Pangalanes Canal Tour

Helinirina Raharomanana – Madagascar Tours Guide

Pangalanes Canal Tour

Pangalanes Canal Tour - Itinerary

Circuit : Mananjary – Ambohitsara – Nosy Varika – Masomeloka – Masomeloka – Mahanoro

  • Day 1 – Mananjary – Ambohitsara – Nosy Varika
  • Day 2 – Nosy Varika – Masomeloka
  • Day 3 – Masomeloka – Mahanoro

Pangalanes Canal Tour - Details of the itinerary

Day 1 – Mananjary – Ambohitsara – Nosy Varika


Your journey on Pangalanes Canal Tour begins in Mananjary, a city of spices, coffee and vanilla. Mananjary is a quiet, authentic and relaxing town on the east coast of Madagascar. In this land of the Antanambahoaka, one of the 18 tribes of the country, customs and tradition have their great values. Every 7 years, the Antambahoaka organize a traditional circumcision ceremony called Sambatra. It is a great celebration that marks the passage from childhood to adulthood of little boys. The Sambatra ritual constitutes a cultural identity of the tribe and is an occasion of great festivity for almost a month. This ceremony is one of the reasons that attract tourists. Before exploring the Canal des Pangalanes to go to Ambohitsara, take advantage of your passage to visit the plantation fields of the city as well as the market.

Anjilajila bridge in Manjary

Ambohitsara and its famous white elephant

After Mananjary, your guide will accompany you to the village of Ambohitsara. This one is particularly known thanks to the vestige of the past: the stone statue that Europeans call Stone Elephant. It is erected at the top of the sandy mound which overhangs the mouth of Fanantara, the head directed towards the North-East. It is placed standing under a shelter made of local materials and is surrounded by gaulettes. Among the natives, the statue was carved in the shape of a boar or a zebu. Others consider it as a sacred stone. The village of Ambohitsara, where the statue is located, is accessible from Nosy Varika and Mananjary.

The white elephant of Ambohitsara
A small village on the Pangalanes canal

Village of Nosy Varika

Located between Mananjary and Mahanoro, Nosy Varika is known as one of the most isolated areas of Madagascar. It can be reached by boat because the track is almost impassable all year round. For this Pangalanes Canal Tour, it is better to spend the night there before resuming the trip. The name Nosy Varika would be drawn from the reality of the zone, the presence of the lemurs (varika) in the forest around the city. Despite this enclavement, Nosy Varika has undeniable tourist assets. Among them, the 200 m waterfall of Sakeleona which is the biggest of the Big Island. The access to this site is relatively difficult and is done from the village of Ampasinambo, further west and by 4×4 vehicle. From Ampasinambo, plan a day walk to reach the waterfall. You will spend the night there before your next destination: the village of Masomeloka.

Crossing boat on the Pangalanes canal

Day 2 – Nosy Varika – Masomeloka

Leaving Nosy Varika, you will continue your adventure on the Pangalanes Canal Tour to arrive at Masomeloka, a quiet village located at the mouth of the Masora River. Those who take this waterway to Mahanoro or Mananjary usually stop here. Take this opportunity to observe the daily life of the people of the countryside of the Malagasy east coast.


The village is composed of small houses made of wood in the middle of a luxuriant vegetation characteristic of the surrounding landscape. You will discover many plant species including mainly the raffia palm, famous for its fibers, bamboos, pandanus … The tranquility of the village of Masomeloka makes it a place of exceptional change of scenery in the east coast of Madagascar.

Village in the pangalanes canal tour

Day 3 – Masomeloka – Mahanoro

Day 3 of this Circuit Pangalanes Canal Tour: after Masomeloka, heading to Mahanoro which is the arrival point of the excursions coming from Mananjary via the Canal des Pangalanes. This rural commune of the east coast is located in a sandy strip between the Indian Ocean and the Pangalanes Canal Tour. The name of the city comes from the presence of an inexhaustible and curative spring on a magnificent place of walk.


Around Mahanoro, you can visit some waterfalls like Tsiadana, Maibola and Ambetoafo. While walking in the street of the city, you will discover the way of life of the inhabitants composed essentially of two tribes of which the Betsimisaraka and the Antaimoro. This city is also used as a port of goods between Tamatave and the southeast in case of obstruction of the Canal des Pangalanes.

Mahanoro - Madagascar

Pangalanes Canal Tour - Extension


Known as a paradise on the east coast, Manambato is a small village on the shores of Lake Rasoabe. Enjoy a wide freshwater beach very quiet and desert. This lake crosses the Canal des Pangalanes and separates the village from the Indian Ocean.

Lake & Mountain of Lovers

It will be an ascent on the Mountain of the lovers to take advantage of a magnificent view on a part of the Canal des Pangalanes and the whole city of Manambato.

