Toamasina, Madagascar

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Toamasina, Madagascar

Region: Toamasina

Geographic Coordinates: -18.150000, 49.416700
Temperature Range: 20.0°C to 30.0°C (68°F to 86°F)
Climate: Tropical climate with wet and dry seasons, high humidity, and frequent cyclones.
Population: 225116
Language: Malagasy

Toamasina, Also known as Tamatave, Is a city situated on the eastern coast of Madagascar. It is the largest port city in the country and serves as a critical gateway for imports and exports. The city has a rich history dating back to the 17th century when it was first established by European traders. Toamasina boasts of warm temperatures throughout the year due to its tropical climate. The lush green forests and beautiful beaches surrounding the city make it an ideal location for nature enthusiasts.

Visitors can explore national parks such as Masoala National Park, Which is home to diverse wildlife species such as lemurs, Birds, Reptiles, And amphibians. The city offers many attractions such as markets selling local produce and handicrafts, Museums showcasing Malagasy culture and history, And colonial-era buildings that reflect its past as a French colony. One of Toamasina’s most popular sites is Jardin Botanique de l’Université d’Antananarivo featuring over 1, 000 plant species from Madagascar. Toamasina’s vibrant music scene blends traditional Malagasy music with modern styles to create unique sounds.

Visitors can enjoy live performances at local bars or attend festivals like Donia Music Festival held annually in June. Seafood takes center stage on menus across Toamasina due to its coastal location with crab soup or grilled fish served with coconut rice being popular dishes among locals and visitors alike. Street food vendors offer snacks like samosas filled with vegetables or meat along with refreshing drinks made from fresh fruits like coconuts or pineapples.

Despite challenges related to poverty and environmental degradation due to deforestation caused by illegal logging practices faced by Toamasina; sustainable tourism initiatives that support conservation efforts while providing economic opportunities for local communities are being implemented. Overall, Toamasina offers visitors a unique blend of history, Culture, Nature making it a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Madagascar.

Important Landmarks

  1. Jardin Botanique de l’Université de Toamasina (Botanical Garden of the University of Toamasina)
  2. Place Indépendance (Independence Square)
  3. Canal des Pangalanes (Pangalanes Canal)
  4. Port of Toamasina
  5. Musée Régional de Toamasina (Toamasina Regional Museum)
  6. Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Cathedral
  7. Parc Zoologique Ivoloina (Ivoloina Zoological Park)
  8. Marché Couvert de la Ville (City Covered Market)
  9. Plage d’Ambila-Lemaitso (Ambila-Lemaitso Beach)
  10. Île aux Prunes (Prune Island)

Primary Industries

  1. Fishing: Toamasina has both commercial fishing and artisanal fishing.
  2. Agriculture: The surrounding region of Toamasina is rich in agricultural resources such as vanilla, coffee, cloves, rice, cocoa beans, and sugar cane.
  3. Textile Industry: The city produces cotton fabrics for local markets.
  4. Tourism: The city attracts tourists who come to explore its beaches and national parks such as Masoala National Park.
  5. Port activities: Being the largest port of Madagascar makes it an important hub for import/export activities.
  6. Manufacturing Industries: Industries like food processing units (rice mills), chemical factories (fertilizers), construction materials (cement) are also present in the area around the port region.
  7. Service Sector: Retail shops selling clothes or electronics goods can be found throughout the city along with hotels & restaurants catering to tourists visiting Madagascar or businessmen involved in trade around this region of Africa’s east coast.

Noteable History

  1. The arrival of the first Europeans: In 1500, Portuguese explorers arrived in Toamasina and established trade relations with the local population.
  2. French colonization: In 1642, the French established a trading post in Toamasina and later colonized Madagascar.
  3. Queen Ranavalona I: She was a powerful queen who ruled Madagascar from 1828 to 1861 and had her palace in Antananarivo, but she also had a summer residence in Toamasina.
  4. The Battle of Tamatave: This battle took place during World War II on November 18-20, 1942 when British forces attacked German-held positions around Toamasina.
  5. The establishment of University of Toamasina: In 1977, University of Tamatave (now called University of Toamasina) was founded as one of the largest universities in Madagascar.
  6. Vanilla production: Madagascar is one of the largest producers of vanilla in the world and much of it is grown around Toamasina.
  7. The Canal des Pangalanes: This canal stretches for over 600 km along the east coast from Mahavelona to Farafangana and passes through many towns including Tamatave.

