Tsiribihna river

The descent of the Tsiribihina river is often combined with a visit to the Tsingys. You can get the 6 or 7 days tour for about €300 (1 million ariary!) in Antsirabe. Otherwise, the river descent only is done in 3 days for about 120 €. Billy and his hostel (chez-billy.com) is a good contact to find out which group to join. It’s “little Eric” that leads our group, composed for half of boatmen:

The descent takes us 2 ½ days at this end of May: 45, 50 and 20 km (115km). With wooden pirogues, we surf at 10km/h: 2 rowers for 2-3 passengers per boat. It will take 15 days for the boatmen to go back up river! The silence is very pleasant, sometimes cut by engine boats hardly faster than us. We appreciate the beautiful landscapes, paddy fields on the rich silt banks. Some sifaka and rufus lemur and are also curious to see that we do here. Several colorful birds (red Floya Madagascaris, kingfisher, herons, etc.) are flying over the river.

The second day starts nicely with “the island women” waterfall ! We stop to visit the Begidro village: children are excited. The large building behind the market serves as storage of tobacco harvested around, which will be transformed in Antsirabe.

Camping and lunch breaks are done on the river banks, the kitchen is already starting on the canoes! Like a catfish purchased directly at the fisherman boat 2 hours earlier: can’t be fresher! We are lucky to have a talented team in the kitchen!
The first baobabs on the banks impress us, they become legion approaching Belo. They grow only 1 to 2 cm a year, they are multi centuries old trees!
The canoes can’t descend to Belo-sur-Tsiribihna: the currents in the estuary become too strong. We land 35km above, and the tour continues with a 50km 4×4 track that take us 2 hours. In the rain season, the 4×4 cannot drive the full track and the zebu carts are the only link, and thus are much longer! This is not our case at the end of May and we can continue the track to the Tsingys in the afternoon.

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