TOAMASINA, THE MULTIFACETED CITY
Toamasina city (often still known by its French name Tamatave) it’s a convenient spot to break the journey between Antananarivo and Sainte Marie Island, or to organize a trip down the Canal des Pangalanes, or to discovery Toamasina Province. The town was developed as a resort during colonial times and these days is a popular holiday destination. Every Sunday, come rain or shine, fashionable youth gather on the seafront to promenade, flirt and ride around in high-wheeled pousses-pousses (rickshaws). Toamasina is to what Brighton is to London, or Nice is to Paris.
DID YOU KNOW? The Micheline is the oldest example in the world, of a train still in operation produced by Michelin. TransLemuriaExpress, this train will allow you to connect Antananarivo to Toamasina. An experience to live!
The city covers comfortably between the Bay Ivondro and the immense beach along the bay and the Indian Ocean. Its colonial past resurfaces through wide boulevards with ancient colonnaded buildings straight stand side by side. For travellers, it’s a pleasant place, with long, wide avenues lined with flamboyants and palm trees, a seaside promenade and a good selection of hotels and restaurants. See the past in the colonial and Creole buildings in the town center, be caught by surprise by the Place Bien-Aimée with its magnificent trees; buy vanilla in all forms: syrup, powder, in sticks or cinnamon at the local market (the visit of the local markets is compulsory for any visitor, there are two market - Bazar-Bé - "Big market" and Bazar kely - "Tiny market"); sniff the scent of drying cloves and other spices, as well as buy tons of tropical fruits: litchis, mangoes, guayavas, jackfruit, souvenirs shells or local artcraft like the one made with Ravinala leaves. Enjoy the wide avenues lined with beautiful old Flamboyant and Palm trees, stroll the boulevard along the white sandy beach from where you can see the desert island of Ile aux Prunes (Nosy Alanana). Or honor the two museums with a visit, the museum at the harbour and the university museum.
Main thoroughfare in city is Boulevard Joffre. All commercial activities are here: restaurants, tea rooms, souvenir boutiques. All you want indeed! During the day, seafront is interesting, packed of street vendors. Nice beach along Bd Ratsimilaho especially between Pointe Asti and Pointe Tanio, where have a great view of the district. But remember “bathing is strictly forbidden in the city!» (because of the sharks’ danger).
Near the town hall, outdoor dances are frequently held. Traditional Betsimisaraka dances and kwassa-kwassa shows often continue throughout the night. But despite this atmosphere, Toamasina is a vibrant and important town, a center of commerce for the east and one of the country’s major ports.
And what can be done in Toamasina yet? Enjoy these... experiences:
Take our excursion The Ivoloina Park. Face-to-Face with Endangered Species + All The Sights Toamasina. Day-night excursion. The tour starts with a visit to a small nature reserve to come eye-to-eye with twelve different species of lemurs, and also frogs, chameleons, birds, and much more. Thereafter, either on foot or by pousse-velo (tricycle), excursion to learn about the history of Toamasina and its sights, as well as about a cheerful night life of the city. Excellent restaurants and bars of course we will also make a visit, and barbecue on the waterfront.
To organize your own creative trip to Tamatave. Take our excursion The Palmerie. The Palm Oil Experience and Our favorite heart of crafts. The one at the same time you can combine creative tourism, ecotourism, cultural tourism, gastronomy etc...
Try our tour Around Toamasina. A Taste of Rural Madagascar. A challenging one-day hike – about seven hours – in the vicinity of Toamasina to learn about nature and culture in this part of Madagascar.
Do you want to relax a bit and be closer to the ocean? Take our Relaxing visit: Ile aux Prunes (Plum Island). Tamatave's best-kept secret and little paradise! When strolling along the white sandy beaches of Toamasina you cannot but spot the intriguing island a little offshore from Toamasina with its lighthouse like an admonishing finger. This beautiful little island provides an excellent opportunity for an excursion.
Do you want even more, but do not have time to make a visit to island Ile Ste Marie? Take our trip in Mahambo. Bounty Island Experience and Surf destination. A two-day trip to a seaside resort to relax, to swim, snorkeling, surf, hike, explore the village; and to visit the historic site Manda Fort in Foulpointe. But this place deserves to have you been here much longer.
Scouting a nightlife of the city. Disco. A must-see Tamatave clubbers. First, they have done on the dancefloor the fame of the nights of Tamatave for years. DJ's from Reunion or even Europeans (Dj Sim's, Dj Djekey, Danny Wild) there welcome. Second, hosts many concerts and themed evenings. A scene on which many national artists (Rossy, Jaojoby, Jerry Marcoss, Mahaleo) and international artists (Stomy Bugsy, Neiman) have performed. Casino. Place your bets! The Casino welcomes you every evening in a cozy atmosphere. An electronic roulette wheel completes the many slot machines, as well as the Pocker table. You can try your luck at Poker Hold'Em, Black Jack, Roulette and other slot machines. Games are made…
And also experience this. Horse riding. Exceptional stroll. The Domaine des Haras Masteva is a true haven of tranquility. An oasis of 7 hectares in the heart of Tamatave. The Domaine des Haras Masteva is the equestrian center of Tamatave, affiliated to the FMSE (Malagasy Federation of Equestrian Sports) and offers introductory courses in horseback riding, magnificent walks. Instructor (with FEI certification) will make you discover the pleasures of riding.
This is a brief overview of... Toamasina can give you a lot... and even more.
Watch more photos about Toamasina here.