A destination for the adventurous traveller!
Early October was a great time to travel by a sealed road from Antananarivo to Moramanga then onwards by four-wheel drive track and dug-out canoe to the expedition style camp near Mangabe village. It had rained a bit, but the mud didn’t deter our skilled drivers.
We were made very welcome in a shaded dining area with tasty Malagasy-style food, copious tea and coffee and readily available drinking water. We had comfortable lodgings in sturdy tents and all mod-cons including hot showers. There was a chance each day to see lemur, frogs, chameleon, and gecko, with day and evening walks led by local guides. One of our group was so delighted with the golden mantella frogs that she spent an hour and a half lying the mud photographing them.We had trips on the river in wonderful old pirogue perched on carefully placed chairs (sometimes walking) to see waterfalls and birds and meet the locals
The local people welcomed us into them homes in Mangabe Village. We were shown how sweet potato was cooked and then tasted it, how coffee was brewed and filtered in woven baskets and we were even able to try our hand at weaving. Voahirana (project leader) introduced us to local people, including a youth group, who were committed to farm using alternative techniques and to fertilise crops without using the traditional slash and burn methodology, thus preserving the habitat for the endangered fauna and flora. The youth group performed some dances they had created to help get the message across to other young people.
One wet afternoon we helped plant seeds in biodegradable pots for the tree nursery that we had help fund by coming to the camp.
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at Mangabe. It was great to talk to local people, to learn a little about how they lived, and to start to understand the challenges facing them.
by Kath Varcoe