On the banks of the Lokoho River
Note: Sadly, Mr. Flavien passed away in 2021. However, his family continues to welcome guests to their farm.
About a mile from the Marojejy National Park Visitor Center, on the road to Andapa, is a farm owned by a kindly gentleman named Flavien Zandrimanana. Flavien’s farm lies on the banks of the Lokoho River and spreads up a hillside with stupendous views out to the Marojejy Massif. Over the years, little by little, Flavien has lovingly built up his farm so that today it is a model of small-scale sustainable agriculture. Flavien has a little of everything: beehives, fish ponds, rice fields, chickens, ducks, coconut palms, a tree nursery, vegetable garden and vanilla plantation — the list goes on and on.
Several years ago, a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer met Flavien and was impressed by the productivity and diversity of his farm, as well as by the beauty and tranquility of the place. Together, Flavien and the volunteer hatched an idea to incorporate a bit of ecotourism into all the other activities on his farm. Later, encouraged by guidebook author Hilary Bradt when she traveled through the area with the team from marojejy.com, Flavien began adding amenities such as a bamboo dining area and improved toilet facilities, and lawns where tents can be pitched.
Flavien’s Farm offers a remarkable glimpse into traditional Malagasy life in a tranquil and spectacular location. Flavien is a welcoming man, and a wealth of information on the local area. It’s fascinating to watch him demonstrate the delicate process of hand-fertilizing vanilla flowers, or to hear him recount stories of a time when virgin forests were thick all around, when the songs of the babakoto (Indri indri) — now long gone — echoed from the canyon walls.
And what better way to relax after a trek up Marojejy than to sit in the shade under Flavien’s mandarin orange trees and sip from a coconut that was just plucked from high up a coconut palm? Spend a leisurely day or two or three with Flavien, paddling in a pirogue (traditional dugout canoe) down the Lokoho River — even clear to the sea, viewing crocodiles along the way and camping and hiking in remote forests.
Whatever you do, Flavien and his farm offer you a unique and unforgettable experience.
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