MAHAJANGA, the city of flowers… the diversity in nature…
Welcome to Mahajanga, the City of Flowers. The Boeny Region is a legendary land of welcome. Mahajanga, its cosmopolitan and lively capital, is the ideal starting point to immerse yourself in spaces with innumerable, diversified and... still too often unknown tourist attractions. City and province rival natural and historical artifacts for the happiness of the visitors. The Boeny region is extremely endearing and rich with a wealthy historical, cultural and environmental heritage.
Mahajanga attracts tourists from all over the world attracted by the brilliance of the sky, the beauty of its beaches, the colors of the landscape, the sea on which stands multicolored dinghies with latin sails, luxuriant vegetation of its coast and its mangroves, Its exceptional sunshine and above all the spontaneous and warm welcome of its inhabitants, peculiar to those of the whole island. Somnolent port town with one of the prettier waterfronts of Madagascar's seaside cities – a palm-lined seaside promenade, as well as shady arcades and walls draped with gorgeous bougainvillea. With its large Comoran and Indian populations, and historical connections with Africa, it is one of the most colourful and ethnically diverse places in Madagascar. It is also the gateway to one of western Madagascar's most diverse regions, from stunning caves and rock formations to sacred lakes and bird-rich wetlands.
Founded about 1700 by Arabic who established there a well sheltered port and a prosperous commercial counter, it was called a long time Majunga but has never lost its Arab and Swahili seal.
The population in Majunga is so cosmopolitan that they have at their disposal the different dishes of the Islands, those from Southern Asia and East Africa, without missing the universal one from Europe and China. It is from Majunga that people started eating the samosa, a triangular pancake filled with violently spiced meat. As opposed to most people’s belief that it originates from the Comoros, it comes from Eastern Africa.
Majunga is a peaceful, cosmopolitan city full of charms, it is very often acclaimed by foreigners for its conviviality, its nonchalance, and its art of living, as illustrated by its famous "Bord", the promenade of the du Bord de Mer where the les Majungais meeting nightfall. At sunset, the inhabitants and the tourists are used to go to the seaside boulevard and the cornice not too far from the giant baobab tree to taste the freshness of the evening, picking grilled skewers, to drink coconut milk and to watch the population passing by. Not that the city misses distractions, but it is so much taken by its activities and people are just in seek of simple pleasures like evening walks or good restaurants.
You cannot miss the huge baobab a circumference of about 15m, which is 1000 years old and that has become the living symbol of the city. In 1898, an official measuring yielded a circumference of about 15m, which you can still found written in many travel guides. In fact, the old Baobab measured nearly 22m in 2016 and still grows very slowly.
The photographic motifs are extraordinarily plentiful: trading posts, sculpted wooden doors, all remnants of the Arabic origins of the city, old colonial houses with ochre facades show some relics of a gone glory, narrow streets with small gardens planted with bugambilia plants… At the seaside, wooden boats are up and downloaded goods, rice, cotton, cement at dawn.
Mahajanga is well known for its lively nightlife. A really exciting seafront nightlife that will help you to immerse in the picturesque local customs!
Released from the constraints of the daily life, tourists and holiday makers can, for their part, go to the beaches of the city, like that of Amborovy or visit various places and folk curiosities, in particular the sacred places of the Sakalava royalty. On this subject, in spite of its strong Muslim influence, the population seems rather oddly much related to the national beer while finding as excuses that after all it is only slightly alcoholic.
Enjoy these… experiences:
Its surroundings are not less attractive: Mahajanga’s baobabs, scattered islands, forest reserves, lakes and caves have turned it into a major escape away for capital’s inhabitants. Speaking of tourism, Majunga shelters several sites which can be surprising, from the various beaches to the varied landscapes as the Cirque Rouge (Red circus), where the ground presents a mosaic of different colors passing from the pink to chestnut with the bordeau and which is illuminated in all its splendor under the effect of the sun.
*Visit 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, a beautiful fisher village nestled between sandy beaches invites guests to a complete idleness.
*Sailing on Bay de Bombetoka. A one-day cruise through the dozens of islets that obstruct the mouth of the Betsiboka and to catch some species of birds among the 60 registered among them the sacred ibis. Beautiful mangrove. The tour can be completed by a hike on the west bank of the Betsiboka in a small forest populated by lemurs.
*Visit in Les Grottes de Belobaka. Less impressive than the caves of Anjohibe (80 km from Majunga), the caves of Belobaka are 11 km from Majunga and are accessible all year round. The formation of these caves dates from the secondary era (about 65 million years) and continues until the Quaternary (2,5 million years).
*A trip Marovoay town and Descent on the Betsiboka river. The former capital of the Boeny kingdom, Marovoay enjoys an exceptional location on the banks of the delta of the Betsiboka river just ideally connected with the Mozambique Channel. The course of the river is punctuated with islets which shelter an important avifauna. This lively waterway offers scenic performances.
*Discovery the Sacred lake of Mangatsa. This sacred lake with transparent waters is the home of some of the biggest goldfish you will ever see. Lake Mangatsa is a sacred place and even politicians come usually here to seek the advice of the ancestors.
Lastly, Majunga offers various activities as fishing, hunting, diving and of small cruising in the surrounding small islands which are far from competing with those of the other areas of the island.
Watch more photos about Mahajanga here.