline which is amazingly straight. town founded in 1643 and named after the future louis XiV. at the bottom of saint Louis peak, the urban area between two bays is one of the most beautiful in madagascar. the first people who settled in la reunion in 1674 come from this area. it is also the capital of crayfish celebrated in an annual festival which has become a traditional event. The surroundings The reserve of Nahampoana, 7 km to the north, rich in endemic species. Possibility of very “amazonian” trekking and descent by pirogue into the mangroves. 5 km from the airport, Vinanibe and its recreational water centre (windsurf, flysurf…). The fort of the portuguese (16th century), the oldest permanent construction of madagascar. the bay of Lokaro is about 40 km the north; it is ideal for enjoying the pleasures of the sea with its islets, creeks, river arms, the lake Ambarano and the village of fishermen, evatra. sainte Luce, about 60 km from taolagnaro, with splendid beaches lined with luxuriant vegetation. and all along the road and trails, the funeral Art of the antandroy and antanosy. From Fort-Dauphin to the southern end of the island Huge sisal plantations along the road to Ambovombe in the valley of mandrare. close to the ocean, the magnificent spot of the Lake Anony; beautiful pictures of filaos and fishermen. Berenty, a private reserve over 240 ha stretching along the river Mandrare, with its famous lemurs and its antandroy Museum for Arts and Traditions. from Tsihombe, a difficult track leading to false Cape and Cape sainte Marie, whose tip is overhanging the ocean from a height of more than 150 m. 
  • 27. 3. TOURISM PRODUCTS 3 Our National Parks with their hiking possibilities A Peoples’ history Culture: funeral art, traditional ceremonies, festivals; Exceptional sports event (the Savika), classified sites and monuments; Handicraft: Zafimaniry art, Antemoro paper, mohair carpets, wild silk Adventure everywhere Climbing, rafting, canyoning, paragliding, speleo, whale watching, golf A beach for everyone Sand and sun, fishing and diving, surf and windsurf, sailing, navigable waterways, international cruises 
  • 28. Nature THE FAUNA madagascar fauna differs from that of near africa because of its high rate of endemism and the absence of big cats. there are over 100 000 species of invertebrates some of which are well known by collectors, like the biggest butterfly in the world, the comet whose trains may exceed 20 cm, or the great phasm whose female may be as long as 25 cm. But the award for originality could be awarded to the red and white giraffe beetle, thus dubbed for the long nape of their males. as for reptiles and amphibians, 95% of species are endemic. frogs may have very unexpected colours from the military-like “uniform” of the Scaphiophryne Marmorata to the bright red Dicophus Antongilii. Just like lemurs, chameleons are emblematic of the great island, as in this country live the two-thirds of known species, from the shortest (less than 10 cm) to the longest (more than 70 cm). as for land tortoises, of which the radiated tortoise and the one with a “ploughshare”, they are endangered species which are particularly protected. several families of the 350 inventoried bird species are endemic. the Vangidae are diversified into 14 species which have their own specific characteristics in terms of size, colours and beak shape. the same observation is made for the couas where one distinguishes the giant coua which moves on the ground and the crested coua which is considered as the most beautiful bird of the island. Of the 20 species of birds of prey, one can cite the snake eaters, the red owls and the Pygarque of madagascar which is like the white headed american eagle and for which there are only forty or so individuals left. carnivores number 7 wild species, all of them endemic. the biggest of all is the fosa, which in profile is thickset like a small puma and may be as long as 1.50 m, tail included. as for insectivores, the tenrec looks like a hedgehog which would be bigger than a rabbit in size, but without the ability to roll up into a ball. lastly, the most representative mammals of madagascar are the lemurs, primitive prosimians which have kept a few insectivore features. diurnal or nocturnal, with sizes from that of a mouse to that of a small child, they have literally “exploded” into a myriad of species whose inventory has not been com- pleted, as new species are still discovered. it is the case for the Lepilemur Seali, the Lepilemur Mitsinjonesis, the 300 g nocturnal Mirza Zaza or the the Microcebus Lehilahitsara. But the rarest malagasy lemur remains the aye aye, which was saved from extinction in 1966. it is a weird animal which is said to have combined the teeth of a rabbit, the ears of a bat, the bristle of a boar, the hands of a monkey and the tail of a fox! 
  • 29. THE FLORA madagascar has fascinated several gene- rations of naturalists to the extent that some of them, like alfred grandidier, practically devoted the whole of their active life to studying its nature. from 3 the arid bush of the south to the luxu- riant vegetation of the east, the great island offers a wide range of altitudes, temperatures, rainfalls whose gradients combine to form several ecological niches. the West is the realm of baobabs of which madagascar numbers 7 species against 2 for australia and only one for the whole of africa. Here, the vegetation takes unex- pected shapes such as the umbrella pine euphorbs, creepers whose stems show only in the rainy season, or the pachypodium which calls in mind the picture of a long -necked bottle. in the bush in the south, the didieraceans take the form of giant cactuses which may become impenetrable forests. as for pachypodium, either they creep on the ground, or erect their bole 5 or 6 m up to the sky. the bead-covered branches of the Euphorbia Alluandi account for their well justified nickname “sausage-tree”! as one army officer from the early days of french pacification said, “this world is unreal, not a plant, not a tree that looks familiar. One is walking in a forest, but a forest of marine dreams, a forest of leafless trees”. However, beware not to represent the south as a phantas- magorical wilderness reserved for those in search of strong sensations! Of all the 38 species of aloe, the Aloe Vaombe is perhaps one of the most beautiful plants of madagascar. it may bear as many as one hundred clusters of bright red flowers that ablaze the barren surroundings. in the east and northeast forests, one has to open up one’s way through vege- tation springing up from everywhere, from the rocks, ground or trunks and branches. in this area, more than one thousand varieties of orchids, of which some have memorable little anecdotes attached to them, have been numbe- red. studying the Angraecum Sesquipedale which has a 35 cm long spur, alfred russel Wallace came to the conclusion that there must surely exists an insect with a proboscis that long to gather the nectar. it is only forty years later that the butterfly with the famous proboscis rolled under its head was discovered. it was named Xanthopan Morgani Prae- dicta as a tribute to the conviction of Wallace… 
