The small seaside town of VOHEMAR (or Iharana) lies off the main RN5A road on a sandy peninsula, linked to the mainland by a bridge across a tidal creek. Like Sambava and Antalaha, this is a vanilla and clove centre. Historically, Vohemar marked the northernmost extent of the eighteenth-century Betsimisaraka union. Long a trading centre, Vohemar was established on the foundations of a much earlier civilization – known as the Rasikajy – by traders from East Africa and the Arabian peninsula. There’s evidence of this in the extensive royal tombs excavated in the district, containing hundreds of skeletons as well as ivory, Chinese porcelain and Persian glass and jewellery.

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