Tropical green in Eastern Madagascar
Bush House deck | Leads you to paradise
Wild Indian Ocean & empty beaches
Fisherman on the Canal | Daily life in the Pangalanes
HISTORY OF PANGALANES CHANNEL
THE ORIGINS OF THE CANAL
History of Pangalanes channel: The Pangalanes is a chain of sweet water lakes and lagoons parallel to the coast of the Indian Ocean, separated by a narrow stretch of land. The lakes are connected by a man-made channel system that forms an inland waterway from Tamatave through to Farafangana, making it the longest canal in the world, covering a distance of 600km. The canal was constructed from 1896 to 1904 under the governance of General Joseph Gallieni during the early French colonial years. It was designed to facilitate transportation of goods to the main trading port of Tamatave because shipping on the Indian Ocean was too dangerous.
DAILY LIFE IN THE CANAL
The canal still dominates daily life in this region as it provides the primary source of trade, transport, and living. Cruising by boat on the calm waters of Pangalanes is a fascinating journey through time and history. Many traditional Betsimisaraka villages can be seen along the banks, as well as pirogues, local fishermen, rafts with straw huts carrying timber en-route Tamatave, as it has been done since early colonial times. Over-crowded bush boats have funny names such as “Great Hope” and “Malagasy Fish.” Villagers wave and shout at passing ships, and fishermen yell from the other bank asking you if you had a good night!
ENVIRONMENT OF THE CANAL
Along with the many islets and water banks on the Pangalanes Channel, there is plenty of aquatic vegetation such as water lily, Ravinala (Madagascar’s national emblem), Pandanus, “Elephant’s ears” or Niouli trees. Bush House is located at Lake Ampitabe, the third largest lake of the Canal des Pangalanes. The lodge itself is situated on a hill overseeing the lake. Within 30 meters is a beach where the water is cristal clear and perfectly safe for swimming. The area is called “Ankanin’ny Nofy”, which very suitably means “Nest of Dreams” in Malagasy.