  • 30. Our National Parks with Madagascar fauna differs from that of its neighbour, the African continent, by its high rate of endemism and the absence of big cats. it numbers more than 100 000 invertebrate species, 285 inventoried bird species, several varieties of butterflies, numerous groups of reptiles and amphibians, several families of mammals the most representative of which are the lemurs. The best way of getting to know this rich biodiversity is to hike around the national parks that stretch along the country, from North to south. The Amber Mountain Ankarana 40 km to the southwest of Born under the sea millions of years ago, the Ankarana National antsiranana, the amber moun- park covers 18 000 ha. its network of caves, subterranean rivers tain culminates at 1475 m and and canyons is surrounded by dry and green forests. On the benefits from important rainfalls. surface, erosion has carved the limestone “Tsingy” with their its microclimate has been favou- sharp ridges, whereas deep under the ground, the longest rable to the development of an network of underground waters ever existing in africa (110 km) exceptional biodiversity within a formed itself. speleologists have inventoried 11 main caves, of luxuriant vegetation stretching which a few are sacred as they are royal burial places. in the over 18 000 ha. it alternates fasci- galleries, stalactites and stalagmites, helectites and other drape- nating spots with falls and crater ries of calcite hanging down with folds like a fabric. ankarana lakes. Numbering 75 bird species, shelters 11 lemur species, 92 bird species of which the rare 9 reptile species, mammals which Messire Varié, 60 species of reptiles and amphibians, and more are unique to the place, the than half of the bats in the island. fauna of the amber mountain National Park is typical of mada- This massif combines the riches of a limestone mineral world gascar’s humid forests. if you are with the variety of its ecosystems and plays a key cultural role. curious and attentive, you will Short tours: discover the brookesia, the smallest - Loss of the river tour. A whole river engulfed in an swallow hole in rainy chameleon in the world! the season. amber mountain falls are a real - Milaintely caves, a haven of tranquillity and freshness fount of life for man’s commu- - Ambohimalaza point of view, on a volcano summit. nities and the whole economy in the region. Long tours: -Bat cave and Small Tsingy. From the cave to the massif summit. ecotourism products offered by -Green lake and Big Tsingy. The summit of limestone sharp ridges is a the Amber Mountain range from must-see; mere observation of the spots to -Cathedral caves the most demanding hiking. several choices are available and of Andrafiabe, in the heart of the the assistance of a guide is indispensable. geological and cultural history of Short tour (2h): Roussettes Station - Sacred cascade - Way of the one Ankarana; thousand trees- Antakarana cascade -Crocodile cave Medium tour (3h 30): Roussettes Station - Sacred cascade - Way of the and gloomy river. one thousand trees - Antomboka cascade or the Small lake Crocodiles and Long tour (5h): Roussettes Station - Sacred cascade - Antakarana cascade mushroom shaped - Way of the one thousand trees - Antomboka cascade concretions; Trekking long course (14h): The Cursed lake - The Big lake - Amber summit For experienced hikers, there are several days’routes which climb up the most remote summits. 0
  • 31. their hiking possibilities Masoala Tampolo or Antalaviana. travelling by pirogue or boat is practically unavoidable. trails and camping infrastruc- tures have been laid out in the special reserve of Nosy Mangabe, Ambatoledama, at cape east and at the 3 marine parks. Baly 150 km to the south-west of mahajanga, the Bay of Baly is still very little known by tourists but this will soon change! spots of such riches and diversity are rare in thick dry forests, with its disorderly bush vegetation, the green mangroves along the shore… Not to forget the 3 remote beaches, the magnificent lakes, and above all the coral reefs offering their marine life to passionate divers. Here is the range for spur tortoises which are the rarest of madagascar species, for endemic birds such as the fisher eagle, the sacred ibis or Hubert’s heron. the bay which is somehow the “soul” of the park is also a favourite place for about thirty kilometres from maroantsetra pink flamingos and dolphins. in the Bay of Antongil, the Masoala National park stretches to the ocean over 230 000 ha of primary forest to reach the altitude of 1311 Ankarafantsika m. among the 10 species of lemurs which have been inventoried there, the elusive ginger Vari with its flaming coat is particularly worth noting. the rich “Realm of birds, land of sacred lakes, fauna of masoala numbers rare or unique species such fount of life”, Ankarafantsika is in the as the green lizard, the red owl, the tomato frog, or the ser- north-west of madagascar, 450 km from pent eater eagle. its three marine spots (Tampolo to the west, antananarivo and 115 km from maha- Ambodilaitry to the south ant ifaho to the east) are privileged janga along the rN4. it is said that in spots for kayaking or skin diving while holding one’s breath. a the old days, a brigand used to terrorize simple mask is enough to admire a colourful marine world. the the people in the region. a lake, repu- Bay of antongil is a spot favourable for observing the whale ted for its crocodiles in the park, was sharks migrating from antarctica during the spawning period named after him ravelobe vegetation from July to september. a replica in a glasshouse with genuine is there characterized by a mixture of plants and animals from masoala deciduous dry forests, humid forests, is at present one of the main marshes with raffia and savannas, as attractions of the zoo of Zurich. well as several aquatic habitats. 92.3% of tree species and 84.4% of herba- … Where the forest meets with ceous species are endemic. 129 bird the sea, a real hymn to nature! species are numbered, some of which like the Vanga of Van dam or the white You will have unforgettable me- mésite, attract ornithologists from all over the world. 3 endemic mories of hiking along the trails species of tortoises are bred in the nearby forest station of from the west to the east, from ampijoroa: the “ploughshare” tortoise, angonoka, the flat tail maroantsetra to the cape east, tortoise, Kapidolo, and the fresh water tortoise, rere. the park from antalaha to maroantsetra constantly receives the visit of research institutions. it is the or along the peninsula passing team from the university of Hanover, germany, that discovered by Ambanizana, Lohotrozona, the Microcebus Ravelobensis in . 
  • 32. on tags to make identification easy- Orchids in blossom in October-No- vember. Sacred Falls and Rianasoa tour: marked out and secured route across lush vegetation. Tsakoka tour: at the far edge of the park public area. Bemaraha classified as World Heritage by uNescO in 1990, Bemaraha which occupies part of the limestone plateau bearing the same name became a national park in 1997. the scenery offered by its tsingy is one of the most spectacular in madagascar with its faults, cracks sculpted into sharp peaks and ridges. millions of years ago, these mountains were engulfed in the sea. corals and shells piled up and knit together to form a 200 m thick an immense plate. Waters withdrew progressively, and the limes- tone left in the open cracked to form joints and canyons. then rain started its long eroding work on the surface and deep beneath. On the “roof” of the Tsingy, temperature may be as Andasibe Mantadia high as 50° whereas from the depths of the canyons, vegetation is striving to grow upward for sunlight and vital photosynthesis. about 138 km to the east of antananarivo along rN2, Andasibe National park is the most visited of the protected areas. it actually comprises two parts: the mantadia Park and the Analamazaotra reserve of indri, over 12 180 ha surface area. it is a real treasure in terms of fauna, as andasibe hosts 11 species of lemurs of which the biggest, the indri indri, which is easily spotted because of its impressive shrieks. it cannot bear being in captivity, so it can be admired only in its natural milieu. the park also shelters several species of birds, reptiles, insects and amphibians. as for its flora, it is the luxuriant vegetation of tropical forests with several varieties of ferns, epihyts, sacred creepers, orchids and dwarf palm trees. the park has an interpretation centre as well as places laid out for picnic or camping. some call them forests, others limestone cathedrals. The park it is the most visited hotspot offers a range of tours with various levels of difficulties, all for ecotourism and groups requiring a guide. the special reserve of Analamazaotra (810 ha) and Tantely tour: test-tour (dizziness, ease…) before tackling more demanding the Mantadia National park routes. Andadoany and Ankeligoa tours: respectively 2 and 6 km, to be done (12 000 ha). in 4 to 5 h. Labyrinths, “cathedrals”, overview of the Tsingy. Manambolo tour: usually in 4 h of which 1h by pirogue and 3h on foot. Over 100 m high steep gorges. Indri tour: Anjohimahitsy tour: rather hard, to be done in 1 or 2 days, as one Indri I: 1 to 2 hours’ walk - group of indri - fascinating forest scenery- wishes. Includes the previous tours. group of Fulvus (brown lemur) - Avahi laniger laniger (nocturnal lemur in Andamozavaky tour: 5 km in 6 h; classified as hard. 360° panoramic camouflage) - reptiles (nasitus, brevicorns, green lizard…) view, feeling of emptiness on a suspension bridge. Indri II: 3 to 4 hours’ walk - observation of two groups of indri-fascinating Berano tour: 3km at the northern entrance, focussed on speleology. forest scenery - Eulemur rubriventer - Avahi laniger - Hapalemur griseus griseus (bamboo lemur) One may add the Tours of biological and ecological interest (SIBE) Adventure tour: 4 to 6 hours’ walk - group of indri - group of Hapa- outside the park. Tourism in villages, warm and traditional hospitality. lemur - Avahi laniger laniger- varied forest landscapes - different orchid species. Botanical tour: leads to the orchids’ park. Tree species with their names 
