Angavokely: The Curiosities of the Caves

According to a Malagasy saying, Antongona is known for its campfires, Angavokely for its lanterns, Ankaratra for its drizzle and Ambondrombe for the spirits who rest there! Indeed, the forest station of Angavokely (690 ha) is like a corridor with secret
paths where, in the royal era, it was necessary to be equipped with lanterns to enter the caves.
Angavokely is a mountain, near Nandihizana, east of Antananarivo. Its name comes from "gavo", an ancient Merina dialect meaning " bat "; (many chiropterans live in the caves), while Nandihizana (“where one dances”) is the place where the royal guards danced after having found the son of Andrianampoinimerina lost in the area. Angavokely is composed of two main granite massifs: Angavokely, 1752m high and Angavobe, to the left, 1775m. The tours suggested by the guides will enable you to explore five caves, the Ambatomisondrotra rock as well as the two caves of Andavabatomaizina and Andavatsongomby, to the east and the "Queen's bath" to the west.
Since this site has become known, thanks to the audio-visual transmitters installed in the 90s, it has increasingly attracted hiking and climbing enthusiasts during the past 20 years. Visitors can also discover the rich biodiversity inside the caves as well as the different varieties of eucalyptus and orchids outside.
Legendrena angavokely
This destination is particularly interesting for entomologists because it shelters the Legendrena angavokely, a species of araneomorphic spider, of the Gallienielidae family measuring around 3mm, discovered in 1984 and endemic to Madagascar.
This article was featured in Prime Magazine October 2018

Useful Information

When to go

Angavokely can be visited all year round. However, the trails get slippery during rainy periods. Visitors are more numerous at the weekend thus, in order to better enjoy it, we recommend that you start your tour at the beginning of the week.

How to get there

Angavokely is 36km east of the capital. Take the RN2 towards Toamasina then turn right at Carion, the entrance lies 6km off the road. Climbing and descending require good physical fitness.

Where to stay

Two establishments, located beside the RN2, are suggested: the Hotel Destiny and the Klub Sahameva. You can also choose the nice and quiet countryside of the highlands and make a detour to Ambatomanga. The Hotel La Maison Familiale FI will provide you with a warm welcome.

Where to eat

A family or group picnic is the best option for visiting this forest station.

What to see

A spectacular panoramic view over Analamanga is offered from the peaks of the massifs. The landscapes with traditional Merina houses, rice fields and Lake Mantasoa are magnificent. Enjoy the nature, the greenery and the purity of the air in this high place. The caves contain historical and archaeological remnants. Discover the sacred stone where sacrifices continue to be made in the name of Andriananja, former king of Angavokely. Also visit the rova of Ambatomanga, which lies not far from there.