Notable people associated with Toamansia include:

  1. Jean Laborde – He was a French adventurer who lived in Madagascar during mid-19th century and helped develop industries such as sugar cane plantations around Tamatave
  2. Francois de Mahy – He was born near Toamasina and became a French politician
  3. Madame Rasoheriaka – She was an influential Malagasy woman who played an important role during colonization period by helping Malagasy people to get education and health care facilities.
  4. Dr. Albert Rakoto Ratsimamanga – He was a Malagasy biochemist who discovered the anti-cancer properties of Madagascar’s periwinkle plant and helped establish the University of Toamasina.
  5. Didier Ratsiraka – He was a former president of Madagascar who was born in Vatomandry near Toamasina and studied at the University of Toamasina before entering politics.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Toamasina Museum: This museum showcases the history and culture of Toamasina, including exhibits on traditional crafts, agriculture, and colonial-era artifacts.
  2. Jardin Botanique de l’Université de Toamasina: This botanical garden is home to a diverse range of plant species from Madagascar and around the world.
  3. Place de la Colonne: A monument located in the heart of Toamasina that commemorates the French conquest of Madagascar in 1895.
  4. Nosy Antsoha Fort: An old fort that was built by French colonizers in 1817 to protect against pirate attacks.
  5. Canal des Pangalanes: A series of man-made canals that stretch along Madagascar’s east coast and offer scenic boat rides through lush mangrove forests and local fishing villages.
  6. Foulpointe Beach: A popular beach destination located just outside of Toamasina with crystal-clear waters, white sand beaches, and plenty of opportunities for water sports like surfing and snorkeling.
  7. Maison Rouge (Red House): A historic building constructed during the colonial era that now serves as a cultural center for exhibitions on local art and history.
  8. Amber Mountain National Park: Located about an hour’s drive from Toamasina, this park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna including lemurs, chameleons, orchids, and rare bird species like the blue coua.
  9. Ivoloina Zoological Park & Botanical Garden: Located just outside Toamasina city limits, this park offers visitors a chance to see endangered lemurs up close while also learning about conservation efforts in Madagascar through educational exhibits on sustainable development practices for local communities living near protected areas such as national parks or reserves.
  10. Andasibe-Mantadia National Park: It is one of Madagascar’s most popular national parks due to its proximity to Antananarivo and its abundance of unique wildlife, including the Indri lemur, which is the largest lemur species in Madagascar.

Sports Teams

  • Toamasina, Madagascar is well-known for its fervor for football (soccer) and basketball.
  • The city has various local teams that participate in regional and national leagues.
  • AS Fortior, FC Fanilo, and AS Saint-Michel are among the most popular football clubs in Toamasina.
  • Basketball is also a famous sport in the city with multiple local teams competing in regional tournaments.
  • Apart from these conventional sports, Toamasina also has a robust tradition of martial arts like karate and judo.
  • The city regularly hosts competitions and training sessions for these disciplines.
  • All-in-all, sports play an essential role in the cultural life of Toamasina, enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds.

  • Cultural Events

    1. Festival of the Sea (Foire de la Mer) is a celebration of the city’s maritime heritage and fishing industry that takes place in July.
    2. Independence Day (Fête de l’Indépendance) commemorates Madagascar’s independence from France on June 26th, with parades and cultural performances.
    3. Toamasina Jazz Festival is an annual music festival featuring local and international jazz artists, held in September.
    4. Malagasy New Year (Alahamady Be) is celebrated in January with traditional ceremonies and feasts.
    5. Madagascar International Film Festival showcases films from around the world, held annually in December.
    6. Fihavanana Festival celebrates unity and brotherhood among different ethnic groups in Madagascar, held annually in October or November.
    7. Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (Fête de la Saint-Jean-Baptiste) is a religious holiday honoring John the Baptist, celebrated on June 24th with processions and feasts.
    8. Toamasina Carnival (Carnaval de Toamasina) is a colorful parade featuring floats and costumes inspired by Malagasy culture, held annually in August or September.
    9. All Saints’ Day (Toussaints) is a Christian holiday honoring saints and deceased loved ones, celebrated on November 1st with visits to cemeteries and family gatherings.
    10. Christmas Eve Mass (Messe de Minuit) is a midnight mass celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ on December 24th followed by festive meals with family and friends.


    • Ravitoto: A traditional Malagasy dish made with mashed cassava leaves and served with rice. You can try it at Restaurant Ny Ony.
    • Akoho sy voanio: A chicken dish cooked with coconut milk and served with rice. You can try it at La Varangue.
    • Koba: A sweet snack made from ground peanuts, rice flour, and banana leaves. You can try it at the local markets or street vendors.
    • Seafood: Toamasina is known for its fresh seafood, including shrimp, lobster, crab, and fish dishes that you can enjoy at any of the seafood restaurants along the beachfront.
    • La Terrasse de l’Indépendance: This restaurant offers a variety of cuisine options ranging from Malagasy to French dishes.
    • Le Jardin Exotique: This restaurant has a beautiful garden setting and serves traditional Malagasy dishes as well as international cuisine options.
    • Chez Nono: A popular spot for grilled meats such as zebu (a type of cattle), pork ribs, and sausages served with sides like fries or salad.
    • L’Escale Bleue: Another seafood restaurant that offers fresh catches of the day prepared in various ways such as grilled or fried fish fillets or seafood platters featuring shrimp and lobster among others.

    • Parks and Recreation

      1. Parc Ivoloina
      2. Jardin Botanique de la ville de Toamasina
      3. Plage de Foulpointe (beach)
      4. Parc Zoologique et Botanique d’Antananarivo (zoo and botanical garden)
      5. Parc National Masoala (national park)
      6. Île aux Nattes (island with beaches and snorkeling opportunities)
      7. Lac Rasoabe (lake with boating and fishing activities)
      8. Canal des Pangalanes (waterway for boat tours and fishing)


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