Pangalanes Canal Manambato


It is an unusual place, of great beauty where you can spend a very pleasant moment on a fine sandy beach facing a vast expanse of calm and peaceful fresh water.

A good place on the Pangalanes canal

Ambila, Andevoranto and Vavony fishing village excursion

Another extension option: the excursion to Ambila, Andevoranto and the fishermen’s village of Vavony. You will travel along the waterway to Ambila, a small village nestled on the east coast of Madagascar between the Indian Ocean and the Pangalanes Canal where nature is particularly generous. Then go to Andovoranto, a village located about ten kilometers from Ambila, at the mouth of the Rianila River. It is a former center of slave trade during the kingdom’s time when the port activity was booming. To finish this excursion, you will be taken to Vavony, a small fishing village located 15 minutes from Manambato and near Ambila. Vavony offers the possibility of swimming, picnicking on a motor boat or fishing. At the end of your trip, you can go camping or spend the night in a hotel.

A beautiful dish
The lake is an ideal resting place for birds

Akanin’ny Nofy, Andranokoditra village, Vohitry ny Nofy Excursion

By opting for the Pangalanes Canal Tour on the side of Manambato, an incursion in the small corner of paradise of Akanin’ny Nofy (Dream nest) is a must. Located at the edge of the lake Ampitabe on a vast green space, nature expresses all its generosity there with a possibility of seeing endemic fauna of the island. Travelers are welcomed with a cocktail of local fruits, songs and dances of local artists.

Accompanied by your tour guide, you will then go to the fishing village of Andranokoditra. This is a safe place for pure relaxation and invigoration. Discover in this village a little isolated in a small tongue of land between the Indian Ocean and the Pangalanes Canal where the daily life of the villagers is still punctuated by the respect of the tradition. Andranokoditra has all the important assets that make it an irresistible stopover such as the warm welcome of the population, its beaches and its panoramic views.

After Andranokoditra, heading to Vohitry ny Nofy.

Vohitry ny Nofy is 35 minutes by boat from Manambato. The presence of a natural swimming pool will allow you to bathe there and to enjoy the beach. The lemurs will also be of appointment there.

Reception in the park at Ankanin'ny Nofy

Palmarium Reserve

The private nature reserve of Palmarium gathers plant and animal species on a peninsula of about 50 hectares. You will discover many varieties of palm trees, lianas, xerophytic plants, acacias with yellow flowers… Some visitors describe this place as a real Garden of Eden.

Lemurian in the Palmarium reserve
Infrastructure in the Palmarium Reserve


Hotels, lodges or bungalow, Manambato has the infrastructures of reception worthy of a renowned tourist site. All along this circuit  Pangalanes Canal, your guide will take care of your reservation or the search for your hotel whether it is on the visited site or in the closer localities. You can also choose and make the reservation in advance via the websites of the hotels of the places you will have visited.

Manambato Madagascar

The lakes (Ampitabe, Rasoamasay, Rasoabe)

Your visit to Manambato is inseparable from that of Lake Ampitabe. An excursion to the Ampitabe lake allows you to observe the richness in fauna and flora of the reserve including endemic plants of the region as well as the tamed lemurs.

According to local legend, a giant called Darafify plunged his two wives Rasoamasay and Rasoabe into his rice fields to avenge their infidelity during his absence, hence the names of the lake. The two wives each built a village at the bottom of the water to live with their zebus and slaves. According to the beliefs, when the waters are quiet, the huts are visible at the bottom of the water.

Boat crossing Lake Rasoabe
Lake Rasoamasay Madagascar


By opting for this circuit, you will be in a real dream island, in the heart of an idyllic landscape marked by small fishermen’s villages and virgin and sumptuous beaches. Among the places not to be missed on the island:

Île aux Nattes Excursion

Ile aux Nattes is the paradise of Ste Marie, a small corner of paradise accessible only by pirogue from the southern tip of the island and near the airport. You will be delighted to make the trip surrounded by turquoise blue water.

Boarding for the tour of Île aux Nattes

Sable Island Excursion

From Boraha Village, you follow the lagoon along the coral reef to the sandy islets located between the transparent waters. A swim along the edge of the pristine sandbanks is possible while admiring a natural aquarium where exotic fish live.

Beach of Ste Marie Island Madagascar

Excursion to the natural pool

The natural pools of Ambodiatafana located at the extreme north of the island consist of three wave pools formed by a barrier of black rocks where the waves crash.

Natural swimming pool of Ambodiatafana Sainte Marie
Natural swimming pool in Sainte Marie

Mangrove & Canal of Ampanihy Bay

The Bay of Ampanihy and its immense mangrove is still little known to visitors although it is a captivating place thanks to its vacation sun. It is an excellent place for swimming protected by a coral barrier.

Canal of the bay of Ampanihy

Lokintsy Port

You will then visit the new landing port of Lokintsy. It is an additional gateway to the island of St. Marie in addition to that of Ilot Madame and the port Barachois of Ambodifotatra.

