On the Katsepy peninsula, situated on a 121-meter high cliff, stands one of the few historical lighthouses of Madagascar. The bay of Bombetoka separates Katsepy from the largest port city in the West, Mahajanga, in the Boeny region. If you cross the bay by boat through the red-colored water, which is fed by the river Betsiboka and carries laterite, you can see the lighthouse already from far away.
The old lighthouse can be reached by foot in about three hours from Katsepy village (about seven kilometers). It is easier to ask in the village for one of Katsepy’s few cars and a driver. At the port of Mahajanga, you can also rent boats to take you directly under the lighthouse. A small but exhausting climbing tour later, you are already standing in front of the historical building. Sylvain, the guard of the lighthouse, always welcomes guests and gladly leads everyone up the 174 steps to the gallery. The 36-meter high tower was built in 1901 under the colonial power of France. The French had most of the parts for it made of cast iron in France and brought them by ship to Madagascar. The lighthouse was last renovated in 2013. If you look closely, you will find a lonely tomb near the lighthouse. This grave is said to be the last resting place of the daughter of the French engineer who planned the lighthouse of Katsepy.
Close to the lighthouse is also the Antrema Reserve, where the endangered Crowned Sifakas and Mongoose Lemurs live. Sometimes they come over to the cast-iron tower. So a visit to Katsepy is not only worthwhile because of the historic lighthouse!
Picture: Dr. Philipp Wagner