Along the Tsiribihina river

“where one does not plunge”

Sunset on un chaland au bord of Tsiribihina, Madagascar

The majestic Tsiribihina takes you to the heart of the vast expanses of the West. Miandrivazo, the point of embarkation, is reached via Antsirabe capital of the very fertile region of Vakinankaratra.

The Tsiribihina is a river that flows through the Bongolava, Bemaraha and Menabe regions and flows through a large delta in the Mozambique Channel, some 50 kilometers north of Morondava, west of Madagascar.

Formerly the Tsiribihina and its tributaries were animated chiefly by the comings and goings of barges opening up the tobacco plantations. Following the cessation of the activity, these same boats were conserved and arranged for the transport of passengers. It is one of the main tourist attractions of the country.

During the 3 to 4 days of descent of the river, the time stops. Only the noise of the engines of the barges can affect the serenity of the place, where in a lush tropical nature, waterfalls with crystalline waters and sumptuous landscapes, evolve lemurs, turtles, chameleons, herons, wild ducks and other exotic birds, the emblematic crocodile of the Nile which is at the origin of the name of this river "tsy robohina, where one does not plunge".

In the villages outside the world and devoid of any contemporary modernism bordering the Tsiribihina, the life of the Sakalava flows peacefully in the shade of kapokiers, baobabs and mango trees. The passage of travelers is for the locals the attraction of the day and it is tradition that they come after nightfall near the camps, sing and dance to the rhythm of the kabôsy and other makeshift instruments.

The landing stage of Belo on Tsiribihina is the last stage before the river enters an immense estuary that will flow into the Mozambique Channel. There are schooners, taxi boats, dugout drivers and ferries more or less artisanal that allow cars to cross the river and thus join the road track that leads to Morondava.

Text and photos Pierre-Yves Babelon
Thanks to Espace Mada

Your comments: