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Fenoarivo-Atsinanana (Fénérive Est)/Madagascar

Introducing Fenoarivo-Atsinanana (Fénérive Est)

The bustling clove-scented town of Fenoarivo-Atsinanana (usually referred to as just Fenoarivo, which means ‘Thousand Warriors’, or Fénérive-Est) was the first capital of the Betsimisaraka. It was here in the early 1700s that the founder, Ratsimilaho, united the tribe and proclaimed himself king. Ratsimilaho’s modest tomb is on a tiny lemur-inhabited island just offshore, opposite a popular local swimming area known as the piscine; a pirogue across should cost around Ar3000 (negotiable).

About 3km south of Fenoarivo is Vohimasina, the ruins of an old pirate fort with triangular water wells; it’s not signposted so you’ll need local help to find it. You can also visit a nearby clove factory.

The town is the major population centre along the coast road, and has a post office, a lively market, a card phone and a Bank of Africa branch. Visitor facilities aren’t really up to the standard of its coastal neighbours, and it’s better for a brief day trip than an extended stay.