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Visiting Anjohibe to See Caves, Waterfalls, Lemurs, and Bats near Mahajanga

In this blog post, Coral Chell shares her tourist visit to Anjohibe in northwest Madagascar during a break from field work. Coral is a PhD student at the University of Toronto. She studies coquerel’s sifakas in Mariarano, which is near Ankarafantsika National Park. Sign up for Coral’s newsletter on Substack.

Coral (right) and her two colleagues, Sylvanah Rabesahala and Hanitriniaina Raharinirina, at the sign at the entrance to Anjohibe

On our monthly trip back to Mahajanga to resupply for our field work, we went to Anjohibe to see some caves, a waterfall, and a beautiful natural pool!

I had no idea what to expect from Anjohibe. There are very few pictures online, and I had only heard people talk about it and its ecolodge sometimes. But everyone that I have spoken to has said it was good and we should definitely go because it’s relatively close to our route back to Mahajanga. Also with this being the last year I will be here for my PhD, I wanted to see as many things as I could!

I went in with medium levels of expectations and they were blown out of the water!

The Natural Wonders of Anjohibe

The Caves

According to our guide Barry (who was lovely), these caves are the largest in Madagascar (4×5 km) and the 2nd largest in Africa! I have never seen caves like this. There were over 40 different ’rooms’ with various rocks and minerals.

There were thousands of bats roosting in the cave. This was both the coolest and scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my life!

For our tour of the cave system, we walked a 2km route in and around various parts of the caves. Some areas were deep in the pitch black and we passed several breathtaking openings up to the sky. Pictures truly don’t do this place justice. It’s really a you ‘have to go’ type of place, and I can’t recommend it enough!

 

Natural Pool and Waterfall

The final things we got to see — and possibly the most beautiful place I have seen in Madagascar — was the natural pool and waterfall.

After a lovely lunch of fish and zebu meatballs, we got changed into our swimming gear and took a 10-minute walk down to the waterfall. It was breathtaking, I have no words to describe it as it was just beautiful. The water was a beautiful blue colour and so cold/fresh. It’s also apparently 8m deep and people jump off the top into the pool, which was not for me! After some photos and a bit of a swim, it was time to leave and start our journey back to Mahajanga.

 

Lemurs in Anjohibe

They are multiple lemur species that come to the camp, including the coquerel’s sifaka!

Sadly, I didn’t manage to get any photos of the lemurs, but the sifakas were in the trees right above where the kitchen staff were sat! I believe there are also common brown lemurs (Eulemur fulvus) and possibly mouse lemurs here. If you want to be certain you know about all of the species here, I recommend getting in touch with the guide in advance and planning based on his recommendations.

Tourist Facilities at Anjohibe

Campsite and Ecolodge

They have a really beautiful set up of bungalows with electricity and flushing toilets and running water, which is massive considering its rural location. Staying at the lodge costs 60,000 Ariary a night for 2 people. There’s also a restaurant and everything to organise trips out to the caves, beach etc.

We didn’t book in advance, but we were just going for the day in off peak season. I would say if you want to stay the night and if you are going during the tourist season (July-September) then you would want to book in advance. It looked like they were building new concrete bungalows to house more guests which looks promising!

 

Getting to Anjohibe

The journey to Anjohibe took around 3 to 4 hours. So even though you could do this trip from Mahajanga and back in a day, I would highly recommend staying at least 1 night, and possibly 2 to give yourself enough time to enjoy what Anjohibe has to offer.

So, if you ever find yourself in NW Madagascar, near Mahajanga, definitely check out Anjohibe and its incredible cave systems. Not only will you get to see some awesome parts of the region, you will also be contributing to the community and local economy through your visit!

Visit Anjohibe

  • Location: About 3 to 4 hours from the city of Mahajanga in northwest Madagascar. It takes about 40 mins on the RN4, then about 3 hours on a dirt road which can be hot and bumpy as it goes through the savannah.
  • Email: rivojohn@yahoo.fr or guidejohnmajunga@gmail.com
  • Phone: 032 45 839 28 or 034 03 554 80
  • Recommendation: Book in advance if you plan to stay overnight and want more time to find lemurs and explore the beautiful surroundings.