  • 33. Ranomafana Varijatsy tour: - Vatoharana complex, 6h for a day return, one day or more with camping (June through November). - Vohibate complex, adventure trip, 2h for young and sportive people accessible from ambohimahasoa along rN7 and over a (June through November). 41 600 ha surface area, the ranomafana National Park is one of Sahamalaotra tour: 2h on foot, for all the richest for discovering biodiversity in the eastern hu- Vohiparara tour: mid forest. it is nestled in a mountainous and extremely - Kidonavo complex, 3 to 5h rainy region, which accounts for its nickname the “misty - Andranofady complex, 4 to 8h - Andranonaito complex, 2 to 3h on foot from Vohiparara. land”. second thermal spot of the island, its scenery alter- Soarano tour: nates green cliffs - Ranomena complex, 1 to 2 days’ trip for young and and streams punc- sportive people. tuated by cascades. - Vohimeva complex, 2h trip for discovery by night. it hosts 12 species Note: Soarano and Varijatsy tours are particularly of lemurs like the favourable for trekking/hiking. They are adven- black crowned ture tours which can be adjusted according to sifaka, the Hapa- the hiker’s needs. lemur Aureus, the Hapalemur Simus, L’Andringitra or the Microcebus Rufus, the tiniest of lemurs which may 97 km to the south of fianarantsoa, the park is perched on the be seen at the spot 3 Massif of Andringitra at an altitude ranging from 650 to 2658 m. of talatakely in the the andringitra is one of the biological hotspots of madagascar, evening… thanks a natural laboratory where relic and more recent species cohabit, to researchers and which accounts for the originality of its fauna and flora. it is their work, their range is perfectly known. ranomafana also in the andringitra that there is the greatest concentration of hosts 114 madagascar bird species, to be watched and listened known lemur species, with no less than 9 of them on the eastern to especially in september-October. Here, the chameleons are side, and 5 on the western side. 5 species of carnivores, of the most colourful and the most attractive. trees comprise which the fosa with its miniature puma-like shape, find shelter several precious species and others used for medicinal purposes. there, as well as 99 inventoried bird species, and the list is not in the undergrowth, pandanus, ferns, orchids, creepers and complete. On the western side of the park, the Tsaranoro cliff strangler fig trees highlight the tropical feature of the forest. is a worldwide recognized routes have been designed to focus on the observation of a climbing spot. geography particularly rich fauna and flora with possibilities to make visits does not exclude humour: at night, or to go at the discovery of cultural and historical sites. peak Boby, second summit of madagascar culminating at 2658 m has been named Varibolo tour: after the dog of the first - Edena complex, 2 to 4h for all visitors expedition which came to - Varibolomena complex: 3 to 5h for young and sportive people explore it… The park comprises rocky mountains of granite and gneiss, with a number of summits culminating at over 2500 m, and in between stretch mountain prairies. Asaramanitra tour: 6 km loop, 4h walk, not really easy of access. Sacred cascade, cave. Diavolana tour: 13 km loop, 10h walk, sudden changes of weather. Opens into a lunar landscape. Imaitso tour: 14 km loop, 8h walk, wet and cool weather. Rare lemurs and birds. Isahavato tour: 15 km, 12h walk, hot weather. Rare palm trees, natural swimming-pool. Imarivolanitra tour: 28 km, leads to the summit of Peak Boby up very steep slopes. 
  • 34. Tsimanampesotse Isalo located 275 km from tulear and stretching over 43 000 ha, the set up as a national park in Tsimanampesotse National park was classified as a “ramsar site” 1962 and the main natural in 1998. the lake whose water changes colour, from turquoise curiosity on the road to the blue to topaze green, is an oasis in a region reputed to be the south, stretching over 81 000 ha, driest in madagascar. Vegetation takes weird shapes as a result the isalo Natural park is chro- of its permanent fight against drought, creating an environ- nologically the second one in ment that looks unreal to the visitor. the birds are the main at- madagascar. Here, erosion has tractions of the park, namely with the great gatherings of pink carved fantastic figures in the flamingos, dwarf flamingos and grebes in the dry season. One sandstone, from sharp needles can easily encounter several lemur standing up to the sky to rocky species, of which the famous lemur blocs apparently unstable on catta. One can also go out at night at their base. man’s imagination the discovery of Galidietis Grandidieri, has created several images a small carnivore specific to this park. out of the landscape, a lion But the name tsimanampesotse is watching over his territory, a above all to be linked with the blind boot, a crocodile on the brink fish Typhleotis, which lives in its caves. of jumping on its prey, and this national park was opened to above all a queen with no tourism in 2001. four routes have been less than a crown and a coat. laid out by PNm-aNgaP to highlight apparently dry, the isalo is the value and riches of a site of excep- a country endowed with an tional beauty, whose name means important network of streams feeding the tributaries of the “the lake without dolphins”. river Mangoky. it is a sacred land, as it also shelters the Bara ancestors’ cemeteries, dug on the cliff sides to prevent pillage. the best way of understanding the isalo is to start with a visit Andaka tour: particularly oriented to ornithology. Tsimaso tour: focused on caves and swallow holes sheltering the blind to the Maison de l’isalo, an interpretation centre located 9 km fish Typhleotis Madagascariensis. from the village of ranohira. Andalamaike tour: shows the various ways of vegetation adjustment to harsh weather and soil conditions. The isalo features a succession of canyons, from red to pink Emande tour: special for watching lemurs and enjoying the scenery surrounding the lake. colourful sandstone peaks, carved granite masses… At other places, the plateau is dug by craters, and silence is the king… The natural swimming-pool: Easy tour, very much enjoyed by hikers. Oasis with a cascade, cool and fresh. Namaza: From the deep gorges to the Blue Swimming-Pool or the Black Swimming-Pool. Climbing up cascades with the company of colonies of rare birds. Canyons of Rats and Makis: Very sportive tour to the kingdom of the last king Barabe Ramieba. Deep and straight gorges, discovery of a lush vegetation, watching groups of lemurs. The cave of the Portuguese and Sahanafa: Crossing the rivers, steep slopes. For good hikers, in good shape, not pressed by time. Malaso : Easy, with laid out trails and tracks; covers the whole southern part of the park, a botanical garden, wind sculpted strange figures. A tour operator proposes the tour by horse. 
