See flora and fauna in Andasibe park, located in nearby forest area.
Fern trees are among plants to see there...
Lemurs (esp. Indris, tallest of lemurs), insects, orchids, chamilions deserve attention too.... Find in Andasibe area the gigantic Parson chamilion, for instance: a foot-length one, the biggest in the world in fact.
For that reason, going to Andasibe is a must since it is more amazing than going to the zoo. Notice as well that this area is the closest to Tana so if you don't have that much time left after business, head to Andasibe and relax in Antsirabe (South of Tana province).
To enjoy your visit, do hire an ANGAP guide at the entry of the park. They know their work well and I know a naturelover who travelled by taxi-brousse and hired guides at entry of nature reserves and parks. He was really delighted by that.
Picturesque scenery while approaching Toamasina city
Stalls that sell fruits, weaven baskets rather than flowers
Those who buy are generally persons who intend to have a long trip, heading to Tana for instance.
You may buy above mentioned items. Above all, have a go on fitsa, sunripen and dried banana wrapped and tied in bananatree leave. Yummy!
This time, peasant hut is isolated... Typically of East coast!
Something I noticed durung this trip is that the more you go East, the smaller houses are. I cannot even imagine that someone is living here. Off course, while approaching Toamasina urban area, houses are of "normal" size again.
Enlarge to see design.
Bustling markets, city that lives with port activities, spicy smell around warehouses and hot nightlife. Those are among things you would encounter there. Frangipani scent and yummy delicacies too...
Go to my Toamasina city page since I used to stay there rather than in any other East coast city.
East coast little houses (made of wood and barks) adjoin with concrete houses .. but already this green landscape.
This guy has finished his work and rests a bit. This is typical scenery in Madagascar countryside when sun sets. Village people just sit in front of their houses, looking at passers-by, at setting sun... The picture was taken late afternoon, after rain so I had it cleared a bit to show scenery. Should not I?
Background, banana trees.
A warning when you drive, slow down when it's raining. Some crazy truck drivers just may bump into you with no light on... Beware!
Beware of humidity as well. So many cars and trucks are seen on roadsides, rushing down cliffs...
Home of thousands of medicinal plants, orchids, insects and more generally endemic fauna and flora.
Along roadsides, you will find stalls that sell orchid types, as well as cyclamen and other flowers.
Here a picture of orchid plants in Andasibe area.
As you leave Tana area, this is dominant foliage from Angavokely. A forest station there, made of eucalyptus and orchid plants.
Since you are driving through Antananrivo province, conifers and eucalyptus are mains tree species you will find. It's only when descending to coastal area that you will find thick deep forests.
It's not a joke but I find it particularly interesting and unusual to smell sea while wandering in a coastal city.
Every part of a place at seafront makes you aware of sea presence. Sea smell, docks activities, and even at night, sea sounds. I like hearing waves crashing down on shore while I am in my bed... This hits me every time I go to a coastal city. While sleeping, in the middle of the night, I use to be waken up by the noise of waves crashing down on shore... And then I realize I am on holidays in a coastal area... Not that the noise is intrusive, not at all since I like it... Afterwards, I just find back my sleep with a smile.
This feeling was even more exacerbated when you live and sleep in a simple bungalow made of wooden barks, like I did in Ambila Lemaitso (see my "Off the beaten path" tips) .. Memories back, here!!
Now, a question: would it be here or rather in "off the beaten path"?
Lakandranon' Ampanalana is a channel that the French (ex-settlers) had fit out in 1949 to enable trade and commodities transportation from a East coast village to another.
Prior to the works on Lakandrano, traders used to load and download goods at every entry. "Ampanalana" derives from "manala" verb that means "to remove". Ampanalana is the place where traders used to "remove" goods. In fact, there were many of those entries since the channel is of 700-km length.
The French have rivers, pounds, lakes merged so as to give birth to a 700-km-length channel. As years go by, it has been abandoned and nature has recovered its right place. It has kept all its mystery with those lagunas, swamps, lush flora.
Descending Lakandranon' Ampanalana is one of interesting activities in this area. Ask a tour- operator, or some hotels that use to arrange this type of expedition, about this possibility while visiting Toamasina area. It seems that it is possible to do it by luxury boat or by small motorboat as well.
Visit this kind of "heaven on earth" island. Turquoise water edged by a coral reef... And above all, in August- October, you can watch whales passing by...
It is made of a series of tiny islands covered with a lush flora: clove trees, cinnamon trees, cocoa trees, vanilla plants and other orchids.. Yes, vanilla is of orchid type. Wonders are in wild environment or in stations. Mangrove trees, wild roses as well...
A bit of history: the island was a sought-after land for its beauty, relaxing feature. Pirates contended with each others for this island. But, in 1685, they organized a peaceful settlement on the island in order to locate there. And from there, they "travelled" near African and Arabic coasts. They were English, American, French, Welsh... In addition, traders from everywhere landed there as well. Slaves from Africa were brought there. Thus, Saint-Mariens (the name they give to themselves) have, more than anyone else in Madagascar, this mixed physical appearance. Fine features remind you of Africa, Asia, Arabia and Europe... Those blond-haired people with amber-couloured or dark complexions. And the eyes, green while most of Malagasy have brown eyes.
Worth noticing: a French pirate, Jean-Onésime Filet, nicknamed La Bigorne, married a princess of Nosy Boraha, Princess Bety, daughter of King Ratsimilaho. A few years after marriage, in 1750, he persuaded her to bring Nosy Boraha under French protectorate... And that contributed in French settlement on the Island...
Go there for farniente, beach activities, cycling through the island. Visit there pirates' cemeteries, the most beautiful creeks in Madagascar. By chance, you may assist rituals as well. Saint-Mariens' traditions include rites from all parts of the island... Fijoroana (West coast incantatory rituals), Highlands tradition of Famadihana, Tromba (dance of the spirit that is proper to West and South of Madagascar) are local customs there.
Located in the Eastern coast of Madagascar, Toamasina is the first Malagasy port city.
* See there Parc zoologique Ivoloina (Duke Primate Center, to see lemurs and flora) in North Toamasina (11km from center).
* Tahiti kely ("Little Tahiti") beach
* Foulpointe (a beach resort in North Toamasina, 59km). Interesting from a historical point of view as well. For Foulpointe, see my Mahavelona (Malagasy name) page.
* Mahambo, my favorite, as it is less touristy than Foulpointe. 35km north from Foulpointe. Since Mahavelona and Mahambo are quite distant from Toamasina city, they are not part of the city anymore though they are most sought-after area as for beach activities.
Mahambo beach is my favorite in Toamasina. There will be a page on it, one day. I miss the most while away from Toamasina is the smell of spice (they use to dry spices suh as clove in gardens).
* Vakona Forest Lodge (private) is in Andasibe, near (in) Andasibe national reserve. This concept is the one I like most. One may rent a bungalow within the forest lodge and have activities to discover nature (horseriding, trekking) and other sport activities. It comprehends a manmade pound, swimming pool and sport facilities.
* Andasibe National Reserve is worth the visit as well. Located 150 km East of Tana, at an altitude of 1000m, it "offers" many species of lemurs (especially, Indri, the tallest one), birds species (falcons, parrots..), orchids...
Andasibe forest is home of lemurs species, esp. the tallest, "Indri". A close look at the picture shows you a plant of orchid as well. East coast virgin forests are home of orchid species and other useful medicinal plants as well.
When I made Tana-Toamasina trips, I noticed that apart from altitudes changing, flora contributes a lot in moulding those landscapes... houses as well.