Anjohibe is a cave system located about 80 kilometers west of Mahajanga. It is the second largest cave system in Africa and a historically sacred place for the Sakalava people.
Anjohibe can be translated to 'big caves' and was first discovered in the 17th century. The cave contains three levels with the highest level being easily accessible without specialist equipment. Remarkably, there are still many historically significant artifacts in the cave including fossils, colonial-era tools and skeletons despite the artifacts being unfixed and vulnerable to thieves.
After leaving Mahajanga, almost all of the track is off-road in a beautiful savannah but with the possibility to get lost or stuck in muddy ground. Therefore it is recommended to use a guide or driver to find the caves.
During the rainy season from December to March it is not possible to reach the caves by land.
There are two gates along the way which are operated by locals, and the park entry fee is paid at the second gate. A guide will be able to purchase the park entry ticket for you.
The entrance fee to the park is 15,000 ariary per person (2023)
Customs and Traditions
The cave system was used as a burial place for Malagasy people hundreds of years ago. On entering the cave a ritual is performed while all visitors stand in a crouched position. A guide will perform the ritual for you.
Inside, a number of stalagmites are covered with sheets. During the month of July Sakalava people come to the cave and pray for their ancestral spirits at these locations. The stalagmites behind the sheets should not be touched.
At the Anjohibe site (including the forest immediately surrounding it) many different species are found including:
|Endemic to dry forests of Madagascar.
|Propithecus verreauxi coquereli'
|Threatened species endemic to Madagascar.
It is required to hire a guide to enter Anjohibe, and necessary if you want to stay safe and see all points of interest. It is easy to get lost and very difficult to find the historical artifacts without someone that knows the site.
John has been working in tourism in Mahajanga for many years and is well respected in the area. He is very responsive by WhatsApp and contacting him directly can save about 100 euro compared to booking via an agency or hotel.
Tel: +261 (0)32 4207947 (WhatsApp)
Activities in the Cave
- Caving - it is possible to reach the other levels of the cave using specialist gear. Guide John can organise trips if the climbing gear is provided by the customer.
Other Nearby Activities
- Mahafanina Waterfall - 20 meter tall waterfall with pool suitable for swimming
- Canyoning - A guide can take you along the river with a good chance to spot lemurs and Madagascar kingfishers.