Canal de Pangalanes

Contradictory information on the Internet and an old Lonely Planet from 2008: from Brickaville, you navigate first on the river and only later on you arrive on the cannal. The river part is frequently navigated by motorized boat with 10 to 20 people. They are traveling to / from Brickaville and Andovoranto for 5000 Ar at 9km/h. So did I with my bike on the boat:

The northern part of the canal towards Manambato, the lakes and Tamatave is more touristic. This is only possible by chartering a boat (‘special’), what the travel agents from organized tours or the hotels in Manamboto usually offer.
Otherwise Brickaville to Manamboto is a good 11km road and a nice 7km track on mountain bike, not too rocky, not too sandy! Towards South, Mahnoro is best reached by a 5h taxi-brousse (12k Ar) from Brickaville. Then between Manohoro and Manajary, this is the real commercial part of Pangalanes channel, especially navigated by cargo ships. The N11 road is indeed a sand track cut by 5 ferrys, feasible only with a good 4×4 or motorcycle, and you wait for the cars to take it. In the north the trucks on the road to Tamatave replaced the boats.
Since early 2015, Voahangy (, a young retired lady from Tana who speak fluently English, moved to Mahnoro and offers a passenger boat to Nosy Varika Tuesday and Friday (and Wednesday and Saturday from NV to Mahnoro) : 1d crossing (14h with shallow passages including one where you had to walk along the canal), 109 km at 10km / h for 10k Ar.

The second half to Manajary is much busier with many boats every day. The ‘Trance Sakeleona’ leaves at 6:30 from Nosy Varika, and navigates the 92km in 8:30 at 12km/h. It is equipped with a sound system powered by a solar panel, and the loud music tries to cover the engine noise, but after several hours, it’s not sure which one is worse! It arrives at 15h in Manajary, too late for a taxi-brousse to Manakara.

Since you have so much time on these boat, it is a nice opportunity to discuss with the Malagasy people about the huge development potential of the country: e.g. they could increase agriculture productivity and make it more diverse with sustainable solutions. This part of the country is very fertile: everything grows with little effort! Malagasy daily diet is rice with zebu or fish, too few vegetables! Most crops Madagasacar is famous for (vanilla, cinnamon, pepper, etc.) are mostly only for the export market: you almost never see pepper on a table!

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