  • 35. Andohahela Andohahela, in the region of taolagnaro, is a key national park. its specificity lies in the extraordinary variety of its ecosys- tems due to the proximity of the mountainous chain of Anosy. the eastern tropical and humid forest changes into a dry forest to the West and south with, in between, an intermediate area with little rainfall but with the benefit of several rivers from the mountains. more than 90% of the plants from andohahela are used in traditional medicine, like the Jabihy which is used for the quick recovery of young mothers as well as for embal- ming corpses! the triangular palm tree Dypsis Decaryi exists only in this part of the world. the types of iguanas found here are only encountered in america, which, if need be, is a proof of the continental drift, and the park shelters 13 species of Also… lemurs, of which the “sifaka”, well-known for its jumps. lastly, geology of the southern tip of anosy has very specific features, especially due to its metamorphic rocks and the magic effect of their colours and shapes carved by erosion. Zombitse Vohibasia 3 15 km from sakaraha, between isalo and tulear. - lemurs among which Verreaux’s Propithèque, birds among which appert’s Bulbul. - dry and deciduous forest, epiphyt plants, baobabs. Kirindy Mitea 70 km from the south of morondava, to the north of the Baobab lane. - guinea-fowls, reptiles, birds - 2 baobab species, palm trees, medicinal plants - coastal sand dunes, beaches, mangroves, savannahs, and islets. Marojejy 60 km from sambava, on the road to andapa. - ferns, palm trees, mountain bush emerging from the clouds at 1800 m altitude, vegetation which has remained untouched for thousands of years. - Birds among which Prevost’s eurycère, the park’s emblem, amphibians and reptiles, lemurs among which the aye-aye. Zahamena 20 km to the east of the lake alaotra and 50 km from the indian Ocean. - shelters the most numerous birds as inventoried in the east coast, of which the serpent-eater eagle, reptiles, amphibians. - Orchids, palm trees, pandanus, black ebony trees. 
  • 36. At random… Madagascar, the “continental-island” is so big that it red and white royal colours. in the countryside to the north will never be short of resources in terms of hiking and of antananarivo, which is called Avaradrano, in villages such discovery. Due to this, please see the following as random as Lazaina, Ambatofotsy or Manandriana, you will admire the examples ancient merina high aristocratic dwellings. to the southwest, Antsahadinta goes back even further in time with its wooden and vegetal fiber houses, its commemorative stones in memory Antananarivo of some victory, and its ancient tombs. the ancient town of antananarivo is an invitation to trips in The Ankaratra time and space into the depths of the history it was a witness for. a number of routes have been laid out by the departments access to this mythical and most interesting chain is by Manja- and organizations in charge of heritage preservation. it is easy katompo, 20 km to the west of Ambatolampy along the rN7. of access and the least courageous may reach it comfortably from this station at over 2000 m altitude, climbing the Mount by car, or on foot following winding alleys, or even by taking a Tsiafajavona will be done following a trail lined with lakes, falls short cut along the numerous stairways, the toughest of which and evidence of animist cult. is the one that starts from mahamasina stadium and which numbers as many as 480 steps! Trails and earth roads The surrounding countryside the province of antana- narivo has an incredible the 12 sacred hills are favourable places for hiking and each network of rural roads of them may be toured in combination with other neighbou- that bike or quad opera- ring hills in a typical scenery of rice fields, slopes, remnants tors are beginning to be of ancient red earth walls. their summits have often become interested in. it is abso- places for “fanasinana” (ancestors’ cult) and painted in the lutely possible to reach Ampefy, Mantasoa or even Antsirabe without following any section of the National road at all! Antsirabe and the Vakinankaratra Hiking tours with guides organized by the association ravaka will immerse the visitor in rural daily life. gîtes will be traditional houses in the heart of villages. Tour “Country people of the Highlands”: 2 days’ walk and 1 night in a gîte. This route forms a loop which starts from the west of Antsirabe to the encounter of the rural population in an environment of medium high mountains Tour “Gem miners of Ibity”: The same duration with possibility for extension. Starts from Manandona and visits to the extraction sites one after the other in a very diversified wildlife. Tour “Sacred sites and blacksmiths’ villages”: 2 days and 1 night in a gîte. You will get acquainted with the traditional iron crafts and the customs in the Vakinankaratra. 
  • 37. The Zafimaniry land uNescO declared Zafimaniry art as World intangible Heritage on 31 december 2003, and this marked a decisive turning point in the history of this region. an international fund has been allocated for preserving wood work, cultural tourism develo- pment and biodiversity conservation. it has provided for the training of 20 tou- rist guides, 4 from each commune. if Zafimaniry art remains the main motive for visitors, the region also offers a number of magnificent places scattered in the hills to visit; they are accessible only on foot. 3 Ambalavao special mention about the mountain of Ambondrombe, 45 km to the east of ambalavao, a place where the souls of the average annual temperature is 20°c at ambalavao, which is dead stay for eternity. the association of the Populations ideal for hiking. Nicolas Nast, who worked in the field of sustai- of World mountains (aPmm) has developed several tours of nable tourism development, proposes a few routes: which: - climbing up the mountain; Tour “Manambolo river and the Three brothers”: - a visit to villages specialized in traditional silk weaving ; 40 km from the zebu market place at iarintsena. Manambolo steep-sided - nature tour with bivouac; valley, tombs perched on cliff sides, view over the forest of Anja. - routes to the gold mines and fortifications of ancient reigning Tour “Ambohimandroso and the Rock of Ifandana”: families. 30 km, Ambalavao-Ambalavao. Ambohi- madroso, the oldest village in the region. The rock of infandana, a place where people resisting Radama I army com- mitted collective suicide. The pond of Vinany with its birds. Tour “Caimans’ Route and Mountain of the Lying Lady”: 23km, from Iarintsena to Ambalavao. Stages where funeral convoys stop to pray; the forest of sakaviro at the bottom of a high cliff, built-in tombs, Maroparasy vineyards. Tour “Climbing up the Mountain of the Lying Lady”: 15 km from Ambalavao to Iarintsena. Trails between the mountains. Once on top, unique panorama. Climbing down The Montagne des Francais to the south “ at…the foot of the head” of the Lying Lady. Tour ”The Anja forest and the Massif fairly hard to climb (it is dubbed the Way of the Cross) but it of the Three brothers”: is worth the effort. On top you will find vestiges of military 15 km from the forest of Anja to Amba- camps and caves. from there you will see at a glance the town lavao. Visiting the forest, caves; view over of Antsiranana, the Bay and its sugar Loaf, the whole area the basin of Ambalavao. extending to the Cape of Amber. 
