Tamatave (Toamasina)

“Who's Salty”

The rickshaws of Tamatave (Toamasina), Madagascar

“Akory lahaly e !” This betsimisaraka greeting and the moist warmth proper to the East Coast is enough for the taxi-bush passengers (it leaves about 80 every day from the capital) - to see themselves already at good port. Even if they were still only in Antsampanana, the "crossroads" of PK 216, with on both sides of the national road the stalls of tropical fruits and dried bananas wrapped in their leaves. The "hotely gasy", understand the cheap restaurant, of this hamlet are appreciate by truckers for their variety of dishes ranging from fried fish to wild boar by passing through the cassoulet and the Malagasy eel...

But the crossroads are made for us to leave them. Let us talk about Manambato and Lake Rasoabe shortly after Brickaville to 5 miles of highway track, other "gate" leading to Tamatave but by the waters. The Pangalanes that a leading French tourism magazine called it a nostalgia for a forgotten channel. It is somewhat less today, the dragging of its waters having started over 150 miles between Tamatave and Mahanoro. The King, the Queen, and the Intriguing, thus could be defined the history of lakes Rasoabe and Rasoamasay which in fact are one, but are separated by two tongues of land that advance towards The other and intersect without joining. King Darafify would have given the great to his legitimate Rasoabe, and the little one to his mistress Rasoamasay. The water is superb but not to be annoyed, "absolute prohibition to consume pork or to indulge in romantic fantasies"...

The port of Tamatave, Madagascar

Akanin'ny Nofy "The Nest of Dreams" at the edge of another "Pangalanian" lake, that of Ampitabe, is accessible only by shuttles in speedboat from Manambato, waiting for the train to revive from the time before. In the 1960s Akanin'ny Nofy was a presidential resort. Nature has since regained her rights, with her bewitching beauty and the impression of being cut off from everything that unconditional fans would exchange for nothing in the world. Even the rain never prevented the hikes, it is even the moment when all the forest is awake...

The avenue of Indépendance of Tamatave, Madagascar

Tamatave here we are! This city is the first port of Madagascar where arrive cargo ships and container ships of all continents. Here, too, the bulk of exports, with a special mention for the spices of this coast whose aroma flatters obstinately over the neighborhoods in the background of the waterfront. The site was discovered in the 17th century by the ships of the "Compagnie des Indes Orientales". Today the port has achieved a giant leap on the path of modernity and performance, and does not hide its ambitions to play the leading roles in the western Indian Ocean.

But Tamatave does not fit with a purely utilitarian vocation. All the shots that have "made" the image we keep of it are still there, the flamboyants vault on some streets, the rickshaws "all terrain and all time", the two bazaars, coconut sellers or necklaces in seeds of voaranto or vatsorokonangatra. Yesterday still the first destination of national tourism, it will regain its luster. Meanwhile, weeks are used to (well) finish on the edge of the lagoon of Foulpointe when the small merchants do not become too invasive, in which case one can choose to go around the reef in traditional dugout. Or further afield in Mahambo, where the surf would swear to have found a piece of his native Polynesia ...

Text: Thompson Andriamanoro
Photos Pierre-Yves Babelon
Thanks to Eastern Tours, Neptune Hôtel

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