Tsarasoa and the respect for Traditions.
In these mountains made of legends and myths, it is important to know the local « fady » so you avoid incidents or upsetting locals.
If many taboos seems to vanish slowly in cities, the villagers adapting to their changing world, it is not so in the more remote parts of the country and are fiercely enforced.
Thank you to respect those beliefs and when in doubt, just question locals , they’ll be happy and prouds to share their beliefs with you.
There are two major issues around :
Tombs and graves. It is quite difficult for foreigners to spot tombs amongst pile of rocks and wild grasses. In doubt just consider that rocks and pile of rocks are potentially sacred. When hiking around, if you feel an urgent call of Nature, best is to stay away from rocks and big trees, just in case. Prefer open fields as vegetation and erosion makes it impossible to determine if those rocks are sacred or not. Don’t risk to profanate a tomb and stay in the tall grasses.
Respect for tombs doesn’t mean you can’t get near them ! You can even have your lunch sitting on one, or play cards on it or even climb on it. Most essential is to respect those graves. Don’t pee on it, don’t shit on it, don’t spit on it and eventually don’t point at them with a straight finger. Actually, only common sense and usual respect due to the deceased which seems quite normal and usual.
Specific to Tsarasoa, the « plateaux » of Angabokely and Angabobe where we develop our structures have always been a special place. Numerous tombs attest the cultural/historical past of this hill. Ancient cemetery for the riches and powerful of the past, the spot is solely dedicated to « Zanahary », the original malagasy god, creator of Man and Nature before missionaries kicked him to hell, …
It is strictly forbidden to bring holy books on our premises (bible, coran, torah, whatever, …) and only Zanahary should be praised around. We thank you to leave your private books in your cars parked on the lower part of Tsarasoa where those « fady » doesn’t apply. However you have understood that we will not tolerate any form of religious proselytism on our grounds and will continue developing a space for freedom and respect of personnal beliefs.
As we get good phone coverage (all 4 local operators) we’ll ask you to turn your phones to « silent mode » ;
even better you should just switch them off while you stay with us.
The restaurant is a non smoking zone. For the outdoors tables, we let you decide for yourself but please respect the food and try to smoke away from tables during meals.
We also ask you to keep your cigarettes buds till you find a proper disposal place and keep the grounds clean.
Please limit your vehicle movements.
The mountains and the valley are suited for hikers.
The parkings are all located on the lower parts of Tsarasoa and we limit as much as possible access to the upper part to vehicles.
Please respect the flora and fauna that you will discover during your stay.
Orchids stay on trees, pachypodiums stay on rocks and reptiles owns the spot ! No collecting of wildlife, no hits on snakes (none are venomous and all are ancestors!).
We produce a lot of local flora in our nurseries and will try to offer you the chance of bringing a live memory of the valley without disturbing furthermore its environment.
TSARASOA and its environment policy.
Tsarasoa, its genesis, its history are intimately linked with the development of reforestation projects launched at the very beginning of touristic development in the valley.
It’s only when the “mpanjaka” (local king/spiritual leader) authority got questionned by villagers that we really managed to start our reforestation projects. Its debate took form when groups of villagers decided to handle their own territories and sold us the land we occupy above Soavahiny.
Our late mpanjaka Ramboha had decided to forbid tree planting around the valley. With royal power disolving, the door opened and I started to initiate village reforestation projects in the Sahanambo.
A few years later this led to the creation of Wood En Stock, an association funded mainly by BEAL (french rope making company) supervising and organising most of reforestation projects in the district. Along those years we started other projects near antsirabe, maevatanana, Antananarivo, along the Pangalanes although we stay focused on our favorite valley.
Today with the development of our lodging structure we also launched a compensation program, 134U (One tree for you). Standard exchange process : one night spent in the lodge funds one tree planted in the valley.
Tsarasoa is now an establishment with a largely positive carbon balance.
Take the time to visit our nurseries, help us with tending, mowing, our gardeners will give you opportunities to help and have an impact on our world, feel free to ask us.