Andranokoditra. The Orchid Ecolodge and Vohibola Forest.

Madagascar. – I have shared numerous posts and photos from my visit to the Andranokoditra fishing village on Lake Ampitabe, which I accessed from Hotel Palmarium. Both out of intrigue and a desperate desire to offer a glimpse into what I consider to be real Madagasy East Coast living. And how they are living and hosting and facing their challenges with pride.

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I took a tour with one of the residents for a look at the church, school, NGO projects and accommodation facilities. I can think of nowhere better to spend a couple of nights than their Ecolodge on the water’s edge, and hope to do so on my return visit.

I was there on a Saturday, which meant most of the residents were watching the football gam The Palmarium Hotel had a team against the Andranokoditra team – and we won 8-1!

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The Community Hall.

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Clinic and Health Centre.

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The Church, with a clanger of a bell and dappled light to feed the faith.

One of the French NGO’s that does work in the area has installed five water pumps, demonstrated here by my guide. I cannot think of a greater gift than fresh water. Evident in the lack of plastic bottles and clean living.

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Hand water pump.

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A new school is being constructed. Always a good sign.

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There is Ecolodge “Orchids” if you would like to stay in the village. A restaurant, four double bungalows and a family unit that sleeps four. Each is equipped with a mosquito net, bathroom with shower and a solar panel for electricity. Mornings are about a local breakfast of donuts and omelettes with tea or coffee. Its a cute place. Perhaps with a crowd, as language is a challenge.

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The Orchid Eco Lodge.

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On the coastline, a reminder of what happens when a cyclone hits. Actually during the heart of cyclone season, most of the residents vacate their homes for safer ground.

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There is an education centre where many French students spend their gap period, working specifically in the Vohibola Forest which is part of MATE (Man and the Environment). The forest stretches 9km northwards fromLake Ampitabe and is being developed for tourism. This is one of the last remaining fragments of littoral forests in Madagascar with a number of critically endangered trees. Some that hadn’t been seen in over 50 years and were considered extinct.

Now rediscovered and protected. Vohibola has an extensive nursery and you can actually opt for a hands on experience and plant an indigenous tree in support of their reforestations program. This map was up in the lecture room, with a clear ’You are Here’ marker!

Over and above that there are projects in the making to propagate orchids, distill essential oils and educate against deforestation.

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How to get to Andranokoditra – and yes, you should.

By boat: the Ankanin’nofy hotels and Manambato offer speedboat transfers (Tamatave 3h and Manambato 1h). The boatmen of the river port of Toamasina and Manambato offer transfers by pirogue. (Tamatave 4:30h and Manambato 2h).

By train: from Tamatave or Moramanga

Foot and Bike: If you’re on a bike or on foot, from Savahalena (RN2), an easy 4 hours walk to Andranokoditra.

More information can be found at Tamatave Tourism or by email. Or contact my rather amazing ground operator Ben at Madagascar Tour.

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Dawn JorgensenDawn Jorgensen
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The Incidental Tourist

The Incidental Tourist is a Personal Travel Blog of a conscious traveller with a deep love for Africa, its people and the environment.

Here I bring you narratives, stories, video and photographs from my travels around the globe, including accounts of gorilla trekking in Uganda, tree planting in Zambia and turtle rescue in Kenya, accommodation and restaurant reviews, as well as details of the conservation efforts that I support.

A self proclaimed earth advocate and beauty seeker, I invite you to join me and share in my love of sustainable travel – and the rich offerings of our beautiful world.

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