From Toamasina to Mananjary, lakes, lagoons, streams connected by canals dug out at the end of the 19th Century, totalling up to 600 kilometres of waterway, known as the Pangalanes Canal.
The Canal runs parallel to the Indian Ocean. The strip of land between the salt and the sweet water measures just a few dozen metres.
The purpose of the canal was transport between Toamasina and the many villages and towns along the canal. Until this day the canal serves as such.
It is easy to navigate a boat on these waters, and it is very worthwhile. The canal and its banks are a rare combination of an ecological system dominated by the Indian Ocean and that of the tropical forests more inland.
On the inland-shores there are areas where the plants are abundant, especially in the remaining pockets of tropical forest. There are little villages to visit and several tourist destinations, like a lemur park, a nature reserve, an agro touristic site, a distillery of essential oils, an orchid garden, …. too much to mention.