TOPO Hiking

Begidro in Tsimafana, Tsiribihina, Morondava

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Dive into western Madagascar along the wide, winding Tsiribihina River, which joins the Mozambique Channel at Morondava. 2 stages of bushwalking more or less along the river, with pretty bivouacs on the banks or sand near the villages of Begidro, Tsaraotana and Tsimafana. The 1st stage is nothing exceptional, but the second is well worth the detour: a magical circuit through a forest of majestic baobabs, each as beautiful as the next. The bush villages we pass through are equally splendid, not to mention the nonchalant descent of the Tsiribihina on noisy barges that are ideally placed to enjoy the wilderness of the region. If you look carefully, you may even come across a few crocodiles...

Technical summary

Type ✦ Hiking / Red Island Trail, Stage 3 & 4

Location ✦ Begidro, Tsaraotana and Tsimafana

Region ✦ Tsiribihina, Morondava

Country ✦ Madagascar

Length ✦ 26kms

Height difference ✦ 250m

Difficulty ✦ MD

Duration ✦ 2 days with bivouac

Interest ✦ ★★

Access to the place

Departure is from Miandrivazo to reach the banks of the Tsiribihina and then the barges. Travel between the first and second stages is also by river. Departure is from the Belo landing stage on the Tsiribihina.

Map & topo

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 6 à 7h

Long approach to Begidro from Miandrivazo: bush cab to the river bank, pirogues to the barge and descent to Bedrigo. Bivouac on the sand near the village.

Course

The 2 routes are not signposted, but mostly follow paths used by the villagers. No difficulties other than orientation (not in our case, since the routes had been marked by the trail organizers).


There were no water refills along the way, so plan accordingly. Transport, catering and bivouac logistics were handled entirely by the small barge company (Eden 1 and 2 for us), with fairly efficient results.


1st stage: Begidro to Berevo

21 km of bush trails through rice fields and villages along the river. Very little elevation gain (110m cumulative) and limited interest in this part of the trip. On the other hand, the encounters with the villagers and especially the schoolchildren are very pleasant. 50 pupils per class from CP to CM2, with 2 teachers to manage them... Conditions couldn't be more difficult, yet a warm welcome and lots of smiles!


Transition: Berevo to Tsaraotana

From Berevo, take the boat back down the Tsiribihina for several hours to reach the village of Tsaraotana. Bivouac either on a sand spit in the middle of the river, or on the banks opposite the village.


2nd stage: Tasraotana to Tsimafana

17 km of bush trails, but this time in a rather exceptional setting: a gigantic forest of baobabs, just as gigantic! The terrain is more undulating, and we pass through a number of traditional villages, sometimes right in the middle of the giants. It's hard to resist these unimaginably shaped trees. An African bush atmosphere guaranteed.

Back

From Tsimafana, resume navigation to reach the Belo pier fairly quickly.

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