The SAVA (Sambava, Antalaha, Vohemar, Andapa)

"The green triangle"

The originality of the SAVA in the Northeast of Madagascar comes not only from its sub-equatorial climate, which allows it to concentrate more than 70% of the island's primary forest, it is also in its recognized "status" of the vanilla, capital, of which it alone accounts for nearly 2/3 of world production. Coastal zone under the influence of the trade winds which bring masses of moist air, this region nonetheless registers a high rate of sunshine because the precipitations are mainly nocturnal from December to March. The best time to visit the SAVA is between August and December, and from March to mid-May.

Raft in Sambava, Madagascar

S like Sambava

Nestled at the mouth of three rivers, which would be at the origin of the word "Sahambavany", Sambava is also at the crossroads of SAVA roads in the heart of the "Green Triangle" formed by Vohémar in the North (95 mi) , Antalaha in the south (50 mi), and Andapa in the west (70 mi). It combines its name with vanilla of course, but also with its immense coconut plantations. The industrial coconut plantation of Soavoanio covers an area of 18,5 square miles extending on both sides of the city of Sambava on 40 miles of side. It is able to produce high-performance hybrid seed nuts, with hybrids bearing their first fruits at 4 years, compared to 7 to 10 years for traditional coconut palms.
Every Tuesday, the colorful market of the popular district of Antaimby is a must stop for photographers. The beaches of Sambava are beautiful, with the palm for that of Ampandrozonana to 3 miles to the South. Hikers will be able to choose the valleys of Bemarivo with starting point Nosiarina 12 miles to the north, or lakes of Andohabe and Andamory with possibilities of descent of river from the small Village of Antohomaro.

A like Antalaha

Fishing boats in Antalaha, Madagascar

Difficult for the piroguiers to pass the barrier of reefs without imploring (mitalaho) the aid of the gods! From there came the name "Antalaha" that gave itself this old fishing village became an attractive city with its constructions of dhows and its cutting of semi-precious stones. To admire its site, nothing better than to reach the weather station at the top of a hill. In this country of vanilla you will know everything about culture of this orchid at the research station on the track of Maromandia. Trekking enthusiasts can indulge in their favorite sport in the steep valleys of the Ankavanana River. But it is mostly from Antalaha that a 25 miles trail leads through the primary forest to Cape East. Antalaha is also a "gateway" to the Masoala National Park: 888 square miles of protected areas consisting of a vast land park and three marine parks named Tampolo, Ambodilaitry, Ifaho. Trails for memorable walks from West to East or along the Peninsula. A veritable sanctuary of rare and sometimes unique plant or animal species. Between the SAVA and the Antongil Bay, osmosis is, it is the case to say it, natural ...

The port of Vohemar, Madagascar

V like Vohemar

Founded in the 9th or 10th century by successive waves of Arab immigrants, Vohémar accumulates a past of old Islamic city which also received many contributions from the distant Asia. Its name can mean both "numerous villages" and "many skeletons", necropolises having been brought to light. Strange as it may seem, the main wealth of Vohemar is the zebu. But it is also a small home port for the lovers of sea excursions. The lake of Andranotsara is sacred to the south, "because its crocodiles are former villagers who saw their hamlet transformed into a lake following a cataclysm". At certain hours, its waters offer beautiful reflections moving by the play of the light of day on the algae of its bottoms. But Vohémar also combines with the near future while awaiting the rehabilitation of the road linking it to Ambilobe, which will definitely open the SAVA by land.

A like Andapa

Mount Marojejy in Andapa, Madagascar

The name of Andapa, which means "at the palace" or "at the command post", takes us back to the expeditions of King Radama who built a camp in Andapakova a little south of the present town. Andapa is nestled in a fertile basin that overlooks the massifs of Marojejy and Anjanaharibe, and which is the real granary of all the SAVA with its some 50 square miles of rice fields. Anjiabe Hill is the best viewpoint to look at the layout and extent of the rice plots. A beautiful 70 miles mountain road connects Andapa to Sambava through the forests of Marojejy and the layout of the Lokoho River. The Anjanaharibe Special Reserve is located 25 miles to the South West of Andapa on the road to Bealanana. It is the northern geographic limit of the Indri which is the largest lemur on the island, and is home to species native to the North East such as the Prevost Eurycerus or "Siketribe", Marojejy's emblem, or the Silky Propithecus or " Simpona ". It is also here that the Takhtajania Perrieri, a plant with flowers that existed 120 million years ago, was rediscovered in 1994.
Marojejy the "Sacred Mountain" was qualified by Professor Humbert of Museum of Paris of more majestic massifs of Madagascar. Located between Sambava and Andapa, its National Park is the guardian of a mountainous ecosystem that has remained intact. The vegetation cover of Marojejy consists of a superimposition of 5 types of forests. In this magnificent setting, the choice of trekking routes starts at 150 feet altitude and finishes in the clouds...

Text: Thompson Andriamanoro
Photos Pierre-Yves Babelon
Thanks to Marie-Hélène Kha Hyo, "Macolline" in Antalaha.

Your comments: