Geography of the East Coast
When we talk about the east coast of Madagascar, it immediately reminds us of the province of Tamatave or Toamasina in Malagasy. The latter covers an area of 71,911 km2 and is populated by 3,438,275 inhabitants in 2011, including the “Betsimisaraka” or “Les nombreux inéparables” population. The eastern coast of Madagascar being very vast, the first and largest port of the island is located there.
When geography and tourism are on the agenda in eastern Madagascar
The east coast of Madagascar is characterized by alluvial soils, mountainous terrain and a humid tropical climate. This rainy region experiences significant precipitation compared to other regions of the island due to its exposure to the wind of the Trade Winds from the south-east, i.e. 3500 mm per year. Due to its relief and climate, the vegetation on the east coast is marked by tropical forest. While travelling on this side of the island, you will not miss to meet traveller’s trees or “ravinala”, typical plants of the region. The east coast has managed to keep the old name once given to Madagascar, including “the green island” thanks to the massive presence of forests. However, the Tamatave plains have been developed as a rice field.
East Coast Territorial Subdivisions
The province of Tamatave includes three regions or “faritra” in Malagasy. The region of Lake Alaotra called “Alaotra – Mangoro” has five (5) districts. You will find the one of Ambatondrazaka with its very fertile soils, a district well known for its rice cultivation. Andilamena is also a coveted sapphire and ruby mine on Madagascar’s east coast. The Analanjirofo region has six (6) districts and Sainte Marie Island is one of them. The region of the east called “Atsinanana” contains seven (7) districts. You will find the capital Tamatave I and the famous districts such as Tamatave II, Brickaville, Vatomandry, etc. Each region and district has its own particularities: beaches, cash crops such as vanilla, exotic fruits, etc.
The islands of the east coast of Madagascar
The east coast is not limited to Tamatave. The eastern part of Madagascar extends from Sambava in the northeast to Mananjary in the southeast. In addition to the Betsimisaraka of Tamatave, you can meet the Antemoro of the Vohipeno region in the southeast, as well as the Antambahoaka of Vatovavy Fitovinany, all in Fianarantsoa province. The latter is shared between central and eastern Madagascar. An unmissable feature of this part of the island is the 600-km Pangalane Canal, which runs along the east coast from Tamatave to Mananjary.
The surrounding islands are tourist attractions in the eastern part of Madagascar. The reputation of Île Sainte-Marie or “Nosy Boraha” for breeding humpback whales attracts many tourists every June. Nosy Mangabe” and “Nosy Antafana” are known for their rich wildlife. We will no longer mention the hidden wonders of the île aux mattes, île aux Forbans, etc.