Port of Lokintsy Sainte Marie

Îlot Madame

Îlot Madame is a small island within an island that was once called Ile aux Cailles. The name Islet Madame was given by a Frenchman named Sylvain Roux in honor of the daughter of the King of France.

Ilot Madame in Sainte Marie

Pirate Cemetery

These are the tombs of the pirates, privateers, freebooters… who made the island a hideout in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Coconut trees in Sainte Marie
A small island in Sainte Marie

Tuc Tuc ride

This original means of transport will change you a little from the interminable boat rides during the Canal des Pangalanes circuit. A ride in Tuc Tuc will allow you to cross the island of Ste Marie from one side to the other. With this means of transport, you will save time to see the essential on an island of 49 km long and 5 km wide.

The right place hotel in Sainte Marie
The waterfall of Antanandava Sainte Marie

Quad ride

Once in Ste Marie, you can be accompanied by your guide on a one-day discovery tour of the island by quad. You can also be the only passenger with a driver who will pilot the quad.

Turquoise blue sea of Sainte Marie
Paradise Islands of Madagascar

Scooter ride

A scooter ride is another option to discover the island of Ste Marie. As soon as you arrive, you will be approached by motorcycle rental companies. It’s up to you to define the number of days of rental needed. The rental rate is about 10 € plus fuel.

Îles aux Nattes Sainte Marie Madagascar

Ride in a 4L convertible

It is another rather chic way to live an unforgettable day in a 4L convertible in the island of Ste Marie. It is rather a more secure way but will allow you to enjoy the beautiful places and the lagoon.


Also called desert island, Plum Island is an excellent place to rest, swim or dive. Plum Island is well positioned for whale watching, bat watching or climbing to the lighthouse.

Ride in a 4L convertible
4L convertible Sainte Marie


Also called desert island, Plum Island is an excellent place to rest, swim or dive. Plum Island is well positioned for whale watching, bat watching or climbing to the lighthouse.


This is a must-see site located at the extreme north of the island, in the direction of the natural pools. The Eiffel lighthouse remains open to visitors.

Tamatave to Plum Island
Grilled fish


A visit to the Plum Island or Alagnagna Island is a must if you are in love with a beautiful beach with a lagoon protected by a coral reef. Not to be missed for a relaxation in a paradisiacal place.

A beautiful wave by the sea Plum Islands
Grill of Camaron


You like snorkeling? Around the island of Plums, enjoy a real giant aquarium of the sea bed around the island. It is a favorable place for snorkeling thanks to a very rich coral ecosystem.

One of the lemur species of Madagascar
Forest in the plum island Madagascar

National Park of ANDASIBE - MANTADIA

Just after the Circuit Canal des Pangalanes, Andasibe is a visit not to be missed for the lovers of fauna and flora of which a dense evergreen forest which shelters numerous endemic plants. You will also discover species of lemurs including the Indri-indri, the largest in the world.

Lemurs lodge Andasibe
eulemur fulvus of Madagascar

RANOMAFANA National Park

Classified as world heritage of Atsinanana thanks to its rainforests, the park of Ranomafana is worth a detour for the lovers of nature or adventure circuit.

Ranomafana Park Madagascar
Thermal swimming pool of Ranomafana


After your boat cruise through the Canal des Pangalanes circuit, traveling by train is one of the best original ways to discover the east coast from Fianarantsoa. An opportunity to see a breathtaking landscape that you can’t find by traveling by car.


Visit the unique organic tea field of Sahambavy, a rural commune in the central-eastern part of the Haute-Matsiatra region.

Plantation Sahambavy Madagascar
Sahambavy Tea


A visit to the white mountain of Andrambovato at an altitude of 982 meters offers a breathtaking view of a vast forest station. It is one of the most beautiful places for adventure lovers.

The white mountain of Andrambovato
The Andrambovato mountain


Passing on the valley of Andrambovato, you will visit the waterfall of Mandriampotsy after having furrowed the field of coffee and banana tree.

A beautiful village seen from a train
Waterfall of Mandriampotsy Madagascar


After the waterfalls of Andrambovato, discover the longest tunnel of 1070 meters at Ankarampotsy which will lead you to the banana producing region.

Fianarantsoa Eastern coast
Tunel on the FCE


From the station of Andrambovato, you will pass by the bridge, a vestige of the colonial era in Madagascar under which you will see a 20 meters waterfall.

The train passing on the bridge
Bridge over the FCE line


Located at an altitude of 961 meters, Tolongoina is also one of the most beautiful places of the Malagasy east coast. The station of Tolongoina is known for the collection of bananas coming from the producers of the surrounding areas.

Beautiful landscape in Madagascar
Spice seller Fianarantsoa East Coast

Pangalanes Canal Tour - Map

Pangalanes Canal Tour - Video