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Faritany de Mahajanga
Type of Location
About Location

Mahajanga is a city and a district on the north-west coast of Madagascar.The City of Mahajanga (Mahajanga I) is the capital of the Boeny region.Population: 135,660.Mahajanga is a seaport, the most important one in Madagascar after Toamasina.The marine terminal accommodates containerships and small (150 gross ton) general cargo freighters.

Because of limited water depth at the wharf, only small ships can call at the terminal.Deeper-draft ships anchor off the terminal and transfer cargoes to and from barges, which move it to and from the terminal.Severe storms during December 2006 damaged the bulkhead, allowing water to flow in and wash backfill out from under the terminal's paving blocks.The resulting collapse of pavement blocks has made operations at the terminal less efficient and reduced the storage space available. The largest and most valuable containerized export is frozen shrimp.

There is an international airport with regional flights to the Comoros and Mayotte.The city is located on the Betsiboka River, which then leads to Bombetoka Bay.Mahajanga is a favorite tourist destination for both Malagasy tourists and international travelers, with beautiful beaches, a coconut-lined boardwalk (La Boru), and eight months of hot yet virtually rain-free weather.The city has a sizeable Muslim population.In 1977, it was the scene of ethnic unrest, forcing the evacuation of the Comorian minority living there.

In December 2006, a cyclone hit Mahajanga,causing significant damage to the port facilities and to some buildings located on or near the coast.n the 1880s a community of roughly 200 Indian traders had formed at Mahajanga at the mouth of the Betsiboka River.Thus, the etymology of the word "Mahajanga" is Indic.Confusion arose over their legal status; they often declared themselves to be Malagasy subjects in order to evade the laws against slave-holding or the building of stone houses, both forbidden to British subjects, while their dhows, which they used to transport goods to and from the African mainland, flew French flags.Initial arrivals were mainly Muslim Khojas, Ismailis and Daoudi Bohras, with some Hindus settling later.

How to Reach

By Air

There are several flight connexions that connect Mahajunga with Tana.But also Nosy Be and Antsiranana (Diego Suarez) can be reached from here several times a week.For more info check at the website of Air Madagascar or ask at the Air Madagascar office in Mahajanga.There are international flights to with Air Austral to Mayotte and Reunion (Immeuble Sanifer, Ampasika,The taxi fare from the airport to the city centre costs approximately Ar 10,000.

By Bus

The 560 km RN4 between Tana and Mahajanga are in pretty good condition so that the frequent taxi-brousses take approximately ten hours to cover it.Fare is about Ar 20,000.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 Mahajunga is at the Svenue Philibert Tsiranana.

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
Amborovy Beach, Lake Mangatsa, The Andranoboka and Anjohibe Caves, Katsepy


Places to Visit

Amborovy Beach

Great beach which a wide selection of accommodations in traditional fishermen houses and holiday bungalows.Unlike the East Coast, where sharks can sometimes show up, are these fishes here rather rare.Fish specialities like lobster and pulp are served in almost all seafront restaurants.To get there take the road to the airport and then turn left on a track (signpost) heading to the sea.

Lake Mangatsa

This sacred lake 30 m from Mahajanga with transparent waters is the habitant of some of the biggest goldfish you will ever see.But be cautious Fishing here is strictly forbidden.As soon as you arrive you will understand why.Several bottles and jars are placed at the base of the surrounding trees as prayers.Lake Mangatsa is a sacred place and even politicians come usually here to seek the advice of the ancestors.Better enjoy the nice food at the lake’s restaurant in this quiet and peaceful scenery.

The Andranoboka and Anjohibe Caves

Located 83 km from Mahajanga this unique site with amazing rock formations which can be only reached through a dirty track during the dry season attracts more visitors each year, who usually come here as part of an organized trip from Mahajanga.The caves were firstly reported by a French explorer in 1934, though locals of course knew their existence for centuries. Despite the many caves’ entrances it seems that there are two different cave systems which extend under two limestone hills about two kilometres from each other.


Further south along the coast we find a beautiful fisher village nestled between sandy beaches that invites guests to a complete idleness called Katsepy.Apart from walking to the lighthouse (where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Bombetoka Bay) or visiting the nearby Bay Boeny (accessible by road) for a different landscape, there is nothing more to do here than laying on a hammock, swimming and enjoying the excellent meals prepared by Ms Chabaud, who is supposed to be one of the best cook in the region. Ms Chabaud also offers rustic cabins for those wanting to stay overnight (for information enquire at the hotel with the same name at Mahajunga city centre).To get to Katsepy take one of the ferries leaving from Mahajanga port either at 7:30 am or at 3:30 pm (fare about Ar 1,000). The trip takes one hour.

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