SOANIERANA-IVONGO, where the tarmac ends on the way north, like so many of Madagascar’s coastal towns occupies a spit of land between the ocean and the mouth of a river – in this case the River Marimbona, which starts life high up on the Marovoalavo plateau on Madagascar’s spine. The little town’s port is along the riverside, and the small ferries plying the 30km sea channel to Île Sainte Marie have to brave the rough seas between the river mouth and the ocean. There are few facilities in town, but you’ll find basic accommodation and restaurants if you need them.

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