  • 38. Peak Saint Louis huts, practically no slope. - the west coast, between the town and Lonkitsy. With fairly marked slope and several turns, experience is required. (Taolagnaro) - the northwest coast, between Lokintsy and Ambodiatafana. fairly tiring because of its length and uneven grounds, it is at 529 m altitude, peak saint Louis is an exceptional panoramic however fascinating because of the beauty of the landscape viewpoint over the whole region of taolagnaro from the bay along the route. of sainte Luce to the lake Andriambe passing by the tip evatra, - the “small loop” forming the triangle Ambodifotatra- the cove Dauphine, the false bay of Galions. two trails lead to Ambodiforaha-Mahavelo, a tough route with a few sandy the summit, one is a very tough one (1h30), the other is relati- sections, and the “track of the Mandraka” which climbs up vely easier (2 to 3h walk). or down the inland hills. - the “Big loop”, a little less than 50 km long. it goes upward Sainte Marie biking tour… the west coast to Ankirihiry, crosses the hills to sahasifotra and continues along the east coast. adventure and discovery are awaiting for you… With its small hills and its wild tracks sometimes in the form of a small trail along the seaside, sainte Marie is a paradise for … and Sainte Marie cross-biking riders who are not afraid of difficulties. there are 5 routes: of orchids - the southwest coast, between the town and the airport. coastline with luxuriant vegetation sprinkled with picturesque sainte marie lavish vegetation accounts for the high number of epiphyt plants. the island boasts at least ten orchid species or so, of which some are among the most beautiful and rarest in madagascar: the White Orchid or Angraecum Sesquipedale, the mauve Orchid or Eulophiella Roempleriana (the most spectacular one and existing only on the “ile aux Nattes”), the Black Orchid or Cymbidiella Humblotii… for the passionate, a special Orchids tour may be organized at sainte marie from July to december in connection with botanical trips. 
  • 39. Birdwatching “Show me a bird and I’ll design you a product” (Claude Feigné). there are not as many bird species as in other countries in madagascar: 285 only against 1000 in Kenya, for example. the difference, and it is a substantial one, is that out of these 285 species, 110 are endemic. in other countries, bird fauna is often at a continental level and is identical in several 3 countries. in africa, birds often live in savannahs. in madagascar, they prefer the forests, especially the humid eastern forests, which shelter 50% of the endemic bird species, and for great gatherings, they prefer water spots. the last three months of the year are the most propitious for birdwatching, as birds are then easier to locate because of their songs. The main spots in antananarivo, the park of Tsarasaotra (more than 60 species) is the first private site classified as ramsar site in the world. Andasibe Mantadia (16 bird orders and 120 species) is more and more in competition with Anjozorobe (82 species of which 43 are endemic), which is 2h drive from the capital. to the west, Ankarafantsika is a must (58.14% endemicity rate), as well as Bemaraha. among the other protected areas, birdwatchers enjoy the spots like Masoala (the largest park in madagascar), ranomafana, Bezaha, Mahafaly, Berenty. Not to forget Ankarana, in the North and the oldest park, the Amber Mountain (75 species). the passionate of big gatherings can choose between several coastline sites (ramena, Bay of Baly, Nosy Ve, estuaries of the big western rivers…), as well as the lakes like Tsimanampesotse, ramsar site since 1998. 
  • 40. A peoples’ Culture Among the Mahafaly mahafaly tombs are much alike the antandroy’s, with “Aloalo” depicting scenes of daily life placed according to a well defined order. there is another tendency which replaces stones by mortar. then the tombs become real mausoleums painted in bright colours and decorated with either portraits or geometrical Since the French annexation in 1896, 18 ethnic groups patterns. in the middle, there is usually a sacred little house have been numbered, but the civilisation markers which ornamented with small mirrors. are common to all – the rice, the zebu, the circumcision, the relationship with the Ancestors – are evidence of the Among the sakalava homogeneity of the population. Their societies defined in the hinterland of morondava, some sakalava Vezo clans themselves by the environment in which they were settled and have recourse to sculptures of birds, pots or persons carved are therefore certainly more numerous in their organization. in camphor-tree like wood, reputed to be imputrescible. the reason for the erotic sculptures remain an enigma: giving the Funeral Art deceased some good time, or more philosophically representing the continuity of life? to meet with the people, one may Traditional ceremonies favour home hospitality which will give the opportunity to attend tra- ditional ceremonies which are still At the crossroads of the past and present, at the image of the common practice at several places. respect due to customary kings, traditional ceremonies are malagasy tales or prohibitions are, often the opportunity for glamorous impressive gatherings. in a way, expressions of a civilisation that is changing, but whose links with The Tsangatsaina ancestors is essential. as any malagasy every 5 years, the antakarana, in the North, celebrate the is bound to become an ancestor or “razana” some day, he will flagpole Ceremony or Tsangatsaina. On this occasion, the flag take particular care of his final resting place, in comparison of the republic stands close to the one with a crescent and a with which his “terrestrial” dwelling is nothing more than a red star representing the sovereign dressed in a Napoleonic temporary one. One then should not be surprised that among uniform on his palanquin. the choice of the new flagpole that some ethnic groups, one may really talk about funeral art. will represent the colours and values of the antakarana for Among the Betsileo the next 5 years has to be made very carefully. Preceded by a pilgrimage to the mitsio and the cave cemeteries of the anka- in the province of fianarantsoa, one may see along the roads, rana, the ceremony putting up the flagpole is one of the most very beautiful tombs made up with flat stones piled one above sought after by picture hunters. the other, and topped by a monolith. in the old days, the custom was also to erect wood posts called “Teza” close to The fanompoambe them. they were to be left without care so as to return to the fanompoambe is the sakalava from the Boina Ceremony dust some day. of royal relics bathing, including those of andriamisara. these Among the Antanosy ancestors, from whom have been taken a few teeth and vertebras, are considered as intercessors between god and men, and are their tradition is to erect commemorative stones. they venerated as such. a fire of hunting guns salutes the moment sometimes form very impressive sets like the ones at PK 32 when the relics are taken out of their sanctuary to be bathed between taolagnaro and sainte luce, where there are in the blood of bulls which have been carefully chosen for the more than 100 steles. purpose. they will be returned to their place only when they Among the Antandroy have been taken around the sacred place 7 times. movements in this enclosed sacred place follow strict rules, the same as regards tombs are formed by a heap of stones called “Valavato” women’s clothes and hairdos. it is for example imperative that the or a stone enclosure whose sides may be as large as 10 first step must be made with the right foot. the fanompoambe m each. the delimitated area is then covered with zebu takes place at the sanctuary of miarinarivo-tsararano ambony, skulls on which the well known carved wood posts called mahajanga. “Aloalo” will be put up. 0
  • 41. history The Movement “fifohazana” fifohazana, or “time to awake”, whose members are called “Mpiandry” or sheperds is a fundamentalist current which is specific to malagasy christianity. it was not imported but was born from the perception that their founders themselves had of the Holy scriptures. the most radical of the mpiandry are easily recognizable by their large white robes and their white large-brimmed hats with ribbons that are also white. in town, they are dressed that way only when performing their “Asa” or work, which consists in prayer sessions and laying on of hands. the fifohazana has 4 big training centres and as many currents: farihimena, manolotrony, soatanàna near fianarantsoa, and 3 ankaramalaza near manakara. their large gatherings, where foreign visitors are always welcome, are impressive. Festivals The fitampoha the sakalava from the menabe have, on their part, the well- some of all the festivals organized in the island have acquired known fitampoha. the relics are taken out of their “zomba” real international status and fame: the “Donia” at Nosy Be, at Belo-sur-tsiribihina and transported to ampasy by dedica- the “Madajazzcar” in antananarivo, the “Betralaky” in the ted porters wearing red loincloths and bandeaus. the festivi- southeast, which celebrates coffee and litchis harvest time in ties then start with dances, chants, traditional wrestling, the december, are opportunities to get to know an ancient or a “moraingy”. for a week, the ancestors are in the limelight in more contemporary culture. a décor rendered even more magnificent by moonlight and red sunsets. the relics are hung on poles aligned under a white The Malagasy Cuisine tent called “rivotse”. during this period of relics bathing, wearing shoes and crossing the river tsiribihina is prohibited. the whole ceremony is ruled by “fomba” (customs) and a well go at the discovery of an inventive cuisine ironed etiquette until the final “Valabe”, described as a great that mixes exotic produce with produce from moment of collective “unwinding”. temperate zones in most great hotel restau- One may go to ampasy by heli, by descending the tsiribihina or rants. then indulge yourself in tasting a more by driving along the (long) road tana-antsirabe-miandrivazo- authentic cuisine at any “hotely gasy” or at a malaimbandy-morondava-pier sainte mary. malagasy family table. However, always ask for a bottle of mineral water or soda, unless The sambatra you wish to have a traditional hot drink (for every 7 years, “the year of the Friday” which water has been boiled): coffee, tea, in traditional astrologic calendar, the “rano vola” (water boiled with burnt cooked antambahoaka gather at mananjary for rice). malagasy cuisine revolves around rice, an the collective circumcision ceremony emblematic cereal in madagascar, which holds called the “sambatra”. it concerns all a world record for its consumption. No wonder the boys born during the last seven it is included in a number of proverbs (“Love is like a small rice years and takes place on a day chosen plant: transplanted, it grows somewhere else”; “do not praise by the “ombiasy” (astrologers) accor- your own merits like the rice boiling in the cooking pot”,…) and ding to the time when the descending comprises several varieties such as the honey and hazel flavou- moon will appear. thousands of fami- red endemic “rojomena”. the great classics of malagasy cuisine lies will then arrive from their village are “romazava” or “ravitoto” but a few specialities are worth for a 8 days’ festivities which put discovering (“tsikorakorana” or big shrimps, “drakaka” or big mananjary in a turmoil of excitement. crab or “amalona”, eel). 
