Located 18 km northeast of Majunga, the sacred lake of Mangatsa takes you directly into the Sakalavas tradition (Ethnies du Boeny). Legend has it that a former Sakalava king had called a sorcerer to heal his son. The latter having failed has been banished from the tribe. In revenge, he turned the lake into a village and its inhabitants into fish. Others still say that President Philibert Tsiranana discovered this place during a walk in the bush and that water springs from quicksand! That's how he decided to build the lake and build a resort there. The guides will be delighted to show you the bench on which he would have used to sit to admire the fish.
Mangatsa Lake is a high place of worship Sakalavas. Many families continue to go there today to make vows. An offering in the form of honey is then laid and then a coin or plate is thrown into the lake, pronouncing its wish. The guardian of the lake then gives bread and minced meat to the fish to honor the spirits of the kings Sakalavas. When the wishes are granted, the families return to thank the Ancestors by knotting red and white fabrics around the sacred tamarind trees; some even make sacrifices of zebus or chickens according to their means and / or the importance of the wish made.
The lake is always clear and transparent even in the rainy season thanks to a natural filtration system. It is therefore possible to admire the impressive fish (eels, captains, carp ...) that populate it. Fishing and swimming are prohibited. The fish are absolutely not afraid of humans. If the big eel (or moray eel) approaches you, it will bring you luck!
The visit continues to the second, wilder lake (which feeds the first) before joining the baobab with thousand branches or Bozy Be, which is also sacred. On the way, you will surely meet crowned sifakas who will appreciate a piece of bread but especially the very refreshing fruit of raffia which offers a sweet bitter flavor. Be wary of the clan leader, who can be aggressive especially if there are young children.
To close this visit, go to the crocodile enclosure. It is home to six Nile crocodiles, the oldest of which is over 20 years old. The spawning takes place in October and hatching in November. Small reptiles escape quickly into the wild as there can not be more than one dominant male in the pen. Crocodiles are fed twice a week.
Before leaving, you can consult the oracle. What will be said will remain absolutely between you.
To note :
Tuesdays and Thursdays are fadys so no offering is possible.
The pork is fady, so avoid the ham sandwiches if you want to picnic.