Located 42km south of Manakara on the national road (RN12) to Farafangana, Vohipeno in the south eastern region, with more than 10,000 inhabitants, is the ancient cultural capital of the Antemoro ethnic group, one of the 18 tribes of Madagascar.
One of the most visited sites, in this part of Madagascar, is the Royal Palace, located in the rural town of Ivato. The royal palace called Fenovola (full of money) contains the preserved SORABE, ancient Arab-Malagasy manuscript, one of the oldest of the Big Island.
In this part of the island, 70 to 80 percent of the inhabitants are Muslim, with the presence of many mosques and the ban on eating pork (fady), making it the cradle of the Arab- Muslim culture in Madagascar.
The King and his Council of Sages, always consulted by the notables of all the country, practise rites and traditional ceremonies. They have the reputation of possessing powers, of knowledge that allows them to predict the future, to advise effectively in difficult cases and to be excellent healers.
Beyond the beauty of the palace, the city is crossed by a large river called Matitanana, the 'dead arm', bordered by alluvial plains.
The population is very active there, the men are regularly occupied with the work of the fields, the women with basketry (mats, baskets, hats ).
The large weekly market, rich in artisanal and local products, takes place every Friday.
This article was featured in Prime Magazine April 2018
When to go
Vohipeno is a city with a significant rainfall (average 1525mm). Precipitation is higher in the summer season than in the winter. The average temperature is 23.8 °C and the best months to go are June, August, September, October and November.
How to get there
Accessibility by car from Manakara, 42kms of tarmac road in good condition. Numerous daily departures in bush taxis between Manakara and Farafangana pass through Vohipeno.
Where to stay
You can stay in the hotels of Vohipeno: Hotel Le Tahiti (bungalows), Hotel Relax (bed and breakfast), Hotel Tohan'aina (bungalows), Hotel La Source (bed and breakfast).
Where to eat
Many small restaurants specialise in halal cuisine. Discover local Madagascar specialities at Tohan'aina Restaurant.
What to see
In the village of Ivato, visit the tombs of kings and princes Antemoro. A visit with a local guide or storyteller is always a plus. A passage through the sacred site of Amboaka is required. Warning there no banks in the remoter cities.