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Province de Diego-Suarez
Type of Location
About Location

Maevatanana is a city and commune urbaine in Madagascar.The city is in the central-north part of the island, at the Ikopa River, and is connected by the national road RN 4 to Antananarivo and Mahajanga.The altitude is low and as it is located far from the coast, temperatures tend to be high.The city belongs to the district of Maevatanana, which is a part of Betsiboka Region.

Maevatanana is the capital of the Betsiboka region, and the population of the commune was estimated to be approximately 24,000 in 2001 commune census.In addition to primary schooling the town offers secondary education at both junior and senior levels.The town has a permanent court and hospital.The majority 60% of the population of the commune are farmers, while an additional 7% receives their livelihood from raising livestock.The most important crops are rice and tobacco; also sweet potatoes are an important agricultural product.Industry and services provide employment for 5% and 15% of the population, respectively. Additionally fishing employs 13% of the population.

But it is not the hot temperatures which have made this small town of about 20,000 inhabitants famous throughout the country, but its former gold mines, which date already the 19th century. Official gold exploitation began with Queen Ranavalona I and it was so successful that government even planned to build a railway to link the town with the capital.

The Tsaratanana mineral field extends on a 250 km area showing still significant mineral concentrations of gold, chrome and platinum.The nearby Betsiboka River has witnessed moderate levels alluvial mining activity for over one hundred years. Those visitors who do not get gold fever can opt for the less lucrative but surely not less thrilling activity of watching crocodiles from the river bank instead.

Maevatanana is located in the central-north part of the island 150 km north of Tana, at the Ikopa River, and is connected by the national road RN 4 to Majunga.Due to its low altitude it is said to have recorded the highest temperatures in the country.

How to Reach

By Air

The nearest airport is Ivato International Airport located in Antananarivo,the capital of Madagascar.

By Bus

The 560 km RN4 between Tana and Maevatanana are in pretty good condition so that the frequent taxi-brousses take approximately ten hours to cover it.To enjoy the beautiful landscape of the Imerina region take better one of the early buses and reserve your seat in advance.The taxi-brousse station in Maevatanana.

By Ship

The old ship connection of the Sambo Line is not working at the moment.Neverthess the number of private vessel owners offering private cruises is high.Just ask at the port! You can go on board of a cruising yacht heading to Nosy Be or the Radama archipel or go fishing to Ambariaka.

Key places to visit
The Monument To The Dead French, Antanimbaryo Market, The Betsiboka Rapids, Kandreho


Places to Visit

The Monument To The Dead French

At the entrance to the city next to the service station visitors first see an old colonial-style building dating back to 1895.This is the resting place for more than 300 French soldiers of the colonial expeditionary force who died here as a result of a heavy fight with Malagasy combatants.

Antanimbaryo Market

Gold seekers tend to come together on Suday at this market on the south of the city, where purchasers coming from Tana, but also the United States and Thailand negotiate on the sale of this precious metal.

The Betsiboka Rapids

In the West of Maevatanana a bridge on the RN 4 crosses the red waters masses of the Betsiboka River at a place where some tumultuous rapids form.During the wet season foam usually reaches the bridge.


This small village is renowned for the manufacture of raffia fabrics using special printing techniques that recall those of the Sunda Islands.

Right Time to Visit

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