Mahajanga: the pearl of the northwest coast of Madagascar

Mahajanga or Majunga is a city located in the northwestern part of the island , about 580 kilometers from the country’s capital, Antananarivo. Known as the « City of Flowers », Mahajanga is a destination of choice for travelers searching for adventure and discovery. The city is warm all year round and is a real tropical paradise. Mahajanga is known for its good atmosphere, its waterfront and its unparalleled humidity. Historical capital of the Sakalava kingdom, Mahajanga has unique traditions and culture, which makes it a cosmopolitan city with a fascinating cultural richness.

City history :

Majunga is a city with a rich historical past. The city as it is known today was created in the 17th century. At the beginning of the 18th century, it became the capital of the kingdom of Boina and of the Sakalava ethnic group before being annexed by the kingdom of Merina in the 19th century. A few centuries ago, the Antalaotra would have established a trading post in the region. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Indian merchants also settled there.
In 1895, the French colonized the Big Island and occupied Mahajanga until the independence of the country in 1960. This rich history allows the city to reveal today a magnificent kaleidoscope of cultures mixing Arab, Chinese, Indian, French and Sakalava ethnic influences.

Today, Mahajanga has become a cosmopolitan city that never ceases to attract the attention and curiosity of thousands of tourists every year. They come to discover the flavor of its dishes, its beautiful beaches, the generosity of its inhabitants, but also its lush vegetation, all in a fascinating historical setting.

Majunga Culture :

The city of Mahajanga is impregnated with a rich culture, fruit of a mixture of Indian, Arab, Chinese, French and Sakalava traditions. The local tourist service providers make a particular effort to value this local culture. The evenings are decorated with musical groups and the tasting of typical Malagasy dishes. Documents relating to the habits and customs still widely practiced are made available to visitors.

There are many opportunities to witness traditional ancestral rites that mark the attachment to the royal descendants and the worship of the « Zanahary antany », a term that designates the king considered as a deity in flesh and blood. Every weekend, the moraingy (traditional wrestling) competitions attract large crowds and offer an unforgettable spectacle.

In July, Mahajanga hosts the « Fanompoabe », or royal relic baths, in honor of the great monarchs who built the Sakalava kingdom. The Koezy cultural week takes place at the same time in order to contribute to the safeguard of the rich cultural heritage. Exhibitions, concerts, parades and participation in the processions of Fanompoabe follow one another and allow to apprehend the attractions of the Sakalava culture.

Natural sites of Majunga :

Beaches :

Mahajanga is a city with many beaches, located not far from the city center, which makes them easily accessible. We can mention in particular the beach of the Tourist Village, the Small Beach of Amborovy lined with filaos, the beach of Grand Pavois located at 10 km from the city center and which shelters many restaurants, as well as the beach of Ampazony at 15 km, which is close to red cirques. The beaches of Ampasindava at 20 km and Antsanitia at 25 km are also very popular with visitors.
The crystal clear waters of these beaches are ideal for swimming and other water activities. In addition, several beaches are equipped with straw huts and mats to allow visitors to relax comfortably. Take advantage of these beaches to spend relaxing moments with family and friends.

Cirque Rouge :

Located only 30 minutes by car from the city center, it is an exceptional natural site classified as a national natural heritage and now protected. This cirque is the result of the intensive erosion of alternate layers of sandstone with multiple colors, giving rise to fascinating lunar landscapes, especially at sunset. One can admire fairy chimneys, silicified woods, springs and shallows invaded by traveler’s trees (Ravenala madagascariensis), as well as sacred and precious places containing medicinal plants. Visitors can choose among 6 guided tours with themes, according to their preferences, such as landscapes and views or fauna and flora. Access can be made by car, bus or cab, or even on foot, about 12 km from the city center. The visit is recommended in the middle of the afternoon to fully enjoy the beauty and magic of this natural site.

Things to do in the area :

In addition to enjoying the beaches and natural attractions, there are many other things to do in Mahajanga. The national parks of Ankarafantsika, Baie de Baly and Tsingy de Namoroka are excellent places to observe the local fauna and flora. It is also recommended to walk in the historical center to admire the beauty of the colonial architecture. The Bazar-Be market and Tsaramandroso are ideal places to buy souvenirs and local products. Finally, attending a Moraingy show or a cockfight is a unique cultural experience.

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