Sahambavy-the only tea plantation in Masagascar
The plantations of Sahambavy (355 ha, of which 94 are cultivated by the farmers) are located in a very pleasant environment: a nice half-day walk or even a quiet night in the beautiful Lac Hotel are a good reason to visit this plantation on the side.
The history of this plantation began in 1969 with the arrival of the Institut Français de Café et Cacao. Scientific studies were undertaken on the different qualities of tea that could be grown in Madagascar and the climate of the area was ideally suited.
In 1970, the European Development Fund financed the expansion of the plantation under the name SOTEMAD (Société Théicole de Madagascar), which became a state enterprise in 1973 during the socialist period.
In 1996, it returned to the private sector: Mauritian investors bought 2/3 of the capital. Currently, the name of the plantation is SIDEXAM Sahambavy.
The Sahambavy Tea Plantation is the only one in Madagascar, so there is no competition yet.
For the coming years, they are working on both the development of green tea, which is known for its health-giving properties and is currently in high demand in Western markets, and an organic tea project.
The tea factory and plantation can be visited
You will see the different passages from the machine leaves to the finished tea product and its filling ready for export and packaging.
The different types of tea can be tasted on the spot and then a small hike can be incorporated in the middle of the plantation, the tea is harvested by countless pickers every day.
Sahambavy: The only tea plantation in Madagascar.
The Malagasy are not big tea drinkers, so only 20% of Sahambavy's local tea production is enough for the whole country.
There is only one plantation, but the Malagasy tea is of good quality and is exported mainly to Kenya .
In any case, a visit to the tea plantation is a wonderful experience during a trip to Madagascar!
On the tea trail, time for a taste and smell journey!
Sahambavy, the only production center on the Big Island, nicknamed "women's field" in Madagascar, owes its name to this environment whose gentle curves of plantations, a succession of hills in soft and bright green, can evoke roundness and feminine sensuality.
A history of the cultivation of tea
Thanks to a humid climate and a favorable altitude between 800 and 1200 meters, the first trials, conducted in 1970 with cuttings from Kenya, proved sufficiently conclusive for the construction of a first plant to begin as early as 1978.
With nearly 335 hectares of plantations and an average daily production of 20 tons of leaves collected by hand by about 250 people, the estate, privatized since 1996, has ceded nearly 94 hectares to farmers for self-management.
In a rural setting not without charm, located on the edge of a pleasant little lake, the tranquility of the place, which inspires calm and serenity, does not foreshadow for a moment the fervor aroused by this almost industrialized activity.
Spending a few hours here will be one of the best discoveries of your trip.
A special tea production center
It seems incredible that no one seriously thought about tea culture in Madagascar before the 1970s. And yet the first attempts to transplant tea cuttings (from Kenya) were not made until 1970, of course in Sahambavy.
Picking, wilting, crushing, rolling, fermenting, drying, roasting and filtering: a whole chain of careful handling and techniques precedes the final packaging stage before shipment to the importing countries.
The capacity of the machines allows them to process between 200 and 600 kg of tea per hour.
A tea with character
During the filtering process, the tea is passed through large mechanized sieves and sorted.
Defibering by means of an electrostatic process allows to distinguish the grades (types), namely Dust, Pekoedust, Pekoefannings, BrokenPekoe.
The air is saturated with the distinct astringency and acute acidity of Sahambavy tea!
In the factory, the smell is intoxicating!
The tea produced in Madagascar has a rather full-bodied character and is closer to English tea than to Asian tea. Moreover, to perfect this "English taste", we would like to taste it with a touch of milk or even a little sugar to soften the taste...
The peculiarities of Sahambavy tea
Beyond its history, Sahambavy tea culture is formerly known for its natural environment. As a hot, warm, cold, natural or sweetened drink, depending on your preference, Sahambavy tea has a unique and pleasant taste.
Moreover, thanks to its many therapeutic virtues, it is a very effective medical treatment.
It reduces the risk of breast, lung, stomach, prostate and colon cancer.
Green tea prevents hardening of artery walls and helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular accidents
Green tea also helps to lose weight and for the proper functioning of the nervous system
Green tea can increase thermogenesis and reduce fat deposits in the liver.
Like green tea, drinking this product can provide important health benefits:
Black tea reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases it stimulates the nervous system thanks to the in it encontaining methylxanthines.
Diuretic, it helps not to retain water.
It relaxes the muscles of the bronchioles, helping to improve breathing.
Enough to make you want to drink Sahambavy tea regularly.
Beyond a ritual, a ceremony marked by tradition, as found in Japan, however, tea culture must be placed first and foremost in its natural setting in order to better understand its subtlety, its history, and its place in society.
The famous Lac Hotel in Sahambavy
Guided tours through the Sahambavy Tea Plantation and the surrounding villages or a tour of the Lake Sahambavy are also organized by this institution.
The goal is to get into the culture of the ethnic group of "Betsileo" and their daily lives.
From Sahambavy to Manakara with the "Jungle Express
Opposite is the station of the FCE line to Manakara, the guests of Lac Hotel have pre-reserved seats on the train and they can enjoy the arrival of the train in very comfortable conditions in the Lac Hotel wait and see.
Right next to the Sahambavy tea plantations and the railroad station, the complex is beautifully situated on the shore of a beautiful artificial lake.
The surroundings are enchanting.
We fell in love with the first class bridal car, so out of character!
The address remains a preferred stopover on the way south.
In total, the facility has 17 fully equipped, spacious and bright rooms, located in the middle of a lush tropical gardens and offer breathtaking views of the lake and the country's only tea plantation.
The restaurant seats 80 people and offers typical Malagasy and European dishes.
Its chefs use organic ingredients (dairy products, honey, bread, fruits, vegetables, ...) from the farm and the plantation of the hotel to guarantee maximum freshness and flavor.