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Betsiboka River

Looks like wide streams of carrot juice have split over Madagascan gorges


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The main river in Madagascar, Betsiboka, flows for 525 km from north of Tananarive to Bombetoka Bay. It amazes with its reddish-orange colour. A large amount of silt carried by the waters is responsible for that surreal hue.

The river attracts a lot of tourists as a natural phenomenon. But its origin was also influenced by human activity. The mass deforestation of Madagascar that led to great erosion of iron-rich soil is to be blamed for the river's colour. Still, people come to marvel at the sight of the bizarre-coloured river that looks so similar to the fountain of carrot juice.

The best of Betsiboka may be observed during the peak of rainy season between December and February when it is astonishing with its gushing streams. Outside of rainy season, the reddish stream is still there, just more modest in comparison to floods.

Besides, when the river dries up, at some locations it might be difficult to differentiate the water from the rocks—everything is orange. In that case, it doesn't look like carrot juice anymore, but rather resembles some smashed red bricks.

Mahajanga Province offers a plentitude of nice viewing spots to observe Betsiboka River along its valley until it empties to Bombetoka Bay, near Mahajanga.

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