  • 42. An exceptional sport, the Savika madagascar offers a wide range of entertainments and leisure activities, from the beauty contest or fampitaha to wrestling like the Moraingy or Diamanga, passing by the fanorona, a game close to chess. But the most spectacular, the one that tourists are beginning to rush in for, is the savika, a typically malagasy bullfighting, for which the town of ambositra has constructed arenas of over 4000 seats. the challenge for the torero is to hold as long as possible on the enraged animal, holding on its neck or its hump, running the risk of being gored or trampled on. scars on the thighs, arms, belly or even on top of the head are exhibited proudly and often in a burst of laughter. for the zebu will never be an enemy, just a big playmate which may be dangerous in case of bad handling. at easter and Whit period at ambositra. Classified Sites and Monuments Madagascar counts 146 classified sites and monuments of which only 27 have been restored to date. some of them are now included in the World Heritage, like the royal Hill of Ambohi- manga, the Tsingy of Bemaraha, the cliffs and caves of isandra, or the Mahafaly Hinterland. Among these sites and by province, we can cite in: Antananarivo: the rova plateau, the commemorative churches, the hill of antsahadinta, the falls of tsinjoarivo, the mountain of tsiafajavona, the ves- tiges of Jean laborde works at mantasoa, the primitive vegetation of ibity near antsirabe, and the lake itasy. Antsiranana: analamera, the sugar loaf, the amber mountain, the caves of Orangea and those of ankarana, the sacred lake of antanavo, the royal palace of ankify, the falls of mahavavy. 
  • 43. Handicraft The creativity and talent of Malagasy artisans enable them to where a workshop take the best advantage of all possible materials: earth, wood, launched the produc- fibres, metal, stone, leather and zebu horn, fabric… and even tion of paper known discarded tins which are transformed into model cars amazingly as “antemoro”, often true to the real ones. shops and markets for handicrafts are a decorated with flower must for those who want to go home with a souvenir of the patterns. it is used in country in their luggage. small towns or villages have ended book-binding, luxury up in totally immersing themselves in their specialty and han- cards and albums, dicraft has also become present along a few national roads. tapestry as well as The choice is therefore unlimited, but four sectors particularly home decoration. some stand out of the many and have become the symbols of Mada- workshops have succee- gascar, the same way as lemurs or orchids… ded in making paper so thin that one cannot but marvel at its beauty. Zafimaniry Art 3 Mohair this art, classified as World intangible Heritage by uNescO, was revealed to the public in the fifties, when food shortage carpets obliged this population of foresters to sell their furniture and sculptures on the market. it was a great discovery for the pu- blic, both local and foreign. Ampanihy is a small Zafimaniry Art expresses itself through daily life objects (honey isolated town in the pots, weaving-looms, stools, plates …) as well as construction deep remote south between tulear and taolagnaro. the women parts (doors and windows). On the market, it is synonymous of of this village have woven wool for generations, and it is not up the market furniture, statuettes and sculpted panels, parlour surprising that the main piece of furniture in most homes is a games but, unfortunately, there is also a lot of forgery. if you weaving- loom. ampanihy tapestry is produced at two levels: ask Zafimaniry artisans about the significance of their sculpture the one is a family home industry, performed by family members whose motifs somehow call in mind the rosette, saint andré for their own account using the local wool, and the other is cross or even the union Jack, they will simply answer this is the at a workshop level with imported material, the angora wool, way their ancestors had already carved wood … but employing the same people. With new techniques, it is now possible to have a “hand-knotted” carpet of 70 000 knots by square meter. it is the guarantee for a thick, comfortable, pleasant Antemoro to live with carpet. Patterns are inspired from the Mahafaly and Antandroy cultures, in a range of very trendy nuances but with Paper an exotic touch here and there. Wild silk the Antemoro, or the “people from the shores” live on the southwest coastal plain and Wild silk called “landibe” exists nowhere else but in madagascar, Vohipeno is for them a holy as its worm feeds itself exclusively with an endemic plant, the town. Very much involved tapia. Worked into flocks from cocoons collected in nature, its in esoteric sciences, their texture is rough and only vegetable dye is used, like the nato name is to be linked with the for red, indigo-plant for blue and rice for white. precious arabico-malagasy until recently, wild silk was only used for shrouds. the contact manuscripts, the “sorabe”, with a clientele from abroad helped to take away its sacred calligraphed with a bamboo aura and to launch it into the world of fashion. it has become stick on paper made of boiled, of great value in home decoration and has penetrated the kneaded then smoothed garment market: scarves, waistcoats, coats, shoes, cocktail bark. in the thirties, the process dresses… international fairs have promoted the encounter migrated to ambalavao to between the raw “landibe” and the european fine silk. a true the south of fianarantsoa, culture shock! 
