Manakara is a quiet Malagasy town with wide unpaved streets and an end-of-the-world feel. It is known primarily as the terminus of the train line from Fianarantsoa. Manakara has some long, pine-fringed beaches, but sharks and strong currents mean that swimming is not possible here.
Manakara is divided into two parts. In the centre, known as Tanambao, are the train and taxi-brousse stations, the market and some hotels. Over the lagoonlike estuary of the Manakara River is the old seaside district of Manakara-Be, where you’ll find BFV-SG, BNI-CL and BTM-BOA banks, a post office, a few hotels and the beach.
For bicycle, car or boat trips in Manakara’s surrounding area, as well as excursions along the Canal des Pangalanes, contact Sylvain (72 216 68), an English-speaking guide.
One warning: the pousse-pousse men here are the worst in the country for cheap tricks and bullying behaviour, and they turn out in force to meet every train arrival – be prepared for the onslaught! See the boxed text for advice and alternatives.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009
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