  • 44. Adventure Climbing Canyoning the Massif of Tsaranoro access to the spots often in the andringitra has requires real expeditions already confirmed its place including long hours of walk- as one of the most sought ing and crossing of forests. in after climbing spots in the the isalo, canyoning is prac- southern hemisphere. a tised only in the rainy season number of international outside the park area. the newspapers have already sakaleona, to the west of opened their columns Nosy Varika on the to this spot which west coast is the offers a range of highest cascade in cliffs of various levels and difficulties, and madagascar. Ope- where granite is of exceptional quality. ned in 1997, access to this spot is extremely tough. added to that, one must highlight perfect at Marojejy, in the north-east, differences in height weather condition 9 months a year, and a are very important, and rains are frequent. the beautiful landscape. at the other extremity of Amber Mountain, the first operational canyon since the island, the Mountain of the french, domina- 2000, is ideal for initiation. Other tougher spots are ting the Bay of diego suarez, is northwest oriented, reserved for those with experience. which protects its 2 spots from the winds. the best Paragliding season for climbing there is June through september. Rafting this sport arrived in madagascar in the mid 90’s. Weather conditions the possibilities for in itasy are favourable long flights rafting are unlimi- thanks to its thermal currents. the ted, provided there Andringitra - again! - is a “top spot” is good supervision for free flying with its stable weather by professionals, as condition, its spectacular scenery, and some rivers may be its very cooperative people. But in the dangerous. Here are countryside close to antananarivo, a a few interesting number of the hills of imerina may routes: the Andrin- also be excellent starting points for gitra with its nume- flying. rous small rivers sui- table for kayak and Speleo hot dog. the Lily in itasy with its course winding between the volcanic domes. Jolting and foaming 25 km to the southwest of Antsirabe, the small chain are guaranteed in some passages. the Mazy in the same region, of ibity offers a landscape of crumbling rocks and in the depth of a very narrow gorge. jagged ridges. erosion has been doing its work for at least 60 million years, and for example, has shaped what are called “giant cooking pots”. among the abysses that have been discovered since 1960, one 
  • 45. everywhere can cite the swallow holes of the diplodocus, the mare, the capacity to get out of water entirely, and fall down with Poodle or the Parrot. this region is not well known although impressive flurries of foam. But one will always wonder its underground is full of promises. the massif of Ankarana, why the whales have this strange attitude of leaving their 90 km to the south of antsiranana is a real “gruyère” with its caudal fin motionless on the surface. anyway, this makes taking network of underground water, such as the manjeba which photos, which are indispensable for the identification of each runs through it from one side to the other. 11 main caves have individual, easier. the whales may be watched in the waters of been inventoried, some of which are sacred. at Andranoboka, Nosy Be, Tulear, Taolagnaro or Morondava, but there are two to the north of mahajanga, the underground network stretches major outstanding spots: 3 over more than 2 km. concretions range from the thinnest The Bay of Antongil, which is an important spawning zone. needles to 2 m diameter pillars. the rooms are huge, with 10 to 15 m high vaults. going upward the river leads to a natural there the Wildlife conservation society works in collaboration swimming-pool in the open, nestling in a luxuriant vegetation. with the local operators to optimize the initiatives with a view to enhancing value while preserving the whales. Whale Watching sainte Marie, where whale watching as a trade is well organized, with experience going back to 1994. the associa- tion megaptera and the group of tourism Operators (gOt) offer scientific supervision of cruises for whale watching, with explanations on board followed by conferences in the eve- ning. support materials have been made, of which a “Practical guide” at the intention of whale watchers and a “code of good behaviour”. an annual whale festival has been organized since 2004. Golf is golf practised in madagascar? certainly! the great island’s golf players have even achieved excellent performances at big events like the challenge Peugeot. 60 km from toamasina, foulpointe is the only seaside golf green in madagascar. the greens have benefited from hun- dreds of patches of grass imported directly from south africa. the place is all the more attractive as it allows you to drive while hearing the murmur of the backwash, as it is very close to the beach of foulpointe and its magnificent lagoon. the indian Ocean, a hunting zone in the 19th and even at the the Malaza Golf Club, 11 km to the south of antananarivo, beginning of the 20th century, has become a sanctuary for spreads over 5 ha. it provides initiation and training for young whales since 1979. madagascar humpback whales come from players under 16, individually or in groups, as well as proficiency antarctica where they have spent the whole southern summer courses. swimming, playing tennis, petanque or hiking are also stuffing themselves with krill. By June, the first to arrive after a possible. 5000 km voyage are the breastfeeding mothers, followed by 20 km from the capital, Andakana along rN4, the Golf du rova their offspring from the previous year. the whale watching is the “reference” as far as malagasy golf is concerned. this period extends to september. it is all the more spectacular magnificent 18 hole green, studded with natural obstacles is as the humpback whales are the most gifted in the art perfect for practising all techniques. this is why golfers from of jumping called “breaching”. they have the peculiar the neighbouring islands often go there to practise. 
  • 46. A beach Sand and Sun With its 5000 km of shoreline, exoticism cannot be but at the rendez-vous. the numerous creeks, bays, lagoons and beaches are inviting you to farniente or to initiation or practice of the numerous activities available like fishing, sailing, skin-diving or surf or windsurf. Whale watching has now more and more adepts. Fishing and Diving in the east, the people of sainte Marie, traditionally used to be great whale hunters. Before going on board, the men used to sanctify themselves by not approaching their wives (miala viavy) and by splashing themselves with a sacred liquid called “fankamora”. their tool was a sort of harpoon linked to a long rope. in the west, the Vezo fishermen possess at least two pirogues each, one that is simple and the other with a balancing pole. they build them themselves out of the trunk of a tree called “faratsy”, wood that is reputed for its good capacity to float. the life of a pirogue does not exceed 2 years. the fishermen sometimes have to go as far as 10 km from the shore because of the competition of industrial fishing. in madagascar, there are officially 1250 fishermen’s village. among the most repre- sentative, one can cite: ramena, to the extreme north, a traditional village located in one of the most beautiful bays in the world, and the resort of antsiranana. Outings to the sea are organized according to the season. fishing is practised in the indian Ocean or the mozambique channel; in unexploited fishing zones or wild coasts. Nosy Komba where the women’s embroideries fly in the wind like standards. evatra, to the north of taolagnaro, between lagoon and ocean. Anakao, to the south of tulear, where whale ballets can also be watched seasonally. 
  • 47. for everyone Nosy Be and its satellites are unquestionably the hot spots for modern sportive fishing. On can sometimes practise bottom line, dragnet, rod and reel fishing lancer the same day, depending on the tides. among the most interesting catches is the yellow tuna (april-may), the barracuda (between september and may with “peaks” in October and february), the tuna, sea bream, swordfish. a number of centres have opened in various spots, using the latest techniques. a few hotels have also inte- grated fishing in the recreational activities they offer. madagascar sea beds are among those which offer the most beautiful spots for divers. You will see an infinity of multi coloured fish with exotic names continuously drawing arabesques in a fairyland of shellfish 3 and corals of indefinable shapes. then, welcome to the clown-fish, butterflies, lions, unicorns, napoleons or surgeons, without forgetting the manta rays and the biggest fish in the world, the inoffensive whale-sharks. spots are located mainly in 3 areas: The south West, where there is one of the biggest coral barrier in the world. ifaty and Mangily, 26 km to the north of tulear are the top spots, then follow Nosy Ve, just opposite Anakao, the largest Vezo fishermen’s village, and Belo-sur-Mer to the south of morondava. Nosy Be, of which the first most beautiful 10 spots are: - Tanikely, for beginners and all levels, sea beds rich in colours and a great varieties of marine fauna. - the epave Zaïda, a trawler which has been sunk on purpose, for level ii. average visibility but impres- sive fauna. - the Manta point, for level i. sand plateau sprinkled with very colourful corals. - the Corail noir, for level ii, recently discovered. colonies of black corals that may be up to 1.5 m high, very impressive. - the Grotte, for level ii. sand bed between 18 and 26 m, and caves - the Banc du Chameau for level i; two plateaus rich in hard coral and soft coral. - the pain de sucre, for level i; a rocky peak inlaid with shellfish to the south, and colonised by corals forming a fabulous garden on its west and north sides. - the slope of Nosy iranja, for level i, at the limits of the continental plateau. 
  • 48. - Grey Wall at radama islands, level ii preferable, a slope offering a grandiose sight between 13 and 38 m. - the Banc du petit Castor at Mitsio islands, for level i. diving on the outside slope, a plateau covered with magnificent tables of coral. sainte Marie, with beautiful spots such as: - the ile aux Nattes, 2 spots outside the lagoon and one under the wreck. - the ilots aux sables, 2 natural aquariums where visibility is exceptionally clear. - the ile aux Baleines, which formed itself on an outcrop of coral reef. - the pointe à Larrée, privileged spot for pelagic fish. - the Cocoteraie, an exceptional diving spot under a huge wreck 30 m long. … in all these spots, at Nosy Be, sainte marie or in the south West, you will be enchanted by a multicoloured sea fauna whose beauty and variety would never be described by mere listing… Surf and Windsurf madagascar has heavenly spots for those who have a passion for swells. at Taolagnaro, Vinanibe has the most beautiful waves in the region, with logistics and infrastructures for accommodation in its water sports centre. 300 km from there, lavanono has already hosted a world competition. access is not easy and bivouac is necessary, but… here is the Promised sea, it is worth the effort! the ideal spot for initiation is at Mahambo, to the north of toamasina: appropriate safety materials, instructors, beachguards, top international standards applied. lastly, air mada- gascar has experienced windsurf in the Bay of the sakalava, near diego suarez with the participation of authentic world champions. When will be the next event ? Sailing it is mostly concentrated in the North-West where the weather is favourable practically all the year through, except in february and march. the east coast is protected from the heavy swell by the Big land, and the winds are hot. the operators are experienced people who have a thorough knowledge of the region, and their fleets of monohulls or multihulls can accommodate groups of 2 to 8 people. teams generally comprise a 
  • 49. skipper, a cook and in some cases an additional sailor. routes may include going up rivers in the heart of mangroves, stopping at pristine spots, encounters with the people and their living traditions. You will feel yourself at the farest edge of the earth at Nosy mamoko, 3 sometimes forgotten by mapmakers, or Kisimany where, each year, a sailing boat from Zanzibar comes for a supply of shark oil! Navigable Waterways The Manambolo to go to manambolo, one has first to cross the splendid volcanic region of itasy. descent is generally by canoë from Ankavandra through a landscape which gives you the feeling of being on the moon at times, but where life is never totally absent. for example, sometimes flocks of children run along the shore to accompany the boats and greet you with their innocent laughter. it is not sailing only for the sake of it, as other attractions are organized during the route, excursions in the canyons, refreshing halts at natural swimming pools, nights in bivouac. One of the highlights is the crossing of the gorges upstream Bekopaka, and on the cliff side, the entrances of mysterious caves. Bekopaka, a must-stay on the route to the tsingy, is bustling with life until about 9 pm, with on the one hand the tourists preparing their programme visit, and on the other the village people busy to sell their small products. after crossing the neighbouring tsiribihina by ferry, the dry forest of Kirindy gives an overview of its vegetation and fauna with its reptiles, birds and lemurs. then it’s a combination of land-water “soft” but rich in colourful discoveries. then Morondava, and passing, everyone would have guessed it, along the famous Baobab lane... The Tsiribihina the majestic tsiribihina will lead you to the immense spaces of the West. Miandrivazo, the boarding point, is reached via Antsirabe, the capital of the fertile region of Vakinankaratra. the tsiribihina and its tributaries used to be enlivened by the barges going up and down the river to transport tobacco from isolated plantations. the same barges have been kept, but fitted for carrying passengers, with a kitchen at the back and a solarium on the roof! the guides know well which affluent to take to reach any one of the numerous falls and their crystalline waters along the route. 
  • 50. No one would think of depriving oneself of a halt in the shade of kapok and mango trees. from Belo-sur-Tsiribihina, main venue of the ceremony fitampoha, a track leads to Bekopaka in half a day’s travel to the furthermost bounds of the spectacular tsingy of Bemaraha. We are all totally in the land of “earthly” adventure and discovery now. then road to the south again, and we are in the country of 7 varieties of baobabs. terminus at Morondava for those wishing to stop, for others there is a 80km “small” extension to Belo-sur-Mer and its traditional shipyards. The Pangalanes this waterway, which along its course following the straight east coast links the lakes and lagoons, is navi- gable only partially because some sections are stilted, blocked by water hyacinths and other accumulations of obstacles. fortunately, dredging the canal is being consi- dered again, and it should start from its southern section. for tourism, Brickaville, a small market town, will give you access to the Pangalanes canal via Ambila Lemaitso. However the best access is Manambato, on the banks of lake rasoabe, which has the aura of a beautiful legend. from there, shuttles of boats will take you in less than an hour to Ankanin’ny Nofy, the “the home of dreams”, where your stay will be enlivened by walking in the forest, water sports activities and sharing the fishermen’s daily life. always by boat, you will cross several lakes which have their particular history each. Once you have passed all these lakes, you will reach a junction of lagoons: it is the entry to the Pangalanes canal. the village of Tapakala Ambodisaina lies there, where you will see the ruins of ivondro, an old colonial port as well as those of an old railway station. all along your way to Toamasina, the banks are embellished with eucalyptus trees; it is a new aspect of the canal. toamasina could be called the “malagasy Venice”. the weather of the east coast is reputed to be rainy, although the passionate do not find it disturbing. the best periods are: march to may and september to december. there are several and various possible tours in the east coast, and starting any of them from toamasina is also an eventua- lity to consider. always for the passionate, adventure continues to the island of sainte marie, a long and wide strip of land. from July to september, the biggest attraction there is the venue of hundreds of whales which have come to give birth to their whale calves. the east coast tours generally end here. International Cruises the world map for cruise highlights the up market zones comprising the caribbean, the south Pacific, the mediterranean, the red sea or Northern europe. in madagascar, cruises are still occasional events but the potential is real. a number of routes may include the great island if arranged. the island benefits from 2 entries: the one from durban in south africa, and the other from Kenya, which is more important as boats often emigrate through the suez canal in winter. there are about a hundred anchorages a year, half of which is to put to the credit of the royal star, based in Kenya. since 2005, the compagnie des iles du Ponan has been, for its part, implementing the formula “ecotourism and luxury cruise” between the seychelles, mayotte, madagascar and la reunion. With its gorgeous spots, the east coast which is a sanctuary of nature is well positioned to be on this route. 0